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The Biggest Problem with the 3.5L V6 Engine in Toyota and Lexus Models Owners Need to Know About

The later year (2010 and beyond) model version of the 2GR-FE engines found in popular Toyota and Lexus models is a good, solid engine except for one “Achilles' Heel.” Here is what a popular Toyota mechanic has to say about it to owners as he discusses and demonstrates what the problem is, why it is so expensive to have fixed, and your options should you own one with this problem.


Front Timing Cover Problem
Today we will find out about why a simple oil leak from a front timing cover is the Achilles' Heel of the 2GR-FE 3.5L V6 engine as demonstrated by the Car Care Nut YouTube channel with a 2015 Lexus RX350 that has developed this common problem.

Related article: Avoid This Lexus Model Advises Toyota Mechanic

What makes this an especially difficult (and expensive) problem is that it requires dropping the entire subframe with the engine and transmission (including the rack and pinion assembly) in order to get to the timing cover and be physically able to install a relatively inexpensive new gasket to stop the leaking.

The source and cause of the leak is due to a point in which a cylinder head, the block, and the valve timing cover meet, opening up the potential for a leak when not perfectly sealed at the juncture where the three meet during engine assembly by the manufacturer.

Related article: One of The Best Lexus Models Ever Made, Says This Mechanic

Is All Lost for Toyota and Lexus Owners with This Engine Problem?

If you do not have time for the rather long video, here is a summary of the main questions car owners facing this problem will want to know:

Cost of repair? $2,600---Mostly labor, which will vary by the garage depending on the labor guide time and how many hours they charge for this job before beginning work and their estimated rate.

Who should do the repair? An experienced professional who has worked on this problem before. Avoid smaller shops that are willing to do it, but should not attempt it due to a lack of familiarity with this engine.

What if you have a Sienna or Avalon model with this problem? Is it worth fixing?---According to the host, this leak is not a bad leak (no worries here about excessive oil loss and resulting engine damage) but it will eventually make it to the axle where it will throw oil around making it look like the problem is much worse than it really is. However, there will be an eventual burning oil smell that can be offensive and worrisome. In this case the owner will need to decide what they are willing to cope with (small leak spotting on driveway and burning oil smells) and whether the vehicle to them is worth investing a few thousand into. If the decision is made to have it repaired, the host recommends additional work done to prolong the life of the engine while digging that deep into a repair.

That said, here is the video in its entirety. A bit long, but it provides a lot of useful information for Toyota and Lexus owners and thereby is a recommended watch for the entire 44 minutes.

TOYOTA V6 OWNERS! This is The Biggest Problem with the 3.5L V6 Engine

And finally…

For additional related articles about Lexus vehicles, here are a few for your consideration:

Toyota Mechanic Reveals the Truth About New and Used Lexus Models

Used Lexus Buying Advice About the Best and Worst Lexus Models

Should You Buy the Cheapest Lexus of 2022?

COMING UP NEXT: This Is Where Head the Gasket Fails on a Prius

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pexels


David Wilson (not verified)    March 30, 2023 - 1:08PM

Understand there are problems developing in #1 and #6 exhaust valve ports of 3.5 liter Toyota V6s. Due to offset of exhaust manifold port there is excessive heating on the cyclinder wall and piston leading to low compression and misfire reading plus valve failure. Dealers seeing more and more of these at 90,000+ miles. Toyota has been silent on this. For more info go to You Tube and look at video on hidden problems with Toyota 3.5 engine. Mine just failed and Toyota is non responsive on issue with no support to long term Toyota Owner. Vehicle maintained by dealer who has also been silent.