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Countershaft oil seal - b@stard thing!


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So I’m slowly (VERY slowly) updating an engine on the bench (build thread to follow!) and have run into a problem fitting a new countershaft oil seal. It won’t bl00dy fit!  
 

Old seal needed drilling, couple of screws inserted and pulling. I’m talking vein-popping, red-faced and swearing type pulling!  
 

B2A2DF7D-3888-40A5-97B4-50382DB4237E.thumb.jpeg.1e95fee6ca1053f8663b62cf44d259cd.jpeg
 

 

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Old seal next to new one. 

 

In fact it was a very strong seal and I really regret trying to replace it. Should have left the b@stard thing alone! 

Anyway, I bought a new seal and it didn’t quite fit. The pushrod and shift shaft seals went in beautifully. So what’s this guy’s problem? 
 

Anyway, the engine needs a countershaft seal so after much head scratching I decided to try fitting it. Lubed her up real good, found a jug with the right size opening and heaved like a man possessed. 

E7F6FA7F-FB65-4E60-BCDA-C5DF47BC8C40.thumb.jpeg.3cd80e93df6d068fe0e4593325d3aa0d.jpeg

 

Because it seems so big I couldn’t get it to go in square. One end always ended up slipping out and unsettling things. But it needed to go in so I persevered and pushed harder than a teenage boy with half a chance! 
 

Anyway, the result was awful as you’d expect. Much of the seal sheared off from trying to squeeze into the hole. 
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Comparison of old seal with the piece sheared off from the new one. That’s a lot of seal to lose on insertion! 
 

When I pulled the new seal out you can see how much of it has been sheared off when compared to a new one. 

 

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Drill 3mm hole and insert 4mm screws to pull on. 
 

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See how much of the lip is sheared off? You can see the metal part of the seal exposed. There’s almost no rubber there at all. 
 

Here’s a comparison of how much material is missing. See the torn seal next to the newest seal (3rd one now!).

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No such damage on the old seal. So how is this aperture so damn tight? Is the seal supposed to be so squeezed? How was the original seal fitted? 
 

Old seal has same size numbers marked on surface so it CAN be made to fit. Just need to work out how!!!
 

Anyone got ideas on how I can get this one in there? I’ve got visions of a piston ring clamp...

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A buddy's did his 87 VFR recently.  The old seal was a BITCH to get out, very much like yours.  The new seal had a very small lip on the rear that appeared to be made to go into a groove when the 2 halves of the cases are mated (or maybe sit behind the machined bore?).  The new seal would not fit.  He trimmed the lip off, applied a very slight smear of Hondabond, and no issues.  Can't tell for sure if that's what's happening with your situation.  I had never seen that before, as I haven't had to replace any of my 86 VFRs. 

 

I wonder if sourcing a quality oil seal that has the right dimensions, but isn't the "Honda" part, is the route to go when not splitting cases.

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Looking at your new seal tells me it is not intended to be press in but installed when cases are split. As the Captain advises try aftermarket seal if you do not want to go full Honda with tear down....

 

Reference pic is apparently from 1996 VFR 750

 

AD051025-FDF0-4470-A632-A6659-B1-BE5-F1.

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Thanks for the replies, chaps. Sounds like you’re right: it’s not a press-in seal and needs to be installed as part of a case-split rebuild. 
 

Might follow captain 80’s advice and trim the lip off and apply some Honda bond (3 bond?). Failing that, find a slightly smaller seal...
 

This explains why I couldn’t find any instructions, neither in the Haynes nor in the Honda Service Manual. 
 

Why on earth did I decide to replace this part as “preventative maintenance“? Talk about stupid! 

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Not stupid! Just a typical motorcyclist always wanting to muck about with your bike. I’ve headed down similar roads on many occasions.

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1 hour ago, Stray said:

Thanks for the replies, chaps. Sounds like you’re right: it’s not a press-in seal and needs to be installed as part of a case-split rebuild. 
 

