Car Trouble: Can I drive this?
August 21, 2009 9:28 AM   Subscribe

So first of all, I'm not exactly sure what's wrong with my car, but whatever it is is definitely not good. I was driving the other day when the engine started making this very loud clanking/grinding noise. Apparently I hadn't checked my oil level and it was basically gone. After filling it up with Oil, the noise is still there, but much quieter. So I'm thinking I might need a whole new engine. The thing is, I found a nearly identical car on Craigslist for $1750, which would probably be just a few hundred more then a new engine, and I could just drive the thing until I get around to repairing my old one. On the other hand, I don't really want to spend that much in a panic. The car is a 1997 Toyota Tercel.

Yes, I'm a total idiot for letting my engine run out of oil. I had just gone on a 2,000 trip with no problems at all (before which I had put in a new bottle of oil) so in my mind I had added oil pretty recently, less then a month ago.

Anyway. Someone borrowed my car and left the lights on overnight, draining the battery, so I had to jump it, and of course you need to drive around for a while to charge up the battery. I decided to get on the highway for a mile or two but about 2 or 3 minutes after getting it up to 60 the engine starts making this awful grinding noise, which sounds like it's happening in synch with the engine. I limp home and check the oil levels, which is totally empty. I bike to the gas station and buy some oil and fill up the engine. The noise is a lot quieter now; inside the car I can't really hear it when it's idling, but if you're outside by the engine it sounds like a jackhammer.

There's no obvious smoke or burning, but when I first opened up the hood to add oil, I did smell a slight burning smell, and I had only driven it half a mile.

I don't know too much about auto mechanics, so the only thing I knew of that could cause a problem like this would be a cracked piston head or something. The guy at the gas station said he was a mechanic and that it could be something with the seals too and that it cost him $1,100 to fix a similar problem on his car (he also said he thought it might cost $600 just to go in and diagnose the problem)

I figured the best thing to do would be to buy an old beater off craigslist that I could drive around for a while while figuring out what to do. I thought about buying a pickup truck but when I was looking I saw a car that was nearly identical to mine -- a '97 tercel -- for $1750. That's not too much more then it would cost to fix my car and if I could buy I could drive it around until I decided to fix my old one, or just keep it. I also found a '94 Tercel in the area. According to Wikipedia Tercels from 1991-1994 use either a 3E-E engine or a 5E-FE, whereas mine uses the 5E-FE. Does anyone know how likely it would be for a '94 to have the 3E-E engine, and if it did, would it fit in my '97 Tercel? If so, that would be a much better deal. According to craigslist the '94 has a dent, while the '97 looks pretty nice, and even has a spoiler.

On the other hand, for all I know my old car might still be OK to drive, just noisy. I don't want to spend that much money in a panic. Whatever is wrong with my car might just be something that can be fixed for a couple hundred dollars. Does anyone have any idea what it could be, or how much it might cost to fix?

And finally, assuming I'm going to replace the car in a reasonable timeframe is it possible that my car would be safe to drive around town for now, at least the next few days. What do you think?

To summarize the key questions are:

●If I got the '94, would I be able to pull the engine out and put it in my '97 if I needed to?

●what are the possibilities for what could be wrong with it?

●How bad of an idea is it to drive the car currently? I filled the engine up with oil, and the sound isn't too bad now. What could happen if I drive it slowly and carefully around town, like to a car repair place

●Oh, and is there any way to tell which engine the '94 has by looking at it?

Thanks!
posted by delmoi to Travel & Transportation (41 answers total)
 
You don't need to replace the engine if it's not blowing smoke out the exhaust or otherwise running badly. It may take a while to quiet back down to normal. It probably has hydraulic lifters, and they are probably not back to normal yet because they got air in them.

I suggest making sure the oil is on the "full" line - not below OR above - and idling it for a while. Make sure the oil light on the dash is not on, meaning you have pressure. Be gentle. It may be just fine.
posted by fritley at 9:35 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't taking it in for an actual oil and oil filter change be best? It costs about $50.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:36 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


IANAM, but I think you're overthinking this. It's an older car, and you're considering replacing the entire engine anyway. What could the harm in driving it around be? It'll either be fine, or it won't be, but I doubt you'll do any further damage to non-engine parts by driving it. When I've run out of oil (or other people have, and I've put oil in their cars) it can take a while for the fresh oil to go through the whole system and quiet things down again. Just keep driving it, and worry about replacing it if it stops running, not before then.
posted by booknerd at 9:38 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't taking it in for an actual oil and oil filter change be best? It costs about $50.

