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How To R56 Front Crank Seal Replacement Story (First Post)

How To R56 Front Crank Seal Replacement Story (First Post)

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Old 12-03-2013, 06:42 PM
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R56 Front Crank Seal Replacement Story (First Post)

Today I tackled the job of replacing the front crank seal on a 2008 mini hatch base model for a friend.

A bit of background on myself. I am a muscle car guy. I work on alot of cars and trucks, diesels included. I'm a mechanical engineer with a nice shop with a lift. Working on cars has been a great hobby I've enjoyed since I was 15 (I'm 27) I have never worked on a German car before, so when my friend asked me to replace her leaking crank seal on her car, I obliged thinking, hey how bad can it be? lol

It should have been easy, but I made the mistake of removing the center hub bolt on the balancer, which I didn't know also held the drive timing gear for the over head cams. At this point I realized there was a possibility the crank had come out of time with the cams mechanically. I was supposed to just remove the 3 torx male bolts around the center hub bolt. doh.

I scoured the web for a timing procedure, but couldn't find one, and I doubted the bentley books got that in depth. Thankfully my friend went to Wyotech, had worked as a honda service tech for years, and is currently a diesel mechanic for Copper Mountain working on their snow cats (I live in Houston). I called him up and he was able to pull up the service manuals for this type of procedure. This is where I realized why people are nervous about working on BMW's and Minis.

To check timing, one must have a plethora of special tools to mount to the head and align with each cam's flat spots. Thankfully, it had pictures to do a visual spot check to make sure the timing was roughed in prior to hooking any special tools up. At first, I thought I was screwed. It said "set #1 cylinder to TDC and look for the "EX" and "IN" cam marks to point upward" (and the #1 lobes were to point out at 90* a certain way as well). The timing was COMPLETELY off and my heart sank. I asked myself what I had gotten into.

Then I read it again and realized that it said "timing is set NOT with #1 TDC" but "set pistons all to 90*". So I had to pull the plugs and drop in some metal rods (I used old Ford 5.0 pushrods :) and even out the piston heights so I knew they were at 90*. Then I checked the cam marks and sure as ****, the IN and EX were up, and the lobes looked good.

So I went back to my original repairs and replaced the seal and the valve cover gaskets. I put it all back together and she fired right up. I started to let my thoughts get to me and that the engine was noisy. I looked up countless videos on youtube and it seems all these engines have a bit of valve noise. I had a friend come by and listen and everything sounded good. I was just fretting over nothing.

The car was running fine, idling fine and I didn't have any leaks from the repairs I made BUT the check engine light came on. I cleaned up my mess, putzed around the neighborhood in the car, and everything looked good except for the check engine light. Drove it to Oreillys to check the codes it was throwing. It was throwing cam position codes (P0011 and P0015 or something). GREAT. My heart sank again. I had the guy clear the codes, figuring they'd come right back, but they haven't.

So I drove it back home with varying revs and it seems to be running fine, without the codes returning. Should they come back, I have to make the decision if I should purchase the special tools to set the timing perfectly, or just pay mini to mechanically time the engine (I will probably do the latter).

I wrote this story because I used alot of information on this forum today and should someone else get in a pickle as I did, I wanted them to have a reference of what I did. I won't post here alot. I'm on enough forums as it is. I did learn a valuable lesson. THESE CARS SUCK TO WORK ON. I'll stick to my Ford pushrod engines.

Send me a PM if you are in the same boat or have questions about timing these engines. I have learned alot today about them.
 

Last edited by boiler up; 11-29-2015 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:51 AM
Minishirk
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Thanks for the information!

So how hard was it to replace the seal itself? Mine is leaking and I was quoted 340 to get it replaced from a local shop.
 
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Minishirk View Post
Thanks for the information!

So how hard was it to replace the seal itself? Mine is leaking and I was quoted 340 to get it replaced from a local shop.
the seal itself isn't too bad.

