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T O P I C    R E V I E W
stevebodPosted - 17 Nov 2017 : 09:54:42
Hi Guys,
I noticed and single drop of oil in front of the 96 last night.
A closer inspection shows it coming from the engine pulley and my experience tells me this is probably the seal worn from balance shaft movement. Would others agree?
I've never done the balance shaft bearings before so my questions are:
Where is the best place to get bearings from?
What other parts do I need, gaskets, seals etc...
Are there any other parts I should replace while I have the engine in bits?
How difficult is the replacement?
Would value any inputs from people who have done this work.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
stevebodPosted - 27 Nov 2017 : 12:11:56
Just an update from me to conclude this thread.
The new seal arrived overnight (Thanks John) and it has two sealing lips as opposed the original which just had one.
With the front cover removed I could find no trace of play in the balance shaft.
Additionally the old seal was quite brittle and shattered as I tried to lift it from the cover plate.
I am hoping the new seal will therefore fix the leak. I will report back when I have put some miles on the clock.
Balance shaft gear looked OK although not perfect.
john-saabPosted - 24 Nov 2017 : 08:14:33
Remember to contact me directly rather than using ebay for seals..I add extra charges to ebay prices to cover fees etc.

'73 96 (Vernon),'74 95 (Veronica)plus 4 other 95's and 2 96's
ianhPosted - 20 Nov 2017 : 17:33:06
mellePosted - 19 Nov 2017 : 19:34:10
Martin, you're right, the rear bearing has a groove. Here are some photos of a NOS block I have; the groove in the rear bearing is clearly pointing rearward (i.e. to the outside).
stevebodPosted - 19 Nov 2017 : 15:25:08
Thanks for the lead on the seal. I will drop John a line.
I like this idea. The seal will fix the oil leak at least temporarily and then I can see what happens without having to remove the front cover.
Keep the dialogue going on the beaing orientation, it would be good to have a definitive answer on that.
72sonett3Posted - 19 Nov 2017 : 11:47:32
See e.g. that rear bearing has a groove (pointing inward). In a comment it is suggested that it should point to the rear (I disagree).

'72 97
'77 96L conv.
'79 96GL (LPG)
'83 900i (LPG)
'95 900SE conv.
'99 9-3T
mellePosted - 18 Nov 2017 : 21:53:46
I would remove the pulley, prise the seal out and check the shaft again for play. If OK just fit a new seal in situ. Taking the timing gear cover off won't tell you much more, if you want to check the balance shaft bearings the engine has to come out.

Originally posted by 72sonett3
I fitted them both facing front
I think only the front bearing should have a groove?
ianhPosted - 18 Nov 2017 : 21:41:09
Try john-saab he has the double seal for sale. I haven't had any trouble after fitting one of his. Take care removing the front cover as the bottom bit has the sump attached to it and you can easily damage the gasket!!
72sonett3Posted - 18 Nov 2017 : 19:10:28
And fit an oil pressure gauge.

BTW, this is my special tool:

'72 97
'77 96L conv.
'79 96GL (LPG)
'83 900i (LPG)
'95 900SE conv.
'99 9-3T
stevebodPosted - 18 Nov 2017 : 17:45:02
Thanks for the ideas and tips guys, and for the offer of help Melle.

I've had a closer look at the front pulley and can't feel any lateral motion. There is also hardly backlash which I imagine would be a secondary effect of a worn bearing.
Perhaps I jumped to a wrong conclusion but every V4 I've had in the past has had the bearings replaced at the time of a front oil leak. Perhaps the seal has just aged hardened?

The other symptom I didn't mention was a short delay in the oil light going out from start up. This was another reason I feared a bearing problem.

Looks like the first step will be to remove the front cover and make another inspection. I'll try replacing the seal and see how it lasts, plus an oil and filter change.
Is Malbrads the best place for the seal?

Cheers. I appreciate the suggestions.
72sonett3Posted - 18 Nov 2017 : 15:38:41
... make sure the little drain groove on the front bearing is facing the correct way. I THINK it has to face to the outside of the block

I fitted them both facing front, front one for excess oil to lube the timing gears and the rear one towards the oil pan to prevent leaking too much oil between the bearing and the rear cap/plug (there is no oil return hole in that space).

'72 97
'77 96L conv.
'79 96GL (LPG)
'83 900i (LPG)
'95 900SE conv.
'99 9-3T
andydeans3Posted - 18 Nov 2017 : 13:20:07
You can get the bearings from Burton, or Malbrad.

When you fit them make sure the little drain groove on the front bearing, is facing the correct way. I THINK it has to face to the outside of the block, but do check.
I got this wrong and had to change it again. Since it's hard to get them out without damaging them, that was a second set I had to buy.

John Saab very kindly loaned me the special drift tools. He will also confirm which way the drain groove has to face.
I will also say that before I fitted the bearings, they slipped nicely onto the journals of the balance shaft. When I had drifted them in however, the balance shaft would not fit properly. I had to take the block to an engineering shop to ream the bearings slightly, to get the assembly to go in correctly.


1978 LHD SAAB 96
1978 MGB Roadster
2008 LHD "Classic" Renault Twingo
72sonett3Posted - 18 Nov 2017 : 09:29:41
... I'm sure knocking up a special tool should not be an issue for you...

For the special tool see e.g.

'72 97
'77 96L conv.
'79 96GL (LPG)
'83 900i (LPG)
'95 900SE conv.
'99 9-3T
mellePosted - 17 Nov 2017 : 20:49:01
It could well be a worn seal, this does not necessarily imply the bearings are worn as Martin already suggested. Also his other tips are spot on. I'm sure knocking up a special tool should not be an issue for you; I should have the dimensions somewhere if you need them. Also, if you need a hand, just give me a shout.
72sonett3Posted - 17 Nov 2017 : 19:00:35
Are you sure it is the bearings? Can you move the pulley up/down/sideways? Do you have low oil pressure?

Unfortunately I had to replace the bearings several times :-(

I've bought new bearings on Ebay or from Skandix or from, you also need a new oil pan gasket and a new cover gasket. To replace the bearings the engine has to come out of the car, and the flywheel off as the balance shaft comes out of the rear of the engine block.

Replacement is not really difficult if you have some experience, but you need a special tool to press in the new bearings. Take care to line up the oil holes in the bearings with the ones in the block.

'72 97
'77 96L conv.
'79 96GL (LPG)
'83 900i (LPG)
'95 900SE conv.
'99 9-3T

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