This.

You wrote: I had just gone on a 2,000 trip with no problems at all (before which I had put in a new bottle of oil) so in my mind I had added oil pretty recently, less then a month ago.

Yes, but when was the last time you had the filters changed, etc. Also, you'll need to investigate where the oil went. Do you have a leak? Is there blue smoke coming out of the exhaust (indicating that you're burning oil)?

Ask around to friends (especially older coworkers or folks who have lived in the area for a long time) for recommendations on an honest mechanic, and then take your car in and ask that it be checked over. They guy at the gas station might or might not be a professional mechanic, but he knows an easy mark when he sees one.
posted by anastasiav at 10:19 AM on August 21, 2009


It would only smoke if the cylinder rings (or valves) were no longer sealing properly. Lack of oil can cause other things that won't smoke -- bearing failures for example -- which would mean a replacement engine or major rebuild. I'd guess at a big-end bearing failure from your description, but a mechanic should know more by listening.

Whether to spend the money on a replacement vehicle or replacement motor? I'd weigh the state of your current vehicle with "new" motor against the unknowns of a replacement vehicle -- what else is likely to fail in your current one, etc. In general I tend to repair rather than replace, going for the known rather than the unknown, but it's debatable.
posted by anadem at 10:22 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


you might have rod knock. does it sound like this? or i found this Q&A forum that recommends changing oil/filter first (check out MillyOwner's answer).
posted by bunny hugger at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2009


An oil change will not help in any way shape or form. New oil will not repair any of the damage done. Guessing will not help this issue.

You don't need to replace the engine if it's not blowing smoke out the exhaust or otherwise running badly.

This is not by any means true. Conversely, if the engine is blowing smoke out the exhaust, it isn't necessarily even a sign the engine needs replacing. That could happen with just one split piston ring (the lower oil seal one) - a relatively minor repair.

How much oil did you have to add? If it was much more than 2 litres (quarts) to get it back up to the full line, then the engine is most likely terminally damaged. If you drive it, it will only make itself worse, but not necessarily at any great rate. It's pretty difficult to tell from your description.

If an engine makes noise from running low on oil, this is very, very bad. All that noise is energy trashing the insides of the engine - things are bashing into each other or scraping together that should be separated by an oil film. This is not damage that will heal and will almost certainly significantly hasten the demise of the engine even if the oil level is religiously maintained from now.

What could the harm in driving it around be?

As the engine gets worse, it may seize as it dies, but it would most likely deteriorate audibly before that point. It may, though, seize when you are driving along the highway. This is potentially very dangerous. If it were me, I'd wing it and hope it gave me enough warning with another death rattle, but if you are at all not confident and/or likely to be stuck in the boonies it is probably not worth the risk.

Personally, I think the engine is screwed and I'd not spend another penny on it, save adding enough oil to it to get me by until it died. I think the other Tercel is an excellent idea, but you need to check compatibility of engine codes for wiring looms and the like.
posted by Brockles at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


KokuRyu: there was no oil to change :) since then I've added 4 new quarts.

Sice you guys gave me a bit more confidence I decided to take it for a spin. I stopped by and saw the '94 tercel. It looked pretty nice except for a little dent benind the driver's side door. I didn't do a test drive because it was raining (and I wanted to stall to see if my car would get better) I'm at a store now.

It's loud but it dosn't sound terrible, it actually sounds kind of like a jackhammer, and the oil light is on. It seems like I have way less power then normal as well, although oviously I'm not pushing it too hard. The oil level looked like it was way above what it was supposed to be yesterday, but if it was empty, wouldn't adding 4 quarts be the right amount? I'll check it again later. If there is too much, how big of a problem could it be?

If it is the hydrolic lifters, how long would it take to get back to normal? $600 for this '94 seems like a pretty good deal.

Thanks everyone!
posted by delmoi at 10:24 AM on August 21, 2009


Sorry, missed the main question: can I drive this?. Probably OK, but drive cautiously. You don't want the engine to seize up while you're tearing along. It's unlikely to happen now you've put oil in, but could.

