Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

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Thread: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

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    Default Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    I am a service center owner and technician of over 40 years in SC. Recently, a 2003 Camry LE w/ 70,000 miles came into my shop with a coolant leak. I consulted this forum and others to find proof of the same instance in the Toyota Camry. I write this in response to some posts I read on this site. This is to be informative for those in similar situations.

    To do the exam, we pressurized the cooling system and put the car up on the lift. We immediately noticed coolant leaking from underneath the plastic INT intake Manifold in the rear of the engine. I also noticed a Large piece of foam rubber between the Intake Manifold and the Engine Block and Head. This was blocking our view of the leak. We could only see that the leak was behind the foam piece. The only option to discover the source of this leak was to remove the plastic intake manifold, which I did. After this was removed, it became obvious that coolant had been leaking a minor amount for quite some time due to build up between the cylinder head and block.

    The only option left is to remove the head, which requires an exstensive disassembly (R and R cylinder head). After Loosening the bolts in sequence, I notice the head bolts in the back of the engine are loose. From my experience in the field, I can confidently conclude that this only means one of two things: The bolts were left loose at the factory, or the Bolts are stripped. ( I commonly have seen stripped bolts in the Aluminum Cadillac North Star Block discovered through leaking coolant.)

    Next, I removed the head and sure enough, one bolt came out with aluminum in the thread...thus indicating a stripped bolt.

    MY THEORY: The placement of the (insulation) foam rubber piece between the Intake Manifold and the engine block created an uneven dispersion of heat, creating "metal fatigue" in the aluminum block allowing the headbolt to strip.

    If Toyota had out an Aluminum Manifold instead of Plastic, there would have been no need to insulate (w/ foam piece), thus eliminating the probem.

    The only solution to this problem is to unforunately replace the engine. The cost to repair it otherwise would be substantial. This is an engine defect and we WILL be seeing more of this.

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    Quote Originally Posted by bandkauto View Post
    I am a service center owner and technician of over 40 years in SC. Recently, a 2003 Camry LE w/ 70,000 miles came into my shop with a coolant leak. I consulted this forum and others to find proof of the same instance in the Toyota Camry. I write this in response to some posts I read on this site. This is to be informative for those in similar situations.

    To do the exam, we pressurized the cooling system and put the car up on the lift. We immediately noticed coolant leaking from underneath the plastic INT intake Manifold in the rear of the engine. I also noticed a Large piece of foam rubber between the Intake Manifold and the Engine Block and Head. This was blocking our view of the leak. We could only see that the leak was behind the foam piece. The only option to discover the source of this leak was to remove the plastic intake manifold, which I did. After this was removed, it became obvious that coolant had been leaking a minor amount for quite some time due to build up between the cylinder head and block.

    The only option left is to remove the head, which requires an exstensive disassembly (R and R cylinder head). After Loosening the bolts in sequence, I notice the head bolts in the back of the engine are loose. From my experience in the field, I can confidently conclude that this only means one of two things: The bolts were left loose at the factory, or the Bolts are stripped. ( I commonly have seen stripped bolts in the Aluminum Cadillac North Star Block discovered through leaking coolant.)

    Next, I removed the head and sure enough, one bolt came out with aluminum in the thread...thus indicating a stripped bolt.

    MY THEORY: The placement of the (insulation) foam rubber piece between the Intake Manifold and the engine block created an uneven dispersion of heat, creating "metal fatigue" in the aluminum block allowing the headbolt to strip.

    If Toyota had out an Aluminum Manifold instead of Plastic, there would have been no need to insulate (w/ foam piece), thus eliminating the probem.

    The only solution to this problem is to unforunately replace the engine. The cost to repair it otherwise would be substantial. This is an engine defect and we WILL be seeing more of this.
    A good reason for 7 year/100,000 mile/Zero Deductible Extended Waranties........

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  4. 11-05-2008, 04:07 PM

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    OP,
    With a five year old vehicle you can't assume that it has not been severely overheated and some clown has not tried to cure a headgasket problem by cranking down on the headbolts. Do the valve covers show any signs or previous removal?

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    We have seen this before, it is not a common problem, but has happened. That repair is 5yr/60k miles warranty,or if they have TOYOTA EXTRACARE
    A good reason for 7 year/100,000 mile/Zero Deductible Extended Waranties........
    it should be covered.
    Try calling the Toyota 1-800-331-4331 and see if they will participate in the repair. It needs a new short block. Not sure I trust the block, thats why we didnt use the TimeCerts. TIMECERTS ROCK!!

