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97 Corolla DX AE101
204 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I purchased a 97 Corolla DX 7A-FE 1.8 L in mid May this year. I took a bit of a gamble on it as it was not safetied, no UVIP provided, there was some minor damage on the passenger rocker panel, wheel well and drivers headlight; and the owner told me it had been sitting for several years. Though the body was mint (minus some minor surface rust) and the engine started up like a charm.

According to the UVIP (which I purchased), this car was built in Markham ON in 96 then shipped to a dealership in Timmins ON 1999, then another dealership in Burlington ON in 2000 where it was finally purchased by its one and only owner (old guy) from the dealership not but 2 months as it arrived. When the owner purchased it in 2000, it had 114,988 km on the odometer. When I purchased this vehicle in May 2011, the odometer read only a mere 117,000 km. I have a theory that he drove it for 3000 km, hit something and parked it for the last 9-10 years.

Just yesterday (July 10), I picked up my friend and we drove in to watch some drift races and all was running and performing well. It was a significantly hot day with minimal cloud cover and we were at the races for approx 6 hrs. We left the parking (I gave it a couple fair revs before leaving, though I rarely rev this car) lot and I noticed upon pulling on to the highway, I had less power than normal (but as gutless as this engine, it was hard to tell if something was wrong, plus I had my subwoofers blasting so I couldnt here my engine). I continued along and turned right onto a side road and drove for about 5 mins when I felt the engine "chugging" and struggling to perform. Then I noticed the Check engine light was on.

I shut off the stereo and pulled over to here my car chugging and vibrating like crazy. Initially, I thought maybe the exhaust fell off cuz I looked under and seen the pipe vibrating more than normal. Then we smelt the burning oil strongly. We popped the hood and checked the engine to find it vibrating more than normal. I should of just left the car there and toed it but...what can you do.

I drove it to my buddies house to drop him off (my other buddy followed behind in his integra). We chugged along the backroads to my buddies house where I sometimes doubted that we would make it up some of the hills with this engine problem, but we did. We got there and found the oil was way down (I just got the oil changed 1000 kms ago or a month ago and have not been driving hard) and the oil seemed to be very sludgy. We topped it up with oil and the problem persisted.

At this point, I am diagnosing it as it just being an old car with low mileage that has been sitting way too long and has developed serious sludge in the oil possibly seizing 1 or 2 of my pistons, but I dont know. I have yet to take it to a shop but plan to do so soon. I am also leaking tranny fluid (after my oil change guys inspected it for leaks). It was a semi-synthetic oil they used for low mileage vehicles they put in too.

Any Ideas or suggestions as to what the heck the problem might be here, please feel free to do so. I am not too concerned as I plan on doing an engine swap (4A-GE 20V Blacktop).
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