Also note that it will probably use more oil now -- check it every time you put gas in, until you get a feel for how often you have to top it up.
posted by anadem at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2009


As far as I know, you can NOT put an earlier engine into a later model-year car. Period.
posted by notsnot at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2009


I am a shade tree mechanic, however I am not certified by Toyota or ASE, so take all this as free advice:

1) Have you ever done an engine swap before? It can be done, but is considered major surgery. Not the sort of thing you do in an afternoon with a 6 pack. You question leads me to believe you are not, and I would recommend against doing this.

2) Scored cylinders is the most likely, followed by cracked heads and blown gaskets. My advice is to drive it but be wary of any leaks or smoke. These are BAD signs. You can replace most of the gaskets yourself, if you have a manual and are handy with a wrench. This should run you $50-70 in parts. If you're really handy you could pull a junkyard head and replace that, rehoning cylinders is not for the faint of heart. Again, major surgery.

3) I'd drive it, but not on any long trips and not in stop and go traffic.

4) Yes, you can tell by looking at the engine serial number. You may also be able to tell by cosmetic details, I'd lurk at a Toyota forum to get these specific details.

Finally, what I'd do, and keep in mind that I'm used to clunkers, is I'd change the filter and drain and refill the oil from the bottom, not sucked out thru the spout, like some oil change places will do. You want all possible sludge or crap that has been worn off the engine removed ASAP. I'd then drive it for 2000 miles looking for leaks and/or smoke then change the oil and filter again. Keep newspaper under it, so leaks will be very easy to spot. If after 2000 miles you haven't found any problems, I'd drive it and not worry.

On preview: Brockles has the safest advice, and mine is me being cheap.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:26 AM on August 21, 2009


It's loud but it dosn't sound terrible, it actually sounds kind of like a jackhammer, and the oil light is on. It seems like I have way less power then normal as well, although oviously I'm not pushing it too hard. The oil level looked like it was way above what it was supposed to be yesterday

Low power plus jackhammer = fucked. It's dead. It will finally roll over soon.

If it is the hydrolic lifters, how long would it take to get back to normal?

It isn't, and it won't. Revving the engine with the right amount of oil in it usually clears this within a few seconds.

The oil level looked like it was way above what it was supposed to be yesterday, but if it was empty, wouldn't adding 4 quarts be the right amount?

There is a dipstick in your car with a min/max mark. This is your answer. Fill it up to the 'max' line and keep it there in future cars. Never let it go beyond the 'min' line. This should be obvious.
posted by Brockles at 10:28 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


listen to Brockels. engine failure due to oil starvation is a one-way street.
posted by klanawa at 10:31 AM on August 21, 2009


Brockles, even...
posted by klanawa at 10:32 AM on August 21, 2009


anadem: I think a new (or used) engine would cost more to have shipped and installed. $600 for a tercel in working order is pretty cheap. If I did get the '94 I would probably want to switch the engine to my dent-free automatic.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 AM on August 21, 2009


OK, here's what came to mind when I read this:

How attached are you to this car? It's 11 years old, and you're possibly looking at a repair for more than the vehicle is worth. If that's the case, you may need to have a talk with your Tercel about maybe its time that you started seeing other cars. That is, unless you are so attached to Tercels that you're going to insist that you're buried with one. And if there is internal engine damage, it will be very expensive to fix. Even if you find a junkyard motor for $500, you're still going to have to pay a lot of money to have it installed, probably at least $600, and it won't have a guarantee (if it does, you're still going to have to pay the labor to remove and install a replacement.)

Whether or not the 3E-E would fit, I'm not sure; Toyota has been known to use similar engine blocks for different engines (aka 20R and 22R.) But it goes beyond fit. There are also engine management issues and other myriad nits that can make things just not work. Also, the 5E-FE is a twin-cam engine, which means you'd lose a lot of power if the 3E-E did fit. And you'd be paying a lot of money to lose that power if the engine swap were possible.

Myself, I would start checking the market to see what cars I like and how much they are going for. This way if you decide that you need to get another vehicle, you're at least armed with a little knowledge and you don't have to make an "OMG I need a car right NOW!!!!" snap decision.

