AfterMarketNews Auto Care Pro AutoProJobs Brake&Frontend BodyShopBusiness Counterman EngineBuilder Fleet Equipment ImportCar Motorcycle & Powersports News Servicio Automotriz Shop Owner Tire Review Tech Shop Tomorrow's Tech Underhood Service

Thorough Brake Inspections Are Comeback Preventers And Profit Builders

How many times have you seen a hand-painted sign in a shop window that advertised a menu-priced brake pad replacement for “$XX.95 per axle.” Of course, a menu-priced brake replacement would be good if a simple brake pad replacement would cure all...


Air Filter Show & Tell: Seeing Is Believing

Air filters are normal wear items that ­require regular checks and ­replacement. Their role is to trap dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, walls, pistons and piston rings. In fuel-injected vehicles, the air filter also plays...


Build The Car Of Your Dreams In Quaker State Contest

At Quaker State, we know that happiness can’t be bought—it’s built part by part. That’s why we want to give you the opportunity to win a classic truck and customize it to the next level. Through the “Build The Car of Your Dreams” contest,...


Nissan Diagnosis of Poor Acceleration or Lack of Power

Models: All Nissan vehicles with an electric throttle chamber Complaint: Customer describes lack of power or poor acceleration. Solution: Perform the following checks before attempting any repair: • Check for stored DTCs. • Check if the...


Can You Service Modern Batteries?

Back in the day, all that was required to sell batteries and service a vehicle’s charging system was a battery load tester, voltmeter and hydrometer. Today, all of these tools are relatively ineffective for servicing modern batteries and charging systems. The...


Replace Valve Stems at the First Signs of Corrosion

Every OEM that uses metal valve stems for its TPMS sensors advises that if any corrosion is seen on the valve stem, it should be replaced. If the valve stem breaks due to corrosion, it will result in rapid deflation of the tire. The...


Complete Clutch Replacement: No Noise, No Comeback

Diagnosing clutch and manual transmission noise can be a difficult diagnosis. There is no way of attaching a scan tool or looking into the bellhousing while the clutch is under load. Clutch diagnostics requires logic and understanding of how the parts...


Power Steering Hoses: Inspection and Repair

What Causes Power Steering Hoses to Fail? The life of power steering hoses is not easy. Power steering hoses must endure some of the highest pressures and temperatures under the hood. Coupled with ozone, oil and solvents attacking the outer layers of...


Subaru Alignment Spec: 2005-2009 Legacy

Subaru Repair Tips: 2005-2009 Legacy Alignment  The fourth-generation Subaru Legacy was produced from 2005-2009. It was available as both a sedan and a wagon until 2008 when the wagon was dropped. The front suspension design uses a MacPherson strut....


Are You Regularly Maintaining Your Equipment?

Technicians who are idling because the welder won’t feed wire, the hydraulic ram won’t pull chains, the booth heater won’t heat or the air compressor won’t compress enough air is a costly mistake, as labor time is the most expensive thing in any...


Celebrate 'Back To The Future' Day By Watching The Time Machine Get A 2015 Detail

    For many today is just another Wednesday, but for a lot of people it is more than just your average Wednesday, it is "Back to the Future" Day. It is a day that everyone who watched the cult classic trilogy Back to the Future recognizes...


Failed Honda PCMs And CAN System Diagnostics

In early 2014, Gary Goms received one of his most challenging e-mail requests from a shop foreman of a Honda dealership. This service manager had read a column he’d written on PCM diagnostics for ImportCar and was asking his opinion about why three...


Home Engine ServicingSolutions: Chain Reaction…Timing Chain Replacement on Toyota’s 22R Series Engine

Print Print Email Email

Toyota’s 22R series four-cylinder SOHC engine has survived and thrived in its cars and trucks for nearly 30 years, and is a desired powerplant for its power, torque and reliability. The basic design is a continuation of the engine that preceded it, the 20R, which was used in cars and trucks in the mid 1970s. Last month, we highlighted servicing head gasket issues on the 20/22R series 4-cyl SOHC engine. This month, we’ll take a look at timing chain and oil sludge issues for the 22R.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
The incidence of timing chain failure on this series of engines seems to have increased over the last few years. We seldom saw a failure until 175,000 to 200,000 miles. Now, we often see failures under 150,000 miles. We’ve concluded that the use of lower viscosity oil has had a detrimental effect on timing chain life.

