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My Celica issues....

I didn't sleep much last night, so I want to bounce some of this off some other guys that might be able to help me diagnose what's going on.

If you didn't see my Facebook post last night. My car ('92 Celica ST, 1.6l 4AFE, would have rolled over 200k miles if it had made the trip yesterday) was running perfectly, had the cruise set, and all was well. I came to an uphill, and as the engine loaded up, it started knocking bad. I hit Cancel on the cruise, and bumped it into neutral, and the engine stalled. I coasted to the side of the road, tried restarting it, and it coughed and tried to start, but wouldn't....

Pulled the dipstick, and it was dry (last checked a few weeks/couple hundred miles ago). It's overdue for a change....but not terribly. Connector on the oil pressure switch for the idiot light disintegrated when I did the timing belt a couple years oil pressure unknown.

While I was waiting, I pulled the valve cover....found nothing out of the ordinary.

Had it towed home last night (spent 4 hours on the side of the road past Iron River, WI....ugh), and I've started looking into things.

Compression test this morning:

Alright, slight problem....but I would think it would still run. I don't know that I've ever done a comp test on this car, so I have no idea if this is a symptom of what happened. Also, could hear the knock, even just with the starter turning over....something is loose

I think I'm going to drain the oil, to see what it's condition and quantity is....and see how much of a PITA it is to drop the oil pan.


  • Did it sound like a rod knock?like a spun bearing?
  • Yea, that kind of knock. If there's a spun bearing, it's not stuck, as everything still moves.

    Just drained the oil.....there were only ounces in it, it just dribbled definitely no oil pressure. Not good.
  • no good at all. I don't have any experience with spun bearings, so can't offer any insight. Sounds like a new motor is in store though. I wonder where the oil went?
  • Got it off the ground so I could pull the oil pan this afternoon.

    First thing....some of the oil seeped through the rust in the oil pan. Not sure I'm convinced it was that much....but a bunch.

    I had to notch the crossmember to get a socket on the oil pan bolts, but was able to drop it without taking too much apart.

    I was a bit careless with the oil pan, as I thought it was empty. Turns out there was some in there. Guessing on how much I spilled, but there might have been a full quart in it (I caught about 3/4). Car is parked at a funny angle, and it was cold. It doesn't sound like much, but it takes less than 4 quarts to fill it to the Full mark on the stick, and it was much closer to the Fill mark...So I probably lost just over 2 quarts in a few hundred miles (all city miles). The oil in it is BLACK...

    At first, everything seemed OK. No play in any of the bearings, in any dimension. Put a ratchet on the crank.....hmmm, crank bolt is loose, weird......turn the engine over, everything moves, still no play even right at top or bottom. Shined a flashlight up each cylinder, pistons look decent, etc.

    Then as I'm checking for play, I realized one of the nuts holding the #1 rod bearing cap on is loose. Didn't take much to get the other one off. Pulled the cap.....bearing is pretty mangled. Stretched, the 2 halves overlapping each other. Crank is scored, but not too badly. At that point I was thinking it might be worth throwing a set of bearings at it for a temporary fix. Then I realize there's still some of the bearing welded to the rod. That quickly takes it from a $50 experiment (bearings, oil pan, rotella 5w40), to a $500+ investment (pull the head means I should get the head rebuilt, hone the cylinders, probably get a new crank, snowball snowball snowball). I'm going to spend a little time tomorrow to see if I can get that piece loose without damaging the rod too badly, but I'm not hopeful.

    With the rust on the chassis/control arms/fuel tank/exhaust. I don't think it's worth fixing. I have put a bunch of money into the suspension and brakes, and I do like the car, so I think I'm going to look for another one. Might hold out for one with a manual transmission this time.
  • I started working on cleaning what was left of the bearing out of the rod today. And in the better light, I realized that the rod is badly deformed. It's officially done.

    I talked to the guy selling this tonight:

    Looks like it'd be perfect. Somehow the guy hit a rock at speed. Broke the wheel, rotor, bent the control arm and tie rod. Huh....I know a guy with all that stuff....with any luck, I'll own it on Saturday
  • Convertible swanky
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