Sign in to follow this  
nginx

Corolla 9 / e120 - 1.4 VT-i 4ZZ-FE history (when was the oil problem fixed?)

Recommended Posts

Hello!

As I'm trying to find a decent used Corolla e120 with the 1.4 VVT-i engine, I'd like to understand which model of the 4ZZ-FE have the upgraded rings and/or pistons.

It seems to me that the early 4ZZ-FE, sold in the e110 and early (2012?) e120 was burning a lot of Oil. Toyota then changed the rings to better ones, and (when?) then changed the pistons for ones with 8 holes the the Oil rather than 4, and at some point also added more Oil capacity (4.2 or 4.7 litres vs 3.7 in older engines).

It seems clear that the 2005+ engines are better than the older ones, but these are harder to find.

Does anyone know more about the history of the 4ZZ-FE engine, which ones are subject to high Oil consumption, and which ones are "safe" to buy?

The Toyota Service Bulletin about this issue would imply that fixed engines are only available in cars built in 2005 and onward, but we can read contradictory stuff on the web about that.

For example, I found interesting stuff on the 1ZZ-FE (US but very similar to the 4ZZ) here:

Quote

9th Gen Corollas with average to good maintenance DO NOT burn oil. This is true regardless of year or transmission.

3. All 9th Gen Corollas have different pistons than the 8th Gen Corolla. There were 5 total piston/ring combos. The production change was made as follows:

8th Gen non VVT-I (08/1997 - 04/2000) - Piston 13101-22020 Rings - 13011-22040

8th Gen VVT-I (05/2000 - 12/2001) - Piston 13101-0D040 Rings - 13011-0D010

9th Gen 2003-2004 Early Rings (01/2002 - 05/2003) - Piston 13101-0D090 Rings - 13011-0D010

9th Gen 2004-2005 Late Rings (06/2003 - 04/2005) - Piston 13101-0D090 Rings - 13011-0D090

9th Gen 2003-2004 Late Pistons (05/2005 - 12/2007) - Piston 13101-0D091 Rings - 13011-0D090

This concerns the 1ZZFE, but is that the same for the 4ZZFE? Could the engine be 'fixed' even in the early ones? Did the rings / piston change everywhere in the world at the same rate? If so, do the pistons of early Gen 9 corolla come with the 8 holes - or do this engine keeps 4 holes piston until 05/2005?

On this other website (among really interesting stuff about these ZZ engines) we can read:

Quote

The main problem of ZZ series is so well-known that entered the folklore - high oil consumption, which often occured even during the warranty. The main reason - the structural defects causing piston rings seizure.
"There were problems with the engines until 2001, but then they were fixed and now everything is all right" - such straightforward misinformation often used by owners who need to resell cars with these ill-fated engines. In fact, repeated Toyota's attempts to resolve the problem only by installation of a new modifications of the rings were absolutely useless.
Noticeable result was obtained after major upgrade in the mid-2005, when the new pistons and new piston rings were implemented and by half-liter was increased the nominal capacity of lubrication system.

What's the truth? Is it risky to buy a used Corolla from 2003 to mid-2005?

If it seems that even if the "real fix" was indeed done in 2005, updated rings (and maybe even pistons?) could have solved the problem on earlier models, but I'm not sure about that.

Anybody knows more and can share some hints?

Thanks a bunch!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

FrostyBalls is the man to clarify which engines were affected, but from what I remember of previous posts, as you say Mid 2005 saw the problem overcome.

Are you in the UK, just that our Corolla models ended late 2006/early2007 and became the Auris, but IE etc still contiuned with the Corolla., so not sure what year model you are looking at  , later than 2006 ?

You could also look at the 1.6 3ZZ,  a good bit more power and still economical. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi.

Thanks for your answer!

I'm from France, here we find cars built in JP and in the UK. It seems to me that both are (can be?) affected in the same way.

I'd be looking for a 2002-2007 one. I'd prefer a 2006 or later one to be on the safe side, but it's more easy to find 2003 ones around here... that's why I wanted to know if pre 2005 ones had to be avoided at all cost or not.

The 3ZZ seems nice, but it has been affected by the same issue, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Oil consumption issue was supposedly fixed on cars built from July 2005. However it is likely that some cars built before July 2005 would have been first registered after this date.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, thanks!

Do you know how long it takes between when a car is built and when it can be sold/registered? i.e is it safe to assume that a car registered in early 2006 will have been built later than July 2005?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats hard to say, I know mine was built after May 2006  as some of the parts had date stickers on them, and it was  sold September 2006,

With being imported to France it could add several months and even more if from Japan, so would suggest you go for late 2006 or even early 2007.

Going for a later model is likely to be a better buy anyway, less wear and tear; as well as the 1.4 & 1.6 petrol, what about the Diesels ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, oldcodger said:

Going for a later model is likely to be a better buy anyway, less wear and tear; as well as the 1.4 & 1.6 petrol, what about the Diesels ?

You're right, but later model are harder to find (and it seems like some later ones often have gearbox problems).

I was focussing on the petrol because of new taxes on diesel and the fact that a petrol engine isn't as polluting as its diesel counterpart. Usually cars with diesel engines have been used a lot more around here, and keep a better value on the second hand market, making it hard to find decent ones at a fair price.

That being said it's probably better to buy a diesel engine that has been used for long trips than to get a petrol one that stayed parked because it's been burning a lot of Oil for years!

I didn't read much about the diesel engines yet, are they all good? Something special to be careful of? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not read about gearbox problems on later models ?  - not in this forum anyway.

Mine has done 120k Miles and changes very smoothly, but has lately developed a little whine, though a local specialist gearbox garage says they can repair it  when needed.

Never had any diesel car, but any car , of any make , over 15 years old and with many thousands of miles is going to have some potential problems, but as is well known Toyota are just about the most reliable on the market.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your answer. Did you change the Oil of your gearbox a couple of times?

From what I read, gearbox problem mostly affects the 6 speed manual transmission anyway, and they don't all suddenly break, it's more that they aren't as durable as the old 5 ones but the problem can be fixed if taken care of early. That doesn't seem to affect too many people, and even less so with the 5 speed gearbox.

Back on the Oil consumption issue, I spoke to a guy working as a mechanic at Toyota since the early 2000's, he said he didn't see specific problems with 1.4 VVT-i engines in E120s. It seems that even if some people still had problem after 2002 most of the trouble is with 2000-2002 engines.

I found a pretty cheap 03, that seems to have been taken care of really well. The current owner told me he doesn't need to add any Oil between two Oil changes. Likely gonna give this car a chance even though I don't know if it has the improved pistons or not and see how it goes as its engine appears to be very good mechanical condition (a 2006 Corolla or an Auris would be more expensive or come with more km).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Yes, the gearbox Oil has been changed at the recommended 40,000 Miles or 4 years.

Would have thought if that 03 had a mechanical engine problem it would have surfaced long ago, whats it mileage ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, oldcodger said:

Would have thought if that 03 had a mechanical engine problem it would have surfaced long ago, whats it mileage ?

That's my thought exactly. 130 000km (80k miles). Very regular maintenance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds ideal then  :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just in case some people look for the same information in the future: I drove around 5000 km in my 03 E120 and it didn't burn a drop of Oil.

So even though the problem have been fixed in 2005, if the car has been taken good care of in the past it's possible to have no Oil consumption problem at all on an older 4ZZ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this