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2002 Chevy Prizm Aka Corolla Head Gasket Issues



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willie101474

Hi I have a 2002 Chevrolet Prizm 1.8L L4 1ZZFE 16 Valves 155K miles (corolla engine) It had a warped head that I has professionally cleaned, inspected and milled. I just got it back together and the gasket appears to be leaking. Moisture and white smoke from the tail pipe. I used an OEM head gasket and torqued it by the book. When I first got the car back together It was running very rough due to a broken Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Oil Control Solenoid. The water pump bolts and intake manifold bolts had worked loose. I am wondering if the head bolts could have worked loose also? Also, since the head was milled could the head bolts be to long now? I was thinking I might need to re-torque the bolts. I had used new bolts. Do these bolts stretch and need replaced again? Suggestions?

dom

You followed all steps and torque sequence as shown in 2003 Corolla Repair manual:

14-116 cylinder head gasket (1zz-fe) replacement ?

You could check the torque again on cold engine. The head of the bolt would be felt rotating on the head back and forth while twisting on its length under torque if it was bottomed out in the cylinder block. Shaving the head usually removes only about 10 thousandths. There are also length specs in the link, to measure the bolts. Are you sure it's burning coolant?

These head bolts are the torque to yield variety - those should not be reused. Pretty hard to believe that the new ones worked loose on you - unless the torque calibration on the wrench is that far off.

Do you know how much material was removed? How the head was decked? According to the FSM, a warped head should NOT be milled - head should be replaced. The reason is the water jacket is quite close to certain points on the head, even a little material shaved off could be too much. Same with cleaning up the valve seats - usually people cut them to clean them up, that is not the case with the 1ZZ-FE. New casting techniques and better control of tolerances have tighten the dimensions considerably - not as much "meat" on these parts as in previous generations.

Broken oil control valve is common on head work - sometimes it can bind in the opening or get damage from accidental contact when pulling the head off. I've broken mine as well - I was rushed and didn't double check my work.

As for bolts on the waterpump and intake manifold working loose - even under pretty extreme conditions - I've never seen that on a 1ZZ-FE engine. Any other damage to the engine? Did it overheat? Could be looking at a number of other issues, may or may not be related to the head work done so far.

willie101474

I used a brand new torque wrench for the head gasket. I used a loaner tool one for the water pump and intake manifold. One of the intake manifold bolts worked out about half way and the others where pretty lose. I had just purchased the car. It was in running condition with low compression and a bad injector on #3. It didn't overheat on me personally but I noticed some build up around the water pump so I assume it over heated on the previous owner. Before I realized the intake was leaking I pulled the throttle body off and noticed some fluid inside the intake manifold. I am not sure if I accidentally got some antifreeze in there from when I unhooked the water bypass line from the IAC or not. Its possible but I am not sure.

I don't know how much material was removed or how it was decked. I took it to one of the local machine shops.

Its actually running very well except for the white smoke and moisture in the tail pipe. After it runs for awhile the smoke and moisture is gone. The idle seems a little high but not extreme. My girlfriend has driven it, as is, for at least 200 miles in the past two days and has had no issues.

dom

So, does the coolant level seem to go down at all, when it's cooled off at the pressure cap and in reservoir? There is about one gallon of water produced for every gallon of gasoline consumed. Most of it comes out tailpipe as vapor (more visible when still cold), and the rest drains out the muffler's bottom weep hole. There could also be white smoke from oil burning, mostly upon warmup. How does the exhaust smoke smell, and how much oil does it consume?

Bolts and nuts on studs can be overtorqued when depending on a torque wrench if the threads are lubricated by oil, anti-seize compound, etc.

willie101474

I haven't had a chance to check the fluids levels because she currently has it out of town. I did follow all the steps and torque sequence.

I am not sure how to explain the smell. Its a nasty smell that will make you sick. The moisture seems really thin. Once she brings it back I will see if it used any oil or antifreeze. I am planning on checking the torque. If they are lose I guess I will replace the bolts and try again.

dom

You already used new bolts. Just check if they're not torqued up to spec, and tighten them up if required with engine cold.

