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Mark T180

T180 Head Gasket Repair

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I am a new owner of a 2007 T180 located in Surrey. Happy with the car but not the fact that it has been diagnosed ("block tested") as having a failing head gasket. Reading up on the topic I can immediately see that it is a well known problem. I have been searching through the Forum but can't seem to find the information I am looking for. Some questions that I am hoping experienced owners can short cut me to the answer.

1) The gasket failure seemed to be a manufacturing isssue that was corrected by Toyota. If I do the work and have it replaced, will the new gasket set "fix" the underlying issue. 

2) Are there any good specialist garages (not main dealers) for the RAV4 in general in SE England? Are there any that people would recommend for this major head gasket fix?

I also have water in the passenger footwell, which thanks to the forum, I think is likely another well known fault/issue with the cowl panel seal.

Thanks in advance for any assistance provided.

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The following topic outlines the issues with the AD series engine. Toyota covered the issue using a goodwill arrangement for a period of 7 years/111,846 miles from first registration. Toyota's solution was a new 3/4 engine plus replacement of other components as required, rather than a repair.

There have since been members who have repairs done, but we don't know how successful these were.

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Thank you for the quick response. I had read that summary but not flicked through the comments, the last of which was in 2015. 

Most of the thread seems to seal with warranty claims, which is not a consideration in my case. 

I would be interested in the experience of any Forum members who might have had repairs done more recently. The only symptom on my car is coolant, so far as I am aware. 

Really interested to know who can do this work, approximate cost and satisfactory outcome? 

Thank you

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Same thing happened to me today. 2006 T180. Went in to a garage with CEL. Just had a phone cal that it looks like head gasket has gone. Don't know if any other damage done yet. So I would also appreciate any info on likelihood of it being repairable. Thanks.

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Hi Mikey,

Looks like the only fix is major engine work/swap with recon. Suggestion is that just a gasket change, itself quite a large job, will not result in a permamnent fix due to the inherent design flaws; although I would really like to know how long it might last?

I am £3.3k into this car. My logic now is that if I can drive it for 3 years with the issue, then at £1k per year it won't owe me anything. The car drives really well and I have just had it serviced. Aparently the EGR has been blanked off at some time in the past. I am sure that I have the issue, although I am also loosing coolant when the car is standing and the system depressurised, so I must also have some external leak as well. 

I am going to try adding one of these gasket fixing additives for around £30 on the basis I have nothing to loose; I'd give it 50:50 they can deliver a fix, but in any case many offer a money back guarentee. 

Would really like to hear the expereinces of other members who have grappled with this (out of warranty). 

 

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Many of these engines can be repaired, particularly if tackled early. The problem with gasket failure is that the head can be track marked at the failure point. The head is not designed to be machined - so the normal remedy is to replace the cylinder head. However one root cause of the failure is excessive Oil consumption which leads to carbon buildup and subsequently carbon stamping which will cause gasket failure. 

Before doing anything - you need to ascertain that this is definitely a head gasket failure and not something else. The definitive test is the so called sniff test of the atmosphere in the expansion bottle which can detect the presence of combustion gasses. If it's proved to be a head gasket failure - the next question is whether the engine uses a significant amount of Oil. If it does then simply replacing the head + gasket is not a permanent solution - the gasket will fail again at some point.

If Oil consumption is low then it is possible to replace the gasket without replacing the head. The head is skimmed by the absolute minimum amount and a a thicker head gasket used. The genuine Toyota gasket is available in several thicknesses and the thickness of the existing gasket can be determined without dismantling. Obviously if the gasket fitted originally is already at the maximum thickness then the method described isn't possible but this isn't usually the case. If Oil consumption is high then gasket replacement will only be successful if the pistons + rings are also replaced in order to remedy Oil consumption.

Block sealer is unlikely to work on the type of failure in question but more importantly, it can result in other damage. 

Unfortunately none of the posters indicate mileage covered, symptoms, Oil consumption and whether Toyota have a record of head gasket work or an engine change on the particular vehicle.

If done properly the engine work will be a long term solution but at a significant cost. One would need to balance the cost against the value of the car. I successfully repaired several of these engines in the past on Ravs worth £6K+ but the repair of a 13 year old car may not be economically viable! Unfortunately older Ravs are often disposed of because of head gasket failure - the failure may well have been present for some time before the car was sold.

 

 

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Thank you GJ for your very helpful and informative post. So stuck with a car I wouldn't pass on to anybody it looks like I will have to repair and then move on after after a year or two. My car is on 100k and I have no paperwork to say what work has been done; but 6 owners so not chesrished, nevertheless the Toyota quality shines through and it is in good nick. I have just had it serviced so I can now monitor the Oil consumption. My garage did a pressure test then a block test and the colour change was fast, indicating a significant leak. The information about gasket thickness and testeing thereoff is very helpful and I'd not found this anywhere else. There is no sign of the leak in tailpipe emmisions nor do I have any Oil/water mayonaise contamination. I am now on the hunt for a reputable outfit that can do this work; any recommendations appreciated.  

