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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is from a 1989 3.0 V6 4x4. I had a remanufactured engine installed in July of '08 (new block and everything, but my old top end) and every since the truck has been leaking oil at the rate of a quart every 400 miles. It looked like the oil was dripping down onto the oil filter area. While messing around I took off the intake hose that connects to the throttle body. I opened up the throttle and when the flap opened oil came oozing out. I thought maybe the pcv valve was stopped up so I replaced the valve along with the grommet and hose. I checked it after a week and oil still oozes out. Quite a bit, actually. Does anyone have an idea as to what is causing this?
 

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The PCV valve was the right place to go first. There is too much blow by (combustion gasses getting past poorly-sealing rings) and the velocity of the flow out of the vent side is carrying oil with it into the air tube. Sometimes this is caused by a clogged PCV valve.

Since you've already replaced the valve and hose, and are still getting excessive flow, it sounds like you are the victim of very poor engine work. What kind of a warranty did you get on that block?

The oil down past the oil filter area is probably coming from a non-sealed valve cover gasket. That could be aggravated by pressure in the crankcase, and if you had a clogged PCV valve, then replacing the valve might alleviate the leaks through the valve covers. Since you replaced the valve and still have leaking, they probably didn't use toyota gaskets nor install them according to the procedure in the fsm.

I think the best next step is to find a shop (different from the one that did the work) that can do a leak-down test. That's a kind of compression test that diagnoses precisely where the cylinder is leaking by injecting compressed air into the cylinder, and seeing whether it comes out of the crankcase vents (bad rings), exhaust pipe (bad exhaust valve), intake manifold (bad intake valve) or indeterminate, which is probably head gasket. In your case, I would expect the leak-down test to pinpoint the rings as the bad area. Watch that you choose a shop doesn't confuse "leak-down test" with a normal compression test. If they don't have the special two-dial leak down test gauge, try another shop. See this page for more info:
http://www.geocities.com/dsmgrrrl/FAQs/leakdown.htm

Armed with the data from the leak-down test, and assuming it does show bad rings, if it were me I'd go with that report and ask the shop that did the bad work whether they would rather refund your money or redo the work properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The shop that did the work really did a number on me. I am a woman with (at that time) no mechanical ability and no desire for any. They rebuilt my old engine twice (rings wouldn't seal) then refunded all but $400 of my money. They said that someone must have been in the engine before and maybe bored out one or more of the cylinders so that the rings didn't fit. They only miked one cylinder and it came up standard so that is what they replaced for all the cylinders. I decided to go ahead and buy a newly rebuilt engine with a 3 year, unlimited mile warranty. They shop charged me to put it in and they used my old top end. Ever since it has been leaking oil but it runs great. I have become more and more skilled at doing my own work since that fiasco last year and now I am even fixing my son's car. But I know nothing of engine work. What I would like to know is if the leak down test pinpoints the rings, can I find out which ring it is or would I have to replace them all? Also, what is the best procedure to make the rings seal once they are replaced?
 

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It's great that you decided to jump in and start doing some of the work yourself - the work you do is more likely to be done right. It also better prepares you to deal with shops - they are less likely to mess with you when you know what you're talking about.

As far as dealing with your current situation, it's not a matter of replacing an individual ring or rings, unfortunately. Saying "rings" is just a blanket term for saying the pistons don't have a good seal in the cylinders. The problem can be an imperfection in the cylinder wall, rather than worn rings, or rings that haven't seated. It is generally a bad idea to replace rings without having the block machined, or "bored out oversize". Then, with the new oversized bore, you must buy oversized pistons and oversized rings.

When you say the shop installed a newly rebuilt motor, just to make sure - they didn't touch the pistons or rings of that one, right? If the remanufacturing had been done properly, you would not be having this much blow-by (assuming you do - your leak-down test will confirm) this soon. So it seems likely you'll be looking to make a claim under that warranty.

The question will be whether the shop will accept any responsibility and install a new block for you without charge - given the miserable results from the work they've done up to now, I think that they should provide the labor for free. The fact that they refunded some of the charges previously shows that they have at least some sense of conscience. I would not necessarily expect them to pay for parts, though.

Since the current block had supposedly been "remanufactured", I personally would not accept another machining of it - I would demand a newly (and properly) remanufactured short block. If it were me, I'd pay for a complete factory Toyota head gasket set from 1sttoyotaparts.com and ask the shop to use the factory gaskets, most of which are far superior to the cheap aftermarket gaskets the shop probably used before. I would also get tubes of the two form in place gasket (fipg) compounds used in the engine - I think the gray stuff is for the oil pan, and the black stuff for almost everywhere else fipg is called for.

