Repair oil leak into the distributor


jdmccright
01-16-2009, 12:23 PM
Just cleaned/regapped my spark plugs and cleaned up the cap & rotor contacts. Because of oil collecting on the inside bottom of the cap, I decided to go ahead and replace the o-ring oil seal as well. But last night when looking at the dist out of the engine, I'm wasn't sure that replacing that large o-ring will solve the problem. There looks to be a way for oil to get to the distributor shaft bearing (shoulda gotten pics) on purpose, but is there another smaller o-ring or seal that I've overlooked? The exploded diagrams I can find don't actually explode the distributor, so I can't see one and attempting to disassemble it was futile for the time I had. Any help would be great. Thanks!

Daniel M. Dreifus
01-16-2009, 01:31 PM
Just cleaned/regapped my spark plugs and cleaned up the cap & rotor contacts. Because of oil collecting on the inside bottom of the cap, I decided to go ahead and replace the o-ring oil seal as well. But last night when looking at the dist out of the engine, I'm wasn't sure that replacing that large o-ring will solve the problem.Thanks!
=======
Is it possible you changed what the factory calls distributor packing? -- the gasket under the cap, but not the O ring about mid way down the distributor shaft?
The second prevent oil seepage, though you should change both.
If you've already done both, may need new distributor.

jdmccright
01-16-2009, 10:56 PM
I changed the o-ring on the distributor shaft. The dist cap gasket does need replacing, but not critical at this point...I want the oil to stop getting inside the distributor. There's a difference between an o-ring and a gasket.

The o-ring looks to prevent oil from coming out of the distributor hole and leaking down the side of the engine. It doesn't look to be able to prevent oil from traveling along the distributor shaft, past the bearing, and into the dist body...I guess time will tell.

gator2764
01-21-2009, 08:29 AM
The O-ring around the shaft and the top gasket will not stop the oil from getting into the Dist. Somehow oil leaks internally into the Dist. after a few years and a few hundred K on these motors. I have had to replace two on 2 different cars (both were a camry) It does take a bit of work to get a reman Dist. back in the hole. Just use plenty of vasoline and take your time.

RIP
01-21-2009, 03:17 PM
The O-ring around the shaft and the top gasket will not stop the oil from getting into the Dist. Somehow oil leaks internally into the Dist. after a few years and a few hundred K on these motors. I have had to replace two on 2 different cars (both were a camry) It does take a bit of work to get a reman Dist. back in the hole. Just use plenty of vasoline and take your time.

Ya, I've read a couple threads over the years stating you have to change the distributor to fix the oil problem but, I recall someone fixing it without a change. Just don't remeber how and I can't find the dam thread.

gator2764
01-22-2009, 08:42 AM
Ya, I've read a couple threads over the years stating you have to change the distributor to fix the oil problem but, I recall someone fixing it without a change. Just don't remeber how and I can't find the dam thread.

I remeber reading the same thing a while back about how to fix the leak without replacing the Dist. I don't know how they fixed it but I was told by 2 mechanics that I trust completly to just replace the Dist. It is a PITA because the reman ones have a rough finish on the shaft that goes into the head versus a machined finish on the new ones.

JOET/CAMRY
01-22-2009, 02:54 PM
Ya, I've read a couple threads over the years stating you have to change the distributor to fix the oil problem but, I recall someone fixing it without a change. Just don't remeber how and I can't find the dam thread.
Here it is....... click on link below.

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=5021039&postcount=2


Regards,
JOET/CAMRY

jdmccright
01-23-2009, 11:49 AM
Thanks for the link to the seal kit. If/when I attempt this I'll take pics for a write-up. As I mentioned before, I had some of the guts out of it and the rest of the magnetic pick-ups loosened, but there wasn't enough clearance to remove them from around the dist shaft and the sender. So I had to screw everything back down, making sure the senders and pick-ups had the proper clearance (they like to stick together since they're magnetic...used brass feeler gauge).

There's a pin that attaches the camshaft key to the dist shaft. Then it appears the dist shaft is press-fit through the bearing and the bearing is press-fit into the dist housing. But where that shaft seal sits I haven't a clue yet...wish me luck. Doesn't look hard, just meticulous. Will update when it gets warmer and I build up more courage to tackle it.

JOET/CAMRY
09-30-2009, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the link to the seal kit. If/when I attempt this I'll take pics for a write-up. As I mentioned before, I had some of the guts out of it and the rest of the magnetic pick-ups loosened, but there wasn't enough clearance to remove them from around the dist shaft and the sender. So I had to screw everything back down, making sure the senders and pick-ups had the proper clearance (they like to stick together since they're magnetic...used brass feeler gauge).

