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Engine oil Seal

Roger 912

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I have rather a serious leak from the bottom of the engine and not having a ramp to get under and clean it off to see where it is coming from, I can only assume that it is the rear oil seal.


I have found a seal locally made from Viton but it is 5" x 4" x 0.5" whereas the original seal was only 0.35" in width.


Has anyone had experience of using a larger width seal?



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Is the oil coming from the bottom of the bell housing? Try putting some clean newspaper underneath and seeing exactly where the oil is dripping from...a bit of measuring and you can correlate the oilmarked paper with the position on the car. The crankshaft rear oil seal is (obviously) circular and fits into a carrier which bolts to the back of the engine behind the flywheel. I'm not sure what seal could be

5" by 4" by 0.5". One thing to consider is a leak from the turbo drain tube, where the oil goes back into the sump. These are convoluted stainless tube and can crack and leak...and leak a lot, too. I think that's what I'd look at first...If you crawl under the back you might be able to see it or get a hand on it; failing that, unbolting the rear boot floor and/or the rear panel of the engine bay will get you visual with the thing. Getting a hand on it would also tell you if it had perforated, you'd be needing the Swarfega straight away!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I've not had any experience of a wider seal - all I'm aware of is trying to alter the depth of the seal in the housing so that it locates against a different area of the crank.


You probably know this anyway, but of course you should get the seal (if it is this that's at fault) changed ASAP, or you'll risk contaminating the clutch.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I contacted my pal and he recommends that I fit two 0.25" width ones with some high pressure grease between them to lubricate the rear one. This will give a double seal. I don't know why, but all three of my 900 series engines leaked oil from this rear seal to some degree. I suppose it wouldn't be a proper English car if it didn't leak. You only worry when it doesn't.

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Hi Roger,

Personally I would only fit the correct seal from a Lotus dealer. There are

others out there which seem correct but will fail very quick if not straight away.

I have for my sins fitted a none Lotus seal and regretted it. The £20.oo saving

on the seal cost me the time of a complete g/box out refit and still had to buy 

the Lotus seal in the end.....(Never again...)

You should consider that these seals are directional and temperature rated. not

just any seal similar size will do the job. 

Before changing the seal ask all the questions of your engine of why and when.

This will establish any other underlying problems which could or should be sorted

at the same time.... do it once and do it right...

Some people will say they use none Lotus seals successfully ..... Uhmm... good luck

to them.....I always say remember the 3 P's....Penny  Pinching = Problems .

Hope it goes well for you....

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  • 5 weeks later...

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