Ask the shop whether they have access to the toyota factory specs and procedures for assembling the motor, and particularly the valve covers which have been leaking so badly (and that IS the responsibility of the shop - if they had used good gaskets and installed them properly, you wouldn't have had that much leaking). If not, I would provide them with copies of the engine sections of the fsm. It doesn't have to be an 89 manual, but it should be for an engine from 88-91. The later motors have too many differences.

Since moderate leaking from the valve covers is common on 3VZEs, you may want to consider having them do what I did to stop the leaking on mine: instead of just using a bit of black fipg in the four locations specified in the fsm, I used a thin bead of it on both sides of the gaskets and camshaft plugs. That kept my valve covers from leaking at all for 5-6 years, and now it only seeps a very little in the back right. At the very least, they should use fipg in the four locations specified in the manual.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for your input. I'm not sure what my plan is at the moment except to keep driving the truck and putting oil in it every week. The shop that did the work is the last place I would take the truck back to. They also put in a new clutch for me (three times and it still didn't engage). They finally decided to weld a 1/4" piece onto the slave cylinder and it barely worked. It was enough for me to drive the h out of there and never look back. I did some research on this forum and figured out how to fix it myself. All it took was adjusting the push rod freeplay and clutch pedal height. It has worked perfectly ever since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since I have been doing my own mechanical work I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy this truck is to work on. I have replaced the belts (easy). My alternator went out so I replaced the brushes instead of replacing the whole alternator and it has worked perfectly ever since. The info on the brush replacement was from this forum. It only took a couple of hours and cost $4. This was six months ago. I have learned how to pull my own codes and once I discovered that the only problem was a broken wire instead of a bad distributor. Through the help of this forum I have redone almost everything that I paid that shop to do last year, including a problem with the starter. They put in a new starter when my truck wouldn't start but I discovered that the real problem was the frayed wire that connects to the solenoid. The wire was pulled very tight so i cut it and lengthened it with a butt connector and voila! it works! I can't express how much this forum has helped me. Thanks to everyone who has posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks again sb5walker! When I had all this work done the engine came with new pistons and rings. From my experience I would think the trouble is from the installation at the garage. I would appreciate any help with doing the valve clearance, which seems to be called for regularly. I would like to try this myself. Does anyone have a good directions for this? Also, the shop told me to just drive my truck like I normally do for the break in process. I drive 40 miles to work and back each day of the week and most of these miles are interstate. After a month I took it back in for an oil change. I'm not sure if they ever checked the valves after the initial install.
 

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Thanks again sb5walker! When I had all this work done the engine came with new pistons and rings. From my experience I would think the trouble is from the installation at the garage. I would appreciate any help with doing the valve clearance, which seems to be called for regularly. I would like to try this myself. Does anyone have a good directions for this? Also, the shop told me to just drive my truck like I normally do for the break in process. I drive 40 miles to work and back each day of the week and most of these miles are interstate. After a month I took it back in for an oil change. I'm not sure if they ever checked the valves after the initial install.
If you got a newly-remanufactured short block, the pistons and rings were already installed. So if they're leaking already - the short block rebuilder is the guilty party - they absolutely should not be leaking so soon.

If you're reading that valve clearance needs to be adjusted regularly, you're probably reading about the 22re, not the 3vze. The 3vze has an overhead cam, no rockers and no true lifters. Just a metal cylinder between the lobe of the cam and the valve stem. It rarely needs adjustment, but it should be checked every 80-90k miles or so because the exhaust valves do have a tendency to stretch on this motor, and if they stretch too much they won't close and they'll burn soon thereafter.

The problem is, adjusting valves on this motor is a BEAR!!! Not an easy task. Requires a special tool, a fair bit of strength, and at least three hands. It was the hardest task by far when I replaced my head gaskets. I did manage to do it by myself, eventually, but the neighbors' kids learned a lot of new words that day(!) I've resolved never to attempt the job again without a helper.

If you insist on trying, you'll need a special tool to depress the "lifter" so you can replace the shim. Check the fsm for the recommended SST (special service tool). The dealer wouldn't sell me the toyota SST, so I bought an aftermarket one that supposedly did the same thing, but it didn't work very well. I don't know if the toyota tool would work better. I don't remember where I bought it - this was 2001. Check the FAQ sticky - I think there's a vendor of SSTs that might be listed in there. Or search the forum or google.
 
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