As the title states, please sticky this thread so Tundra owners can be more informed and possibly avoid the same issues that I’ve now experienced with having leaking cam towers. There are some smaller threads that currently exist but I didn’t find them without searching and this problem needs to be highlighted. I wanted to start this thread so people can ask questions, post pictures, give dealer recommendations of where they got their truck fixed and to hopefully create a lot more awareness around this huge job and expensive issue that none of us expect to have when buying a vehicle known for reliability like a Toyota. Let’s try to avoid clutter in this thread and when you post, list your year truck, engine, model, mileage, which side or sides leaking and your experiences with dealers or corporate. To keep it professional, let’s leave dealer names out of this and just list which state you’re in. I did this below when I listed trucks I’ve seen with the issue and if people would like to PM me for dealer info then that’s ok. I’d like to thank
for posting his experiences and pictures on instagram and I’m sure he will chime in here as well. Thanks
The Problem: Cam Tower Leak
The Cam Towers are located under the valve covers on these trucks. From the factory, Toyota uses a gray silicone-like RTV sealant instead of a real gasket. This sealant eventually gives up and starts leaking from the REAR of the cam towers because the engine is slanted down in the back. The reason you never see any oil leaking on the ground is because it lands on the exhaust manifold and burns off. The only way to see this is to remove the flaps behind the upper control arms and look or peer in with a flash light. The driver side is much harder to see due to some lines being in the way. You will see in my pictures below where to look. When doing all my research and checking other trucks I’ve seen, the responses from the dealers are anywhere from, “We’ve never seen this before” to “Well I’m not going to say we’ve never seen this before”. The problem can occur on both the 5.7L and 4.6L trucks and on both the Tundra and Sequoia. This is a huge issue that Toyota corporate and dealerships need to become aware of so that a recall or TSB can be issued. One dealership I spoke with was honest and said, the reason that Toyota corporate isn’t doing anything about it is because not enough of the trucks are getting recognized as having the issue yet and I can tell you from personal experience that either the dealers aren’t checking or don’t want to check because it’s such a big job. The smarter dealers also push the warranty department to have both sides fixed at once even if one is not leaking because so much of the engine has to come apart to do just one side. I have personally found 7 out of 9 trucks leaking that I checked and the only one below a 2011, (with 90k miles, a 2010 Rock Warrior), wasn’t leaking. Also, a 2015 TRD SR5 with 16k miles was bone dry. Doing an internet search on the issue shows people with as little as 8k miles having the issue. The rest are as follows (All these trucks were in CT except for the 2015 which was in Virginia):
2011 TRD SR5 with 70k miles – Driver Side – Out of warranty, no fix yet
2012 Limited with 50k miles – Driver Side – Certified, covered under warranty, cab removed to fix the issue and both sides resealed
2012 Rock Warrior (mine) 62k miles – Both sides – Out of warranty but after months of arguing, got it covered by the dealer
2012 Rock Warrior with 90k miles – Both Sides – Certified, covered under warranty, truck was taken to a dealer 1 day prior to me checking for a burning oil smell and NO PROBLEM WAS FOUND! Truck was then taken to a different dealer for the fix
2013 Base with 4.6L and 63k miles – Driver Side – Out of warranty, no fix yet
2015 TRD SR5
with 50k miles – Driver Side – In factory powertrain warranty and resealed They had never heard of it before and told him they were replacing the valve cover first even though he told them all they have to do is look on the internet for the issue. They refused and did valve cover anyways and then a week later did the cam tower
2016 TRD SR5 with 20k miles – Both sides – In factory powertrain warranty and resealed at same dealer as the limited above and had the cab pulled off as well
Basically, anyone within some type of certification or factory powertrain warranty or extended Toyota warranty is getting taken care of. Anyone outside of warranty is getting the run around and charged. The job itself is slated at 16-18 hours by Toyota depending on who you talk to and just under 500$ in parts. When the job is done, you will see a much stronger black colored RTV. The dealer that I’m calling the “honest” dealer in my area told me it was about a 3500$ job back in September. When I spoke to them more recently about the 2012 Rock Warrior above, he said Toyota actually dropped the time frame and labor hours and now it was about a 2500$ job. Originally, my dealer told me it was a 4400$ job in September. They were a higher dollar per hour for labor then the 3500$ dealer but not enough to make up the 900$ difference so I don’t know what was going on there. It’s all up to you obviously but I WOULDN’T GO TO ANY DEALER THAT IS GOING TO PULL MY CAB OFF. I don’t trust someone to do that and the 2016 above that had the cab pulled has all sorts of noises and vibrations now.
