The 4Runner Rides Again!

May 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

As you might have read, I was having some engine-repair woes earlier in the week, but I finally got all that cleared up and everything running smoothly again.


Two weeks ago I decided I was finally going to tackle a couple different issues that had been bothering me for a couple years.  Neither of which required any immediate attention, so they just sort of festered until I was sick of dealing with them.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wasn’t experiencing trouble with my radiator but it was damaged in an accident I had a couple years back and I was finally committed to replacing it before it decided to die on me during the middle of the summer.  The other issue was leaky valve gaskets.

I’ve had leaky valve gaskets for a couple years now and whereas it was never bad enough that I needed to frequently add oil in-between oil changes, it was getting to the point where I was sick of the common burning-oil smell that seemed to linger around my engine and tightening down the bolts on the valve gasket was becoming too common an occurrence.  (Wow! That was a run-on sentence!)  Anyway, the valve gaskets were leaking oil all over the engine and it would drip on the exhaust manifolds (causing the burning-oil smell) or sprinkle my garage floor with oil.  It was time to fix it.

I had ordered all my parts from Toyota Parts of Dallas, which is the cheapest OEM source I’ve found online.  I received everything I needed to do the job and set out to do it a couple weekends ago.  While I was replacing the valve cover on the driver side, I didn’t pay close attention to the placement of the gasket before I started torquing down the cover.  The gasket has slipped out of the groove holding it in place in the valve cover and rolled up in such a way that it had created a sort of fulcrum.  As I screwed the bolt in place it created so much pressure on that corner of the valve gasket that it just broke. 🙁


Yeah, so that sucked.  A few more parts later and I had everything I needed to do the job, again.  While I was in there, I pulled the half-moons and re-sealed them in place.  I also replaced the camshaft covers — both of which are recommended if you’re removing the valve covers.  Since I had everything pulled apart, I replaced the plenum and throttle body gaskets as well.

The spark plug wires were looking worn, so I was ready to replace those as well as the spark plugs because, well, you’re right there — you might as well.  I replaced the radiator and hoses (they were dry and stiff), which was the quickest part of the repair.  Apart from breaking a $180 valve cover, the most annoying part of the job was the brittle plastic sheath that protected the wiring harness on top of the engine.  It shattered into a million pieces (I had read online that it would) when I attempted to gently move the wires out of the way.  Thankfully I was prepared that this might happen and had everything orchestrated in such a way that none of it would fall into the engine when the plastic began to disintegrate.  I replaced that with a liberal application of electrical tape and wire loom.

As of writing this, I don’t know what my total cost for repair is, but I’m sure I still managed to come out ahead, even having to replace one of the valve covers.  Had I paid a mechanic to complete the repair, I certainly would have had my vehicle back sooner — but what’s the fun in that? 🙂

(Please excuse any grammar or incoherent thoughts in this post — I’m too lazy to proofread it.)

Aaron Melton


One response to The 4Runner Rides Again!

  1. Ooh! Look at all those car parts I’ve never even heard of before. Plenum, camshaft, half-moon. 🙂

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