1995 Toyota Corolla Destroyed Piston - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Corolla 7th Generation (1993-1997) Specific discussion of the 7th generation

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post #1 of 25 Old 05-21-2019, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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1995 Toyota Corolla Destroyed Piston

Hey everyone. I bought a 1995 Toyota Corolla for $150. I was told by the previous owner that it died on the road while driving and they were able to start it again, but it was running rough. I just thought that it was just a bad fuel filter. I brought it home and tried to turn it on to get it off the trailer. It started, but I heard a very loud clanking noise coming from the engine. I knew it wasn't rod knock, because it's sounds much different. I took out the spark plugs and looked in the holes and found that one of the pistons had a hole in it. I took apart the engine to get it out and it's just completely shattered and he connecting rod is bent at the top, but the rod bearings are still good. I would just put in another pistons with its rings and rod, but there are two pretty deep gouges in the cylinder wall. Would it be possible to try and hone them down a bit so the rings don't catch on them? I know it'll probably burn even more oil, but it's a $150 car, so who really cares. If it is worth trying to put in another piston and rod, would there be anyone kind enough to donate/sell a spare one they have to me?
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-21-2019, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Here are some pictures of the damage:
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-21-2019, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Damage:
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 03:02 AM
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From personal experience, it's not even worth trying to rebuild the engine unless it has some sentimental value towards you. Don't forget that doing engine rebuilds will cost more than expected because you need to replace all the gaskets and might as well do a proper rebuild because the amount of effort you are putting into the engine (which equals more expenses). Having a machine shop overbore and hone the engine block along with checking everything else is also going to be fairly pricey. Even if it's $500, it is still not worth it. It would be cheaper to get a junkyard motor or buy another Corolla (or Prizm) and do a motor swap. As I said, it's not worth rebuilding the motor. Just strip it down and take any good remaining parts.
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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I wasn't going to do a rebuild. All I was going to do is replace that piston, connecting rod, and head gasket. All of that shouldn't cost more than $50. I was going to rent a honing tool. If it works, then great, if it doesn't, then it's scrapping time. I have zero sentimental value to this car and I don't care about it at all. Like I said before, it's only a $150 dollar car, so I wasn't expecting much.
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 06:52 AM
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I would consider a pick and pull engine if the rest of the car justified it. I would not try a hone and repiston job, no way on knowing the damage done to that cylinder bore when that piston disintegrated(100% failure is my professional guess). The replacement engine would be jumped and cranked to check compression and if good than you have a donor and a very good chance of a long term reliable repair, but the car has to justify the repair.

I drive a 2000 Echo that is dead reliable and cost me less than $100 a month to drive 1500 miles. That's fuel ($75). insurance ($13) and a couple more for tags and taxes. I could buy a new car and did, but it sits in the garage right now (10-100 warranty is 833 miles a month)

It's my way of sticking my thumb in the eye of the system which really gouges newer car buyers here.
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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I would get another engine, but I can't find any that are cheap enough to be worth it and close to me. This car is kinda worth putting a new engine in it, but I would only do that if I could find an engine for $200 or less.
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 09:15 AM
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it really depends on how deep the gouges are.... if its more like hair width deep and barely perceptible with the fingers and nails, honing might help but if your fingernail can feel the gouges and its wide as well, it means its at least a millimeter deep and honing may not help there.

easiest way to fix that would be a rebore to the next size that would erase the gouges... or get a junkyard engine that still good.
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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I took a better look at it today and I will probably go for a replacement engine. The gouges are probably around 1/16 of an inch deep and the head is kind of messed up.
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 11:03 AM
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Dang, I could've sold you the engine out of my old '93 before I junked it.

If you are near a big city, that would be the place to shop for an engine. The best deal would probably be from a you-pull-it type of yard, but a yard which pulls the engine for you would be way more convenient.

Also check the classified ads for Corollas being parted out. The old 'Tradin' Post' type publications used to have a section just for parting out cars, but Craigslist doesn't seem to have that.

You should also check the distributor and see if it can be turned to adjust the timing when the bolts are loosened. When Corollas went OBD2, they switched to distributors which cannot be turned. You want whichever one came with your car - which is most likely whichever design is in there now. Although it might be as simple as just throwing your distributor onto the new engine if it's different.
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Looks like over-revving broke rod-bolts. Or worn rod-bearings from low-quality dino oil. I've seen this countless times when street cars are taken to track without proper preparation. Crank's rod-journal is probably toast as well.



Pick-n-pull yards around me sell engines for $149.
Might as well get a 7A-FE for more powah and speed!
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post #12 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Looks like over-revving broke rod-bolts. Or worn rod-bearings from low-quality dino oil. I've seen this countless times when street cars are taken to track without proper preparation. Crank's rod-journal is probably toast as well.



