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1Zz-Fe Timing Chain Tensioner Diy



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Great write up! I'm replacing my valve cover gasket this weekend on my 2001 Corolla with 201,000 miles, your document is very helpful.

Great write up! I'm replacing my valve cover gasket this weekend on my 2001 Corolla with 201,000 miles, your document is very helpful.

Good luck. Glad I could help!

Wow ! GREAT writeup.

I have to change my timing chain tensioner o-ring I'm told. However, I am wondering does anyone know if there are more details on how to do this without the valve cover step you did?

What I mean is you mention we won't know if the tensioner released and 'good luck'. Do you have to put it in latched up like that when you put it in or could it be open?

Otherwise what do they normally do in a shop? Do they just start the car and assume it will release, or do they do something different in a shop?

Also - how do you know if you need to change the whole thing, or just the o-ring like the shop says?

Wow ! GREAT writeup.

 

I have to change my timing chain tensioner o-ring I'm told. However, I am wondering does anyone know if there are more details on how to do this without the valve cover step you did?

What I mean is you mention we won't know if the tensioner released and 'good luck'. Do you have to put it in latched up like that when you put it in or could it be open?

Otherwise what do they normally do in a shop? Do they just start the car and assume it will release, or do they do something different in a shop?

Also - how do you know if you need to change the whole thing, or just the o-ring like the shop says?

You definitely have to put in latched. If you want to skip the valve cover, just put it in and turn the crankshaft with a wrench. If you hear it go zip, it's probably on there correctly. You can take it out and put it in a few times to make sure you heard it right. The part itself is cheap and comes with an o-ring. Plus, the part has been updated several times since the original. Might as well get the latest part. I don't know what the differences are, but I like to play it safe. You can replace the o-ring but it's a lot of work just to do that.

Well I tried putting the new o-ring first just to see how that goes.

I didn't put any silicon, did you? I didn't see it in your article.

My card did have silicon and the o-ring though... however, with the narrow lip on the sides of the tensioner I'm not sure it would do too much.

I'll see how this goes and buy the part if this is no good.

However, the shop claims I need to do the crank seal and the timing chain cover too... but they didn't even wash the engine to check exactly where the leak was...

I torqued it up to what I thought wasn't too bad, but then checked with a wrench and it was already 80 in lbs, so to me it didn't seem to need to be on too tight.

I noticed the o-ring is sort of loose on the tensioner too. Though that seemed odd. Toyota parts though.

Well I tried putting the new o-ring first just to see how that goes.

 

I didn't put any silicon, did you? I didn't see it in your article.

My card did have silicon and the o-ring though... however, with the narrow lip on the sides of the tensioner I'm not sure it would do too much.

I'll see how this goes and buy the part if this is no good.

However, the shop claims I need to do the crank seal and the timing chain cover too... but they didn't even wash the engine to check exactly where the leak was...

I torqued it up to what I thought wasn't too bad, but then checked with a wrench and it was already 80 in lbs, so to me it didn't seem to need to be on too tight.

I noticed the o-ring is sort of loose on the tensioner too. Though that seemed odd. Toyota parts though.

No silicone needed. The O-ring squashes into the area it's supposed to seal. The leak is caused by the o-ring becoming brittle or too compacted. After I changed my tensioner and valve cover gasket, I still have a very small leak somewhere, too. Only a drop here and there on the back of the engine. I'll probably try to do a fluorescent dye test to see where it's coming from. Shady mechanics always tell you, "Oh it's this or this or this," without doing any work and then charge you for all three in the end.

OK looks like I can see a little bit of glistening on the side of the tensioner still after letting it all idle for a while.

SO... guess my new washer perhaps didn't do the trick. Might try a new tensioner then if it leaks more. Might wait a few drives to see what it looks like. See if it is really leaking for sure.

Thats kind of weird though one would think, that the tensioner has to be replaced just because of this. What I mean is you don't replace your OIL PAN, just the seal... but this thing makes one think you need to do the part and the seal... strange.

OH - I was going to ask. Are those bolts OUTSIDE the engine cover? I just wanted to be sure that the oil couldn't come through the bolt studs if they weren't set properly into that timing chain cover or something. (Just taped holes that dont' go through the cover for sure??)

I should post my photos some time but have to setup one of those accounts. To bad this forum doesn't take them direct.

NOPE !! - actually - looks like it DID work.

I think the old oil grime is all it was that I saw. Washed it all off nice and clean - took it for a long drive. No oil around the tensioner now.

I'll have to see about the other spots they mentioned.

Now you just have to make a tutorial on the "Crank Seal" default_smile heheheh !! oil pan....

NOPE !! - actually - looks like it DID work.

 

I think the old oil grime is all it was that I saw. Washed it all off nice and clean - took it for a long drive. No oil around the tensioner now.

I'll have to see about the other spots they mentioned.

