View Full Version : Frustrated by poor past maintenance

09-26-2010, 07:01 PM
I need some suggestions on how to best go about fixing this little menace of a problem if anyone feels like reading all of this:

The background for this is that for the last year or so I have had a very slow oil leak on the 88 alltrac which I never bothered to track down. The last couple of months it increased considerably and I started getting noticeable amounts of oil smoke from under the hood and finally tracked it down (as well as I could tell) to the area under the turbo dripping oil onto the downpipe and exhaust.

I got into it yesterday after picking up the gasket kit from Toyota and I'm pretty much certain the leak is from both the oil return connection on the bottom of the turbo and the oil feed connection from that flexible pipe/hose that joins it. On that feed connection I found a mess of two paper gaskets sandwiched on both sides and between them with red silicone. The return line connection on the turbo itself has no gasket whatsoever, just unevenly applied silicone.

The problem is that I'm stuck at this point. I can't get the oil hardline off in order to put the gasket on the main connection to the turbo. What I did in the past on MR2s and the 90 Alltrac was simply remove the turbo assembly and lift it off the hardline, or simply remove those two studs from the turbo an slip the gasket between. Unfortunately someone previously stripped the ends of the studs that you can normally use a 6mm socket to remove and I can't get a different tool like vise grips in the space available. So I"m back to needing to remove the turbo.. but here is why I'm stuck there:


Those are two examples of the bolts I'm finding everywhere. The shorter one was just loose and sitting in the hole behind the heat shield on the turbo elbow connection. The longer one came out with much trouble from the elbow. The third elbow to turbo bolt I can't get out because they forced it in at an angle and there is now no room to get a normal socket around it (the head is recessed in the iron of the flange and crooked). I shifted to the catalytic converter connection to the elbow. One of the four spots was the proper stud and nut, and that nut came off fine, but two others were generic bolts like those pictured above and they simply snapped off. The fourth is unaccessable to me due to the front-rear crossmember.

Removing the turbo from the manifold is no-go because another of these improper bolts is forced into one of the four holes and it is also crooked and takes extreme force to turn. I'm afraid if I manage to force these bolts free I won't be able to reconnect things without trying to retap cast iron and use other fasteners and in some cases have to drill them out.

What I have tried to get around all of this is double up nuts on the oil return/feed studs but there isn't enough length of stud to get them on securely enough for that to work. Finally, I tried JBKwik to simply secure the nuts to the studs and use them to turn the studs out of the turbo. It is supposed to cure in 4 hours, but after 15 hours it just broke the JBKwik and turned the nuts off easily. I don't have access to an actual welder, and even if I did there's no room in there to weld, even if I pulled the radiator out.

Sorry for the very long explanation, but I wanted to catalog what I've tried and where I'm at now to try to get the best solutions at this point. I do not consider squirting silicone in the gap and putting it all back together to be a solution. That's the kind of half-assed work that has led to the problem in the first place.

09-27-2010, 02:16 AM
Meh, never mind. I sort of have managed to work around it. I manhandled the hard line down far enough to clean the surfaces and slip the gasket in. So I've gotten the return line hooked up.. now I just have to get the hard line side of the feed hooked up to the flexible portion that goes to the block. What a pain in the neck.

Please people, for the love of all that is holy, use the correct fasteners and gaskets when you work on these cars. Future owners and even you if you never sell it will be eternally grateful.

09-30-2010, 03:06 PM
wow that sucks. sounds like someone used an air gun assembling the turbo assembly and no gaskets what-so-ever. shade tree mechanic? shop that had no clue what they were working on? just a random lazy ass?

09-30-2010, 05:24 PM
Well for future reference, if you ever need to get a stripped bolt out...


As far as the manifold, if you had my luck you'd break the bolt off inside the head at which point the best thing to do would be to take the head off and bring it to a machine shop that can drill it and tap it back in a straight line.

09-30-2010, 07:23 PM
I had the same oil leak, but not the same amound of trouble getting it all apart. I was going to suggest taking the exhaust manifold, turbo and cat all in one by pulling the bolts on the cat bottom flange, and the exhaust manifold bolts. Thats how I decided to take mine apart after looking at everything. Then with the assembly out you can clean and retap all the holes for proper hardware again. Im guessing by this point you are already mostly back together, but if I were you I would consider doing it anyway just for future sake.

