So, let me put into prospective. For a dealer who has all the right equipment, AC charge machine, hydraulic table to drop the subframe, etc... It "maybe" quicker to drop the engine. But it requires so many other items to be disconnected: exhaust, axles, etc. I am an advance diyer, doing this in my home garage. No room for that kind of operation. I don't know for a fact if the dealer drops engines for this job.
I do know that for Toyota 2GR-FE (current gen v6, chain driven) water pump and a lot of other items were originally specked to be engine out jobs.
Just did 2014 Highlander and definitely did not need to drop the engine. Toyota also updated their procedures to not drop the engine.
But at least they designed the engine right, where water pump is belt driven and is removable without tearing entire timing mechanism apart.
I definitely feel like this job is just fine for how I am doing it, ie engine in the car. It does take a lot longer doing things the first time, but that's par for the course. Last night I made good progress, timing cover is in, and it went a lot easier than I anticipated. It took me longer to remove it than put it back in. I did lift the engine a bit to give me even more clearance room, but I did it when I was taking cover out originally, so its unchanged since then. Putting RTV was a bit of a pain, but ended up using my fingers around the alternator and rear head and got it done.
Gotta prep the surface, cleaning everything is essential for a leak free result.
As mentioned, Honda is alot tighter. Key there is to remove the body side engine mount to get at bolts for snub engine mount on engine side.
Here are more of the carnage pics:
New timing set installed (primary chain, secondary chains, 3 new tensioners, every chain guide, water pump
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Right bank (rear) timing mark
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Left bank (front) timing mark
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Crank pulley timing mark
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New primary tensioner (different design than OE ford)
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Front timing chain cover
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Replaced crank seal
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Cleaned the bolts and timing cover
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Finally cover is glued back on
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