Might follow captain 80’s advice and trim the lip off and apply some Honda bond (3 bond?). Failing that, find a slightly smaller seal...

 

Not smaller but aftermarket like all balls or similar. They most likely would not bother with the lip, cheap enough to try. Shaving might work but I would rather have seal made for interference  fit...

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That is likely the best fix.  Before proceeding, I'd be sure to be very familiar with the reassembly procedure and parts availability - the main journal bolts are a mandatory replacement and require a specific tightening technique.  Either way, best of luck with it. 

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Honda doesn't make seals, however.  They're almost always standard-sized industrial parts, like most of the bearings.  Thanks for the warning--I won't be tempted to do the same, now!

 

Ciao,

 

JZH

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6 hours ago, Sparkie said:

Engine is already out and on the bench?  Split it and fix it right!

 

5 hours ago, Cogswell said:

That is likely the best fix.  Before proceeding, I'd be sure to be very familiar with the reassembly procedure and parts availability - the main journal bolts are a mandatory replacement and require a specific tightening technique.  Either way, best of luck with it. 

Gents, do you really think it’s worth splitting the cases (which is effectively a full disassembly and reassembly job) just to replace one seal? 
 

The words “regret” and “can of worms” come to mind. What on earth was I thinking by removing it in the first place? 

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2 hours ago, JZH said:

Honda doesn't make seals, however.  They're almost always standard-sized industrial parts, like most of the bearings....

 

Right. Standard-sized doesn’t mean common though . You would be surprised what seal options they, Honda, have available in catalogs to order.

I would figure common seal may be available on aftermarket.

 

As far as case splitting, risks vs benefits, OPs call.

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I have replaced one on a different bike the same way Captain 80's suggested, I think I used ThreeBond 1104 (which is the same as HondaBond, YamaBond etc.) and it is still in there after several years. I felt dirty doing it that way but the engine was in the bike. With the engine on the bench I would split the cases. If you secure the engine upside down you should be able to just pull the bottom off and leave the crank and transmission in place. I have done this before, again not on a vfr. It looks like there is a bearing retainer behind the clutch that bridges the cases so you will have to pull the clutch first. You will have to line up the shift forks when it goes back together, but not a big deal.  Good luck!                       

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4 hours ago, Stray said:

 

Gents, do you really think it’s worth splitting the cases (which is effectively a full disassembly and reassembly job) just to replace one seal? 

Yes, but replace all the other seals and gaskets while you are at it.  

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Question . Have you tried putting it in the freezer for a good half hour then tried fitting it ? Im thinking would the cold shrink it enough to fit ?

 

Just a thought.

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Looking at the FSM, it specs removal of the heads for this job.  IIRC it's at least partly due to the rear head overhanging a few of the case bolts.  There could be other reasons tho.  They're acessible with an end wrench but not with a torque wrench. Anyway,  clutch, flywheel and oil pump removal will also be part of it.  The journal bolts look to run $10 each with 8 required.  Replacement can't be skipped as they stretch and will never again clamp properly. It's a doable project, just requires attention to detail. If you replace the seal from the outside and it leaks,  you'll be pulling the motor again to ultimately do this anyway - tough call. If this motor were a little more conventional I'd say splitting would definitely be the way to go.  In this instance maybe try to get it in as is and see what happens.

In addition to chilling it, maybe a small piston ring compressor could help getting it started.  

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I was planning on not messing with OP head, but you guys are making me...😇

 

Evaluating, Honda Engineering did not consider themselves with minor “leak” from the seal but by positively locating it within a case, preventing seal “blow out”. With the rear tire just behind it implications are obvious.... 

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14 hours ago, Magneto said:

 

Shaving might work but I would rather have seal made for interference  fit...

 

To be clear, the rubber "lip" on the 87 VFR seal was like 1mm high and 1mm wide.  The rest of the seal looked like a normal oil seal.  After we trimmed the rubber, it was still a VERY hard interference fit. 

