Toyota Solara 2008

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  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92

    Hello Solara Lovers !

    Just thought I'd post an update on some maintenance I've done on my 2008 Toyota Solara SLEv6 recently.

    At around 100k I had the timing belt done. I also instructed them to change the water pump, and of course, the belts and coolant.

    This last weekend I changed the spark plugs and PCV valve. It was quite a chore.

    As I've said before, I'm a firm believer in doing it yourself, for several reasons. First and foremost, you KNOW it was done RIGHT. To me, that's probably the most important thing.

    At first I was debating whether or not to do it myself, or to pay someone (the dealer) to do it. The engine compartment is nothing like my old 1987 Buick Regal, my 1975 Buick Regal, my 1976 Camaro LT, or my 1967 Camaro convertible (wish I still had this one!). It is very intimidating.

    Thank goodness we have the internet today. If not for the internet, I would NOT have made the decision to do this myself. I finally decided to take the plunge and do it myself. I ordered the parts and ensured I had the right tools. I had estimated that it would take me between 1 and 2 hours to do, but it actually took me 5! I'm not unhappy about it, however. In the end, I am very gratified and fulfilled. I KNOW it was done RIGHT! I would like to tell about this endeavor.

    I found a you tube video on the internet where someone was showing exactly how to change the plugs. Of course, changing the plugs themselves is relatively simple. It's getting access to the plugs which is a challenge. Three minutes into the 18-minute video and I threw up my hands. I was very disinterested. A few weeks later I called the dealer to get a quote. I couldn't believe my ears. They wanted four hundred for the job (inclusive of the parts). Yes, that's FOUR hundred - a "4" followed by two zeros. I had expected that maybe it would be $225 at the most. I was shocked. I then decided I was going to watch the video end-to-end and pay attention. Since I was more open to doing it myself, I guess I paid more attention. Somehow it didn't seem as hard as the first time I went through it. I then went through it again. This time, I made myself a short numbered list of steps (34 in all) to use as my cheat-sheet.

    I ordered the plugs from my local parts store (OEM NGKs), and the PCV valve and plenum gasket through mail-order. All in the parts ended up costing about $95 (including anti-seize and dielectric grease).

    The task took a total of 5 hours, but I had originally expected 1 to 2 hours. Boy was I wrong.

    The two toughest things to tackle:

    1. Removing the strut tower. I learned the hard way. You need a rather long breaker bar or ratchet wrench for this. Those 4 bolts are on tight and cannot be moved with an average ratchet or wrench.
    2. There are 3 bolts that hold the intake plenum to these brackets at the very back of the engine. Those bolts are VERY hard to get to. I would say that the removal and install of those 3 bolts probably accounted for 55 minutes of my time. If I had the right tool I probably could've done it in 15 minutes. I would suggest you try a box-end ratcheting flex-head wrench. It just so happens I don't have that tool, but I am pretty sure that would've done the trick. I tried several open-end and box-end wrenches of varying lengths and offsets. I also tried about 6 different sockets/ratchets. Honestly, I don't even remember which did the job, but it was PAINFUL !

    All in all it was very gratifying. I know it was done RIGHT !

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,435
    edited November 2015
    So the moral of the story is that if you did this for someone else, they would not know that it was done right. Right?
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