Although there is still some disagreement on what is the ideal oil for all conditions, the fact remains that, on this engine, viscosity and oil pressure have a significant impact on timing chain life (more on this later).

There are, however, a couple of other problems that can significantly shorten chain life and cause other failures. Oil sludging, due to lack of maintenance and overheating, can damage any engine over time. Unfortunately, there is one other cause that is usually the direct result of an improper repair for a common oil leak.

A common sequence of events in the failure of a timing chain on this engine often goes like this. The engine has a serious oil leak at the front pulley area. The leak is partially at the front crank seal, but the thin, odd shaped O-ring that seals the oil pump to the front cover is also leaking.

The oil pump is removed, the seal is replaced (a repair sleeve is sometimes needed on the pulley), and everything is cleaned and reassembled. The engine starts, runs fine, oil pressure is normal and no warning lights are on. But, there is a light “ticking” noise from the front cover area. The noise doesn’t change significantly with engine speed, so the vehicle is returned to the customer, only to return in a short time with serious noises from the front cover and water in the oil — lots of water in the oil.

So what happened?

The top center retaining bolt for the oil pump housing was replaced with one of the other retaining bolts that is less than a quarter of an inch longer. That blew the bottom out of a blind hole (see Photo 1) in the front cover, allowing the bolt to rest on the plunger pad of the chain tensioner. The oil pressure couldn’t move the plunger, and the chain ran loose and beat on the guide until it broke. Then the noise got worse, mostly upon acceleration.

Within a few hundred miles, the timing chain destroyed the long, straight guide on the distributor side of the engine, the chain chewed a groove in the front cover (see Photo 2) and coolant started disappearing in great amounts, winding up in the crankcase.

The front cover is still available from a number of sources. The timing chain components are sold in kit form and the replacement can be performed with the engine in the vehicle and without pulling the cylinder head. If the head is off, a close inspection of the timing components, as noted above, is advisable.

Teardown and Replacement
Timing chain replacement without head removal goes like this. The less bending and prying you do, the better the repair will come out. Depending on accessories, the repair will take more or less time, due to the mounting brackets.

  1. Remove the fan, shroud, drive belts and any bracket attached to the front engine cover. You will also need to remove the valve cover. Set the engine on TDC, disconnect the battery and hide the keys to the ignition.

  2. Remove the lower engine shield, then drain the radiator and crankcase. Remove the lower radiator hose from the water pump. You don’t need to remove the radiator, but it’s usually easier to see what you’re doing with it out of the way; it’s your call.

  3. Remove the crank pulley, oil pump housing and drive gear.

  4. Remove the oil pan bolts that screw into the front cover. Loosen, but don’t remove, the oil pan bolts on both sides of the crankcase.

  5. Use a sharp, stiff putty knife to separate the oil pan gasket from the bottom of the front cover. Try to keep the gasket as intact as possible to prevent small pieces from falling into the oil pan.

  6. Remove the ignition distributor, drive gear and fuel pump eccentric, and separate the camshaft sprocket from the camshaft. Remove the sprocket and let the chain settle into the chain guides.

  7. Remove the small bolt that goes into the top of the front cover (remember, it’s probably in a pool of oil so you can’t easily see it).

  8. Remove the bolts holding the front cover to the block, and the water tubes to the back of the front cover. Organize the bolts in a way that it will be obvious where they go on reassembly.

  9. Use the putty knife again to separate the front cover from the front part of the head gasket. Use great care here. Unless you want to pull the head later, try to not separate the head gasket from the bottom of the head.

