The 3 Most Common Toyota 5.7 Liter V8 Engine Problems

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The Toyota 5.7 hit the car market running following its debut in 2007. It was immediately adopted by different models, including the Land Cruiser, Sequoia, and others.

As often referred to as the Toyota 3UR-FE, the engine is still found in the latest car as of today. However, this engine is prone to some problems, as you will find in other engines.

The most common problems with these Toyota engines are :

  1. Water Pump Issue
  2. Electrical Issue
  3. Cam Tower Leaks Issue

These problems do not mean the Toyota engine 5.7 isn’t good, but the above issues are common, just as every other engine has different problems.

I’ll explain the problems, signs, and solutions in-depth throughout the article. These issues can be due to ageing or improper maintenance.

What Are The Most Common Toyota 5.7 Engine Issues?

1. Water Pump Issue

Unfortunately, most engines are prone to developing this problem due to lack of maintenance or ageing. The Toyota 5.7 engines are also guilty of this problem. Although this problem is not as common as other problems I’ll be talking about in this article, water pump problems are, however, common to this engine.

The water pump has a weep hole that enables the coolant to leak out. The coolant starts to leak out due to the failure of the bearing or seal, and further damage to the water pump itself is then prevented.

However, the failure of the water pump in this engine begins this way, causing it to function ineffectively and circulating engine coolant while retaining temperature in check. This problem requires immediate attention and fixing before getting worse; hence, it may lead to immediate shut down of the engine.

Sometimes, the water pump condition can become so bad, but it is not a usual thing with this engine and if it happens, shutting down the engine is best to prevent the engine from extreme overheating, which can shut down the engine.

Thankfully, this problem won’t usually show up until the engine has covered about 60,000-100,000 mile ballpark. Most water pumps have an extended lifespan and can cover more than 150,000 miles before deterioration sets in.

Causes Of Bad Water Pump

Let me say that water pump failure is not due to any design flaw in the Toyota 5.7L engine. Rather, it’s one of the common problems any machine can encounter as it ages and covers higher mileage.

This typically mechanical fault can be caused by any of the flowing bigger and more advanced issues:

  • Defective Seal: The seal is the link between the engine block and the water pump. It’s essentially designed in this location to keep oil from leaking.
    Potential excess air is also prevented from finding its way into the cooling system. However, once the seal goes bad, much air goes into the cooling system, leading to the water pump getting exposed to the elements and becoming corroded.
  • Corrosion: The cooling system can also experience corrosion, resulting in a lapse in the efficiency of the cooling system and the water pump.
  • Loose Tensioner: The drive belts can start to wobble, slip, crack, or loosen over time due to ageing or mileage. When this happens, the water pump will no longer be efficient to perform its function as it should. You should also take note of vibration in the drive pulley.

What To Watch Out For

Now that you are familiar with the water pump and its effect if it fails, let’s take a brief look at the symptoms:

  • Overheating: These symptoms can result from excessive water pump failure and cause further damage if not fixed quickly.
  • Low Engine Coolant: The water pump tends to go bad, and if not fixed immediately, it will result in excessive loss of coolant.
  • Check Engine Light: The engine light often indicates there is a problem with the water pump. Do not ignore these symptoms once the engine light comes up.
  • Visible Coolant Leak: You may sometimes notice liquid droplets on the ground when your engine rests. Internal failure is mainly associated with a water pump which results in leakage from the weep hole.

What To Do

Replacing the water pump in this engine costs more than you would spend on other models. It can cost about $70 to $150. It is an excellent decision to replace the thermostat and serpentine belt while changing the water pump.

DIY’ers will find this task easy but can take longer to fix, like 3 to 6 hours. Labor can cost about $250-$600, making it one of the reasons I inspect my engine before zooming off.

2. Electrical Issue

What if you are on a journey and your car stops suddenly? This experience can be one of the terrifying experiences, especially if you will require a boost to get to your destination. I am sure you would be worried if this happens to you, but you need not worry about it. Well, your alternator may be faulty.

