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2009 Camry v6 noisey engine, VVT?

Old 05-15-2018, 05:13 PM
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Default 2009 Camry v6 noisey engine, VVT?

I have a 2009 Camry that I bought from my father after my mom passed. it is a typical grandmother's car as it was bought new and currently has 38k miles on it. I noticed the engine sounded bad because I hear clicking that sounds like tappets. Some days I don't hear it and other days you can't miss it. I took the car to a local shop and they told me last fall that there was a technical service bulletin issued for the variable valve timing. They wanted about $400. to open the engine up and examine and they would take the $400. off the repair bill if work was done. They said the repair could go as high as $3,000. depending on what was needed. They said it might not be too bad if the oil had been changed on schedule which it had been since new.This was last fall. I let the car sit since then only driving occasionally. The other day I went back and told them I wanted to have them look at it. This time they said they did not get the error message and that I should drive it until the check engine light comes on.
Here's my question...
If I continue to drive this car with it making noise I feel like I'm causing more damage. If there's a problem, I want to get it fixed. I plan on keeping the car indefinitely. The car is not sluggish; it drives and performs as it should except for the noise. Should I go to another shop that specializes in Toyotas or Japanese cars and see what they say? I'm not very trusting when it comes to repair shops but I don't want to cause more damage. Thanks.
Old 05-16-2018, 11:04 AM
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There is a service bulletin. See link below:

Note in the bulletin there is reference to certain car models, years and VIN's (production Change Effective VIN). Review the bulletin and determine if your car could be effected. The bulletin applies to a VIN prior to that listed. The last 6 numbers of the VIN are the cars individual serial number.

The issue appears to be engine oil used to operate the VVTi system bleeds away from the VVTI gear unit when the engine is not operated for prolonged periods of time.

When the engine is started, the lack of oil pressure inside the VVTi unit can cause their parts to bang together making noise.

If happening enough over time, damage can occur to the gear assy. The bolts used to hold the VVTi gear together can start to come loose then break off. If this happens, there will be major engine damage.

Thus two issues. One being the VVTi and engine oiling system flawed design may lead to VVTi oil starvation if the engine is not operated for prolonged periods of time. This causes the VVTi gearing system to bang around.

The second issue is the gear system banging around may cause things to break loose and if bad enough fail damaging the engine.

The service bulletin references a list of trouble codes. The presents of a code(s) plus VVTi noise are good indicators that the problem may be related to the service bulletin. However there doesn't need to be any codes to have a problem.

The service bulletin recommends if having engine noise from the VVTi area to investigate (follow bulletin's inspection procedure).

This being to inspect the VVTi system for loose or damaged bolts, alignment, etc. The bulletin states if the inspection finds no issues and there are no codes, to do nothing.

As to what to do?

If the VVTi system needs replacing, this is a VERY labor intensive repair! That's why the quote was so high.

Suggest if keeping the car to have the VVTi system inspected. Based on this inspection you'll need to decide what to do.

Any decent shop should be able to do the repair. These days a host of makes and models vehicles have VVTi systems and a shop must be able to work on them.

The Toyota dealer would be the best place to go but most expensive. You might look around for a shop that has done this job before or similar.
Old 05-16-2018, 12:26 PM
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This is very helpful information. I am going to talk to a repair shop that has good yelp reviews and see what they say. I would prefer to have the dealer work on it but I'm concerned about the expense.
Thanks for your help!
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