Dry Sleeves IH 361 & 407 Engines

Posted by Joe Schmitt on 24th Jan 2015

This post is about the dry sleeved IH diesel engines used in 806, 1206, 856, 1026, 1256 and 1456 tractors. These are the D361, DT361, D407 and DT407 engines.

The sleeves in these engines are "dry" because they don't have any coolant against them. They are a replaceable block liner. They are very thin with a narrow flange at the top that fits a counter bore in the top of the block. The fit or press of the sleeve in the block is very important because the heat dissipation from the cylinder has to transfer through the sleeve to the block. IH designed this system with critical specifications. Many times I here of these engines running for many many hours with no cylinder issues other than normal wear (one D361 in particular went 31,000 hours). Then the engine is overhauled and it starts knocking in 2 or 300 hours of service. What happened?

Most likely the new sleeves were not installed correctly. The following is about such a case of a D407 in a 856.

This engine was recently overhauled (I don't know who overhauled it) and soon afterwards developed a sharp knock. The tractor was brought to my shop and I found 4 of the sleeves were broken or cracked at the flange. Three pistons have chunks broken off the edge and pieces of sleeve embedded in the top. Luckily the head is okay. The cracked sleeves were the result of improper installation. The driver used may not have fit the sleeve, or they were driven down with a block of wood, and/or the block bore was not clean. The press was correct (it took the correct pressure to remove them).

The sleeves in the D361, DT361, D407 and DT407 engines need to be pressed in evenly using a press or sleeve puller/press like the one shown in the picture.

The "press" or tightness of the sleeve in the block is critical.

The sleeve protrusion should be checked with a depth gauge to make sure the sleeve will be bottomed or within .002" of being bottomed when the sleeve is pressed in. In some instances it may be necessary to add a shim.

A sleeve driver puck should be used to press the sleeve in to a .035-.040" + 005" protrusion above the block deck for 361 engines and .040-.045" + .005" on 407 engines I use a machined plate that fits inside the sleeve and is machined so that when the plate is pressed down tight to the block deck the sleeve is the correct measurement .035-.040" (361) or .040-.045" (407) + .005" above the block. All six sleeves need to be within .002" of each other. When the cylinder head is torqued down the sleeves will be pulled in an additional .002-.003" making a perfect crush seal of the head gasket and sleeve provided the press is right.

To check the press watch the pressure on the hand pump gauge required to press the last few strokes to seat the sleeve. The service manuals give the pressure ranges for the different engines and also the formula used to convert pump gauge pressure to pounds of force for the ram you are using. If you choose to freeze the sleeves, just put them in a deep freeze overnight. Dry Ice works too but try not to get them colder than 0 degrees. The block can be warmed up to a max of 150 degrees. This makes installation a lot easier and I recommend it. If you do this, the pressure to seat the sleeve will be far less. So to check the "press." Attach the sleeve puller (like you are going to remove the new sleeve). Set up a dial indicator on the block with the plunger on top of the sleeve. Make sure the sleeve and block have acclimated. (both are at room temperature). Check your service manual for the press force of your engine and your puller ram. Pump your pump on the puller up to the minimum press force. If the dial indicator does not show any movement, the press is correct.

This is a crucial part of a successful overhaul for these dry sleeve engines. If the press is too loose, the sleeve can move up and down with the piston. If you try to pound the sleeves in with a mallet and a block of wood you will likely break or crack at least one sleeve or the sleeve can become distorted and cause piston scoring. You may not even notice it until the engine is back in service. The heat and pressure when under load will cause the undetected crack to open and eventually a piece of the flange will break off and fall into the cylinder causing the engine to knock when the piece of sleeve lying on top of the piston strikes the cylinder head or valves.

At that point you just threw away the cost of the overhaul kit.

If the press is too light or too loose, I recommend painting the outside of the sleeves with aluminum paint. Use a high solids paint like Case-IH "Iron Gard " or equivalent. Spray a nice even coat around the outside up to about 1" from the top of the sleeve. Let the paint cure for 24 hours. Warming the sleeves and paint before application will speed the curing process. The painted sleeves hold better in the block and also cushion any vibration or movement. This will increase the press and may even require more than the manuals specify, but if installation is fairly smooth, continue until the sleeve is about 3/4" from being seated. Using compressed air and a blow gun blow out any scraped off paint that may have accumulated in the counter bore area. Then continue to seat the sleeve to the proper depth. 

After sleeves are installed, slide a piston down inside the sleeve checking for any binding or tight spots. Or check the bore with a bore gauge. Check piston clearance measurement against your manual specs. I usually hone the sleeve with a medium grit ridged hone to obtain a looser piston fit than the manual specifies. I like them to be around .002" looser that the maximum spec. This is especially important on engines with only one oil squirt-er per cylinder. Also check the ring gap and make sure that is on the max end of the spec range as well.

When honing the cylinder dip, your hone in clean diesel fuel and rotate the hone as slow as possible while moving the hone up and down as rapidly as possible to obtain a nice swirl of about 45 degrees or about what the sleeves had originally.

These blocks are not machined that close to tolerances and the parts available today are not made of the same alloy that IH originally used. The original engines lasted for a long long time, but everything was made and done to IH engineering specs. With today's parts we need to do things a little differently, and I've found this to work successfully with today's parts         

Hopefully this will help avoid some frustration.


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