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Old 05-16-2009, 02:53 PM   #1
drrockandroll
 
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Broken VVT Controller Assembly

I have a 2001 GT-S, and the engine took a crap last week while I was driving home to see my family. Luckily, it happened near the end of my trip and I was able to get it to my parents' house without too much trouble. It was obvious from the sound it was making that there was something rattling around inside of the valve cover. After searching the forum, I figured at least one of my lift bolts was shot. Well, I cracked open the valve cover only to find that my VVT controller assembly had flown apart. Basically, all of the bolts holding it together were sheared and part of the inner assembly had cracked off. Here's what it should look like (stolen from another post):


Here's what mine looks like:


I searched the forum and didn't find much of anything with regard to replacement of the VVT controller assembly. I found another post in which somebody seemed to have the same problem, but no repair-oriented replies here. I guess I should be happy that the rest of my head is still intact.

I'm planning on following the instructions in the factory service manual and removing the timing chain cover, taking off the timing chain, and replacing the VVT controller assembly, resetting the timing (I think the timing chain jumped a few teeth on one of the gears), and putting everything back together. I'll follow all of that up with an oil change and removal/cleaning of the oil pan since at least some of the parts are unaccounted for and probably fell down there. I have a few questions, though.

1. Has anyone else experienced this problem and successfully fixed it themselves? If so, any advice would be appreciated.
2. Does anyone have a replacement VVT controller assembly for sale or know where I can get one? I'd rather not go through a dealer since they're probably the most expensive option.
3. Is the VVT controller assembly the same for both the 1ZZ-FE and the 2ZZ-GE?
4. Does removal of the timing chain cover absolutely require any of the Toyota special tools listed in the FSM?
5. How much more money and work would be required to replace the head?

Last edited by drrockandroll; 05-16-2009 at 09:03 PM.. Reason: Renumber correctly
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #2
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1. Consider yourself very lucky. There have been case where the exploding controler punched holes in the valvecover and timing cover. I can't find the pics right now. So yeah, there have been a few cases of broken VVT-i controlers.
2. Dealer is still a good bet if they carry the updated part (check the OCV Thread sticky above).
3. Yes.
4. No.
5. Hard to tell, prices on heads and work vary.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:34 AM   #3
drrockandroll
 
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Yeah, one case where the timing cover was broken can be seen here:

http://www.newcelica.org/forums/show...light=vvt+gear

I think I found the replacement part at this link for $123. That's a great price if you ask me. I'm going to call the place as well as a Toyota dealer to make sure I buy the right thing. If I'm only out 123 bucks after this, I'll consider myself very lucky.

If I replace the head, I'll do the work myself, so the cost of materials and time involved are my only concern. Replacing the VVT control assembly already requires removal of the timing belt cover. To remove the head, I'd also have to take off the throttle body, exhaust manifold, intake manifold, and camshafts. Will I be spending as much or more time getting the head off as I'll spend getting the timing chain cover off? I have to make a considerable drive (5 hrs one way) to do any work on the car, so I want to limit how much time I have to spend on the repair to cut down on the number of trips I have to make.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:06 AM   #4
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You don't have to remove the timing cover to replace the VVT-i controler, unless bits of it fell into the timing cover. What you usually do is just losen the chain tension and remove the cams and hang the chain somewhere while you replace the controler.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:46 PM   #5
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Sweet, that will make things much easier.

For those who have a similar problem down the road, I'm planning on following the instructions in this post to get to the VVT controller assembly. Then, I'm going to run a magnet down into the timing chain cover to pick up any loose bits. I'll follow that by draining the oil, removing and cleaning the oil pan, put it all back together, throw in some oil, and hope it works.

I won't be able to do any work until at least next weekend, any additional advice in the meantime would be appreciated.
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:16 PM   #6
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I've just experienced something related about a month ago. My car died while I gradually accelerated from a stop, so I towed it home, looked it over and found a broken timing chain. Well, I just got around to working on the car this weekend to see what the extent of the damage is (I've read the horror stories and have been wishing for a better world) and besides a busted up oil pump housing I found a couple severed bolts. These SOB's came out of the VVT assembly. The thing didn't blow apart like yours; there are still the other two bolts holding it together, but I suspect the bolts worked themselves completely out. My reasoning is that no part of either bolt is still threaded into the assembly and all threading, on the severed bolts and in the assembly itself, are spotless.

