$2,000 for Valve Cover on Corolla

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This happened to my wifes sister recently, except that wanted $3,200.00 to fix it. Luckily, before she ever even made the decision to fix it, the car got totalled and she has a new Rav 4
 

smc733

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Originally Posted By: E150GT
This happened to my wifes sister recently, except that wanted $3,200.00 to fix it. Luckily, before she ever even made the decision to fix it, the car got totalled and she has a new Rav 4
Next vehicle won't be a problematic Toyota for me.
 
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So not valve cover for $1700...had many here confused, that. Perhaps OP needs more details as to the meaning of "timing chain cover" and "reseal".... Perhaps the dealer felt the need to replace other parts along with what was stated by OP here...other parts could include water pump for example....other parts that could bump the cost quite a bit. I could also understand a mechanics not doing a "half-a-repair" on the cheap if they believed other parts needed to be replaced in the process to correctly repair the oil leak. It's not uncommon for econobox owners to want the minimum "economy" repairs, such as replacing brake pads but not the pins and sliders nor replacing the rotors...or replacing a clutch but neither the master and slave cylinders nor the hydraulic accumulator. It happens a lot, sometimes out of ignorance (I didn't even know of an accumulator), but most often not. A $1700 repair ought to come with a written estimate detailing the parts and labor costs.... A verbal report would not be enough for me to shell out that much money. I would not draw any conclusions nor make any decisions, and would not expect accurate advice in making the repairs, without being able to refer to a written estimate.
 

smc733

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Originally Posted By: KitaCam
So not valve cover for $1700...had many here confused, that. Perhaps OP needs more details as to the meaning of "timing chain cover" and "reseal".... Perhaps the dealer felt the need to replace other parts along with what was stated by OP here...other parts could include water pump for example....other parts that could bump the cost quite a bit. I could also understand a mechanics not doing a "half-a-repair" on the cheap if they believed other parts needed to be replaced in the process to correctly repair the oil leak. It's not uncommon for econobox owners to want the minimum "economy" repairs, such as replacing brake pads but not the pins and sliders nor replacing the rotors...or replacing a clutch but neither the master and slave cylinders nor the hydraulic accumulator. It happens a lot, sometimes out of ignorance (I didn't even know of an accumulator), but most often not. A $1700 repair ought to come with a written estimate detailing the parts and labor costs.... A verbal report would not be enough for me to shell out that much money. I would not draw any conclusions nor make any decisions, and would not expect accurate advice in making the repairs, without being able to refer to a written estimate.
KitaCam, you've always been helpful on my past threads, thanks for replying! To confirm, the details I got were that there's an oil leak from the timing cover, and that it has to be removed and resealed, which requires dropping the engine. No other work. The water pump failed at 54k and was done under powertrain warranty. I want to fix the vehicle right when it needs it, I'm not one to skimp on repairs, as I believe that comes back to bite you later on. I do just know that too often, $tealer$ships quote things like fuel injector cleaning and other things that don't need it. Heck, this place told me I needed my wipers replaced... I replaced them NINE DAYS AGO, myself. I'm going to get a third opinion from another dealership that comitted to $1,100 next Friday, if it is indeed the cover needing a re-seal. At that point, I'll suck it up and do it. For the record, I did try calling Toyota to see if I could get out of warranty support (very nicely), but was (also very nicely) told to kick rocks.
 
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$1100 down from $1700 does sound like a typical dealer:indie differential... But I still wonder why the indie was hesitant to do the job...unless I've misinterpreted that bit. I do know an indie who won't do late model Volvos...to many computer diagnostics involved, and another local garage who will do parts replacement but won't do fluid changes..too much bother he says. As for what a 6-year old Corolla with 100k miles is worth after a $1k+ expense, and whether you'd consider another Corolla down the road after having that expense, is a "doubt" easy to empathise with..."first this $1k, then what?" Shocks for another $1k?...doubt is awfully hard to shake. I guess it depends on how reliable it's been to now and how much you like it (it an emotional hit as much as a hit on your wallet). Cars...can't live with, can't live without them. Good luck!
 

