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22re Rebuild Write-Up; 1990 Toyota Pickup DLX

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22re Rebuild Write-Up; 1990 Toyota Pickup DLX

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Old 05-10-2018, 04:20 PM
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22re Rebuild Write-Up; 1990 Toyota Pickup DLX

Howdy fellow Toyota fanatics! I recently finished a complete rebuild of the 22re in my 1990 4WD Pickup DLX. I learned a lot, had a great time, and the rebuilt engine runs great. Since this forum helped me a ton, I wanted to document my experience here in an effort to give something back to this excellent community.
First a bit of history and the reason for the rebuild: I bought the truck for $3K in March of 2017 with 229k on the odometer. Growing up in a Toyota family (all the trucks at least) I knew it was the only option for my first rig. It was mostly stock, with Smittybilt tube bumpers, Rough Country shocks, 31s and window tint. No lift! Cab is in excellent shape, bed had some minor rust, but no rust on the undersides or frame. It came with 2 sets of wheels: 1 aluminum with “road tires” and 1 steel with BFG A/T with more or less decent tread. The steel wheels are Japanese although I’m not sure if they were original for this truck. I’m not certain, but I am at least the 3rd owner. Anyway, the buddy I bought it from said the timing chain and head were done before he got it as a father/son shade-tree project, so I figured it was a good investment, not a time bomb.
Here is a picture of the truck shortly after I bought it:


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Old 05-10-2018, 04:54 PM
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After purchasing the truck, I figured I would get the oil changed at the stealership to see what they would recommend in terms of maintenance. The engine was leaking oil pretty bad (a few drips a day) and the rear diff as well. I planned to do the work myself but wanted a professional mechanicís opinion of my new purchase. My other vehicle is a Ď91 Honda Civic that has been dealer-serviced until I bought it, and I could not be happier. Itís in immaculate shape and runs perfectly at 258K. Anyway, the Toyota tech said it was leaking from the front main and timing cover, and they quoted me $2200 to repair the leaks. But he also said "Nice truck! Keep it full of oil, and it will run forever." Yikes! I think Iíll hold off on those repairs for nowÖ

Here is a picture of the engine bay when I got the truck. 28 years of dirt and oil, but everything is there...

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Old 05-13-2018, 07:56 PM
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Then the rebuild came a knocking.....

So I drove it for about 3k miles while chasing noises and since it was my first yoter I didn’t know what I was listening for. But I kept hearing this regular tapping sound.... and it was getting louder by the mile. I finally admitted to myself I was hearing the dreaded rod knock. A painful realization, less than a year after finding “the perfect truck...” but it had a solid 230k; so be it. after tearing down the engine, what I found was simply horrifying:

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Old 05-14-2018, 09:25 AM
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all ears Wootri. I too started hearing something on my 22re, bottom end but haven't yet investigated.
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:49 PM
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Yup, that's bearing material and shattered timing chain guides. The chain probably broke or was extremely loose because I found a few pieces of the timing cover in there as well. The previous owner likely left the engine in the truck and only rebuilt the top end.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:05 PM
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So after taking off the bearing caps, I found that the #1 rod bearing had spun pretty badly, and all the bearings were worn well into the babbitt (well, Kelmet alloy according to the FSM) The oiling hole was stretched out and did not line up with the hole in the rod. Here is a picture of some of the trashed rod bearings. At the bottom you will see bearings with a normal wear pattern, taken from my donor 21R.


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Old 05-17-2018, 08:51 PM
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Here's a closeup of the journal where the bearing had spun.


You could tell the timing chain had been replaced recently, but the rest of the valve train was pretty crusty looking also.

Cylinders had lots of crosshatch but were well worn on both sides. There was also a significant ridge, and evidence that someone had reamed it.

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Old 05-17-2018, 09:12 PM
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So I mentioned my donor motor. I thought it was a 20R, but turned out to be a 21R. Uncommon and mostly incompatible, but worked for me, since all I needed was the crank and rods. When I took it apart, one thing I noticed is that the bearing sizes for the mains and rods were all identical 4444 and 2222 whereas mine was 34454 and 2212. And the 21R showed very little wear compared to mine. Also, the block, timing cover, oil pump and everything was stamped with the teq toyota logo. Sweet. So I was in good shape for to rebuild my block with the crank and rods from the 21R.

