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Gasket Replacement

Old 12-27-2010, 11:44 AM
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Post Gasket Replacement

I have 2 camrys, 1999 LXE and a 2003 XLE. The dealer has told me that both need gasket replacement for the valve covers, timing gear, water pump and oil pan at about $1,500.00 each. I had this work done on the 1999 camry in 2008. Does anyone know when the gaskets should be replaced? I suspect that they are pushing this job in the shop this month.
Old 12-27-2010, 04:25 PM
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$1500 each car?

What prompted going to the dealer and then the dealer coming up with this list?

How many miles on each car? Has the dealer been maintaining the cars?

Neither cars engine has a timing gear, suspect the dealer is talking about a timing belt. These belts need to be changed, typically at 90K miles.

Do you know when the belt for each car was last changed? There may be a sticker on a plastic cover bolted to the engine that faces the passengers side of engine compartment or other documentation.

Typically the valve cover gaskets or oil pan are replaced only when there is a substantial oil leak. A few drops of oil is not enough to cause a problem. Do these areas leak, is there a lot of oil on the floor under these cars?

As to the water pump. Is the engine leaking coolant, coolant under the car, you need to add coolant to the overflow tank?

If not, the water pump issue comes up because to change the pump requires taking the same parts off the engine that are required to change the timing belt. The timing belt turns the water pump. The thinking is if the car (engine) has XXXX miles on, then it may be getting into a period when the water pump may fail. If the timing belt is being replaced, the labor to replace the water pump will be cheaper as the parts required to get at it are already removed. So a little preventive maintenance here.

Typically a dealer charges up to $500 to replace the belt, and $200-250 more if the water pump is changed at the same time. Much of this price is labor to remove the parts.

Oil pan gaskets rarely are replaced unless there is a leak.

It is common for the valve covers to leak some oil, but again unless the leak is good sized most people live with it.

The timing belt issue is real, the issue of the belt needing changed depends on how many miles since the belt was last changed, assuming it ever was.

This is a lot of money!

I would consider the above and attempt to narrow down just what repairs are required, if any. Then get a second estimate from an independent shop, they typically charge less. I personally would stay away from chain type shops as many can, as perhaps the dealer, find problems where there may not be ones.

Not stating this dealer is trying to pad their income, but it is common for dealers in general to add repairs that may not be required or questionable.

Unless the oil leaks are major (in this case just add more oil) you have time to think about the repairs and shop around. Don't let the dealer press you into repairs until you know the facts.
Old 12-28-2010, 12:27 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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We typically have our cars serviced at the dealer (oil change and lube) because they do good work. The 1999 camry has 172000 miles and the 2003 hav 80,000 miles neither has any substaintial leaks that I can see of oli or coolant. The timing belt on both probably needs to be replaced, but that only runs about $700.00. Thanks for your advice, I think I will get a second estimate at a reputable repair shop.
Old 12-29-2010, 03:01 AM
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Generally, I don't see long-haired guys as a major turn-off, again it really depends if it looks great on a guy.
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