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2009 Corolla Cold Start Rattle (Engine) (T-SB-0087-09)

When I had my dealer replace my neutral override switch in my corolla(2009), I also asked them to look into a problem that was noticeable lately. The car, when cold-started, rattles briefly. The dealer said that it was a known problem.
What if I decide not to fix this? Will my engine die? The dealer said he will try to have Toyota pick up the tab, but apparently this is a $3500 job (!???)

"T-SB-0087-09 - March 13, 2009

Brief Engine Knock/Rattle Noise at Cold Startup

Service Category: Engine/Hybrid System
Section: Engine Mechanical
Market: USA

2009 Corolla - Engine(s): 2ZR. Transmission(s): 4AT, 5MT. VDS(s): BL40E, BU40E.
2009 Matrix - Drive Type(s): 2WD. Engine(s): 2ZR. Transmission(s): 4AT, 5MT. VDS(s): KU40E

Immediately following a cold soak startup, some 2009 model year Corolla and Matrix vehicles may exhibit a brief knock/rattle noise from the engine compartment for approximately one second. Follow the repair procedure below to address customer concerns.

Parts Information:

Previous Part Number: 13050-0T010. Current Part Number: Same. Part Name: Gear Assembly, Camshaft Timing. Qty: 1.

Previous Part Number: 11213-37020. Current Part Number: Same. Part Name: Gasket, Cylinder Head Cover. Qty: 1.

Previous Part Number: 11159-37010. Current Part Number: Same. Part Name: Gasket, Camshaft Bearing Cap Oil Hole. Qty: 2.

Previous Part Number: 13552-0T020. Current Part Number: Same. Part Name: Gasket, Timing Chain Tensioner. Qty: 1.

Warranty Information:
OP Code: EG9006. Description: R & R Camshaft Timing Gear Assembly. Time: 1.5. OFP: 13050-0T010. T1: 06. T2: 40.

Applicable Warranty:
This repair is covered under the Toyota Powertrain Warranty. This warranty is in effect for 60 months or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first, from the vehicle’s in-service date. Warranty application is limited to correction of a problem based upon a customer’s specific complaint.

Here is the noise I have

The dealer will “try” to have Toyota pick up the tab?
Taking that TSB at face value, it clearly states that the problem will be covered by the Powertrain Warranty–but only if a customer complains about it.

As a result of Toyota’s own verbiage, there should be no question about this being a valid, covered warranty-related repair. If the dealer continues to hedge on the topic, then you need to “kick it up a notch” by contacting Toyota Customer Relations, via the toll-free phone number provided in your Owner’s Manual. Establishing a case number with these corporate Toyota folks will help to ensure that this repair is done at no charge to you.

Will your engine “die” if you decide not to have this free repair performed?
I can’t say for sure, but if there is a known defect in the camshaft drive gears and bearings, that certainly does not bode well for the long-term durability of the engine.

Since this will ultimately be covered under warranty (as long as you don’t continue to defer the matter), I have to ask–Why would you even consider not getting this free repair performed on your engine?

"This warranty is in effect for 60 months or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first, from the vehicle's in-service date"
Are you outside of that limit? If not, politely ask again, and if they refuse, then show them the TSB, and ask again, please fix it. Failing that, start heading up the management chain, with TSB in hand, asking again for it to be fixed.

If you are outside the warranty period, do you have ANY paperwork that you complained about the problem while it was within the warranty period?

I am well outside. The car has 79000 miles. I think the “noise” started well after the 60,000 miles threshold. Coincidence? I am very unlucky with cars… :frowning:

How Does 1.5 Labor Hours (Warranty), A Camshaft Timing Gear Assembly, VC Gasket, Chain Tensioner Gasket, And Two Bearing Cap Oil Hole Gaskets, Turn Into A $3500 Repair ?

I read the actual 3 page TSB. Something’s not adding up, here. The engine does not get removed. The timing cover doesn’t even come off. I know warranty repairs are a little light on labor, but . . . $3500 ? . . .
. . . Information is missing.


“I am well outside. The car has 79000 miles.”

So, even though the car is only about 3 years old, it has too many miles to be covered under the Powertrain Warranty. My original answer could have been more helpful if you had included this very important detail.

Show the TSB to a trusted independent mechanic, and ask for his estimate of the repair cost. Most likely it will be FAR lower than that ridiculously-inflated price quote from the dealer.

If you decide not to get this repair done, I would suggest getting rid of the car sooner, rather than later.

This also gets into a few murky areas.

  1. Just because a TSB exists for a rattle does not mean this rattle is related to that TSB.
  2. How often are oil changes performed; both as to miles and time?