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You won't see mayonaise or a leak into the exhaust gases - the usual failure is between a cylinder and a waterway so gases from a cylinder pressurise the cooling system and coolant is expelled from the expansion bottle - there isn't a path between coolant and lubrication system. Toyota's cutoff on Oil consumption was 0.5 litre or more in 620 miles. This is far higher than experienced on the majority of Rav's of this generation but can be used as a yardstick as you monitor Oil consumption. Hopefully Oil consumption will be OK in which case only work on the head will be required. This can be done without engine removal - albeit with some difficulty!

The photo shows a failed gasket in situ. You can see the thickness guide bottom right. This gasket is a No3 - it has three grooves and was eventually replaced with a No5 gasket.

fullsizeoutput_1d7c.jpeg

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Again, so very helpful. I can't understand why this kind of information is impossible to find via internet searches, given the significance of the issue.

 

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Taken a look at the front of my engine and I can't see any gasket (with notches) protruding. I have attached a photo; am I being daft and looking in the wrong place? Can you guide me please. Thanks

Head.JPG

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GJNorthall is an absolute guru when it comes to anything like this, but, as he's probably not read your question yet, I'd say that you need to look lower down - underneath the metalwork where I've put the star - the gasket face is hidden by the inlet manifold in the picture.  Perhaps you can see it looking in diagonally from above, but I confess I don't know this engine.

Head.JPG.fd8b48c33a10465d20500ff0ff1e3dad.jpg

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Hi Mark,

I have a 2007 T180 which was spitting coolant out of the header tank pressure release valve last year (80k miles). Had it tested which found exhaust gas in the coolant so diagnosed as a head gasket fail. I read the various posts about this issue on this forum which were very helpful. There were no other symptoms (no overheating and I didn't have high Oil consumption). I searched for someone to replace the head gasket and found only a few on web. I used Southern Engines in Charlton, South London. It cost a lot as they took the engine out to do it. The job wasn't problem free as injectors were seized and one broke which added circa £600. I have only done about 2,000 miles since but the head gasket problem is gone. I had "clutch judder" which I thought was a failing clutch but while I was doing some other maintenance noticed a missing engine mount bolt, which I replaced and judder resolved, make of that what you will re Southern Engines but otherwise I am happy with what they did to date.

 

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Greg and SB, thank you for commenting. 

1) I'll try looking further down with a mirror if necessary - if only it would stop raining.....!

2) I do have a a friend who runs a garage that could undertake the work to a standard I'd trust, they have done some before; but since they normally work on high end German machinery their labour is pricey, hence good to have other options like Southern Engines to consider. 

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You can see a rectangular cutout on the lip of the block on the drawing. Unfortunately the head overlaps the cutout so it's difficult to see the gasket. You can count the notches using a thin screwdriver or push a piece of plasticine with a coating of Oil into the recess so that you get an impression of the gasket edge. 

Any good garage should be able to do the work and you can save 50% on parts cost by using good branded parts such as head bolts. The gasket however needs to be genuine Toyota.  The relevant sections of the Toyota workshop manual can be downloaded for a couple of pounds and this will help with the correct torques etc. The most important thing is to minimise the amount of metal skimmed off the head. You'll find what looks to be aluminium foil (part of the head gasket) embedded on the surface of the head and the key thing is to skim the head so that this is removed and the cutter has touched all parts of the head. Machining also gives the correct surface finish for optimum gasket seal. Usually around 7 thou is sufficient to ensure that the head is flat and unmarked.

block.png

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So am I correct to be looking down the front right hand side of the engine as mounted in the car? Top tip with the plasticine. 

My thanks again. 

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Not too far from Surrey but this company near me have a very good reputation for this kind of repair. They do the head skim and everything else at a decent price. A few people I know have used them and have been very happy. While I have not used them myself, the same people have been running it for a few decades which is usually a good sign.
 

https://www.apsleytransmissions.co.uk/services

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Yes standing facing the front of the car - front right hand side. I wouldn't be overly concerned - all the gaskets I've seen have been 3 notches or less and I've always gone for the maximum thickness (there's only 0.05 mm between each thickness). 

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2 hours ago, Phill111 said:

Not too far from Surrey but this company near me have a very good reputation for this kind of repair. They do the head skim and everything else at a decent price. A few people I know have used them and have been very happy. While I have not used them myself, the same people have been running it for a few decades which is usually a good sign.
 

https://www.apsleytransmissions.co.uk/services

Thanks for this information Phil

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2 hours ago, gjnorthall said:

Yes standing facing the front of the car - front right hand side. I wouldn't be overly concerned - all the gaskets I've seen have been 3 notches or less and I've always gone for the maximum thickness (there's only 0.05 mm between each thickness). 

Okay, noted.

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