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FWIW mine started to develop the rattle last oil change, I pulled the OCV's and they looked immaculate. I made the mistake(laziness) of taking the FJ to a Jiffy Lube, they used a cheap no name filter and it had no anti drain back valve. I threw a good filter on and no more rattle. The cheap filter had 0 oil in it, this was 30 minutes after my commute home.
 

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Discussion Starter #64
FWIW mine started to develop the rattle last oil change, I pulled the OCV's and they looked immaculate. I made the mistake(laziness) of taking the FJ to a Jiffy Lube, they used a cheap no name filter and it had no anti drain back valve. I threw a good filter on and no more rattle. The cheap filter had 0 oil in it, this was 30 minutes after my commute home.
Others have had this issue as well!

In my case, even with OEM Toyota filters the problem persists, and has over multiple oil changes. It also will rattle at low idle when stopped at a light sometimes now too, and it is throwing P0022 codes.

I wish mine was as easy to solve as yours!
 

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Change out the timing chain, actuators, idlers, tensioner, etc... and the noise goes away.
Did you remove the oil pan when you replaced the timing components, or just remove & replace the front timing cover with the pan in place?

I've got a stretched chain and I'm debating either replacing the chain/tensioners/sprockets versus pulling the engine and swapping in a used one with better maintenance history. The oil pan drop, and prerequisite front diff drop, is a big part of the decision.
 

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Did you remove the oil pan when you replaced the timing components, or just remove & replace the front timing cover with the pan in place?

I've got a stretched chain and I'm debating either replacing the chain/tensioners/sprockets versus pulling the engine and swapping in a used one with better maintenance history. The oil pan drop, and prerequisite front diff drop, is a big part of the decision.
Is not necessary, but would make it a lot easier.

You're gonna take apart the whole front of the engine, might as well remove the oil pan.

I changed my oil pump, water pump and thermostat while I was at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
Did you remove the oil pan when you replaced the timing components, or just remove & replace the front timing cover with the pan in place?

I've got a stretched chain and I'm debating either replacing the chain/tensioners/sprockets versus pulling the engine and swapping in a used one with better maintenance history. The oil pan drop, and prerequisite front diff drop, is a big part of the decision.
I pulled everything out from under. I just followed the FSM and it says to re-seal to the oil pan, so I did!

Pulling the engine will be a lot more of a pain in the butt than pulling some CV's, the diff, and the oil pan in my opinion.
 

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(snip)
I've got a stretched chain and I'm debating either replacing the chain/tensioners/sprockets versus pulling the engine and swapping in a used one with better maintenance history.
waypoint -

How do you "know" your timing chain is stretched? Are the teeth on the cam drive sprockets worn into a "hooked" shape from a stretched chain?

I would consider a "stretched" chain a possibility if the engine is sludged, or looks like it may have been neglected as far as regular oil changes.

But if no sludge, and reasonable oil change intervals, you may have a different problem.

What are the symptoms that lead you to think you have a cam timing problem?
 

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What are the symptoms that lead you to think you have a cam timing problem?
Intermittent P0016, and #1 chain tensioner piston is extended nearly 3/4".

Vehicle has 165K miles, original owner was a pathological oil change avoider...averaged 24K miles between changes according to combined Carfax and Toyota records. One change was after 38K miles. Attached a pic of what I found under bank 1 valve cover.

The P0016 was persistent when I bought it as a project last month, it would set every OBD-II drive cycle after clearing it.

I cleaned the Oil Control Valve (OCV) filter, replaced the OCV, and finally replaced the VVT actuator as well as cleaning sludge out of the intake cam VVT oil passages. This dropped the P0016 from persistent to intermittent...now occurs only when the engine's cold and driving in stop 'n go traffic conditions. Low RPM cold engine is what seems to exacerbate the problem. I've put three 400+ mile road trips on it the past few weeks and never set the code.

The tensioner piston position seems to be the most clear indicator of chain stretch/wear/elongation...the longer the effective length of the chain, the further that piston extends. Mine's way out there but still has a few ratchet steps remaining before it's maxed out. In the interim, I'm running Shell T6 0W-40 diesel engine oil and changing frequently to gently minimize the sludge.
 

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Intermittent P0016, and #1 chain tensioner piston is extended nearly 3/4".

Vehicle has 165K miles, original owner was a pathological oil change avoider...averaged 24K miles between changes according to combined Carfax and Toyota records. One change was after 38K miles. Attached a pic of what I found under bank 1 valve cover.