Does anyone know when they started writing Toyota on the motors? I assume this was an import motor and not meant for the US market, but I wonder since I think my truck was also assembled in Japan.

Anyway, it turned out that even with all the junk in my engine, my camshaft and rocker arms were actually in good shape.




​​​​​​​I was hoping to reuse this head still, and potentially get by with a re-ring and cylinder hone. But boy was I wrong...
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:05 PM
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Here's Lily, my Husky/Chocolate Lab and of course, my newly cleaned valve cover. After much thought, I decided not to paint it because this is more of a restoration project than an eye-catcher. And I didn't have it bead blasted, just cleaned up with scotch brite and a tiny wire wheel. I can always paint it later if I choose to replace the baffle seal. I didn't feel like drilling it out and tapping for studs. I have Lily around to keep an eye on things, and to make sure I'm double checking my torque settings :-) Sometimes when I'm under the truck for a while wrenching away, she'll come lay down under there and keep me company. What a good doggy....


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Old 05-22-2018, 10:21 AM
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Old 05-22-2018, 06:35 PM
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:45 PM
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Engine Accessories

OK sorry for the delay between posts, I've had a busy week. At this point I began organizing/cleaning parts, and getting the block ready to send to the machine shop. I went with Johnson's Machine & Performance Shop in OIympia. Not only were they 15 minutes from my house but they've been in business since 1975 and build mostly race engines. I spoke with the owner and he told me he was very familiar with the 22r block, and it would probably take a couple weeks because of race season coming up (it was Feb at the time).

Here is a picture of most of the engine accessories laid out after a quick cleaning with regular old dish soap. I'm not into toxic and expensive chemicals, so simple green and dish soap would have to do, plus I already had them. I did use some carb cleaner on the upper intake plenum and lower intake manifold though. It looked like the inside of a bbq grill in there! My EGR Valve was so dirty, the EGR vacuum modulator port was completely clogged, and it took a few days of soaking to free the gunk.



I tested all the sensors with a multimeter, according to the FSM and was surprised to find they all checked out. Everything but the coolant temp sender looked original, so that means they're 28 years old and still going strong! OK so the oil pressure sender is not - it came with the sr5 dash I swapped in, but was still from a 1990 truck :-) Go Toyota!
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:52 PM
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While I stripped the block all the way down, I found that the main bearings were scratched, but overall were in pretty decent shape. I suppose they get oil before the crank and rods do so it makes sense they would outlast the rod bearings if the oil supply was inadequate. Note bearing fragments in the lower right. Makes me shudder....

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Old 05-26-2018, 01:05 PM
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Blocks and Cranks

Here is my original block and crank with damage to journal #1:



Here is the 21R Block with a shiny, nearly perfect crank. Note how much cleaner everything it. My engine must have run hot or poorly tuned, or something to cause that much soot to build up on the block. Although the 21R was a low mile motor, maybe it was just "young." And I figured, same crank and rods but smaller pistons and less horsepower meant less wear, plus with the dual row timing chain it had not suffered a failure as mine clearly had.

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Old 05-26-2018, 01:13 PM
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Cleaning Engine Bay

With the block and head at the machine shop awaiting inspection, I decided to scrub and pressure wash the engine bay. Tied up the electrical connections in bags, and went at it. Here are before and shots of the first pass with my pressure washer: Even the inside of the bell housing had a few millimeters of oil sludge coating it. I have to say as gross as the oil leak was, it kept everything nice and rust-free over the years!


I coated the transmission input spindle and throw out bearing in moly grease to protect them while exposed during the rebuild. The truck is in a carport but we often experience an "atmospheric river" here in WA, especially in late winter / early spring.


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Old 05-29-2018, 11:27 AM
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Talking News from the Machine Shop

About a week after dropping off my 22r block, the crank and rods from the 21R, and my head, the machine shop called with some information. It was really cool, the owner Randy asked if I could come in so he could actually show me the parts and explain what he found. I was pleased that amidst so many $3-5K race engine rebuilds he gave me and my little 22re his full attention.

