Toyota Corolla 1970-1987 Repair Guide

Pistons and Connecting Rods

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REMOVAL



See Figures 1 through 7

Before removing the pistons, the top of the cylinder bore must be examined for a ridge. A ridge at the top of the bore is the result of normal cylinder wear; caused by the piston rings only traveling so far up the bore in the course of the piston stroke. If the ridge can be felt by hand, it must be removed before the pistons are removed.

A ridge reamer is necessary for this operation. Place the piston at the bottom of its stroke and cover it with a rag. Cut the ridge away with the ridge reamer, using extreme care to avoid cutting too deeply. Remove the rag, then remove the cuttings that remain on the piston with a magnet and a rag soaked in clean oil. Make sure the piston top and cylinder bore are absolutely clean before moving the piston.



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Fig. Fig. 1: Cylinder ridge



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Fig. Fig. 2: Removing the ride from the cylinder bore using a ridge cutter

  1. Remove the engine from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the cylinder head assembly.
  4.  
  5. Remove the oil pan.
  6.  
  7. If necessary, remove the oil pump assembly.
  8.  
  9. Matchmark the connecting rod cap to the connecting rod with a scribe; each cap must be reinstalled on its proper rod in the proper direction. Remove the connecting rod bearing cap and the rod bearing. Number the top of each piston with silver paint or a felt-tip pen for later assembly.
  10.  
  11. Cut lengths of 3 / 8 in. diameter rubber hose to use as rod bolt guides. Install the hose over the threads of the rod bolts, to prevent the bolt threads from damaging the crankshaft journals and cylinder walls when the piston is removed.
  12.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: If difficulty is encountered removing the bearing cap, tap upward gently on the piston stud (using a brass drift) in order to help free the cap

  1. Squirt some clean engine oil onto the cylinder wall from above until the wall is coated. Carefully push the piston and rod assembly up and out of the cylinder by tapping on the bottom of the connecting rod with a wooden hammer handle.
  2.  
  3. Place the rod bearing and cap back on the connecting rod, then temporarily install the nuts. Using a number stamp or punch, stamp the cylinder number on the side of the connecting rod and cap; this will help keep the proper piston and rod assembly on the proper cylinder.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Use lengths of rubber hose over the piston studs to protect the crankshaft journals and cylinder walls during piston removal and installation



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Fig. Fig. 5: Push the piston out from underneath the engine using a wooden (hammer) handle

On all Toyota engines covered by this information, the cylinders are numbered 1-4 from front to back

  1. Remove the remaining pistons in a similar manner. When ready for reassembly, please note the following:
    1. Connecting rods/caps must be reinstalled in the same cylinder and are so marked. Make sure that the markings on the rod and cap are on the same side when reassembling.
    2.  
    3. The piston pins are matched to the pistons and are not interchangeable.
    4.  
    5. The arrow notch top of the piston must face forward (toward the timing chain). The oil hole in the connecting rod faces the same direction as the arrow on top of the piston.
    6.  
    7. Rings are installed with the code markings upward, plain ring at the top, taper face second, and beveled oil control ring at the bottom. Offset each ring gap as illustrated later in this section.
    8.  

  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: Matchmark the connecting rod and cap to assure proper installation



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Fig. Fig. 7: A number stamp on the piston and cap will assure the assembly is installed in the proper bore

PISTON RING AND WRIST PIN REMOVAL



See Figures 8 through 15

Pistons are mounted onto the connecting rods by wrist pins. The wrist pins are retained either by circlips, or are pressed through the rod. Servicing press fitted wrist pins should be done by a machine shop. Circlip retained wrist pins are serviced by removing the circlip with a pair of circlip pliers and pushing out the pin.

A piston ring expander is necessary for removing piston rings without damaging them; any other method (screwdriver blades, pliers, etc.) usually results in the rings being bent, scratched or distorted, or the piston itself being damaged. When the rings are removed, clean the ring grooves using an appropriate ring groove cleaning tool, using care not to cut too deeply. Thoroughly clean all carbon and varnish from the piston with solvent.


CAUTION
Do not use a wire brush or caustic solvent (acids, etc.) on pistons!



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Fig. Fig. 8: Some wrist pins are retained by a circlip (snapring)



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Fig. Fig. 9: Use a ring expander tool to remove or install the piston rings



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Fig. Fig. 10: Clean the piston grooves using a ring groove cleaner

Inspect the pistons for scuffing, scoring, cracks, pitting, or excessive ring groove wear. If they are evident, the pistons must be replaced.

The piston should also be checked in relation to the cylinder diameter. Using a telescoping gauge and micrometer, or a dial gauge, measure the cylinder bore diameter perpendicular (90°) to the piston pin, 2 1 / 2 in. below the cylinder block deck (surface where the block mates with the heads). Then, with the micrometer, measure the piston perpendicular to its wrist pin on the skirt. The difference between the two measurements is the piston clearance. If the clearance is within specifications or slightly below (after the cylinders have been bored or honed), finish honing is all that is necessary. If the clearance is excessive, try to obtain a slightly larger piston to bring clearance within specifications. If this is not possible, obtain the first oversize piston and hone (or if necessary, bore) the cylinder to size. Generally, if the cylinder bore is tapered 0.005 in. (0.127mm) or more, or is out-of-round 0.003 in. (0.076mm) or more, it is advisable to rebore for the smallest possible oversize piston and rings. After measuring, mark the pistons with a felt-tip pen for reference and assembly.

