Camry Front End Clunking: Motor Mount Replacement
Front Motor Mount Replacement
A considerable amount of pulling force is placed on a Camry's front motor mount when accelerating from a dead stop. In time, the rubber dampener fused within the metal casing of the motor mount may separate resulting in a 'clunking' sound when accelerating in low gear. The 'clunk' sound may be misinterpreted as a suspension problem coming from the right front end; however, this noise will constantly re-occur in the absence any road bumps. Worn upper strut mounts as well as sway bar links can generate a similar noise but occurs only when driving over irregular road surfaces.
The front mount can be tested by observing whether the engine momentarily tilts upward when gas is applied with the brakes on. *Warning - any observer should be standing by the side of the car during this test to eliminate any possibility of getting run over. The upward and downward rocking motion of the engine is usually a clear indication of a worn motor mount requiring replacement. In addition, the side engine torque rod should be inspected for rubber separation and cracks as well (although a worn rod will not result in any clunking noise).
Continued driving with a worn front motor mount places considerable stress on the the other engine mounts, the transmission mount, the rubber airbox flex pipe and the exhaust system's flex pipe which could result in their failure. It is therefore prudent to have the front motor mount replaced as soon as possible.
The replacement of the front motor mount is relatively easy and the cost is modest.
Front Motor Mount Replacement
Pictorial instructions are provided below. Textual instructions are as follows:
- Elevate the front wheels in order to gain enough working room clearance to remove the splash pan under the radiator. Supporting the front end with jack stands would be in order.
- Remove the 10mm bolts that supports the splash pan underneath the radiator. *Warning: if these bolts have never been removed, there is a strong likelihood the bolts will shear off. To help avoid this from happening, apply penetrating oil to the bolts and let them soak before attempting removal. If there's an increase in tension after initial tension release, apply penetrating oil again, tighten and then loosen to spread the oil.
- Position a hydraulic jack under the engine oil pan. To protect the oil pan from damage, place a wood plank between the oil pan and the jack's cup.
- Via the hydraulic jack, jack up the engine to relieve tension on the motor mount. Observe the motor mount bracket rising.
- Relieve tension on the top center bolt of the motor mount with a 17mm socket attached to 1/2 socket wrench.
- From underneath the car, remove the single 14mm bolt that attaches to the front part of the base of the motor mount.
- From the engine compartment, remove the two remaining 14mm bolts the secures the motor mount to the frame of the car.
- Remove the top center bolt of the motor mount.
- Turn the detached motor mount sideways and remove the mount to the right (towards the battery). If the mount cannot be moved, lift the engine (via the hydraulic jack) until enough clearance is obtained.
Pictorial InstructionsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Installation of New Motor Mount
Reverse the above steps for installing the new motor mount with the following advice:
- Apply anti-seize on all bolt threads
- Keep the mount bolts loose to eliminate any alignment issues with the upper bolt and the lower bolts.
- After all bolts have been aligned and threaded, then tighten the upper and lower motor mount bolts.
As previously mentioned, the excess movement of the engine due to a worn front motor mount will stress the Air box Hose, Exhaust Flex Pipe and the Side Motor Mount (also called the Torque Rod or 'Dog Bone').
The Air box hose may develop cracks where the hose bends toward the throttle body. As with all rubber components exposed to heat and cold, the hose will become less flexible and harden. Air leaks in the hose will cause irratic intake air flow and will compromise engine performance (hard starts, irratic idle, poor performance).
The exhaust flex pipe, once it cracks, will result in exhaust noise getting progressively louder. These pipes cannot be repaired by welding; however, the flex pipe section can be cut out and and new pipe welded in place in lieu of replacing the entire section of the exhaust pipe which includes the catalytic converter. A good muffler repair shop should be able to perform the repair at a reasonable price.
The torque rod, which works in conjunction with the front motor mount, may show signs of internal rubber cracks. This is an inexpensive part and is easy to replace.