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Category Archives for "Toyota"

2007 Toyota Tacoma – Wheel Bearing Replacement

Toyota Tacoma

Friday’s featured service is wheel bearing replacement on a 2007 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 Pickup, brought to us by a client from Delta, BC.

Toyota Tacoma

2007 Toyota Tacoma 4×4

Toyota Tacoma trucks are built tough and generally give few problems. This vehicle had over 200,000 kilometers of life experience and came in with a few concerns. While road testing the vehicle a slight wheel bearing hum was present.

On the hoist the noisy bearing was very noticeable with a spin of the left front wheel. The wheel bearing assembly on this vehicle contained both wheel bearings mounted together however the hub and seals required separate replacement. In the case of the hub, it was perfectly reusable so we transferred it the new wheel bearing.

After taking the hub out of the old bearing it became evident why this unit failed: the outer bearing was rusty. Water had leaked in and worn it out.

Wheel bearings fail for several reasons: water infiltration, as was found with this bearing is one. Another common cause is banging a curb which can ‘dent’ the bearing surface. Improper installation and repair can also cause failure. Eventually the grease in the bearings will become ineffective and the bearing will wear out.

After replacement our client’s Toyota Tacoma rolled down the street quietly; as we expected.

For more information about the Toyota Tacoma click on this link

Toyota Tacoma

Inner race of outer wheel bearing still mounted on wheel hub. The red arrow points to the rusted areas of the race. This surface should be a smooth and shiny

2009 Toyota Sienna – Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor Replacement

Toyota Sienna

2009 Toyota Sienna Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor Replacement is our latest featured service, brought to us by a client from Delta, BC.

Toyota Sienna

2009 Toyota Sienna XLE

The Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor is an advanced form of oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor or O2 sensor as it is often called reads the oxygen content in the exhaust, sends a signal to the engine computer which fine tunes the fuel mixture. The Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor does the same only it can operate over a wider range of air and fuel mixtures allowing for better fuel control and emission reductions.

Many vehicles are brought to us because the check engine lamp is illuminated: such was the case with this 2009 Toyota Sienna. Many times when the check engine lamp is on the vehicle will run normally: this was also the case with our Toyota Sienna. Just because it runs normally does not mean that all is well.

Modern vehicles with their sophisticated computer management systems for fuel injection, ignition and emission controls rely on a number of sensors for information. When a sensor fails to send the right signal, and the computer suspects as much, it will make its own decisions based on other data. Often, you won’t notice a difference in the way the engine runs but subtly something is not right: your engine performance will be slightly less than optimum along with your fuel economy, and if you could measure it, your exhaust emissions would be worse.

While performing our thorough diagnosis on the Sienna we found that the bank 2 air/fuel ratio sensor was bad intermittently. We confirmed this by running tests on our scan tool and manually altering the air/fuel ratio while watching both sensors (there are 2 on this vehicle). It was clear that the bank 2 sensor made many erroneous readings due to an internal defect.

Toyota Sienna

Scan tool in graphing mode performing A/F ratio tests. The readings are with the new sensor installed. Note the readings are virtually identical. With the old sensor the readings on the right graph would often go to 4.3 volts which was way out of acceptable range.

A proper repair always involves verification, whenever possible. We were able to do the same scan tool test as previous and found that both air/fuel ratio sensors read identically.

The Toyota Sienna has been around for a decade and a half and replaced Toyota’s somewhat quirky minivans: the Previa and the LE before it. The Sienna is conventional in that it has the engine in the front whereas the previous vans had the engines in the center of the van, under the floor. As with all Toyota products this is a well built and durable vehicle.

For more about the Toyota Sienna click here

Toyota Sienna

Newly installed Bank 2 Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor

1999 Toyota 4Runner – Oil Pan Gasket Replacement

Toyota 4Runner

Wednesday’s featured service is oil pan gasket replacement on a 1999 Toyota 4Runner, brought to us by a client from Richmond, BC.

Toyota 4Runner

1999 Toyota 4Runner with 2.7 Liter 4 Cylinder

Oil pan gasket leakage is a fairly uncommon issue these days, especially on a 1999 Toyota 4Runner. Modern gaskets are made very well and last a long time. Toyota vehicles in general use very good gasket materials: we have seen several late 1990s Corollas with over 250,000 kilometers and not a seep of oil on the engine. That’s quite a feat! In the past, gaskets and engine construction were such that some gaskets would require almost annual replacement. Valve cover gaskets on American V8 engines built prior to the 1990s come to mind.

An oil leak diagnosis was our first step to find the cause of this oil leak. Most times oil pan gasket leaks are misdiagnosed as the leak is coming from somewhere higher in the engine. We use a combination of cleaning, UV dye and running and driving the vehicle until the leak becomes evident under our UV light. In this case we found the oil pan gasket leaking severely.

Replacing the gasket on this Toyota 4Runner was a very involved job. The front differential assembly had to be removed in order to access the oil pan. The gasket material on this pan is silicone sealer. We only use the highest quality gasket sealer for all of our silicone gaskets. The price difference is so minimal that I have a hard time imagining why someone would use the cheap stuff, especially when it takes hours to redo the job.

