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Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 10:26 a.m.

My daily driver, a '93 Toyota Corolla DX Wagon with the 1.8L is consuming oil, at a rate of about a quart every 500 miles. I do not see any blue smoke ever coming from it. There are no leaks; it is kept in a garage and the floor beneath it is spotless, so I assume it is actually burning it.

The car has just under 190,000 miles on it. I would like it to last at least another year so I can pay off my Mustang's loan and save up some cash to buy a slightly newer beater.

Has anyone had any luck with some of those snake-oil additives like Engine Restore or Lucas Oil Additive? Or should I just continue to dump cheap $3 quarts of gas station 10W-30 in it every other fillup?

psychic_mechanic
psychic_mechanic Dork
1/3/14 10:32 a.m.

I've had good luck on a 1.8 swapping to thicker oils. We've got a 300k+ mile one running around with a mixture of 20w-50 and gear lube that still burns some, but not nearly as much.

The Walmart oils are pretty cheap and rated pretty well, so I'd grab a case of the 10W-40 and start with that.

iceracer
iceracer UberDork
1/3/14 10:33 a.m.

Check your PCV system. Snake oils are just that.

02Pilot
02Pilot HalfDork
1/3/14 10:38 a.m.

I'd go for thicker oil before I started pouring additives in as well. The 15w40 diesel oils (Rotella and Delo) available at Walmart are good and cheap. Note that gear lube viscosities are measured differently from engine oils, so the higher numbers do not translate directly to higher viscosities, especially at engine operating temperatures.

If you're inclined to try to fix it, check out the PCV system and see what sort of crankcase vacuum you've got when it's warmed up.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 10:44 a.m.

Hmm, you know, I changed the PCV valve 10,000 miles ago. And the oil consumption got worse after that. Should I try putting another PCV valve on? Maybe instal a little breather filter instead?

I'll also start running 10W-40.

Wally
Wally MegaDork
1/3/14 10:56 a.m.

My Escort had to use the ford PVC, the aftermarket ones I tried all caused it to suck oil for some reason. See if the inside of the hose is very oily to. Mine had a little foam filter that would get soaked with oil.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 10:59 a.m.
Wally wrote: My Escort had to use the ford PVC, the aftermarket ones I tried all caused it to suck oil for some reason. See if the inside of the hose is very oily to. Mine had a little foam filter that would get soaked with oil.

I forgot that my old Turbo Mopar was the same way. I shall have to stop at the local Toyota dealer and get a genuine PCV valve first off. Right now I'm using some off-brand PCV valve from Autostoned.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy SuperDork
1/3/14 11:20 a.m.

Is it possible that the rings are packed up with carbon residue like what happens with Saturn's? If so pull the plugs and pour seafoam down onto the pistons and let it sit overnight or a bit longer. ( I learned that tip on this forum years ago, and have used it successfully a Mitsubishi and a GM iron duke. Both engines improved, the Mitsus by a lot)

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 12:07 p.m.

I've honestly never Seafoam'd an engine before...

Apexcarver
Apexcarver PowerDork
1/3/14 12:33 p.m.

Be ready for a smokescreen...

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 12:34 p.m.
Apexcarver wrote: Be ready for a smokescreen...

I'm thinking I shouldn't do the Seafoam treatment in my neighborhood. Maybe behind Apexcarver's apartment building would be a better location.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
1/3/14 12:36 p.m.

ryejeff
ryejeff New Reader
1/3/14 12:44 p.m.

I didn't realize that it was a problem with older Corollas, but my 2001 has/had this problem. The Corolla and Toyota forums are teeming with posts discussing and trying to fix this.

It is generally agreed that the problem is carbon residue on the piston rings. Some people report success with additives, more people report success with Seafoaming the engine. But, the only surefire solution seems to be physically cleaning the rings.

I have started adding Seafoam to my oil in the last 100-300 miles before each oil change, and then using the Valvoline MaxLife 5w-30 Synthentic Blend oil. Over the last three oil changes this seems to have improved the consumption. Before doing this, I was putting in a quart with just about every tank of gas (350-400 miles). In the most recent 3000 mile interval, I consumed 4 quarts total.

Forum lore suggests that as long as you don't run the engine too low on oil, burning the oil is annoying but won't wreck the engine.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltraDork
1/3/14 12:49 p.m.

Wow, that's some serious burning. A quart every 500 miles is even worse than most Saturns...

Mine just started the oil burning thing @ 140k miles. Its pretty minimal now, but I want to keep it under control before it gets bad. Once the rings start to get clogged, the clogging seems to accelerate. My current plan is ATF in the oil, and to change the filter + top off every 1k for the next 10k miles. I'd like to ring soak, but I don't want to smoke out my neighbors.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltraDork
1/3/14 12:55 p.m.

