We recently discovered that even though the 22R/RE engines seem to run forever (with proper maintenance), they aren't immune to problems. One of the most common problems with the 22RE '89-'95 Toyota is the single timing chain setup, with plastic guides. It wasn't always that way, though. From '75 to '82, Toyota produced 20R and 22R four-cylinder engines, which used a dual timing chain system. It proved to be very dependable and incorporated steel timing chain guides. In '83, however, Toyota decided to install the single-row chain with plastic guides on all its 22R engines.
In the '85-'95 22R/RE, Toyota introduced a new-design engine family, changing the distance from the cam to crank centerline with a shorter head and shorter block. This required a shorter single chain with plastic guiderails. The problem with this is that the chain stretches beyond the tensioner's limits, allowing the chain to slip against the plastic guides, which results in broken guides (that's the noise heard on cold start-up). Prolonged engine operation will result in the chain wearing through the timing cover, allowing coolant to leak into the engine crankcase. This failure is often diagnosed as a cracked head, or a blown head gasket. As the chain stretches, many things can occur: You experience improper camshaft timing; the plastic guides will break; and the timing chain can either wear a hole in the timing cover or break entirely, sending the pistons and valves to meet their doom. Toyota recommends replacing the chain every 70,000 miles, which can get costly, not to mention the consequences if the chain breaks early. LC Engineering has developed a solution to this troublesome problem by making a dual-row timing chain conversion kit that will most likely outlast the life expectancy of your truck.
Lucky for us, the timing chain on our 'Yota (Project Dragged Daily) broke on start-up and not while draggin' down the freeway at 75 mph. We were very fortunate that there was no internal engine damage such as bent valves, or worse. We never wanted to have to worry about this again, so we called up LC Engineering for a permanent fix to the Toyota timing chain. With the LCE dual-row conversion kit in hand, we headed over to see the pros at Glendora Import Specialists and followed along as they showed us how to install the conversion kit and got us back on the road in no time.
SourcesGlendora Import SpecialistsDept. MT445 E. Arrow Hwy.Glendora, CA 91740(626) 914-4911LC EngineeringDept. MT2031 Holly Ave.Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403(877) 505-2501www.lcengineering.com