Good luck!
posted by azpenguin at 10:43 AM on August 21, 2009


Exact same thing happened to me (10 years ago). My '92 Tercel ran out of oil and I didn't notice it until it started making a loud clicking noise while I was driving it. I pulled over and checked the oil and it was bone dry. I filled it up again oil and the clicking did not stop and noticed there was a loss of power. Two weeks later the engine was toast.

I took it to the mechanic and got him to replace the engine with a slightly used one from Japan (40,000 miles).

It was shipped and swapped out for $1,400.00
posted by chugg at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2009


YMMV
posted by chugg at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2009


I'd say it's most likely that you've spun a bearing & it's merely a matter of time before you see a piston bouncing down the highway behind you or a rod coming through the hood (or both) after the engine destroys itself. Make sure you carry cell phone at all times & be sure there's a number for the 24 hour tow service in it. You may want to add towing coverage to your insurance also. It's a few bucks a month & will save you an exorbitant tow fee when (not if) the engine blows up on you.
posted by torquemaniac at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2009


$600 just to diagnose the problem? That doesn't sound right to me. I would try taking it to a mechanic (look on Yelp for instance to find a good one). I would then bring it to the mechanic and ask for an estimate. Before having them give you the estimate, ask how much they will charge for it. I'm not sure what the laws are in your area, but I think there are usually laws saying they can't charge more than a certain percent over their estimate without notifying you.

If I were in your place, I would ask if they could do the diagnoses for less than $100. If so, I would have it diagnosed. The problem might be something small, but then it also might not.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:53 AM on August 21, 2009


It sounds like a jackhammer!? I take back my earlier advice then, Brockles is absolutely right, even a Toyota engine will not survive this kind of treatment. Also: engine swaps are always more trouble than living with a dent and and engine and transmission swap is more trouble than just an engine swap.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:04 AM on August 21, 2009


Basically the same thing happened to me with my 1991 Tercel several years ago, and I decided to just keep driving it and see what happened. Two days later, while on the highway, one of the pistons violently pulled loose and tore a hole in the engine. Completely dead, I had to get the entire engine replaced. Thank god, I was driving early in the morning with not much traffic and wide shoulders on the side of the road; if that had happened at rush hour, I could have been in serious trouble. Don't risk it.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 11:07 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nthing that the engine is toast, and probably not worth replacing. I once had an early '80's Mazda 626 (back when the 626 was a fun car) rupture a radiator hose and overheat without me realizing it. The head warped and created an oil leak, spraying lubricant all over the inside of the engine compartment. I let it cool, fixed the hose, replaced the coolant and topped off the oil; it ran, but clicked noisily. A few days later I was on the freeway and the car started slowing down. A mile or so further on there was a loud clunk, the engine stopped turning and I coasted to a final stop. This, I fear, is what you have coming if you keep driving it. Sorry.
posted by jon1270 at 11:21 AM on August 21, 2009


As far as I know, you can NOT put an earlier engine into a later model-year car. Period.

Not true at all. That said, replacing an engine with the same kind of engine is a big project even for people who like working on cars, and replacing an engine with a different kind is... well, it's something you do when you're building a hot rod or a rock crawler, not something that you do when your goal is to get a reliable and inexpensive car.
posted by box at 11:24 AM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


DTMFA
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 AM on August 21, 2009


Nevermind, I'm with Brockles. You need a new car, and moving the engine from a new car just because it has a dent is NOT worth the money and hassle. Just suck it up and live with a dent. You're buying an 11-year-old, cheap car. You're not so high-class that you can't deal with a dented door, buddy.

Also, this is very important:

There is a dipstick in your car with a min/max mark. This is your answer. Fill it up to the 'max' line and keep it there in future cars. Never let it go beyond the 'min' line. This should be obvious.

Just because the oil isn't registering on the dipstick doesn't mean you should automatically put 4 quarts of oil in. Cars differ on the amount of oil that's below the dipstick in the oil reservoir. If your dipstick is above the "max" line right now, you put in too much oil. This is bad. Do not do this. If you need to put oil in your car, you pour in a quart, wait a minute, then check it. If it's still not registering on the dipstick, do that again with another quart. Repeat as necessary, but always check it to make sure you're not going over the max fill line. That line is there for a reason.
posted by booknerd at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2009


Not true at all

Depends on what state you're in. In states with emissions controls, it is illegal to put an older engine in a newer car.
posted by hwyengr at 11:42 AM on August 21, 2009


Just suck it up and live with a dent. You're buying an 11-year-old, cheap car. You're not so high-class that you can't deal with a dented door, buddy.

