The front crankshaft seal holds oil at the front of the engine. The main reason for replacing a front crank seal is if it is the source of an oil leak.
The cost of replacing the crank seal can vary depending on several factors, such as the type and model of vehicle; whether you are using a factory replacement or an aftermarket part; and your region, where the labour rate will be based.
What Is the Price of a Front Crankshaft Seal?
To be able to illustrate some estimates for the front crankshaft seal replacement cost, here are some common vehicles’ service costs assuming a labour rate ranging between £70 and £100 per hour:
- 2003 Honda Accord with a 2.4-liter engine
The labour time is estimated at 4.4 hours (which includes removing the timing cover). A factory replacement part costs about £12 and an aftermarket part costs about the same. The total job cost would be around £320 either way, and then, since the replacement procedure also requires about a gallon of additional coolant and some gasket material.
- 2004 Volkswagen Jetta with a 2.0-liter engine
The estimated labour time would be around 3 hours (also involves timing belt removal). A factory replacement part costs about £13, and a non-OE seal costs about £8. The total job cost would be about £223 using OE parts and about £218 using aftermarket parts.
- 2000 Ford Expedition with a 5.4-liter engine
The estimated labour time is around 1.6 hours. A factory part costs about £13, and an aftermarket seal costs about £5. The total job cost would be about £125 using OE parts and about £117 using aftermarket parts.
- For a 2014 Jeep Wrangler with a 3.6-liter engine
The labour time is estimated at 0.7 of an hour. A factory part costs about £15 and a non-factory part costs about £5. The total cost of crankshaft seal replacement would be around £65 using OE parts and about £55 using aftermarket parts.
- 2005 Toyota 4Runner with a 4.7-liter engine
The labour time would be around 0.9 of an hour. A factory part costs about £11 and an Apex seal costs about £6. The total cost to complete the job would be about £75 using OE parts and about £70 using aftermarket parts.
Front Crankshaft Seal Replacement
There are two main kinds of engine timing arrangements, which make a big difference as to how easy or difficult it is to replace the front crank seal. On an engine that drives the timing from the crankshaft using a chain, the chain is within the timing cover and is lubricated with engine oil.
The end of the crankshaft projects out through the timing cover and has a harmonic balancer bolted onto it. The front crankshaft seal is pressed on to the timing cover opening and its sealing lip bears against a machined surface on the harmonic balancer.
On most engines of this type, the front seal replacement is simple. However, some factory procedures do require the timing cover to be removed in order to install the seal with specific tools.
In the second kind of arrangement, the engine timing is driven by a rubber belt that runs dry and sits inside a cover housing. The front crank seal is pressed into a housing behind the timing assembly and requires a more lengthy and complicated procedure of disassembly to access.
This often includes draining the cooling system. However, other parts may also be involved.
Other Related Issues
Other things that might come up are very vehicle-specific. In many cases, replacing the front crank seal involves only removing the serpentine belt and the harmonic balancer.
The belt is rubber, and the balancer has a rubber component, and rubber can be harmed by oil. If the seal has caused oil leaks, these parts should be examined for damage and replaced if necessary.
Also, if the sealing surface of the harmonic balancer is worn, that might allow the new seal to leak, and it should be replaced.
If there is any oil damage to the timing belt on an engine where the timing belt must be removed to replace the front crankshaft seal, it should be replaced. If the timing belt is close to its scheduled maintenance, replacing it while it’s removed is a good idea. This will save on labour costs later, even if it looks OK.
On an engine that uses the timing belt to drive the water pump, it is usually recommended that the water pump and timing belt be replaced together.
On an engine run by a chain, if the procedure calls for the timing cover to be removed, that involves opening the cooling and oil systems. This is sometimes performed in a way that allows some intermixing.
Draining the oil and coolant systems and renewing those fluids is good preventative maintenance when contamination is possible.