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Engine Front Cover Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for an engine front cover replacement is between $999 and $2566. Labor costs are estimated between $378 and $1932 while parts are priced between $621 and $634. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is an Engine Front Cover?

Automotive engines, minus a select couple, use timing components on the engine to ensure the camshaft spins in time with the crankshaft. The lubrication and protection of these timing components is essential to ensuring the long life of the engine. For these purposes, a front engine cover is used, and it will either seal in lubricating oil, protect the timing components, or both.

How do Engine Front Covers work?

For timing chain engines, both gasoline and diesel applications, the timing chain is enclosed by the front cover. Typically the front cover will be separate from the oil pan and valve covers, but when assembled, they form a continuous cavity where oil can flow freely from the top of the engine to the oil pan. The cover will typically be made of lightweight metals, and will be sealed to the engine block and cylinder heads by many fasteners and silicone sealant. This prevents the intrusion of contaminants, the escape of oil, and damage to timing components. Those engines using timing belts will not seal in oil since timing belts are made to run dry. Instead, the engine cover on a timing belt engine will prevent damage to timing components.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Engine Front Cover?

Oil seepage is an early sign that the seal on the engine front cover is leaking. It does not need to be replaced immediately, however, in time, seepage can and will turn into a small leak. Once the front cover, also called the timing cover, is leaking, resealing is necessary. Also, since many components are connected to the front cover, cracks may form around mounting locations, bolt holes, and points of stress. This is physical damage, and is normally a result of a collision, improper lifting of the engine assembly, or improper tightening of accessory components mounted to the front cover. If cracks appear, the front cover must be replaced if the cracks leak oil, or if they prevent the secure attachment of engine accessories.

Can I drive with a bad Engine Front Cover?

A leaking front engine cover is not an urgent matter unless the leak has become large. There is no concern for seepage - at all - unless the seepage is coming from an obvious stress fracture in the front cover. However, stress fractures that leak oil or prevent the secure fastening of accessory components should be addressed right away.

How often do Engine Front Covers need replacement?

Engine front (timing) covers are seldom replaced, however, the gaskets for these covers are replaced at some point for many vehicles. Some will last the lifetime of the vehicle, some will be ignored if the leak is small or only seepage, but many will leak and need repair. The average timing cover reseal occurs between 80,000 and 160,000 miles, and it is safe to say that time and use both play a role in the development of oil leaks.

How are Engine Front Cover issues diagnosed?

If the timing cover gasket is leaking, or the timing cover is broken, cracked, or warped, the technician will notice right away, and recommend reseal or replacement. Timing belt engines often have warped plastic components, and these will cause a rubbing noise that the technician can hear. After a visual inspection, the technician will understand the issue clearly and recommend repair. In the case of timing component replacement, the technician will inspect the inner side of the timing cover to ensure that timing chain slap has not worn grooves into the cover. If the cover is extremely worn from contact with timing components, likely the chain, it will be replaced to prevent future fracturing. Slight wear from contact will likely be ignored.

Engine Front Cover Replacement Cost Estimates

The average cost for an Engine Front Cover Replacement is between $999 and $2566 but can vary from car to car.

How are Engine Front Covers replaced?

In order to access the timing cover, many components must be removed. This includes all belt driven accessories mounted on the front of the engine, many cooling system components, possibly air conditioning system components other than the air conditioning compressor, and likely the valve covers and the oil pan. Once all of these components, and likely others, are removed, the timing cover mounting fasteners can be removed, possibly in sequence. Once fasteners are removed, the timing cover will be gently pried from the engine block, cylinder heads, and oil pan to break the silicone seal. Sealing surfaces on the engine and front cover will be thoroughly cleaned, any additional work items will be performed, and silicone sealant will be applied to all sealing surfaces on the front cover. The front cover will be replaced onto the clean, dry engine block, and the fasteners will be installed, tightened lightly, and torqued to specification in sequence.

RepairPal Recommendations for Engine Front Cover issues

When the front cover is removed the technician will have access to inspect all timing components. Since replacement of any timing components require the timing cover be removed, if any signs of abnormal wear are present, no matter how severe, those timing components should be replaced. Also, common points of failure have been identified on many models of vehicles, these typically include timing chain guide rails, timing chain tensioners, and timing chain guide rail pins. These should be replaced on models where failure is common, and the parts used should come directly from the manufacturer to ensure the latest revision is installed.

What to look out for when dealing with Engine Front Cover issues

When removing and installing the front cover, even a new front cover, it is imperative that the front cover be installed in the exact sequence and at the exact torque specifications recommended by the manufacturer. This will prevent warpage to the front cover, and possible stress fractures. The front seal for the engine crankshaft is also installed in the front cover, and this should be replaced any time the front cover is removed. Lastly, the oil pan should be flushed when the front cover is removed, as this will prevent particulate matter from servicing the front cover from clogging or partially clogging the oil pump strainer.

Can I replace the Engine Front Cover myself?

This is not a job for the DIY technician unless they happen to be very skilled and knowledgeable with engine repair and timing component operation and installation. If timing components are found to be worn, the vehicle will likely require a professional technician to service the vehicle. Again, except for the most qualified DIY mechanics, this should not be attempted at home.

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