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Hi,

I'm a complete new car owner and know very little about cars at all. I recently purchased (as in 6 months ago) a 2010 Rav4 from what is considered a very reputable dealership in the area I live in. The car was sold from the dealership, had all it's work done at the dealership and was traded back into the same dealership where I purchased it from.

Last week as I was driving, I heard a clunk and my engine stopped working and my brakes and steering wheel began to lock up. Luckily I wasn't going to quickly and was able to slow down enough to pull over and park. Got the car towed out to the dealership where they told me that
"The tech was checking the vehicle over, and found the engine locked up. We started tearing down the engine and found the engine jumped time, something broke that works with the timing chain. When the vehicle jumped time, it bent all of the intake valves."

They have given me a couple of options to fix this, the cheapest being around $4000-$5000 (they recommended I get a new engine altogether)...not at all ideal considering I only $13,000 for the car in the first place. Oh, and the car has only 94,000 miles or so on it (was 85,000 when I bought it).

My question is where do I go from here? Am I responsible for paying this $5000 bill? Should the dealership foot the bill? Or Toyota?

Does anyone know if this is a common problem at all in Rav4's? The mechanics at the dealership told me that it was extremely uncommon for this to happen, but my confidence in them has gone down significantly in the wake of all of this. :confused

Also, for any mechanics out there, is it possible that this has done any damage to the rest of the car? In which case am I better off trying to cut my losses and ask for a deal on my current car and a mark down on a newer car?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, is it common for a jumped timing chain to do this much damage so quickly? The car had just had it's routine maitenence check-up less than 4 weeks previosly - it had it's oil changed and tires rotated etc.
 

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It would be very useful to know which engine your RAV4 has: 2.5L I4 or 3.5L V6?

I think whatever happened is an extremely rare phenomenon. I've been on this site for a few years now and don't remember ever hearing about anything like this.

As the vehicle was bought used, do you have all of the maintenance records, showing things like every oil change? The previous owner may have abused the vehicle in one or more of a number of ways. It's also possible there was simply a defective part used in its original construction, too.

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I'm interested to know more info about this from the OP. very amazed to hear the engine jumped time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It would be very useful to know which engine your RAV4 has: 2.5L I4 or 3.5L V6?

I think whatever happened is an extremely rare phenomenon. I've been on this site for a few years now and don't remember ever hearing about anything like this.

As the vehicle was bought used, do you have all of the maintenance records, showing things like every oil change? The previous owner may have abused the vehicle in one or more of a number of ways. It's also possible there was simply a defective part used in its original construction, too.

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It is a 2.5L engine and I can't seem to locate all the records, but I know that when I purchased the car I had access to the whole carfax list and all the work that was done. And I was told that it had always been serviced through the dealership so I'm assuming they have all of the records.

Is there anything in the records that would indicate it is the fault of the previous owner or the service department at all?
 

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It's a timing chain, those are supposed to last the life of the engine, but there are always rare cases where they don't...

I'm trying to find a definitive answer on if it's an interference engine or not, and nothing clear...

one thing is sure, I would take it to a real mechanic, not the dealership, dealership will always prefer changing the whole thing with new, rather than repair or change for used....
 

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It is a 2.5L engine and I can't seem to locate all the records, but I know that when I purchased the car I had access to the whole carfax list and all the work that was done. And I was told that it had always been serviced through the dealership so I'm assuming they have all of the records.

Is there anything in the records that would indicate it is the fault of the previous owner or the service department at all?
Go to Toyota . com/owners, register(maybe), input the vin and any work done by any Toyota dealer anywhere will be in the maintenance records.
I wouldn't rely on Carfax. I once looked up a Subaru I bought new and found it was in an accident in a state I've never visited!
 

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Something here doesn't register correctly - Toyota RAV4 engines are supposed to be non-interference, so a timing chain problem should not result in any damage to valves or pistons.
 

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Not all Toyota engines are non-interference. If the car was bought from a dealer was it a certified used car? If so there should be some kind of warranty.
 

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There seems to be a consensus from various sources that RAV4 engines are non-interference, but I haven't been able to locate a definitive answer from Toyota themselves.
 

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Every site I've visited on the subject has the Toyota 2.5 4cyl as non-interference, so that can't be the cause of the OP's engine failure. Hopefully he'll visit Toyota .com and find out just what, if any, maintenance has been done at a dealer.
 

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There seems to be a consensus from various sources that RAV4 engines are non-interference, but I haven't been able to locate a definitive answer from Toyota themselves.
I tried calling Toyota directly and asked one time about interference vs. non-interference and they would not say, actually refused to comment saying they don't publicize that information.

I know for a fact that the Lexus IS300 I used to have had an interference engine. Folks modifying them on the IS300 forum had some adventures with bent valves over there. So that's at least one example of a Toyota product with an interference engine.

Dumb to build an interference engine with a rubber band to control the timing but the 4.3 Rav4 have timing chains across the board I think.
 

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I googled the engine and it is a non-interference engine. I am thinking the dealer is taking advantage of you by scaring you into getting a new engine. Take your car some where you can replace the broken chain. You should call around and to compare what other repair shops say. Never settle on one opinion when you have to pay that high for a repair bill. Tell them you know you have a non-interference engine which should not be damaged when the chain breaks. The more you sound knowledgeable the less the mechanics will attempt to rip you off.
 