Rounded and rusted fasteners in that area can be a huge pain in the ass. A cut off wheel on a dremel, a flap disk on a grinder, special biting sockets and even freezing them off are all options Ive employed. Once removed and all the holes retapped, always remember to use liberal amounts of anti-sieze compound when reassembling.

10-01-2010, 05:19 AM
Ah, yeah, I'm all back together at this point but it was definitely hellish. I had actually started on that last suggestion, Facime, but the cat and midpipe just wouldn't come loose so I ended up doing it all with the whole turbo assembly still in the car. I may at some point just get a spare manifold and downpipe and get them all ready to put in and swap it out at some point, but for now it'll have to do as-is.

I actually used a rope from multiple angles to pull the flexible portion of the feed into position and got the holes lined up so that the bolts pulled everything together the last bit. Good thing my hands and wrists aren't large, or I'd never have been able to squeeze in there.

Yeah, Mafix, I don't know who did the "work", but it was just horrible. Pulling the turbo assembly has never been fun exactly, but I've never seen quite so many wrong and broken bolts all in one place and I've been able to do the job in hours instead of the days it took this time.

10-02-2010, 02:56 AM
So ummm, as I feared I think I've got an exhaust leak now. Question: Can the loud popping/rattling from an exhaust leak between the manifold and the head cause false knock response from the sensor/ecu? The car is just falling on its face now when trying to boost.

10-02-2010, 03:15 AM
I believe knock responce throws a CEL...but Im not certain. I would be more inclined to think maybe you didnt get a clamp tight and have a boost leak? Maybe split a boot taking it apart?

10-02-2010, 04:09 AM
I wouldn't know if it threw a cel without pulling codes, the check engine is always on (JDM swap). I don't think it's a boost leak, I just put t-bolt clamps on and replaced the IC to turbo rubber. I'll have to drive it more and try to get more consistent data. One or two short pulls around the block isn't really enough.

10-27-2010, 02:15 AM
So it turns out the exhaust leak is the only major problem now. I failed emissions (running rich with the big leak pre-O2 sensor) so I took it into a Honda/Nissan/Toyota specialty shop that's approved to sign emissions wavers. They took a look at all of the things I've been complaining about in the thread, signed my waver and I noticed at the bottom of their comments on the bill it says "Recommend customer find a dealer or specialty shop for future repairs." ROTFL, they ARE a specialty shop but they didn't want to touch the ruined fasteners and exhaust/turbo work with a ten foot pole. I wanted them to put a quote for the labor on the bill just as a backup for the emissions folks and they were very disinterested in even that, but they were polite about it. It's kind of sad, but funny at the same time. So basically I had to pay $150.00 as punishment for having a big nasty polluter but will be back on the road with it legally for at least 2 more years (as far as the emissions testing is concerned).

10-27-2010, 07:05 PM
LOL. And that's why I do all of my own work. But hey, at least you can deal with the issues on your own time.

10-27-2010, 08:46 PM
Yeah, I'll be fixing it myself of course, I just can't do it right at the moment. It's such a mess that when I do fix it, I'm going to be sorely tempted to be putting a whole new setup on it, from the manifold to the downpipe, it just cuts into the Supra funds :( Plus the brakes are starting to remind me that they don't last forever by making fun grinding sounds. Good times.

10-27-2010, 08:57 PM
I got a stock 165 setup for sale that has no rusted/broken studs etc, manifold to DP (stock gutted) I'll sell ya. No oil/water lines or wastegate actuator (you would have to reuse yours). $100 shipped.

10-28-2010, 12:59 AM
Looks like I need to take you up on that offer. The failgasket failed harder today, the exhaust leak got a lot bigger and melted part of my timing cover and made the wire harness in the area pretty hot. I'm hoping there's not extensive damage to anything, but I obviously have to pull it all off and fix this before I can drive it more. On the strange and somewhat irritating side, it passed the emissions retest today as if the probes weren't even in the tailpipe (like seriously, .06 PPM CO vs 2.5 PPM before), after I had to spend $150 at the emission shop for a waver signature... grrrrr

10-28-2010, 01:48 AM
well let me know, Its otherwise just sitting here. I only removed it to go second gen twin scroll.