There's a pin that attaches the camshaft key to the dist shaft. Then it appears the dist shaft is press-fit through the bearing and the bearing is press-fit into the dist housing. But where that shaft seal sits I haven't a clue yet...wish me luck. Doesn't look hard, just meticulous. Will update when it gets warmer and I build up more courage to tackle it.

Jdmccright,

I wanted to know if you ever attempted to replace the internal oil seal of the distributer on your Camry. After 251,000 miles on my 89 Camry the distributer is leaking oil internally and would like to replace the seal myself. Not sure of how to go about it.

JOET/CAMRY

jdmccright
10-01-2009, 10:25 AM
Cripes, I had completely forgotten about it, so no I haven't. Been too wrapped up in restoring my truck among craploads of "honey-dos" to think about it...A/C died on it too so it's not high on the priority list. Probably a friggin' lake in there by now. Sorry Joet.

cjstew4
10-02-2009, 12:28 PM
Per my mechanic which I trust said that you are better off replacing the distributor. He also said that oil leaking there can take out the distributor operating which stops you. I went ahead and replaced on my 94 camry with 225k mi. Also was leaking and the first time from my valve cover. Had him replace my valve cover gasket as well.

Brian R.
10-04-2009, 09:38 PM
There is a thread on 5S-FE distributor rebuilding here:
http://celicatech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12755

2000izusu
10-11-2009, 08:25 AM
i had the same problem on my old camrys and replacing the distributor fixed the problem for good. mike

jdmccright
10-13-2009, 10:22 AM
Not to be sarcastic but replacing the whole distributor is an obvious solution, but it is also overkill and expensive. The whole thread is to determine if just the internal seal is replaceable and if anyone has done it successfully.

Thankfully having a spare car, hopefully I can order the seal kit and phutz with it in the next week or two in between valve seal changes on the truck. The link for doing should help. Will keep posted.

2000izusu
10-15-2009, 07:57 AM
Not to be sarcastic but replacing the whole distributor is an obvious solution, but it is also overkill and expensive. The whole thread is to determine if just the internal seal is replaceable and if anyone has done it successfully.

in my case i had the rebuild instructions but i refused to take a chance!
why? because the oil leak had already destroyed two coils and one igniter:banghead:. and what are my changes of a rebuilding it right? (not good especially if the shaft has a grove from where the old seal rode.)

overkill? i don't think so! i got a new distributor manufactered in a clean setting that i don't have to worry about ever again! mike

jdmccright
10-15-2009, 09:25 AM
Your point is duly noted, and I'll concur that from what I've read and attempted so far, it is not an easy job. And the note about the old seal wearing the shaft slightly thinner is an important observation for all to look for if a rebuild is attempted. If I attempt it, I hope to be able to write something up that is useful.

jdmccright
12-03-2009, 10:01 AM
As an update to anyone who's interested, the Camry just blew another ignition coil (only 23k miles!...cheap AZ crap, and NO warranty). Since I have to remove the distributor to change it (well not really but it makes the job alot easier), I've also gone ahead and ordered the distributor seal kit to attempt the seal replacement. Got it here for $30...this is for the '92 but should be the same for all 3SFE/5SFE engines. This place is in Canada so don't expect it to come in a few days. If you need it fast, you'll pay for it.

http://www.kbox.ca/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/44/products_id/235

OEM coils can run over $100 at the stealership...I found a new one online for $85 including shipping. I will also note that you should also inspect the condenser (that cylindrical shaped part with one wire connected to the coil's "+" terminal and secured with one screw through the distributor body). Mine had the insulator melted. I didn't see this before so I could have ordered both at once and saved shipping costs. But the stealership had it for $5 so that's okay.

Stay tuned....

jdmccright
12-14-2009, 11:11 AM
To all waiting with baited breath...the surgery was successful. I have photos attached with the thumbnails at the bottom of the write-up. The numbers in the write-up correspond to the relevant photo file number. I don't know how to embed them into the write-up yet...but better than nothing!

Here are photos of the distributor before I tore into it. Coil is at the bottom (note the nice big grand canyon of a crack when it failed), charging connector to the right, connector for the cam/crank pickups upper left. Uppermost on the shaft is the camshaft sensor cam and pickup coil and underneath is the crankshaft cam and pickups. The condenser is a little 1/2" diameter barrel with one wire going to the "+" terminal.

