We left off Part 1 with me taking the car on its first real road test in several years, and that revealed some issues. The next day after the car sat overnight, the coolant level had dropped significantly. I did a cooling system pressure test to 19psi and it held for 5 minutes, only showing a small drip at the upper radiator hose. I removed the old clamp, cleaned the oxidation, installed a new clamp, then tested again. There are no further leaks, so where is the coolant going over night? This always sets off alarms in my head thinking its a bad head gasket, so I attached the coolant no spill funnel and filled it to the 1/4 mark. I then ran the engine until it was fully warmed up and raced the engine several times, No bubbles at all. The oil looks ok, coolant looks ok, so lets check the cap. Its a Koyorad, it seems to fit right and holds pressure, and the vacuum valve is not stuck. So I ordered a new cap from Toyota as a test, and BINGO the coolant is now being pulled back into the system from the reserve tank. Great, that was an easy fix. Since I know the cooling system is in good condition, lets replaced the fluid.
While we are under here, lets drain the oil and take a look at that too. Both of those fluids are gross. Now Im going to refill the Coolant, and then the crankcase with 4 quarts of 10W40 oil with a 1/2 quart of ATF to do a bit of cleaning while the cooling system purges air. After about 20 minutes of running I drained the oil again and it looked just like this, so it looks like it may be gross inside, and whats under the oil cap kind of tells the story.
I cleaned out the coolant reserve bottle and set the correct level, installed the new cap, and refilled the engine with more oil. Now its time to tackle the valve cover gaskets, so I watched a few YouTube videos on how to do this before I started and THIS one was my favorite. Lets get started:
You can see here there is definitely some cleaning to be done, so first I soaked the valve covers in Degreaser for a whole day, then scrubbed them clean. This part of the job was very time consuming and dirty, but it has to be done. I used Wire Brushes and the degreaser a lot but I finally got them clean. Check out the difference!
I fitted the new Gaskets, applied Toyota FIPG to the corners, and installed the valve covers. I checked that the PCV valve was still operational and then had to address this part of the wiring harness that had deteriorated, leaving wires exposed.
I re-wrapped the harness with several layers of Electrical Tape and them secured it in place. Next I removed the spark plugs and inspected them, they were all the correct plugs and in great condition so I put them back in. I also removed one of the Timing belt covers and inspected the belt, it still has clear letters on the belt and its not making any weird noises so Im going to assume the belt was replaced around the 220k mark. So lets clean up the remaining intake parts and put the engine back together.
We got the engine assembled and running, it idles very smooth now and no more smoke! I sprayed degreaser all over the engine and rinsed it off 2 times, then used a scraper and rag to remove the stuck on oil buildup under the car. I put $20 of Chevron fuel in it then drove it around for about 30 miles, and it looks like there is still oil coming from somewhere but its very little near the power steering pump. The axle boots are torn badly and grease is being spread around, so I'll address that and the suspension bushings first then circle back around when I can put some real miles on the car. Stay tuned for Part 3 where we fix the suspension issues, thanks for following us on this project.
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