1. raise vehicle
2. remove front passenger wheel
3. remove wheel well liner
4. remove belt (can be a pain in the butt)
5. remove 3 torx bolts from balancer (NOT THE CENTER HUB BOLT)
6. remove balancer pulley
7. remove seal with pick (can be tough)
8. tap in new seal

go in reverse order.

turns out the timing chain is stretched and the work i did was just enough to get it to throw the codes. 12 hrs labor and $400 in parts. relieved what i did didn't cause it, but upset my friend has to make a decision about this car now. :/
 
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:32 PM
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Check if her VIN pops up in the action campaign that MINI has going on for the timing chain. Odds are whatever work you did only aggravated a pre-existing problem with the timing chain and didn't knock it out of slack.
 
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:54 AM
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So we did the water pump/pulley/belt this weekend and wanted to do this as well since it was all apart. I wanted to ask a question before doing it though, is it ok for the crank to turn when you go to loosen the 3 belts as long as we don't remove that middle bolt? It's pretty easy to get to once the car is up so I don't mind diving back in (the pump/pully was done successfully).
 
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:43 PM
Lex2008
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Boiler,

Did the owner notice the oil leaking directly from the crank seal or was it dripping down onto the oil pan?

I'm trying to diagnose oil leaks after 2 oil pans, 2 valve covers and oil filter housing gaskets, and turbo oil lines have been changed.

Lex
 
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:49 AM
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R56 Mini Cooper S N14 Front Crank / Main Seal Replacement, Repair, DIY, How To

Alright guys, I finally got around to taking out the "front" or in the case of a transversely mounted engine, the passenger-side main seal or crank seal as it can be called on my 2008 R56 S (automatic).

I didnt want to use a Mini part because Mini doesn't know how to seal an engine, hence my car's nickname. I found Corteco and Felpro part numbers that work. Some Mini parts places sell Felpro but hide the part #s on the web site.

Anyway the removal and replacement is not hard. You only need a few tools. If your auxiliary belt hasn't been changed in a while, NOW IS THE TIME because you'll have to loosen both the belt tensioner and friction wheel and remove the main pulley (or harmonic balancer) to R&R the seal.

You don't need a special tool to remove and seat the new seal. And no, a large socket will not work unless you have some MASSIVE sockets. Like 45mm and up...a section of pipe would but I didn't have any sections lying around of the exact diameter.

1. Take off wheel. Take the front half of the passenger side fender well cover off or at least release plastic clips and etc and move it up and away so you can access the main pulley.

2. Grab a 21 mm box end wrench (12 point) and put the auxillary belt tensioner into the service mod so it locks the tensioner. You can do this from the hood. You dont need to take anything apart. I used a regular Craftsman 21mm wrench. No pics sorry but look elsewhere.

3. MARK THE PULLEY AND ENGINE WITH A PERMANENT MARKER so you can put it back on just like you found it. THEN, remove the 3 E10 star bolts from the pulley.

DONT TOUCH THE LARGE CENTER BOLT! LEAVE THAT ***** ALONE.






If the pulley doesn't fall off, then tap it lightly with a rubber mallet or piece of wood or your frickin forehead.

4. Then next to the main pulley is the FRICTION WHEEL. There is a plastic tab which you pull to release its tension.



This creates just enough space so when you go to put the pulley back on with the belt around it, it will fit.

5. Now take a skinnny brass punch or plastic pen or in my case I used a long metal punch and lightly tap the top or bottom of the old seal so it pops the opposing edge out a little so you can grab it and pull it out. Its gonna be thrown away so don worry about damaging the leaking POS. The use a screw driver or needle nose pliers or your little peckerwood and pull the seal out. The important part is not to scrtach the surfaces the seal is resting on. Thats all.










Youll be able to see the timing chain and chain guides through the gap. Exciting, I know.



Now you have at least 2 options for replacement seals that are WAY cheaper than Mini brand.

Corteco 2702099 or Felpro TCS 46127. The Felpro unit comes with the neat disposable plastic guide for proper installation. The Corteco has some flexible webbing around the inner center ring that surrounds the crank seal like a condom.









Here I show the OEM seal and the Corteco next to each other. I installed the Corteco only because it would be harder for me to return then the FELPRO.









