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andypne60 05-02-2017 09:08

Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
I have a Volvo Penta D2-55c with VP Saildrive, both 2006. They are fully functioning and in generally good condition save for 1) the saildrive diaphragm is over the 7 year recommended replacement time (although I have read plenty of opinions as to how over-conservative that timing is) and 2) there is a slight oil leak from the engine - very small quantities and happening only after engine has been under load for many hours.
I know that the saildrive needs to come out in order to get access to replace the diaphragm and that this entails moving the engine forward by about 6 inches to get access to move the saildrive.
My question: does anybody know the extent to which the moving of the engine to enable the replacement of the diaphragm would also enable the oil leak to be checked and fixed at the same time?
Bit more detail:
- the leak appears on the engine compartment floor underneath the rear of the engine
- assuming the oil is leaking from a faulty seal directly above where the stain appears then the potential sources of the leak seem to be:
1/ the seal where the flywheel housing attaches right at the back of the engine or
2/ the underside of the sump where the oil drainage pipe is located, so maybe there is a leak where that drainage pipe actually meets up with the sump?
3/ the gasket to the sump itself.
Without the engine being lifted up and moved forward it hasn't been possible to get access to examine these three potential leaks but my question is whether, even when the engine is lifted up and moved forward to do the saildrive diaphragm replacement work, will that give enough access?
Ideally it will be possible to examine (and maybe replace) the flywheel housing seal, the drainage pipe connection to the sump and the sump gasket itself as part of the same job as doing the diaphragm but I would really appreciate the views of anyone who has ever got up close and personal with these areas of the engine in the course of a diaphragm replacement on one of these VP D2 55C units.
Finally, has anyone got any experience of an oil leak in this position underneath the rear of the engine (i.e. below the flywheel housing and the drainage pipe) and views on whether my three likely sources of the leak are correct (and which one is the likeliest) or if there is some other cuplrit!
Thanks very much

DougR 07-02-2017 08:12

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
Some things to consider regarding your oil leaks....
- The D2-55 engine has a crankcase ventilation system mounted on the top of the valve cover which vents excessive crankcase pressure into the inlet manifold. If this system is blocked/clogged up it may be creating enough base pressure to force oil out of the engine. Check it first.
- Finding oil leaks can be difficult, and the following may help........Clean the engine as well as possible, then get yourself a container of spray foot powder and spray it on the engine in the suspected leak areas. This will make the oil streaks show up much more clearly.

You have mentioned three possible leak areas, but there are a few more:
- the O ring on the dipstick tube where the tube enters the block
- the seal ring on the oil pressure reduction valve on the side of the block near the block drain
- the oil filter gasket or filter can itself

Regarding the leaks...
- the rear seal leak is unlikely unless there are many thousands of hours on the engine. If you remove the saildrive you should see oil on the flywheel and in the flywheel housing. A note....the flywheels were coated with a red grease from the factory, and under hard long loads this grease would melt and eventually find its way out of the flywheel housing. Make sure you are'nt looking at that.
- the oil pump out tube attachment point. This point is a banjo bolt with two copper washers...I doubt its leaking because if so it would leak all the time, not just under hard running
- Oil pan gasket....highly possible leak area. Careful examination with a mirror and foot spray should find the oil streaks.. might be able to tighten most of the bolts without moving the engine
- Dipstick O ring- also highly suspect
- Oil pressure reduction valve- not a likely source of leak, but fairly easy to see. It looks like a hex head bolt just ahead of the oil filter location
- oil filter itself...should be self evident

I dont know your vessel, but I doubt moving the engine 6 inches forward will give you enough room to remove the oil pan or flywheel housing. probably have to pull the engine into the saloon.


andypne60 13-02-2017 11:40

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
2 Attachment(s)
This is really helpful input thank you so much.
I am going down to the boat armed with the foot spray etc to check this out - the good news (if I understand rightly) with the four sources you identified is that they are in areas that are accessible on the engine without it being taken out and that even though the areas I mentioned (flywheel housing and drain plug on sump) would probably not be accessible without moving the engine they were pretty unlikely candidates?
I have found a couple of photos and wonder if they help - as you can see its a small oil stain on the engine compartment floor underneath the rear of the engine on the starboard side.
Many thanks

NordicCruiser 25-06-2019 03:42

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
Hi andypne60

did you manage to find the reason for your oil leak?

I have the same issue and could get an improvement by fastening one of the bolts of the oil-pan seal. The one in the middle aft was more loose than the others and I could se the most oil coming from there after celeaning. But not all of the bolts are easily accessible to fasten.

It is getting better, but there is still some oil coming - but less. I will also have to check the points from DougR above.

Best regards

DougR 25-06-2019 10:20

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
Interesting that this thread resurfaced.....

I have just experienced a similar leak on my own D2-55 which I think I have resolved. Here is what I found...

At the end of last season I noticed a slight drip of oil in the bilge along the stb. side of the block. I couldn't see any sign of oil on the block or on oil pan itself, so I got a mechanics mirror and a flashlight and looked under the flange of the oil pan at the oil pan attachment bolts. What I found was that two of the bolt heads had oil drops clinging to the head, and when the engine is running oil is working past the gasket to the bolt threads and then down the threads
to the bolt head. It drips off the head without touching anything else, so you don't see an oil run down the side of the oil pan. I think that perhaps slight distortions of the oil pan flange allow this to occur. I tried tightening the bolts, but that didn't resolve the issue....