smc733

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Originally Posted By: KitaCam
$1100 down from $1700 does sound like a typical dealer:indie differential... But I still wonder why the indie was hesitant to do the job...unless I've misinterpreted that bit. I do know an indie who won't do late model Volvos...to many computer diagnostics involved, and another local garage who will do parts replacement but won't do fluid changes..too much bother he says. As for what a 6-year old Corolla with 100k miles is worth after a $1k+ expense, and whether you'd consider another Corolla down the road after having that expense, is a "doubt" easy to empathise with..."first this $1k, then what?" Shocks for another $1k?...doubt is awfully hard to shake. I guess it depends on how reliable it's been to now and how much you like it (it an emotional hit as much as a hit on your wallet). Cars...can't live with, can't live without them. Good luck!
Oddly enough, this was another dealer (my normal dealer, which is a single location, family owned place with a great reputation - today's was in a pinch to fix an issue). The indie shop said they don't like to do the tensioners because it's "difficult to get right on every model", not sure what that means. As for the value of the car, I cannot say I've been thrilled with this car. Water pump, two serpenteine belts, endless heat shield issues, two sets of brakes and two rotor resurfacings in 93k miles, though to be fair, I sit in 20 miles bumper-to-bumper in and back 5x a week. Also not particularly fond of the driving dynamics of the car (slow), and the plastic interior wore for the worse a bit more than I thought it would. There's also some odd squeaks and rattles. For $1,100, I'm gonna do the repair and keep it. It's been paid off for 25 months now and I think I can squeeze 2-3 years out of it to 150k, since most of the resale value is gone at this point. I'll plan to get a nice, CPO late model Hyundai Sonata when it's time for a new car. I definitely want something in the midsize class next time, and frankly, my wife's Elantra from the same year has worn much better than this Corolla has.
 
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Originally Posted By: smc733
Originally Posted By: dlayman
That's a pretty steep repair for an engine of that age and mileage that is supposedly "bulletproof". Sounds like this is pretty common?
Agreed, I've had way too many odd repairs for this "bulletproof" Toyota, especially the heat shields that keep needing work every 6 months.
There is absolutely nothing at all bulletproof about the Toyota ZZ engine, or the cars that it was installed in. The bulletproof Toyota product was the 1990-2000 Lexus LS400. Those are the cars with the million mile 1UZ engines. The ZZ engines are a disaster show. Toyota's been riding the coattails of this car for 27 years and really let their quality slip to 1990s Ford/GM standards.
 

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Originally Posted By: The Critic
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Even for a timing cover that's ridiculous. The book time for pulling the entire engine and putting it back in is probably closer to 10. Don't let them work on the car.
No it's not. $1700 is a reasonable price for that job. 10 hr of labor at $150/hr plus materials will put you right around $1700. 10 hr is about what it takes if you pull the engine out to r/r the timing cover.
They're willing to reduce his cost to $1,700 but in their book it costs $2,000 to do it. Not sure where you go for $150 an hour, the VW dealer down the road is $120 an hour, this isn't a Lamborghini dealer it's a Toyota dealership. Probably $110-$120 an hour. 10 hours is $1,100 in labor plus $10 in RTV to reseal the cover. Not $2,000.
 
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Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Not sure where you go for $150 an hour, the VW dealer down the road is $120 an hour, this isn't a Lamborghini dealer it's a Toyota dealership. Probably $110-$120 an hour. 10 hours is $1,100 in labor plus $10 in RTV to reseal the cover. Not $2,000.
You need more than RTV to do the job. You need to remove the water pump (it's on the cover) and t-stat, so the coolant needs to be drained. The oil filter housing needs to come off, so you will need new O-rings and oil and filter. The valve cover gasket needs to be replaced as well since the cover comes off. There are 3 oil passage O-rings, the water pump gasket, crank seal and t-stat housing seal. The cheapest dealer in this area is $140/hr - and this is a 10 bay Honda dealer that is still operating out of a 50 year old building. Every other dealer including Toyota is in the $150-$180/hr range.
 
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Originally Posted By: smc733
I'll be picking up my Corolla from the $tealership in an hour (my fault, I know), and they called and told me that I am leaking a good amount of oil
Stop right there. Is any hitting the floor? How did you not know about this? Do you ever have to top off the oil at all? If there's no belt slippage, puddles of oil, constant oil topping off... heck if you didn't even know about it... does this repair even need to happen?
 

hpb

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Originally Posted By: HangFire
Originally Posted By: smc733
I'll be picking up my Corolla from the $tealership in an hour (my fault, I know), and they called and told me that I am leaking a good amount of oil
Stop right there. Is any hitting the floor? How did you not know about this? Do you ever have to top off the oil at all? If there's no belt slippage, puddles of oil, constant oil topping off... heck if you didn't even know about it... does this repair even need to happen?
Totally agree!
 

