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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have a 2005 V6, with 97K miles, inherited from my retired parents.. Plan on keeping the car for at least another 5 years.

The car has been maintained by the dealer basically all it's life, except for a couple oil changes done by me.

Most recently, I had it at the dealer for an ATF service (drop the pan, change the filter, new ATF), new passenger side outer CV boot, oil change, new coolant tank (with coolant flush), replaced the antenna as the rubber gasket was gone. I declined a power steering system flush. Plan on doing the turkey baster thing with the power steering fluid... The bill was more than I care to admit....

Anyway, I also mentioned that there was an oil leak on the passenger side of the engine when I brought the car in for the work I mentioned above. The only indication was I could see oil stains on the passenger side of the oil pan when I was under the car for the previous oil change I did on my own.

I get a call from the dealer, saying the cam adjuster and valve cover gasket were leaking oil and should be replaced. Retail price of $2650, with the cam adjuster retailing for $960. I almost fell out of my seat. Given the total bill would have been close to 4K, I declined this, for now...

Searched here for cam adjuster and many posts seemed specific to the 1.8, some but not many for the V6. What should I expect in terms of labor time? A quick calculation tells me that even if the valve cover gasket cost me $140, there would be roughly $1550 in labor. Does this job really take 10+ hours? What am I missing?
 

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It's about a 3 hour job per side depending on your experience level and if you decide to lift the intake cam or just the CCT. (I lift the cam, but it's faster to just lift the CCT). You don't need to replace the CCT if it's just the $5-10 seal that is leaking. More often, the cam cap (round plug) on the back of the head leaks, but I would do them all together. Don't be afraid to DIY, it's not hard, just a bit tedious and you need too keep things clean and organized.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmm.... That's a far cry from 10+ hours. I am going to have to call the dealer and tech writer to understand how they came up with a retail of $2650.

Also, I've been seeing that a clogged PCV system could cause the valve cover oil leaks. I planning on changing the PCV components to see if it will stop the supposed oil leak.

One more thing I forgot to mention. I have been starting to smell burning oil at engine startup after the service. After running for a few minutes, the oil smell would disappear. Not sure if it's because of me smelling the oil and getting used to it.. Thoughts?
 

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Once the leak(s) have started, fixing the crankcase vent isn't going to fix it. It's more like "my crankcase vent is f'ed up, I replaced the valve cover gasket, and the new gasket near-immediately started leaking" (because it literally got blown out.)
Works out better if you do all of it at once - rebuild the crankcase ventilation, and fix the oil leak(s). Also saves you some time.

Like PZ said, the cam chain tensioner gasket set (gasket & half-moon seal) can be replaced without lifting a cam. Left (driver's) side is really easy (because it's on the front of the engine), right side is a little fiddly. But, it's a LOT faster than pulling a cam. That, BTW, is where most of that repair quote comes from - putting the front in service position, pulling the timing belt off, etc...
 

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It's possible but surprising they would put the car in service position for the CCT on a driver's side V6. I've done multiple without service position and never pull the timing belt. On the last 2 (my own cars), I stopped lifting the driver's side cam and just clean the area before lifting the CCT and clean under it.
 

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Hey Geronimomo,

Sorry to hear of the issues. If you were looking to do the job yourself you could save yourself a lot of money.

We have a kit you may be interested in on our site which can be found HERE.

There's also a video we have that shows you the valve cover gasket replacement HERE.

I hope that helps!

Jason
 

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More often, the cam cap (round plug) on the back of the head leaks...
That was the cause of a hot oil smell with our '99 1.8T- the half-round rubber plug was completely gone. I did a half-assed repair that was supposed to be temporary: with a new plug on-hand, I trimmed enough of the rubber flange so the plug could be forced in from the back, rather than being installed properly under the CCT. After first carefully cleaning with solvent, some Silicone sealant and a good push popped it in. I'm pretty sure that the same plug is still there!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry but I've been away so I have not come back to this till today.

Got a few more questions to understand what I have on my hands.

1) What are the symptoms of a leaking cam adjuster?
2) What are the symptoms of a bad cam adjuster?
3) Does the computer throw a code? The oil smell I mentioned inside the car happens occasionally.
4) Would only a leaking valve cover gasket result in the leak and the occasional oil smell in the car?
 

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A bad CCT would throw a code or rattle on startup for a more than a second or two.
Any of the CCT, VCG or cam plug could leak and cause a burning oil smell. You would need a mirror to see the back of the head for the cam plug and passenger side CCT. The valve cover should be easy to spot. Here is a picture of the back of the engine so you can see the cam caps.

Driver's side, no oil leaks, but coolant was leaking:
98956


Passenger side, you can see some oil seeping from beneath the CCT:
98957
 

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I think the dealer quotes it out as if they where going to take the cams out, which is what the book says to do, which requires taking the timing belt off and is a big job. Then they don’t, and profit.

This is not a tough job. I just did the whole shebang (timing belt, water pump, cam seals, gaskets etc. Took me 3 days with stops for beer. Then when it was together one of my cam seals was leaking (got the lip folded over). Luckily it was the rear drivers side. I had the seal replaced in an hour. You can do almost every seal and gasket without removing the cams, except the cam seals behind the drive sprockets.

Those little inspection mirrors one a stick are an essential toolbox item.
 

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That was the cause of a hot oil smell with our '99 1.8T- the half-round rubber plug was completely gone. I did a half-assed repair that was supposed to be temporary: with a new plug on-hand, I trimmed enough of the rubber flange so the plug could be forced in from the back, rather than being installed properly under the CCT. After first carefully cleaning with solvent, some Silicone sealant and a good push popped it in. I'm pretty sure that the same plug is still there!
How is your car after your repair, say, in comparison to specialty mechanics like karlknudsen.com.au?
 
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