2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

1.8-liter VVTL-i (2ZZ-GE) and VVT-i (1ZZ-FE) engine, transmission, exhaust, intake, and performance tuning discussions
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cmgreyhounds
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2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:44 am

I'm working on a 2003 AWD with just 105k miles, but the oil consumption is up to about 1 qt every 400-600 miles. It's my daughter's car, and she's in Canada for a few weeks so I decided to tear it down and do the oil consumption fix based on the writeups on ToyotaNation, keeping the engine in the car.

The theory is that on cars up to 2003 or so the oil drainback holes in the pistons can plug, and then the oil rings don't do their job and the engine burns oil.

Here's the starting point, after a little pressure washing:
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The plugs don't really look that bad. You can see that cylinder 1 (far left) is probably the worst, and cylinder 3 is the best.
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And the piston tops look about the same as the plugs, with cylinder one the worst of the bunch:
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Here's a look under the head. The exhaust valves on cylinder one look pretty oily, I'm starting to suspect that some of the oil consumption is due to the valve guides or valve guide seals.
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More to come...

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Caretaker
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Caretaker » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:47 am

yep, there are several great videos on youtube that show the oil return holes and how they were designed too small. My research shows that the poor design extends well beyond the year you are working on. Check out the videos and good luck.
Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by tpollauf » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:25 pm

Nice work so far. Looking forward to the rest that you have to do.
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2009 Vibe GT (manual), 2009 G8Gt, 2009 Vibe GT (auto)
2014 Silverado, 2004 Vibe GT, 2003 Vibe GT (project car)

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CraftsmanQuad19
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by CraftsmanQuad19 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:44 pm

Is the oil consumption/oil drain hole issue specific to the 1zz or does it affect the 2zz as well?
“I don’t do nothing well.” -Keith

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Caretaker
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Caretaker » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:24 am

Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
On Deck: '23 Sportage/'22 Subaru Crosstrek

cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:21 am

I'm not sure, but it wouldn't surprise me. It seems like many had this issue to some degree, including Honda, Chevy LS, etc.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:41 am

I left the exhaust manifold on the head as the nuts are hard to get at. But now that it's on the bench, I can get a really good look at it and remove it from the head.

My daughter had always complained that this little car was pretty slow, though I didn't think it too bad, but after getting a good look at the top of the pre-cat that's built in to the exhaust manifold I can see part of the problem. It's pretty plugged up. Also there's chunks of the ceramic honeycomb missing, which is often a death knell for an engine as those chunks can get drawn into the engine during reversion pulses.

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In contrast, here's the outlet of the pre-cat, it looks like you would expect, but there are some oil spots due to the oil consumption I expect.
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And here's what the pistons looks like. On one side the two oil holes are still clear and functional.
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But on the other side the holes are plugged solid and not even visible. I tried to clean them out with a dental pic and a mini screwdriver but there was no way that was happening. This stuff is rock solid. You can also seat some piston skirt scuffing, due to the ceramic catalytic converter material getting into the cylinder and also from the occasional low oil level. It's really not as bad as it looks, in that you can barely catch your fingernail on it, and the engine was running smoothly and silently.
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Here's what they look like after some cleaning. I gently and lightly use a wire wheel to clean up the sides and tops, then soak them in a gallon of carb cleaner for an hour, then scrape out the grooves with an old piston ring. Last I spray them down with brake cleaner and then scrub every bit of them with hot water, dish soap, and a toothbrush.
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Then we go over to the drill press, where I have a little 3d printed piston holding jig, and I drilled out the two original holes to a larger diameter, and added a third hole to each side.

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Caretaker
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Caretaker » Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:01 am

brilliant pictures. Thanks very much for taking the time. Ah, drilling the return holes larger............just what Toyota should have done from the start.
Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
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Transylvania
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Transylvania » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:17 am

Excellent write and up great pictures. Thank you for sharing!

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tpollauf
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by tpollauf » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:29 am

Very detailed report. Awesome and kudos to you for sharing this with us. This Vibe won't know how to act once you get it back on the road.
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2014 Silverado, 2004 Vibe GT, 2003 Vibe GT (project car)

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cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:27 pm

Well, I didn't get much done tonight. I did spend about an hour and a half cleaning the head though, using a bottle of Dollar Store "Awesome" cleaner, a toothbrush, and a cheapie electric pressure washer. It turned out much better than I expected. Next step will be to change out the valve guide seals and to gently lap the valves.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by tpollauf » Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:56 am

..... and you mentioned that you're doing all this with the engine still in the car? Pics of the car with all of this removed if possible. Also, I'd assume the oil pan was/is removed? underside photo also if possible. Great work so far ;) ;)
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2009 Vibe GT (manual), 2009 G8Gt, 2009 Vibe GT (auto)
2014 Silverado, 2004 Vibe GT, 2003 Vibe GT (project car)

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cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:55 am

Sure - here's the view from under the car. There's a bolted in crossmember there that holds the front engine mount, and I just pulled the 4 bolts for it and pushed it over toward the trans a bit to get better access to the rod bolts. The oil pan is shaped such that it would come out without moving that crossmember, but I wanted it to be a little easier. I put a jack under the trans with a 2x4 to spread the load and used that to take the weight off the crossmember.

