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Aurion timing chain problem?


riftime
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Hi all,

I’ve had my 2007 Presara since new, it’s  travelled 255,000kms and still going pretty well. Over the weekend I’ve had the engine trouble light and CHECK VSC message pop up for a while during a long drive. Pulled over, stopped engine, let it sit and restarted and error promptly came back. I was in the middle of nowhere and after checking owners manual it pointed more to vehicle stability control issues and gave me confidence that I can continue my drive. The next day the error disappeared and hasn’t returned since. I’ve plugged in an OBD2 scanner and it found a P0015 fault code (camshaft position timing over-retarded). 

Took the car to a mechanic and after some troubleshooting they told me that the timing chain is ‘stretched’ and will need replacing at some point. Since it’s an internal component, lots of hours in labour so overall it’s likely to be a $1500-$2000 overall including the timing chain kit. 

I was told that I can expect consumption to keep deteriorating along with engine getting rougher as the chain keeps stretching/deteriorating. He did say that if it breaks it will leave me stranded but it shouldn’t cause any catastrophic damage inside the engine (thanks to engine design). So I have the option to wait until the then and have the car towed to get it repaired at that point. 

Googling for Aurion timing chain issues hasn’t returned much, so thought I’d ask this forum if others have had to get their timing chain replaced, if it’s an expected wear component for an Aurion that’s travelled this many kms, etc.? I should also point out that in the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of towing. Single axle trailer, nothing too heavy but long highway drives. Unsure whether the extra load could be a contributing factor to timing chain issue (car was towing when fault popped up).

Thanks.

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Suggest that you have a read of the following URLs.

https://www.mechanic.com.au/news/timing-chains-don-t-actually-stretch

https://www.engine-codes.com/p0015_toyota.html

Your mechanic will be able to confirm whether an oscilloscope was used to check cam and crankshaft sensor correlation.

As an interim measure, I suggest an oil change with quality oil. If the timing chain has definitely worn, then replace it.

Timing chains should last the lifetime of the engine assuming that it has regular oil changes with a quality oil. I am expecting about 400,000kms for the 2GR-FE based upon a conversation I had with someone who used to work at a Toyota dealership.

Because I do a lot of short distance urban driving, I am now changing my oil every 3000kms to prevent oil sludge build up.

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Thanks for your reply campbeam! Very informative.

Car has just been serviced today. Engine code hasn't come back again other than that one time, will keep looking out for it. I wonder if I get an answer back from mechanic on whether 'timing chain' was diagnosed with oscilloscope. Also curious if they've at least cleared the code.

I'll start changing oil and filter more frequently, though every 3,000 kms would make it every 3-6 weeks for me at this point which is a little aggressive and impractical 🙂 I do commute to city a few days a week but also take long country drives (~800kms round trip) during some weekends (sometimes towing a trailer).

I'll also scour through the forums for recommended oil types. Prior oil change I did myself (oil & filter) using Nulon Full Synthetic 5W-30 Long Life. 6L bottle wasn't cheap from memory. Fingers crossed error code was just a symptom of dirty oil.

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On average, I am doing an oil filter and oil change every 3 months.

I buy my oil when on special and select mainly by oil specifications ILSAC GF-5 and API SN then known brands and oil viscosity. Next Preference is for a full synthetic and then a semi-synthetic.   

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My 2007 has 253000 km. It started out as a rental car... so probably had a hard early life. I have no issues at all. I replace oil at 5-6000 km intervals depending on the rest of my life... I am a bit hesitant to believe codes, the sensors that report them seem to be the problem as much as the problem they indicate.

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  • 1 month later...

I think the key message here would be to change the oil regularly and use a high quality synthetic oil.

3000 kay service interval is a bit much (no offence Ash, just saying), I'm between 8 and 10 kay on mine having used a high quality synthetic oil since I've had it starting from 40,000 kays and definitely no sludge to date. It runs so sweetly.

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Totally agree with regular oil changes and using quality oils.

I affectionately refer to my engine as the sludge bucket and my usual short distance driving is not helping. Definitely agree that a 3000km service interval is not the norm but I did buy my 2006 Aurion with 165,000kms and lots of oil sludge.  .

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2 hours ago, riftime said:

how do you check for oil sludge?

Easiest and quickest way to check for oil sludge is to remove the oil filler cap and have a look at the inside of the cap for amy build up. Use a light to look inside the opening of the valve cover. I use a thick plastic straw [what you get with a thickstake or a slurpee] to probe/slide down the side of the head. Another check is to look at the oil filter cartridge and the inside of the oil filter cartridge housing.

