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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay, I just got my first toyota, a 1999 camry with a 5sfe engine that has about 260,000 miles on it. after I got it home, I discovered it leaks about 1 qt of oil in just under 100 miles, and then the oil level stays put at 1qt low.

I saw oil dripping onto the exhaust from the area between the engine block and the transmission, and smoke coming up from the same area on top of the engine as this oil bled out, all of which stopped when the 1st quart disappeared.

I saw what looked like a sloppy sealing job with clear silicone along one side of the oil pan, so I assumed it needs a new oil pan gasket.

So I bought the felpro gasket, some of the Permatex black RTV silicone, put the car on the ramps, drained the oil, and got ready to remove all the bolts around the pan to drop it & clean it up

Then I found some ALIEN TECHNOLOGY . . . :surprise:

( Keep in mind, I'm used to working on 70's & 80's GM & Dodge vehicles, and an occasional Datsun or Subaru for family members. My newest vehicle I've worked on (or under) was my '97 Chevy Lumina, until it's disposable transmission wore out and I got this Camry.)

ALIEN TECHNOLOGY: Why in blue blazes is there some sort of a custom molded, foam rubber SPONGE molded into the (external) gap between the bell housing and the oil pan????

Is this something Toyota did?

This sponge thing was saturated with oil, and it crumbled to little black pieces when I touched it. Until then, it was molded into filling the gap between the tin inspection cover over the bottom portion of the bell housing, and the back wall of the oil pan, below the rear main seal. The tin cover over the lower bell housing had a pair of pins, or tubes, about 1 inch long each, that almost bridged the gap between the Bell housing and the oil pan, this foam sponge thing completely enveloped these protrusions, was held in place by them (until I crumbled it up) and extended the full width of the oil pan, and was almost as deep as the shallow end of the pan itself. (I would photograph this thing, but there isn't much of it left). There were no bolt holes in the lip of the oil pan from corner to corner above/behind this sponge-like device. Could this absence of bolts be a pressure vent of some sort? or a Toyota's effort to protect the carrier of the rear main seal directly above it?

All the surfaces behind/underneath/covered up by this sponge were saturated with motor oil, and oil was dripping from the end of the sponge pointed to the rear of the car, drips were sometimes landing on the hot exhaust and burning (or smoking) while the car was in motion. The exhaust flex-joint, and much of the exhaust pipe going back was black from this going on for so long.

My question is this, I need background on this mystery part!
was that sponge thing Toyota's idea?
(I have my suspicions, but ... )What was its purpose?
must I replace it? Is there something better to use now? (nobody I spoke to about this Camry ever mentioned such a part before, & I haven't seen such a thing for sale at rock auto)

(So much for a simple R&R of the oil pan gasket!)

I want to understand my soon-to-be daily driver as thoroughly as I can, so any info is appreciated.
 

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Do not use a cork gasket on the oil pan:surprise:

You want to use just the RTV and you must give it enough time to dry. A better solution would have been Permetex Right Stuff.

I know that sponge stuff you mean. I ripped mine out and never replaced it. No idea what it does. 30k miles later no problems.
 

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The Japanese Camrys start the VIN with "J" while the Kentucky Camrys start with 4T or something like that.
The Japanese cars used FIPG, a sealant (but not silicone) to seal the pan to the engine block.
http://www.aisinaftermarket.com/English/Product.php?product_id=22

My Japan Camry has a cork gasket replacement that is doing quite well.

As far as I know, the Kentucky cars used cork gaskets originally for the oil pan.

The tailpipe must be dropped just a bit to permit the pan to lower enough to clear the balancer. At one corner of the pan, a bracket to the engine could be loosened to aid in accessing a couple of the pan bolts. Rotating the crankshaft a bit to move the counterweight out of the way may be necessary.
 

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As far as I know, the Kentucky cars used cork gaskets originally for the oil pan.
Nope, we have a Kentucky car, only RTV needed. Cork gaskets are vastly inferior technology and should not be used.

The tailpipe must be dropped just a bit to permit the pan to lower enough to clear the balancer.
Nope, you can wiggle them out with a little patience. Have done so on both our Camrys.
 

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ALIEN TECHNOLOGY: Why in blue blazes is there some sort of a custom molded, foam rubber SPONGE molded into the (external) gap between the bell housing and the oil pan????

Is this something Toyota did?

This sponge thing was saturated with oil, and it crumbled to little black pieces when I touched it. Until then, it was molded into filling the gap between the tin inspection cover over the bottom portion of the bell housing, and the back wall of the oil pan, below the rear main seal. The tin cover over the lower bell housing had a pair of pins, or tubes, less than 2 inches long each, that almost bridged the gap between the Bell housing and the oil pan, this foam sponge thing completely enveloped these protrusions, and was held in place by them (until I crumbled it up).

