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1999 celica oil pump replacement

I bought a 1999 celica convertible a few weeks ago and when I took the splash shields off I found stuff oozing from around the timing belt cover. the timing belt was changed prior to the sale. The engine oil light comes on when started for a few seconds and then stays off so perhaps there isn’t an urgent oil pressure problem but I need to fix it soon. When I look up the procedure to change the oil pump and/or the oil pump seal, and it says I need to use a hoist to hold the engine… Has anyone change the oil pump and knows whether or not an engine hoist really has to be employed or if there is a workaround. I don’t have an engine hoist and would prefer to do the job myself if I can.

There’s a bar-gadget I’ve use to hold the engine up when I do a timing belt change. Sort of like the one below.

I’m sort of skeptical of your diagnosis of a failing oil pump tho. Oil pumps rarely fail. the oil light is supposed to come on with the key in “on” and the engine not running, then when you turn the key to “start” it will remain on for about 5-10 seconds, then turn off. On my Corolla it is more like 5 seconds. If you aren’t sure about the oil pump diagnosis, suggest to ask a shop to test the oil pressure first. They’ll have a shop gauge. If it test low, it still might not be the oil pump. Low oil pressure is rarely due to a faulty oil pump. Oil pump failure can happen, but not common. So ask your shop to do some commonsense tests before embarking on an oil pump replacement job.

5sfe right? Sounds like when the timing belt was changed, they didn’t change the seal on the oil pump. Now i’m not talking about the front seal, i’m talking about an o ring type seal between the oil pump and the engine. These dry rot over time and fail, and when they do, they blow oil like mad out the front of the timing cover. My wife’s camry leaked easily 2-4 quarts a day when I met her. The seals I think will cost 30-40 bucks, depending on what else you find that they didn’t do while they were in there, such as water pump. Bad part is, the timing belt needs to come back off to get access to the oil pump.


Georgesanjose and Mulsak, Thanks for your help. Yes, I think it is just the seal. Yes 5sfe engine. The oil light does exactly what GeorgeSanJose describes - it comes on when the key is turned and then goes off after a few seconds. I thought it should go off immediately but now I understand. So the pressure is probably fine. I guess they did a sloppy job when they did the timing belt change - it would have been so easy and cheap to do it at that time. I have a big 3-ton floor jack and jack stands and a small 2 ton jack as well. I was hoping I could do the job with just those without buying an engine support or a hoist. I don’t have room for more tools in my garage, but I know it will cost a lot more than the cost of the support to have a mechanic do the job so I may have to find room. Thanks again.

Just a comment about the tool to hold the engine that George posted.

You can make one from plywood. Stand the plies up and glue a couple of 3/4 strips cut to the right width and glue them together. Drill a couple of 3/8 holes between them over the engine suport loops and bend 3/8 threaded rod into a “J” to hook the engine. Cheap enough to throw away afterwards.

I’d put an oil pressure gauge on it before I did anything else. See if it’s low.

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A lot of places don’t replace the seals when they do the belt. I think that’s dumb, but it lets them get you in the door with a cheaper repair so you don’t go down the street to the guy who’s charging several hundred more to do it right.

I have the same motor as you in one of my cars. It’s started to leak, and I suspect it’s from the same seal. I’ve decided based on how much it would cost just in parts to replace everything that needs to be replaced, to drive it until the belt snaps and then replace the whole engine with something more… Entertaining. :smiling_imp:

This is a transverse mounted engine, right? One idea, it might be possible for the OP to replace the leaking seal without having to support the engine; i.e. no need to mess w/the engine mount. The engine mount being in the way is the reason why the engine has to be supported in the first place for a timing belt job. B/c the timing belt forms a continuous loop which has to go around the camshaft sprockets and crankshaft sprocket. But the engine mount is directly between those sprockets. So it is physically impossible to install a new timing belt w/out first removing the mount. But OP already has the new belt in position looping the mount. So it may be possible to replace the leaking seal without having to remove the mount.

I only use an engine support bar when removing sub-frames and transaxles. It is much easier to raise and lower the engine with a floor jack when working on the front of the engine for timing belts, water pumps etc.

Good thought @GeorgeSanJose. My concern would be that if the seal is leaking, it’s probably gotten oil on the belt, which means the belt now has a shortened lifespan.

It’s not an interference engine, so OP could get away with waiting for the belt to break, but after all that surgery it’d be easier to just replace everything under there now.