White smoke on start up is anoth.er sign of oil sludge build up.in an Aurion. There are a few threads in this Forum on that issue.  

Oil sludge is an engine killer. Best prevention is regular oil changes and to use quality oils.

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IMO - if you use Full Synthetic oil & drive 30 min most of the time your usual OCI of 15K kms is fine, if you're pedantic like me & you get your oil at a great price then every 7.5K kms.

If you do mostly short trips of 5-15 min then best to use Full Synthetic and OCI of 7.5K kms or less &/or at least twice a year.

 

 

Edited by ZZT86
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6 hours ago, campbeam said:

Totally agree with regular oil changes and using quality oils.

I affectionately refer to my engine as the sludge bucket and my usual short distance driving is not helping. Definitely agree that a 3000km service interval is not the norm but I did buy my 2006 Aurion with 165,000kms and lots of oil sludge.  .

Ahh yeah, I remember that now, The sludge bucket lol..,hence your 3k oil service interval. 

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  • 3 months later...

In regards to sludge build up; On oil changes, I've decided to change every 6 months regardless of kilometres..

Oil isn't so expensive that 6 months oil changes will affect my budget. I'm using Penrite 5w40 full syn, but will soon change to 5w30 spec and also stick with this Aussie Brand. So I'll do 2 services a year on my 09" Presara, That's 1 log book service and 1 just the oil and filter..

Edited by Bigmike62
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52 minutes ago, Bigmike62 said:

I've decided to change every 6 months regardless of kilometres

That's pretty much my oil service schedule Big Mike. It usually takes around 6 months for my car to do roughly 8 -10 kays so it is in fact two oil services per year. Nulon 5w-30 has always been my oil of choice. Fully synthetic too of course, and will transition over to the Penrite because of the higher Zinc content.

Like you said, Oil isn't that expensive, especially when you have several opportunities during the year to take advantage of the specials that pop up.

Ashley and myself chime in when possible to alert you all when said specials are upon us and to take advantage.

I've got enough oil for 4 services so I'll refrain from purchasing until another year or so and top up my stock then.

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1 hour ago, Tony Prodigy said:

That's pretty much my oil service schedule Big Mike. It usually takes around 6 months for my car to do roughly 8 -10 kays so it is in fact two oil services per year. Nulon 5w-30 has always been my oil of choice. Fully synthetic too of course, and will transition over to the Penrite because of the higher Zinc content.

Like you said, Oil isn't that expensive, especially when you have several opportunities during the year to take advantage of the specials that pop up.

Ashley and myself chime in when possible to alert you all when said specials are upon us and to take advantage.

I've got enough oil for 4 services so I'll refrain from purchasing until another year or so and top up my stock then.

Good to know I'm on the right track, thanks for your opinions and advice. I'm useing Ryco oil filters too, by the way. Also, Some of the gents on this forum recommend cleaning the MAF sensor, to perhaps improve the fuel usage.. I'll get my mechanic to do that, as I have no experience in mechanics, 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd provide an update since my post back in Feb '20 on possible timing chain issues, and check engine status light.

Since then, I've completely changed my service intervals. The car has now done 281,000 (yes, that's another 26,000kms) and the engine is running like a kitten. Mind you I haven't been towing as much since. I've transitioned to Penrite HPR5 5W-40 full synth oil. Expensive, but I hunt around for discounts and recently purchased it in 20L drums from Repco when they had the Father's Day special. So I use that oil and am changing it every ~4,000 kms and the car is loving it. Also changing the oil filter element when doing that. The start-up VVTI noise is also gone. Yes I know that 4,000kms intervals is very frequent, but my car seems to do better for it, and given it's mileage hoping that this habit will help it keep running for many more kms. Also hoping that any sludge that may have caused the earlier issues will be eventually cleaned up.

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36 minutes ago, riftime said:

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd provide an update since my post back in Feb '20 on possible timing chain issues, and check engine status light.

Since then, I've completely changed my service intervals. The car has now done 281,000 (yes, that's another 26,000kms) and the engine is running like a kitten. Mind you I haven't been towing as much since. I've transitioned to Penrite HPR5 5W-40 full synth oil. Expensive, but I hunt around for discounts and recently purchased it in 20L drums from Repco when they had the Father's Day special. So I use that oil and am changing it every ~4,000 kms and the car is loving it. Also changing the oil filter element when doing that. The start-up VVTI noise is also gone. Yes I know that 4,000kms intervals is very frequent, but my car seems to do better for it, and given it's mileage hoping that this habit will help it keep running for many more kms. Also hoping that any sludge that may have caused the earlier issues will be eventually cleaned up.