Pick-n-pull yards around me sell engines for $149.
Might as well get a 7A-FE for more powah and speed!



How do you diagnose the failure?
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post #13 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris94 View Post
How do you diagnose the failure?
Comes from seeing many examples of this failure from maintenance neglect, using low-quality oil of too little viscosity in highly demanding conditions not anticipated by factory engineers. It all comes down to lack of lubrication and rod-journals contact and wear away rod-bearings, then rod end-caps themselves.

Engine-rods face vastly different amounts of force depending upon power-stroke vs. exhaust-stroke. Even with 200-300bhp, 4A/7A rods won't experience more than 1000-1500 lbs on power-stroke. However, on exhaust-stroke, there's no resistance and forces at top of stroke is immense, 10000-lbs or more! The higher the revs, the higher the tension-force stopping piston's upward motion and then pulling it down again. This is what ultimately breaks rod-bolts. You can see pieces of rod-bolts still stuck in rods here. Would need to look at rod end-cap to determine if it was lack of lubrication or over-revving that actually broke the bolts.



Another case where transmission was down-shifted to 2nd-gear @ 150mph instead of 4th-gear. In this case, extreme tension force @ +12k RPMs snapped piston-pin.



Since these typically are purchased as economy cars, usage-patterns anticipated by Toyota typically doesn't require stringent oil-lubricating properties. Even so, at 200K-miles, my wife's DX had worn-out rod-bearings from using quick-lube outfits during her university years. They usually supply very low-end oils that get too thin under regular use and allow rod-journals to contact rod-bearings and wear them out. You can see that babbit layer has been rubbed through and some copper base is starting to show.



Now, ideally, one adjusts their oil based upon anticipated usage. Here's oil-chart for my Porsche. Note that 10w30 oil most commonly used is only recommended up to 68F. Higher temperatures increase engine-temps (less delta-T for radiator to cool) and thicker and thicker oil needs to be used to maintain lubrication at high-RPMs under racing conditions (or viscosity breakdown under high-mileage).



People often get the two oil-conditions confused and collapsed into one spec. On cold-start, with street-driven cars, sure a lot of wear can occur. So you want a low-viscosity starting# of 0, 10 or 15w to ensure fast oil-flow to engine to build pressure quickly. What many forget is that AFTER engine is started, there's also high-viscosity requirements when operating temperatures have been reached.

At operating-temps of 220-230F for street-cars in regular operating condition, the oil loses viscosity and pressure, so thicker 30, 40 or even 50w rating is needed to ensure adequate lubrication. In racing cars running at 250-300F oil-temps, an even thicker 40, 50, 60w rating is needed to maintain proper thickness for lubrication of bearings, rings and cam-lobes (same cSt as street car). Along with higher amounts of extreme-pressure/extreme-heat additives like ZDDP. During ZDDP-drought fiasco of API SL ratings, only Mobil-1 20w50 oil retained its high ZDDP levels since this is preferred OEM fill for Porsche & BMW.

I've rebuilt my track-car's engine every 1-3 yrs on regular basis for past 20-years, sometimes blowing them up prematurely due to too much boost. This gives me (and lots of other racers) some insight on wear and tear under harsher-than-street conditions, such as full-throttle 100% WOT for hours at time. Monitoring oil-temp and oil-pressure is paramount to engine's survival and vast experience of racing over past 100-years have pointed to high-viscosity oils as saving grace in maintaining oil-pressure under high-temp racing conditions. Many oil-vendors provide oils with +10 hot rating for extra heavy operating viscosity for racing. Obviously full-synthetic is first criteria:

Amazon Amazon
BMW

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Castrol

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Red Line

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HPL <-- this is what I use in turbo race car

Amazon Amazon
Motul 8100

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Motorex <-- This is what I use on my race bikes
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post #14 of 25 Old 05-23-2019, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Comes from seeing many examples of this failure from maintenance neglect, using low-quality oil of too little viscosity in highly demanding conditions not anticipated by factory engineers. It all comes down to lack of lubrication and rod-journals contact and wear away rod-bearings, then rod end-caps themselves.

Engine-rods face vastly different amounts of force depending upon power-stroke vs. exhaust-stroke. Even with 200-300bhp, 4A/7A rods won't experience more than 1000-1500 lbs on power-stroke. However, on exhaust-stroke, there's no resistance and forces at top of stroke is immense, 10000-lbs or more! The higher the revs, the higher the tension-force stopping piston's upward motion and then pulling it down again. This is what breaks ultimately breaks rod-bolts. You can see pieces of rod-bolts still stuck in rods here. Would need to look at rod end-cap to determine if it was lack of lubrication or over-revving that actually broke the bolts.



Another case where transmission was down-shifted to 2nd-gear @ 150mph instead of 4th-gear. In this case, extreme tension force @ +12k RPMs snapped piston-pin.



