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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally did it. After years of complaining about some burning oil, an always dirty engine, etc, I broke down and started tearing the 3016's engine apart. My serial is long faded, but I believe it's an Onan P216.

So, I'm not a mechanic. I've never done this before, so I'd like input on next steps.

The engine has always ran reliably, but would smoke every once in a while, especially at startup, I always stunk of exhaust after using the mower pretty bad, and I always had to add oil (I also had to put cardboard under it so there weren't spots all over the garage).

Here's what I've done:
  1. Started by running it till it was relatively hot - did a compression test and got around 115psi (left my exact readings outside). Not bad, but it also wasn't as hot as it would be after a summer day of mowing (when it normally smokes)
  2. Took shrouds off - good lord is their oil and debris everywhere. You can't tell, but I had to peal off a good amount of what I assume is RTV sealant. It was all over on the valve covers.
  3. Took off manifold, etc
  4. Pealed off old valve cover gaskets - they were shot.
  5. Took off heads - Looks like a lot of carbon build up to me. There was even a chunk of something sitting on top of the piston head.

I'm debating on going further, or simply cleaning what I see, setting valves, and replacing gaskets. Or, should I keep going?

Pictures to give you a sense of what it looks like so far.

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Obviously need to do a decarb.

If you can get your hands on an inside micrometer, you can check for cylinder wear and see if its egg shaped.

Look for where oil could be coming from. Lots of cleaning to do.

How far you take it beyond that is up to you but try to get those readings. Hoping others will jump in.
 

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I agree decarbon, valve adjustment, new gaskets and good general cleaning.
So since your tappet covers are the early style covers and the concave intake valves tell me it's an early performer.
I can't tell you how many hours it has or how much oil it uses, but I can tell you from experience the compression rings seem to last forever!

Oil control ring not nearly as long, so I would evaluate oil consumption while running proper wt. clean oil to determine if it is worth the money and work to go much further.

Even a good low hour Onan will use a little oil while working hard when it's hot out.
i check the oil in all my gt's before starting and refueling when I get to about 1/3 thank, oil will cover most of the stick so every oil check reduces the oil level a tad especially when real clean oil is hard to see and gets checked several times for accuracy.

My 2cts

Jim
 

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My experience with the Onan engine is that it is very sensitive to vacuum leeks in the crank case . If the is leaky gasket it can not maintain enough crack case vacuum and this issues with rings and oil consumption . My 5 cents worth . You can keep the change .
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright, thanks everyone. I'm going to start with de-carbing, valve adjustments, and gaskets. Probably a silly question, but anyone have a good trick for cleaning? Just get out a pressure washer?
 

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Works for me. I use hot [175f] water. Really softens and removes even dried on grease. Of course, use caution around more fragile electrical components.
 

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Alright, thanks everyone. I'm going to start with de-carbing, valve adjustments, and gaskets. Probably a silly question, but anyone have a good trick for cleaning? Just get out a pressure washer?
Since you've already opened the engine, I wouldn't use a pressure washer.

Stiff plastic scraper and then diesel and a brush.

There are several good decarb threads. Here is one I did.

https://casecoltingersoll.com/showt...B-Blaster-Lawn-Mower-Tune-Up?highlight=decarb

I've since gotten an assortment of rotory brass brushes. Hint, hint :wink:
 

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Lots of people swear by seafoam. But in my experience nothing completely eliminates the need for elbow grease. Soak, scrape, soak scrape.. repeat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update!

Alright everyone - as promised... Here's an update. If you ever find yourself in the same situation as I am... Don't hestitate to jump in. I'm amazed at 1) how much I learned by undertaking this project and 2) how readily information is available to help.

Quick Rehash On Problems: 1) Oil leak 2)Light smoking from time to time 3) Stinks of exhaust all of the time

Gameplan: 1) Decarb 2)valve adjustments 3) Gaskets 4) Clean the darn thing up

So, here's how things went down...

Cleaning: I spent the past holiday break (Happy New Year btw) tackling this. We had 50 degree weather, so I used the warm days to get started. I bought about 4 cans of de-greaser from local Napa, and just soaked the hell out of it doing my best to not get it on electronics/starter too much. Between that and the garden hose, it got rid of most of it. I still had to use a ton of shop towels, and she's no show-room beaut, but it took care of most of it. One note - I made the mistake of already having some of the engine tore down before doing this. I WOULDN'T do that again. I ended up getting a little water in the crankcase, but I was able to keep the tractor tipped and drained it all out before the temps dropped below freezing. My bad.

