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Disappearing Oil...on An 04....


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Hi guys,

So I've owned my 140 vvti for about 4 months now and love it. However...I've noticed (fortunately quickly enough) that it seems to like to either drink oil (which I know was a common problem on the pre-facelift) or leak it.

I can't see any noticeable leaks from the oil filter, or sump plug, and the block seems to be bone dry. The only think I can see is a bit of a seepage from the rear of the valve cover...but I'm not convinced that what I'm seeing is big enough to be responsible for the oil consumption I'm seeing (I am still in the process of calculating how many miles per litre) but the dipstick will drop a few mm is I really rake it..

Now after noticing my oil was going somewhere, my first though was blocked oil returns- so I changed the oil again after 1000 miles and ran a can of Wynn's engine flush, refilled with 5w30 and fitted a new Fram filter. I am still noticing my oil is draining- I know these engines naturally will use a bit, but IMHO it shouldn't be using as much as it is.

Really I'm hoping someone else out there has had similar problems on a facelift and managed to solve them without a rebuild. My next port of call will be to replace that valve cover gasket- my hope is that my oil is seeping out onto the exhaust manifold and is being burnt that way. That's a lot easier fixed! If that doesn't work-or even if it does- I think I'll be switching to 5w40 for the future.

Any opinions would be appreciated!


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Unfortunately a 2004 1ZZFE 1.8 VVti Celica is pre the 2005 countermeasure implemented by Toyota to fix an excessive oil consumption problem on the #ZZ series of VVti engines.

The fix was a series of modifications which included a new short motor with modified pistons, piston rings, dipstick ( to increase the oil level ) & different thermostat

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Hi there, the vvti ZZ oil problem has been documented, documented and documented to death. So much so that it all most seems to have taken on a life of it's own fast becoming an urban myth if you ask me. Oh there is lot more than just a grain of truth there but, myself included, watch our oil consumption almost waiting for that sword to fall and have the ring and drain hole issues we feel is inevitably around the corner.

Now, I found a post on Toyota Nation or TRD can't remember which from Toyota mechanic who has found many ZZs are leaking oil in behind the timing cover most commonly from the timing chain tensioner. He was saying that the fix is simply applying something like hermitte but specifically oil and heat resistant. Apparently this is remarkably common in his experience and because it's behind a cover and down close near the inner wing behind wheelarch liners where it's very hard to see anyway it's regularly missed and as there are no obvious other signs of leakage and the engines reputation it's often misdiagnosed as the dreaded vvti oil burning problem were all primed to accept is only a matter of time.

Interestingly I had to fit a new radiator so had the drivers side wheel and liner off and decided to check as I use some oil though much better Toyotas recommended maximum acceptable oil consumption but there it was oil coming ftom behind the timing cover and down the back of the engine..... i'd been checking for leaks all over the engine but there was no way it was visible until the wheel and liner were removed and i got right in under the arch and looked properly.

I've not done anything about it as it does seem it will be an awkward fix and the usage is completely manageable right now but the time, no doubt will come when it will need done.

I hope this gives you another angle to approach this from and thats what the problem is rather than an internal engine problem :)

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That could prove to be a decent shout. I've just had a geoffry down the back of the engine and taken a few snaps. You can see a bit of an leak coming from what looks like the timing chain tensioner- either that or the head :/

I've since googled, and found that other people have had this before. Now, I know that there doesn't look to be a massive amount of oil there. But one thing I have noticed is that I burn a significant amount of oil when I'm raking it. How much of a possibility do you reckon it is that the oil is leaking from that tensioner, and is being burnt off on the hot exhaust manifold?

I'd appreciate any opinions!

IMG 5809

IMG 5807

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Hello again, it's actually very hard to tell from the photos how bad it actaully is, for an example i'm posting 2 photos i took from inside my drivers side wheelarch looking up and in towards the general rear timing cover/ex manifold area and it peobably doesn't look like theres much of an oil leak at all but i'm running 5W-30 oil that's only about 1000 miles old and is still a pretty clean golden brown looking colour. Also i couldn't see from above at all but you should get a sense of the area it's appearing from at least.



I think we're clearly suffering from a similar issue though, I lose more oil when I'm tanking the engine a lot more and I do get a hot oily burnt smell but not particularly strong whereas if I drive like my old man then there's no smell or loss of oil at all

As for whether it's the tensioner or not I won't know for sure until I take the cover off and properly look which I haven't done yet but curiously enough when I changed my oil and filter nearly a 1000 miles ago I bought Wynns Oil Flush, debated whether to use it or not but decided to in the end with the result I suffered dramatic oil useage for the first week... 200-250 miles until it settled down to something like normal.

Engine flush can remove some of the built up older oil that has sealed the rings etc that's why the useage can get notceably worse until it reseals again which mine seems to have done now.

I've vaccum tested mine with no signs of trouble, taken the plugs out twice to look at their state n colour which was really good they showed a clean burning engine and compressioned tested it to find even after a good long drive at op temp the compression was extremely good across all four cylinders.

The only thing I did notice was when I changed the radiator I took the throttle body, inlet manifold off and found signs of oil evenly distributed across all 8 inlet valves and each throat plus a patch on the side nearest the block inside the manifold so it seems some oil is going through PCV system and rebunt, some leaking and some general useage.

That's how it is with mine ans yours sounds and looks very similar under similar conditions but I can't say that is the problem for sure but it sounds a very rral possibility though.

Mines a 1ZZ-FE Avensis but i should imagine all applications aere very similar.....

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