My Rav4 has 106-k on it and the "simple" head gasket job has now turned into a nightmare. The center three rear head bolts were found to be loose when I went to untorque them. As I read on other forums, the alunminum block threads can pull out and then of course, a head gasket failure will result.
See the shiny spot above cylinder #3? That's where the coolant was leaking out from between the head and block. It gets worse....
The gasket also failed between cylinders #2 and #3.
Here are the aluminum threads that came out with the rear 3 bolts. This generally means you need a new engine, as the threaded holes are 100mm down in the block. You can't even see the damaged threads, let alone try to heli coil them. There is a special rethreading kit made for this, but it costs about $400.
Tip for those trying this at home: Leave the exhaust manifold on the head to save time and effort. The intake can be unbolted from the head and left in place on the vehicle with all hoses, cables, and electrical connectors left in place.
Just a picture of the cylinder head gasket surface. I haven't checked it for flatness yet with my straight edge.
I've been reading that the 2001-2004 Camrys have this same problem. They have the very similarly designed 2.4 liter engine. This problem is evidently more common than I realized.
Take a look HERE
, and HERE
. There are many other threads with this same discussion and the Toyota owner's outrage with the stripped head bolts and blown head gasket problems, or simply google "Camry stripped head bolts".