Monday, February 23, 2015

SC430 Engine mount replacement and transmission flush

I've been hearing a kind of clunking noise when I crank up the car in the morning. The more I paid attention to it I could kind of see the front of the car kind of lifting on one side followed by a clunk. I was also feeling vibrations at a stop light and slight intermittent vibrations at highway speeds. With all the other suspension components addressed, I had a strong feeling it was a mount related issue.

All new mounts were ordered, two engine and one transmission.

A buddy of mine Mark helped me with this one. With the car on the lift, a transmission jack was used at the edge of the oil pan to support the engine. 

Undo the two bolts holding the motor mount onto the sub-frame and the four bolts that hold the complete mount to the engine block. It was easier to remove the complete mount as opposed to trying to loosen the one bolt up top for the engine mount itself. Once loose you will have to use the transmission jack to lift the motor about an inch and a half so that the mounts can slide out.

The driver side mount was completely shot, as you can tell by the picture.

The passenger side mount was on it's way out, might not be visible in the picture but the top had a rip in it and was starting to separate.

Replaced the engine mounts and did the same for the transmission mount. Used the transmission jack to support the transmission. Undid the 4 bolts and removed the transmission bracket and the 4 bolts for that hod the mount to the transmission. 

The transmission mount didn't look bad on a visual inspection. There was some sort of coating that was flaking as you can see in the pic but didn't look torn, or see any stress cracks etc.

Replaced the transmission mount and then onto the transmission flush.

Drained the oil from the pan first, collected the oil in a measuring jar so that I could make a note of how much fluid was coming out. About 2 qts came out from the drain plug and then proceeded to take the pan off. 

Put the drain plug back in because there is still oil in the drain pan. I learnt from the last time a flush was done on my other car. With the pan off poured the oil in the pan into the measuring jar as well, there was about 1.5 quarts of oil in the pan. 

The oil was a dark brown and not the red it is supposed to be. Also two days prior to this I had put in 0.5 pints of Seafoam trans tune to help break down any build up etc in the transmission. 

The transmission pan is held in place by Toyota Fipg so it'll take a little yanking to get the pan off. Cleaned up all the fipg off including the 3 magnets in the pan along with the pan itself. I didn't use fipg to put the pan back, instead Felpro makes a transmission pan gasket for it and that's what I used. I've used this method before and have had no issues. Just make sure you don't go ham on the bolts, snug it up there to about 15-18ft/lb where you see the gasket just starting to squeeze away from the pan a little. 

Installed a new transmission filter as well.

Also adjusted the pressure regulator on the tranny so it shifts faster. The pic shows the factory setting but pressing it in and turning it clockwise to the third setting increases the pressure resulting in faster shifts. Firmer faster shifts result in longer tranny life and has been well documented on Club Lexus.

With the pan back in place filled fresh ATF through the dip stick. Just the 3.5 quarts that came out of the pan.

Once filled, hooked up the transmission flush machine to the transmission cooler lines, feed and return.

Switched the car on and the machine beeps to verify the right connections. If it doesn't beep then the lines are on backwards. With everything hooked up right initiating the flush on the machine drains the old oil out and replaces it with fresh ATF. I used Amsoil ATF for this. Went through 12.5 quarts on the machine till the old fluid coming out was cherry red as well. So a total of 16 quarts, 12.5 using the machine and 3.5 that was filled in the pan after it was drained and emptied. 

While we were there went ahead and changed the differential fluid out as well with the Amsoil 75W-90 Long Life Synthetic Gear Lube. 

Buttoned everything back up and took it for a spin.  The fresh tranny fluid always seem to smoothen out the shifts from previous experience, and it did so this time too even after increasing the pressure sensitivity. The tranny does shift faster but I don't feel it, I can tell more so by looking at the RPM dip as it changes gear.

I don't have the engine lift on start up nor the vibrations at stop lights etc. Even the intermittent vibrations at highway speeds are gone. 

I'll check on the transmission pan gasket in a couple of days to make sure everything is good and there are no leaks just to be on the safe side. 

