P1346 and Running Extremely Rich - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Corolla 9th Gen/1st Gen Matrix (2003-2008) 9th generation Corolla and 1st generation Matrix discussion.

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post #1 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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P1346 and Running Extremely Rich

Stock 2003 Matrix XRS with 86,000 miles

Car just made a 700 mile round trip and started acting up the next morning. We went to start the car and it makes a racket at idle and is running very rich. There is a noticeable fuel smell when running and the bumper has soot on it at the exhaust pipe. I imagine the sounds could be a loose timing chain?

The car still starts fine and seems to run well other than the above mentioned problems. There is one code stored for P1346 - VVT sensor bank 1

So far I have pulled the valve cover and accessory belt and checked the timing. From what I can tell, the timing is perfectly fine (see attached). I have the balancer right around the 0 timing mark and the intake pulley is even with the timing cover, while the exhaust is just above. I cranked the engine over a number of times and didn't see any issues. I am wondering if the tensioner is bad but the cams haven't skipped a tooth yet.

I checked the VVT OCV function by putting 12V to it and it seems to move just fine. At this point, I am wondering if the cam sensor needs to be replaced. My only issue with this is that I can't imagine the engine would make such a racket if just the cam sensor was not working.

My next thought would be to check the valve lash, but I do not have the SST necessary and I can't believe that an issue would develop all of a sudden.

Does anyone have any experience with this or ideas to try?
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 09:49 AM
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You could be digging in too far. I doubt the chain went bad on you with that low of miles. Timing chains honestly outlast the life of the car. Im leaning towards a big vacuum leak here.
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftmanglona View Post
You could be digging in too far. I doubt the chain went bad on you with that low of miles. Timing chains honestly outlast the life of the car. Im leaning towards a big vacuum leak here.
I also doubt the timing chain would have that problem.


Here is a Lexus forum thread that has a similar issue with the guy testing his VVT OCV by applying voltage and thinking it was working fine, but he eventually decided to "test" it on the car by simply disconnecting the OCV to see if there was any difference. He made sure not to drive above 60% throttle (I don't know why) and the problem was gone, so he replaced the OCV and the problem was permanently gone.


https://www.my.is/forums/f115/p1346-...solved-418259/


There's also a filter for the OCV that you can check and make sure it's clean and make sure your oil is clean (is it time to change the oil/filter?).

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post #4 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 01:10 PM
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Disconnect VVS see if noise goes away.
Possible that the cam phaser is at fault.
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post #5 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 02:24 PM
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The 1MZFEs had issues with both solenoids going bad and causing similar codes.

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post #6 of 25 Old 06-18-2019, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftmanglona View Post
You could be digging in too far. I doubt the chain went bad on you with that low of miles. Timing chains honestly outlast the life of the car. Im leaning towards a big vacuum leak here.
This car has a dubious history so I wouldn't count a bad chain or tensioner out. I will check for vacuum leaks when I get the engine back together, but this does not seem to exhibit those symptoms.

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Originally Posted by John Anthony View Post
I also doubt the timing chain would have that problem.


Here is a Lexus forum thread that has a similar issue with the guy testing his VVT OCV by applying voltage and thinking it was working fine, but he eventually decided to "test" it on the car by simply disconnecting the OCV to see if there was any difference. He made sure not to drive above 60% throttle (I don't know why) and the problem was gone, so he replaced the OCV and the problem was permanently gone.


https://www.my.is/forums/f115/p1346-...solved-418259/


There's also a filter for the OCV that you can check and make sure it's clean and make sure your oil is clean (is it time to change the oil/filter?).
I have checked the filter already and there was nothing on it. I will try swapping the two OCVs and see if it runs any differently.

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Originally Posted by cj1 View Post
Disconnect VVS see if noise goes away.
Possible that the cam phaser is at fault.
That didn't seem to change anything when I tried it yesterday.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 12:10 PM
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Another dude with the problem:

It does sound like the timing chain is loose. Have you checked the tensioner?
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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I tried swapping the OCVs to see if that fixed anything. Got everything hooked back up and couldn't get the car to start. I don't remember the codes but it had something to do with the coils having an issue. I swapped the coils and torqued them down properly and got it to run.

