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Old 06-07-2020, 20:34   #1
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Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Hey Everyone,

I have a Westerbeke 30 in an old Cal 34 Mark III from 1976. I recently replaced my starter because it could not get my engine to start. When I pulled it off it was soaked with oil inside of it. I put a new starter on and it instantly started the motor. After running it a couple of times I have checked it and there is still oil leaking from the connection between the flywheel and the starter.

Has anyone ever heard of oil getting into the starter motor? Since it only attached to the flywheel I have a hard time seeing how oil could get into the starter?

Any ideas of where that oil is coming from would be great. Thanks!


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Old 06-07-2020, 20:52   #2
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

The oil leak will be the rear crankshaft seal,behind the flywheel ,not uncommon in older engines ,depending on rear bearing ware ,replacing the seal is not a big job, cankshaft bearings is a big job .👍
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Old 06-07-2020, 21:01   #3
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Great, thank you. I'll check that.
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Old 07-07-2020, 03:59   #4
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Searles View Post
...replacing the seal is not a big job, cankshaft bearings is a big job .👍
Well.....that depends on one's definition of 'big'. With the W30, which is a marinized British-Leyland 4-91, the gear, flywheel housing, and flywheel have to be removed to get to the rear seal; depending on access this may not be possible without removing the engine from the boat.

Also, with the non-typical mounting position of the starter it is possible that the leak is occurring elsewhere, perhaps the front seal of the transmission.

Have you noticed increased oil usage in either the engine or transmission?
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:52   #5
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
Well.....that depends on one's definition of 'big'. With the W30, which is a marinized British-Leyland 4-91, the gear, flywheel housing, and flywheel have to be removed to get to the rear seal; depending on access this may not be possible without removing the engine from the boat.

Also, with the non-typical mounting position of the starter it is possible that the leak is occurring elsewhere, perhaps the front seal of the transmission.

Have you noticed increased oil usage in either the engine or transmission?
I have not noticed any less oil any time I check. I have run it a few times with the new starter and the oil levels are topped off every time. With the old starter I would occasionally top off the oil after running the engine for a few hours but only a bit.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:03   #6
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

I'm a little confused. If you're not noticing oil usage, why are you topping off the oil level?

Some engines need to be run at a little below the 'full' mark indicated on the dipstick.

This may or may not be idiosyncratic to the specific engine or to its' installation or application...
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:12   #7
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Last summer when I was cruising and running the engine for 4-8 hours at a time I noticed the oil level would be a bit low so I would add a bit of oil. This is with the old starter.

Since the new starter has been on 2-3 weeks. Ran the engine about 8 hours total, the oil has been full every time I have checked.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:48   #8
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

There's usually a hole at the bottom of the flywheel housing. If you've got enough oil to soak the starter, some oil should be dripping from that hole. If there's no drain hole, oil could build up until it reaches the flywheel and it's carried to the starter. You should have some sign of oil in the bilge or under the engine.
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:03   #9
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

What color is the oil? If it’s clear it’s not likely from the motor, but if it’s blackish, it very well could be.
Before I pulled the motor and changed the real seal, I’d be certain that the crankcase vent isn’t blocked, I’d pull the valve cover and hoses and clean then out with mineral spirits and be sure they are clear. I’ve seen many times a clogged crankcase vent cause oil to blow out of seals that stopped when they were cleaned.

Clogged vent causes pressure to build, and it’s got to go somewhere.
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:16   #10
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Been there, done that.

This engine was developed in the early 1950's

On this particular engine, the crankcase vent is crude and not subject to clogging and is inaccessible without pulling the exhaust manifold.

This engine does NOT have a rear seal despite what well meaning people will tell you. Check the exploded parts diagram. Absent. It works by a spiral groove in the crankshaft journal where it exits the block. The spiral works as a screw essentially and returns oil that is trying to leak out back into the sump. The other problem may be a leak at the rear of the camshaft. There's a big hole there covered by a gasket. The rear engine plate holds the gasket in place. That's where my bad leak was. Pull tranny/bellhousing. Need to support aft end of engine as mounts are on bellhousing. Then flywheel and rear plate. For gaskets, etc, shop for an MGA 1500 or Nash Metropolitan 1500. Same engine block, gasket fits and costs literally pennies on the dollar compared to Westerbeke. I bought one gasket from Westerbeke for the front end that had correct part number on the package, but was not the right gasket. Was from the gas version of the engine, not diesel... Not crazy about their "OEM" parts. PM me and I can discuss on phone.
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:25   #11
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

replace gasket 63. They get $1.39 for the gasket.
note no seal

Moss Motors site, diagram looks just like Westerbeke's
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:40   #12
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Our crankcase vent is #29. It is different than shown. Holds a pad like scotchbrite behind it and a downward pointing metal elbow for a vent. I don't think the hose is used as we are not driving thru rain.
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Old 07-07-2020, 18:18   #13
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

Whether or not there is a lip-type seal on this engine depends on the year model of the motor. Roughly speaking, before 1979 there may not be, though I can assure you there is one in my 1977 Spitfire, which has the same engine from which the is 4-91 is derived.

Below is a drawing from the Westerbeke 30 parts manual, rear crank seal is item 4.

https://www.westerbeke.com/parts%20m...3945_rev_8.pdf
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Old 07-07-2020, 19:54   #14
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

That lip seal is for the W50 and W60 engines, not the W30. Noted in the parts list. Here's a better link.

http://www.marinedieseldirect.com/ca...ors=&comment1=

I thought about trying to install one on my W30 but the crank journal does not stick out for a bearing surface.

The Spitfire had a different 1500 cc gas engine. Oil filter on left, distributor drive in middle (vs aft on the W30), mechanical fuel pump aft instead of middle.Intake and exhaust are on left on W30, right on Spitfire. I don't know what engine is in a Spitfire, but it is not a BMC B-Series.
Here's a picture of it and a diagram.
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Old 07-07-2020, 20:13   #15
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Re: Oil Soaked Starter Motor????

https://mgaguru.com/mgtech/engine/cs109.htm

a good description of this engine's arrangement
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