Help diagnosing Toyota Estima engine trouble

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13 years 5 months ago #16317 by Andrea
1992 Estima, 1.8L turbo diesel. The engine's been running fine for ages, but I just came back from the West Coast via the Arthurs Pass/Otira Gorge route, and I could tell it was really hard on the engine, and I had to downshift to 2nd to make it up some of the hills.

It doesn't usually blow black smoke out the exhaust, but it was that day pf hill-climbing, and we found specks of dirty oil that had been kicked up onto the rear gate when we got home. BTW, the oil had been topped off before I left to drive up to Nelson, and was down by less than 1/2 a litre when I got home after 1000kms + of hard driving over 3 days (not fast, because I'm not a speed demon, but lots of hills and windy roads).

None of the gauges indicated there was a problem, and the engine sounded like it always has (we've had the vehicle for nearly 3 years now).

Today, after bringing home and unloading a single horse float full of 25 bales of hay, my husband found the rear gate covered with dirty oil and the exhaust pipe was rimmed with dirty oil. Somewhere between unloading the hay and parking up the float this had happened:

Upon further inspection, the innards of the engine compartment containing the crank case (which is rather inconveniently located under the passenger seat) is coated in the oil explosion and the oil was down to registering barely 1/2 a litre remaining. The van still turns over and sounds like it always does - a reasonably smooth-running diesel engine sound.

So, what might have happened, and wot on earth to do about it except take it into the garage (again!!!!!!)? I really like driving the bloody thing, and it's been an excellent dual-purpose vehicle (people/livestock/other "stuff" hauling), but it's had more than it's share of troubles (struts have come off; hydraulic hose for clutch has gone; various problems with the electrics in the dashboard; turbo thingie went recently; starter motor carked it last year... I think we've spent far more on keeping it on the road than we paid for it in the first place, but there's no more $$ for a new vehicle...).

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 5 months ago #245156 by Kiwi303
First thing I would check with an Estima is the PCV valve (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) if that is blocked and the crankcase can't equalise pressures, then as a cylinder fires, the blow by of gasses past the piston pressurises the block and oil is forced up into the cylinders with their valves open and lower pressure.

Other options fitting the symptoms is worn cylinder rings not sealing the cylinder/piston fit as well as they ought, blowing oil out the PCV all over the engine compartment as well as out the other cylinders.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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13 years 5 months ago #245161 by Andrea1
Thanks Kiwi - I knew you'd have some ideas! I wish the engine compartment wasn't so hard to get at under that car seat! We haven't been able to find a manual for this car, and OH has been using the one from our previous diesel, which was a 2.2 L hilux (deisel). Can one assume that they're fairly similar? The HiLux was a 1984 (and has since been consigned to the scrap merchant).

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 5 months ago #245166 by Kiwi303
they're close enough, the estima is on it's side rather than sitting upright, but otherwise they're working on the same principle, I doubt the model is the same as used in the hilux, so bolts will be in different places, but the same basic skills and procedures work between most different models. engines aren't THAT different from each other :D

I would suspect worn rings myself since you say it lost oomph over the hills and you had to change down lower than normal through the gears to manage it... loss of compression from poor ring seals would explain the loss of power. A compression tester from Supercheap auto would only cost between $30 and $75 and will give you a compression reading, or the local garage should have one sitting in a drawer you could borrow? pull out a glow plug and crank the engine, then do the next cylinder. then squirt about 5cc of oil into each cylinder and see if the compression readings change.

The garage will know how to translate all the numbers, but if the readings are significantly higher with the oil, it's bad ring seals, and the oil blocks the air from passing.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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13 years 5 months ago #245176 by Pumpkingirl
And while I know stuff-all about cars, worn seals are the only thing that makes my mechanic father look sad and start telling me about the economic output and work involved, versus buying a new car :(

Perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic though, has been known to happen :D

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13 years 5 months ago #245178 by sod
Go with Kiwi BUT first check crankcase breather as this will make that all happen and can blow sump etc off and hope thats it if lota smoke coming out there thats blow by and sorry bad news if blocked unblock and check You have been working it hard!!

Having time is a measure of enthusiasm:rolleyes:

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13 years 5 months ago #245187 by Andrea1
Oh, dear... the dreaded ring job? That's a very expensive one, isn't it... Well, nothing was blocking the PCV, so it must be... sigh...
_________

OK... what's the crankcase breather? Is that another name for the PCV that Kiwi mentioned? I am familiar with the expression, PG, same on my dad's face on the sad day he decided to retire our family's ancient old Ford station wagon. THAT thing was the super-liner of boats!!

Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 5 months ago #245216 by Kiwi303
well, the amount of work required to replace the rings is pretty atrocious, especially with van types with the engine under the seats where the engines have to be extracted downwards, the lucky models are ones with big bays and bonnets where the engine block can stay in the car and the sump and caps removed from below without messing with crossbeams to extract the crank and pistons. The estima has the engine in an awkward location and lying on it's side. so it's a pain in the arse to work on for anything major.

rings require removing the engine from the car, removing the front pulleys/belts and timing cover from the engine, removing the timing chain/belt and then the sump, removing the main caps and then unbolting the piston rods from the shafts and removing the crankshaft, then pulling the pistons out of the cylinders, changing the rings and reversing the procedure...

the labour costs a lot more than the rings themselves. to replace a set of rings cost about 70 to 100 for the ring set, plus 500 to 800 in labour charges depending on garage...

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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13 years 5 months ago #245226 by Andrea1
Well, it now seems it's not as bad as it looked in the first place. Seems OH took off the oil cap this morning to check the level before he went out to pick up the last of the hay and DIDN'T PUT THE CAP ON PROPERLY! One of our neighbours is a bit of a mechanic (as we gathered from nearly every visit next door meaning he was pulling his head out from inside the guts of an old land rover), and came over to look at the mess. From the way the oil was spread around the inside of the engine compartment, he guessed that the cap had not been tight when OH set out this morning, hence the mess. He tested the pressure/compression, and all was within normal ranges!!! So, big sigh of relief, as I was getting my head around doing without a car for at least 6 months while we saved to buy another one! Will be paying VERY close attention, though, as this was a bit of a wake up call (and OH has been meaning to change the oil for about the last 2 months!!!).

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 5 months ago #245230 by wino
Sounds like a lucky escape!
My mechanically inclined husband says NEVER NEVER delay servicing a diesel. Sell your first born to pay for it or don't drive if you can't do it in time.

Never have a hangover - stay drunk

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13 years 5 months ago #245233 by Kiwi303
that must be a great relief for you :D nice to know everything is in the normal range compression wise, and that the oil is from a rather prosaic source :D

so now you know it's not from compression loss, the the oil on the rear gate is likely to just be oil from the engine compartment being carried by the air stream from the engine to the rear where vortexes sprayed it over the rear.

To clarify when you say the exhaust is rimmed with oil, was that on the outside of the pipe, or the inside of the pipe?

CHeck the fuel filter to make sure theres no fuel starvation issues to cause loss of power.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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13 years 5 months ago #245243 by Andrea1
Thanks again, all!!! Much appreciated, and now I will sleep tonight.

Will have OH check the fuel filter, thanks Kiwi. I meant it was the inside of the exhaust pipe. Significant?

OK, dumb question now, as I have had very little to do with caring for a diesel vehicle during my lifetime with cars... what is "regular" servicing for a diesel vehicle other than the oil/fuel filter/air filter changes and wheel alignment, and what are the best intervals for an older (16 years) vehicle? We also get whatever needs doing for passing a warrent, obviously, tyres, brakes, etc...

In the US, I only ever had/drove petrol vehicles, and was taught to do basic "tune-ups" (as above) by my dad, as well as putting in new brake shoes, changing tyres, bleeding brakes, spark plugs, etc... but then that was on cars when they were a LOT simpler than today's cars (like a 1960 VW bug and a 1968 Ford wagon!).

Thanks
Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 5 months ago #245244 by Andrea1
oops... and I was wrong it's a 2.2L engine, not that it really matters at this point...

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 5 months ago #245256 by Kiwi303

Andrea;222845 wrote: oops... and I was wrong it's a 2.2L engine, not that it really matters at this point...

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

Ah, I wondered about that, thats the 3C-TE engine then, I only knew of the 2TZ-FE 2.4 petrol and the 3C-TE 2.2 Turbodiesel engines in the estimas, the 1.8 had me wondering.

Oil on the outside would be from environmental causes such as the oil cap being replaced incorrectly, oil on the inside of the pipe comes from inside the engine out into the exhaust. so theres still something odd to have oil coming out there.

Are you sure it's oil and not partiall burnt tarry diesel residue? from your having the foot down and the TPS telling the ECU to inject more fuel than the air being sucked in could burn?

It's a bit hard to diagnose things over the internet :P I can sympathise with Cowvet blowing up when faced with "my cow is sick, What is wrong?" type questions when one cant have a poke and prod at it oneself :P

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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13 years 5 months ago #245291 by Andrea1
I was wrong, it was all on the outside, and the spray was all up the back of the car AND the sides on the rear. I hadn't noticed it when looking at the back, because SO much of it was on the back of the car. I think it more matches your tarry description, Kiwi, rather than mine of oil.

I would think it impossible to 100% accurately diagnose without seeing things in person, but it was good for us to have the input of folks with more knowledge and experience than we have.

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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