  10. Carefully pry the cover away from the front of the block, making note of the alignment sleeves and their positions.

  11. Remove the rest of the timing components, guides, tensioner and crankshaft gear. Carefully inspect the front cover. If the chain has started to chew only on the cover, it may be reusable. The best determining point is to look into the water pump cavity (see Photo 3) with the pump removed to see if the grooves have been imprinted there. Once there is a failure in this area, coolant, under pressure, is just redirected into the crankcase by the water pump.

Reassembly involves carefully cleaning the front of the block, mounting the new timing components and installing per the service manual. I use RTV on the mating surfaces of the pan and head gasket. Some of the timing kits come with a replacement piece of pan gasket that requires trimming off the front of the old gasket. If the original gasket survived the separation process, it may be better left intact. As a final check before putting the valve cover on, look down the chain at the tensioner plunger and make sure there isn’t a bolt pressing on it!

Oil Issues
As noted earlier, we have come to the conclusion that a lot of the timing chain failures on this engine can be eliminated by a different mindset on oil. It’s very obvious that engine noise is greater with thinner oil, the oil pressure indicated is lower and the benefits of thinner oil are negligible. So we have as a shop policy suggested stepping up to 15W/40 or 20W/50, depending on vehicle use. Since we don’t generally have the temperature extremes here in the Northwest that some of you see, you’ll need to educate yourself on the various properties of motor oil, and then determine what would be best for your part of the country.

Although there are different qualities for various viscosities of motor oil, there are also some anomalies where viscosity, thermal breakdown and low temperature pour ability are more dependent on additives than a particular weight rating.

The single most important factor in motor oil failure remains the lack of preventive maintenance. Remember that it isn’t the “oil” that usually breaks down in motor oil. It’s the failure of the additives that control oxidation, foaming and maintain viscosity that causes the oil to become ineffective. I suggest you get technical information from your lubricant supplier, and make your own determination as to the best compromise for a particular vehicle, based on the normal use it will see. We keep a photo record of various engine failures in a three-ring binder. It’s become a great tool for explaining the merits of maintenance, since a picture is better than thousands of words to some customers.

The following two tabs change content below.
Latest articles from our other sites:

JohnDow Dynamic Introduces Quick Pick Shop Fastener Program

Dynamic Automotive Fasteners & Supplies, a brand of JohnDow Industries, is conducting an early roll-out of its “New for 2016” Quick Pick Shop Fastener Program. With the Dynamic Quick Pick Program,...More

University Of The Aftermarket Foundation Announces Officers, Trustees For 2016

The University of the Aftermarket Foundation board of trustees has elected its officers for fiscal year 2016. An official confirmation vote was held during the recent University of the Aftermarket Foundation...More

MEYLE Connects With New Facebook Page; Introduces 24-Day Advent Calendar With Prizes

Committed to promoting knowledge transfer with business partners and repair professionals, Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG will be launching another social media channel: a company Facebook page in German and...More

Nissan Diagnosis of Poor Acceleration or Lack of Power

Models: All Nissan vehicles with an electric throttle chamber Complaint: Customer describes lack of power or poor acceleration. Solution: Perform the following checks before attempting any repair: •...More

Nissan Diagnosis of Poor Acceleration or Lack of Power

Models: All Nissan vehicles with an electric throttle chamber Complaint: Customer describes lack of power or poor acceleration. Solution: Perform the following checks before attempting any repair: •...More

Winter Visibility Tune-Up

The most important safety system in a vehicle is the driver’s eyes. If the driver’s vision is impaired, it will have a direct impact on how the vehicle performs in emergency situations. Winter visibility...More

Mitchell 1 Celebrates 10 Years Of SocialCRM

Ten years after the idea of the SocialCRM shop marketing service came to light during a series of customer focus groups with aftermarket shop owners, Mitchell 1 is celebrating the anniversary of this comprehensive...More

Beta Tools Offers Deep Offset Box End Wrenches

The Beta Tools of Italy #90 Deep Offset Box End Wrenches have a 75-degree offset and a thin profile shaft/head that allows for easy access. - 29 metric sizes starting at 6x7mm - 17 SAE sizes starting...More