Furthermore, there is a nasty gash on the inside of the cylinder head cover where these bolts would have been hitting it. The shape of the gash has a profile that matches the bolt heads. I think these bolts were slowly working out and gradually "filing" away at the aluminum until the threading on the bolts cleared the threading on the assembly resulting in their "falling out" and eventual "wedge" between the timing chain and oil pump housing. I never heard anything, but I was just rolling into town from a two-hour freeway drive with open windows and an open roof. Maybe it all happened during that voyage. That's the best I can make of it. Luckily, all other components including the valves appear in order.

I think something similar is to blame for that crazy image in a link above showing the corner of a cylinder head cover busted out like a piece of a chocolate Easter Bunny.
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:01 PM   #7
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Yeah, the broken timing chain housing pic was definitely a result of the VVT assembly coming apart. You can see the inner workings of the assembly through the hole in the housing. My VVT assembly is broken, but I still consider myself lucky because it looks like the damage to my head is limited to just the VVT assembly. Even my timing chain stayed intact.

stehlika, have you managed to fix your VVT-related problems yet? Since your timing chain broke, don't you have to remove the timing chain cover to perform any repairs? Have you found a replacement VVT controller assembly?

At least two of the bolts of my VVT control assembly sheared off. The other two are still unaccounted for, but I suspect they sheared off as well and are probably somewhere in the oil pan.

My timing chain housing shows some damage where the bolts from the VVT control assembly hit against it while it was running. This was probably the ungodly racket that I heard when the **** hit the fan. I was able to limit damage (and make the sound go away) by holding my revs around 3-4000 RPM while I nursed it along. I suspect this is the region where the VVT assembly doesn't need to make any adjustments to timing, so it wasn't trying to pop outward. Just a guess, though, so if anyone has a better explanation, feel free to chime in.

Also, to provide a little more background on how this all happened, I downshifted to pass someone going up a hill, when I noticed that my rev limiter mysteriously engaged at 7000 RPM. I thought it might have been my imagination, so I kept on driving a short distance and noticed the same thing as I was exiting the highway. When I reached the end of the exit ramp and had to stop, I heard a persistent rattling from the engine bay. As I said above, the rattling went away when I hit 3k RPM or so, so I tried to hold it there until I could get to a shop. And that's the rest of the story.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:43 PM   #8
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Alright, so I picked up a replacement VVT controller assembly at the local Toyota dealership. They had it in stock for $200. A little bit pricier than what I found online, but at least I got to see it beforehand and know that it's the right part. Anyway, here are some shots of it:









The "13050-22012" on the label is the part number. Officially, the part name is the "Valve Timing Controller Assembly" but I think it was listed as "Gear Assembly, Camshaft". It's circled in the diagram below, and more information about it can be found in the OCV thread.

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Old 05-19-2009, 08:57 PM   #9
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drrock&roll--

I did remove the timing chain cover and I just got done testing to see if I could replace the controller with the cover securely on and it doesn't appear so to me. If the cover was loose and pulled away from the face of the motor a half an inch or so, probably. I didn't work at it, I just did a real quick test.

The price you got that controller for is what I'll be purchasing one for. I've seen they can be bought for about $50.00 less at discount, but I want mine for the three day weekend so I'll pay a little more at the dealer in my town. They are very quick to get things and I like the knowing if something isn't right I can go talk to a face.

Side note---I pulled the oil pan and found parts of the broken oil pump and timing chain. You may find all kinds of goodies if you do the same. A magnet may get some stuff but I personally feel better seeing what's going on. I was also able to retrieve the aluminum that a magnet would have passed on.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:39 AM   #10
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Good, it is unlocked. Now you have to install it straight up on the cam and torque it to 38 lb/ft and after it's torque turn it clockwise to lock it.
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
drrockandroll
 
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Update on VVT repair

I know it's been a long time, but I've been on travel for work and haven't had time to work on the broken VVT controller assembly until these past two weekends. Like I said previously, the car was located 5 hours away at my parents' house, so finding a convenient time to make the drive and do the work wasn't easy.

Anyway, I ended up having to pull the timing chain cover off of the engine to fish all of the VVT parts out. I finished that up last weekend and came back this weekend to put everything back together. Once I got it all put back together, it actually worked the way it was supposed to.

For those that run into this problem in the future, here's a quick summary of what I did:

-Followed FSM instructions to remove timing chain cover.
-Removed oil pan.
-Cleared out all the bits and pieces of the old VVT controller.
-Replaced the VVT controller following the unlocking procedures on this forum.
-Replaced the camshaft, set the timing, and put everything back together.

I borrowed an engine lift to manuever the engine during the whole procedure. It made things a whole lot easier. Other than that, it was a pretty straightforward procedure, just a little time consuming. It sure beats paying the $5000 for a new engine that the dealership was trying to convince me I needed, though.
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