My question is this, I need background on this mystery part!
was that sponge thing Toyota's idea?
(I have my suspicions, but ... )What was it there for?
must I replace it? Is there something better to use now? (nobody I spoke to about this Camry ever mentioned such a part before, & I haven't seen such a thing at rock auto)

(So much for a simple R&R of the oil pan gasket!) Any info is appreciated.



Is this the part? http://www.toyotapartsdeal.com/oem/toyota~insulator~cylinder~block~no~1~12581-74020.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do not use a cork gasket on the oil pan:surprise:

This Fel-Pro thing was all they carried at the local store, I'll go get my money back.

So Toyotas don't use oil pan gaskets?

or are there rubber ones available?


I know that sponge stuff you mean. I ripped mine out and never replaced it. No idea what it does. 30k miles later no problems.
I suspected Toyota may have put that sponge there to soak up any leaks below the rear main seal, but I wanted to know for sure it was in other Toyotas first. Obviously my engine leaks a lot there, and it frightened me a bit at first, but I see there are no pan bolts from corner to corner under that spot to hold a tight seal there, so any age or impact-related warpage in the pan's sheetmetal would have caused a huge leak between the lip of the pan and the underside of the rear main seal's carrier. Odd how nobody appears to have mentioned that apparent design flaw (imo) in the oil pan, even in the DIY oil pan replacement instructions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
No White95Cam, that sponge thing looked more like a spongy, rectangular, black rubber block that was more elongated than that, and had 2 holes for the metal pins to hold it in place.

UPDATE: The tin cover over the lower bell housing had a pair of pins, or tubes, about 1 inch long each, that almost bridged the gap between the Bell housing and the oil pan, this foam sponge thing completely enveloped these protrusions, was held in place by them (until I crumbled it up) and extended the full width of the oil pan, and was almost as deep as the shallow end of the pan itself. (I would photograph this thing, but there isn't much of it left). There were no bolt holes in the lip of the oil pan from corner to corner above/behind this sponge-like device. (Why would Toyota do such a thing? the pan appeared to be pouring out the oil there!) Could this absence of bolts be Toyota's version of an over pressure vent of some sort? or Toyota's effort to protect the carrier of the rear main seal directly above it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
As I say, cork oil pan gaskets are old technology, things have moved on. Toyota use their own brand sealer but RTV works too.

https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Toyota-00295-00103-Formed-Place/dp/B000EDDTV0

Yes, get your money back they gave you bad advice.:frown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBieisCo67M

Thanks 97trophy, I just did, and used it for a flexible ratchet extension to reach all of the bolts.

Now I have all the bolts out, & the pan was separated from the car, but I can't get it out without disconnecting the exhaust from the manifold, 2 of the 3 bolts are frozen, so I will put some PB Blaster on them in the morning & let them soak, but after I disconnect that downpipe, I will need a new exhaust gasket or "O"-ring to seal that joint up again when the pan is back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
The tailpipe must be dropped just a bit to permit the pan to lower enough to clear the balancer. At one corner of the pan, a bracket to the engine could be loosened to aid in accessing a couple of the pan bolts. Rotating the crankshaft a bit to move the counterweight out of the way may be necessary.

Thanks Mergatroyd, I removed that bracket on the side, & I couldn't turn the crank to get that counter weight out of the way, so I'll have to disconnect the exhaust at the manifold downpipe.

Do you got any make/part numbers for the exhaust gasket that goes in that joint when I put it all back together?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I got the pan out, and I noticed first, the silicone was WHITE! (does anybody make WHITE rtv for vehicles?) or did the mechanic who installed this stuff use Bathroom tile silicone?

I also noticed that while there was plenty of the white stuff gluing the pan to the block, there was NO silicone between the block & the pan at the rear main seal, it was all squished out, and that part of the pan gasket was metal-to-metal.

Looks like someone over torqued that part of the Oil pan!

What are Toyota's torque specs for the pan bolts?

I did have to disconnect the exhaust, but in the end, I needed to anyway, (I discovered an exhaust leak there) so I'm back to figuring out what mfr & part number I need for the O-ring to seal that joint between the exhaust downpipe and the exhaust manifold. Any ideas what part to order online?
 

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Those exhaust gasket are universal, and can be had at any auto parts store for a few dollars. They go by diameter, so either bring the old one with you or measure the pipe diameter.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I got the pan out, I found a rust spot on the inside surface of the pan, I sanded off the rust, and tried to remove the rest of the paint and repaint the whole thing (unfortunately, I dont have a sand blaster) I tried the spray on paint stripper, and WHAT AN ORDEAL! that paint did NOT want to come off!

Anyway, I got my hands on a Toyota Shop manual, and looked up some exploded diagrams, and discovered the crusty, brittle, elongated sponge device that rested on a pair of 1" long pins coming from the tin bell housing cover on the transmission, is called an "Oil Pan Insulator". I have not been able to find replacements online yet, and there was a comment earlier in this thread that someone else removed theirs when they re-did their own oil pan, and never missed it, so unless I hear additional info about it, or experience some sort of problems after this job is finished, I wont be worrying about the absence of mine.
 
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