Car is beginning to burn oil

mrblotto

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2007
1,647
117
106
Greetings all. You've helped me a couple other times in this area and I cant thank you enough.......

Recently (last couple of months), I've noticed my vehicle (97 Celica 1.8L, 210K miles), is beginning to 'lose' oil.
There are no stains whatsoever on the driveway, nor does there appear to be any oil in the rad fluid, therefore I'm suspecting oil burning. Its not a lot, maybe on the order of 1qt/month. But I'm guessing the situation only gets worse, not better.....lol

Anyhow, the vehicle is in very good shape body-wise (no rust, southern car)and I'm curious to know if it would be feasible to consider a 'rebuilt' or 'replacement' engine. Or maybe I should consider getting the existing engine repaired..........rings/seals?

Pros for replacment/rebuilt engine:
-newer engine w/less mileage, increased reliability
-Saves me from 'new' car monthly car payment Hell and higher insurance premium

Cons:
-Possibly some other part will go bad on vehicle (i.e. nickled-and-dimed to death)
-Replacment/rebuilt engine possibly being a POS?

Thank you all for your opinions and input!
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
8,874
111
106
All depends on how much oil you are using / losing. If it gets to say more than 1 QT every 2000 miles
then you should repair the engine. Note that oil use can be caused by either worn piston rings or
worn valve guides. A compression test and a leakdown test will help isolate which it is.
 

MovingTarget

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
8,999
109
106
If you have a good mechanic shop, chances are that you can get them to rebuild or overhaul your existing engine. You don't have to drop somebody else's rebuilt engine into your car. At 200k miles, you'd at least know what you are getting when you get a rebuild done.
 

thomsbrain

Lifer
Dec 4, 2001
18,148
1
0
My 91 Accord had a crummy valve job done on it once (long story) and it burned a quart every 1,000 miles for the next 100,000 miles I owned it. It never got any worse until the end when it also started to leak from the rear main seal. I disclosed the oil issues when I sold it. Last I heard it was still running fine with no rebuild. The thousands it could cost to rebuild an engine can pay for a lot of oil.

In short, just keeping driving it for another few years and get in the habit of carrying around some oil in the back of the car and checking it once a week. No biggie. You'll probably be able to afford a nicer car before it actually becomes a real issue for you.
 

radioouman

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 2002
8,632
0
0
The Saturn S-series cars could burn 1 quart in 500 miles and it was considered normal.
 

chucky2

Lifer
Dec 9, 1999
10,038
36
86
You can go on over to BobIsTheOilGuy.com Oil Additive Forum and check this stuff out on your own, but, over the years, Auto-RX has proven to deliver on oil consumption (among other things) issues.

It's worked for me (and countless others) personally in 3 of 3 vehicles I've tried it in. At the worst, your engine will be nice and clean if you decide to open it up and work on it.

NOTE: I'm not affiliated with Auto-RX in any way...just a very satisfied user and pleased that finally one of the countless oil additives has actually deliverd on what it says it'll do.

Chuck
 

Pacfanweb

Lifer
Jan 2, 2000
13,149
57
91
Check over the basics. Start with the PCV system. If it's clogged up, you can lose oil. Compression test. Visual spark plug check can tell if it's getting in the cylinder or not.

Lots of stuff you can do for it before you condemn the engine.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,811
126
Originally posted by: thomsbrain
My 91 Accord had a crummy valve job done on it once (long story) and it burned a quart every 1,000 miles for the next 100,000 miles I owned it. It never got any worse until the end when it also started to leak from the rear main seal. I disclosed the oil issues when I sold it. Last I heard it was still running fine with no rebuild. The thousands it could cost to rebuild an engine can pay for a lot of oil.

In short, just keeping driving it for another few years and get in the habit of carrying around some oil in the back of the car and checking it once a week. No biggie. You'll probably be able to afford a nicer car before it actually becomes a real issue for you.

This is what I would do. Cheapest and the easiest solution.
 

thedarkwolf

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 1999
9,000
109
106
I agree with the just let it burn people. Step up to a heavier weight of oil like 10w40 and don't bother with any additives. Do check the PCV system though.
 

mrblotto

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2007
1,647
117
106
Originally posted by: Pacfanweb
Check over the basics. Start with the PCV system. If it's clogged up, you can lose oil. Compression test. Visual spark plug check can tell if it's getting in the cylinder or not.

Lots of stuff you can do for it before you condemn the engine.

-PCV system- I'm afraid I'm clueless here

-Compression test-thats easy enough. Take it to a garage and have them do a compression/leakdown test. Would this procedure find out if it is the rings vs. seals?

-Spark plug check-what would the plug look like? Doesn't a 'normal' plug look white or light light brown or something like that?

I'll run out today and check the plugs. Thanx guys!