JTK

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Originally Posted By: Trav
Call Toyota zone, even though its officially out of warranty it still has under 100K. Plead your case as long time Toyota owner and your disappointed that this engine needs such an expensive repair at less than 100K bla bla bla. Make sure to ask whoever it is for their help, don't demand. They may do a partial good will repair or who knows just repair it at no cost. I have had good luck with zone reps helping people out for repairs that just shouldn't be happening e.g Honda VCM and GM N* head bolts years ago. It cost nothing to make a call.
I would do exactly as Trav has suggested. I've had this work for me in the past with other manufacturers (never owned a Toyota). They may not cover 100%, but they may cover most of it. It's all on the approach IMO. This is a definite concern with today's OHC timing chain equipped vehicles. There's many linear feet of area, holding oil back with a bead of RTV. Maintenance free until it costs you $2000 because of an oil leak.
 
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Originally Posted By: JTK
This is a definite concern with today's OHC timing chain equipped vehicles. There's many linear feet of area, holding oil back with a bead of RTV. Maintenance free until it costs you $2000 because of an oil leak.
Yup! Customer cannot win one way or another. Fact is: t-belt engines are simple and noise-free, but requires periodic servicing (depending on complexity of the arrangements, it's mostly labour costs). Also: most experienced tech would also service the wear-n-tear items such as idler tensioner (bearing), water pump, etc. before releasing the vehicle out on the road again. On the other hand: given the OHC arrangements (cam phasers, twin cam 4 valves/cyl, etc. chain drive has become so complicated that anything can go wrong (and it's not easy to reach in and deal with the problem). Cover leak is normal, so are many other things that can also go wrong (due to design complexities). People whine and whine about t-belt servicing costs, etc. and now they come back and whine and whine about chain-driven engined cars servicing costs, etc. Just like my locals: simply ride a bicycle instead: less things to break. Q.
 

smc733

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Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
Originally Posted By: smc733
Originally Posted By: dlayman
That's a pretty steep repair for an engine of that age and mileage that is supposedly "bulletproof". Sounds like this is pretty common?
Agreed, I've had way too many odd repairs for this "bulletproof" Toyota, especially the heat shields that keep needing work every 6 months.
There is absolutely nothing at all bulletproof about the Toyota ZZ engine, or the cars that it was installed in. The bulletproof Toyota product was the 1990-2000 Lexus LS400. Those are the cars with the million mile 1UZ engines. The ZZ engines are a disaster show. Toyota's been riding the coattails of this car for 27 years and really let their quality slip to 1990s Ford/GM standards.
Interesting and good to know. Combined with the fact that although this was a practical purchase, the driving dynamics are not great, I will probably get a Hyundai, Honda or Ford next.
Originally Posted By: The Critic
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Not sure where you go for $150 an hour, the VW dealer down the road is $120 an hour, this isn't a Lamborghini dealer it's a Toyota dealership. Probably $110-$120 an hour. 10 hours is $1,100 in labor plus $10 in RTV to reseal the cover. Not $2,000.
You need more than RTV to do the job. You need to remove the water pump (it's on the cover) and t-stat, so the coolant needs to be drained. The oil filter housing needs to come off, so you will need new O-rings and oil and filter. The valve cover gasket needs to be replaced as well since the cover comes off. There are 3 oil passage O-rings, the water pump gasket, crank seal and t-stat housing seal. The cheapest dealer in this area is $140/hr - and this is a 10 bay Honda dealer that is still operating out of a 50 year old building. Every other dealer including Toyota is in the $150-$180/hr range.
The standard shop rate in Massachusetts is $110/hr. There is no shop here that is ever more than $115. We'll see if the dealer that quoted $1,100 will honor it next week...
Originally Posted By: JTK
Originally Posted By: Trav
Call Toyota zone, even though its officially out of warranty it still has under 100K. Plead your case as long time Toyota owner and your disappointed that this engine needs such an expensive repair at less than 100K bla bla bla. Make sure to ask whoever it is for their help, don't demand. They may do a partial good will repair or who knows just repair it at no cost. I have had good luck with zone reps helping people out for repairs that just shouldn't be happening e.g Honda VCM and GM N* head bolts years ago. It cost nothing to make a call.
I would do exactly as Trav has suggested. I've had this work for me in the past with other manufacturers (never owned a Toyota). They may not cover 100%, but they may cover most of it. It's all on the approach IMO. This is a definite concern with today's OHC timing chain equipped vehicles. There's many linear feet of area, holding oil back with a bead of RTV. Maintenance free until it costs you $2000 because of an oil leak.
Tried and failed on the phone, it was a pleasant conversation but they said it doesn't qualify for "out of warranty service". Maybe I will try emailing the CEO of Toyota USA. The most frustrating thing about this is I have this boring to drive car because its supposed to be reliable and trouble free (I have maintained it to the book under the "severe" schedule). If I was going to have a car with as many problems, I would have picked something more enjoyable.
Originally Posted By: HangFire
Originally Posted By: smc733
I'll be picking up my Corolla from the $tealership in an hour (my fault, I know), and they called and told me that I am leaking a good amount of oil
Stop right there. Is any hitting the floor? How did you not know about this? Do you ever have to top off the oil at all? If there's no belt slippage, puddles of oil, constant oil topping off... heck if you didn't even know about it... does this repair even need to happen?
There's been a seepage under the car, but I assumed it was from the AC condensation (its below the passenger's seat in the cabin, not under the hood). I will be checking it more carefully now and report back. The timing cover side of the engine does look "wet" as if something is leaking. I check the oil a few times throughout the OCI, and have never noticed it being low. Never had to add oil. I did have an issue with the serpentene belt slipping, but this was fixed when a bolt that wasn't replaced when the water pump was fixed.
 