Now you just have to make a tutorial on the "Crank Seal" default_smile heheheh !! oil pan....

 

Just replaced my timing chain tensioner... noticed something odd about the chain slipper on the front of the engine... it looks like the intake cam has walked toward the passenger side of the car about 1/16". I did notice when I had the head off that the sprocket-side cam bearing cap was slightly gouged-looking... I shined it up with some crocus cloth and polished it a little and stuck it back together.... will it be ok for a few more years, or will the cam eventually try to walk itself out the side of the timing cover?

Just replaced my timing chain tensioner... noticed something odd about the chain slipper on the front of the engine... it looks like the intake cam has walked toward the passenger side of the car about 1/16". I did notice when I had the head off that the sprocket-side cam bearing cap was slightly gouged-looking... I shined it up with some crocus cloth and polished it a little and stuck it back together.... will it be ok for a few more years, or will the cam eventually try to walk itself out the side of the timing cover?

Did you try wiggling the cam and see if it slid over any? Cam with 1/16" of slop is a LOT - that is way off spec. Max thrust clearance is 0.0043" - about the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Just replaced my timing chain tensioner... noticed something odd about the chain slipper on the front of the engine... it looks like the intake cam has walked toward the passenger side of the car about 1/16". I did notice when I had the head off that the sprocket-side cam bearing cap was slightly gouged-looking... I shined it up with some crocus cloth and polished it a little and stuck it back together.... will it be ok for a few more years, or will the cam eventually try to walk itself out the side of the timing cover?

Did you try wiggling the cam and see if it slid over any? Cam with 1/16" of slop is a LOT - that is way off spec. Max thrust clearance is 0.0043" - about the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Well it's way beyond that, lol. Should I weld a button to the inside of the timing cover to keep it from thrusting too much more and causing the oil feed holes to stop lining up?

The people I got the car from didn't know much about the 10 previous owners, or where the junkyard engine in it came from... chances are, it was owned at some point by one of those people who believes toyotas don't need oil changes.

I'm going to keep an eye out for a cylinder head.

Also...

I turned a stop light red next to a similar vintage 'rolla...

we both cut about a .500 light and left dead even..

I had pulled a car and a half on it when I got out of it at 55mph.

Yeah, the cylinder had shave did something, and it REALLY likes 93-octane.

Note that I weigh 280 and I carry another 80 lbs. of tools in the car at all times.

Heck, it's an auto and I'm pretty sure it'd outrun my old '92 civic 5-speed.

Even if the replacement head looks perfect, I think I'll have it shaved down .01" just because. I like the bottom-end grunt this little 1zz has. :ninja:

I'd just look for a spare head, if you come across one. If you can, try and pick one from a MKIII Toyota MR2 or 7th gen Celica GT. Those heads will fit the 1ZZ-FE in the Corolla, but have slightly oversized valves. Couple that with some P&P work, maybe bore out the TB (have to run a separate EMS to take advantage of those mods though) - and the car will have a little bit more go. I also wouldn't shave the head down any more than 0.01" - as the piston crownn come pretty close to the head - that "tapered-squish" zone that is engineered in the 1ZZ-FE design. As long as you keep a check on carbon deposits - you are fine, once those deposits get heavy, you could run into an interference issue. I'd also keep running that higher octane, as you've effectively upped the compression ratio - and the engine now needs all the help it can get. If the engine pulls timing, due to excessive detonation, it will run like a dog.

Yeah, this generation of 1ZZ-FE is known to be a torquey engine - long length intake runners and a cam profile that favors low end power.

I've been running a fuel system cleaner every 4th tankful, and I generally use Shell V-Power 93 octane..

It likes the expensive gas, that's for sure. 87 octane turns it into a yugo.

First off, thanks to dshadle for starting this thread.  I ran across it on a web search and it has empowered me to do this exact repair.  I'm a shade tree mechanic so this isn't out of my league, but we were originally quoted over $600 for this repair, which included a timing chain replacement.  Adding to this the money spent diagnosing this problem (originally we thought it was an exhaust leak due to the fact that it started at the same time as some exhaust system damage), and we have already spend a considerable amount.  Total for these parts was about $53, so I decided to go ahead and try this one- maybe it will stop the grumbling noise when the car is stopped and in gear.  As of this evening (Friday) I'm only half way through, but wanted to share some thoughts and pictures.

Here's the new tensioner in the bag:

Here's the gasket in the bag:

Here are some views of the new tensioner:

These are of the tensioner latched:

Here's a closeup and long shot of the tensioner extended:

Here's the old tensioner as it came out:

Mine wasn't stuck in like dshadle's. I'm still hoping that replacing the tensioner will fix the grumbling noise.