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cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Sat May 01, 2021 12:58 pm

Grrrr... I hadn't seen this before. Stupid Kwikee-Lube dumb-dumbs.

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They jam the oil fill nozzle into the valve cover as hard as they can so it won't fall out, bending the oil baffle. Then the camshaft position lobes on the end of the cam eat the metal baffle.

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cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Sat May 01, 2021 1:13 pm

But on a more positive note, I did get the cylinder head all finished up. Pulling the old valve guide seals was difficult. The exhaust side seals fell apart when I grabbed them with a vise-grip, and then I used a pick to pull off the remaining rubber from the guide. But on the intake side the only way I could get them loose was to heat them up with a MAPP gas torch first. If you do this you might try applying heat by stuffing a soldering iron down the guide - I figured that out after the fact.

I cleaned up the valves on a bench grinder with a wire wheel, and gently lapped them in to the seats with the stupid old suction cup on a stick. It's dorky but it works.

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Then I put it all back together, using some grease to help hold the keepers in place on the valve stems until I could release the valve spring compressor.

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The last step was to assemble everything with the bucket followers and check clearances. I made a trip out to the nearest U-Pull yard and pulled all the bucket followers from a 2005 Vibe so I had an assortment to work with. I also snagged the factory subwoofer - lucky day.

I was able to get all of the intake valves to 0.009"-0.010" clearance, and the exhaust valves to 0.011"-0.012" clearance.

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cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Sun May 02, 2021 5:47 pm

After further inspection I'm pretty confident that the pre-cat was mostly plugged:

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And I certainly didn't expect to see all this fluffy stuff come out with it:

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Wed May 05, 2021 4:40 am

Ok, the pistons are finally back in the block, the rod bolts torqued, and the oil pan back on:

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The head went back on almost as smoothly. This was my first time working with the torque-to-yield headbolts as I'm more of an old-school engine guy, but it went just as expected.

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But unfortunately that's when I remembered about the plastic bumper for the timing chain tensioner, and then I promptly dropped it down the timing cover. So, the cover will have to come off after all.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Caretaker » Wed May 05, 2021 7:18 am

geez, can I pay you to fly to FL and do my car's engine? I am getting a fresh oil change next week, but decided to check the oil level as I do every week. It was WAY low. Is there an OBD I can plug in to get my car to talk to me? :idea: I sure would like to know if it plans on imploding any time soon.
Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
On Deck: '23 Sportage/'22 Subaru Crosstrek

cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Fri May 07, 2021 10:05 am

So here's the little piece of of the chain tensioner that dropped down into the cover. It looks like it may have had tabs on both sides to hold it in place originally, but I just gooed it back on with some black RTV after a thorough degreasing.

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And the whole incident gave me an excuse to clean the grime out of the timing cover, the chain, and the tensioners:

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Jbenrod
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Jbenrod » Sat May 08, 2021 4:38 am

Great work and thanks for sharing.

Have you noticed much wear on the timing chain guides (or tensioner arms). Always wondered considering the steel chain is running over the plastic surfaces.

Did the chain look still look to be in good shape?

I'm going to guess you are not the original owner of this Vibe. I think the previous owner was very negligent in doing oil changes, and as you mentioned, we can see the results of the "fast-lube" oil change place.
2005 Base - 190k

cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Sat May 08, 2021 6:54 am

Well there is some wear in the chain vibration damper guide tensioner thingy, but it's only 0.032" from what I can measure. It would have to go quite a bit deeper for the rollers to contact the plastic I think.

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I measured the chain stretch at 122.52 mm, and the limit is 122.6 mm, so I'm not going to replace the chain at this point. Granted, I didn't apply the whole 315 lb of tension that you're supposed to use to check it, so my number is probably just a bit low. But still, if it's close I'd rather keep the OEM chain in there than replace it with some dubious quality aftermarket chain.

I also put a new o-ring on the tensioner, as it was obviously leaking oil. I'm not sure how well the tensioner was working, but I cleaned it up a bit and it seems to travel properly now. I was hearing a bit of noise from that upper left corner of the valvecover now and then.

I'm not sure how to get the YouTube link to work in this forum

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by tpollauf » Sat May 08, 2021 7:04 am

cmgreyhounds wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 6:54 am
I also put a new o-ring on the tensioner, as it was obviously leaking oil.
They're known for leaking oil so a new o-ring and some RTV should reassure you that it's tight! When I had my timing cover leak fixed last year, the chain guides looked like new and we left them in also. At just 140k miles and a well maintained 2ZZ engine (2004 Vibe GT) I'm set for several more years. Awesome work & documentation so far.
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2009 Vibe GT (manual), 2009 G8Gt, 2009 Vibe GT (auto)
2014 Silverado, 2004 Vibe GT, 2003 Vibe GT (project car)

"everything is modifiable"

cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Sun May 09, 2021 5:59 pm

Well it's all buttoned up and running again. It idles smoother, the valve train is quieter, and there's definitely more power though the rings haven't completely seated yet.