001/003

Remove cap seal carefully if you want to reuse it. Coil comes out after removing 4 screws and disconnecting the two wires. The right connector slides out of the distributor body. Leave the left one for now as the wires are too short to get it out.

Next, lay the distributor camshaft key atop the vise with the jaws slightly apart (a buddy helping here would be good) so that the pin can be driven out. Don't lay the body itself on the vise or the hammer blows will distort the aluminum. Use a punch just smaller than the pin diameter. Mark the shaft key and end as to which way the key goes on. Putting it on 180 off will cause a no-run and worse you'll have to drive the damn pin back out to fix it. I took a pic noting how the key's notch was aligned with the camshaft cam:

008

Now remove the two screws holding the camshaft pickup coil and you should be just able to get it over the end of the shaft and out of the way. This lets you drive the shaft out because the hole through the mounting bracket is too small to fit the crankshaft cam through.

002 (before) 006 (after)

Take a ruler and measure how far the end of the shaft sticks out from the body and write it down. Then open up the vise and lay the distributor atop the jaws with the shaft pointing down and drive the shaft out. This is easier than the key pin. After this, the pickup coil assembly can be removed by removing the three screws. All that is left is the shaft bearing and seal, held in by the two-screw hold-down plate:

009

As I was driving the shaft out, the camshaft pickup coil shed its cover, revealing the thin coil wire and snagging on the shaft. Thankfully didn't break the wire but that required a little finesse to put back in...used some superglue to hold the cover on. Consider adding a few dabs of superglue to the pickup coil cover to hold it in during all the banging. Looking back at these photos, it looks like the cover was already loose. Also note that the two white(ish) wires have cracked insulation, presumably from their short length, age, and the manipulations in getting them out...so be careful! I used some brush on vinyl tape (great stuff!) to repair it.

011

Finally, while checking the one damaged coil for continuity (G+ and G- terminals), I checked the others (NE+ and NE-) and they showed infinite resistance, making me think they were broken (the repair manual shows they both should show resistance).

012/014

So I went to buy a used distributor ($130). Out of curiosity, I checked that one too and it too was "broken"...I thought that was too coincidental. I resolved to finish the seal change and installed my original distributor. It fired right up, so let this note be forewarning to all who think that this reading means you have a bad signal pickup coil.

Hold down plate removed here's the whole reason why we're here. The seal lies underneath that bearing:

015

The seal and bearing can be tapped out using a punch through the camshaft end of the hole. They are just snug in there...be careful to not nick the shaft sleeve pressed into the end of the distributor body. Gentle taps. Wrap electrical tape around the punch shank. Here's the bare distributor body and old bearing & seal:

016

Here's a shot of the new parts. The cap seal they sent is a joke so I didn't bother replacing it:

018

Drive the new seal into the body using a socket of similar diameter...spring-loaded end facing away from you towards the engine camshaft.

020

Drop the new bearing in and reinstall the hold down plate.

021

Reinstall the pickup coil assembly and tighen it down in a position as far away from the distributor shaft as possible. This will be adjusted later, but we want the clearance to drive the shaft in. I had a brain fart moment here and drove the shaft in with a hammer thinking it would go in as easy as it came out. The last few fractions of an inch took more force than expected. I wouldn't recommend this as it can damage the new shaft bearing. Use a vise to get it the rest of the way in...don't use a hammer at all if possible. If you don't have a big enough vise, go take it to the local shop...get it done right. Check that the end length sticking out from the body and into the engine is the same as measured earlier.

Loosen the screws holding the crankshaft pickup coils and adjust them using your feeler gauge...0.012" is ideal but the spec is from 0.006" to 0.018". Nonmagnetic feeler keeps the coil from sticking to them.

022/024

Do the same for the camshaft pickup coil.

Reinstall the condenser or in my case the new one:

025

And reinstall the coil, and ingition connector on the right. Here is the rebuilt distributor:

026

Here is what I replaced, P/Ns, and costs including shipping:
Ignition coil (Toyota 90919-02163) - $85
Distributor condenser (Toyota 19133-16240) - $5
Dist. body o-ring, shaft seal, shaft bearing, shaft key pin (kbox.ca #12311976) - $30

Note I did not replace the cap seal. I could have, but at $17 for a new one from the stealership, the old one was fine with a little sealant. Plus, the one that kbox supplied was not a molded seal just a regular round one, and it was too small to fit around the cap and coil.

