2003 Toyota Corolla Possible Rod Knocking

Tiny
JAMIPRICE
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 TOYOTA COROLLA
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 140,000 MILES
Let me start by saying that I know nothing about cars and I'm just looking for some help from someone uninvolved. The timing chain on my 2003 Corolla broke while driving this February. I had my car towed to a repair shop, who replaced the timing chain, tensioner, the water pump, and gears which they said broke also. After all these costly repairs, they let me know that there were valves in my engine that were bent and this meant my car would have to have a new engine. My father found a "good" used engine with about 70,000 miles on it and had it installed. The used engine came with a thirty day warranty from the day of purchase. The motor was installed by a friend of my dad's and because he works full time, this took about two weeks. Before I got my car back, my dad also replaced brakes, rotors, wheel bearings, and every little thing else that needed repaired, so the warranty was gone before I got to drive my car at all. The first day I drove it, the check engine light came on. The car had an obvious miss and no power at all. I took it to a local auto parts store and was told there was a third cylinder missfire. On the way home from there, there was a very loud pecking noise coming from the engine, which my husband says is a rod knocking, which means the engine that is in my car will have to be replaced. It still runs, but sounds horrible and since I don't want to end up broke down on the side of the road in the middle of the night again, it is parked. I would just like to know what may be causing this and how to fix it. I do not want to sink a lot more money into this car, since I have put over $3000 in it already and it still isn't driveable. Can my engine be rebuilt or repaired instead of being replaced? Should I take my car to someone besides my father or my husband and get a professional opinion or does it sound like they are right about what is wrong? I really don't know what to do!
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Monday, July 6th, 2009 AT 4:33 PM

2 Replies

Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Hello, and sorry to hear of your troubles.

If it really is a rod knock, you are going to have to throw some money at it.

This is how I check for a rod knock.
With the engine running, I blip the throttle a little and quickly let it close.
As the engine RPM is going down, the knock will turn into kinda a fluttering sound.

Second test to do is remove the spark plug wires one at a time and see if how the noise changes when you get to the bad one.

If it really is a bad rod bearing, you should stop driving it. You may be able to fix it for a few hundred dollars. But if you keep driving it, It's going to leave you stranded, and you'll need another engine.

PS, and I rarely sling mud at other mechanics. There are always bits and pieces of the story that was left out.
Saying that, If you broke a timing chain, they should have never started that other work without checking the valves.
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Monday, July 6th, 2009 AT 10:17 PM
Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
Good advice from Buddy.

They mechanics should NEVER have replaced the chain without checking the valves (leak down test).

The replacement engine should have at least a 90 day warranty (they will replace engine, not labor).

Really if rod is bad, your only choice is to replace it with a used 1ZZFE engine. New or rebuild engines can run $4000 and up.

Also note that it is HIGHLY unusual for a rod or chain to go bad unless the engine was run low on oil.

NEVER run a Toyota engine low on oil, especially the newer all aluminum engines.
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Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 AT 10:42 AM

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