Timing cover leak

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by MaryannH, May 28, 2017.

  1. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    Looks like you made out getting a second opinion.:)
     
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  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Maybe was the valve train cover, not the timing chain cover?
     
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  3. hags20

    hags20 New Member

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    Dang, wish I'd found this great forum earlier. A word to the wise: get this leak inspected *before* the standard 60,000 powertrain warranty expires, because it includes some gaskets. With only 61k miles on the car, I should've known better. A service tech at a Toyota dealer got me scared and now I'm $2400 poorer and not that much better off for it.
     
  4. ramdulari

    ramdulari Member

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    It's been many years since returning to this forum! Want to add my own report of this timing chain cover leak. I purchased my 2010 new in 10/2009, and now it has over 127K miles. Had an oil leak two years ago (~15-20K miles ago), which at the time was diagnosed as an oil pan gasket, and I got it repaired. I don't think the leak ever stopped, but I was finally convinced of it enough and overcame the procrastination to get the car back into the dealer service center last week. This time they found the timing chain cover leak and quoted me $1350. I took it to a second dealer in the area, who gave the same diagnosis and quoted $2500. I got it fixed today from the first shop.
    Very disappointed with this discovery! I never even got the promised 50 mpg...40-45 has been typical (now for years I have stopped tracking it, but suspect I get < 40 now). However, I am relieved to find so many here have reported the same issue (timing chain leak), that my experience is not isolated. I guess Toyota quality is not all it was hyped to be when I bought this car 10 years ago. I was thinking of purchasing a replacement Prius (putting the low mpg experience down to bad luck), but now I have serious reservations. Will give that Honda Clarity a good hard look this time. FWIW, my old car before this was a 2001 Nissan Altima, it too had a timing chain, and I sold it after 8 years and 177,000 miles with no engine issues.
     
  5. IceQueen

    IceQueen Junior Member

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    I just brought my 2011 Prius 3 to the Brookdale Toyota Service center (Near Minneapolis, MN). They did an inspection of my car, said I had "timing cover seepage" and quoted the cost of repair as $3,094.43. It's not under warranty for me, so I'm not going to repair it, I'm just going to o keep an eye on it. But if this is a common issue, that sucks. Does anyone know at what year/version the Prius stopped having this issue? I want to make sure the next one I buy is that model or later
     
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  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Have a second, independent mechanic take a look, one that'll let you have a look at it too. Best view is with the passenger side wheel off, and the plastic shields at the inside of the wheel well at least partially pealed back. If it's an oil/sooty mess, yeah then I'd think it's warranted. But minor localized oil leak, I would just live with it.

    As far as I know, there's no way to predict any particular model year will have a leak. The gasket is applied as semi-liquid, then the cover quickly put on and bolts installed.

    Also, $3K is way too much. Reported prices here range $1500~2000. With a price like that, doubly so if it turns out to be a minor leak, they are not "on your side".
     
  7. Den

    Den Junior Member

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    #87 Den, Jul 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  8. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    The timing cover seal will seep and make the adjacent components (timing chain tensioner, sensor and oil pressure switch) appear damp. The actual issue IS the timing cover.

    When I did my head gasket job I resealed the timing cover and the oil pressure switch. Never touched the sensor shown. It has been almost 10K and the area is still bone dry. Prior to the head gasket job I was starting to get the timing cover leak in the usual areas.
     
  9. Den

    Den Junior Member

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    #89 Den, Jul 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  10. johnHRP

    johnHRP Junior Member

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    Timing chain cover small leaks is common in any car. My Altima 2002, Prius 2006, and Auris have Hybrid 2016 all have these issues at different degrees. The leaks is extremely small and not dripping any. Only moisture of oil covered with dirt.
    Only a fool paying more than $100 for such a silly thing. In Germany, where I live recently, we have 2 yearly annual check and it is consider normal oil leaks in any cars. Daimler, Porches, and BMW leaks even more than Toyota on that area. Prius burning oil way more than leaking oil because engine wearing out or stupid 3rd gen PCV valve placement at the level close to oil height sump.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    It's not that low. The highlighted zone in this bare engine pic is where a cover plate bolts on, and the pcv valve screws in near the top of that plate:

    upload_2019-12-28_16-45-9.png

    Cylinder head seam is directly above.

    Here's a pic of that cover plate and the PCV valve:

    upload_2019-12-28_16-49-39.png
     
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  12. motch6

    motch6 Junior Member

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    I can’t believe all this garbage! I haven’t read all of the comments and maybe someone mentioned this but I wonder why there isn’t a TSB on this issue and it being something Toyota would cover beyond normal warranty period!

    anyway, I recently picked up an old 2012 and took it to the Dealership and they told me the exact same thing that the Timing cover was cracked and leaking... wanted $2200.

    took it somewhere else and they cleaned it off and we drove it for awhile and then took it back to the dealer and they changed their tune!! It was the Crank sensor that was leaking! I bought a new sensor for $100 and replaced it myself! Simple job. So far so good!!

    I just took my 2010 Prius in, to a different dealer, and guess what?! They just told me the same thing on that one but this time said it was the timing gasket that needs replaced... I have it at another shop and had them clean the area and put die in the engine... I’m betting it’s the same Crank sensor issue that is leaking! Taking bets?!

    I’ll return later to report!

    but still annoying how prevalent this problem or the problem of the leaking timing cover is!
     
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  13. motch6

    motch6 Junior Member

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    After having driven the 2012 for awhile now, I got a look underneath again, and its wet with oil. I agree with "the critic's" comment above "The timing cover seal will seep and make the adjacent components (timing chain tensioner, sensor and oil pressure switch) appear damp. The actual issue IS the timing cover."

