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Newbie Has Some Questions Fixing 1996 Corolla

By Guest gorillajin, December 10, 2009 in Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm

Guest gorillajin


I am trying to help my friend who has 1996 corolla.

He got engine oil lamp, but he ignored and kept driving about 1200 miles. One day he heard this loud knocking&hitting sound in the engine so he checked the engine oil dip stick.

No oil in the engine.

What happened to his engine? I just now checked his car, and it sound like rod is gone. White smokes coming out from the tail pipe and smells like coolant.

I assume it blew the head gasket and may be internal too. I checked the oil from the dis stick, and it was dark brown. He put fresh oil yesterday.....I am not a mechanic and I have never owned corolla, so I am asking you guys.

He doesn't have money to buy another used car so I really hope he can fix the car.

Basically if he decides to fix it, I will fix the car.

How hard is replacing HG on these cars? If it had spun rod brearing, is it worth to fix it or just replace the whole engine?

If any of you has experience with replacing HG or other internal stuff, please give me some advice.

I really hope he can ride it again.

Thank you.

Hello and Welcome to the forum.

Your friend saw the oil lamp and keep going for 1200 miles - that engine is pretty much toast. I'm surprised the engine kept going at all. That oil pressure warning comes on at a really low pressure - you basically have to be completely out of oil to see that lamp. Not only do you have to pinpoint what caused the original oil loss, but fix that with all the other damage that has occured to the engine. He is pretty much looking at a rebuild or engine swap at this point.

Potentially have cylinder/piston damage, good chance it overheated (oil is a big part of the engine cooling) - bearing are probably shot, same with the valvetrain. White smoke is almost a sure sign of a headgasket failure, how badly the damage is, will depend on what you find once you open it up. At the very minimum, you are looking at shaving the head and block to get it square - probably looking at a dye check as well, to make sure there are no cracks in either the head or block.

At this point, it is much more cost effective to swap in a different engine. The 7th gen Corollas are fairly abundant, so sourcing a replacement engine will be easier/less costly than a rebuild. Though used engines can be hit or miss, could end up with one with some serious engine problems or other defect - but I don't think you can get away with just replacing internal parts at this point, you probably have to get some machine work down to get everything squared up. Current machining costs will easily exceed the price of a used replacement engine.

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