Since these typically are purchased as economy cars, usage-patterns anticipated by Toyota typically doesn't require stringent oil-lubricating properties. Even so, at 200K-miles, my wife's DX had worn-out rod-bearings from using quick-lube outfits during her university years. They usually supply very low-end oils that get too thin under regular use and allow rod-journals to contact rod-bearings and wear them out. You can see that babbit layer has been rubbed through and some copper base is starting to show.



Now, ideally, one adjusts their oil based upon anticipated usage. Here's oil-chart for my Porsche. Note that 10w30 oil most commonly used is only recommended up to 68F. Higher temperatures increase engine-temps (less delta-T for radiator to cool) and thicker and thicker oil needs to be used to maintain lubrication at high-RPMs under racing conditions (or viscosity breakdown under high-mileage).



People often get the two oil-conditions confused and collapsed into one spec. On cold-start, with street-driven cars, sure a lot of wear can occur. So you want a low-viscosity starting# of 0, 10 or 15w to ensure fast oil-flow to engine to build pressure quickly. What many forget is that AFTER engine is started, there's also high-viscosity requirements under operating temperatures have been reached.

At operating-temps of 220-230F for street-cars in regular operating condition, the oil loses viscosity and pressure, so a thick 30, 40 or even 50w rating is needed to ensure adequate lubrication. In racing cars running at 250-300F oil-temps, an even thicker 40, 50, 60w rating is needed to maintain proper thickness for lubrication of bearings, rings and cam-lobes (same cSt as street car). Along with higher amounts of extreme-pressure/extreme-heat additives like ZDDP. During ZDDP-drought fiasco of API SL ratings, only Mobil-1 20w50 oil retained its high ZDDP levels since this is preferred OEM fill for Porsche & BMW.

I've rebuilt my track-car's engine every 1-3 yrs on regular basis for past 20-years, sometimes blowing them up prematurely due to too much boost. This gives me (an a lot of other racers) some insight on wear and tear under harsher-than-street conditions, such as full-throttle 100% WOT for hours at time. Monitoring oil-temp and oil-pressure is paramount to engine's survival and vast experience of racing over past 100-years have pointed to high-viscosity oils as saving grace in maintaining oil-pressure under high-temp racing conditions. Many oil-vendors provide oils with +10 hot rating for extra heavy operating viscosity for racing. Obviously full-synthetic is first criteria:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XWOHTBY/ BMW

[Url]https://www.amazon.com/Castrol-10W-60-Synthetic-Motor-Oil/dp/B00AED05PS/[/ame]. Castrol

[Url]https://www.amazon.com/Red-Line-11705-10W60-Motor/dp/B004CFV1XY/[/ame] Red Line

https://www.amazon.com/HPL-Fully-Syn...dp/B07C7PP3FH/ HPL <-- this is what I use in turbo race car

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018EO46CQ/ Motul 8100

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPL918E/ Liquid Moly

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JAHDIBC/ Motorex <-- This is what I use on my race bikes



I love you Danno! This makes so much sense. I wasn't even thinking about tension forces stopping upward motion and pulling it down. I only thought of compression. When the rod bolts fail, do they always display a thinning of cross-sectional area? Or can they fail in a brittle manner too? Thanks for the input!
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post #15 of 25 Old 05-23-2019, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris94 View Post
I love you Danno! This makes so much sense. I wasn't even thinking about tension forces stopping upward motion and pulling it down. I only thought of compression. When the rod bolts fail, do they always display a thinning of cross-sectional area? Or can they fail in a brittle manner too? Thanks for the input!
Yup, forces on rod-bolt material overcome yield-strength first and deform by plastic elongation first. Then further stress sends them over ultimate-strength limit. The actual amounts will vary depending upon actual alloys used. Factory rod-bolts of 110-130kpsi will have more stretch before failure. Toyota FSM has you actually measuring rod-bolt diameter to determine stretch amount and suitability for re-using.

Higher strength 150-170kpsi bolts like ARP will exhibit much closer spread between yield to ultimate limits. So they'll stretch just a little bit and thin less than factory bolts before snapping. But at higher forces for both stretch and break.


BTW - that hole is piston above is effect (or result) of problem and not issue itself. The rod-bolts snapped first, which sent piston into head. You can see marks from valves slamming into piston. Then piston hitting spark-plug is what caused the hole. Looking at severity of damage to rod end-cap and crank's rod-journal will give clue to original cause, be it lack of lubrication or over-revving.

So yeah, engine is damaged beyond reasonable cost to repair. Would need new valve-guides, valves, perhaps cams, new pistons and rod, and crank rod-journal re-grinding or crank replacement. Simpler to get Pick-n-Pull engine and swap in over weekend.
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