Of oil leaks and engine mounts

“How come the British don’t build computers?

Because they haven’t figured out how to make them leak oil.”

“Diesels love their oil like a sailor loves his rum.”  Heard that in a movie.  “All Perkins diesels leak oil; that’s just the way it is.”  I read that on the internet.  When I drained the coolant to pull the heat exchanger a couple weeks ago it basically dumped into the bilge, washing over the top of the holding tank.  When I went to suck up the coolant, I noticed a few drops of oil floating on the surface.  I’m assuming that’s the result of running the engine to do the oil change after letting the seals dry out for more than two years of non-use.  The rear main oil seal is little more than a short length of “rope” sandwiched between two pieces of metal bolted around the crank shaft at the back of the engine block.  Many owners have reported than even when replaced, the new seal still drips a little.  Foley Engines sells a replacement seal made of teflon impregnated nylon for about $100, but even those who have performed this “upgrade” still complain of leaks.  The problem with changing this seal in our boat is that the engine and transmission need to be unbolted and slid forward about a foot in order to gain access behind the clutch plate.  After much research, I’ve concluded that now isn’t the time to mess with this minor inconvenience.  I just want to get the damn thing back together and put a few more hours on the engine before I decided on what to do next.  In the meantime, I’ll put an oil diaper on top of the holding tank to catch the occasional drip.

Two bolts busted off in transmission housing

As for the rusty rotten rear engine mounts I mentioned in the previous post,  I ordered two new Dual Flex 2207-2 flexible mounts from Fisheries Supply along with the new heat exchanger.  Before tearing everything apart, I supported the back of the engine and transmission with 2×4 blocks and ratchets straps secured to the rear engine room bulkhead, trying to keep everything as lined up as possible during the replacement process.   The old port side mount was so badly rusted that I had to cut it apart with a Dremel.  One of the bolts in the engine bracket was completely sheared off, and the other one snapped off when I tried removing it.  The starboard side wasn’t much better, and both bolt holes were stripped out inside the aluminum clutch housing.

Cutting off engine mount bolts
Rusty engine mount (Bushings Inc. DF-2207-2)

Rusty and corroded engine mount
Old & New engine mounts

Heli-Coil thread insert kit

The stripped bolt holes on the starboard side were drilled out, new threads tapped, and Heli-Coil inserts installed.  Due to limited access, the wet-exhaust muffler had to be removed just to be able to fit a drill in there.  In fact, every aspect of this little project involved “limited access”.  I’m literally upside down, standing on my head, wedged into an opening the size of a shoebox trying to operate power tools.  After much fussing about trying to extract the old rusted stubs of the bolts on the port side, including snapping off a hardened steel screw extractor, I finally said “F” it and just drilled new holes in a different location, abandoning the old ones in place.  Those new holes also received Heli-Coil inserts as an added measure of security.  Steel bolts threaded into soft aluminum in a saltwater environment is a recipe for failure, so each bolt received a thin coat of anti-sieze compound before installation.

Tapping new threads for the Heli-Coil
Installing new Heli-Coil thread insert

Painted bracket, starboard side

The starboard side mounting bracket was in good shape, and all I did was hit it with a wire wheel on the grinder to knock off some minor rust and old paint.  I gave it two coats of Rust-Oleum brown primer and two coats of “sail blue” paint.  It’s hardly a color match to the original “Perkins Powder Blue”, but hell, it’s close enough and should be good to keep future rust at bay.  I made a cardboard template and drew up a pattern for the port side engine bracket based on the new hole location, and took those to a local welder for fabrication.  Two days later I had my bracket and went back to work doing a little fine tuning with the grinder, and drilling the mounting holes in their new location.  Two coats each of primer and paint on the bracket.

New bracket back from the welder
Port side bracket painted and installed

With the new mounts installed and adjusted for height and everything locked in place I was able to remove the support blocks and cargo straps.  The shaft stuffing box started to drip just a little and I tightened that up.  I may need to do some minor height adjustment on the engine to line her up with the propeller shaft once I get her running again.  Now begins the job of putting everything back on the engine that I had to remove to gain access to the rusty mounts.

Snowball Effect (Part II)
Leaky Perkins myths dispelled