The common trick with the old A engine is to use a good PCV valve and extend the PCV line enough to put a loop or two in it.

You might also try switching to a high mileage 10w40 oil, valvoline max life in the red jug often helps with burning and leaking issues.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 12:58 p.m.

So to do the Seafoam thing, disconnect the brake booster line, slowly dump half a bottle of Seafoam in while someone holds the throttle at 2,000 RPM, turn the motor off and let it sit for 10 minutes, then go for a drive and kill all the mosquitos in the neighborhood, right?

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 12:59 p.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: The common trick with the old A engine is to use a good PCV valve and extend the PCV line enough to put a loop or two in it. You might also try switching to a high mileage 10w40 oil, valvoline max life in the red jug often helps with burning and leaking issues.

That looks just like my engine. Could you elaborate on what you just posted a little? Put a genuine Toyota PCV valve in it and make the vacuum line longer with a loop or two?

dean1484
dean1484 PowerDork
1/3/14 1:26 p.m.

I have had this issue on some of my MR2 race motors in the past. As the rings ware out you get blow by. The solution I have is a catch can in the PCV system. I make them using a 1 quart paint can (new from paint supply places). I run two copper tubes through the top and solder them to the top of the can. One has a T fitting soldered close to the inside of the lid and the other is just strait in to the can about 1/4 of the way down. The line form the crank case connects to the strait line. The line to the PCV valve goes to the one with the T on it.

The fancy way to build this is to then plumb a small drain line back to the motor but make sure that where it goes in to the motor/pan that it is above the level of the oil in the pan. This will allow oil to drain back in to the motor once it is shut off. This really should not be done in a race motor as sloshing of the oil in the pan can cause problems with drain back. But on street motors it works well.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltraDork
1/3/14 1:41 p.m.

In reply to Sky_Render:

Precisely, the idea being that the oil now has to climb over that loop.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy Dork
1/3/14 1:42 p.m.

Wow.... a quart every 500 miles is pretty bad.... I was getting about 600 miles to a quart... tore her down only to find a partially defective seal was my biggest problem

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
1/3/14 1:55 p.m.
HappyAndy wrote: Is it possible that the rings are packed up with carbon residue like what happens with Saturn's? If so pull the plugs and pour seafoam down onto the pistons and let it sit overnight or a bit longer. ( I learned that tip on this forum years ago, and have used it successfully a Mitsubishi and a GM iron duke. Both engines improved, the Mitsus by a lot)

I was going to suggest something similar.

Beating the everloving crap out of the car for a while. My original 1.6 engine in my Miata was burning a fair amount of oil (not quite 1 quart per 500 miles though), a few sessions on track with fresh oil......and it loosened up the rings enough to stop burning oil.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
1/3/14 1:59 p.m.

Ah, the old "blow the carbon out" trick. Well, I can certainly firewall the gas pedal a few times on the way home tonight.

4Msfam
4Msfam New Reader
1/3/14 2:10 p.m.

And here I thought I was alone with this problem with my Mazda3. Oil needs are about a quart every other fillup, plus oil in the sparkplug hole (this despite changing the valve cover gasket(s) and occasionally fouling the plugs. Maybe I'll try the seafoam thing too. Thanks for the tips!

t25torx
t25torx Reader
1/3/14 3:50 p.m.

My Celica with the same motor and about 230k would eat through a good 2 quarts every month, Never saw smoke or oil on the ground. I figured it was the rings, after reading many search results leading to the same conclusion. I seafoamed it a couple times, never really helped in my case. I just sold it and moved on.

series8217
series8217 New Reader
1/3/14 4:04 p.m.
z31maniac wrote:
HappyAndy wrote: Is it possible that the rings are packed up with carbon residue like what happens with Saturn's? If so pull the plugs and pour seafoam down onto the pistons and let it sit overnight or a bit longer. ( I learned that tip on this forum years ago, and have used it successfully a Mitsubishi and a GM iron duke. Both engines improved, the Mitsus by a lot)
I was going to suggest something similar. Beating the everloving crap out of the car for a while. My original 1.6 engine in my Miata was burning a fair amount of oil (not quite 1 quart per 500 miles though), a few sessions on track with fresh oil......and it loosened up the rings enough to stop burning oil.

Cadillac Northstars are notorious for the oil control rings sticking up with carbon, supposedly because the typical owners never ran the engine hard enough to break off the carbon before it accumulated too much. Not too unexpected when you think about what happens when a person with aging reflexes gets a FWD car with a 300 HP V8. Anyway, once it gets too bad, I don't think an Italian tune up will take care of the problem, but it's worth a try if your motor is otherwise in good shape.

After it's warmed up, and you've checked the oil level, you might try to give it some good hard blasts through the powerband. It could take a few days of that to break off all the carbon though..

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