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Peter Bagley
Peter Bagley, Auto Service Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 731
Experience:  master tech at Toyota dealer
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1) Toyota matrix 2004 mech. says oil leak from timing cover.

Customer Question

1) Toyota matrix 2004 mech. says oil leak from timing cover. Wants to reseal. Also says drive belt should be replaced due to coverage in oil.
JA: Have you ever replaced the gaskets? Maybe the hoses?
Customer: No, but how can mech determine for sure that's where leak coming from?
JA: Are you fixing your Matrix yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: QUESTION: "LEAK" just started about 2 months ago I know because I can see it on the driveway. engine does not run out of oil before next oil change so amount of oil stays steady.....WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS HOW LONG COULD I SAFELY DRIVE WITH AN OIL COVERED DRIVE BELT since I'm short of cash right now. Otherwise all other aspects of engine checks out fine. Just a guestimate of how long I might be able to travel in this condition. I'm an old lady & just drive locally; 10,000 miles per annum
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, should I also replace the water pump at the same time whenever I get the timing cover resealed, and what part does the TIMING CHAIN TENSIONER play in this leak; mech never mentioned it as a possible source of leak. Should the TIMING CHAIN TENSIONER o-RING be changed 1st to see if it stops leak?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Peter Bagley replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome to just answer.i value your input to my questions so I may help you better. just to ask a question, did the tech take off the top of the timing cover to actually see if the timing belt was in fact covered in oil? Thes engines are known to have some common areas of oil leaks externally, that is the corner of the head gasket and the belt tension-er plate, what I would have done is to shampoo the engine and put a leak tracing dye in the oil run it a couple days and bring you back to locate the leak .if in fact was coming from the timing cover then remove that top cover to see if the belt was contaminated . Now to answer you , if the belt is contaminated with oil it's anybodies guess how long you can drive it because it could slip it's timing and leave you stranded giving you a tow bill on top of things. And is usually a good practice to change the water pump while in there because it would save you money, depending how many miles are on the car right now. If the belt is not contaminated they could clean the area off and put leak stop in the engine to slow things down, My last but not least advice when it comes to expensive repairs is to get a second opinion but never tell the new shop what another one recomended , you want an unbiased report. Hope this helps you with your situation and if you require further help I'll be happy to do so. Please take the time to rate my answer, thank you and good luck.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I appreciate your suggestion of dying the oil and driving the car for a couple of days to determine where the leak is. The mechanic had the car for 1 1/2 hrs so is there a condensed method to determine the oil leak with dye in that short of a time frame? Is lifting the timing cover and visual inspection sufficient ? That being said, you did good but still the question unanswered is: should the O-RING in the "Timing Chain Tensioner" be changed first? Is the Timing Chain Tensioner easy to get to before the other work? I.E, Resealing the "Timing Cover" along with possibly replacing the Drive Belt. My feeling is it might be cost effective to do the O-ring replacement to see if that stops the leak, not to mention perhaps savings on $ Could the Timing Cover be saturated with oil on account of an aged O-Ring the Timing Chain Tensioner?
Expert:  Peter Bagley replied 9 months ago.

Would you like a premium service so I may explain all of this more clearly and to the point? It's totally up to you