Mistakes not to make, Altima lower timing chain cover oil channel 1995 Altima

1995 Altima
I've recently replaced the lower timing chain cover oil channel seal as it had been leaking. Somewhere on the web I read that it might be
a little easier during re-assembly to remove the crank shaft collar that drives the oil pump and only put it back in place once the timing cover is on as it's easier to turn the pump to align with the collar. All very well and good but in the heat of the moment during re- assembly while one is maneuvering the timing chain cover into place, it having sealer on its surface, one is likely to do what I did, which is get the cover on then bolt it into place and sit back. Later I went to put on/in the collar and found the timing chain cover ever so slightly off to one side making it very difficult to get the collar on/ in. I finally got the collar in/on then put in the oil seal. I finished reassembling and added fluids. Then I found the main oil seal was leaking. I re-seated it and coated it with heavy grease. Leak stopped until the oil finally started making its way past the heavy grease. Okay. I have choices. I can try removing the seal and replacing with an OEM. If that fails, then having the oil seal internal spring I can try putting two springs in the one seal. If neither of those tactics work then it's do the whole job over again for this second, albeit much slower, oil leak.
BillJ
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The front crankshaft seal should have been replaced when the timing cover job was done, on major engine work like that always replace any seals that came off during dissassembly with OEM new parts.
The oil pump drive collar needed to be on when the timing cover goes back on , it way easier.
You can get the oil pump drive collar back in when the timing cover is back on, the driven part of the oil pump on to which that piece drives floats, meaning you an move it around. I used to use a small pick to get it where it needs to be so the drive would slide in.

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I did replace the crank seal. After taking the timing cover off, I found the old seal difficult to remove even on the bench. When I reassembled and followed somebody's online suggestion to put the collar in after the cover was on, I had not only gotten the cover on but since I had the RTV there I did the mid-pan, then mounted the oil uptake and plate then the oil pan and only then turned to the collar and pulley, then finding some interference -- note the mid-pan and oil pan were already bolted back in place and sealed with only a little RTV left for the water pump. As I said, a mistake not to make. Once the collar was on the crank, beyond the cover to its position in the oil pump it moved easily - not tight. Then I put the crankshaft oil seal in. The crank oil seal did not go in easily and of course there was no problem with it from the crank as the seal rides on the inside of the pulley not the crank. It was just a very tight fit in the cover. It didn't get completely flush with the outside of the cover. I later removed the wheel and plastic fender shield to further seat it and grease it with heavy grease. That stopped the minor leak for a week or two giving indication the leak was between the crank and the pulley. The work was done outside in the yard over the course of a few weeks. The pulley was exposed to moisture. Before I reassembled I had to remove a thin film of oxidation from the pulley seal interface surface. When I took the pulley off to put grease I tried further polishing the pulley surface where it interfaces with the seal. I'm going to pick up a new seal today, remove the pulley, then if it fits put the new seal's spring in the presently mounted seal so it has 2 circular springs pressing the seal to the pulley surface, further polish the pulley's seal seating surface and close. If it fails with a leak soon then when I evacuate my AC for an evaporator repair I might take the hoses, compressor and condenser completely out then rip it down and remount the lower timing chain cover. With all that removed it should be much easier to access in the area of the upper power steering pump bracket but if it isn't leaking any oil at all when I turn to removing the evaporator then closed it stays.
BillJ
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I again removed the lower timing cover so as to get it right. With the cover free I checked the movement of the collar. The crankshaft seal was still in place in the cover. I should mention I had tried two springs in the seal but couldn't get two springs to both remain in place. Instead of buying an OEM seal I picked up another aftermarket seal just for the spring. I was surprised to find this second aftermarket seal, this one made in Japan brand name sTone, seems to have more rubber and a heavier spring. I tried just the heavier spring without changing the seal and still got a leak. Today, looking at the collar juxtaposition the seal there seems to be a slight gap along the bottom. Although I didn't measure it, the collar seems to have the same diameter as the pulley. I suppose it could be the two timing cover guide pins aren't enough to position the cover quite high enough. Weather permitting, tomorrow I'll install the made in Japan seal on the bench then install the lower timing cover and while the RTV is workable I'll position a jack under the cover with a piece of wood forcing it up until the seal appears centered around the collar, it only part-way in as a reference, then tighten it down.
BillJ
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I again removed the lower timing cover so as to get it right. With the cover free I checked the movement of the collar. The crankshaft seal was still in place in the cover. I should mention I had tried two springs in the seal but couldn't get two springs to both remain in place. Instead of buying an OEM seal I picked up another aftermarket seal just for the spring. I was surprised to find this second aftermarket seal, this one made in Japan brand name sTone, seems to have more rubber and a heavier spring. I tried just the heavier spring without changing the seal and still got a leak. Today, looking at the collar juxtaposition the seal there seems to be a slight gap along the bottom. Although I didn't measure it, the collar seems to have the same diameter as the pulley. I suppose it could be the two timing cover guide pins aren't enough to position the cover quite high enough. Weather permitting, tomorrow I'll install the made in Japan seal on the bench then install the lower timing cover and while the RTV is malable I'll position a jack under the cover with a piece of wood forcing it up until the seal appears centered around the collar then tighten it down.
That was yesterday. Later last night I considered if the collar flats which engage the oil pump could have made it seem as if there's a gap between the collar and crankshaft oil seal while the collar is halfway on. Possibly but since the flats are falling on the top and bottom I would have noticed a gap at the top as well. I installed the new oil seal in the timing cover. Checking, I find this heavier seal is capable of holding both springs without losing the second. I checked the fit on the bench of the pulley in the seal and it seems tight. With both springs it's very snug. I'm only going to go with its heavier spring and keep the second just in case. Then tried to find the oil channel seal before starting reassembly. Yesterday while cleaning up I put it where I could find it but now it's not to be found bringing reassembly to a halt.
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A jack under the lower timing cover after its bolts were hand tight did the trick although it's possible the superior seal might have been enough.
BillJ
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