Lotus Elan

Rope seals, again

PostPost by: benymazz » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:18 pm

All,

Sorry to beat a dead horse here with another post about rope seals but my searches on google and this forum haven't shed much light on this.

It seems to have been observed that the white rope seals that come with most bottom-end gasket sets for the twin cam sold by the usual suspects are relatively ineffective at their job of sealing and begin to leak quickly. It has been suggested to use the braided graphite type for the Pontiac engine from Best Gasket. I have purchased this seal but I haven't been able to find a good procedure documented on here for installing it. Obviously all rope seals are similar so the main principles still apply such as making sure the seal is seated adequately in the block carrier and sump and leaving enough material proud on each end but from my observations it seems like the braided graphite type "frays" at the ends very easily so I am worried about the seal "crushing" adequately once the two halves are mated together.

I haven't installed it yet but I will probably be assembling this engine on Friday, so if anyone else has used this seal type before any input or comments on this are appreciated...

Thanks,
Ben
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:22 pm

Ben,

There is a man in California, Keith Franck, who runs a website called vintage technology garage. He has an Elan, and if my memory is correct he has solved the rope seal problem.

Hope this helps
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:45 am

Hello Benny,

Here is the link to sign up.
https://vintagetechnologygarage.groups.io/g/cars
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PostPost by: prezoom » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:14 pm

I believe Keith solved the 4 bolt rope seal problem by making a lip seal adapter for his engine. Clicking on my wayback machine, I think he posted his solution on this site before he quit posting here.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:08 pm

prezoom wrote:I believe Keith solved the 4 bolt rope seal problem by making a lip seal adapter for his engine. Clicking on my wayback machine, I think he posted his solution on this site before he quit posting here.

I think this is the thread you are refering to from Keith with Gary adding info about a conversion.
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=962
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:13 pm

Here's something I posted recently (2018?)

"Last year I replaced the rope seals successfully, the main problem being that the new seals were clearly too big. I posted about it in about April and Miles Wilkins kindly found some NOS ones for me.

Soak the seals in warm oil overnight. I devised this method of fitting them:

Bolt the block seal carrier onto the back of the engine without gasket and push the seal firmly into it (with a big-end shell, I think that's correct, one shell has an outside diameter virtually the same as the crank journal);

Fit the crank and bolt the front and rear bearings up firmly. Cut the seal with a thin knife blade almost flush with the block without quite cutting the journal, then remove the seal carrier and complete the cut;

Fit the other seal into the sump in the same way, bolt up the sump with an old bit of gasket to space it off the rear of the block a bit and cut the seal as before almost flush with the sump;

Remove the sump and complete the cut, then remove the crank and refit the rear seal carrier to the block properly. I checked that there was no play in the fitting of the carrier, it is well aligned;

Now you can fit the crank without worrying how much the seal is going to move during assembly.

The back of the sump is now drier than it's ever been after about 3000 miles so I'm worried about the chassis rusting! Sorry I don't have any pictures."
Meg

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PostPost by: 1963Turnerjohn » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:31 am

Benymazz - so what was the install process and detail you ended up using ?

Per the above advice , I’m a bit puzzled by the direction to cut almost flush - I was always told the seals need to sit taller by approx 1/8” on each seal.

John

benymazz wrote:All,

Sorry to beat a dead horse here with another post about rope seals but my searches on google and this forum haven't shed much light on this.

It seems to have been observed that the white rope seals that come with most bottom-end gasket sets for the twin cam sold by the usual suspects are relatively ineffective at their job of sealing and begin to leak quickly. It has been suggested to use the braided graphite type for the Pontiac engine from Best Gasket. I have purchased this seal but I haven't been able to find a good procedure documented on here for installing it. Obviously all rope seals are similar so the main principles still apply such as making sure the seal is seated adequately in the block carrier and sump and leaving enough material proud on each end but from my observations it seems like the braided graphite type "frays" at the ends very easily so I am worried about the seal "crushing" adequately once the two halves are mated together.

I haven't installed it yet but I will probably be assembling this engine on Friday, so if anyone else has used this seal type before any input or comments on this are appreciated...

Thanks,
Ben
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:15 pm

1963Turnerjohn wrote:Per the above advice (from Meg), I’m a bit puzzled by the direction to cut almost flush - I was always told the seals need to sit taller by approx 1/8” on each seal.
John

John, I think the 1/8" rule is fine if you are just pushing the seals in by hand but I bolted the crank in to its full depth so the seal wasn't going to go in any further. I was worried that a 1/4" length of seal each side might squash out between the mating metal halves. It hasn't gushed oil, anyway!
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PostPost by: 1963Turnerjohn » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:50 pm

Ah I see that makes sense! I’m going to do same install in 2 weeks so will post my install process then - you gave me something to think about!
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:34 pm

and never park yr car on a slope for more than 12hrs sandy - PS casper the (oily) ghost lives in cork seals
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