Oil Leak: Briggs & Stratton Engine #31P977-0635-E1

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  #1  
Old 07-17-09, 10:16 PM
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Oil Leak: Briggs & Stratton Engine #31P977-0635-E1

Hey all,

Craftsman Lawn Tractor model #917.276813
Briggs & Stratton Engine #31P977-0635-E1

I bought this lawn tractor approx 2 yrs ago "reconditioned" from a Sears Outlet. I have changed the oil, oil filter, fuel filter, spark plug, air filter, air prefilter all twice (at the end of each mowing season). Since I bought it it has had a small oil leak...nothing major. However, now it seems to be dropping it at a faster rate.

I don't know exactly where it is coming from. It appears to have the most "fresh" oil coming from underneath the oil drain valve area and on this black paper like gasket. I have double/triple checked to make sure that the valve is in the closed/locked position and that the yellow cap is secured.

Does anyone know if this is an easy thing to fix/replace?
I really don't know much at all about engines and/or repairs on them, so please be very patient as I attempt to communicate

I do have the Operator's manual, repair parts manual, and the B&S single cylindaer OHV repair manual all at my disposal.

Thank you to anyone who is able to assist!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-17-09, 11:56 PM
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I often see these drain valves loose where they screw into the engine. Try tightening it a bit. Also, the drain is just below the oil fill tube. The grommet where the oil fill tube enters the engine often leaks a bit. This is easy to replace.
 
  #3  
Old 07-18-09, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by abm41111 View Post
It appears to have the most "fresh" oil coming from underneath the oil drain valve area and on this black paper like gasket.

Mr cheese has you headed to the easy repairs first, If either of these do not stop the leak you may be looking at a sump/pan gasket replacement.

If the gasket is the culprit here's a couple tips;


For a couple more bux replace the crankshaft seal also, You wouldn't want to have it start leaking a few months after having the engine off the unit.

The crankshaft end-play is calculated along with the thickness of the sump/pan gasket. The use of silicone sealers on this gasket could cause a increase in crankshaft end-play.

Have both the crankcase and sump/pan clean and ready for re-assembly, A quick wipe of the gasket surfaces with a lint free rag sprayed with carb & choke cleaner will remove any oil residue.

Hang the gasket on a coat hanger type wire and spray paint both sides (any brand/color paint), While still wet (wouldn't hurt if the paint did dry) lay the gasket on the block then install the sump/pan and torque to specs.

As the engine heats up the first time after re-assembly the paint will soften and seal the gasket so tight the next person that has to remove the gasket will be cursing mad......


Yeah, I've had to go back into a couple engines years later for other reasons, But never had one come back leaking using this method.


Good Luck
 
  #4  
Old 07-18-09, 05:40 PM
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Hey Cheese & 31YTech,

Thank you for the replies.
I will have to go and investigate and hope that the simple solutions are what is causing the issue.

Quick question back 31YTech...I totally dig the spray paint tip. Were you ever on the receiving end of trying to remove that gasket after having spray painted it? Any tips for getting it back off of there incase of some other issue.

Thanks again all!
I'll try to report back later.

(FYI...I'm having issues posting and/or staying logged in)
 
  #5  
Old 07-18-09, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by abm41111 View Post
Were you ever on the receiving end of trying to remove that gasket after having spray painted it? Any tips for getting it back off of there incase of some other issue.

Yes, Unfortunately I have been on the receiving end of my own doing, That's how I know the paint seals VERY well.

Only tip for getting it back off is have a stool near by and plenty of time on your hands, You don't want to gouge the gasket surfaces while removing it.

Originally Posted by abm41111 View Post
(FYI...I'm having issues posting and/or staying logged in)
I've had the same problem logging in from work, When you enter your username and password make sure you check the "Remember Me" box.


Good Luck
 
  #6  
Old 07-19-09, 08:25 PM
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Looks like I won't get to get out to investigate this till nxt wkend. We'll see how the week goes though.

I appreciate everyone's input!

Just curious 31YTech...(this may show my serious lack of engine knowledge...) did you try using paint thinner on it to get that gasket back off?

{side note...so far my log in seems to be working better today}
 
  #7  
Old 07-20-09, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by abm41111 View Post
did you try using paint thinner on it to get that gasket back off?

