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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After being quoted a $150 to replace leaking valve cover gasket I decided to change it myself on my 2002 Rav4 with 197K miles.
The gasket has been leaking for few years now so things under the hood no longer looked clean. It took me more than 5 hours to complete everything. In the middle of the job I came to find out that I am missing some necessary tools to successfully complete this job. If I had to do it again I would probably do all of it in 2 hours. Anyhow, first I had changed my spark plugs, although I had changed them maybe 50K miles ago, due to the car stalling sometimes I decided to change them again.

The gasket itself was cracked in several places and very brittle, cracking to the touch. I drove the car after the job was done and no leaks so far.
Can anyone tell me from looking at the plugs what signs of engine wear they are showing? It looked like an oil was on the tread of few of them as well. Could that be due to the gasket around the spark plugs was also worn out?

Since I had everything apart I also cleaned the throttle body as it was very dirty with a lot of black residue on the edges and on the side of the TB walls.

At the end I decided to do the Seafoam Spray treatment through the Throttle Body just to get some of the s;;t out. I am not sure if that was any good idea but I did it anyway.
As far as cleaning the engine besides regular oil changes would anyone recommend any product that I could use before the oil change to get some of the brown residues out?
I would appreciate any help guys.....
 

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That engine looks just fine for having 200k on it. I would not recommend any kind of "flush" as they tend to do more harm than good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That engine looks just fine for having 200k on it. I would not recommend any kind of "flush" as they tend to do more harm than good.
Thanks men, I am definitely not sure about anything besides regular oil changes that would clean out the engine parts without messing somethings else up during the process. The internet and YouTube is also divided 50/50 on that so to make an intelligent decision for someone like me who's not a mechanic is very hard.

Question; would it make sense for me to start using High Milage oil or just stick with the regular 5W30?

Thanks
 

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What you've been using seems to be doing fine.
Synthetic might have prevented the evidence of coking in the top of the cover and the head might be a LITTLE cleaner, but honestly I've seen engines with 50k on them that look much worse than that.

I wouldn't change anything at this point.
The white deposits on the plugs.... Not sure about those. I'd wait for someone with more experience at "reading" plugs from modern engines. I've never seen deposits like that, but the electrodes look good.
 

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Ya, that's a close call.
With 200k I'm sure you've got some oil consumption.
How much oil do you need to add between changes? My wife's '04 needed about a quart around 3k... was pretty consistent from the time it was only a few years old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ya, that's a close call.
With 200k I'm sure you've got some oil consumption.
How much oil do you need to add between changes? My wife's '04 needed about a quart around 3k... was pretty consistent from the time it was only a few years old.
I am not sure. I never checked as I always did change oil at Firestone. Although from now on, I'll be changing it myself just to make sure I am getting best possible oil and filter.
Any idea if changing over to High Milage oil would make sense for me or just continue using the Synthetic Blend oil I've been using for years?
 

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For an engine with that many miles on it, it looks good!, I would not worry about the minor levels of sludge/soot in the top cover, I have seen far worse inside engines with much less mileage. its all to do with oil detergent content and changing frequency. if you used normal mineral oil and left it far too late to change it, it would be black and sludgy, but that looks great!.

Likewise the deposits on the plugs are not too bad, its probably using a little oil, but unless its smoking all the time, I would just leave it. putting flushing compounds in the oil or down the inlet could cause all manner of problems! old seals and rings that are holding their own at the moment, could relax and start leaking if you start dumping seafoam or other crap into it.

If it does start smoking and clattering later on in life, maybe its time for high mile oil (higher viscosity) but if she is happy now, I would not change a thing. that's a good clean engine!.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ya, that's a close call.
With 200k I'm sure you've got some oil consumption.
How much oil do you need to add between changes? My wife's '04 needed about a quart around 3k... was pretty consistent from the time it was only a few years old.
This morning I was finally able to check the oil levels on a cold engine and all looks good. This was after 2500K miles after the last oil change (Synth-Blend). The color of the oil on the dipstick also looks OK, I think?
 

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Looks fine.
Check the level again at 4k, and again at 5k before you change it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Can someone tell me the torque for the valve cover? 04 Rav4. I just changed the gasket but haven't tightened it yet?
I would recommend to do it by hand. They dont have to be tight just when you feel the snug and then turn another quarter of a turn and you should be fine. Just make sure you're doing it in a criss/cross like; lower middle bolt first then upper middle bolt and then move to the left or right
 

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Thanks for posting photos of engine and valve cover DPFAST. What worked best to clean crud from valve cover before reassembly ?
 

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I would recommend to do it by hand. They dont have to be tight just when you feel the snug and then turn another quarter of a turn and you should be fine. Just make sure you're doing it in a criss/cross like; lower middle bolt first then upper middle bolt and then move to the left or right
I've been a mechanic for years... I know what you are saying but I can't do it that way. I will do it the correct way or I won't do it. I found the proper torque specks and it is finished. Looks good and I feel good about it. Thanks to all the posted to help
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for posting photos of engine and valve cover DPFAST. What worked best to clean crud from valve cover before reassembly ?
I've used the brake cleaner to do that. Although I didn't have much of a crud in there, all it was just burned metal from maybe overheating, not sure. Since the job I changed to a full synthetic oil to help get the oil faster to the top of the engine during startup (VVt-i engines supposedly work better with full synthetic).
Happy so far.
 

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Thanks for posting photos of engine and valve cover DPFAST. What worked best to clean crud from valve cover before reassembly ?
I used simple green. Put it in a spray bottle, sprayed it all over then let it sit a while. used a rag and wiped it out. Then sprayed it again. Until it was as desired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I used simple green. Put it in a spray bottle, sprayed it all over then let it sit a while. used a rag and wiped it out. Then sprayed it again. Until it was as desired.
Sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing
 

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Thanks kdwellssr, Simple Green website steers folks away from using normal SG All-Purpose cleaner on aluminum or to use caution, something about alkaline cleaners like SG, oven cleaner, ammonia etc getting into aluminum pores and causing long term corrosion. SG has another product recommended for aluminum and particularly aircraft; Extreme Simple Green Aircraft & Precision Cleaner that I'll try though.
 

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Can anyone tell me from looking at the plugs what signs of engine wear they are showing?
White plug deposits are usually a sign of many short trips and not getting engine up to extended working temperature and WOT (wide open throttle) often. I started using Redline S1 fuel additive occasionally which has about 40% PEA Polyether Amine detergent to clean injectors, valves, combustion chamber and plugs as this Rav is mainly used around the city and I noticed it getting sluggish.

After a couple of tanks of gasoline mixed with the S1 additive the vehicle idles smoother, fuel economy improved and engine feels stronger. Several other injector and chamber cleaners also use PEA detergent including Chevron Techron, GumOut Regane and an Amsoil product and highly recommended by all who use any of them. Chevron has been adding PEA to their gasoline for many years so if you have access to those stations you get the detergent premixed without having to additionally purchase the additive. I like to put the product in the gasoline tank myself though so I know that I'm getting an optimum full dose.
 
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