Most recently I removed the bolts in question and cleaned them thoroughly with electrical contact cleaner. Then I used "Q" tips soaked with the contact cleaner and cleaned the threads up in the block until the "Q" tips came out clean. Then I put some Permetex silicon gasket maker on a finger tip and squished it up into the hole and also gooped up the bolts with the same silicon and reinstalled them.
I tightened everything up and let it set overnight. After doing this I gave the engine a three hour run, and so far it looks good.

Fortunately for me the leaky bolts are near the front of the oil pan. I don't think I could have done anything if they were in the rear. Fingers crossed....


NordicCruiser 25-06-2019 23:44

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
Hi DougR,

that looks like exactly the same issue which I have.

I assume (as from your description) that it was possible to remove the screws on at a time without removing the oil from the engine...

Yesterday I was looking in the parts catalogue and compared the oil pan from the D2-55E model with the D255-F model and realized, that the part number of the oil pan screws is differen. On the D2-55E there is a "flange screw" used, and on the D2-55F a hexagon screw.

Should that we worth a try to exchange the bolts?

DougR 26-06-2019 04:26

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
I didn't drain the oil from my engine and it wasn't a problem......but my engine sits fairly level in the boat. An engine sitting at a steep angle might have oil against the gasket at the rear, but I doubt it. Pull the dipstick and eyeball it.

I wouldn't put too much into the bolt description in the parts book. In the VP world, a flange screw is a bolt with an integral washer as part of the head, and usually no other washer is used under that. On my D2-55c the fasteners were bolts with lock washers, even though the book calls them flange screws. It may be that Perkins changed the fastner on the F model, but it may also be that the description or parts grouping was changed.

Order one and see what you get..


sander.jorissen 04-11-2019 11:46

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak

I also have an oil leak on my D2-55. The oil comes out of the half round opening at the bottom of the bell housing. Can it by something else then a crankshaft seal problem ? And if yes, how much work does it involve to exchange this seal ??

skipperpete 04-11-2019 16:45

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
If your oil leak is definitely engine oil, DougR's post # 5 and earlier will tell you how to proceed. As stated , the rear crankshaft seal may not be the source but if it is , you will have to remove the gearbox, the damperplate: the flywheel and finally the flywheel housing to get the old seal out.
However if the leak is transmission oil you'll need to replace the input shaft seal on the gearbox or saildrive, considerably less difficult than doing the rear crankshaft oil seal.

NordicCruiser 05-11-2019 00:30

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
Hi Sander,

try to check this out first, as it does not involve much work:

It was the same on my engine and I tought first, it was one of the bolts of the oil pan, as DougR previously described. I was identifying one bolt which was also covered with oil, removed, cleaned and reseated it. But there was till an oil leak. I was also worried about the flywheel oil seail as there sometimes also were traces of oil at the attachment point on the upper side of the flywheel.

Then I found out by instance, that there was oil on the back of the screws around the fuel feed pump. I carefulle tightened all crews which are located in a circle around the fuel feed pump as they were preetty loose.

Now there is no oil leak. The oil was dripping and then running down the flywheel which results that the oil was concentrated at the lowest part down on the flywheel next to the hole.

I could rule out the flywheel gasket and the gearbox gasket as I previously har removed the gearbox from the engine to replace the saildrive diaphragm.

sander.jorissen 14-01-2020 10:09

Re: Volvo Penta -Engine oil leak
2 Attachment(s)

I took the engine off the saildrive and dismantled damping plate, flywheel house and flywheel Now after removing the plate between the engine block and the flywheel house a large plug is revealed, and in my case it had oil on/ in the void between the plug and the plate. See pics. Can it be that this plug is leaking oil and that that causes the problem, and not the seal itself ?Attachment 206925

Attachment 206926

jimbunyard 14-01-2020 19:28

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
Would be unusual but it's certainly possible. Perhaps you can get another, replace the original, and on removal of the old one, a 'looseness' or at least some cause of the leak, if that is where it is, will be revealed.

skipperpete 15-01-2020 07:53

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
That plug seals the end of the camshaft and there is oil pressure behind it, possibly quite a lot but the leak should have taken the path of least resistance which the narrowest part around the plug, not the long route via the seal space.

DougR 15-01-2020 14:10

Re: Volvo Penta -Saildrive diaphragm and Engine oil leak
As mentioned, the plug which you found covers the machined opening for the rear bearing supporting the camshaft, but this bearing is a non sealed ball bearing so there shouldn't be much oil pressure here. That said, it's obvious that the expansion plug is leaking some oil, because you found it in the plug cavity. During factory assembly the expansion plug would normally have a sealant put on it, and then upon assembly of the rear plate the gasket surface area surrounding the plug should also have a sealant installed, and from the photo it seems that this sealant was in place.

So this leaves the question, is your leak from the expansion plug or the rear seal? Probably it's impossible to tell for sure, and as you are this far into the disassembly it is prudent that you replace both the expansion plug and the rear seal. Both are available as spare parts, either from VP, or from Perkins (Perkins model 404c)

During assembly, be sure to use sealant on the area surrounding the expansion plug, as mentioned earlier, and also on the rear faceing surface of the oil seal which is clamped by the steel plate. This sealant application surface area is detailed in the VP workshop manual.

Hope this helps.

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