EDIT: I'm kinda leary about 'oil additives' on older engines. I've always been told to never do this, cause the additive will basically 'clean' your engine, thus remove a lot of the 'crud' that's been preventing leaks........maybe its an old wives tale?
 

alpineranger

Senior member
Feb 3, 2001
701
0
76
Very often I would say the problem in this case would be worn valve guide seals. Pretty cheap parts and relatively easy to replace. If you are mechanically inclined I would suggest looking into doing it yourself. A major engine rebuild is probably unnecessary. You really don't want to let it go on too long as burning oil is not good for the catalytic converter and o2 sensors.
 

chucky2

Lifer
Dec 9, 1999
10,038
36
86
Auto-RX is definitely an exception to the rule on oil leakage. While it's doing its thing, you may notice more weepage/leakage, however as you go through the phases generally consumption stops by the start of the 2nd Rinse phase.

This is one of the very few oil additives that actually work...again though, I'm not trying to sell you on it, just offer up some advice. Head on over to BITOG and check it out...there's more than enough folks over there to get a feel for its effectiveness. I believe Frank still has his money back guarantee...don't get much more backed than that if he's still doing that...

If the seals are straight out torn/excessively worn though, nothing is going to save it that's viable. Mitsu 3.0L V-6's were notorious for this...

Chuck
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
I wouldn't do a damn thing. I had a car that leaked for a long time. I got used to it. Paying for repairs is more expensive than keeping an extra quart of oil around. If this is the only problem, why bother addressing it?
 

mooseracing

Golden Member
Mar 9, 2006
1,711
0
0
Originally posted by: Skoorb
If this is the only problem, why bother addressing it?


I can't beleive people aren't jumping on this as pollution and using up all the oil resources just like in the Changing the Oil every x amount threads....

If your plugs aren't wet and dark brown or black it's not bad at all, I can't tell on your pics but is there any small buildup on the plugs? If it is just a light amount of oil being burnt, the plugs will stay ash colored while just having small deposits. I would bet you valve seals are just hardened up from the heat and not working proper.
 

mrblotto

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2007
1,647
117
106
Welp, I'm afraid the condition is getting worse. About a week and a half has gone by since I last checked the oil, and I ended up putting an entire quart in..........yeesh. It's gone about 300 miles I reckon. I dont think any oil is leaking outside of the engine or there would be oil spots galore in my driveway. There are no spots whatsoever. Rings/Valve seals I imagine (says the guy (me) who has little knowledge....lmao)

I spose I could do the test myself (take out all the plugs, hook up the gauge thingee, and let 'er rip for about 10 engine turns each), but I'm kinda wondering where this 'MPI' fuse and coil is on my car......lol. I'm guessing the MPI is in/on the engine fuse block and will say something to the effect of 'MPI' or 'EFI', and I think most coils connect to the firewall. It's just a little too 'guessy' for my taste.

Edit: Since I really dont wanna watch re-runs of America's Top Model with the wife, I decided to be semi-useful and take even more pics, this time with an actual camera....lol

Engine Fuse Block: I'm thinking the 'MPI' or whatever I'm sposed to disconnect is called 'EFI' here, in 2 different places, along the left hand side, 15A fuse and a block thing.....
http://www.clan-tlb.com/forums...ry2.php?g2_itemId=4967

I'm thinking this is the coil? Its right on the firewall
http://www.clan-tlb.com/forums...ry2.php?g2_itemId=4970

Hopefully a better shot of a plug. They all look this way. The gray stuff doesn't rub off with your finger.....
http://www.clan-tlb.com/forums...ry2.php?g2_itemId=4973

I priced a compression test kit- $35 at Autozone. I'm guessing anywhere from $50 on up at a garage.......

 

alpineranger

Senior member
Feb 3, 2001
701
0
76
MPI = Multi port fuel injection (a more specific descriptor for a type of EFI

igniter != coil The igniter will be connected to the coil however. Actually if you disconnect this you won't get a spark, so you can just do this and everything should be fine.

Autozone should lend you a compression tester for free.
 

nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
58,112
12,306
136
Originally posted by: mrblotto
EDIT: I'm kinda leary about 'oil additives' on older engines. I've always been told to never do this, cause the additive will basically 'clean' your engine, thus remove a lot of the 'crud' that's been preventing leaks........maybe its an old wives tale?

Sort of, that dates back to when non-detergent oils were more commonly used. It's fairly doubtful that you've been using a non-detergent oil in this vehicle for the past few years, so I wouldn't worry about detergent agents.
 

exdeath

Lifer
Jan 29, 2004
13,679
10
81
Plugs look fine, maybe slightly towards the rich side, which most factory tunes are. If you were burning oil excessively, they would be pitch black in tar like residue. Small amounts like oil entering through the PCV won't really be noticeable.

As others suggested, check the PCV valve:

http://www.autozone.com/az/cds...6b/repairInfoPages.htm

Another sign of PCV problems is excessive oil buildup in the intake tract and throttle body.

If that checks out, I would suspect worn valve seals/guides, but again, not excessive enough to cause plug fouling.
 

mrblotto

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2007
1,647
117
106
Got myself a compression tester thingee. Either today or tomorrow I'll give it a whirl.........
 

mrblotto

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2007
1,647
117
106
PCV valve checks out ok. It clicks and there seems to be plenty of vacuum. Now I just gotta get the wife to help me with the compression test (ie turn the key).......lol