They look like they have different inner diameters but that's because the inner part of the Corteco is a flexible webbing that surrounds the crank as you push it in place

6. Make the the crank seal surfaces are clean and smooth. Now put some fresh motor oil on the mating surfaces of the new seal.

7. Now tap the new seal into place gently with the metal punch or shaft of a pen or if you had the change to go to Home Depot and get a section of pipe the same exact diameter (if one such pipe exists). until the new seal is JUST slightly behind the the engine surface.



8. Now reinstall the crank pulley with the belt on it WITH THE MARKER MARKS AS YOU MARKED THEM BEFORE YOU REMOVED. I think the torque specs were 18 ft pounds for the three E10 bolts. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK FOR YOURSELF.

9. Make sure the friction wheel tab is back in all the way and not hanging out like this:



10. Make sure belt is within the grooves of all three pulleys!

10. Dont try and release the belt tensioner with the 21mm box wrench from th engine bay. It will not return far enough before it hits the top of the engine and the spring loaded pin wont pull out. Take the same 21mm box wrench and go from under the the car. This will allow you that extra 1/2 an inch of rotation to get the pin to disengage and the tensioner to apply tension to the belt.

11. Put the wheel well shield/cover back on.

12. Torque wheels to 100 ft lbs.
 

Last edited by Lex2008; 07-24-2017 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 08-31-2015, 11:47 AM
Lex2008
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Felpro 40721 inner/ rear main / crank seal R56 Mini Cooper S

By the way, the inner/ rear main / crank seal for the R56 Mini Cooper S and probably other Minis is Felpro 40721











 
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:16 PM
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Thanks for the excellent write-up with very clear pictures on how to replace the front crankshaft seal.
I noticed some seepage from this seal when I replaced the serpentine belt at 30k and thought this job would be on my to-do list soon. But at about the same time I switched from Castrol oil (dealer warranty oil changes) to
Mobil 1 0W-40 oil and I haven't noticed any oil yet (2 years,15k miles) dripping down from there like I expected.
Not an endorsement; just an observation.
It's good to know that seating the seal doesn't require a bunch of special tools like the Bentley manual shows. Keep us posted as to how that brand of seal holds up in your motor.
 
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:53 PM
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It's funny how I remember "driving" seals into place, and now it's just lube and gently push into place. Oh how times have changed!
 
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Old 09-01-2015, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by scott13 View Post
Thanks for the excellent write-up with very clear pictures on how to replace the front crankshaft seal.
I noticed some seepage from this seal when I replaced the serpentine belt at 30k and thought this job would be on my to-do list soon. But at about the same time I switched from Castrol oil (dealer warranty oil changes) to
Mobil 1 0W-40 oil and I haven't noticed any oil yet (2 years,15k miles) dripping down from there like I expected.
Not an endorsement; just an observation.
It's good to know that seating the seal doesn't require a bunch of special tools like the Bentley manual shows. Keep us posted as to how that brand of seal holds up in your motor.
Youre so welcome Scott13. The point is for others to benefit from the pictures. Its not a hard job and the seal is not expensive aftermarket. And if you damage the seal just try again. Important part is so not scratch up the mating surfaces.

30k!!! Oil leaks at 30k. Only Mini. BTW, if the valve cover is leaking, it will leak oil down the side of the motor and make it look like the crank shaft seal is leaking.

Why did you decide to change the weight of the oil you use so drastically? 0-40 is not the manufacturers recommendation. The 0 weight should actually allow for more leakage because its so thin at room temp and the 40 weight is may be too thick for the tolerances of the motor.
 
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:32 AM
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"Why did you decide to change the weight of the oil you use so drastically? 0-40 is not the manufacturers recommendation. The 0 weight should actually allow for more leakage because its so thin at room temp and the 40 weight is may be too thick for the tolerances of the motor."

The Mobil 1 0W-40 European formula is one of the oils that meet MINI's specs.
 
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:34 AM
Lex2008
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Originally Posted by scott13 View Post
"Why did you decide to change the weight of the oil you use so drastically? 0-40 is not the manufacturers recommendation. The 0 weight should actually allow for more leakage because its so thin at room temp and the 40 weight is may be too thick for the tolerances of the motor."

