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crypticlineage

Engine Repair/replacement Advice Needed

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The engine will not run so it would be difficult to test compression when warmed up. What are the indications if a head gasket is leaking? Can rings be replaced without pulling the engine out? What would little to no compression in all cylinders indicate versus just in one cylinder?

 

 

no compression in all cylinders would indicate the same problem is affecting all cylinders - maybe broken timing belt/chain (sitting with all the valves partially open probably), really, really bad head gasket, broken head bolt(s), holed head/piston... obliterated rings, ie really, really bad.

 

if they're all extremely low i'd expect bad head gasket (the newer 1zz's use metal head gaskets, love em) or broken head bolt or something. broken head bolt would be very unlikely - they're stupid strong and unless you reused them too many times (there's a spec) they'd be hard to break.

 

moderately low (anything above 40% of "new") probably bad rings/valves/seats/springs

 

bad in one cylinder, could be bad rings, head gasket, broken valve, bent valve, seal, seat, piston, rod, cylinder wall.... virtually anything

 

this doesn't help at all, does it? there's no easy answer without running at least a few checks

Definitely not a broken belt or stuck valves. It does crank over with the starter and everything seems to move. I can't tell about the head gasket or the rings/pistons, etc. I was hoping there would be some visual indication that I could tell was obvious, without having to dismantle the engine itself. If the head gasket is blown, wouldn't there be excessive oil on the outside of the engine somewhere? If the rings or pistons were shot, wouldn't it be obvious by some noise when the engine is cranked. That's the type of imformation (other than checking for compression ) that I am looking for, proir to pulling the engine. I am hoping to avoid the engine swap, but it might as well be a certainty.

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trap

http://www.type2.com/library/engineg/leaktst.htm

 

I wanted to not repond in quotes to help clean things up.

 

If you don't have a air compressor, then you could probably get away with getting a air tank and filling it at a gas station. You might be able to borrow the parts you need from a parts store so you don't need to spend so much money. You might acually get a quote from a private import mechanic cause it might be cheaper.

 

The only cheap thing you can do is to put a cap full of oil (or about a tablespoon) in each spark plug well, let the car sit for about half an hour and see if compression goes up at all. If it does, it's probably the rings.

 

Another cheap head gasket check is to see if oil is in the coolant of vise versa. You can however have a head gasket leak that didn't blow by the coolant or oil passages, so that isn't full proof.

 

How long has the car been down? What compression numbers are you getting and what is the service point at?

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http://www.type2.com/library/engineg/leaktst.htm

 

I wanted to not repond in quotes to help clean things up.

 

If you don't have a air compressor, then you could probably get away with getting a air tank and filling it at a gas station. You might be able to borrow the parts you need from a parts store so you don't need to spend so much money. You might acually get a quote from a private import mechanic cause it might be cheaper.

 

The only cheap thing you can do is to put a cap full of oil (or about a tablespoon) in each spark plug well, let the car sit for about half an hour and see if compression goes up at all. If it does, it's probably the rings.

 

Another cheap head gasket check is to see if oil is in the coolant of vise versa. You can however have a head gasket leak that didn't blow by the coolant or oil passages, so that isn't full proof.

 

How long has the car been down? What compression numbers are you getting and what is the service point at?

So, if I understand it correctly, you put air pressure on each cylinder thru the plug opening when it is at TDC and watch for leak. Is that correct? When I put a compression tester on each cylinder while cranking the engine, it read about 47 - 53 PSI on each cyclinder. I don't know if that is normal or not, it just seems low.

I could try the oil down the plug openings and then check compressions again.

I have already changed the cooling fluid and there was no oil in the antifreeze. I also did an oil change and the oil looked burned, but no bubbles or indication of contamination.

The car has been off the road for about a year, but that should not affect the cause of it not operating to begin with. It was supposed to have been seized while in operation, but I have no definitive evidence of any damage (other than some melted plastic pieces on the engine).

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I've never really have done a leak down test. I've tested engines on used cars before that I bought, but they were in spec, so I never had to diagnose anything on a bad engine.

