You'll need to remove the timing belt, inner timing belt cover, crank pulley and any other associated parts needed to get that far. Once you have that off, you can remove the front cover/seal retainer. Technically there is a tool required to remove the seal but it can be carefully pryed out if you don't have access to the tool.
One thing that has been subject of discussion on turboford.org is that you are supposed to use an alignment tool to put the front cover back on so that it is properly centered on the crank. It amounts to nothing more than a piece of pipe that has a hole in the middle for the crank pulley bolt. You lay the cover on the engine, run the bolts in by hand to hold the cover up, then put the tool in place and snug up the crank pulley bolt so it centers itself. Then you can torque the bolts holding the front cover. Now I've known guys that just eyeball it (including myself) and have come out fine. The critical part is that the timing belt gear doesn't rub the housing and that there is sufficient clearance for the belt. So you can mock up those pieces while you're reinstalling the cover to check if need be.
Maybe if Bart99GT (or anyone else that has done it) could chime in with an obvious follow on question....
What else would you replace while you are doing this? Is it better to have the engine in or out to do it?
I am in the same boat Yoyo1994Ranger is in. Oil leak at the front of the engine that I can only assume is the crank seal or oil pan gasket. My thinking is, if I have to pull the engine to make my life easier, then I would replace a whole lot more:
Oil pan gasket
Oil pressure sensor (just because I was on a roll)
Crank front & rear seal
Timing belt & tensioner if needed
And I think if I was reading the manual right there are other misc gaskets/seals that go with the timing cover.
If you leave it in the truck, what would you do or what do you regret not doing while you were in there?
The front cover seal can be replaced without removing the engine from the truck, although you'll definately want to remove the fan and shroud and probably the radiator as well to give you more room. Amazingly enough there's more room under the hood of my Mustang than there is under the hood of a Ranger.
Also, I probably didn't make it clear, but the seal is actually in the front cover. However, removing the cover makes it easier to get the old seal out, especially if you don't have the special seal puller. While you're in there, I would definately replace the gasket for the front cover, and the segment of the oil pan gasket that seals up under the front cover. Replacing the entire oil pan gasket hasn't been necessary in the 2.3L engine since the mid-80s when they went with a multi-piece gasket. Replacing the entire pan gasket on later model trucks is a major undertaking with the engine in the truck because of the larger sized aluminium oil pan.
Sometime in 94-95 (when the 2.3L switched to EDIS) Ford changed the design of the block so that the auxillary shaft was eliminated and the oil pump was moved into its place. Just something to consider. Replacing the timing belt and tensioner isn't a bad idea while you're there. If you really want to snazz things up, you can get the billet tensioner sold by Esslinger, although the 87-88+ factory tensioner holds up well.
Remember that replacing the rear seal involves pulling the transmisison and removing the flexplate or flywheel. I would think if you're going to that much trouble at that point its time to break out the engine hoist and remove the engine from the truck. By the.
I poured a bottle of CD-2 "Engine Oil Stop Leak" to try my luck and the leak stopped after driving 100 miles or so. However, I know this is not a long term fix, rather a patch. Well, do you guys know how the crankshaft front seal looks like? Thanks again.
It looks fairly similar to the wheel bearing seal on the back side of your brake rotors, with the only difference being that it isn't as large in diameter. That's about as best as I can describe it without coming up with a picture.
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