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I tried calling Toyota directly and asked one time about interference vs. non-interference and they would not say, actually refused to comment saying they don't publicize that information.

Dumb to build an interference engine with a rubber band to control the timing but the 4.3 Rav4 have timing chains across the board I think.

It seems absurd that Toyota would not state whether their engines are interference or non-interference! Their service personnel and other mechanics need to have that info for diagnostic purposes, unless Toyota deliberately would withhold it so that more engines would need to have more diagnostic work and torn down, increasing bills for customers with a good proportion of those done unnecessarily. Lists of Toyota engines which are interference and non-interference engines state that the 2.5 I4 and 3.5 V6 engines are non-interference.
 

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I was under the assumption that SOME engines with timing belts were interference engines, whereas MOST engines with timing chains were not.
 

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I was under the assumption that SOME engines with timing belts were interference engines, whereas MOST engines with timing chains were not.
The method of driving the camshaft(s), chain or belt, likely has no bearing on interference or not. What would make the most sense would be only chain or gear driven cam engines be interference since they aren't normal-wear items and rarely fail. But all the Hondas I've worked on over the years have belts and they are all interference. And I'm sure of that because it you rotate the crankshaft (ever so carefully!) with the belt off it will stop upon contacting a valve.
In any case it's purely the manufacturer's choice, one we can only live with.
 

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It seems absurd that Toyota would not state whether their engines are interference or non-interference!
Agreed, very frustrating.

... unless Toyota deliberately would withhold it so that more engines would need to have more diagnostic work and torn down, increasing bills for customers with a good proportion of those done unnecessarily.
Or they're afraid that customers will not come it for timing belt replacements if they know their engines are a non-interference design.

Lists of Toyota engines which are interference and non-interference engines state that the 2.5 I4 and 3.5 V6 engines are non-interference.
I don't think I trust any list unless it is officially from Toyota. The Gates Rubber list for timing belts showed my IS300 as a non-interference engine when in fact it is an interference design. I'm sure there are additional inaccuracies, at least on the Gates Rubber list.
 

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I don't think I trust any list unless it is officially from Toyota. The Gates Rubber list for timing belts showed my IS300 as a non-interference engine when in fact it is an interference design. I'm sure there are additional inaccuracies, at least on the Gates Rubber list.
I have to wonder where people who compile such lists obtain their information. Apparently the only reliable method for resolving the issue in this particular instance is to do what was suggested by Dr. Dyno - rotate the engine by hand and determine whether there is any piston-valve contact by feel. It might help to remove the spark plugs first.
 

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The 2.5L 2AR-FE in the Rav4 is an interference type engine.


I've owned and worked on the 1.8L 1ZZ-FE, 1.8L 2ZZ-GE, 2.4L 2AZ-FE, and the 2.5L 2AR-FE - all are chain drive, variable valve timed engines (all but the 2AR-FE, have single VVT-I on the intake side). The 2ZZ-GE added a two stage life in addition to the variable valve timing (VVTL-I).


Cannot tell just by looking at the exterior of the engine - and unfortunately, most publications may not have the correct or are missing information. Even the Toyota Factory Service manuals are not without typos (wrong torque values, clearance tolerance, etc) - that's why there are number of addendums that came out to address these issues.


Best to confirm with a manual test, as mentioned above. With the timing chain off - rotate the camshafts to full extend a set of valves - then rotate the crankshaft. The piston will make contact with the extended valve. That is pretty much the definition of interference engines. Visual inspection of the valve and piston tops will also confirm if it was an interference issue - as the damage will be unique compared to other catastrophic engine damage.


So in the event of catastrophic timing chain damage (chain broke, jumped a tooth on the sprocket, etc.) - you will end up damaging some of the valves. Even in non-interference engines, you could still see some valvetrain damage if the there was some foreign matter that got into the cylinder (valve actually got sucked in, broken bits of piston, hydrolock, etc.).


That said - the likelihood of the timing jumping a tooth like that is exceptionally rare. Even in the cases of excessive oil consumption with the 1ZZ-FE engines in the 8th generation Corolla/Prisms and the 2AZ-FE corporate engine used in a number of Toyota and Scion vehicles - most of those succumbed to cylinder wall damage or piston ring-land damage (loss of compression) before it lost timing.


I'd be very interested to hear if the timing chain tensioner had anything to do with the timing jumping a tooth or if there was an issue with the VVT actuator and connected sprocket. Chain failure is pretty remote, even in extreme cases with loss of lubrication - but that timing chain tensioner is known to be leak oil due to that single o-ring setup and being an oil fed plunger. Some of the previous generation 2.4L engines had sprocket damage, possibly due to a materials issue - but since they were also ran low on oil, they exceeded the lubrication limit and excessive wear really set in.
 

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I wouldn't rely on Carfax. I once looked up a Subaru I bought new and found it was in an accident in a state I've never visited!
And if the vehicle was owned by a company that is self-insured, like Enterprise Leasing, any accidents will not be on a Carfax because the company does not need to report them since they are the insurance company also.
 
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