Overall HAPPY HAPPY!! 

-AJ Abraham

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

SC430 Engine Maintenance

This weekend I tackled the engine maintenance started on Saturday and finished up on Sunday, you'll see why. Unfortunately the battery on my shop cam was low so didn't get a lot of pictures.

Here is my parts list for the engine maintenance: 

Toyota (90916-02586) Multi Rib Belt 

Toyota (13540-50030) Timing Belt Tensioner 
Toyota (13505-0F010) Timing Belt Idler 
Toyota (13503-0F010) Timing Belt Idler 
Toyota (13568-09070) Timing Belt 
Toyota (16100-59275-83) Water Pump 
Toyota thermostat (90916-03100) 
Toyota thermostat gasket (16346-50010) 
Toyota Oring thermostat housing 
Toyota Front Main Seal (90311-A0001) 
Toyota Cam Seal (90311-A0004) (x2) 
Toyota Long Life Antifreeze Coolant (002721LLAC01) x 2 
Toyota Valve Cover gaskets (11213-50031 & 11214-50011) 
Toyota Spark Plug Gasket (11193-70010) x 8 
Toyota Throttle Body Gasket (22271-500042) 
NGK Plugs IFR6T11 
K&N Air Filter (33-2220)

Everybody here should check their valve cover bolts, there are many instances that I've read on where the bolts were loose. Well that was definitely my case! Cleaning the engine bay helped verify that my oil leak was from the valve cover gasket.

This motor is really well laid out and taking everything apart is pretty systematic and went fairly quickly. It took me about two hours to get everything apart including getting the valve cover and cam covers off. Wow were the plastics brittle! I cracked two connectors near the throttle body, everything still plugs in but I'll probably swap those out soon. Also I bagged all the bolts in zip lock bags and labeled them, makes assembly easier.

There wasn't as much gunk build up as I had expected, pretty sure the seafoam helped. The little traces of gunk on the head and cams I took a nylon brush and some seafoam spray to and that cleared it out easily. The valve covers on the other hand was pretty bad.

Took some purple power to it and some steel brushes and a pressure washed it. Did this a couple of times to break down more and more of the gunk till I got most of it off.

The spark plug grommets were really brittle. There were two spark plugs with a little bit of oil on it so definitely needed to be changed. Wish they came out with a better design, this was not very easy to get off. I used a flat nosed plier to bend the tabs back.

Used a flat head screw driver to wedge between the grommet and the metal seat. Hammered it in to wedge the screw driver to bend the grommet and pop it out.

The grommets came apart in multiple pieces, very brittle with age. Cleaned up all the debris, I used a little bit of oil to lubricate the seals and the seat and used a socket to hammer in the grommet.

Also used a socket to press the tabs back in.

All done!

While the valve covers and the cam covers were out I prepped them, taped them up and had them ready for paint. Had a couple of parts ready for paint so the plan was to get everything painted on Saturday and give it time to cure and install everything back on Sunday. Shout out to my boy Jeremy for painting all my parts.

While the parts were in the booth, I went ahead with the rest of the maintenance items. Cleaning these parts take the longest time. Pulled the throttle body out and there was a lot of carbon build up but got it pretty clean. Slapped a new throttle body gasket on there and installed it back.

Changed water pump next and cleaned up the block some. All the bolts that came off were de-greased and every bolt got a little blue loctite before going back in. With everything cleaned and ready to be installed, called it a night.

On Sunday I had asked a friend of mine who is one of the best techs I know with help with the cam seals. I was not comfortable doing it myself. Well he showed up and replaced them including the front main seal.Thanks a lot Danny!

I continued with installing the timing belt verified all the timing marks were right, buttoned everything back up. Notice all the pulleys? They were all cleaned and a fresh coat of black paint was used to freshen them up.

Also painted some of the bolts.

The radiator was pretty dirty on the outside, aired out all the dust through the fins etc and rinsed it out. Installed the radiator, filled it with distilled water and also poured in a radiator flush. My plan is to drive it around for a couple of days and then rinse it out and install a new thermostat with Toyota coolant. Also filled the engine with Mobile 1 synthetic blend, going to drive with it for a couple of days as well just to get all the sea foam out and replace it with Amsoil. Also installed the K&N air filter as well along with new plugs, had already cleaned out the MAF with some MAF cleaner.

