How to Replace a Camry Head Gasket

by Kyla Chele Cambrooke
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There may come a time you need to replace the head gasket in your Toyota Camry with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Typically, the job is meant for a professional mechanic, since it requires disassembling and disconnecting a variety of parts in the upper engine. Whether your gasket is defective or your engine overheated, you need plenty of time and patience to locate the head gasket underneath the cylinder head and on top of the engine block.

Step 1

Make certain your Camry is cold before working near the engine. Let your coolant drain in a clean pan under the radiator. Relieve the pressure from the fuel lines. Detach the cables from the battery terminal. Write the name of each part on a label and tag each upper engine part.

Step 2

Separate or remove the brackets, mounts, assemblies, wires, covers, bolts and belts. Upper engine components to remove or disconnect include: the battery clamp cover, air cleaner inlet, lower radiator air deflector, air cleaner, power steering pump belt emission control valve, air intake surge reservoir, radiator and drive belt.

Step 3

Remove the intake manifold, timing belt, power steering pump, camshafts and exhaust manifold. Remove the cylinder head assemblies on the left and ride sides. Remove the connectors, such as the camshaft timing oil valve connector, manifold absolute sensor, coolant temperature sensor and crankshaft position sensor electrical connectors.

Step 4

Undo the engine wire brackets. Unscrew the 8-cylinder head bolts in a crisscross sequence starting with the first bolt in the far right corner at the bottom. Consult a Camry repair manual for the exact crisscross pattern. Examine the bolts to verify you have an outside diameter range from 0.3524 to 0.3563 inches and a minimum diameter of 0.3445 inches. Replace bolts when the diameter becomes less than 0.3445 inches.

Step 5

Lift the cylinder head of the Camry from the engine block. Remove the old head gasket. You may need to pry it off with a screwdriver. Inspect the cylinder head assembly for leaks, dents or damages.

Step 6

Position a new gasket with the letter "R" facing up. Place the cylinder head on top of the new head gasket. Put a small amount of lubrication on the bolts and threads and put washers on the bolts. Tighten the 8 bolts in a two-step process in the correct sequence. Look at a Camry repair manual to find out the exact sequence pattern. Tighten the bolts to 40 foot-pounds. Mark each bolt on the front side with paint. Tighten each bolt to 90 degrees in the exact pattern.

Step 7

Replace every component you removed and disconnected back in its original position, including the anchors, caps, brackets, hoses, bolts, wires and assemblies. Refer to the tags on each part for identification. Review a Camry repair guide to locate the correct torque specifications for the other bolts. Replace the coolant in the vehicle. Connect the battery.

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