The P0016 was persistent when I bought it as a project last month, it would set every OBD-II drive cycle after clearing it.

I cleaned the Oil Control Valve (OCV) filter, replaced the OCV, and finally replaced the VVT actuator as well as cleaning sludge out of the intake cam VVT oil passages. This dropped the P0016 from persistent to intermittent...now occurs only when the engine's cold and driving in stop 'n go traffic conditions. Low RPM cold engine is what seems to exacerbate the problem. I've put three 400+ mile road trips on it the past few weeks and never set the code.

The tensioner piston position seems to be the most clear indicator of chain stretch/wear/elongation...the longer the effective length of the chain, the further that piston extends. Mine's way out there but still has a few ratchet steps remaining before it's maxed out. In the interim, I'm running Shell T6 0W-40 diesel engine oil and changing frequently to gently minimize the sludge.
OK, a bit of sludge on the cam bearing caps, but nothing that could be called "severe" sludging, and no apparant scoring on the cam lobes, one of the first wear surfaces to suffer as a result of marginal lubrication.

When you say you cleaned "the" oil control valve screen, and replaced "the" oil control valve, do you mean that you replaced BOTH oil control valves?

If not both, why not?
 

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OK, a bit of sludge on the cam bearing caps, but nothing that could be called "severe" sludging...
I didn't use the word severe. Whom are you quoting?

When you say you cleaned "the" oil control valve screen, and replaced "the" oil control valve, do you mean that you replaced BOTH oil control valves?
If not both, why not?
The only error code being set is P0016. Given P0016 is associated with bank 1 timing, the screen, valve, and actuator for that bank were my focus. If the ECM is not seeing timing correlation errors on bank 2, would there be a reason to dive into bank 2?

This is my first DOHC engine project and I'm enjoying the learning experience, reading the shop manual, and case studies of similar problems here. I was taught to avoid setting more than 1 variable in motion during troubleshooting...so I've avoided opening up bank 2 as yet.

Whether the #1 chain is stretched, or a chain guide/damper failed, or something else is afoul...the tensioner piston extended length is significantly longer than what I've seen in pictures here and elsewhere.
 

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I didn't use the word severe. Whom are you quoting?

The only error code being set is P0016. Given P0016 is associated with bank 1 timing, the screen, valve, and actuator for that bank were my focus. If the ECM is not seeing timing correlation errors on bank 2, would there be a reason to dive into bank 2?

This is my first DOHC engine project and I'm enjoying the learning experience, reading the shop manual, and case studies of similar problems here. I was taught to avoid setting more than 1 variable in motion during troubleshooting...so I've avoided opening up bank 2 as yet.

Whether the #1 chain is stretched, or a chain guide/damper failed, or something else is afoul...the tensioner piston extended length is significantly longer than what I've seen in pictures here and elsewhere.
Not actually quoting, just emphasizing ... probably should have used bold text instead of quotation marks.

Granted there is an additional ~30-35% of the overall cam chain length between the two intake cam sprockets, so if cam chain stretch was the root cause, the cumulative timing error would be greater at Bank-1 than at Bank-2.

Have you also checked for magnetic debris on the nose of the cam and crank position sensors, and for cracks or other damage on the steel reluctors on the front of the VVTi actuators?

Also, since there have been reports of the chain jumping one tooth on the crank sprocket, verify all the static timing marks line up.
 

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Granted there is an additional ~30-35% of the overall cam chain length between the two intake cam sprockets, so if cam chain stretch was the root cause, the cumulative timing error would be greater at Bank-1 than at Bank-2.

Have you also checked for magnetic debris on the nose of the cam and crank position sensors, and for cracks or other damage on the steel reluctors on the front of the VVTi actuators?

Also, since there have been reports of the chain jumping one tooth on the crank sprocket, verify all the static timing marks line up.
That's a solid conclusion on the cumulative timing error (net effect of chain elongation), thanks.

Timing marks were examined as I was following the service manual procedure for troubleshooting P0016:

http://www.customtacos.com/tech.old/files/05FSM/data/ileaf/06toyrm/06toypdf/06rmsrc/rm2006ta/0050014.pdf

With the crankshaft balancer timing mark on the zero indicator, the #1 bank intake & exhaust sprockets are about ~1-2mm away from the bearing cap zero marks.

Rotating the crank to bring the #1 bank intake & exhaust sprockets to the bearing cap zero marks, I then find the crank balancer timing mark just a few mm ahead of the zero indicator...hard to estimate with any accuracy given the viewing angle.