The Mobil 1 0W-40 European formula is one of the oils that meet MINI's specs.
Where do you get "European formula"? Mobile 1?
 
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:47 PM
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I buy it at Walmart in a 5 quart jug; about $25.
 
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:11 PM
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I've been using Mobil 1 0W-40 my last three oil changes, I expected to burn more oil, but didn't. Most of the 5W-30's don't meet ACEA A3/B4 and BMW LL-01 specifications. The ACEA is a wear specification and using oils that don't meet it I wouldn't use at all! The 0W oil I believe increases oil pressure and helps the tensioner build more pressure sooner in any weather.

When my tensioner started getting lazy again I never had any cold start rattling, only a slight noise after engine ran for a freeway trip and only at idle speed.
 
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Old 09-16-2015, 01:55 PM
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Anyone reading this for the procedure on replacing the front seal should know that a 2" PVC Coupling available at any hardware or plumbing store like Home Depot works perfectly to push it in uniformly (I used a wood block and gentle hammer taps)
 
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Old 09-16-2015, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by elverado View Post
Anyone reading this for the procedure on replacing the front seal should know that a 2" PVC Coupling available at any hardware or plumbing store like Home Depot works perfectly to push it in uniformly (I used a wood block and gentle hammer taps)
You sure? Im pretty sure I tried 2 inch PVC section and it was small.
 
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Old 09-16-2015, 02:11 PM
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You're right - as I wrote it's the 2" PVC Female *Coupling* which is a notch wider than the pipe in order to fit around it. It worked well on the gasket but was a bit narrower than the opening so had to be manually centered. Maybe wrapping outer in a lot of tape could help make it a perfect tool.

One other note that may not matter is that I did it with the center crank hub out, since I was doing the timing chain at the same time. I believe it would work with the hub in but could possibly need the inner edge sanded down a bit to fit around it.

I used one of these:
 

Last edited by elverado; 09-16-2015 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 09-16-2015, 02:17 PM
Lex2008
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Indeed you did say coupling which will be quite a bit wider. Im sorry.

Oh that's a good idea.

I only used what was handy which included PVC sewer pipe and electrical conduit. I think I had 1, 2 and 3 inch sections. I should have gone to Home Depot first to match a pipe section.
 

Last edited by Lex2008; 09-16-2015 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:24 PM
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Great steps Lex2008. I replaced the timing chain set and front crank seal on my daughters 2008 N14 turbo hatchback and bought a front seal from Mini. After I started the car, it ran great but I had an oil leak down the front of the engine. It turned out to be the front seal I had just replaced. I tapped it in place just as the Bentley said to. When I tried to remove it the Bentley way, by tapping on the top so the bottom pokes out, I ended up driving the seal further into the housing, requiring me to re-install the cam and flywheel locks to remove the crank center bolt so I could remove the old (new) seal. Lesson learned: Buy Fel-Pro seals, and (2) be careful not to drive the old seal further into the bore. Get behind it and pull it out.
 
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:12 AM
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You put in a new seal and it leaked again??!! F*cking Mini...

Good thought olpaul. Since the old seal is gonna be thrown out, it may be safer to try and grab it with a pair of needlenose pliers and pull it out. A seal puller proly wont work as there isnt space to grab the seal with the crank end smack in the center of the seal.
 
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by olpaul View Post
Great steps Lex2008. I replaced the timing chain set and front crank seal on my daughters 2008 N14 turbo hatchback and bought a front seal from Mini. After I started the car, it ran great but I had an oil leak down the front of the engine. It turned out to be the front seal I had just replaced. I tapped it in place just as the Bentley said to. When I tried to remove it the Bentley way, by tapping on the top so the bottom pokes out, I ended up driving the seal further into the housing, requiring me to re-install the cam and flywheel locks to remove the crank center bolt so I could remove the old (new) seal. Lesson learned: Buy Fel-Pro seals, and (2) be careful not to drive the old seal further into the bore. Get behind it and pull it out.
Mine is leaking HEAVILY again. I mean BADLY. I took the wheel off and ran the engine and watched the ****ing oil dripping out below the crank seal. Cant tell if the leak is from around the spinning crank or the outside diameter against the engine block. Likely the former.

