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Do I Need Valve Adjustment ?



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149k miles ??

Engine kinda noisy..

Can corolla go 200k without ??

Thanks..

If your 2003 VVT-i version of the 1ZZ-FE is anything like my 1998 non VVT-i 1ZZ-FE, which they are likely the same, it has solid lifters and caps. To adjust the valves, you must measure the existing clearances, order the requisite number of caps of the correct height to bring clearances into spec, pull the cams, and replace them one at a time.

It's a ROYAL P.I.T.A.

As long as the noise starts to quiet down as the engine warms up - you are good to go. Extremely loud noises when fired up from a cold start - sounds worse than it actually is. The 1ZZ-FE is already known to be a pretty noisey (lots of valvetrain chatter, overall thrashiness) even when in spec.

As K_Watson mentioned - it is a lot of work to get the clearances back in line, assuming that the valve clearances are outside of spec. There is a fair amount of tolerance that is allowed, unless the car has seen some sort of lubrication issue in the past - I wouldn't worry too much about it. You can always pop the valvecover off and take a couple of measurements with a feeler gauge - just for piece of mind. But chances are - the clearances will likely still be inside of spec.

If the noise really bothers you - the easiest fix it to try a different brand of motor oil that is still within the recommended grade. Some brands can run on the higher side, viscosity wise, compared to others or is better at protecting itself from shear thinning.

Myself, I found that Pennzoil Platinum synthetic tends to run quieter than Mobil 1 or Valvoline Synpower that I usually run - at the cost of a little bit of MPG. This is more apparent when the car isn't driven every day, as all the oil drains down to the sump and it takes a short amount of time to get everything up to pressure and with a proper film of oil on it.

Since I've got two other cars as daily drivers - I don't drive the Corolla as much. Might only see 5K-10K miles a year now, compared to the 20K-30K a year that I used to be doing. Now I've got some Shell Rotella T6 5w-40 - a tad heavier than I'd prefer to run, but the engine seems to a lot quieter and my overall MPG hasn't suffered much. If anything, seems to get better mileage with this than with the Pennzoil Platinum 5w-30 - go figure. Being a HDEO (Heavy Duty Engine Oil) - it has a pretty robust additive package and very resistant to viscosity shearing - perfect for short distance or infrequent drives, as this increases the chances of corrosive byproducts and fuel dilution to really beat up the oil.

Have to experiment and find out what they do. There is no single product that I've found that works perfectly in every car. Some cars just like thinner oils, some can handle ones that run a little thicker.

I was having severe oil consumption with my 2002 corolla s at 173k miles. Around 1 qt per 150-200 miles. While in the midst of rebuilding the engine I found that all of my exhaust valves were out of clearance but my intake valves were good. I ended up ordering all new exhaust valve lifters, 8x$20ea, which fixed the issue. I didn't think the process was too difficult. Just need to remove the valve cover to check clearances, if adjustments are needed, get new lifters and remove the cams to get to the lifters. I used a haynes manual for walk-through and torque specs.

Just adding an additional data point for anyone who might run across this thread...

I just checked the valve clearances again on my 2004 Corolla at 200,000 miles. The clearances were well within the range of specification and no adjustment was needed. I am very impressed with Toyota's 1ZZ-FE engine. I'm using Mobil1 synthetic 5w30 oil (the one with the additives for high-mileage engines) and changing it every 4,000 miles (which is probably more cautious than necessary). I would not be surprised to find the clearances to still be within spec when I next check them, 60,000 or so miles from now.

Oh, and I should add that I know the valves have never been adjusted because I bought the car new and do my own servicing.