Here's a broad look at the cylinder head. Might be a little cleaner than dshadle's but not by much. This car has 134,000 miles on it:

Here's a close up of the loose chain. Doesn't seem any looser than dshadle's, which gives me hope:

Here's the new tensioner being tightened. Had no problem getting to the nuts with a regular 10mm socket and ratchet. Switched to the deep socket for the final tightening of the upper nut. Snugged them up but was not able to use a torque wrench:

This is a nice 10mm ratcheting wrench from Sears. I'm sure I will use at some point, but I didn't need it for tightening the tensioner:

Here's the crankshaft, the bolt in the middle is the one to turn with the 19mm socket. I took the spark plugs out to allow the engine to turn easily. I didn't see that step earlier but it seemed like a natural thing to do. It did turn easily and I heard the tensioner snap into place:

And that made the chain tight:

You could push down on the chain a little, but I suspect that's because the engine turned very easily with the plugs out:

More tomorrow after I finish re-assembly. Didn't have time to do the Permatex/gasket cover thing today.

Val

I have a 1999 Corolla VE, does the cars have the same engine?

Thanks.

I have a 1999 Corolla VE, does the cars have the same engine?

 

Thanks.

Pretty much the same but I believe you do not have the coil-on-plug assembly for the spark plugs. Everything with regard to the mechanical side (i.e., the tensioner) will be same, but the ignition system is different.

Step 14: Jack up Passenger Side and Remove Plastic Shield under the Passenger Side of Vehicle

 

Tools Needed: Jack/Stand; 10 mm socket, 10 mm deep socket, ratchet

If you are small you can do this without the jack, but it will be tight. I used the jack so I could work with plenty of room.

Note: There are 6 bolts on the cover, but two of them are different. Like the ignition coils, you should keep track of which ones go where.

Why do you need to jack the car up? Is it b/c you can turn the pulley? Could you turn the power steering pulley and this could turn the cam pulley too? I know I can do this for my Honda accord to adjust valves.

It seems like the pic in step 15, the view is from the top looking down onto the chain right?

Is there a specific spot on the timing chain that the tensioner needs to release on? Or you can just turn the chain until the tensioner spring is click on release?

Must you change the whole tensioner or could you just change the o-ring? Do they even sell just the o-ring?

Thanks,

Step 14: Jack up Passenger Side and Remove Plastic Shield under the Passenger Side of Vehicle

Tools Needed: Jack/Stand; 10 mm socket, 10 mm deep socket, ratchet

If you are small you can do this without the jack, but it will be tight. I used the jack so I could work with plenty of room.

Note: There are 6 bolts on the cover, but two of them are different. Like the ignition coils, you should keep track of which ones go where.

Why do you need to jack the car up? Is it b/c you can turn the pulley? Could you turn the power steering pulley and this could turn the cam pulley too? I know I can do this for my Honda accord to adjust valves.

It seems like the pic in step 15, the view is from the top looking down onto the chain right?

Is there a specific spot on the timing chain that the tensioner needs to release on? Or you can just turn the chain until the tensioner spring is click on release?

Must you change the whole tensioner or could you just change the o-ring? Do they even sell just the o-ring?

Thanks,

 

Yes, you're correct--I jacked it up to turn the crankshaft. If you can get the whole system to move using a different pulley, I don't see why this would be a problem. Could use the alternator or whatever else, but I just went right to it.

The tensioner doesn't need to be on a specific spot, to my knowledge. You could just change the o-ring, but the tensioner is like 20 bucks and comes with the ring. It didn't seem cost effective for me to do all that work and not replace the tensioner. But it's up to you (if they do sell the o-ring separately.)

Step 14: Jack up Passenger Side and Remove Plastic Shield under the Passenger Side of Vehicle

Tools Needed: Jack/Stand; 10 mm socket, 10 mm deep socket, ratchet

If you are small you can do this without the jack, but it will be tight. I used the jack so I could work with plenty of room.

Note: There are 6 bolts on the cover, but two of them are different. Like the ignition coils, you should keep track of which ones go where.

Why do you need to jack the car up? Is it b/c you can turn the pulley? Could you turn the power steering pulley and this could turn the cam pulley too? I know I can do this for my Honda accord to adjust valves.

It seems like the pic in step 15, the view is from the top looking down onto the chain right?

$20? At the dealer or where could you get it that cheap? I was under the impression that it would be at least $30 or even $55.

Thanks.

Is there a specific spot on the timing chain that the tensioner needs to release on? Or you can just turn the chain until the tensioner spring is click on release?

Must you change the whole tensioner or could you just change the o-ring? Do they even sell just the o-ring?

Thanks,

 

Yes, you're correct--I jacked it up to turn the crankshaft. If you can get the whole system to move using a different pulley, I don't see why this would be a problem. Could use the alternator or whatever else, but I just went right to it.

The tensioner doesn't need to be on a specific spot, to my knowledge. You could just change the o-ring, but the tensioner is like 20 bucks and comes with the ring. It didn't seem cost effective for me to do all that work and not replace the tensioner. But it's up to you (if they do sell the o-ring separately.)