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22re Removing Cam Bolt

Old 07-20-2017, 05:03 AM
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22re Removing Cam Bolt

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.

Thoughts?

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.

Thanks!

Last edited by MattyB4x4; 07-20-2017 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:12 AM
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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.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:20 AM
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Great, thanks so much. I just wanted to make sure that I'd be able to get it back up on there some way without having to deal with the timing cover and all that.

I appreciate the help!
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:41 AM
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Just an observation here. I've read a lot of posts here and on other sites where a guy doesn't replace everything while the engine is apart and then not terribly long after has to go back in and replace the timing chain, or water pump, etc. Do you actually know how old your T/c is?
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:15 AM
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Fair observation. As far as the actual mileage, no. It was a fresh(er) rebuild that a buddy was using as a spare race motor.

It has the plastic TC guides on it and they are unscathed. If I had to guess, I'd say the motor has probably a couple thousand miles on it. It's on a trail buggy that sees about 5 weekends of wheeling per year.

Pic Below. You can see the guides on the left are unscathed and the chain has no slack in it at all. I think if this had been on a daily driven truck, or something with some age, I'd agree with you and just do it all while I'm tearing into it. But....I think this is in great shape minus the perfect storm on the trail one night. Riding at night, temp gauge was on the fritz and light went out on it, plug for fan into switch panel had wiggled loose, so no fan and it overheated....and I didn't know it until I parked it and could hear the coolant boiling.

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Old 07-20-2017, 08:25 AM
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Given that history and the vehicle use I say - HAVE FUN
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:01 PM
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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

Last edited by Katoner; 07-20-2017 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:38 AM
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Removing cam bolt

Iím doing head gasket on 88 22 re ! Iím not sure how to get the cam bolt off ! Iíve looked at other threads but still not sure how to do it ! I have motor at tdc ! If I am loosening that nut doesnít the cam gear spin with it ? How do I stop it from turning with the nut ? I am no mechanic , just trying to fix it myself ! Any info Iíd appreciate
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:46 PM
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Have you already taken the chain off? Try sticking a small wood doweling or screwdriver through one of the holes and use it to stop it from spinning.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:24 PM
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Sprocket

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 ? Iím 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
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:08 PM
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The cams on a 3VZE have a 27mm hex cast into the middle You can hold the cam with a suitable wrench (you can't use an adjustable wrench on a 3VZE, but a 27mm wrench is not hard to find or expensive).
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 5150 DAN
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 ? Iím 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
Can you post a picture of your cam sprocket?

This is what I know as a stock 22re cam gear.
Attached Thumbnails 22re Removing Cam Bolt-photo287.jpg  
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:01 PM
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Cam sprocket

Originally Posted by 5150 DAN View Post
Iím doing head gasket on 88 22 re ! Iím not sure how to get the cam bolt off ! Iíve looked at other threads but still not sure how to do it ! I have motor at tdc ! If I am loosening that nut doesnít the cam gear spin with it ? How do I stop it from turning with the nut ? I am no mechanic , just trying to fix it myself ! Any info Iíd appreciate

This is what my sprocket looks like !
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:16 PM
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Stick it in 4lo 5th gear block the tires and put a ratchet on it.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:14 AM
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Cam bolt

So if itís an automatic? Same principal ? Stick trans in drive ?
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:34 AM
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As others have said, just place the the car in fifth, lock the wheels and place a big ass extension on the cam bolt. She was surprisingly easy to take off on my car.


As for the cam sprocket, it should not move if you leave the engine locked as is. Just zip tie the cam sprocket to the chain. I did 3 ties just to be extra sure it wouldn't move. You can then just let it hang. I would also take some pictures and mark the original position just in case. What I did not do was jam something against the tensioner. I now know that it is not needed but it will save you quite a head ache later if you are working alone. If you don't jam something against the tensioner, you will not have enough slack to get the gear back on the cam. I tried hammering it, prying it and finally threading some of the bolt in to force the cam back on. Ended up with a ruined bolt and cam. I did have an extra cam lying around and my good buddy suggested wiggling the crank just a tiny bit (21mm on the crank). I just wiggled it very slightly and he easily slapped it on. So that's the only way I could get it to go on without because I didn't jam something on the tensioner.

Last edited by menphis; 05-20-2019 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:30 AM
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Since you cam sprocket is solid you won't be able to leave it attached to the chain. Use a paint marker to put match marks on the chain and sprocket. Use a load of bungee to attach the chain to the hood. You will need someone to hold tension on the chain while you lift the head off.

If you have an automatic transmission you can use the inspection hole to wedge the flex plate in place. Just use gentle steady force, slamming the cam bolt has been known to damage the flex plate.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 5150 DAN View Post
So if itís an automatic? Same principal ? Stick trans in drive ?
No, that won't work with an automatic. The torque converter is a fluid coupling and provides almost no resistance to a static turning load. The engine will just spin.
You'll have to hold the engine/camshaft another way. If there is a flat on the camshaft, as scope103 has described for the 3vze, you can hold the shaft with a suitable wrench against the head. Use a wooden block for the wrench to rest against to avoid marring the head. Another alternative is to put a wrench on the crank bolt, if you can get to it, and turn the engine until the wrench rests on the frame to lock the engine.

People have also locked the engine by removing a spark plug and feeding in enough rope to lock the piston against the head.

A good impact wrench could also solve your problem.

And btw, for those with manuals, you want 5th gear in 2 or 4 HI, not 4 LO. You want the least possible mechanical advantage from the engine to the wheels.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:53 PM
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Tensioner

Iíve removed cam nut ! Iím trying the block of wood to spread the tensioner ! Not having any luck with the size block I made ! Any tips on what size of block worked for you ?
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 5150 DAN View Post
Iíve removed cam nut ! Iím trying the block of wood to spread the tensioner ! Not having any luck with the size block I made ! Any tips on what size of block worked for you ?
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.

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