I do not change oil as frequently as perhaps needed but the rattle exist after a fresh oil change, too. It only happens at a cold start so I am thinking that it cannot be that bad. Searching on the net this seems to be a very widespread problem for the US/Fremont, CA plant Corollas and other engines coming from there. I may just wait for the car turn to 95,000 and trade/sell it. I will of course try to have Toyota to take care of this for me for free and look for other mechanics quotes but if that fails I am ready to abandon toyota and go for 100k/10 warranty that only one car maker has (hint - it is not japanese). I have had 6 corollas and a 4runner never a problem until they started making these in the USA.

“I do not change oil as frequently as perhaps needed but the rattle exist after a fresh oil change, too.”

In that case, this engine may be the victim of sludging, as a result of lax attention to oil change intervals.
Can you clarify your statement for us, in terms of miles AND elapsed time between oil changes?

If Toyota is aware that the oil was not changed as per the factory maintenance schedule, they may not help you with this expense–nor should they.

Ok4450: " How often are oil changes performed; both as to miles and time? "

Andrasnm " I do not change oil as frequently as perhaps needed but . . . "

As usual, Ok’s got it figured out. That explains the $3500 estimate not matching with a 1.5 labor hours TSB. When an owner admits " I do not change oil as frequently as perhaps needed but . . . "

Why should the manufacturer pay for anything involving this car ?


How frequently DO you change the oil? If you’re exceeding 3-5K on an engine that’s prone to sludging, you’re really pushing your luck.

You might try a different brand of oil filter. Some just don’t have a very good ‘anti-drainback valve’ I’ve found that WIX filters do a good job. I had a similar problem with noise at startup on my high-mileage engine, and switching from the crappy generic filter that the mechanic had installed on my last oil change to a WIX solved the problem. Since then if I don’t do an oil change myself, I bring my preferred brand of filter with me.

The response given to my query is why I asked. A gut feeling was telling me it was leading in that direction.

Toyota should not pay one dime towards any problem nor should they be blamed for any problem that exists, TSB related or not.

If you’re under the impression that another make of car with a 100k miles warranty means you’re off the hook when neglect exists then be advised this is not going to work either.
If the engine goes at 99k miles warranty will not pay one dime, nor should they, unless you can PROVE you’ve adequately maintained the car.

people who change oil at every 3000 miles are IDIOTS who have money to throw away.
as older Toyota’s never had this problem either they take care of this for me or they just lost a customer.

I’m sorry but I’ve been sitting on the sidelines reading the back and forths and I have to take exception to the previous comment about “people who change their oil every 3000 miles are idiots…”. The fact of the matter is that you cannot tell me that me changing my oil every 3000 miles is not better protecting my engine long term than if I changed it 5 or 6 thousand miles. Obviously all engines will start and get you down the road even when neglected (as the poster’s apparently has) for the first 100k miles, but what about the long term damage to the bearings and pistons and rings and cylinder walls? The only way anyone can make a statement like that is if two identical cars were matched and one was abused and one was taken care of, both driven the same, then after 100K miles a compression test was done to see the difference. What about the dirty oil grinding away on the engine seals? I could go on, but I guess the lesson to learn here is try not to purchase a used car owned by the poster.

You may consider people who change oil every 3k miles to be idiots but your posts show a total lack of understanding about proper car care and what warranty will and will not cover.

You will probably be singing this same song, second verse, when you get your next new car.
Pretty sad attitude and unfortunately, you have a lot of company.

3k may be excessive…but it doesn’t mean the person is throwing their money away. But it sounds like you didn’t even change it when it should have been changed. Sorry, but it sounds like the engine was abused and now you want Toyota to pay for your abuse.

“How frequently DO you change the oil? If you’re exceeding 3-5K on an engine that’s prone to sludging, you’re really pushing your luck.”

This engine isn’t prone to sludging…That was the V6’s some 7 years earlier. But it’s still a good idea to change the oil when necessary.

Hmmm…"I am very unlucky with cars… :frowning: "

Now we know why.

Fan, to Mae West: Goodness, what diamonds!
Mae West: Goodness had nothing to do with it!

Just as “goodness” probably had nothing to do with Ms. West’s acquisition of jewelry, luck probably has nothing to do with the OP’s apparent history of car problems.

I was hoping to get some mechanical advice not flame war started over 3k oil change or not. I appreciate your input but I simply want to know what to do next. Toyota may or may not fix this problem and I need to know how long can/should I keep the car.
Indeed, it maybe a sludge issue but I am hard pressed to imagine the rattle caused by sludge. Many times I put synthetic oil into this car but I usually wait 5-7k. I have had 7-8 toyota’s ALL flawless. So I am not buying that I am to blame for not changing at every frigging 3k miles. If that is your opinion fine, KEEP it. I need to know what is my best move now…

VDCDriver gave you the best advice, in the 5th post in this thread. Once you have the numbers, you have to decide if it’s worth repairing. At this young age, and with 79K miles on it, there’s a lot of life left in it, providing it’s maintained properly, which I’m not implying one way or the other. It’s your car, do what you feel is best.