  7. 11-12-2008, 03:27 PM

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    I have a 2003 Camry SE 4 cylinder 5 speed manual transmission. I bought it new in 2003 At 80,000 miles during a routine oil change I was told that I had an engine problem and coolant was leaking from the backside of the engine block from underneath a foam insulation pad. This pad is located on the back side of the engine block between the block and the fire wall. The mechanic told me he thought that I probably had a cracked cylinder head and would need to consider replacing the engine. He couldnt be 100% sure until he took everything apart to look at it but he felt confident that was the problem.

    I contacted Toyota and was told that they had no record of issues involving cracked cylinder heads in the 4 cyl. Camry engine. There was nothing they could do for me as far as this repair was concerned. I sought a 2nd opinion and after weighing options from a $6000 dollar warranty replacement engine to a $2100 cylinder head job I opted for the later of the two.

    My mechanic has just called and informed me that the cylinder head is NOT cracked. The problem is that the cylinder head bolts are stripped on the back side of the engine. This is what caused the coolant leak in the first place. Several of the bolts contained remains of the screw threading when they were removed. Now I have only two options: make my car into a very expensive flowerpot or spend $4000 for a replacement engine from a junk yard. I have contacted Toyota regarding this issue. So far I havn't been able to get anywhere. I have to call the local dealer on Monday and sprak to the service manager. The work is being done by an outside shop so I'm optimistic about a positive outcome.

    I would strongly recommend that if you have the problem as described above that you understand that the cylinder repair is not an option. Youre looking at the expense for an engine replacement. I have no choice but to move forward with the repair. The mechanic and I discussed the possibility of Helicoiling the existing screws, there isnt enough room between the water jacket and the block for them to fit. I wish I had found this forum before I went ahead with the attempted repair. You said that we would be seeing more of this problem, here it is.

    I never thought that I would be so disappointed in a Toyota product. Ive been a loyal customer for 30 years.

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    Quote Originally Posted by atn1kjm View Post
    I have a 2003 Camry SE 4 cylinder 5 speed manual transmission. I bought it new in 2003 At 80,000 miles during a routine oil change I was told that I had an engine problem and coolant was leaking from the backside of the engine block from underneath a foam insulation pad. This pad is located on the back side of the engine block between the block and the fire wall. The mechanic told me he thought that I probably had a cracked cylinder head and would need to consider replacing the engine. He couldnt be 100% sure until he took everything apart to look at it but he felt confident that was the problem.

    I contacted Toyota and was told that they had no record of issues involving cracked cylinder heads in the 4 cyl. Camry engine. There was nothing they could do for me as far as this repair was concerned. I sought a 2nd opinion and after weighing options from a $6000 dollar warranty replacement engine to a $2100 cylinder head job I opted for the later of the two.

    My mechanic has just called and informed me that the cylinder head is NOT cracked. The problem is that the cylinder head bolts are stripped on the back side of the engine. This is what caused the coolant leak in the first place. Several of the bolts contained remains of the screw threading when they were removed. Now I have only two options: make my car into a very expensive flowerpot or spend $4000 for a replacement engine from a junk yard. I have contacted Toyota regarding this issue. So far I havn't been able to get anywhere. I have to call the local dealer on Monday and sprak to the service manager. The work is being done by an outside shop so I'm optimistic about a positive outcome.

    I would strongly recommend that if you have the problem as described above that you understand that the cylinder repair is not an option. Youre looking at the expense for an engine replacement. I have no choice but to move forward with the repair. The mechanic and I discussed the possibility of Helicoiling the existing screws, there isnt enough room between the water jacket and the block for them to fit. I wish I had found this forum before I went ahead with the attempted repair. You said that we would be seeing more of this problem, here it is.

    I never thought that I would be so disappointed in a Toyota product. Ive been a loyal customer for 30 years.
    Get another mechanic........

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    Quote Originally Posted by atn1kjm View Post


    The mechanic and I discussed the possibility of Helicoiling the existing screws, there isnt enough room between the water jacket and the block for them to fit.
    Before I accepted the mechanics word as gospel, I'd check with tech people at ++ TIME-SERT Threaded inserts for stripped threads, threaded inserts, thread repair stripped sparkplug's, Ford sparkplug blowouts, threaded inserts threaded, repair stripped threads, stripped threads, inserts threaded inserts, Ford spark plug repair, and
    Heli-Coil ( HeliCoil Inserts ) Helicoils Screw Thread Inserts | Emhart.com

    They may have specific application information of which your mechanic may be unaware.
    FWIW
    YMMV

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    why do people think that mechanics would do something to their car that would harmful or expensive.i'm going through the same experience.2002 camry 2.4l head bolts stripped out on back of head(no real fix i can find).bolts were loose on removale.i'm a tech ,don't like telling customer its expensive but no other option,if you see a leak(sort of)you have to follow it back to source,not easy to see sometimes.it is impossible for me to know every vechicle with all their problems.just rember this the next time something goes wrong with your car

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    Quote Originally Posted by ptowing View Post
    why do people think that mechanics would do something to their car that would harmful or expensive.i'm going through the same experience.2002 camry 2.4l head bolts stripped out on back of head(no real fix i can find).bolts were loose on removale.i'm a tech ,don't like telling customer its expensive but no other option,if you see a leak(sort of)you have to follow it back to source,not easy to see sometimes.it is impossible for me to know every vechicle with all their problems.just rember this the next time something goes wrong with your car
    You answered your own question/non-question...............

