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Used engine 2005 toyota camry-need advice

I have a 2005 Camry 4 cylinder with 72,000 miles. It is in very good shape. The water pump broke which leaked antifreeze all over the engine and ran the engine with no water and destroyed the head gasket which leaked oil all over and destroyed the engine. I know I probably left out alot of information but that is the gist. The mechanic (very reputable and trustworthy) says it will cost $5000 to replace the engine with a used one with 68,000 miles, including labor. This also includes a new water pump, head gasket, tune up.
My question: does this sound reasonable? I see used engines online for $2100. he says the labor will be about 20 hours total.

The total labor in hours is fair enough but there are some concerns.

The engine price seems high to me for a 68k miles engine although granted, all parts are marked up some.
Changing the head gasket for no reason I don’t get. What I would be more concerned with are the results of a compression test on that engine. Sixy-eight thousand miles may not sound like much but who knows if that engine has been overheated, never seen an oil change, etc, etc.

While I’ve never kept a log, an unscientific estimate of the used engines, transmissions, and other boneyard stuff I’ve deal with that have problems from minor to major probably fall into the 30-40% range. That’s a high percentage and a lot of money you’re talking about unless someone is willing to carve their guarantee into Mount Rushmore.

Even an engine with 20k miles on it may be shaky at best. Unless various tests have been performed before it was pulled and someone has actually heard it run then it’s all boils down to luck.

I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but stay away from a used engine. Toyota has had severe problems with that 2AZ-FE engine. The cylinder head bolt threads pull out of the block. All MY 2002 - 2006 Camrys with that engine are affected. The Toyota solution is to replace the block.
That doesn’t mean it will happen. But it does mean that Toyota has recognized the problem and has published information to that effect.

If you’re going to replace the engine, insist on a brand new Toyota engine. Any used engine will almost certainly have come from that same bad batch. FYI all Toyotas with that engine were affected for a number of years. So getting an engine from a RAV4, for example, would also be a gamble.

There is a TSB, which I unfortunately can’t post.

Google 2AZ-FE stripped head bolt. Interesting reading.

By the way, it’s VERY possible that the source of the headgasket oil leak is actually the stripped out threads. Many customers notice an oil leak from their headgasket area. When the mechanic pulls the head for inspection, he often finds that the threads in the block are gone! There are aftermarket repair kits available, but it looks like a pretty big project.

There. I’ve said it.

Buy a used engine at your own peril.

I actually have a 2AZ-FE engine that I’ve put almost 200,000 miles on so far, and I can tell you that it’s extremely reliable. I also have the TSBs for my particular car, and there are none for stripped head bolts.

Having said that, I agree that the price quoted would be more what I’d expect for a rebuilt engine rather than a used one. It is possible, however, that the reliability of the engine has made a used one hard to find and the price on the used market reflects that. I don’t really know.

Sorry but I am going to hijack this thread–I have a 2001 Camry with the 2.2 liter 4 cylinder–does it have the same potential problem or did it start in 2002?

Nope. The engine in question is a 2.4L engine (see attached). It’s the successor to the engine you have.

Thank you, MTB.

A good mechanic using a lift and air-tools should be able to do this in 10-12 hours…$3000-$3500 total cost to purchase and install a used engine…Shop around. Start at the salvage yard selling the engine. They frequently can arrange installation…

@thesamemountainbike I’m glad to hear that your engine has been reliable for you!

However, I respectfully disagree about that TSB. I’m looking at it right now, because I printed it out a long time ago.

The bulletin number is T-SB-0015-11, dated March 2, 2011. It is 29 pages long. It is titled "Cylinder Head Bolt Threads Damaged (2AZ-FE).

Unfortunately I can’t post it, and nobody has posted it yet. Not as far as I can see.

It covers:

Camry 2002-2006
Highlander 2001-2007
RAV4 2004-2005
Solara 2002-2006

The introduction says "Some vehicles equipped with the 2AZ-FE engine may exhibit damaged cylinder head bolts. Please follow the Repair Procedure to install Time-Sert thread repair inserts into the cylinder block.

There are 10 cylinder head bolt threads in the block. Unfortunately, “Never perform insert work on the 2 bolt holes at the front and rear of the cylinder block. If any damage is found in such sections, replace the cylinder block.”

This is the reason I bought a 2005 Camry with the 1MZ-FE V6 instead of a 2005 Camry with the 2AZ-FE inline 4. When I became aware of the TSB, I decided there was no stinking way I was buying a car that might have this problem down the road.

One of my colleagues used to work at a Toyota dealer and he remembers the problem from a few years ago. That bulletin only came out about 2 years ago, and that engine had already been in use for quite some time. That tells me that Toyota took a long time to even “admit” they had a problem.

