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Toyota User
95 Camry Wagon
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186 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I think it's been done before and there are good videos out there, but I wanted to share my experience today...

I just got this car and it was a good deal because it was in need of some love. But I love working on these 4cyl Toyotas... it's rare to need to do it ;)
Bear in mind, I'm not a pro, just a guy who does this as needed and learned from a number of friends and practice over the years. Don't trust me as a mechanic, this is amateur stuff...
ANYWAY!

Here's the starting point, a dirty and slightly neglected engine bay:



Take note of the valve cover area, a tell tale leak:



Here's my "Cliff's Notes" version

1) Take off the plastic shroud cover. Just remove the 2 acorn nuts (10mm), oil cap, and slide the thing off (the rear is held by 2 rubber thingees



2) Take off the nuts and bolts that hold the cover in place. Also, remove the breather tubes. Finally, the ignition coils. (These are all 10mm, by the way)
And try to move that crap out of the way!

Before:



After:



3) Pull the cover off carefully. If yours is like mine was, the cover needed some inspiration to move. A plastic wedge got mine, but I've done this with a rubber hammer (lightly!) or even the right "Fonzie" can bust it free. Avoid metal if you can, I think it runs the risk of gouging.



Gross, right!?!

4) Remove the old gasket material. Mine was crispity, crunchity, so I kind of felt like getting a Butterfinger after (Spoiler alert: I drank a beer instead!)



5) Clean the valve cover off a bit. You don't have to eat off of it, but removing excess filth can help the oil filer relax a bit... right? I don't have a parts washer, so I used a rag, brake cleaner, and simple green. It did what it needed to.





6) Wipe off the contact area of the head. The part where the gasket touches, you know? Around the outside and around the plug tubes. I used the rag.





7) Put that gasket in! Careful, don't get oil on it, it will get stretchy and you'll have a bad time. Get it in there as snug as you can.



8) Carefully put the cover back on. Check and make sure you don't let that gasket get out of it's channel. Set it on there and then put the nuts, bolts, and coils back.
Finger-tight at first... then torque to 70 in/lbs (according to TN forums)... and if you're like me, it didn't feel tight enough, so go a little snugger and call it a day. (I didn't kill them for the record, just a little snugger)



9) Spray off any excess oil that remained, wipe down what you can and clean up so you can see if anything decides to leak in the future.
Place the cover back on, the acorn nuts, and the oil cap... and clean the rest of that nasty stuff in there while you're at it!



10) Enjoy a beer after a job well done. (sorry, forgot pics)

Gasket was $16, took me about an hour, but I was going slowly as I've never done one for this particular motor before. It was just as easy as the '91 Camry I did this to before.
If you are mechanically inclined and don't want to pay a mechanic, this is an easy repair to try.
 

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Toyota User
95 Camry Wagon
Joined
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186 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I will check that out ASAP. What are symptoms of a bad PCV, by the way? I honestly didn't know what it was until I googled it... but it didn't say what happens when it's bad.

And what's a good source for OEM parts online? I know the local dealers in my 'hood like to charge more than MSRP on parts :eek:
 

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Top TN contributor
Joined
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3,480 Posts
I will check that out ASAP. What are symptoms of a bad PCV, by the way? I honestly didn't know what it was until I googled it... but it didn't say what happens when it's bad.

And what's a good source for OEM parts online? I know the local dealers in my 'hood like to charge more than MSRP on parts :eek:
It could look as bad as this...but it could just look oily...in has a spring loaded valve inside and rattles when in good repair, but a rattle itself doesn't automatically mean it's working correctly, sorry...
It can still have a weak spring inside

...a bad valve will make for a rough idle, lower MPG and lots of sediment under the valve cover...
It's only $5.50 at the dealer...
 

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Toyota User
95 Camry Wagon
Joined
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186 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The idle is smooth as creamery butter... but at $5.50, I don't mind changing it out. I'm on it! Thanks for the heads-up.
 

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Super Moderator
2005 Corolla CE
Joined
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14,646 Posts
Don't forget a bad PCV valve can cause your seals to blow out and increase oil consumption.
 

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Registered
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38 Posts
great post, thanks! I just changed my valve cover gasket because of a leak just like yours along with the PCV valve on my gen5. This DIY should get a sticky for it's awesomeness!
 

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Registered
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3,156 Posts
Need to clean that engine inside and out with a better motor oil, a degrease and engine detail with a rubber conditioner. Will help increase the longevity of all the rubber under the hood.
 

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Deejay Bizeek MIXIN IT UP
2004 Camry
Joined
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27 Posts
a great diy write up, it's bookmarked!
 

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Registered
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32 Posts
Wow it's so easy to get into that valve cover. I really need to do this I see a little bit of oil leaking out of the gasket on the intake side of the engine.
It also has the valve stem issue but that's beyond my abilities and the car has to be driven daily so I'll deal with the little bit of oil burn.

I use Valvoline MaxLife HM 5w30, thinking of switching to Mobile 1 HM 5w30, change oil every 4k too.
 
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