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Old 09-09-2015, 07:11 PM   #1
Rdubs
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Tips for removing timing chain cover - 2ZZ-GE

Hi all,

My brother has a 2000 Celica GTS (2ZZ), and it has had a noticeable oil leak ever since he bought it. I have a 94 MR2 that I swapped out the 5SFE for a 3MZ V6, so figured I could help with his leak. I spent some time on google and found some posts on this site which were very helpful in trying to determine where the leak might be:
https://www.newcelica.org/forums/showthread.php?t=321080
https://www.newcelica.org/forums/showthread.php?t=343745

It seemed the most likely culprits were the timing chain tensioner o-ring and the valve cover gasket, so I replace those along with the crank pulley seal just to be safe. Put it all back together but it is still leaking the same. I did the talcum powder trick and it looks like it is coming from that little nook just above the timing chain tensioner, not far off from how it shows in that second link. I wanted to be lazy and just try to put some RTV over where I think the leak is and hope that keeps it in, but not sure that would be successful. So figure bite the bullet and change the whole timing chain cover gasket. But, I really don't want to pull the whole engine out to do so and also there isn't a lot of room between the engine front and the sidewall.

Anyone have any tips for taking off the timing chain cover to replace the gasket? I have a copy of the service manual which lays out the steps, but often there are helpful hints forum folks learn that don't make it into the service manual. For example jack up the engine to get to the main drive belt tensioner bolt, I had to loosen it to get the timing chain tensioner out.

Appreciate any advice, I'm kind of worried because there seems only like an inch of clearance between the front of the engine and the sidewall.

Thanks,
Rdubs
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:50 AM   #2
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You do have to remove the front engine mount and unbolt the radiator side engine mount and firewall side engine mount, and jack the engine up and down to get the timing cover off while it is still in the car. There is not enough access room to remove some of the cover bolts otherwise. You will likely have to unbolt and set aside the power steering pump, a/c compressor and alternator too.

I like your suggestion about applying some RTV on the outside of the leaky timing cover joint... Just make sure it is cleaned with degreaser and brake cleaner first. Depending on the joint, it may only require an RTV seal anyway.

If that doesn't work then do the hard repair.
My 2 DIY cents.
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:18 AM   #3
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Thanks Dentman.

Having a problem trying to get the RH engine mounting bracket off from the engine. Looks like there are four bolts, three of them came off easy but the bottom one looks like it is located behind the water pump pulley and don't see how to get to it. The manual says I need to remove the water pump anyway as part of the procedure to remove the timing belt, but not sure if I need to remove the engine bracket first. How have you guys dealt with this when removing the stuff off the front of the engine with the engine still in the bay?
Thanks
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:58 AM   #4
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Update: I got the water pump off, was a little tricky trying to put torque on those four bolts holding the pulley on. Removing the water pump pulley gave good access to that bolt for the engine mount bracket.

I have removed the 12 bolts holding the timing cover on, but there seems to be one bolt left somewhere I can't find, I think it is that "stud" bolt the manual mentions which needs to be removed with a Torx. I can't find it on any drawings. Anyone know where that torx bolt is?

Update: I managed to get the cover off, but still never found the torx. Maybe someone replaced it with a regular bolt.

Question: Is there anything besides the timing cover gasket and the water pump o-ring that should be replaced to put the pieces back together? Another post I read the fellow recommended replacing the "o-ring where the mount bracket bolts into the head through the timing cover" but no idea what that is. Also anyone have a part number for the crank position sensor o-ring?

Last edited by Rdubs; 09-11-2015 at 12:21 PM..
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:58 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to start this same job soon. I've had a slow leak for a long time, not usually more than 1/4-1/2 quart of oil loss per 3k miles...so I never worried about it.

But after changing the oil a few weeks ago, I found I was low 1/2 quart after only ˜200 miles, and found a nice puddle of oil under the car in the garage. (And I did double check the oil filter & drain plug in case they weren't snug, since it seemed to get worse right after the oil change.)

I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from, but I have a feeling it's the timing cover gasket. Quite a bit of oil on/around it. The chain tensioner doesn't seem to be wet, so I don't think that much oil is coming from it. No oil on my crank pulley, so I don't think it's the crank seal. Had a bad oil pan gasket (or FIPG) long ago, but I don't think I'd be getting so much oil up on the engine if it were the oil pan -unless of course, enough is getting slung back up from the axle (much of the oil collects on my Beatrush underpanel and then drips onto the axle).

I did replace my serpentine belt just a few hundred miles ago, had to pry with a crowbar (as mentioned on multiple nc.org threads) to loosen the tensioner. Not sure if I may have pried too hard against something to somehow affect a gasket or if it's just a coincidence.

Any tips & tricks you come up with - please share!

Edit - My 2zz has around 174k on it. It's been great up till now. Is the job of replacing the timing cover gasket big enough that I may as well just by a new head gasket/etc and redo the other seals/gaskets while I'm at it? It sounds like it's rather time consuming already, so just wondering people's opinions. I've done a few head gasket jobs in the past on the 5sfe & 4age, but have been fortunate on the 2zzge not to need to dig into it before this.
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Last edited by squall leonhart; 10-22-2015 at 08:05 AM.. Reason: Add question
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:30 PM   #6
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Head gaskets don't tend to go bad in 2zzs, I wouldn't worry about doing it.
The timing chain cover removal isn't too bad. Spray the belt tensioner bolt in wd40 and let it soak. I snapped that bolt recently. It was seized tight and I have read a few other people breaking the bolt too. $220 later to extract the bolt and re-thread.
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
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Timing Cover Gasket replacement Cost?