An alternator is one of the vehicle’s critical parts, and its function is to help charge the battery. Without the alternator, things may not go as planned.

Fortunately, if your car breaks down as a result of a faulty alternator, fixing it is not too expensive; there may be no need to replace the whole unit. There may also be a need to replace reasonably cheap brushes.

Causes Of Car Electrical Issues

  • Dead Battery: A dead battery is absolutely a dead car. Please try to recharge or replace it if it’s not working correctly again.
  • Defective Alternator: The primary function of the alternator is to charge the battery and supply power to the car. Once it goes bad, it won’t be able to perform these roles.
  • Stuck Relay Switch: The regulation of the flow of electric current into certain engine components, such as fuel pump and cooling, is the function of the relay switches.
    If the switch gets stuck, these parts will continue to receive electricity regardless of whether or not the vehicle is on or off. This will drain the power left in your battery.
  • Blown Fuse: A blown fuse can be a result of blinkers not working properly. Loss of mirrors or power windows can also be responsible. The overall effect of a blown fuse is a break in the circuit.

What To Watch Out For

Now that you have understood what an alternator is, including its importance in the functionality of your engine, let’s run through some symptoms:

  • Electrical Malfunction: A faulty alternator will cause the headlights to malfunction which may barely put up any light. At times, you may find it hard to know if they are on or not.
    Electrical issues range from different types of burning, including burning rubber, burning plastic, burning oil, and burning carpet.
  • Battery Terminal Issue: Part of the ignition system is the battery. You’re likely to see the terminals fail.
    If you notice that the battery is having issues, the first thing is not to replace, but to inspect the cause of the problem. The electrical unit is absolutely the first culprit; check the battery itself or the alternator.
  • Startup Problem: Don’t think twice if you find it challenging to start up your Toyota 5.7 engine. What could have caused it? The culprit behind this could be your alternator.
    A faulty battery will not charge your battery, and an uncharged battery affects the entire ignition system, causing your car not to start. The engine may fail to crank properly.
  • Fuses Melt Or Blow: The car comes with a fuse box that ensures smooth and complete circulation of voltage. It ensures there’s no short-circuiting or overvoltage.
    The fuses, on the other hand, break the circuits to prevent too much current from getting into vulnerable cables and weak electrical parts. However, you may observe that the fuse may blow, melts, or overheats. All of these affect the flow of electric currents.

What To Do

Depending on the source of the problem, there is a wide range of fixes available. The dead battery will need to be recharged.

But first, inspect if the battery cables are in good condition; be sure that they’re properly installed and that they’re not corroded. A technician will check and diagnose if the battery is working properly. You can start first by jumpstarting.

A faulty alternator may mean you have restricted access to use your car unless you fix it. Although your engine may not shut down totally, it may, however, cause your engine to produce strange noises, making it one of the Toyota 5.7 engine issues that require quick and immediate attention.

You would, however, want to go very carefully as the fault may also lie within the battery, which would require you to have the necessary tool. Without the right tool, it may be challenging to determine which is faulty between the alternator and the battery.

If you are a professional DIY enthusiast, you may require some time to fix this issue. You can also best solve this problem by getting a professional mechanic to help you. That way, you can even test the battery and alternator to find out where the problem lies.

3. Cam Tower Leaks Issue

Also called the camshaft tower, the cam tower is a component of the camshaft tower gasket and is integrated into the engine to help keep the oil from escaping from the camshaft tower gasket.

There’s a danger for the engine if oil drips on the hot exhaust manifold. Not many problems are associated with the Toyota 5.7 engine. The cam leak tower has been one of the issues complained by lots of people.

When the oil in the cam tower drips, the level of the engine oil will drop, causing the performance4 of the engine to drop significantly if not topped or the tower leak sealed. The other consequence is that the cooling system suffers as a result of a lack of sufficient lubrication.

Some of the gaskets are designed with steel grommets. These materials limit the extent of the firmness the bolts can provide. When motor oil leaks, it causes dirt or gunk to form on the surrounding gasket.