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    How long did Toyota use this design (or are they still using it) on the four cylinder engine? Both examples in this thread were 2003 model year. I have a 2005 Camry. If the same design was used for 2005 model year, is there anything I can do to avoid this issue?

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    I am going to add yet another vehicle

    We've had a 2003 Toyota Camry LE 4cyl since February of 2003, currently it has almost 125 thousand miles on it. Two days ago we went to the dealership to get an oil change and they have told us that coolant was leaking, also saying that they would diagnose the problem for $99. We have opted out to take the vehicle to my brother, who's good with cars, and sure enough on our way back from the dealership the car started overheating. This has never happened before, neither has this vehicle had any problems or services aside from brakes and AC.

    As with the cases above same process first the leak was discovered in the back; then it took us a while to figure out that we need to remove the foam and finally 3 bolts from the back just came out, there was no need to unscrew them.

    I am really not sure what we're going to do about it, it is certain that we have to fix it because we're visiting family 800 miles away from home and need to go back this coming weekend. I consider ouselves very lucky that this did not happen on our way here.

    Any advise would be greatly appreaciated.

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    I have a 2003 Camry 4cyl le bought around January of 2003. I have taken good care of this car but last week i took it into my mechanic to see why it was overheating, and I also couldn't seem to start it. I actually had it towed to the mechanic. He said I had a blown gasket. He gave me a price of $1800. The next day he called and told me the 3 bolts on the back side of the engine were stripped and loose. He said we will have to redrill the three holes in back and put inserts in. He also suggested that we have a valve job since the head was off. He also decided that he would drill 6 of the bolt holes, Three in back and three in front to be safe. and the price would be $2400. He is a top mechanic.

    The car runs beautifully. It goes like a rocket. I had to bring in my children to help pay the bill. They did God bless them. After reading this thread, I feel that Toyota should pay this bill and my $200 dollar car rental bill. I love my car. Do I have any case against Toyoto?

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    Hello, Everyone and Anyone! We had a similar situation, 2003 Toyota Highlander - Two years ago with 61,000 miles on it (yes, only 1,000+ miles out of warranty) - engine 2.4, transmission 4WD - we are the original owners: blown head gasket, no fix available - our mechanic went to the dealer on our behalf - bolts were loose, he took them out by hand, there was a problem that we could not have prevented. Basically told by Toyota dealership - sorry about your luck - if we had brought our car to the dealer for regular maintenance (we have documentation of regular oil changes!!!) instead of taking to our mechanic (who does free-lance mechanical for the same dealership!) they might have helped us. But we were told - sorry about your luck - contacted Totoyta national number, too. In essence they said - go ahead - sue us - now I start to see we are not the only ones with this problem. I must say when we first heard from our mechanic, we were a little in disbelief concerning bolts not tight, but now see there are others. We only wanted Toyota to help with some of the cost as we were only 1,100 miles over warranty - again, NO WAY was their response! Needless to say, we have bought two new cars since two years ago, and neither one was a Toyota - and my brother and sister both work at the Georgetown Toyota plant in Georgetown, KY. Anybody know where to go from here? I just want to be able to have Toyota bear some of the responsibility, at least own up to the issue. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    My sister had the same problem three months ago on a 2.4L 2002 Camry at about 65000K. The dealer wanted to replace the head gasket and block for $8000.00. It always seems to be the same three bolts according to the blogs. I told to have the machine to use Helix coils for the strpped threads at $50.00 each and it worked. After my sister read them the riot act she got away for $1700.00 and a six month warranty. The originaly wanted to do just the head gasket for $3400.00 with a one year warranty before they realized they really had three stripped threads. It should be a factory recall. Everyone seems to know the 2.4L engines around 2002 and 2003 could have that problem except their service mangers. I hope they fixed beacuse I have a 2007 new with 36000 miles on it. My sisters 1992 was 15 years old with 193000 miles on it with typical problems.

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    Default Re: Camry With Stripped Head Bolts

    Does anyone know if or when Toyota fixed the head gasket / bolt problem. This thread talks about 2002 & 2003 Camry 4 cyl. Has it been fixed for 2004 and newer?

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