You don’t need a hoist. I’ve changed the timing belt and taken the cover off probably 5 times on my 99 Celica gt. You just need a jack under the oil pan with a block of wood on it. You have to take the engine mount off on the passenger side because there is a clearance issue with a bolt that you need to remove to get the timing belt cover off. If you don’t drop the engine, the bolt will run into your fender as you undo it. It’s not coming out. I undid my belt twice to change it twice, and two more times searching for an oil leak which turned out to be the leaky oil pump seal others had described. PM me and if I remember I will send you more details. I have the official badass Toyota shop manual for it and it details exactly what to do. It might just be me cuz I did it so many times, but it is a one day job. I could probably do it in 4 hours or less now haha. I’ll write a better how to when I get home. I just happened to stumble on this post while looking to get help getting my Celica on the road again.

I think you’re right. I remember a bolt being in the way so that you absolutely have to take the mount off but it’s been a few years. I think it’s the engine mount itself that’s in the way like you said.

It’s not just you

I did the exact same repair on a 1996 Camry with the 5S-FE engine . . . it was puking oil. I replaced every single thing under that cover,and that takes some time

This job is definitely a bear

Thanks for all the inputs. I will try the jack and 2x4. That’s what I use on my Honda accord.

here are the directions on how to do it straight from the official repair manual

(sorry theyre all upside down)


jack under car with block

i think theres a lil black round thingie next to the engine mount u have to take off, super easy.

remove the engine mount (it can help to jack the engine up slightly sometimes to get those bolts easier to undo)

lower the engine enough to get to the one tricky bolt facing the front passenger tire

take off the 7 or so little screws holding the 2 piece timing belt cover in place

you have to take the lower accessory belt pulley off before you can get the cover off. It can help if you use an impact gun on it to get the bolt loose, then use a pulley puller or get creative with a c clamp, or muscle it off. now you can take the timing belt cover off.

mark the belt, put a wrench on the belt tensioner, give the belt some slack and slide it off

I dont think you have to take the crank pulley off (its the lil gear thing), it’s fragile, dont destroy it trying to pry it off if you end up having to change the oil pump.

I remember the instructions for taking the oil pump off to be a little more than I was willing to do at the time and decided to just change the oil pump seal to see if that was indeed the problem causing the leak…it was

It’s on page LU-6 of the pics I sent you. It’s the O ring on the bottom left of the page if the image is right side up. to take it off and change it, u just easily unscrew those two lil bolts holding the oil pump body cover on.

I hope that’s it for you. In my struggles to find the leak, I unnecessarily changed my oil pan gasket haha
I included the oil pump instructions in their entirety in case you need to change that thing out too.


the only part that was usually a little annoying was putting the engine mount back on, just make sure to make good use of the jack. get the jack just right and it will slip back on (and off) pretty easily.

oh yeah, and getting that pully bolt and pulley off can kind of suck without an impact gun, but i doubt it will give you too much trouble.

before you start, you might want some of that RTV or whatever it is to make your own gasket for the timing belt covers. That’s what I did for mine, chances are the original black gasket is all chewed up and definitely oily.

My lil bro has a 97 camry, im always looking at it and drooling for parts hahaha

I am humbled by your help. That is literally the best help I could imagine. I did the timing belt in an Accord a few months ago so I am familiar with the things you mentioned, but having all the details you provided to help is really amazing and much appreciated.

I actually bought the car to be a backup car that I could use while I was working on one of our other cars. I know the Celica will be reliable but the leak has got to get fixed at some point. Since I have 2 cars I can do the job and still get around in my Accord for the day or two it looks like it is going to take me overall. I realize it can be done faster but I don’t need to rush it and I would rather just do it at a pace where I can do it exactly right and not have to re-visit it.

You did a t-belt on an Accord? Then the good news here is that you don’t have to be afraid of destroying the engine if you screw up, because the 5sfe is a non-interference motor! I always sweat a little bit more when I do a t-belt on a motor that will grenade itself if I screw up. :wink:

I’m just glad to get more use out of the manual. I’m trying to think of other tips i’ve learned about this particular car over the years… the other one that jumps to mind is how i struggled to solve an overheating issues for almost a year. I had changed the thermostat, then the radiator due to a crack. The thing would heat up all the time. It finally went away when I ‘burped’ the engine with one of those giant yellow funnels. Basically had to put the car on an incline, fill the funnel up in the radiator and just drink a beer and watch it run for about an hour, revving it occasionally until the bubbles finally stopped coming out. Hadnt had the problem since…but if your car is like mine, they hate having the cooling system opened up.

Wow, that is another excellent tip. Right after I bought it, I changed the coolant to Toyota Super Long Life coolant, since I didn’t know how old the coolant was. It doesn’t run hot, but I think I smell something hot when I park it in the garage. I thought it might be a small exhaust gasket leak but hadn’t gotten around to looking. The temp gauge never registers higher than about 40% up the scale, but I will keep an eye on it.