I was going to say "Unless the dent means the door or window doesn't operate properly," but delmoi could probably swap the door from his current car onto the beater. It would still be a shitty-looking beater, but it would be a shitty-looking beater with mismatched paint instead of a shitty-looking beater with a dented door.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:04 PM on August 21, 2009


It's not the door that's dented, it's the panel right behind the door. The rain cleared up so hopefully I can test-drive the '94 in a bit.
posted by delmoi at 12:17 PM on August 21, 2009


This is a total derail, hwyengr, but is it illegal to put an older engine in a newer car, or is it that such vehicles are not street-legal? Plenty of cars and trucks are driven only off-road, or on the track, or on the farm.
posted by box at 12:20 PM on August 21, 2009


I don't have much advice, but I can tell you that I ran my car without one drop of oil for about 35 miles. It sounded like a super-loud sewing machine. Everyone told me that this was it, the engine was gone, I'd have less than a week to get a new car.

I took it to a shop, got an oil change (even though I'd added oil, of course), and had them look at it. They said everything looked ok, but the engine surely would give out with that kind of beating.

That was about 60,000 miles ago. So, YMMV (heh) but sometimes the engine survives. I was pretty lucky, but maybe you'll be lucky too. Mine's a 1996 Saturn.
posted by Houstonian at 12:37 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Y'know, on some level I'm glad that so many other folks have had the same car and the same problem I had. I had a '94 Tercel, which had three concurrent problems—an oil pan bolt seized, making it nigh impossible to change the oil, an electrical problem that lit up the oil light even when there wasn't a problem, and finally an oil pan leak. I took, shall we say, sub-optimal care of my car, which meant that when it finally ran out of oil, the oil light flashed on briefly, I heard a rattle and thought, "Man, I'm getting off at the next exit," then the check engine light came on, there was a loud BANG! and the engine threw a rod through the hood of the car.

For me, this was, what, four years ago I think, it ended up costing $1000 all told to replace the engine, which was a better option than a new car (at the time). I think it was $650ish for the engine proper, and about $350 for the labor. It was an expensive lesson, but I've been very good about oil changes since.

I would call around and find out exactly what it would cost to replace the engine, since that's what you're looking at. I'd also say that the advice my father gave me—that you should always be friendly with at least one mechanic—would serve you well too.

Just one other question—was it a red Tercel? One of the 2-door manuals? I think now that I live here in California, those must have been the most popular cars ever, since there are about five perfect copies parked right now on my street alone. At the least, you know you'll always be able to get parts for it.
posted by klangklangston at 2:39 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before you go and put an engine in this car or buy a new vehicle entirely, give this a shot:
Go to Autozone (or similar) and buy TWO quarts of Lucas Engine Oil Stabilizer. Then, go to a shop and ask for an oil change where two of your four quarts of oil are substituted with the two quarts of Lucas. Lucas is super thick and clingy and, if you've damaged the fine clearances of your engine, the thick additive can help mitigate some of the noise and damage. It's definitely a "band-aid on a bullet wound" kind of fix, but I've had customers run out of oil (for whatever reason) and I've performed the Lucas Desperation Treatment on their cars, and a few of them have driven their cars for several months, some even for a year or two.
I sincerely encourage you to give this a shot before you spend any real money. I'm a professional mechanic and I'd do this if it were my car. You've got nothing to lose and potentially several more months of driving this car to gain. Hell, you could even put THREE quarts of Lucas in.
Really
, give this a shot and drive the car while you save up for the engine/new car you'll be buying.
In a world where you drove your car into my shop, this is how I would proceed with your car, given your circumstance.

By the way, you'll need an engine of the same year to perform a successful swap. There's an emissions standard changeover in 1996 (OBD II) and engines made before that can have completely different wiring harnesses and sensors. You'll have lots of problems if the options and emissions/engine management controls aren't TOTALLY identical.
posted by Jon-o at 3:10 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I went and test drove the '94 and... the brakes were going bad, so they'd need to be replaced as well.