I've replaced the #1 bank cam position sensor with a new Toyota part, same P0016 pattern so I cleaned and re-installed the factory sensor. Haven't removed the crank position sensor or #2 bank cam position sensor as yet.

When I saw the extended length of my #1 chain tensioner during reassembly after replacing the #1 intake cam VVT actuator and cleaning sludge out of the intake cam VVT oil passages, I started research.

Skip to 7:00 for assessment of #1 chain tensioner extended length and coloration markings:
 

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And to add some info to the discussion, I've attached pics of my factory tensioner. Each ring of coloration seems to represent one ratchet tooth on the plunger. As the chain wore and elongated, the plunger extended one click and stayed there being bathed in nasty broken-down oil...until the process repeated.

Below are the combined oil change records for this vehicle from Toyota.com and CarFax, oil changes at same Toyota dealer except where noted:
5K
11K
20K
38K
68K
85K (same Toyota dealer, but record not in CarFax…interestingly this is the visit where the P0016 error was first reported "Customer provided engine replacement quote" back in 2012).
108K at Mr. Good Lube
144K
148K at Mr. Good Lube
*sold at 162K

I realize CarFax may not reflect all oil changes done to the poor truck, so this is worst case scenario.
 

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If you are assuming that extension of the tensioner plunger is a direct indicator of cam chain "stretch", how are you accounting for probable wear of the chain guides?

Wouldn't chain guide wear be indistinguishable from chain stretch, as far as its effect on plunger extension?

I agree that the oil change history you listed, if it really represents every oil change (e.g no unrecorded jiffy-Lube, etc.), is horrifying. It would be interesting to connect an oil pressure gage and see what the actual hot oil pressure is at idle. That may give you some insight into oil pump and main/rod bearing wear.
 

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If you are assuming that extension of the tensioner plunger is a direct indicator of cam chain "stretch", how are you accounting for probable wear of the chain guides?

Wouldn't chain guide wear be indistinguishable from chain stretch, as far as its effect on plunger extension?
Sure could, but no available means of examining the guides until the timing cover is off...which is unlikely to happen on this engine.

I saw enough wear grooves on the #1 bank intake camshaft bearing surfaces during replacement of the VVT actuator and cleaning out the cam's oil passages to rule out major investment in the engine. It makes oil pressure with 5W-30 oil, the idiot light goes out as soon as the engine ignites in the morning...and it goes out during cranking before it ignites after it's warmed up. Good enough for the time being.

There's no shortage of 1GR-FE engines with lower mileage and better maintenance on car-part.com and LKQ...if the engine becomes a problem it'll be a fun weekend (or two) project to swap it out.
 

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On the subject of VVT actuator lock pins, I disassembled the piece from my '07 4Runner 1GR-FE and pics are attached. The lock pin is spring loaded and was working properly despite the sludge accumulation in the engine and the actuator housing...it was firmly locked when the actuator was removed from the cam. The engine was not making the death rattle or other noises, just a persistent P0016 error code. Camshaft's VVT oil passages were completely blocked with sludge and were likely preventing oil flow to the actuator.
 

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I'm going to raise this bitsh back from the dead. Being the owner of the same truck now, and after replacing (again, eff you DNJ) every timing component with OEM Toyota parts (all chains, guides, sprockets, tensioners), I'm still getting the lovely little rattle on stone-cold startup (whenever the truck has been sitting for longer than 2-3hours). It's still only for about 1 second, but it drives me mad because I know it isn't supposed to be there. It is far quieter than FJoel's original death rattle, I would rate it at 3/10 on the death rattle scale. The VVT gears were replaced just before I did all the work, so they remained. I checked, double-checked, triple-checked, and quadruple-checked that the timing was dialled before closing her up. I've been continuing to use full synthetic as FJoel has since just after initial break-in, and OEM Toyota oil filters. The internals on the engine are probably the cleanest I've ever seen, not even the slightest hue of golden colour. Probably the best maintained engine I've ever seen. All cylinders were in the 180's for compression. Engine hasn't thrown a code since the timing components were replaced. I also have a mechanic background, so I feel confident that the work was done correctly. The engine purrs like a kitten a few seconds after startup, aside from the classic 1GRFE ticking.

Anyone have any other thoughts? The sound does still sound like it's coming from the front of bank 1. It basically sounds like a clackety rattle for 1sec that goes away once oil pressure is built up. Appreciate any thoughts anyone has, I'm happy to chase this around. The truck is my secondary toy at the moment so it can afford to be O/S for periods of time.
 
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