After running for about a minute, the loud clacking sound became intermittent. Keep in mind that it does this whether the VVT OCV is plugged in or not. I have a video of this below.

I also got a new code today; possibly from when I disconnected the OCV: P1656. This is in addition to the same persistent P1346.

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post #9 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 10:32 PM
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That sounds pretty bad, but it sounds awfully loud to be from inside the engine unless something is hammering terribly in there. Check the exhaust heat shields, it sounds more like one of those slapping around.

As for the code, it's pretty specific to the problem at hand and can only be a few parts. The most common cause is the timing being off, but yours looks spot on up there at least, no way to check at the crank without taking the whole front of the engine apart.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 10:57 PM
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That might be the sheet metal under the valve cover under the oil cap.

If using a funnel to refill the oil, the sheet metal bends down and may come in contact with the lobes on the cam shaft.
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post #11 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 75aces View Post
That might be the sheet metal under the valve cover under the oil cap.

If using a funnel to refill the oil, the sheet metal bends down and may come in contact with the lobes on the cam shaft.
Good point, I'd expect it to be more consistent but it's easy to check that.
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post #12 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bitter View Post
That sounds pretty bad, but it sounds awfully loud to be from inside the engine unless something is hammering terribly in there. Check the exhaust heat shields, it sounds more like one of those slapping around.

As for the code, it's pretty specific to the problem at hand and can only be a few parts. The most common cause is the timing being off, but yours looks spot on up there at least, no way to check at the crank without taking the whole front of the engine apart.
I can feel vibration at the exhaust side of the valve cover when the noise is present. It definitely does not seem to be coming from sheet metal. I am guessing it has to do with that cam or valves. I am going to try replacing the tensioner tomorrow and see if that changes anything. I am also wondering if it could be low oil pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 75aces View Post
That might be the sheet metal under the valve cover under the oil cap.

If using a funnel to refill the oil, the sheet metal bends down and may come in contact with the lobes on the cam shaft.
Sheet metal looks fine. No oil was filled before this issue came up.
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post #13 of 25 Old 06-19-2019, 11:23 PM
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When was the lift bolts serviced? Any play in the exhaust or intake cam assembly?

Are you losing oil?

The 2zz has a few weak points. One of which is the oil starvation during hard turns or hard switch backs. This causes the oil pump pickup to run dry and cause failure. This is due to the way the oil moves in the oil pan and away from the oil pump on the timing chain side of the block.

Another place to look is to pull the oil pan and see if the bearing caps on the crank are loose.

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post #14 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 75aces View Post
When was the lift bolts serviced? Any play in the exhaust or intake cam assembly?

Are you losing oil?

The 2zz has a few weak points. One of which is the oil starvation during hard turns or hard switch backs. This causes the oil pump pickup to run dry and cause failure. This is due to the way the oil moves in the oil pan and away from the oil pump on the timing chain side of the block.

Another place to look is to pull the oil pan and see if the bearing caps on the crank are loose.
I replaced the lift bolts yesterday as a precaution. Both were in good condition. No play when I try to move things by hand. Not sure if there is another way to tell. I was planning on measure valve clearance soon.

I don't believe I am losing oil but I will need to confirm when the car is back on its wheels.

Oil starvation shouldn't be an issue (discounting low oil level), considering that this is happening at idle and my wife is the one driving the car.
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post #15 of 25 Old 06-20-2019, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Today, I ended up replacing the chain tensioner and rear motor mount (unrelated to this issue) and put the car back down. I noticed it was about half a quart low on oil so I added that as well.

The sound is now gone. It looks like the issue was likely the tensioner failing. I can't really tell if there is any issue with the old one by looking at it, but the car was quiet as soon as I started it.

I took it for a test drive and hit lift twice, shifting just past 8k RPM, and the car didn't skip a beat. I am going to take it to work tomorrow to make sure it is good, but I think the issue is fixed.

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions and troubleshooting tips. The help was very much appreciated.
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