De-carbing: Ok, this took a lot of time. I took all the covers off (valve/shrouds/etc), and took the heads off. There was carbon everywhere. I started trying the gentle approach (brass brush/steel wool). The brass was ineffective, and the steel wool got particles everywhere. I tried a regular wire brush, but it just didn't get in the nooks and crannies. I went for broke and busted out the dremel with about 5 different types of brass brushes. That did the trick - though I did my best not to get too aggressive. Occasionally I had to get a putty knife out to really press down on stubborn spots. I decarbed every inch of the heads, and the cylinder heads/around the valves as best as I can. I did my best to not get carried away, but still get them clean. This was a little nerve racking as I didn't know if I was going to make things worse or better.
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Valve Adustment: Youtube was my friend here. All I had to do was pull up a couple of videos, buy a feeler gauge set, a few tweaks later - voila. Easy peasy.

New Gaskets: My 3016 was owned by someone who loved RTV sealant. Good lord. It was on every gasket, every cover, all over the place. So I spent a great deal of time removing it all carefully while making sure none fell down into the engine. After that, I called up @bhildret with Salem Power. He was a HUGE help. He pulled up this page, walked me through what he thought I should and shouldn't do, and we put together an order. He even went so far as to telling me the torque specs - thanks! Installing the new gaskets was as simple as downloading the 'Onan Service Manual' (found on this site), and following the instructions/torque settings. Easy enough.

The moment of truth: After completing the reassembly and checking the parts book diagrams twice to make sure everything was back in place correctly, I added oil. Then, I pushed the 3016 outside, and crossed my fingers. Click - no engine turnover. Checked neutral, pto, etc. Nothing. On a whim, I happened to have a new 30amp relay from another project. Swapped it out - BINGO! She fired RIGHT UP. And I mean, like 1/8 of a crank she fired up. It's like a brand new engine. So, note to self, if you get a relay wet, it may die.

Where I'm At Today: Well, as you probably can relate, once you start on this problem, it leads to that one. So, I've been doing misc things to make it better like fixing the travel control slop, tightening steering, re-doing electrical connections, and worst of all, I had a cracked frame (bust out the welder!). Between reading the documents on the mower, and calling Brian, I've been able to figure everything out.
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I do however, have a new problem. I changed out the control valve ball joint, and replaced the hydraulic fluid with 5w20. After that, I now have a small leak of hydraulic fluid when using the tractor. Any thoughts on that?

Anyhow, it's not totally back together, so no overall photos yet, but I'm gaining on it! Up next - tuning the carb.

Oh - and there's NO MORE OIL LEAK! Brian suggested checking the torque on the front seal... Between that and I replaced the dipstick seal - one or the other fixed it!
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Thanks everyone!
 

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"I do however, have a new problem. I changed out the control valve ball joint, and replaced the hydraulic fluid with 5w20. After that, I now have a small leak of hydraulic fluid when using the tractor. Any thoughts on that?"

Need to know where it is leaking from. Beware of over tightening fittings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
"I do however, have a new problem. I changed out the control valve ball joint, and replaced the hydraulic fluid with 5w20. After that, I now have a small leak of hydraulic fluid when using the tractor. Any thoughts on that?"

Need to know where it is leaking from. Beware of over tightening fittings.
Yeah... I really didn't mess with much on the control valve aside from opening the plug. I assume there's no seal for that beyond the plug screw?
 

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Yeah... I really didn't mess with much on the control valve aside from opening the plug. I assume there's no seal for that beyond the plug screw?
Correct. Just a plain pipe plug. I don't remember which one but on one of them, I had to use some oil resistant Teflon tape at that spot.

Its thicker than white plumbing tape and wider. Trimmed it with scissors, so it was just on the threads and as I recall, just a wrap or two, as it is so thick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Correct. Just a plain pipe plug. I don't remember which one but on one of them, I had to use some oil resistant Teflon tape at that spot.

Its thicker than white plumbing tape and wider. Trimmed it with scissors, so it was just on the threads and as I recall, just a wrap or two, as it is so thick.
Ok... I can give that a try. It kind of does seem to be coming from that spot. Maybe because of the viscosity of the fluid I used? I'll give it a go. Where did you find that at?
 

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Ok... I can give that a try. It kind of does seem to be coming from that spot. Maybe because of the viscosity of the fluid I used? I'll give it a go. Where did you find that at?
Can't say for sure. Maybe an ordinary hardware store, maybe auto parts, farm store, possibly a more specialized, industrial supply. Don't recall.
 

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I agree with you Garyc. Pipefitters I worked with at GM always used tape and dope together. I also agree with Dave about not over tightening fittings. I use to be guilty of doing that myself, but I've learned my lesson on that. Sitesjc I've been enjoying this thread on sorting out your tractor. I appreciate your taking the time to take pics and post them with some narrative. :clap:

Keep the Peace :trink:
Harry
 
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