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Distributor housing self sealing washer leak - confused!


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Hi All,

I finally used the oil dye, and IR goggle / lamp today to try and track down my oil leak(s) on this new motor. One of the areas I saw history of a (small) path of oil from was around the 'self sealing washer' below. Being the hack that I am I took it out, wiped it off and reinstalled (TIGHT). I then started the car and had a TORRENT of oil from this area...... I put a flashlight on it for 10 seconds and it seemed to be coming out around this bolt, between the head and housing specifically


I again removed the bolt and washer fearing the worst but see no cracks etc. in the housing photo I took below.


So now I am confused. When I look at some images I found below it appears that this hole is fully surrounded by gasket and hence should not see oil, I also stuck a toothpick in it and confirmed it is a blind hole so again no oil on the bolt... Given this why does this bolt need a special sealing washer and how can the volume of oil (e.g. a quarter to a half a quart in 20-30 seconds after I reinstalled and tightened!) I saw coming from around it be resultant?


Am I missing something?







Distributor flange mating surface.jpg



Edited by sam1904
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That special sealing washer is one-time use ... as I recall.

That washer seals the high-pressure oil coming out of the hollow intake rocker shaft. That pressure is what the oil switch sees.

Tighten the M8 bolts on the distributor flange first to 18 lb.ft., then the M6 bolt to 8 lb.ft. using a new special washer. Do not overtighten.


PS: I haven't seen those pictures in years ... was April 2017 when I took 'em.

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22 hours ago, John76 said:

You did put that special washer on the OUTSIDE of the dizzy flange ... didn't you?

Sounds like a lot of oil coming out between the head and the housing.

Head, paper gasket, flange, sealing washer, M6 short bolt.

Sorry....just checking.

 I did indeed, I am still amazed at how much oil forced out between the casting / washer / bolt head! Looking at the floor I would guess 1/4 quart in 30 seconds. The guy who built the motor claimed high oil pressure - I guess he wasn't kidding!

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That is indeed the culprit.

Mating surfaces must be clean and straight. Do not use sealant. Torque the larger bolts first, the small bolt with sealing washer last.

As Son-of-Marty pointed out, make sure the short bolt is the proper length. Too long and it will hit the head bolt and not seal.

Is this how your engine rebuilder assembled your head????


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That is a funny gasket, the way they made it bigger than both mating surfaces.  I heated/bent the tip of an X-acto knife so I could trim mine back with the gasket in place.  It'd be a little easier to do that before it is installed... if you're so inclined.




That photo is from when I recently knocked the sharp edge off of the chamfered hole for the distributor, so it slips in without hanging up on the rubber O-ring.


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So I noticed a hairline crack in the corner. I am not sure if it was the cause of the original, less severe leak that I aggravated by overtightening or if I created it trying to address the first leak. Either way when I put a dowel in the hole and wiggled it to discern if crack or shadow I found out.


Anyone got a one piece version of this that is for sale?!


To answer the question "is that how the engine was assembled - I don't know. The RTV is but the pinched gasket may have been me tightening the bolts too much when I was trying to stop the leak.



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