 

If the car has sat for a year, it could have bad gasoline in it and the engine could have a little rust in it. How full is the tank? Imports are pretty good about having a drain plug on the tank. If it's not too full, I would drain it and fill it with some fresh fuel. Maybe even change the fuel filter too. Try the oil in the spark plug well trick. Usually, you want to put some oil on top of the pistons to store a car too. Check for vapor lock, make sure the engine is well lubed and keep trying.

 

Sometimes I have my project car down for a few months and it never seems happy at first when I bring it back to life, but sometimes a good long hard drive is really good for a engine.

 

My sister n law has a older toyota. Early 90s I think. Anyay, she asked me to check her hood cause she couldn't close it. I lubed the latch part, finally got the thing closed. Before I walked away, I checked the oil and the stick was almost dry. Things like that sorta piss me off, but she has beed driving to work for God only knows how long with a dry engine and the damn thing isn't broken yet. Toyota engines give more then they take.

 

I think once you lube things up, give it a good drive, you will be fine. You will probably get a lot of oil blow by at first, but once you work it for awhile, it should be okay.

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I've never really have done a leak down test. I've tested engines on used cars before that I bought, but they were in spec, so I never had to diagnose anything on a bad engine.

 

If the car has sat for a year, it could have bad gasoline in it and the engine could have a little rust in it. How full is the tank? Imports are pretty good about having a drain plug on the tank. If it's not too full, I would drain it and fill it with some fresh fuel. Maybe even change the fuel filter too. Try the oil in the spark plug well trick. Usually, you want to put some oil on top of the pistons to store a car too. Check for vapor lock, make sure the engine is well lubed and keep trying.

 

Sometimes I have my project car down for a few months and it never seems happy at first when I bring it back to life, but sometimes a good long hard drive is really good for a engine.

 

My sister n law has a older toyota. Early 90s I think. Anyay, she asked me to check her hood cause she couldn't close it. I lubed the latch part, finally got the thing closed. Before I walked away, I checked the oil and the stick was almost dry. Things like that sorta piss me off, but she has beed driving to work for God only knows how long with a dry engine and the damn thing isn't broken yet. Toyota engines give more then they take.

 

I think once you lube things up, give it a good drive, you will be fine. You will probably get a lot of oil blow by at first, but once you work it for awhile, it should be okay.

I don't think I will be able to give it a good drive until I can get it running.

You did bring up a good point about the possibility of it not starting due to old gas. I suppose I could drain out the fuel in the tank and then the fuel lines and system, replace with fresh gas and see if it will fire up. Of course that would include changing fuel filter as well. The car was not stored, just driven until it ran no more. Then it was towed and parked until I purchased it and towed it to my garage. I attempted to get it running but it is still only cranking and not starting. I was just guessing that it has been a year since it has not run. It may be less. Is there a way to test fuel for condition? What if all I had to do was change the fuel and it started right up??

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no affordable / quick-easy way to test the gas - just drain it and chalk it up as a loss - i wouldn't even run it in a lawnmower if it's very old - why risk gumming up an engine over $20 in gas? (though it's probably far from full)

 

is there a good, hot spark? how do the plugs look? it's possible the engine overheated and the rings seized - when it cooled back down the rings would shrink back down... but they'd be bent, or at least severely worn, resulting in.... low compression ;p I wouldn't get alarmed over anything just yet - you could try unhooking the fuel injectors and squirting some starter fluid down it's throat - see if you can just get it to do something, anything. don't try and run it for any amount of time like this, but you can see if it'll fire at all

 

keep it up! i know how discouraging these damn things can be...

Edited by tomservo

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So glad to see this thread grow into some great discussion that is yielding so much information.

 

I have some update and questions:

 

I found some receits left in the glovebox by previous owner, so I have his name and phone number now. It seems he had the MAF sensors and Cat Converter replaced in March last year and it has a 50000 mile/5 year warranty on it from Advance auto parts.

 

1. Could I get AAP to replace the cat for free, is the warranty trasferable?

2. Is it illeagle to contact previous owner with questions about the car? If he can confirm that there was a problem with the engine when he sold it to the dealer and that dealer knew about it, I can sue the dealer and have him buy the car back.