There is pool of oil in the plastic triangular engine cover and oil up on the tensioner from being slung upwards and down all along the oil pan.

CORTECO sucks. I should have used the FELPRO. Here I go again.
 
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:40 AM
Lex2008
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Ok so last night I took out the failed CORTECO seal and installed a Felpro TCS 46127 seal which my local Advance Auto happened to have in stock for $12 with a 20% coupon available when you pay online and pick up in store. I was shocked they had it in stock.

Look at this leaking POS brand new Corteco seal:







This time around I got my *** kicked by the belt tensioner. I don't how in the hell I was able to use a 21 mm 12-pt box wrench the last time to pull the tensioner. It has to be pulled/rotated (towards front of engine when wrenching from above) enough to engage the locking pin which holds the tensioner back so their is no tension on the belt or main/crank pulley. I simply did not have enough room for the wrench to swing. I tried every tool I had. Every trick. To no avail. I ended up having to put the front bumper into "service Mode":
... which is not hard but its a lot of steps, and of course I broke every last clip holding the front fender plastic fender moldings in place.

F.U. Mini for that crappy clip design and those brittle clips . (I bought replacement from Hong Kong on eBay for 1/5th the price http://www.ebay.com/itm/131618075542).

There has got to be a wrench that has a better angle for this job. Service mode is a monumental time suck just to pull the belt tensioner.

ANYWAY after finally getting the bumper pulled forward 3 lousy inches, I was able to engage the tensioner clip. See here:



Then I removed the leaking Corteco seal. It was on tight so I had to break/cut the inner lip and feed a hose prying tool behind it to pull it out. Be careful not to scratch the inner surface that the seal fits up agains. Te hose pry tool is very smooth with no point so it works well for this. Keep it smooth baby.

Also, BE CAREFUL you don't knock the old seal all the way in or you will have created a lot of work for yourself.



This time I went to Home Depot before hand and got a 2 inch PVC coupler and cover which fit around the new seal nicely so I could tap the new FELPRO seal in. It should be tapped until flush to the engine block. If you install it too far in you will have to destroy the seal and start again. Be deliberate.







One nice thing about the FELPRO seal is that it comes with a plastic guide which helps you center the new seal. I though the plastic cup was part of the seal but once I put it around the crank I realized its purpose. You can kinda see here how it has fins to hold it against the crank. Sorry about the poor lighting. You discard the plastic cup after installation of the seal.



Ill let you know if the FELPRO seal holds up.
 

Last edited by Lex2008; 11-03-2015 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:27 AM
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I just did this on my 2009 Cooper non-S and wanted to note a couple things. First, the belt tensioner was not a 21mm on mine, I think it was a 30mm but the auto store doesn't have anything that big, so I used a 1X2 and a floor jack to push it up and get the pin in place. Secondly, once the belt was off, it was difficult to loosen the pulley bolts because it would spin, so maybe they should be cracked prior to removing the belt? Getting the seal out was a pain, the punch method just made things worse. Also, using the PVC piece to drive the new one in didn't work because there's a line right in front of the pulley and it wouldn't fit in there, I had some trouble getting the new seal in, which I didn't expect. Just wanted to throw this info out there, thanks for all the info above.
 
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 802Cooper View Post
I just did this on my 2009 Cooper non-S and wanted to note a couple things. First, the belt tensioner was not a 21mm on mine, I think it was a 30mm but the auto store doesn't have anything that big, so I used a 1X2 and a floor jack to push it up and get the pin in place. Secondly, once the belt was off, it was difficult to loosen the pulley bolts because it would spin, so maybe they should be cracked prior to removing the belt? Getting the seal out was a pain, the punch method just made things worse. Also, using the PVC piece to drive the new one in didn't work because there's a line right in front of the pulley and it wouldn't fit in there, I had some trouble getting the new seal in, which I didn't expect. Just wanted to throw this info out there, thanks for all the info above.
Indeed, if you don't have air tools, you should remove the three pulley bolts before releasing tension, for sure.

How did you get it the old seal out?
 

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