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Originally Posted By: smc733
Never had to add oil. I did have an issue with the serpentene belt slipping, but this was fixed when a bolt that wasn't replaced when the water pump was fixed.
Thanks for answering my questions. This is my take on it. If I don't have to add oil, and it isn't making an awful mess in my garage, it can wait. If remediation gets down to "I wipe off excess oil film once a month", I can live with that. I can take the time to make a plan, and decide whether to trade it in, or just do it later if it gets worse. This is more than an academic question for me, I have a 2010 Corolla. Like yours it is payed for. Unlike yours it has been 100% reliable for 162K miles, with nothing but maintenance and some safety recalls. Like you I don't love the interior and the handling is just meh. On the other hand, I love the transmission programming (can't say that about a rental Hyundai I drove), the reliability, the utility, and the economy. My current plan is to run it to 250K then sell it or trade it in.
 
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Originally Posted By: smc733
There's been a seepage under the car, but I assumed it was from the AC condensation (it's below the passenger's seat in the cabin, not under the hood). I will be checking it more carefully now and report back. The timing cover side of the engine does look "wet" as if something is leaking. I check the oil a few times throughout the OCI, and have never noticed it being low. Never had to add oil. I did have an issue with the serpentine belt slipping, but this was fixed when a bolt that wasn't replaced when the water pump was fixed.
When you say you don't have to add any oil between OCs...that would contradict everything we've read thus far...How many miles is your OCI? Regardless, it's hard to believe you have a serious oil leakage if you don't have to add any oil. But to address this post: "seepage" is what? drips? drops that remain on the driveway the next day? drops that leave a mess of spots on your driveway? THAT'S oil... or...(something out of left field, I know)... If they're drops that don't evaporate and are REDDISH in color, that's power steering fluid...a whole other issue... Occasionally my PS leak leaves nickel-size drops that remain for weeks before disappearing that amounts to my having to add 2oz twice a year. My repair is a rubber mat under the car. AC condensation is clear water that evaporates in an hour or two and leaves no telltale spots on your driveway. I don't mean to be cruel, but surely you can tell the difference between water and oil. On the engine block, wet areas that do not lead to drops under the car is "weepage" that might be easily dealt with by using HM oil with additives that restore sealing properties. Sorry OP, but the more you post the more I'm reading a lot of vague descriptions of your observations and experiences....As a result you're getting a lot of very different courses of action to take. Nonetheless we'll do the best we can with the information you provide.
 
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Cmon man How much oil do you have to add and how often. At least you should know this. If it is a minor leak I would not worry too much. No way would I pay a grand to stop a leak. I think you must have a sign on your back.
 
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50 years ago we all drove cars with rope rear main seals and highways had a dark line down the middle of the lanes. First rain after a while of dry would float all that oil up and get things nice and slick. Look where we've come! Having a Toyota franchise is a license to print money when you get "type A" customers who want a perfect car. If you trade the car in, a wholesaler will pressure wash the engine and then it'll wind up on a buy-here, pay-here lot. And someone will get another 150k out of it doing nothing. I rebuilt my saturn s-series with an annoying long timing chain cover. Used "Big lots" RTV b/c I was too clever to pay the extra $3 for Permatex. Wow did that bite me in the butt! And I let it weep. Never stained my driveway but it looked bad underneath. So what? Got 243k out of it.
 
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"Timing chain covers leak; its a fact of life like changing timing belts is" Is one of the stupidest things Ive read on this forum. My Ford 4.6 has twice the amount of chain flying around as this Toyota 4cyl. and the timing chain cover is dry as a bone at over 200k miles. tbh I would get up under the car and get eyes on what is going on.. I wouldnt worry about seeping gaskets. Dripping is one thing, but a little wetness isnt the end of the world and I certainly wouldn't spend over a grand on fixing it.
 
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