 

On another note, I am considering buying a compression tester unit, provided that it would be possible for me to test it. I am just not up for wasting another $100 bucks at another mechanic shop only to find out that he dindn't do any tests and has no diagnosis on the engine. I went through the description of how to test the compression by removing spark plugs and wondering if it would be easy to do. Do spark plugs sit on the top of engine head or below it? Any recommendations for buying the compression tester unit?

 

Also, I am considering investing into a OBD II scanner. There is one unit available on amazon for around $60 and has got good reviews. Do these work on cars between 96 and 06? If I decide to get rid of this car later this year, I will most probably get a 2004 or 2005 corolla, will the unit work on recent models? Do you guys know of any other scanners that are efficient, compatible and inexpensive?

 

Thanks everyone.

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no affordable / quick-easy way to test the gas - just drain it and chalk it up as a loss - i wouldn't even run it in a lawnmower if it's very old - why risk gumming up an engine over $20 in gas? (though it's probably far from full)

 

is there a good, hot spark? how do the plugs look? it's possible the engine overheated and the rings seized - when it cooled back down the rings would shrink back down... but they'd be bent, or at least severely worn, resulting in.... low compression ;p I wouldn't get alarmed over anything just yet - you could try unhooking the fuel injectors and squirting some starter fluid down it's throat - see if you can just get it to do something, anything. don't try and run it for any amount of time like this, but you can see if it'll fire at all

 

keep it up! i know how discouraging these damn things can be...

It was not getting any spark initially and I started replacing components, such as plugs, wires, rotor, distributor and even the ECU. Now it has great spark but no ignition. That is a very good suggestion to try and use starter fluid thru the fuel injector openings to see if it will fire up. I think I will give that a try. I don't believe the fuel is that bad, but it is also a possibility. Good suggestions.

 

So glad to see this thread grow into some great discussion that is yielding so much information.

 

I have some update and questions:

 

I found some receits left in the glovebox by previous owner, so I have his name and phone number now. It seems he had the MAF sensors and Cat Converter replaced in March last year and it has a 50000 mile/5 year warranty on it from Advance auto parts.

 

1. Could I get AAP to replace the cat for free, is the warranty trasferable?

2. Is it illeagle to contact previous owner with questions about the car? If he can confirm that there was a problem with the engine when he sold it to the dealer and that dealer knew about it, I can sue the dealer and have him buy the car back.

 

On another note, I am considering buying a compression tester unit, provided that it would be possible for me to test it. I am just not up for wasting another $100 bucks at another mechanic shop only to find out that he dindn't do any tests and has no diagnosis on the engine. I went through the description of how to test the compression by removing spark plugs and wondering if it would be easy to do. Do spark plugs sit on the top of engine head or below it? Any recommendations for buying the compression tester unit?

 

Also, I am considering investing into a OBD II scanner. There is one unit available on amazon for around $60 and has got good reviews. Do these work on cars between 96 and 06? If I decide to get rid of this car later this year, I will most probably get a 2004 or 2005 corolla, will the unit work on recent models? Do you guys know of any other scanners that are efficient, compatible and inexpensive?

 

Thanks everyone.

All my vehicles are used and when I attempted to contact previous owners about the cars they wanted nothing to do with me. They claimed they had no maintenance records and they can't remember anything about the car. I thought it would be helpful but it turned out to be a waste of time. Maybe you would have better luck with that aspect. I am pretty sure there is nothing illegal about doing it.

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no affordable / quick-easy way to test the gas - just drain it and chalk it up as a loss - i wouldn't even run it in a lawnmower if it's very old - why risk gumming up an engine over $20 in gas? (though it's probably far from full)

 

is there a good, hot spark? how do the plugs look? it's possible the engine overheated and the rings seized - when it cooled back down the rings would shrink back down... but they'd be bent, or at least severely worn, resulting in.... low compression ;p I wouldn't get alarmed over anything just yet - you could try unhooking the fuel injectors and squirting some starter fluid down it's throat - see if you can just get it to do something, anything. don't try and run it for any amount of time like this, but you can see if it'll fire at all

 

keep it up! i know how discouraging these damn things can be...