The Toyota 4Runner has always been a durable and sought-after SUV. We have serviced many with over 300,000 kilometers that are still going strong. This truck was rather rare as it featured a 2.7 Liter 4 cylinder engine.

For more information about the Toyota 4Runner click here

For more information on our favorite gasket sealer click here

Toyota 4Runner

The under engine view of our 1999 Toyota 4Runner. The red arrows point to the new oil pan gasket. The yellow points to the oil pan. The green arrow points to the front differential assembly that required removal to remove the oil pan.

1997 Toyota Celica – Timing Belt Replacement

Timing Belt

A 1997 Toyota Celica Timing Belt Replacement, brought to us by a client from Mount Pleasant, Vancouver is Thursday’s featured repair.

Timing Belt

1997 Toyota Celica. Still a great looking car 17 years later

This Celica arrived at our shop via tow truck. The engine had suddenly stopped running. A short diagnosis confirmed a broken timing belt.

On many engines a broken timing belt is a disastrous occurrence: this is because the pistons and valves collide causing very costly internal engine damage. On this year of Celica, and for most Toyotas of this vintage, this engine damage will not occur.

The reason that no damage occurred in this Toyota, but occurs in other vehicles has to do with two different engine designs. One is known as an interference engine and the other is a non-interference engine. Guess which one has the costly engine damage? It’s the interference engine and it derives its name from the interfering movements of the engine valves and pistons. When the timing belt is properly installed there is no cause for concern as all movements are timed properly and nothing touches.

Timing belt replacement is recommended every 96,000 kilometers on the 1997 Celica. This car had over 250,000 kilometers when towed in. The belt had certainly been changed once before, perhaps twice.

When we opened the timing belt cover we found oil strewn everywhere. A major oil leak was occurring inside the cover and had soaked the timing belt. Oil is an early killer of timing belts. This is why it is critical to replace engine oil seals in the timing belt area when replacing the belt.

The Celica is a great car. Sporty, stylish and featuring legendary Toyota reliability.

For more information on the Toyota Celica click here

For more about timing belts click here   This article shows the consequences of a broken belt in an interference engine.

Timing Belt

Timing belt area with belt removed: note the oil all over the pulleys from leaking oil seals. Oil like this causes the timing belt to break as this one did


1998 Toyota Avalon – Rear Strut and Strut Mount Replacement

Toyota Avalon

Thursday’s featured repair is Rear Strut and Strut Mount Replacement on a 1998 Toyota Avalon, brought to us by a client from Yaletown, Vancouver.

Toyota Avalon

1998 Toyota Avalon

This Toyota Avalon came to our shop for an AirCare test failure and none functioning windshield wipers. In the process of road testing the car we noted a distinct clunk from the right rear of the vehicle. The further we drove the car the louder the clunk became until it was almost unbearable and warranted immediate repairs.

Investigating the cause of the concern we found that the top of the strut had broken out of the strut plate. Occasionally a strut plate will break apart but this was unusual in that the top of the strut had worn a hole into the mounting hole in the strut plate.

At some time in the past the rear struts had been replaced and what had likely happened was that this strut was not properly bolted to the mounting plate. Over the years the excessive play between the strut plate and strut eventually wore both parts out. This clunk noise had probably been occurring for several years. Had it been attended to when first noted none of these parts would have worn out and a few hundred dollars would have been saved.

The Toyota Avalon is the top of Toyota’s sedan line up: very similar to the Camry but slightly larger and in some cases more luxuriously appointed.

For more on the Toyota Avalon click here

Here’s an interesting article about McPherson Strut suspensions

Toyota Avalon

New & old struts from Toyota Avalon. Note the top of new strut and the nut (yellow Arrow). Note the severe wear to the same area on the old strut and nut (red arrow)


Toyota Avalon

Top view of the new & old strut mounting plates. Note the small opening in the new plate (yellow arrow) vs the huge hole worn in old plate (red arrow)


2008 Toyota Yaris- Comprehensive Inspection

2008 Toyota Yaris

Monday’s featured repair is a Comprehensive Inspection and Maintenance Service performed on a 2008 Toyota Yaris.

2008 Toyota Yaris

2008 Toyota Yaris

The car arrived with no concerns but had only received Level 1 maintenance services (oil changes) for the last 2 services and was due for a thorough examination.

As is typical of 70,000 kilometer Japanese car very little was needed for repairs on this car. We did however find the tires were worn out and the battery had a weak state of health.

While the Yaris is a fairly plain car it is extremely reliable. We have worked on many that run perfectly and don’t leak any fluids with well over 200,000 kilometers of driving.

We recommend a comprehensive inspection annually. It is always important to know the overall condition of your vehicle and to find any concerns before they become expensive repairs or safety hazards.

For more about the Toyota Yaris view this link

For a reliability report on the Yaris view this link

Comprehensive Inspection Form

Pawlik Automotive Comprehensive Inspection Form. The photo shows the center 2 pages of the 4 page inspection form.

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