Don’t forget, the location of the camshaft tower gasket under the hood is a high-temperature region where a lot of heat is generated. There’s a probability that they will slacken over time. Alternatively, they can harden or crack after passing through a lot of heat.

A quick internet search about this specific problem will provide you with many results, especially in Tundras. The internet can sometimes exaggerate things more, especially if repair costs are high, as with the cam tower leaks in this specific engine.

Under the valve cover is located the cam tower, and instead of a gasket, Toyota runs on an RTV sealant. The sealant begins to deteriorate as time goes by and wears down, causing the cam tower to leak oil.

Usually, the cam towers start in the Toyota’s rear cam tower and allow oil, dropping into the very hot exhaust manifold. Fixing this Toyota 5.7 engine problem is very important to prevent hazards such as fire. Oil leak, as said earlier, is a prevalent problem, and it is advisable always to check the oil level.

What To Watch Out For

The following symptoms may I notice in Toyota 5.7 engine that may indicate you have a bad cam leaking tower:

  • Burning Oil Smell: A wear cam tower will drip oil on a hot exhaust manifold which leads to a burning smell. Tares of smoke may also accompany the burning oil smell.
  • Smoke From Engine Bay: A deteriorated cam tower will often drip oil that can land on hit surfaces that result in smoke from the engine bay.
  • Visible Oil Leak: This symptom is evident when you have wear can tower leak. A few droplets of oil can sometimes be found on the ground.

What To Do

Rule of thumb: never ignore or delay attention to any of the signs identified below. An oil leak can be as dangerous as any issue your car is going through. Checking the camshaft tower gaskets at regular intervals is one way to prevent the leak from happening in the first place.

To resolve the issue, you will need the recommended oil. In addition, if the motor oil doesn’t contain additives, you can add these substances to help soften and protect the camshaft tower gaskets from leaking.

With a DIY procedure, all you need to do may be to simply tighten the camshaft tower gasket it slackens or becomes loose.

Replacing or fixing the tower will require the removal of valve covers; regardless you are using a mechanic or DIY enthusiast. However, the labor can be intensive sometimes, and it is the first step to fix the cam tower. If you are fixing this problem as a DIY’er, you should have more experience.

Unfortunately, replacing this component in Toyota 5.7 can cost about $1,500, making it the reason I usually inspect my vehicle all the time to avoid outrageous repair bills.


1. What Are The Specs Of Toyota Camry 5.7 Engines?

Features: Specs:
Displacement 5,663 cc (345.6 cu in)
Power, HP 381 hp (283 kW)/5,600
Torque lb-ft 401 lb-ft (543 Nm)/3,600
Valvetrain Layout DOHC
Configuration V
Fuel System Fuel Injection

2. Does The Toyota 5.7 Engine Use A Timing Belt?

No. The Toyota 5.7 has been a timing chain since the changes were in effect for 2010 models. Models below this year run on the timing belt. This new mechanism makes the system a lot more reliable and durable on the road.

3. What’s The Lifespan Of The Toyota 5.7 Engine?

Certain factors go into determining how long an engine can last. From maintenance culture to durability of components, design, models, and driving conditions, there’s a lot that will put paid into the question. Even the manner your local mechanic handles the engine during repair can either shorten or extend the lifespan.

If you put all these things in place and ensure proper maintenance, you can be sure your Toyota 5.7L engine can last you for an extended time. On average, you can have it for 200,000 miles. You can get more value than this.

Final Thoughts

Prompt attention to a damaged water pump, excessive oil use, and cam tower leaks can be a reliable way to avert these common Toyota 5.7 engine problems.

Replacing your car parts with after-market parts for the above components can suddenly wreck your engine, except if you are sure of their quality and effectiveness.

It is always best to use OEM parts for your Toyota 5.7 engine. Avoid ignoring signals and symptoms in your engine. I’m sure you won’t ask why. Take care of your car as you would your body system. After all, if your car engine is in good health, it has a way of contributing to your health system.