Great news Robert. It can't be said often enough that the 2GR-FE needs regular oil changes to keep it from sludging, especially if the car does plenty of short trips.

 Using a high quality full synthetic oil is good medicine.

These engines have tight tolerances, especially the VVTI mechanism, which needs clean, sludge free oil, to enable the advance/retard action of the cams.

That mechanics advice about the timing chain being stretched was very poor.

When oil specials come about they are usually posted here on the forum, so you can grab a bargain like we tend to do. 

All the best mate :thumbsup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Always doing online researching. I came across an article by a transmission shop supposedly about Aurion timing chain problems. It seemed to be mismatching timing belt for timing chain or a more generic article attempting to be specific.

After a bit more searching, most problems with the timing chain are most likely due to the tensioner being worn and not maintaining the correct tension.

A post in this Forum thread shows where to visually inspect the timing chain tensioner.

 

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I'm not surprised to hear that there are a lot of people out there who assume the Aurion has a timing "belt". They probably have been accustomed to cars with belts and the need to replace them at 100,000 kays. It is when they find out they actually have a "chain" that they are pleasantly surprised.

Do the Camry 4 cyl engines have a belt, just out of curiosity ??

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1 hour ago, Tony Prodigy said:

Do the Camry 4 cyl engines have a belt, just out of curiosity ??

Following link contains a video and a list of Toyota vehicles [USA based] with either a timing belt or timing chain.

Generally expect Toyota engines from 2007 on to have timing chains.

Still pays to specifically research that particular engine model.to confirm timing and whether non-interference.

http://yourcarangel.com/2012/06/toyota-timing-belt-and-chain-list/

http://yourcarangel.com/2014/07/interference-engines-complete-list/

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10 hours ago, Tony Prodigy said:

Do the Camry 4 cyl engines have a belt, just out of curiosity ??

The old 2AZ-FE uses a chain whilst the new gen 2AR I'm not sure, most likely the same. My old celica 2ZZ-GE was also chain driven, and as Ash has said over time the tensioner and/or guides may wear causing noise but usually not the chain.

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22 hours ago, campbeam said:

Always doing online researching. I came across an article by a transmission shop supposedly about Aurion timing chain problems. It seemed to be mismatching timing belt for timing chain or a more generic article attempting to be specific.

After a bit more searching, most problems with the timing chain are most likely due to the tensioner being worn and not maintaining the correct tension.

A post in this Forum thread shows where to visually inspect the timing chain tensioner.

 

Looks like a nightmare trying to access that tensioner access panel with the engine in the car. If it ever needed attention it would be an engine out job no ? 

I don't think I've ever heard of an Aurion with a serious timing chain issue anyway. Failures can occur, but gee whiz that would have to be very rare I would think.

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1 hour ago, Tony Prodigy said:

Looks like a nightmare trying to access that tensioner access panel with the engine in the car. If it ever needed attention it would be an engine out job no ? 

I don't think I've ever heard of an Aurion with a serious timing chain issue anyway. Failures can occur, but gee whiz that would have to be very rare I would think.

Absolute nightmare. That tensioner access panel is located underneath the rear VVTi oil line. Just accessing the retaining bolt and clip on the middle of that oil line was frustratingly time consuming using an offset ring spanner. Possibly you may be able to access that panel from underneath. Apart from fully removing the engine, other possibility would be to try and rotate the engine forward for better access to that panel. 

Following YouTube video shows the tensioner and guides for the timing chain. 

@DJKOR did post the following " For reference, the primary timing belt tensioner is of a ratchet type with a non-return mechanism and utilises both spring and oil pressure to maintain tension on the chain at all times. On visual inspection, you should easily be able to see whether this is failing. "

I particularly noted the reference to oil pressure so another reason why the 2GR-FE engine needs to be have regular oil changes using quality branded oils. 

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My mate mechanic always said these 3.5L cars are an absolute prick to do major work on, I'm banking on never having to do such. I'm guessing the worst maintenance item would be those rear spark plugs.

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13 hours ago, ZZT86 said:

I'm guessing the worst maintenance item would be those rear spark plugs.

Yep. Everyone who I've spoken too regales me with their story :laugh:

I am soooo looking forward to doing this at 180K :shocking:

Edited by Tony Prodigy
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