Block: Cleaned and magna-fluxed (no cracks) deck looked good but had some brinelling from the gasket. No pitting or corrosion visible in the coolant or other galleys of the block. Cylinder bores were basically at max spec, but still "run-able" as Randy put it. He said he tested a ring, and the gap was out of spec (way too large; and yet the engine had plenty of power and did not burn oil.) I think it's pretty amazing that a block with 230k was basically at or approaching max factory wear specifications. So he admitted that I could get away with a hone and re-ring, but the engine would still run like a worn out engine.

Crank and Rods: The assembly from the 21R was in great shape and measured out well within spec. The crank only needed a cleaning and light polish, and the rods re-bushed. This meant I would be running all standard bearings of course. I also discovered that my impulsive purchase of the $100 donor long block had paid off! They would have charged well over $100 just to turn down the damaged crank, plus the cost of resizing the damaged rod or rods. So I was feeling good about that decision and saving a few bucks.

Head: From the measurements it had likely been milled 3x or more, so Randy did not recommend decking it again as it was already too short. He also explained that rebuilding the head would cost about the same as a new head, so that made the decision easy: new head it was... He agreed that my camshaft was in reusable condition, so at least I could keep running my rockers and cam as a matched set. I had read that you should replace both at the same time and I was definitely running a tight budget with this rebuild. Besides the top end can more easily be addressed in the future, should I wish to upgrade cams.

Work Done: So I had them deck, bore and hone the block, (0.0020 over -- I wasn't looking to increase the displacement, and it just limits future rebuild potential should I choose to run it a million miles) clean and polish the crank, and clean and re-bush the rods. I also had them do the freeze plugs while they had it. I was considering having them assemble the pistons or even the entire short block, but Randy talked me out of it. He explaining that the Sealed Power pistons they ordered used floating pins, and were push-fit at room temp (not heated to install like Toyota does.) The rest of the assembly is just cleanliness, clearances and torque specs, plus I would have the pride of knowing I put the rotating assembly together myself.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:00 PM
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Side Project: Rear diff seal

So while I was waiting for my block I got antsy to continue down my truck restoration list. Next up: that annoying rear diff leak. It was dripping about once every couple hours, which is way too often for me. Here's some eye candy of the process:

R Rear axle removed:

Dropping the Diff -- my floor jack and a ratchet strap made it a piece of cake:



And a close up of the gears: 2 pinyon type, ring gear looked good with no excessive wear and nothing chipped. The left side gear / pinyon looked worn to me at first glance, but that turned out to be reflected light.


After cleaning off the old gasket material, I sealed her up with permatex ultra grey - finger tight, wait 24 hours, then torque - and haven't seen a drip since.

On a side note: I reused my gear oil as I had only put a few thousand miles on it, and hate to be wasteful. Has anyone else done this? I drained it into a clean container, then sent it through a fine paper filter before putting it back in. I read in a few places this was OK, and didn't see why I should not. The way I understand it, brief exposure to air should not contaminate gear oil, and the filtering removed any dirt or metal from draining. I also cleaned the outside very well before draining it. The maintenance schedule A (towing, or driving in dust, mud, salt etc.) says replace every 15K miles, and schedule B only says inspect every 15k. So gear oil, if kept clean, could theoretically last 60K miles or more. Who would have thought?
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:38 PM
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Post-Machine Shop!

22RE Heads - can you guess which one is new?

The new casting looked pretty good, however I wonder why the did not cast the connection between the oil galley and the head bolt (upper left) and also wonder how this affects rocker assembly lubrication. Hmmm....



Here is the finished block. Isn't she pretty?



Complete with a Fresh Hone:

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Old 06-03-2018, 12:30 PM
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Crank after polishing:


Upper mains in block, coated with assembly lube and almost ready for the crank. I used Clevite bearings.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:41 PM
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Now it's assembly time. Crank in place. And my first setback: I nicked one of the thrust washers the first time I tried to set in the crank. The clevite had a soft copper outer layer,and the crank wasn't dead straight so the lube carried one of the washers out of the groove and it got pinched between the crank and block. Ouch... So I ordered a set of TaiHOs, and they seemed to be made of much tougher material. At this point I was thinking I should have purchased all taiho bearings, but I had gone with the machine shop's recommendations for nearly all the parts. Come to think of it that was the only part I was using was made in China. All the other bearings were US made. I suppose I'm just optimistic but that made me feel better about upgrading to Japanese thrust washers.

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