Hmmm,

Haven't seen a paint thinner that would remove dried/baked on paint.

It's not the paint that needs to be fully removed but the stuck paper from the gasket.
 
  #8  
Old 07-25-09, 08:07 PM
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Good evening all,

Took me awhile to get some free time to test out the solution(s).

I cleaned everything off. Drained out the oil (which was changed back in November just before putting it "to bed" for the winter), and pulled the drain plug plastic piece off. I was able to get a wrench on the drain plug and got it rotated about 1.5 times around so it is now on tighter. In the process I noticed that some one had placed some pipe tape on it at one point...probably while trying to fix the oil leak. I popped the plastic drain plug piece back on and sealed it up. I then refilled it with SAE 30 oil. Doubled checked to make sure that it was at "full" but not over full via the dip stick. I let it sit and didn't see any oil leaking out. I then did a full mow of my lawn (ran it for just under 1hr). Once I was finished I lifted the hood. The same annoying oil residue was back again in the same locations. If I get a chance tomorrow I'll pull the mower back out and take a photo and post it. Oh, I did look at the little grommet while I had it apart and it looked like it was in good condition (no cracks, not stretched out)

So...it appears the "easy" solution was not the actual solution in this case...sigh...I was so hopeful.

I am thinking I'll have to take a look at the gasket stuff now. I've got a friend coming over tomorrow to "view" it as well...we'll see what a new set of eyes can come up with as well.

I'll report back w/ any other findings.
 
  #9  
Old 07-26-09, 05:24 AM
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Looks can be deceiving on this dipstick seal. Before you pull the engine apart try loosening the one small screw holding the dipstick tube to the flywheel cover, Push down on the dipstick tube with the palm of your hand while re-tightening this screw.

The screw hole in the dipstick tube is slightly slotted so downward pressure can be applied to the tube for better sealing.

If doing this helps reduce the leak replace this seal, If you replace this seal screw it into the sump/pan as tight as you can with only your finger and thumb.


Good Luck
 
  #10  
Old 07-26-09, 05:09 PM
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Good evening all, I was able to take a good photo of the "offending" area. The area #1 shows where the most oil is found. Area #2 is the gasket that I now believe to be the issue. Just to double check...this is the gasket that you all were referring to, correct? If I pressed up on the gasket I could see oil drip out of it. {Doah...it looks like I currently can not attach anything to my posts....well when/if I can I will submit the photo to you all}
 
  #11  
Old 07-26-09, 07:41 PM
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Sounds like it is the gasket.....

You can take a minute and open a account HERE then up-load your pics there then post the image links here.....
 
  #12  
Old 07-26-09, 09:09 PM
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Thanks 31YTech! Here's the link: http://i666.photobucket.com/albums/v...C00370Edit.jpg
 
  #13  
Old 07-26-09, 09:17 PM
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Here are a few more pictures if this will help as well... Tractor pictures by abm41111 - Photobucket
 
  #14  
Old 07-27-09, 05:33 AM
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Yeah, Looks like the gasket....


Few more pointers;

After draining the oil remove the air filter, Flip the engine upside down laying it across a couple short 2x4's making sure the flywheel grass screen has no pressure on it. This prevents the grass screen from getting bent and the crankshaft from being pushed upward when the sump/pan is removed.

I cover the inside area of the engine with clean shop rags making sure they are flush with the block walls, This reduces sand and gasket pieces/particles from (while carefully scraping and not gouging the block) entering the engine.

Install the new crank seal in the sump/pan and install the new gasket on the block as prescribed earlier.

Slide the sump/pan down onto the crankshaft, As the sump/pan reaches the block look into the gap/crack between the sump/pan and block with a flashlight. You want to make sure the white plastic governor gear meshes with the camshaft gear, If they don't mesh hold upward on the sump/pan and insert a small screwdriver into the gap/crack rotating the governor gear so it does mesh with the camshaft gear. At this point the sump/pan should drop right into place.

Use loctite on the sump/pan screws and torque them in two steps, 100 in.lbs. first then follow with another 110 in.lbs.= 210 in.lbs. total per the diagram below;






Good Luck
 
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