Here are the tools used:
Phillips screwdriver
Large flathead screwdriver
Hammer
Small diameter punches
Benchtop vise 6"
Multimeter
Brass (or other non-magnetic) feeler gauges
Socket set (for driving in new shaft seal and shaft)
Silicone sealant

If everything went well I'd say it's a 3 hour job for the layman...go slow since there are delicate pickup coils in there and for proper gap adjustment.

Brian R.
12-14-2009, 09:34 PM
Good write-up so far. Waiting for the pics.

jdmccright
01-18-2010, 12:53 PM
Pics have been added, but I don't know how to have them show up in the body of the post in sequence. Will work on that, but for now...tadahhh!

They were added to the main write-up above to keep everything in one place...sorry for any confusion.

alta vista
01-19-2010, 10:04 PM
THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE PICTURES.
You have just saved me over $300 !!!!
I know now I can do this.
John

Brian R.
01-20-2010, 10:43 AM
Pics have been added, but I don't know how to have them show up in the body of the post in sequence. Will work on that, but for now...tadahhh!

They were added to the main write-up above to keep everything in one place...sorry for any confusion.

Check out the code in one of my posts which include pictures ("edit"). There is a url reference which inserts the pic between the text. Looks like this, as shown in the FAQ thread:

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=4457215&postcount=67

Jimbello
05-10-2012, 03:18 AM
[quote=jdmccright;6078391]........................
Loosen the screws holding the crankshaft pickup coils and adjust them using your feeler gauge...0.012" is ideal but the spec is from 0.006" to 0.018". Nonmagnetic feeler keeps the coil from sticking to them.

022/024

Do the same for the camshaft pickup coil.

.............................

Just to clarify my interpretation of the above, a couple of points:

1. The "crankshaft pickup coils" are the two lower coils, is that correct?

2. The "camshaft pickup coil" is the higher one, or more outboard so to speak? And is the clearance setting for this one the same as the other two?

Thanks,

Jim.

p.s. I have dismantled mine a couple of times. I set the later gap at .025 inch. I'm wondering if I did it correctly.

jdmccright
05-10-2012, 08:05 AM
1. The "crankshaft pickup coils" are the two lower coils, is that correct?
CORRECT. The first photo has all the parts labeled.

2. The "camshaft pickup coil" is the higher one, or more outboard so to speak? And is the clearance setting for this one the same as the other two?
CORRECT AGAIN. Gap settings are the same for all 3.

Jimbello
05-10-2012, 03:22 PM
Thanks jdm...

I had not looked at the pics well enough! I'll go back to them.

Jimbello
05-29-2012, 06:42 PM
I tried positioning the internal seal that runs on the ditributor shaft in a slightly different position. The shaft had the usual wear groove. I used a copper washer to space it out a bit, but it was not successful.
Currently, I have a spare distributor body in my local machinists shop. He will try and counterbore the body to allow the seal to fit deeper. If this works, it will mean the seal will run on a fresh spot on the shaft. Might just solve the problem!

Jim.

Joe W
06-10-2012, 01:20 AM
Jimbello, I am not sure if I read this right but you mentioned that you set camshaft pickup coil gap at .025, when the specs recommend a center value of .012 with an acceptable range of .006 to .018.

Jimbello
06-12-2012, 03:30 AM
Jimbello, I am not sure if I read this right but you mentioned that you set camshaft pickup coil gap at .025, when the specs recommend a center value of .012 with an acceptable range of .006 to .018.

You did read that correctly Joe. However, I have since set them in the range you specify above since reading yours (or someone else's post), to that effect.
Thanks for checking up on me here!


Jim.

Joe W
06-17-2012, 01:25 AM
Hmmm... did this help?

Jimbello
06-18-2012, 05:01 PM
Hmmm... did this help?

I only put the spare distributor back in the engine two days ago with the modified seal position. I took it for a short drive yesterday and it seems as though it is not leaking. I plan to clean it thoroughly this morning, drive it and then check for leaks.
I'll report back when I have conclusive information.

Jim.

Joe W
06-18-2012, 10:32 PM
Thanks Jimbello, can't wait to hear if this fix works!

Jimbello
06-20-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks Jimbello, can't wait to hear if this fix works!

It does apear to be a success at this early stage. No evidence of leaking under the distributor now, which was very evident before the mod.
However, I have a rear main crankshaft seal leak. I pulled the lower flywheel cover plate off yesterday, and there is defninately oil inside the bellhousing. Also, a considerable amount of oil drained out when I removed it. That is the only thing remaining that I have not fixed on my engine. All the front seals and dist. have now been done.
So I will transfer over to another thread to discuss this.

Jim.

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