At 58,000 miles I took my truck into the dealer I’ve used the whole time and asked them to do an oil change and inspect the truck for any issues because the powertrain warranty would be expiring soon. Oil change was done, no problems found. At 60,300 miles, my friend was under my truck (
) when we were about to put my skid plate back on after some suspension work and noticed that my water pump had been leaking for quite some time and drying up on the front of my engine. So how is it that the dealer didn’t see this just over 2k miles ago? Especially since it was dried all over the engine right above the oil filter! I called them and sent pictures and argued that there’s no way it just started leaking 300 miles after the 60k mile powertrain warranty and they agreed to do the job for free parts and half labor (250$). I was fine with that because I really didn’t want to do that job and at 61k miles, they completed that job. At 62k miles, the same friend walks out to my truck one day after seeing this leak online and finds the cam tower leak on the rear passenger side! When you look at my pictures below at the amount of oil on the exhaust manifold, you will agree that there is no way that it just started leaking within 1k miles of them doing the water pump and definitely not even within the 4k miles of them doing the last oil change where I asked them to inspect the vehicle. Oh and mind you, every time it’s in at the dealer for anything, they do their hundred and something point “World Class Inspection” of the vehicle.
When I called back about the cam tower leak, I was told “Well I’m not going to tell you we’ve never seen this before” but bring it back in so we can check it. (This dealer is an hour away from me….). If you’re not going to tell me you’ve never seen this before, then why aren’t you checking every Tundra/Sequoia for it? Brought the truck back in, confirmed oil leak, get handed an invoice for 4400$ and told that they are calling corporate to see if they’ll cover under warranty. Two days later, get called back, they won’t cover it and tell me the regional warranty rep said I’ll have to call corporate. I call corporate and don’t hear anything back for over 2 weeks! And then the only reason I heard anything was because I called them. When I finally got an answer, I was told that the decision was finalized 2 weeks ago when the regional warranty rep denied the claim! WHAT??!! He told me to call you! They told me that once the regional rep makes a decision, he gets the final say and they can’t override it. How is it that the corporate office can’t override the regional office? This was the stupidest thing I ever heard. Why even have a corporate warranty dispute office then? I then spent time calling the regional office to try and speak to this warranty rep and NO ONE will let you talk to him. The customer service rep there told me he still denies it and it’s due to lack of brand loyalty to Toyota! That’s BS because we bought my wife’s Toyota at the same dealer and then had it serviced and warrantied there every time.
I decided to call back my dealer and speak to the service manager. She told me she saw all my service history and my wife’s car and couldn’t understand why the warranty rep would say that. She agreed to call him and speak to him about it and this took another 2-3 weeks. She finally came back to me and told me they’d do the job for 1100$. This was a much better price but I still wasn’t prepared to pay this since there is no way it started leaking after the 60k mile mark. She told me it couldn’t be covered fully because there was no proof it was leaking before 60k. I told her there was proof now.
I was messing around on my laptop one night and found a picture of my suspension pre-50k miles and you can barely start to see staining on the passenger exhaust manifold. I can’t believe I didn’t see it myself. I told her the truck was in at the dealer at 50, 300 miles, less than a month after the picture was taken, for an oil change and the problem wasn’t spotted then either. She contacted the warranty rep again and he again denied it.
I then wrote a nice but firm email to her stating how great the service of the sales department was when buying my wife’s car and after a phone call had been made for us to a GM there, we were even allowed to drive different cars home for a couple days to see what we really wanted. I told her I can’t believe the lack of attention to detail in the service department and if this problem couldn’t get resolved between the two of us then I’d have to start making some calls or writing emails to other managers. I then received an email telling me that the job would be fully covered but they would seal the cam towers as needed. Meaning if only one was leaking, they’d only do one side. I said well my original invoice shows that the “towers” need to be sealed.
They ended up doing both sides and giving me a loaner for the 5 days the truck was in there. They also found that a wire in the knock sensor harness under the intake manifold had been chewed by a mouse and had 3 strands of wire left on it and a mouse nest right under it....and I also had them replace some rusty a/c lines and oil cooler lines and a thermostat while they were in there. The knock sensor harness, lines, and thermostat I paid for and was right around 550$ I’d rather take care of all that now then further down the line. All in all, it was a horrible 5 month experience that I hope others don’t have to endure but in the end I am satisfied with the outcome and the service I received in the end. Only thing I found was that they didn’t use brake cleaner to get all the oil off the bottom of the engine and frame members. When I got home and went under to check everything I found oil on many different things that would’ve dripped on my driveway and had to wipe it down (kind of ticks me off but nothing a rag can’t fix).
Sorry for the extremely long first post and rant, but I had to get this out there in hopes no one else has the same experiences.
The first pic is of the leak at 50k miles, the next few are at 62k miles so it grows fast. Then the engine open during repair but not even all the way down to the area that needs to be sealed yet, then the last few are of the new black sealant.