By Ed Esslinger in the March 1997 RootesReview
The article in the Sunbeam Survivor on this topic (C1) is great on why this should be done, but is vague on how to do it. It also requires expensive machine shop work on the cover, alignment tool, seal ring, and the harmonic balancer.
As I live in a small town where there are no machine shops, I took my harmonic balancer to my local auto parts store. I was looking for a ring or a sleeve to cover the grooves on the balancer.
Jimmy Faulk (credit given where credit due) at Hollis Auto Parts in Ozark, AL thought I had a balancer from a small block Chevy, before I told him it was from a Sunbeam. He produced a Chevy seal and tried it on the hub. It was a near perfect fit. He also told me that there was a balancer repair kit with a sleeve he thought would work.
With that problem solved, we looked at an aftermarket dress-up timing cover or a small block Chevy. I thought it might be possible to cut out the seal mounting area of the cover and mount it in the Alpine timing cover, and this is how I did it.
- Using a saber saw with a fine hack saw blade, cut out the seal mounting area from the cover. Leave as much of the flat area around it as possible.
- Place the balancer on your work bench, hub side up.
- Place the Alpine timing cover over the balancer in its normal operating position (see drawing).
- Place a block of wood under the cover to make it level and stable on the work bench.
- Place the sleeve from the kit over the hub of the balancer.
- Install the new oil seal 1/2 way in the cut-out oil seal mount (1/2 way as we need to remove it later).
- Place the mount with the seal over the sleeve inside the timing cover, bulge side down.
- Locate notch or file the mount area where the center bolt attaches. Take off no more than necessary to clear mounting stud.
- Place 1/2″ wood spacers under the mounting flange (bulge side down) on two sides.
- Drill a l/8″ hole through the mount flange, spacer and timing cover on two sides. (This locates the seal center so drill as vertical as possible; use a drill press if possible).
- Remove the seal mount, seal, spacers, sleeve and balancer from the timing cover.
- Lay the timing cover inside down on your work bench and carefully cut out the flat part of the bulged area all the way around.
- Place the seal mount inside the cover, bulge side toward front. Make sure your alignment holes line up and the mounting flange is flat against the timing cover.
- Remove seal mount. Clean the mount area in the timing cover with sandpaper (real clean), then wash the area with paint thinner.
- Using a good flux, solid 60/40 solder and a propane torch, tin the cleaned area. Do not fill the 1/8″ alignment holes.
- Remove seal and sand off the chrome plating (down to base metal) on the flange of the seal mount (both sides). Clean with paint thinner.
- Apply flux to the flange of the seal mount , bulge side.
- Mount the seal mount in the timing cover (bulge side out) and secure it with two steel pop rivets in the alignment holes.
- Apply flux to the side edge and flow solder all around the mounting area, over the rivets, too.
- Remove all flux residue with paint thinner.
- Coat the outside edge of the oil seal with liquid Permatex and press it fully into the timing cover, open side toward motor.
- Install cover on motor with a new gasket. Do not tighten bolts.
- Clean the balancer hub with sandpaper. Remove all traces of oil and dirt with paint thinner.
- Mix a small amount of J.B. Weld and apply evenly over the entire hub area.
- Rough the inside of the sleeve lightly with sandpaper, clean it and place it over the hub. Press down as far as it will go. Remove excess J.B. Weld and let set the recommended time.
- Lightly coat the sleeve with wheel bearing grease and install balancer on motor.
- Tighten timing cover bolts.
Sleeve Part # Fel Pro 16202 McCord 82-2004 About $8 Seal Part# National 9845 C/R 17286
Victor 49328 About $3 Chevy aftermarket chrome timing cover About $10
(Editor’s note – prices and part nos. are from 1997)