2002 Toyota Corolla Timing Chain

Tiny
KEVINJ1987
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 TOYOTA COROLLA
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 115,000 MILES
Here is the deal,

September 2007 I purchased my Corolla from a less than upstanding used car dealership (apparently not a smart decision. Live and learn) I purchased an extended warranty (not a dealership, but rather a private warranty)

February of 2008 It starts to make a high pitch banging noise in the engine. (I drive on it for about 2 weeks) I take it into a Toyota Dealership that. I won't be returning to. They tell me that my engine was "essentially torn apart and reconstructed" and that it was the cause of my timing chain slippage. A month later, they were still fighting with the engine as they eventually found out that some gasket had lost a piece and it floated into the oil line (which took time for them to figure out). They instruct me not to tell the warranty company about this update, as it may jeopardize what coverage I was getting from them (about 400 dollars) I paid for the remaining 1300 dollars. My car was out of commission for over 3 months.

March 2009 Around a year after I got my car back (and about 1200 miles out of the warranty the dealership applied to the parts that they replaced) The engine began making the sound again. Well, 20 minutes later as I was driving down the highway the timing chain gets snapped by a bolt that had fallen into that area, sending it through a cascading effect essentially tearing my engine apart. Well, I decide to let the towing company take a look at it (as I didn't really want that dealership touching it) and the conclusion they came to was that some bolts had been stripped, others hadn't been tightened down enough, and others were just missing.

Well, I managed to skate out of a 3k repair bill by the skin of my teeth. The original warranty I purchased sent someone to take a look at the engine and determine if it was something they should cover. They decided it was the fault of the Toyota Dealership (as they were the last people to touch the engine aside from those doing oil changes for me) and refuse to cover it. Well, after talking to the manager at the Toyota Dealership, he grudgingly agrees to take care of it, as it sounded like something that was the fault of someone there. They re manufacture the bent valves, the stripped bolts, replace the ones that are missing, and replaced the timing chain and various other parts that the renegade bolt destroyed. This took about another 2 months to get fixed.

I don't have any documentation from them to prove that they touched my engine this time (as I didn't pay for any of it, they were unwilling to give it to me) so I am not even going to consider calling them, as I can't afford to live without my car for that kind of time again. When I picked the car up, the engine sounded fine for about a week, but then it started to run a little choppier (but not making a terrible noise, or a similar one to the last 2 times)

3 months later, I think my car is starting to sound like its going to happen again soon. (Its a high pitched metal on metal clang, but I can't tell for sure when it is in park, and I haven't had an opportunity for someone to get in and put it in drive to be 100% sure)

I'm about ready to consider replacing the whole engine and be done with it. I won't be recieving any financial aid from the warranty company to do so. (That would be too easy, right?) So I'm trying to put it off for as long as possible. I was also considering taking it to another Toyota Dealership and getting it looked at again. However I'm a bit reluctant to do so, as I am afraid that when I tell them what has happened they will be mildly uncooperative, or at least cover up something the other dealership screwed up.

My questions are: What could possibly be so wrong with the engine to cause it to consistently happen? If it is a problem with the engine, would replacing it be an effective option? Or perhaps would I be better off getting rid of the darn thing and letting it be someone else's problem?
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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 AT 11:30 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

Thank you for the donation,

Well this is a tale of woe. Frankly I would be replacing the engine, for my money this should have been done in the first instance, the less said about these used car warranty's the better, but thats another story, why this has failed again is a bit hard to tell, you really need to be able to inspect the engine first hand, but when an engine is damaged so severely, the stresses set up with in the engine is considerable, with stripped and damaged threads, you only need one of these repaired threads to not take the required torque and they will quickly loosen and, well you know the rest, if you want to keep the car, fit a re-co long engine and be done with that bucket of bolts under the bonnet.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 4:52 AM
Tiny
KEVINJ1987
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your timely response,

I'm having difficulty finding remanufactured engines that have a price tag on them. What kind of cost would be "reasonable" and do you have any suggestions as to a good location/website to get one?

I won't be replacing the engine immediately, however I'd rather not be scrambling to find a new one after the car has ceased functioning.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 8:15 AM
Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
Check the sticker on the front of hood area.

If engine says VVT-i it is a 1ZZFE Toyota engine.

Look at sticker for confirmation and when buying a used engine, always have the VIN of the car.

Check with local junkyards for cost, but I would think $1,000-2000.

You usually get these from wrecked cars (rear ended).

Sorry you had so much trouble, but generally these are very reliable engines.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 8:38 AM

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