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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unfortunately I have some new problems I need help addressing... Around two weeks ago, I noticed a small drip coming from underneath the power steering fluid reservoir I think (right after I replaced my radiator). Its a yellowish/brown liquid, but it doesn't smell like oil, and my oil levels have been staying consistent. However, the leak isn't fast so I'm not convinced it isn't oil.. I also checked my power steering, coolant, and transmission fluid levels, and they seem to be all within spec (though the transmission fluid is always just above the highest line). Its giving me pretty bad anxiety now because it keeps leaking and I don't know what to fill.

What is arguably more concerning though, is this sound I just heard coming from I believe to be the valve covers today...
The lifter tick is painfully obvious, but theres another sound, like a small fragment being tossed around or something. Its very subtle but happens a few times within the video.

I wish I had the time and knowledge to just tear the engine apart but unfortunately life moves fast and the problems this car develops are seemingly endless lol. I wonder if the two problems are related.
 

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Take a mechanic's stethoscope and try to narrow down where the noise is. As for your leak. If you de-grease the engine real good. You can take some backing soda and dust the area. It will make a slug trail where it came from. Then you will know where it is really coming from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Its about time I acquire a stethoscope. Hopefully I'll be able to narrow down where the sound is coming from I just have a bad feeling about it... As far as the leak goes, I'm starting to become more and more convinced that it may be the power steering fluid. Everything is just so cramped in that area its going to be a pain to clean. Regardless, I will post back when I have more information after trying the two strategies provided, hopefully sometime this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Alright so I finally got around to flushing the power steering fluid so its pure red. The car kept leaking yellow, so I figured it wasn't that. After consistently checking my fluid levels over the course of three or so weeks with no signs, today my oil level was magically low, at the bottom of the dipstick. If its coming from the the power steering pump area, could it be the vvti o-ring? What else could it be over in that area? I haven't had a chance to really clean the engine yet, and I don't know how I will as my previous leaking valve cover gaskets successfully coated every part of the engine in oil.

My plan now is to replace as many gaskets/seals as possible when I go to change my timing belt and water pump, and adjust my valve clearances.

Realistically, using the aid of one of the various Youtube videos, how hard is it to replace a timing belt and check valve clearances? I wanted to push this off until this coming summer, but I'm thinking it needs to be done sooner, especially if both my leak and engine noises can be addressed then. The only engine work I've done on this car has been the valve cover gaskets and spark plugs so it'll be a learning process for sure...
 

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If its coming from the the power steering pump area, could it be the vvti o-ring?
Maybe. It takes only a couple minutes to remove the upper timing belt cover. Inspect in there and see if it's oily. If it is - it could be one of the cam seals, the vvti pulley o-ring, or perhaps the crank seal. Also take a look at the oil line that runs up from the block to the VVTi solenoid.

To clean the oily mess, I've had good luck using a mild caustic such as Castrol Super Clean or Red Hot. Spritz the area, wait 20 minutes, hose it down. Repeat several times.

The timing belt job isn't too bad. With a lift, it takes me about 8 hours staying pretty focused most of the time. I don't recall it taking any special tools other than a Lisle crank bolt impact socket and a means to remove the crank and cam seals... Sometimes the breaker bar/jackstand technique works for the crank bolt. Sometimes not. I used a drywall screw to remove my cam/crank seals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe. It takes only a couple minutes to remove the upper timing belt cover. Inspect in there and see if it's oily. If it is - it could be one of the cam seals, the vvti pulley o-ring, or perhaps the crank seal. Also take a look at the oil line that runs up from the block to the VVTi solenoid.

To clean the oily mess, I've had good luck using a mild caustic such as Castrol Super Clean or Red Hot. Spritz the area, wait 20 minutes, hose it down. Repeat several times.

The timing belt job isn't too bad. With a lift, it takes me about 8 hours staying pretty focused most of the time. I don't recall it taking any special tools other than a Lisle crank bolt impact socket and a means to remove the crank and cam seals... Sometimes the breaker bar/jackstand technique works for the crank bolt. Sometimes not. I used a drywall screw to remove my cam/crank seals.
Okay. I don't have the hex tool with me now to remove the bolts holding on the upper timing belt cover, but it isn't covered in oil around the seams. I'm thinking it might be a cam/crank seal. I'll definitely look into using a mild caustic to clean the engine, I just need to find some time. As far as replacing the timing belt goes, I'll be doing that on a driveway, likely with the car on jacks so I don't have to bend down for hours lol. Another factor thats been bugging me though is whether or not I want to go ahead and install bc cams while I'm doing all of this, I just don't want to get overwhelmed. Since I would be doing the cam/crank seals and valve adjustments, I'm thinking I might as well.
 

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Okay. I don't have the hex tool with me now to remove the bolts holding on the upper timing belt cover, but it isn't covered in oil around the seams. I'm thinking it might be a cam/crank seal. I'll definitely look into using a mild caustic to clean the engine, I just need to find some time. As far as replacing the timing belt goes, I'll be doing that on a driveway, likely with the car on jacks so I don't have to bend down for hours lol. Another factor thats been bugging me though is whether or not I want to go ahead and install bc cams while I'm doing all of this, I just don't want to get overwhelmed. Since I would be doing the cam/crank seals and valve adjustments, I'm thinking I might as well.
Almost every bit of the timing belt job will have to be repeated to install the cams.

The only additional work associated with the cam install is pulling the throttle, the valve covers, the cam caps - and reshimming the valve buckets.

Be sure to install a new o-ring in the VVTi pulley. I can dig up a part number for a suitable o-ring if you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Almost every bit of the timing belt job will have to be repeated to install the cams.

The only additional work associated with the cam install is pulling the throttle, the valve covers, the cam caps - and reshimming the valve buckets.

Be sure to install a new o-ring in the VVTi pulley. I can dig up a part number for a suitable o-ring if you need.
Alright thats what I was thinking. Is this (VVTi JZ Cam Gear REBUILD KIT (driftmotion.com)) what you were referring to as the vvti pulley o-ring? I didn't know if the vvti pulley and gear were the same thing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wanted to give a list of all the parts I was planning on getting in case there's something I'm missing:

Timing Belt Kit: 01 2001 Lexus IS300 Timing Belt - Engine Mechanical - AISIN, Aisin - PartsGeek (The one that was $186)
(2x) Camshaft Front Seal: Camshaft Front Seal Set TCS 46185: Advance Auto Parts

Crankshaft Seal Kit: Crankshaft Front Seal Set TCS 46070: Advance Auto Parts

VVTi Cam Gear Kit: VVTi JZ Cam Gear REBUILD KIT (driftmotion.com)

O Ring for Water Outlet: 96761-24028 Genuine Toyota Ring,O (toyotapartsdeal.com)

(2x) O Ring for Water By-Pass Pipe: 96761-24022 Genuine Toyota Ring, O (toyotapartsdeal.com)

Thermostat: 2001-2005 Lexus IS300 Thermostat - Aisin THT-011 - - PartsGeek.com

Thermostat Gasket: Thermostat Gasket 35445: Advance Auto Parts

BC Cams 264: Haven't decided where to get them yet.

Does this cover everything I need? I just replaced my spark plugs, valve cover gaskets, and pcv valve.
 
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