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Advice re repair, GS 300 oil leak

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Old 09-28-11, 07:32 PM   #1
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Default Advice re repair, GS 300 oil leak

My 99 GS300 has 115K miles and is leaking oil. (I am not a DIYer nor do I know much about car engines.) One independent shop specializes in only Toyotas and Lexus cars; they've diagnosed cam gear leak and want $700+ to fix the leak and replace timing belt (belt was replaced 6 years earlier at 55K, along with water pump). Second independent shop works on all makes, diagnosed same problem (probably) and quoted $600+ for same repair. If you have advice on the following, would appreciate your thoughts.
1. Which shop (have used them both and they are reasonably reliable and knowledgeable)? Any reason to prefer the Lexus specialist for this particular work?
2. Should I also replace the water pump (again) while they have it all opened up? Is this expensive?
3. I was told it might not be the cam gear and that if other (don't recall what) seals are leaking, there would be additional labor to get to them; is this likely?
4. Should I do the (major) 120K service while doing this repair? If I do it, should I expect to see savings on labor? 120K involves replacing spark plugs (though one was replaced last year), replacing coolant (though that was replaced 6 months ago when there was a coolant problem), brake fluid and probably other stuff. Here there is a big difference on price. The specialist shop wants $600+ for this work versus around $200 from the other shop.
5. I enjoy driving my Lexus but its been an expensive car to maintain. First there was the early
water pump repair, then I had to replace the entire throttle body motor/assembly, then the thermostat/housing gasket thingy for the radiator, then the alternator died. What else might be coming down the road as far as big items? Is it time to sell the car?
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Old 09-28-11, 07:42 PM   #2
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$700 is pretty good for timing, water pump etc. Do everything once you're in there.

About $300 in parts should suffice for belt, pump, and other misc seals.

If your headgasket, or valve cover is leaking then have it replaced...if they can't properly diagnose the problem and they are telling you that it might be this or that, take your car elsewhere.

If you haven't done spark plugs and coolant flush, do it at once..

If you are more clear on what your problem areas are then we can help you better here.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick input J. Unfortunately quotes were for cam gear leak repair and replacing timing belt, not replacing water pump. Lexus shop wants another $350 to replace the water pump, on top of the $700+ for the other work. The second shop is cheaper; as best I can tell they are good mechanics but don't work on as many Lexus cars. Any reason to pay more for this particular work?
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Old 09-28-11, 10:20 PM   #4
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Labor wise it's about an extra 30 minutes (if that) to replace the water pump while doing the timing belt. In other words, if they are charging $100 an hour, you shouldn't be paying more than an extra $50 plus the price of the part to replace the water pump WHILE doing the timing belt. FWIW, a water pump is about $150 from Toyota, so they are basically charging you an extra 2 hours of labor (assuming $100 an hour labor) to do a job that takes 30 minutes tops while the timing belt is getting done. If you decide to do the timing belt (wouldn't be a terrible idea but a bit early) you should have them replace the front main seal as well as the cam seals.

Cam seals can be done without complete removal of the timing belt. You can mark the cam gears/timing belt and remove the timing belt tensioner, this will allow you to slide the timing belt off the cam gears, and replace the old seals. Maybe a 3 hour job if no other work is being done.

If I was you, I would be an educated customer and tell them "I understand the process that needs to be done to replace the timing belt. I realize it is more labor to replace the water pump, front main seal and cam seals while the timing belt is being replaced but a considerable amount of the labor to perform those replacements is already required for the timing belt replacement." That way they will know you aren't going to fall for their attempt to get you for full price on all the services performed as they are intertwined.

Personally having done multiple services of the type you are asking about, I would say:

8 hours MAX labor to do the timing belt, front main seal and water pump. It can be done in one working day easily (I've done them personally in 4)

If you want to do cam seals as well (which you probably should) add an extra 1-2 hours MAX.

Hope that makes sense, water pump, timing belt, front main seal, cam seals shouldn't cost you more than $1200 MAX out the door including parts at the very most and that's assuming they charge $100 an hour labor which is on the high side. If you want to go the extra mile throw in an oil pump, should be about an extra $275 installed with OEM Toyota parts.

So full job (timing belt, water pump, cam seals, front main seal, oil pump) you should be seeing about $1400 max including parts and you car will have all the major replacements done to last another 100k.

Last edited by macd7919; 09-28-11 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 09-29-11, 05:26 PM   #5
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u should do that i if u dont want to expend more moneybecause the oil is liking on the timing belt and oil and belt dont like each other and can ript easy if u let it run like that fro some time ,i did all that when i got my gs cus it was liking oil and this is for all gs owners is a must do after the 100,000 miles and i was worthed no more liking at all i got somebody that work for toyota as a mechanic and fix it for me kind of cheep cus he is like family and i said cheep because on the parts plus label on the dealer it was a lot of cash i wont said how much he charge me because it was a favor but i can ask him how much he can charge to anybody else well i hope i help up on this threat
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