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Toyota Corolla Timing Chain Tensioner Oil Leak Repair Guide
How to replace the timing chain tensioner on a 2003 to 2008 Toyota Corolla with the 1ZZ-FE 1.8L I4 engine and stop the oil leak.

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Part # 13540-0D010
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New Part $20.42
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Timing Chain Tensioner
 

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the ninth generation Toyota Corolla (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, & 2008) in replacing the timing chain tensioner on a 1ZZ-Fe 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine and stopping the oil leak.

It's a common problem on the 2003 to 2008 Toyota Corolla for the rubber o-ring on the timing chain tensioner to become dry and brittle after a few years. Then motor oil begins slowly leaking out from around the timing chain tensioner assembly.

I purchased a new timing chain tensioner (part # 13540-0D010) for our 2005 Toyota Corolla S online for $20.42.

The only tools needed to complete this procedure are a 10mm deep socket with ratcheting wrench, some RTV silicone sealant, and a 22mm socket with ratcheting wrench.

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New Tensioner Extended
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Press In & Secure Hook
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Press On Tab To Compress
The new timing chain tensioner arrived with the arm extended out all the way. You'll need to compress the spring loaded arm and secure it with the small black hook. Press down on the metal tab that meets the teeth on the tensioner arm and push the arm all the way back. With the arm all the way back, rotate the small black hook on to the small metal rod at the end of the arm to secure it in place.
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RTV Silicone Sealant
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Tensioner Location
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Two 10mm Nuts
The old timing chain tensioner on the 1ZZ-FE 1.8 liter engine is located on the passenger side at the rear of the engine block. See the picture above for a better idea of the location. The green arrow points to the upper of the two 10mm nuts holding it in place.
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Rusty Old Tensioner
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10mm Socket
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Rear Of Engine
You'll need a deep 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench in order to remove the two 10mm nuts that hold the timing chain tensioner against the engine block. Be careful when you remove the 2nd nut since the tensioner is spring loaded and could pop out.
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Deep 10mm Socket
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Remove Two 10mm Nuts
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Tensioner Nuts Removed
The timing chain tensioner on this Corolla didn't pop out so I had to use a small flathead screwdriver to pry it out. Then it shot out about an inch from the engine block. Pull the old timing chain tensioner straight out and put it aside.
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Pop Out Tensioner
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Old Timing Chain Tensioner
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Old Leaky Rubber O-Ring
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New & Old Tensioner
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Apply Silicone Sealant
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Bead of RTV On O-Ring
The rubber o-ring on both the old and the new timing chain tensioner seemed a little too small to create a good seal and prevent oil from seeping out. Rather than just pop in the new tensioner, I read that it was a good idea to apply some new engine oil and a small bead of RTV silicone sealant around the rubber o-ring.

Try to avoid getting any silicone sealant on the area of the tensioner that goes into the engine. Also try to apply a smaller amount of sealant on the metal plate side of the o-ring than I did in the pictures above. Most of the silicone sealant was wasted when it got pushed out around the tensioner as I tightened the bolts down.

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Install Hook Side Up
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Torque Down 10mm Nuts
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22mm Socket & Wrench
The timing chain tensioner will only go in one way. Insert it into the engine with the small black metal hook facing upwards towards the sky. Then tighten down the two 10mm bolts until they are hand tight and then torque them down to the specifications in the service manual.
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Rotate Alternator Nut
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"Click" - Tensioner Released
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No More Leaking Tensioner
The final step is to rotate the alternator nut back and forth a bit to turn over the engine and release the timing chain tensioner. Use a 22m socket and ratcheting wrench on the alternator and move it around until you see the belt move and you hear a distinct "click" sound. That indicates that the timing chain tensioner has been popped off the black metal hook and is now ready for normal operation. If done properly, this fix should keep the tensioner from leaking oil for many years to come.

For more of my automotive how-to guides and product reviews, click on the following links: Toyota Corolla Engine Oil Change, Toyota Corolla Cabin Air Filter Replacement Guide, Toyota Corolla Headlight Bulbs Replacement Guide, Toyota Corolla Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide, Toyota Corolla Fog Light Bulbs Replacement Guide, Toyota Corolla Dome Light Bulb Replacement Guide, Toyota Corolla Overhead Map Light Bulbs Replacement Guide, Meguiar's Headlight Buffing & Restoration Kit Review, K&N Air Filter Cleaning Guide, WeatherTech FloorLiner Interior Mats Review, Tail Light & Headlight Condensation Repair Guide, Garmin Nuvi 260W GPS Review, Buffing Old Faded Headlights, and Interior Carpet Replacement Guide.
 

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