I had to get a safety check for my 99 Camry at the shop I go to and
while I was there, inquired about getting the valve stem seals replaced
since the engine will emit blue smoke on startup when cold. He
recommended to live with it as long as the plugs weren't fouling. He did
say that when you do replace the stem seals, that the valve guides have
to be checked and replaced if worn since worn guides would damage the
new seals. Just passing along some info.
That's another reason I always use the thickest oil approved for the
temperature range from the beginning. Thicker oils seal better and
have stronger oil films but do flow less than thinner oils.
0W-20 are spec'ed for newer cars for their tighter oil clearances and
better mileage rating, don't think 99 uses it but your region may
They do say something like 50% of engine wear is on startup from no
oil in the cilinders, I know at 110000 on mine it passed the EPA tests
where the motor might go to 3-400000 judging by the polutants I put
out to where it is considered a poluter. But the body wont make it. My
plugs burn clean, I consume no oil, so I figure its lubed when it
needs it, on startup. Figure it as 2 stoke gas on startup, actualy I
start my big generator for testing on 2 stroke with maybe a cup of
gas. If I dont I can hear the valves clack till the pump get oil to
the top, in winter with thick old oil I imagine the damage can go on
for 5 seconds or more. Let it smoke on startup, maybe thats why the
motors last so long.
I would try some that high mileage motor oil. I heard that Lucas Oil
Additive works well and will also slow or stop oil consumption. There are
other oil additives that may work as well. Make sure the container mentions
it will help oil seals. I understand these type of products can soften all
see an improvement, but recently after adding Lucas synthetic oil
stabilizer to Mobil 1 fully synthetic 10W30, oil use has been reduced.
4 cyl. 175,000 miles. Oil level perhaps 1/8" below full line after
I began adding Lucas to prevent the blue smoke on cold start around
Haven't seen it since. Just recently I switched to the Lucas synthetic
oil stabilizer even though I've been running Mobil 1 all along, and I
like their synthetic version even better.
While I do my own work on the car including the timing belt, water
pump, oil seals, wouldn't seem worth it to me to pull the cam shafts
to replace valve guide seals. Especially since they're giving me no
Sounds reasonable given the labor cost. Try out the high mileage oil
first, these have o-ring conditioners to swell and help seal.
If the valve stem clearance is off by that much then you're right it's
probably not worth doing the seal alone -- the cylinder head should be
serviced if not the lower half of the engine too. I think the valve
guides are about $2 a piece, but labor cost and other gaskets add up.
Hopefully the wear is minimal with regular 3000-mile oil changes and a
decent filter (Bosch Filtech or Purolator PureOne).
For those who do their own timing belt job and are up to it, consider
the stem seals every other belt change -- it adds about $30 for the
Fel-Pro stem seal set and $12 for the Fel-Pro valve cover set.
I have heard that it's a good idea to replace the water pump when the
timing belt is serviced but not the valve stem seals. Is the reasoning
for this is that it's easy to remove the head at this time?
To remove valve springs with the cylinder head on, a lever type spring
compressor is used, like the Schley SP91400A.
If the cylinder head is removed, then use:
The added cost may not be worth it for the shade tree mechanic if the
local parts store doesn't have a free loaner. So your mileage may vary
on whether or not to replace the stem seals.
You don't have to remove the cylinder head to get to the stem seals.
But I can understand why some techs don't want to do this. You'll have
to take off the valve cover, remove the cam shafts carefully following
directions (because of small thrust clearance), remove the 16 valve
springs and then pull off the stem seals.
People usually replace the water pump, camshaft seal, oil pump seal,
and front crankshaft seal etc while doing the timing job (see my list
below). Why? Because that section of the engine is already taken apart
to get to the belt, and the labor to get to them again is much more
than a $5-8 seal or a pump. However, you have to take off more parts
to get to the stem seals, so I understand why some techs don't want to
We were talking about having a shop do the seals. So they do need a
lever type valve spring compressor (e.g., SP91400A) without taking the
cylinder head off. But decent shops should have them, and your local
parts stores may (or may not) have a free loaner of the lever type of
valve spring compressor (most have OHV and C-clamp types) for the home
Valve stem to guide clearance is about 1-2.5 mils, with max specified
just under 4 mils. How that's going to adversely affect a new stem
seal is kinda beyond me, seriously.
Parts I'd replace duirng a timing belt job: (older www.rockauto.com
prices for 3/5SFE)
GATES TCK199 (kit of timing belt with two pulleys and instruction)
GATES Part # K030295 PS belt $4.32
GATES Part # K050435 Alt/AC $12.12
FEL-PRO TCS45641 Cam seal $4.11
FEL-PRO TCS45920 Crank seal $6.04
BCA Part # 221820 Oil pump seal $2.71
AISIN (Toyota #16110-79185) water pump $58.79
your local NAPA store has Airtex water pump
FEL-PRO VS50304R valve cover gasket set $13.94
Thanks for the info. To tell the truth, I have no idea about what's
under those valve covers. My previous OHC engines that I worked on (Fiat
and VW Rabbit) had the valves springs under shim-adjusted cam buckets
that required the cylinders be pressurized to allow the release of the
spring retainers. How are the valve springs held in place in the Toyota
That's interesting. I had several 1972 Fiat 124 coupes in the 80's. The
VW and Volvo OHC engines of the time used the same shim sets and paid
fees to use Fiat's very simple and direct method of valve operation.
Fiat's method of rear disk parking brake actuation sure looks similar to
the system we use today. These cars came out in 1967! While 4 wheel disk
brakes and 5-speed transmissions and belt driven DOHC engines are pretty
standard today, back then, they were very cool features.
Yeah, a lot of these good ideas came from old-timers. Nissan had
copied a Mercedes 4cyl engine in their infancy, of course Toyota
copied Borg Warner transmission designs and started having problems
with the new gear-skipping U-series when they got "creative".
Many in the tuner circle won't let a shop touch their cylinder heads
unless an Italian Serdi 3.0 machine is on site. And today's BMWs use
no throttle plates -- the accelerator pedal controls continuously-
variable valve lift. Bosch Motronic piezoelectric injection systems
can create a stratified fuel charge (>64:1 air:fuel ratio) in the
cylinder with rich mixture next to the spark plug and lean mixture
towards the cylinder wall etc etc.
I bet tomorrow's stem seals are going to cost an arm and a leg! But
mine would do with a $30 Fel-Pro set waiting on the shelf. :)
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