I hope this never happens to you!

T-SB-0015-11 is for Toyota vehicles,

Scion has its own bulletin, S-SB-0004-11 Dated March 2, 2011

2005-2007 tC

@Nevada545 I’ll assume the Scions used the same 2AZ-FE engine?

@thesamemountainbike if you care to look at the Toyota TSB yourself, you’ll have to pay $15 to log on to the Toyota website for 2 days of access. Anyone is allowed to create an account, pay the fee and log on. You will have access to the same information that the Toyota dealership mechanics see.

That’s what I did. I wanted to see all the TSBs for the car I was considering BEFORE I headed out to the dealers. That made me favor the V6 over the inline 4. I wound up buying my car from a Volvo dealership, of all places! It had recently been traded in, with low miles.

Or you can wait until someone more computer-savvy than me posts the TSB in its entirety.

" I wanted to see all the TSBs for the car I was considering BEFORE I headed out to the dealers. "

That’s what I do prior to vehicle purchases. You won’t get that information from sources like CR. I use a number of different sources for a pre-purchase “background check” and the TSBs are one good one. The reliability surveys in the car mags don’t usually show problems like oil sludging engines or unrepairable thread stripping engine blocks. The TSBs paint a picture.

Another source of information is to talk to technicians in the field of the make you’re considering. They are often up on the goods and the bads of different components as is the case with db4690, here. I’m not even sure which makes he specializes in, but he caught this one.

Chances are very small that you’ll have a problem with things like these stripped head bolt threads or oil sludging if you do your own maintenance, but why not just avoid it if possible ?
Besides, when you buy “used” you may not have a clear idea if any of these things surfaced prior to second ownership.


You may get lucky and only need a new head. You have to remove head and inspect it. Perhaps the block is ok, and the bolt holes are fine. Yes the mechanic says it needs this and that but most motors can be repaired. Plus, it has low miles.

@Stoveguyy there is a youtube video in which a guy fixes a 2AZ-FE block in his own personal garage! He drills out the busted threads and installs Time-Serts or Helicoils.

Déjà Vu, All Over Again !

I remember Volkswagen rpairing/replacing engine blocks, many under warranty, because the head studs stripped in the crankcase. 1966 was the year of the “bastard engine,” and I believe it was basically a 1965 1200cc case married (shot gun wedding) to (yet to be) 1967 1500cc pistons and jugs, resulting in the 1300cc engine.

The experiment didn’t work, but VW didn’t find out until the cars were produced and sold. I think 1966 air-cooleds were the only ones with that 1300cc motor. Once bitten, twice shy. 1967 started the 1500cc engine in Type 1 production.


I have done it. My point is; is your block damaged? So your car is not running. It has no value as is. You cannot use it. Take off head, inspect block. MAYBE block is ok. Replace head or see if head can be salvaged. Heck, almost any Honda 4 cyl that needs headgasket can be fixed for 1500. Why is fixing your Camry so complicated?

In regards to the pulled head studs on the air cooled VWs, that problem actually continued on into later models. Some of it was self inflicted though. Every shop and every person on the planet it seemed worked on those things and overtightening of of the nuts on the cylinder head studs was a common thing to happen. It was a bit difficult for many to grasp that 18 Ft. Lbs, etc was enough to secure a cylinder head that used no head gasket onto the jugs so they would crank them down a bit tighter which would then start pulling the studs out of the engine cases.

Back to the Toyota motor, a used engine can be a real crap shoot anyway even if there is no tendency to pull threads at all.

The tC does use the same engine. I sounds like the problem may have had a manufacturing error root cause. I do have access to the same documents that the Toyota guys have. And it’s not listed for the Scion.

It’s very possible that since the Scion is built completely in Japan and the others listed in your post are built laregly in the U.S., whatever the manufacturing error was did not affect the Scions… So while the engine is the same, the problem may not have affected the tC’s. That’d be my guess.

@thesamemountainbike when is the last time you logged onto

@Nevada545 stated in this post that there is a Scion TSB S-SB-0004-11, dated March 2, 2011, addressing the 2AZ-FE engine. Note that it has the same dated as the Toyota TSB.

The bottom line is Toyota knows they screwed up. Every manufacturer has their “bad” engine. And this may be Toyota’s. There’s no way @Nevada545 made up this TSB. I’m sure it exists, because I’m looking at the Toyota TSB right now.

Like I said before, I hope you never have this problem.

Here is picture of a Scion with possibly a loose cylinder head.

The moderator makes reference to the SCION bulletin.