D.I.Y. Tips on Removing the Cam Bolt of the Toyota 22R-E

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Several ways to keep the Toyota 22R-E engine from turning in order to remove the camshaft bolt.

If you have ever removed the camshaft bolt in a Toyota 22R-E engine, you know that when you try to loosen the cam bolt, the entire engine will spin and the bolt won’t loosen. That problem led “MattyB4x4” to post in the YotaTech forums, asking for advice on how to loosen the cam bolt and how to work with the chain tensioner on the other side of the project.

That initial thread was started back in July 2017, but a member reincarnated this discussion when he ran into similar issues. However, the member who brought this thread back from the dead doesn’t have a cam gear that allows him to use the loosening methods discussed when the thread was new, leading to other suggestions from the community.

The Introduction

When the OP first posted his question a couple years back, this was the beginning of the discussion.

So I’m about halfway through the teardown of my 22re headgasket job. I overheated it and blew it when I was wheeling one night.

I pulled the valve cover off and the guides and timing chain look great.

I’ve got it at TDC and am ready to pull the cam gear bolt off to get the head off. Is there some way that I can “lock” the spring tensioner in place? I’ve read that if I pull the bolt while the tensioner is in, there won’t be enough slack for me to put the bolt back in later. All I need to do is pull the head, get it decked (if necessary), then put it back on w/ a new gasket.


So far everything is going smoothly, just stuck on this one bolt! Don’t want to do anything that will require me to go into the timing chain cover, etc.


Toyota 22R-E

The Community Responds

The first person to reply was “arlindsay1992”, who provided the following info:

There is no way to lock it out. A long stiff screwdriver can be used to push the tensioner back in once the head and timing cover are on. Then you’ll have the slack to slide the top cam sprocket onto the cam. Also, you can use a medium size prybar to pry the cam sprocket up which will tension the chain and push the tensioner back in. I’ve used both methods, both work.

The next member to chime in was “Katoner”, who just went through a head gasket job, offering an interesting tip.

Just did my HG as well. Like others say you ‘ll have no issue getting the cam back into the sprocket. I actually zip tied my sprocket to the chain and let it sit there while doing the job, eeasy. Don’t forget to buy new head bolts and clean the threads in the block. GL

Toyota 22R-E

The was effectively the end of the discussion back in 2017, but earlier this month, a new member named “5150 Dan” brought the thread back to life with a unique problem.

My cam sprocket has no holes ! If I put a socket on the crankcase nut and then one on the cam nut will I be able to break the cam nut loose ? Once I do get the cam nut off does the cone part that mates up to the sprocket come off leaving the sprocket on ? I’m assuming it does which would allow me to have access to the tensioner and give me the needed room to pull sprocket off ? How do i keep sprocket attached to chain ! Thx for any info

He would later include a picture of his cam gear compared to what the other members are talking about, showing that his piece is indeed solid.

Toyota 22R-E

Thefishguy77” had a simple answer:

Stick it in 4lo 5th gear block the tires and put a ratchet on it.

But the OP has an automatic and the 5th gear trick only works with a manual, but “snippits” had the best reply in the thread, including a video of how to remove a cam gear with no holes.

You don’t need to do that.

My cam gear is solid. You can still zip tie it. Might have to put a few zip ties together. Just pull the zip tie ends with pliers, so that they are good and tight. Video below shows an easy way to get the cam gear mounted.

If you have a question on removing the cam gear on a 22R-E, click here to head into the forum and ask away!

Join the YotaTech forums now!

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