Everything went pretty smooth, going to keep an eye out for any leaks etc over the next couple of days just to be on the safe side. So far so good, I'm quite happy this is all taken care of.

-AJ Abraham

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Friday, February 20, 2015

SC430 Engine Bay Cleanup

After doing some suspensions components on a Saturday, the alignment was completely off so I didn't drive it. Since the car was at the shop anyway and I since I couldn't get an alignment till Monday I thought it would be best to clean out the engine bay.

The engine bay and under carriage never looked like it was ever touched. I know there is a slight oil leak which I believe is coming from the valve cover gaskets. Cleaning the engine bay would help me locate the leak better. It looks like the leak has been existing for awhile now, there was oil buildup everywhere it seemed. 

On inspection I found a leak coming from the oil feed line from the power steering reservoir and the power steering pump. So swapped that out before I started on the cleanup. 

I used the following tools:
- Purple Power 1 Gallon 
- Long bristle brush
- Red scuff pad
- Grey Scuff pad
- Pressure Washer

I had the car on a lift when doing this because I wanted to tackle the bottom of the car too, there was oil build up there as well, possibly trickling down from the valve cover gaskets over time. Make sure the car is not cool to the touch, when purple power is sprayed on to a warm engine it dries up almost instantly leaving a residue behind. You don't want that, you want it to penetrate the grease etc by letting it sit there and agitating it a little to help it through. A warm engine is not going to allow you to do that.

With the engine cooled down and on the lift, I took all the covers off. Engine cover, air box and intake piping. Before I forgot to, I went ahead and removed the MAF off the piping and there is a vacuum solenoid on the piping that I took off too. All the loose connectors and vacuum lines I took off I wrapped in plastic and taped it up. Also taped up the throttle body to prevent water from getting in. On the underside of the car I took all the covers off as well. 

With everything prepped I sprayed the engine down with purple power, I did the underside first, sprayed on, let it sit for about 10 minutes and agitated it with the brush to help loosen the grease up. With the pressure washer I sprayed everything off, I could see a huge difference already. All the oil build up was washed away. I did the same to the engine bay from up top. The pressure washer definitely helps to knock away the loosened build up from all the nicks and crannies. 

I let it drip dry for a bit while I addressed all the covers too. I didn't let the purple stuff sit on for a long time on the plastics. Sprayed it on, agitated it with the brush and immediately rinsed it off. There wasn't that much build up on the plastics except for the bottom tray. Looked like new once finished. Some areas in the bay needed a little more attention so sprayed those areas down again and worked the brush and pressure washed it a little bit more.

When I looked under the car again, all the build up is gone but then I saw a thin layer of dust that was baked on for some reason on the parts. The pic below shows the dust on the inside of the dust shield, lower control arm etc and it gives off a greyish appearance. The caster arm and the tie rods look fresh because they were just replaced yesterday.

Sprayed a little more purple power on there and scrubbed it with a red pad and grey pad. Red pad where metal was not smooth, like the lower control arm and grey pad where it was like the dust shield. Did the scrub down to most of the underside really, sub frame, oil pan, transmission pan, steering rack, sway bars, inner fender well liners etc. I did the underside rinsed it off with the pressure washer, did the left fender liners front and back, rinsed off and proceeded to do the same on the right fender liners. Scrubbing it down made a big difference, the baked on layers of dust etc broke down and the suspension pieces are all black again. Even the fender liner is black and not greyish anymore.

I used compressed air to blow out all the water from the engine bay, especially from all the connectors. With the MAF out I used some MAF cleaner to clean that out as well before assembly.

I sprayed on some conditioner for the hoses onto a rag and wiped the hoses and fender well down but I'll end up putting on a water based protectant on the engine covers etc once I finish all the maintenance and a final rinse in the engine bay. 

-AJ Abraham

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