Follow Up–what happened?

Sometimes a blog entry stands by itself and the story it tells is enough.  Other times there is a future that adds to the original entry and provides you, dear reader with some insight into the credo of Jim’s Garage – Its about cars people and enjoying life from a garage point of view.

So here is some additional words on some entries from the garage’s past writings:

The Toyota Pickup Truck gets a new Heart

While it was depressing to have a head gasket failure on my trusty 22RE engine in the Toyota Pickup truck, it was exciting to have made the decision to have a replacement engine built by a builder that specialized in performance Toyota engines.  I felt that I did my research and felt that it was fortunate to have such a builder within a couple hours drive.  The price was fair and he would allow me to participate/observe the build process.  It took a bit longer than originally estimated, these always seem to.  Then the day came when I could reunite with my red pickup and drive it home with a nice newly rebuilt engine.

Over the next couple of thousand miles I experienced problems with blue smoke in the mornings just on startup.  This was quickly traced to the oil seals on the valves having failed.  My attempts to contact the builder (DOA) were fruitless.  He didn’t answer my phone calls or email.  Not a good sign.

I found a local shop that specialized in Toyotas and they replaced the valve seals.  That worked for about a thousand miles.  My frustration mounted.  Finally I decided to tackle it myself.  But first I consulted with a long-time racing engine builder, Dennis Shaw, who has a shop in Raleigh.  I explained what my symptoms were and what I had tried.  Dennis though it out and explained that it was likely that due to the lift of the cam lobes the valve retainers were hitting the valve seals.  One of two solutions were possible.  I could find valve seals that were not as tall as the ones I was using and/or I could remove some of the bottom of each retainer since the keepers never went down very far into the retainers in any case.

It was a great idea.  Actually two great suggestions.  I found some high quality valve seals that were a bit shorter.  I then had to figure out how to install them without removing the head from the block.  I searched around the various Toyota forums and found that one guy had a neat trick for doing that.

Now understand that on the 22RE four cylinder engine all the head bolts go through the valve train.  So I had to make stand-offs out of pipe the same height as the castings of the valve train.  Then once the head bolts and valve train were removed I would re-insert the head bolts via the pipe stand-offs and torque them to seal the head to the block.  That allowed me to use air pressure to hold the valves closed while I used a tool to compress the valve springs, remove the keepers, retainers and springs, so that I could grind down each retainer by a little over 1 millimeter.  Then reassemble each one.

After all eight valve spring retainers were shortened and the new valve seals installed I removed the head bolts again, re-installed the valve train and torqued the head bolts.  Well, almost.  I discovered that #3 exhaust cam lobe was really worn bad, so I ordered a replacement cam from LCE.

With the new cam on everything was bolted back in place, the break-in lubrication coating the cam lobes and journals it was time to break in the new cam.  That meant keeping the revs between 1500-1800 rpm for 30 minutes.  Piece of cake.

After almost 200 miles I pulled the valve cover and discovered that I now had galling and wear on three of the exhaust lobes.  I called LCE and they looked at the photos that I had sent and their opinion was that since the rocker arms were knock-offs they were the likely culprit.  Ugh.


I pulled off the valve train and examined everything.  It just seemed to be only the exhaust lobes.  Well, the cam does turn in only one direction and that puts more of an opportunity to gall on the exhaust side.  I pulled at the rockers and discovered that under #3 exhaust rocker the shaft was broken!  Aha!  Since it had failed in that way oil pressure to the other rockers (all exhaust) on that side was gone.


Off to LCE and I put in an order for a replacement valve train and another cam.  Ugh.  Maybe I will get a letter of commendation from the treasury department for contributing to our economy?  Nah, probably not.

Sure it is frustrating when your engine has a failure.  It was more than disappointing that the engine builder, DOA, failed to backup their product.

Mechanical things don’t last.  They are not self-healing like living things can be.  They can be fixed though.

Please Let Me Fix My Car

Another blog entry talked about how independent garages have been hampered by not having access to the tools and diagnostic information that is closely held by manufacturers dealership service departments.

I had mentioned that the case was coming up in Massachusetts.  Well, it has been decided and the result is mostly good news.

Manufacturers will be required to have a standard diagnostic interface by the 2018 model year.  You can expect that this will result in a nationwide standard that will allow independent garages to fix and repair your vehicle with the same tools as dealerships now hold to themselves.

This entry was posted in Automobiles, Car Stuff, Care and Feeding, Cars, Life and Cars, Modifying Cars and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Follow Up–what happened?

  1. Jim's sister says:

    Determination is one of your finest qualities. Grit’s another.

  2. supplespub says:

    Really sorry hear about all this trouble Jim! I think some SEO link bait is in order to make sure others hear about DOA. Also, their BBB page shows a few similar issues from 2010, some of which were resolved “with BBB assistance.” Best of luck, happy to lend a wrenching hand some time (if I’m ever around of course)

  3. mark says:


    The broken rocker shaft probably killed the lobe on the first cam and the LCE cam. If the cam has higher lift than the DOA installed cam and we are now running into coil spring bind, this could lead to further wear. Typically, exhaust side has more lift. We might be just at the limit on intake side and over limit on exhaust.

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