 

I think anything you spend on that car is going to end up being a wast of money. Unless you have friends or family who are mechanics, then now isn't the time to learn. You don't want to take on your engine problems just by using the help of this forum. It's not enough. If you can't get a lemon buy back, then trading the car in (even at a loss) on a car that doesn't have a bad engine is going to be a better choice. I don't know what your budget is, but the Yaris is going to start just under 11K. If you can't afford that, I'm sure you could get some sort of new Kia or Hyundia or something...... Even a used (dare I say) GM is going to be a better car then a abused and busted Corolla.

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Also, I am considering investing into a OBD II scanner. There is one unit available on amazon for around $60 and has got good reviews. Do these work on cars between 96 and 06? If I decide to get rid of this car later this year, I will most probably get a 2004 or 2005 corolla, will the unit work on recent models? Do you guys know of any other scanners that are efficient, compatible and inexpensive?

 

Thanks everyone.

Think to keep in mind - models from 1996-2004 used ISO OBD-II standards. Starting in 2005+ - they switched to CAN protocol for OBD-II. If you get an inexpensive scanner - it may not be compatible with the new protocal (check the fine print). More expensive units had upgradable firmware to account for these types of changes - but not all are 100% compatible. Just get something for your current car - and upgrade the scanners as you upgrade the cars - it will pay for itself with generally 1 or 2 uses, so there are a great investment.

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no affordable / quick-easy way to test the gas - just drain it and chalk it up as a loss - i wouldn't even run it in a lawnmower if it's very old - why risk gumming up an engine over $20 in gas? (though it's probably far from full)

 

is there a good, hot spark? how do the plugs look? it's possible the engine overheated and the rings seized - when it cooled back down the rings would shrink back down... but they'd be bent, or at least severely worn, resulting in.... low compression ;p I wouldn't get alarmed over anything just yet - you could try unhooking the fuel injectors and squirting some starter fluid down it's throat - see if you can just get it to do something, anything. don't try and run it for any amount of time like this, but you can see if it'll fire at all

 

keep it up! i know how discouraging these damn things can be...

 

I think anything you spend on that car is going to end up being a wast of money. Unless you have friends or family who are mechanics, then now isn't the time to learn. You don't want to take on your engine problems just by using the help of this forum. It's not enough. If you can't get a lemon buy back, then trading the car in (even at a loss) on a car that doesn't have a bad engine is going to be a better choice. I don't know what your budget is, but the Yaris is going to start just under 11K. If you can't afford that, I'm sure you could get some sort of new Kia or Hyundia or something...... Even a used (dare I say) GM is going to be a better car then a abused and busted Corolla.

I don't plan on trading the car in, just getting it running. If I need to remove and replace the entire engine, then that is what I will do. Any money I spend on the car - as far as parts can be kept for spares or used on one of my other cars. I do have some friends who are not mechanics, but they know some things about cars. I plan on giving the car to my son and if he has to go thru the learning curve by using this vehicle, then it would be good for him. The best teacher is hands-on experience. This forum does have a lot of knowledgable people that have helped in many areas. Thanks

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I think anything you spend on that car is going to end up being a wast of money. Unless you have friends or family who are mechanics, then now isn't the time to learn. You don't want to take on your engine problems just by using the help of this forum. It's not enough. If you can't get a lemon buy back, then trading the car in (even at a loss) on a car that doesn't have a bad engine is going to be a better choice. I don't know what your budget is, but the Yaris is going to start just under 11K. If you can't afford that, I'm sure you could get some sort of new Kia or Hyundia or something...... Even a used (dare I say) GM is going to be a better car then a abused and busted Corolla.

 

There's actually two different cars being discussed in this thread :)

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Ya, I was acually suggesting the guy who just bought a bad new/used car to trade it in, even at a loss. Sorry if I replyed to the wrong message.

yes there are two cars here that both have engine problems. Mine I am planning on keeping and doing an engine swap.

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