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1995 1.8 Valve Adjustment

by toyotadave, October 10, 2011 in Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm

Does anyone have advice about adjusting the valves on these (never did it before)? I replaced a couple of exhaust valves and lapped all the valves. Now finding, upon reassembly, that some are 0 clearance or worse ;-). What is a good source for shims? Is there a way to do this without the tool (like a homemade wedge). I'm kind of at the end of the budget. Just did rings and bearings and am only reassembling now to find the valve adjustment issue. Is there to be only one shim of the right thickness at each valve or can they be added together to get the right dimension? Any good sense, shade tree advice (or pro Toyota) is gladly accepted. Thank you friends.


For a 7AFE (cold engine measurements)

Clearances should be:

Intake 0.15 – 0.25 mm (0.006 – 0.010 in.)

Exhaust 0.25 – 0.35 mm (0.010 – 0.014 in.)

Too tight, and you'll burn the valves up (they don't close properly) and aggressive cam wear - too loose, and you'll get excessive valve seat wear, noisy valvetrain, and loss of power. I'd set them close, but not on the minimum spec - then recheck in 10K-15K miles or so to see if they have settled in any. If you don't feel confident of this measurement, or don't want to open her up again to check - then set all clearances to the dead center of the range - 0.080" intake, 0.012" exhaust.

A homemade wedge may not be able to get enough localized leverage in there to push down the valve lifter to allow you to pull the shim out. You could do it with a wedge and force it down, but you also have a good chance to damage the camshaft - not worth the risk. Should be able to "rent" the tool for a nominal cost or even free, if you put down a deposit at most retail autopart stores.

Need a micrometer to measure the shim thickness, don't want to guess here. Same as the valve tool, should be able to rent or borrow a micrometer from somewhere. Shims, you can sort of cheat by swapping thicker shims to where clearances are too big, thinner shims where clearances are too tight. Or you can price out a set of new shims (ie, all your valve clearances are too tight) - if you shop around, you can get them pretty cheap.

Thank you Fish ...I ended up ordering the tool, because as you suggested, I would probably like to go back in there for a check in a few thousand miles.I'm all set with the micrometer as well.

My Haynes manual gave those same clearances, but for a hot engine. I couldn't quite wrap my head around doing that and maintaining a consistent "hot" temperature. At least a cold engine makes sense.

What is a good source for the shims? Toyota only? My local Napa couldn't help me and Google hasn't helped yet either.

Although this is a pretty common engine and from a popular generation, it can be difficult to find that sort of part. Dealerships usually are the best local source, NAPA can usually order them if they have a part number. I'd try or - those two sites have been used by members on this board with good results.

Thanks again Fish.

Rock didn't have it on their site, maybe if I call? I'll check the others.

My new difficulty is accessing the shim. I bought the tool, it nicely opens the valve, but the wedge thing seems to be in the way no matter where I try to place it. I guess I'll try to fabricate a slightly different wedge. What a bear! (no offense to bears). I really don't want to mess this up.


A little follow up...I found a pretty reasonable source for the shims

You have to buy a min. of 4 of a given size, for about $13 (Toyota wanted $11 ish for one).

I bought the tool and never could get the shim out so I ended up taking the camshafts back out and needless to say the shims are pretty easy to replace then. Just take your measurements before hand and do the math to decide what size is needed (after determining the size of the old shims). There is only one shim at each valve (no adding them together). Overall I'd say I made out well 14 of the 16 were out of specs, I needed to buy 3 different sizes for 9 of the valves, 2 were OK and the other 5 I could use shims from the other valves. So 4 of the new ones I bought went unused.

I'm happy to say that the odo on my Corolla is back on the climb after 4 months.


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