I'm good with doing all the basics on my XRS but not willing to tackle this job myself.
My mechanic without looking into it gave me a $3k quote saying, they'd pull the motor and put a new chain, etc. He also suggested a rebuilt since my 2zz has 192k miles. MonkeyWrenchRacing does have some good options but its hard to stomach such a large investment. What have others seen charged just for the timing cover gasket replacement in recent years? Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:50 PM   #8
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You don't need to pull the engine...
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narly charley View Post
You don't need to pull the engine...
He's right, however on the Celica, especially the GTS there is little to no room to access the engine accessories (especially the belt tensioner main bolt.) You'd have to remove the passenger motor mount, jack up the engine, and use a pair of small hands and good tools.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narly charley View Post
You don't need to pull the engine...
It does seem like the Matrix 2zz has more room than Celica's.
What else should be replaced at the same time as the timing cover gasket on a motor nearing 200k? Timing chain? Water Pump?
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcfool View Post
It does seem like the Matrix 2zz has more room than Celica's.
What else should be replaced at the same time as the timing cover gasket on a motor nearing 200k? Timing chain? Water Pump?
Definitely the water pump. Timing chain should be fine, unless there is a lot of play in it (which there shouldn't be at that mileage). The intake VVT sprocket can get gunked up on higher mileage engines and I would recommend replacing it while you have the cover off (if you plan on keeping the car).
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Old 03-30-2017, 03:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narly charley View Post
Definitely the water pump. Timing chain should be fine, unless there is a lot of play in it (which there shouldn't be at that mileage). The intake VVT sprocket can get gunked up on higher mileage engines and I would recommend replacing it while you have the cover off (if you plan on keeping the car).
Good info, thanks!
When I had the cam cover off for the first time ever(15 yrs) to replace that gasket it was cleaner in there than I would have imagined. So I'd hope that the intake vvt sprocket would only need to be cleaned out(with brake cleaner?) instead of replaced since oem is $220.
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Old 03-31-2017, 06:31 AM   #13
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3 grand... wow. Put a used JDM engine in for that price.

The water pump may last another 50,000 miles and is easy to change. Spend the money if you want... I wouldn't disturb or replace the VVT assembly or timing chain either unless they are worn out.

Shampoo and clean the entire engine before you start the process.
Buy and replace the timing chain tensioner gasket and front (crank) seal.
Make sure all the points on the timing chain cover that require RTV sealant have some when you put it back on the engine. Check the shop manual.

While you have all that apart, make sure the power steering fittings are tight and the lines are not seeping fluid.

My 2 cents. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:11 AM   #14
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You're in TX. See what DDPerformance can do for ya.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:35 AM   #15
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Thanks all for the advise. I was hoping Uncle Sam would go kindly on me this yr but after filing last night that's not the case so I don't have funds to do any repairs for awhile. Normally I think most additives are risky or snake oil but I'm consider using a additive from BlueDevil, their rear main sealer: http://store.gobdp.com/rear-main-sealer-00234/
Good idea or mistake in a 2zz?
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:21 AM   #16
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Maybe just go with a High Mileage oil. They have more seal conditioners if that's your concern.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:56 PM   #17
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Resealing front timing chain cover

I have a GTS with about 300K miles in Southern California, about 1/3 high speed freeway cruising. Car runs great but had a small leak for years. Trying to reseal valve cover and timing chain tensioner, still leaks. Finally had a shop wash down the engine and found the leaks from the timing chain cover and the cam oil solenoid area out front.

A local shop quoted me standard book rate 4 hours and $400 to remove and reseal the timing chain cover. This shop swaps engines regularly.

Another shop insisted it's an 6 hours job and $600. He said, have to remove all pulleys and valve cover, then the chain cover, so 6 hours.

I was in Tijuana so left the car in a big shop. The mechanic said 3 to 4 hours and about $160. It took him like 7 hours to put everything back together. He had a hard time fitting all the long bolts in their spots. He had to remove 3 engine mounts , except the xmission mount, to move the engine up and down. It was a lot of work on a lift, so would be hard without the lift.

No more leaks, but engine now runs weak and rough, timing chain appears to adjust for knocking on acceleration. There is small clattering noise from the timing chain area, like pulling a small chain through a steel loop.

Not happy with the engine. I think he screwed up the timing marks alignment on the crank and cam pulleys Have to bring it back for him to adjust.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:45 AM   #18
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In that area's radius, I would recommend a guy in Chula Vista off of Broadway and K, behind the 7 Eleven. 619 K st. I tripped over his place one day for assistance with a cracked condenser on my Celica and he offered me a pretty good deal that beat even the peeps in Mexico... Its family owned and the owner's name is Mario, if I remember correctly, haven't been there since 2013 since I left the area, but I see he is still there and the google site gives it 4.7 stars as of this 7/27/19... The last time I went there was to weld a stud into the rear control arm area...
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