The interior was pretty bad too, although as a manual it was fun to drive. The owner of the $1750 '97 (which was the same model year) just replied to my email as well, so that's a possibility to. I'll try to call various car repair places tomorrow and see how much it might cost to get the engine replaced. If I can get it done for $1k, then that would still be a better deal then another car, with who knows what potential problems. Hopefully some places might be open this weekend otherwise I'll call on Monday and see how much it would cost for, worst case, an engine replacement.
posted by delmoi at 6:07 PM on August 21, 2009


This is a weird time to say this, but it's also as good a time as any. Brockles, and Jon-o, thanks for your consistently excellent advice in car-repair-related questions. You dudes are, like, the ikkyu2s of this shit.
posted by box at 7:44 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meh, out on a limb but I bet it's a water pump/radiator issue stemming from the lack of oil. Water pumps make a lot of noise when they go, and it might explain the lack of power issue, too. Is your car overheating at all?
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:03 PM on August 21, 2009


water pump/radiator issue stemming from the lack of oil.
Water pumps generally aren't lubricated by the engine oil. They rely on the coolant itself for lubrication. That's why they leak coolant (and not oil) when their bearing deteriorates. They also make less of a "jackhammer" noise and more of a "shopping cart wheel" noise.
posted by Jon-o at 5:49 AM on August 22, 2009


You can always get it compression tested. This may tell you if it's seals, rings, valves or all of the above. I would do that before I bought a new engine or car.
posted by luckypozzo at 7:14 AM on August 22, 2009


You can always get it compression tested. This may tell you if it's seals, rings, valves or all of the above.

All of which are the least likely to have been damaged by running the engine with no oil. It will tell you absolutely nothing about the condition of the crank, big end and other bearings - which are by far the most likely things to have been damaged by running with no oil.

Guessing is not helping answer these questions.
posted by Brockles at 8:37 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guessing is not helping answer these questions.
This is true. Without actually taking stuff apart, the most reasonable assumption is that everything is damaged. When we get oil starvation/Sludge Campaign cars at Audi, we don't do a full tear down. We pull the cam cover off and check the cam bearing caps, since they're the most accessible bearing (there's often subframe obscuring the oil pan on an Audi). If even ONE is scored or burned, it's our warranty policy to assume that there's been other engine damage and the vehicle will require an entire new long-block at that point.
Even on the Toyota, that's a pretty easy preliminary check. The camshaft bearings on an overhead cam engine are the furthest bearing from the oil pump. If there's been an oil starvation situation, they're typically the first bearings to burn or wear. There's usually not a whole lot holding a Toyota cam cover on, save a hand-full of 10mm bolts and the spark plug wires. It's a good preliminary check. If that Lucas doesn't have any effect on the condition, I'd then move onto checking first the cam bearings and then get more serious and pull the oil pan off and check the connecting rod bearings and finally the mains. But, really, it's difficult to destroy a bottom end (crankshaft, conrod). There are very few companies that don't overbuild that assembly, the least of which is Toyota, the metric of reliability.
I would still have some hope. You may have shaved some years of the life of this motor, but, until we've moved forward with these preliminary checks and fixes, I'm not convinced that you've totally smoked this engine.
posted by Jon-o at 10:03 AM on August 22, 2009


I called a mechanic earlier today and they said I could stop by and they could listen to the motor themselves. As soon as they heard it start they said the engine was totally shot -- hopeless. They thought the bearings were shot.

I did get some Lucas Oil stabilizer put in (two quarts) and it did quiet things down. In particular, it had been making a loud noise when I started the engine, which would then quiet down, whereas now it doesn't make much of a noise unless I'm really pushing the gas (which I'm not doing).

I'm not doing any highway driving at all on this thing. I live in a smallish city and can get around by bicycle and bus for the most part.

The mechanic place said they'd charge $900 for the labor to install the engine, and the only replacement they were able to find was in Illinois for $950, which they said "smoked".

(Oh, reading through the comments: I'm not that attached to this model, but I thought $600 was pretty cheap for a '94 Toyota anything. :)
posted by delmoi at 1:52 PM on August 24, 2009


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