Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

'97 Corolla Front Main Seal

Daughters 4 cyl. Corolla is leaking oil badly from what is certainly the front crankshaft seal. A quick inspection reveals there is very little room to work in this area. There is maybe 1.5-2.0 inches between the front pulley and the car body…I’m trying to get a handle on what the shop hours will be for this repair…Anybody been there done that?

Upon further examination, there is a removable plastic panel protecting the lower half of the R/F wheel well. When removed, there should be good access to the front crankshaft pulley and the seal…

My info shows about 4.3 hours total including some extra tacked on for A/C, PS, etc. There’s a footnote about through 9/96 but no explanation about any difference after that production month/year.
If the car were manufactured after September of 96 then the seal could be an easier or more difficult job; it’s hard to say.

I can’t say that I remember doing a seal on a Corolla like this but have done many other transverse mounted engines and most are usually a bit of a pain.

Been there. Done that.
You need to remove the harmonic balancer (you called it the crankshaft pulley), timing belt and crankshaft sprocket to access the front crankshaft seal.
I used to have a 1995 Corolla 1.8. I did the timing belt twice on that car (120K, 180K), replaced the crankshaft seal each time, for peace of mind. The overall job is time consuming, but not extremely difficult. When you have it done, have the timing belt, tensioner, crankshaft seal, accessory drive belts (if needed), camshaft seal replaced, as well. Go for the water pump too, if you can afford it. Not much more work, since you’re already there. You want to make sure that everything under that timing cover is good to go for a long time.
ok4450’s labor estimate sounds quite plausible, by the way.

Once the wheel and inner fender apron are removed the front of the engine should be a lot more accessible through the wheelwell.

Turns out this seal was replaced 4 years ago as part of a timing belt, water-pump, cam seals…The 100K “check-up” …I went to a Toyota dealer and picked up a factory seal ($9.50) and her indy shop replaced it for under $400 including a new radiator and coolant flush when they discovered a cracked and leaking header tank…They gave her a break on it…The old seal which they had replace 4 years ago failed completely and instantly…No slow drip-drip that got worse and worse…This did not leak a drop and all of a sudden the oil was pouring out at the rate of a quart every 50 miles…Anyway, she’s back on the road with a dry undercarriage…Thanks for the responses…