I still need to replace the coils, though only one has a crack, they all measure about 30k ohms.

After a week I'll change the oil again.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Mon May 10, 2021 9:58 am

Here's something that might be a simple way to check your timing chain system. We can probably make some conclusions about the condition of the chain and guides just by looking at the wear pattern on the plunger of the tensioner.

Here’s mine for example. My chain is just slightly below the spec for stretch. Plus my guides have some amount of wear, and the oil used in this engine wasn’t top shelf, so I think what I have for wear is probably higher than most for 100k miles. But the plunger wasn’t even half way out yet. So a person could take off two nuts, pull out the tensioner, and if it’s half way out or more it might be time to change the chain and guides if you want the best performance out of the car.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Mark » Mon May 10, 2021 6:47 pm

Awesome thread! Thanks cmgreyhounds for taking the time to document this process.

I had a 2000 Corolla with the rings issue that used a quart about every 5-600 miles, but I got very lucky with my 2004 Vibe which at about 196k still uses almost no oil at all.
'04 Base Frosty, '08 Base Stealth, '05 Base Satellite

cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Wed May 12, 2021 9:47 am

I wonder how many of the oil burning Vibes are AWD, as the close proximity of the pre-cat to the engine is a recipe for problems seen on alot of cars of this era. That may be one reason why we see a fair number of oil burning issues, even though the oil holes were supposed to be fixed from 2004-up. If the oil holes don't get 'em the pre-cat will. But non-AWD cars don't have the pre-cat inside the manifold so they don't have as much risk from that problem.

The Toyota MR2 Spyder is haunted by pre-cat disintegration, and they use the same 1ZZ engine we have. They see engines seize up with as low as 60k miles. Their setup is even worse with two pre-cats, the exhaust pairs cylinders up then goes into a pre-cat, then joins again, so it's a Tri-Y with pre-cats in the middle.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by Caretaker » Wed May 12, 2021 9:57 am

nah. There is a mountain full of history and you tube videos detailing the oil burning saga of Toyota engines, especially those with Corolla DNA.
Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
On Deck: '23 Sportage/'22 Subaru Crosstrek

cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Thu May 13, 2021 9:38 am

Customer states the check engine light is now on, so I pulled the codes and got:

P0420 - Catalyst System Efficiency Below threshold (Bank 1)
P0440 - Evaporative Emission Control System
P0442 - Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (small leak)

So I was kind of expecting the P0420 to pop up, as the system looks at the temps of the two O2 sensors and if they are too close together then it assumes the cat isn't working. Which in my case is correct, because it isn't there anymore. So I'll add an O2 extender to the downstream sensor to cool it off a bit.

The Evap codes were a surprise though, so I'll need to do some checking there. I was planning on rebuilding the charcoal cannister anyway, but this sounds like a leak.

And then of course there's a stinking oil leak. I guess I should have replaced the o-ring on the VVT solenoid as well as the gasket on the VVT filter plug. I'll order those in and swap them out. Does anyone know the part numbers?

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cmgreyhounds
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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Fri May 14, 2021 9:06 am

So after doing some hunting for part numbers, I found that these were what I'd need:

G191732010, VVT Solenoid O-Ring
9043014009, VVT Filter Plug Gasket

Also note that the o-ring listed above fits the crankshaft position sensor, so if you are ordering you may as well get two and do both at the same time. It does not fit the timing chain tensioner though. If you need a timing chain tensioner o-ring you can use Fel Pro 417 or Mahle 72212, though these are Nitrile and not the super-duper FKM that Toyota originally used. I'm not sure how much different the higher grade material really made, my original was leaking severely.

Some of you are familiar with Olathe Toyota as they do alot of parts over the internet, and I work right down the street from them, But unfortunately in this case they don't have either of these items in stock. So I may have to get some measurements from the parts and come up with my own solution if I want to fix this leak this weekend.

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Re: 2003 Vibe oil consumption teardown and fix

Post by cmgreyhounds » Sat May 15, 2021 1:39 pm

After pulling the VVT solenoid and then inspecting the gasket on the filter plug below it, I decided that the filter plug gasket was fine. And the o-ring on the VVT solenoid was hard as a rock and stuck in place in the groove. I eventually had to cut it to get it out.

I did some measuring of the grove and figured out that the optimal o-ring would be a 14mm ID x 2.2mm thickness. Unfortunately that isn't readily available, so I ended up using a 14mm x 2.5mm thick o-ring. It's available as Dorman 64514, but that wasn't on the shelf locally, so I ended up getting a $9 Dorman 799-450 metric o-ring assortment, which includes 12 of that particular size.

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Next step was extending the O2 sensor, and for that I used a Dorman 42002 spark plug non-fouler (18mm) and drilled out the inside with a 1/2" drill bit so the O2 sensor tip would fit. Hopefully that'll fix the CEL, if not I can piggyback another one on top as they come in a pack of two.

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I'll probably change the oil tomorrow, though today's check looked great. Not bad for a week of driving to work and back.

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