You'll have a better idea when checking your fluid levels. Coolant burning in the engine has a very pleasant sweet smell... I know I can't stand my exhaust smell anymore when using E10 87 pump octane or even the 89 octane mix. I'm back to ethanol-free 91 octane, on which it smells and runs so much better!

willie101474

You already used new bolts. Just check if they're not torqued up to spec, and tighten them up if required with engine cold.

You'll have a better idea when checking your fluid levels. Coolant burning in the engine has a very pleasant sweet smell... I know I can't stand my exhaust smell anymore when using E10 87 pump octane or even the 89 octane mix. I'm back to ethanol-free 91 octane, on which it smells and runs so much better!

Sounds like a good plan to me. Perhaps it isnt coolant because it isnt a sweet smell. I know the sweet smell with a bad heater core and it doesn't smell at all like that. From my understanding these engines are known for using oil. Ofcourse I found this out after I put it back together.

 

 

dom

willie101474

Thanks for the tip. I never really though of using high mileage oil. Well the girlfriend finally came with the car. Haven't lost any oil. Antifreeze went down a little. I couldn't tell by the exhaust smell but I did notice the sweet smell of antifreeze under the hood and when I first got in the car after she drove it. Soon as I get a chance I am gonna check the torque on them bolts. Cross my fingers

 

 

dom

Hopefully, the cooling system just finished "bleeding itself" of residual air, and you just smelled coolant residue drying and cooking off the hot engine from when you worked on it.

If the engine stopped smoking badly - might have been just some residue left in the intake/cylinder head/combustion chambers. I usually get some smoke on start-up after freshly building up a motor - just from the assembly lube that might have dropped in there and what not.

If you forgot to drain the coolant before popping the head off (I've done that a couple of times) - you can get coolant all over the place. That can mix with the grease and dirt from around the other engine components, if you used a solvent to clean up - those can have a very unpleasant odor when burned off.

Just fill up the coolant reservoir and keep an eye on the coolant level there. It will go done slightly, as the system burps air from the system, but should not consume anymore after a couple of days/maybe a week. If coolant continues to disappear, especially if it is not dumping out of the tailpipe as white smoke - I'd suspect a bad hose/leak in the exterior of the cooling system before I fault a leaky head/head gasket.

willie101474

Hopefully, the cooling system just finished "bleeding itself" of residual air, and you just smelled coolant residue drying and cooking off the hot engine from when you worked on it.

 

If the engine stopped smoking badly - might have been just some residue left in the intake/cylinder head/combustion chambers. I usually get some smoke on start-up after freshly building up a motor - just from the assembly lube that might have dropped in there and what not.

If you forgot to drain the coolant before popping the head off (I've done that a couple of times) - you can get coolant all over the place. That can mix with the grease and dirt from around the other engine components, if you used a solvent to clean up - those can have a very unpleasant odor when burned off.

Just fill up the coolant reservoir and keep an eye on the coolant level there. It will go done slightly, as the system burps air from the system, but should not consume anymore after a couple of days/maybe a week. If coolant continues to disappear, especially if it is not dumping out of the tailpipe as white smoke - I'd suspect a bad hose/leak in the exterior of the cooling system before I fault a leaky head/head gasket.

I think you guys are right. I was in it yesterday and no more antifreeze smell. Also my girlfriend said there was no more smoke from the tail pipe on the first start of the day. I appreciate all the great advise you both have given. My first cylinder head job seem to be a success! default_smile

 

 

dom

Yeah, and you probably don't have to remove and un-seal the valve cover again to check head bolts' torque, since they were already torqued as specified the first time.

willie101474

Yeah, and you probably don't have to remove and un-seal the valve cover again to check head bolts' torque, since they were already torqued as specified the first time.

Correct. I am pretty sure I would have had to remove the cams to get to the bolts also. Glad I don't have to go threw all that.

 

 

willie101474

Well, I think I spoke too soon. She came by last night with the check engine light on. I checked the oil myself this time. Three quarts low. Antifreeze was full but looked dark. I suspect the head gasket didn't seal properly. Looks like I am back to plan A. Check the torque on the head bolts. Soon as she lets me have it long enough.

dom

3 quarts in how many miles?`Is it burning or leaking oil? You think the coolant is dark, but it's not overfull? Oil in coolant would be very obvious.

willie101474

3 quarts in how many miles?`Is it burning or leaking oil? You think the coolant is dark, but it's not overfull? Oil in coolant would be very obvious.