 

I would install a correctly sized, quality seal on a 86-87 all day long, and sleep just fine. 

 

 

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On 2/19/2021 at 11:14 AM, Magneto said:

 

Right. Standard-sized doesn’t mean common though . You would be surprised what seal options they, Honda, have available in catalogs to order.

I would figure common seal may be available on aftermarket.

 

You do have to step out of "retail" mode and find the appropriate trade suppliers.  ("All Balls Racing" is still retail.)  I know of several suppliers here in the UK who can supply bearings and seals by dimension or bearing number, but unfortunately I never dealt with that sort of thing when I lived in the 'States.  With so many Internet-savvy suppliers out there now I managed to find some extremely rare bearings for my ancient bandsaw entirely online.  I used www.123bearing.co.uk, which isn't a UK supplier, but was fully prepared to service the UK market from somewhere in the EU (France?)  Anyway, a few years back (er, 2005...) I sourced nearly all of my FP's chassis bearings from non-Honda sources.  This page includes the part numbers, dimensions and sources I used at the time:

 

https://www.vsource.org/VFR-RVF_files/BBearings.htm

 

Honda Parts Catalogues are quite helpful in mentioning the dimensions of most bearings and seals in the description, but some can only be identified by inspection of the actual part.  However, in my experience it is a rare Honda bearing or seal indeed which is so "bespoke" that it cannot be sourced from elsewhere.

 

Ciao,

 

JZH

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22 minutes ago, JZH said:

 

You do have to step out of "retail" mode and find the appropriate trade suppliers.  ("All Balls Racing" is still retail.)  I know of several suppliers here in the UK who can supply bearings and seals by dimension or bearing number, but unfortunately I never dealt with that sort of thing when I lived in the 'States. ...

 

Perhaps... I would do that if facing dealer/ retail  availability issues. In real world I want my parts supply coming from sources where engineering decision of part dedication was taken for me. This is important for me particularly on safety critical parts.

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Honda list another seal with the same dimensions (40x68x7.2) for the countershaft seal on the RC45, P/N 91207-MW4-003. Might be worth ordering one to see if it's the same seal without the lip. They wouldn't have 2 different part numbers if they were directly interchangeable, and there are not many ways you can make 2 same sized countershaft seals different. 

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5 hours ago, Dangeruss said:

Honda list another seal with the same dimensions (40x68x7.2) for the countershaft seal on the RC45, P/N 91207-MW4-003. Might be worth ordering one to see if it's the same seal without the lip. They wouldn't have 2 different part numbers if they were directly interchangeable, and there are not many ways you can make 2 same sized countershaft seals different. 

Thanks Dangeruss. Unless I’m wrong I think that’s the same part number as the 5th gen. 

5 hours ago, Captain 80s said:

Thanks Captain. You’ve been immensely helpful with this. That seal has the same design as the 5th gen - has a protruding lip. I suspect the main n difference is it is 0.2mm shallower (no big deal) but the lip puts me right back to square 1. 
 

Got a piston ring compressor on order plus new seal (delayed for some reason) and will do some experimenting when they arrive. Frankly I don’t expect that to work but it merits a try. 
 

Failing that, I’ll follow Captain 80’s and Magneto’s advice to either cut off the lip or fit an aftermarket seal without one. Hondabond will make up the difference. Lots of motorcycles have flush countershaft seals so shouldn’t be a problem. 
 

It just doesn’t make sense to split an engine with 10k miles for one seal. The cost in replacement bolts and gaskets etc would be more than the engine! 
 

Then I’m going to post a very sternly-worded letter to Mr Honda...

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The 5th gen VFR800 P/N is 91207-MR7-003 vs. RC45 91207-MW4-003, dimensions for both are (40x68x7.2).

The 5th gen part is the same used on every VFR750/800 from '90-'15, the other one only shows as used in the '94 RC45.

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