Timing chain tensioner leaking

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Null, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Null

    Null New Member

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    Hey all,

    I recently took my 2013 Prius, 89k miles, in for an oil change at the Toyota Dealership I purchased it from.

    They came back and said the timing chain tensioner was leaking and recommended replacement. I went in during my lunch hour and they said it would take about 2 1/2 hours to do so I told them I couldn't do it right then.

    I do plan on getting that taken care of (quoted me $225, i'm not a car person so unless it's super easy, I wouldn't attempt myself).

    But my real question is- how serious is this? I was planning on driving from Iowa to North Carolina and back this coming week. 2500 miles on the vehicle round trip. Would that be safe or should I get it replaced before attempting any long trips?

    I've not seen and leaking or spots under the car myself (park in garage - clean floor). This was only found during an oil change.

    I appreciate any advice (Maybe it's time to trade it in for a Prime!?)
     
  2. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    It's not LEAKING, it's SEEPING. If it was leaking you'd see oil.
    It seems to be a common thing for the Prius. And it "might" be the oil pressure switch.
    It doesn't seem to be a huge problem and most don't seem to bother with it.
    Mine is not leaking/seeping, at least I don't see any oil. You can inspect it for yourself, maybe wipe any
    oil you may see off with a rag. Use a good flashlight and look around the front of the engine. The front being
    the side facing the right front wheel, where the pulley is.
     
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  3. Eddie25

    Eddie25 Member

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    Most likely it's just seepage and you'll be fine for a long time. Take a look for yourself if you can figure out where it's at. Otherwise, the 2500 mile trip might be a good opportunity to monitor oil loss, carry an extra quart and check your dipstick every couple fill ups.
     
  4. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    If not the oil pressure switch, it would be more likely the front crankshaft seal. And, this engine does not have a hydraulic timing chain tensioner. Even if it does, it would be an internal engine part. And, how did he determine that it was leaking and that there was slack in the timing chain.
     
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  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    It's not so much the "timing chain tensioner"; it's the timing chain cover, basically the whole end wall of the engine, on the passenger side. It's installed with myriad bolts, and uses a bead of liquid gasket all the way 'round, to keep the oil in. If that liquid gasket is compromised it can start to leak.

    The quote of $250 to reseal is amazingly low, maybe suspiciously low. More typical is $1500~2000; it's not a trivial job. Hopefully it would not be a case where the quote suddenly escalates, once the car is on the hoist and half apart?

    Take a look for yourself. Look down the passenger side from above, with a good light. Better: remove passenger side front tire, a couple of the plastic fasteners on the plastic panel at back of the wheel well, flex the panel back. If it's leaking it'll definitely be evident there.

    If it's minor, consider just cleaning it and monitoring.

    If you see nothing, you're being scammed.
     
    #5 Mendel Leisk, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  6. Eddie25

    Eddie25 Member

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    Really? I thought there was a tensioner. 12:30 on the prius head gasket video shows what I thought we were talking about.

    I bet ASRDogman may be right though, because the oil pressure switch on my car seems to be seeping and since (I thought) they were in a somewhat similar location it's probably easy to get them confused (besides the electrical connector).

    As an aside (since the OP's question has pretty much been answered)... How does the oil pressure switch seal? Anyone ever replaced one? When you see the photos of the part and then look at it in car it almost looks like it's barely screwed in.
     
  7. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    You're correct. There is a tensioner. It is, however, not hydraulic, and doesn't leak oil. Also, it can't be seen without removing the timing chain cover.

    Most likely, as I said before, it's the oil sender or the front crankshaft seal. Doing what Mendel recommends and checking the area behind the harmonic balancer is a really good idea.
     
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  8. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Oil pressure switch is a tapered fit. It's a "forced" sealed fit. What leaks is where the plastic meets the metal.
    The plastic gets and and brittle. They are inexpensive and as simple as unplugging the wire, put the socket and ratchet
    on it and unscrew it. Then screwing in the new one and installing the wire.
    Screw it by hand first, then the socket, then there wrench. You just need to "snug" it up.
    Carry your tools with you, drive the car for a mile or two, then check it. If it's leaking, snug it up.
    I'm not sure which the Prius has, but some have an "o" ring and are not tapered.
    I have not changed one a Prius, but I believe it's tricky to reach, but not bad. Take your time, NO hurry.

     
    #8 ASRDogman, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    If it's the oil pressure switch leaking that'd be much preferable to the timing chain cover, a lot easier to resolve. (y)
     
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  10. Eddie25

    Eddie25 Member

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    Thanks for the info guys, good stuff to know. I just peeked at it again and I don't think it's the oil pressure switch. The timing cover bolt just above it had the most oil on it, so maybe it is the timing chain cover. It hasn't grown and I don't get much oil loss so I'm not that worried.
     
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  11. Null

    Null New Member

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    Thank you all for the discussion about this. I did some looking under the hood and checked all around the passenger side of the hood (had some creative angles with the flashlight) and didn't see anything major (also not sure what i'm looking for) but found these things.

    1. This little hose has some fresh leaks which is dripping on a hose below. It seems very minor. Everything you see in the pics is the extent that I found.. [​IMG] (leaky part in red, where it leaks to in blue) - Here is a closer pic of the hose it's leaking on to below. [​IMG]

    2. I found a "dried" wet spot under a hose leading into the engine? It's just on the plastic. Circled in blue. Everything you see there appears to be the extent of it. [​IMG]

    3. And lasty, I took a pic from the passenger side looking "behind" the engine. The part circled in red looks just like soot? Then the part in blue looks like another dried "wet" spot. [​IMG]

    Other than that, nothing else found. Was I looking even in the area?
     
  12. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Maybe the valve cover gasket is leaking? :)
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome

    it's not serious, ignore them
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Yeah wipe the whole area clean, then check again in a few days, to see better where it's starting from.
     
  15. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Stop getting the oil changed at the dealer they use the crappiest oil and religiously overfill it.

    Prove me wrong and check your oil after the car has sat for a few hours. I bet its way over the full line.

    You really want to use the best synthetic oil you can given all its EGR issues.

    I think other posters are right its probably leaking at the tining chain cover seen many threads about that Georgina is right its not the timing chain tensioner as they would have to take the valve cover off to check that.

    Get a big piece of cardboard and park the engine over it to watch for oil leaks. And start checking the oil like its leaking. keep it at the full line always.
     
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  16. douglasjre

    douglasjre Active Member

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    Rtv it yourself
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    If you're game I can post the instruction.
     
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  18. Eddie25

    Eddie25 Member

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    That's funny because I JUST downloaded the timing chain instructions you posted in another thread years ago. You are doing the lord's work good sir. If I had to do this in the distant future I might just say screw-it and just use black RTV as best I could.

    I'm also still convinced you can get to the timing chain tensioner externally without removing the cover. Pretty sure I can see it, and the two 10mm bolts that hold it on. Do you have the instructions for the tensioner specifically?
     
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  19. douglasjre

    douglasjre Active Member

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  20. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Prove me wrong. Diagrams? Pictures? Part numbers?
     
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