    The question is HOW much is leaking now. As old as both my 2010 and 2012 are, i'm really not inclined to put $2500 into each of them. Since both my daughters are the ones driving them, I told them, we'll probably be doing oil changes more often and not holding out for 10k miles each run.

    Still waiting to put some more miles on the 2010 to check the "Dye" on that one to see how bad it is. Expecting the same, that it really is the Timing Cover.

    Since my 2020 Prius Prime has a 1.8 L 4 cylinder engine, i'm wondering if they made any improvements to the engine??? anyone know?
     
  14. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Can you SEE where it's leaking? Did you clean the pan really good? It may just be leftover
    oil from the crank sensor leaking. Cracked? Did they show you the crack? There would be
    no reason for it to be cracked unless someone worked on it and broke it.
    You could check that the bolts are tight.

    There is an oil pressure switch that leaks also. The oil WILL go everywhere!
    The oil pressure switch is about $10 and easy to change.
    There is also a crank shaft seal that could leak.
    And there isn't a gasket for the timing cover. There is sealant. (I might be mistaken on that)
    Maybe your oil filler cap is leaking?

    I have no leaks, but from what I've read here, the timing cover "weaps" oil, sometimes.
    I haven't read where anyone has said there's is leaking a lot.

    Get a flashlight and YOU check it out very closely. Maybe a mirror also to get into those
    hard to reach places. Clean it with gunk, all over that area and hose it off really well.
    Drive it a few miles to get the engine hot, then use the flashlight and check it again.
    You may have to do that a few times, short drives. You should be able to see where it starts to leak.

    I am not saying it isn't leaking, I'm just say check CAREFULLY before spending all the money to fix it.
    "IF" they reseal the timing cover, and it still leakes, make sure you get your money back because that
    was NOT the leak!
     
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  15. motch6

    motch6 Junior Member

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    First, Yes, I have personally pulled the wheel off. also had them pull the car in and up and pull the covers off the bottom.
    - On the 2012, we power washed all the gunk off and dried it. We then drove it on the free way and off for 30+ miles... had another shop jack it up for us and pull the tire off. I looked again after that trip and it was DRY. Although, a week later I had the same dealership that said it was CRACKED, pull it in and up and the Manager looked at it with me and said, well, there's nothing "cracked" and things were clean except right around the "Crank Sensor". So, i purchased that part and changed it myself. Fast forward 2-weeks later, i get under the car and its oily wet again, around the "crank sensor" again, and it look oily wet ABOVE it.

    - Question, where is the location of the Oil Pressure switch? is that the white looking one right above the Crank Sensor? (never mind, i believe its in the same vicinity) If that is the case, its possible that could be the issue, as i couldn't see above that area if it was wet.

    - On the 2010, it was very gunky, and i had my tire shop power-wash it and put a DYE in there to see where its coming from... I may pull it in today and take a look to see if i can see where its coming form on that one. I'll return and report later.
     
    #95 motch6, Feb 8, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
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  16. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Okay, NOT cracked! :) That's good.
    The oil pressure switch is just above the crank pully, on the back side on the engine.
    A little tricky to see. It is possible you have more than one leak. The crank sensor and pressure switch.
    Did the sensor have any sealent on the threads? Is there a copper or aluminum seal? It should be replaced
    when the sensor way if there was a seal. Maybe it's not tight enough?
    Is there a "boot" to cover the sensor? Make sure you clean that out good also. Maybe that is where the new
    leak is from?

    Sounds like you are on the right path. I don't understand about the dye? In the engine oil?
    You should be able to find the leak on both cars the same way.

     
  17. motch6

    motch6 Junior Member

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    The crank Sensor was super easy, and no sealant. It has a 10mm bolt on the outer edge, but you just yank the sensor out. The sensor has a very small "O" ring on it. So again, this Crank Sensor, just has the bolt on the outer edge, so, you slip the sensor back in the hole and the both tightens it in. Its not a twist in, like the Oil pressure switch.


    To change out the Oil Pressure switch, do i have to drain the oil out of the engine (and replace it) or can i get away with just taking it out and putting a new one in (with out a giant oil mess)?
     
  18. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    I had my 2002 Prius checked at 99,500 miles for any possible problems. I literally bought one hour of mechanic's time and had everything checked before the 100K warranty expired. No problems were found.

    Somewhere around the year 2012 I started noticing that they were finding "problems" when I brought the car in for an oil change. It started with "dirty filters need replacing" despite the fact that I'd had changed filters just weeks before.

    Eventually they told me that I needed to fix the timing cover gasket because it was leaking. They quoted somewhere around $3000. There were no oil spots on the driveway. I said no thanks. For the next two years, every time the car was serviced the Toyota service guy hounded me about fixing that leak. There were still no spots on the driveway. I eventually challenged him. If it was leaking, where was the oil going? That surprised him. He blustered about how the oil was being burned up by the heat of the engine. I told him I was never going to have it fixed. Then I called the dealer's manager and complained about made up problems. The next time it was serviced they found no extras to be fixed.

    I don't go there anymore.

    Dan
     
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  19. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    You just unscrew the old one and screw in the new one. After removing the boot and connector.
    Make sure you clean out the boot completely before installing on the new pressure switch.
    You'll just lose a few drops of oil, if that much.

     
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  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Never done this, but very sure you DON’T need to drain oil. The oil is nearly all in the sump, at the very bottom. You could even remove and replace the engine oil filter, for another example, with just minor oil spill.
     
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