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Replace timing chain, chain guides and timing chain tensioner along with timing cover gasket?

My mechanic discovered an oil leak and recommends replacing the timing cover gasket, timing chain, chain guides, and timing chain tensioner. I can understand replacing the gasket, but is it necessary and/or worthwhile to change the rest? Thanks for your help.

If it helps, the car is a 2000 Toyota Corolla with 160K miles.


  • If there's only an oil leak, I don't understand why you should replace anything else - it's not a timing belt.
  • The mechanic is probably looking at this as a preventative measure. At that mileage odds are the chain and especially the tensioners are worn to some extent. If the timing cover is off it's best to go ahead and change the chain and tensioners also.

    Another example would be if someone decided to change a transmission out on a rear drive car. The engine rear main seal and driveshaft U-joints should be done at the same time if the vehicle is aged and/or has high miles on it.
  • Well...isn't the cost for all this a LOT more than just the gasket? Or isn't it? I don't know...
  • edited January 2012
    No the cost isnt much more, the parts are cheap and they will need to be removed to do the just do them.

    I SAY THAT.....IT SURE IS Needed.....Don't have the guy go in there to do that semi-complex job and cut corners on those inexpensive parts that have everything to do with the longevity of the new chain...

    Yeah...let him do it.. and he shouldn't be charging you much more (besides parts) either....I mean he has to deal with all those old parts to do the takes little to nothing to simply install the new parts while they are right there...and probably in his hands too. Those other parts like the guides and tensioner shouldn't be asked to pull another tour of duty when they already saw the 1st chain thru battle....they wont make it thru the next battle while the chain would be fine...its companion parts need to hold up longevity wise to support the new chain in going the distance.....Understand?

  • Removing the timing cover in order to replace the gasket will take quite a bit of time and cost a lot for labor. Replacing the timing components in addition to that probably won't cost a whole lot more. The timing chain is probably in fairly good condition, since it usually lasts the life of the vehicle. Your mechanic is recommending replacement of the parts so it'll be less likely that you have to replace them in the future, in which case you have to pay for those hours of labor again.

    Unless the timing chain or tensioner is in bad condition, it isn't necessary to replace them. If you plan to keep the vehicle for a long time, I'd say it's worthwhile to replace them now, while the mechanic has them accessed, since getting that access is the most expensive part of the replacement. But that's just an opinion.
  • "since getting that access is the most expensive part of the replacement. But that's just an opinion.".....Nope that IS a fact....

    I agree with f848.....if you want to drive this vehicle for a long while etc.....replace the parts and they are NOT that X pensive......thing is....what r they TRYING to charge you is the question? ALSO.....BEWARE OF CHINESEUM.....DO NOT replace factory Toyota parts with Chineseum.....THAT is the caveat...I forgot to say that

  • The hardest part of a timing chain job is just getting to the chain. If the gasket of a timing chain cover is leaking then to replace just the might as well go a little be farther and replace the chain and guides. The labor is the biggest cost and to add the timing chain parts would be a slight increase in the overall price. On many cars you have to drop the oil pan to remove the front timing chain cover. If it were my car I'd say just replace it.

    I compare it to a bad throw-out bearing. If a throw-out bearing is bad you might as well replace the whole clutch assembly (clutch and pressure plate). Yes those parts are probably 10 times the cost of just the bearing...but the main cost of this job is removing the tranny just to get to the bearing. Since you already have the transmission out and even though the clutch and pressure plate are fine you might as well replace them.
  • I think that it would be money well spent. A 13 year old vehicle with 160K would justify the expense.
  • How bad is the leak? Does it drip? Is the chain quiet?
    I might be inclined to leave it alone for awhile.
  • I would say it depends on you plans for the car. If it is a rust bucket or you plan to keep it less than 20,000 miles then just replace the gasket. If it is just a small drop on the ground and you don't have long term plans, do nothing.
This discussion has been closed.