I am gonna guess 600 miles.I dont see any signs of oil leaking.If its burning it I don't see any smoke.The coolant was actually low. I didn't realize she added antifreeze. Not sure how much. It seemed darker without the flash. Do you think it looks good? I used the bright pink antifreeze.

 

dom

Coolant looks very good. How much oil did it burn before you replaced head gasket? Were the valve seals replaced when the head was serviced? Was there much carbon on the pistons and head? Were the piston oil holes behind rings checked for clogging? 3 quarts in 600 miles still doesn't make sense.

willie101474

I tore the engine down shortly after I purchased it so I don't know. The valve seals where not replaced. The machine shop said they where fine. I didnt notice a lot of carbon on the pistons or head. I didn't check the oil holes behind the rings. This is the first time I have tore an engine down so I wasn't sure what to look for. I could be off on the mileage. She has been doing a lot of highway driving. I just checked it after 120 miles and only lost about 1/4 quart. Apparently burning oil is very common with this engine. I just found a bunch of complaints about it. http://www.carcomplaints.com/Toyota/Corolla/2002/engine/engine_uses_excessive_oil.shtml

dom

Yeah... What type of oil is in it now? You could well go with 10W-40 high mileage oil. If it's not leaking externally, it is burning oil.

willie101474

Yeah... What type of oil is in it now? You could well go with 10W-40 high mileage oil. If it's not leaking externally, it is burning oil.

10w-30. Ok yeah maybe the 10w-40 will slow it down a little. Kinda sucks but I am not ready to tear this thing apart again.

 

 

Rotella T6 is available in a 10w-30 oil weight - designed for diesel engines but lots of people like using them in engines that tend to burn a lot of oil. Very robust additive package - lots of additives to help with metal on metal contact, good solvency and great dispersive abilities. Though its additive package can be tough on the catalytic converter. Valvoline Maxlife is also well liked in this cases - some have reported oil consumption reduced from cases as bad as a 1 qt every 1000 miles to a 1 quart every 5000 miles.

Piston soak to loosen up the stuck rings has shown promise as well - some using Seafoam, some using Marvel Mystery Oil, some favor something stronger like Kreen. Before you get too far into this - might be a good idea to see if the headgasket or head is causing you grief. Can get the oil/coolant chemically tested to see if they are OK or not.

willie101474

Rotella T6 is available in a 10w-30 oil weight - designed for diesel engines but lots of people like using them in engines that tend to burn a lot of oil. Very robust additive package - lots of additives to help with metal on metal contact, good solvency and great dispersive abilities. Though its additive package can be tough on the catalytic converter. Valvoline Maxlife is also well liked in this cases - some have reported oil consumption reduced from cases as bad as a 1 qt every 1000 miles to a 1 quart every 5000 miles.

Piston soak to loosen up the stuck rings has shown promise as well - some using Seafoam, some using Marvel Mystery Oil, some favor something stronger like Kreen. Before you get too far into this - might be a good idea to see if the headgasket or head is causing you grief. Can get the oil/coolant chemically tested to see if they are OK or not.

Thanks, Can you tell me where to get a chemical test or if I can get a kit to do it myself?

 

 

There are a number of used motor oil testing companies can check for coolant contamination. Blackstone labs, Dyson labs, Amsoil, Polaris labs, others. You can test the coolant in the same way - they looks for presence of hydrocarbons in the coolant - Polaris labs also does coolant analysis.

I personally use Blackstone labs - http://www.blackstone-labs.com/ - free sample kits, $25 for the standard analysis, cheaper if you buy the analysis in advance (pre-paid kits). I use them a couple times a year to monitor my extended oil change intervals on all my cars.

They do have some DIY kits, but I don't have a clue how accurate they are. Many use chemical solvents and acids to breakdown the used oil and then you physically check the resultant mix with test strips. Way too easy to contaminate the sample of add too little, too much solvent.