Cylinder honing and/or boring should be performed by an authorized service technician with the proper equipment. In some cases, clean-up honing can be done with the cylinder block in the car, but most excessive honing and all cylinder boring must be done with the block stripped and removed from the car



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Fig. Fig. 11: Cylinder bore measuring points



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Fig. Fig. 12: The cylinder bore may be measured using a dial gauge



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Fig. Fig. 13: A telescoping gauge may also be used to measure the cylinder bore diameter



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Fig. Fig. 14: Remove the telescoping gauge and measure it with a micrometer



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Fig. Fig. 15: Measure the piston's outer diameter using a micrometer

PISTON RING END-GAP



See Figure 16

Piston ring end-gap should be checked while the rings are removed from the pistons. Incorrect end-gap indicates that the wrong size rings are being used: ring breakage could occur.

Compress the piston rings to be used in a bore, one at a time, into that cylinder. Squirt clean oil into the bore, so that the rings and the top 2 in. of cylinder wall are coated. Using an inverted piston, carefully press the rings to a level approximately 1 in. below the deck of the block. Measure the ring end-gap with a feeler gauge, and compare to the specifications chart in this section. If necessary, carefully pull the ring out of the cylinder and file the ends squarely with a fine file to obtain the proper clearance.



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Fig. Fig. 16: Checking the piston ring end-gap

PISTON RING SIDE CLEARANCE CHECK AND INSTALLATION



See Figures 17 through 21

Check the pistons to see that the ring grooves and oil return holes have been properly cleaned. Slide a piston ring into its groove, and check the side clearance with a feeler gauge. Make sure that you insert the gauge between the ring and its lower land (lower edge of the groove), because any wear that occurs forms a step at the inner portion of the lower land. If the piston grooves have worn to the extent that relatively high steps exist on the lower land, the piston should be replaced, because these will interfere with the operation of the new rings and ring clearances will be excessive. Piston rings are not furnished in oversize widths to compensate for ring groove wear.



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Fig. Fig. 17: Check the ring-to-piston ring groove clearance using a feeler gauge

Install the rings on the piston, lowest ring first, using a piston ring expander. There is a high risk of breaking or distorting the rings, or scratching the piston, if the rings are installed by hand or other means.

Position the rings on the piston as illustrated; spacing of the various piston ring gaps is crucial to proper oil retention and even cylinder wear. When installing new rings, refer to the installation diagram furnished with the new parts.

For piston positioning information, please refer to Step 8 of the Piston and Connecting Rod Removal procedure in this section



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Fig. Fig. 18: Piston ring positioning-A-series engines



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Fig. Fig. 19: Piston ring positioning-K-series engines



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Fig. Fig. 20: Piston ring positioning-T-series engines



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Fig. Fig. 21: Piston ring positioning-1C-L engine

CYLINDER BORE INSPECTION



As stated earlier under piston removal, the cylinder bore should be inspected whenever the piston is removed. Place a rag over the crankshaft journals. Wipe out each cylinder with a clean, solvent-soaked rag. Visually inspect the cylinder bores for roughness, scoring or scuffing; also check the bores by feel. Measure the cylinder bore diameter using an inside micrometer, a dial gauge, or a telescope gauge and micrometer. Measure the bore at points parallel and perpendicular to the engine centerline at the top (below the ridge) and bottom of the bore. Subtract the bottom measurements from the top to determine cylinder taper.

Measure the piston diameter with a micrometer; since this micrometer may not be part of your tool kit as it is necessarily large, you might want to have the pistons miked at a machine shop. Take the measurements at right angles to the wrist pin center line, about an inch down the piston skirt from the top. Compare this measurement to the bore diameter of each cylinder; the difference is the piston clearance. If the clearance is greater than that specified in the piston and ring chart (located earlier in this section), have the cylinders honed or rebored and replace the pistons with an oversize set. Piston clearance can also be checked by inverting a piston into an oiled cylinder, and sliding in a feeler gauge between the two. Keep in mind this method is least recommended as it is the least accurate and is the easiest way to score the cylinder.

CONNECTING ROD BEARINGS



Connecting rod bearings for the engines covered in this guide consist of two halves or shells which are interchangeable in the rod and cap. When the shells are placed in position, the ends extend slightly beyond the rod and cap surfaces so that when the rod bolts are torqued, the shells will be clamped tightly in place to insure positive seating and to prevent turning. A tang holds the shells in place.

The ends of the bearing shells must never be filed flush with the mating surface of the rod and cap

If a rod bearing becomes noisy or is worn so that its clearance on the crank journal is sloppy, a new bearing of the correct undersize must be selected and installed since there is no provision for adjustment.


CAUTION
Under no circumstances should the rod end or cap be filed to adjust the bearing clearance, nor should shims of any kind be used!

Inspect the rod bearings while the rod assemblies are out of the engine. If the shells are scored or show flaking, they should be replaced. If they are in good shape check for proper clearance on the crank journal. Any scoring or ridges on the crank journal means the crankshaft must be replaced, or reground and fitted with undersized bearings. An undersize bearing is physically larger than a stock bearing, but contains a smaller inner diameter in order to compensate for the material which was removed from the crankshaft journal during grinding.

Checking Bearing Clearance and Replacing Bearings

See Figures 22, 23, 24 and 25

Replacement bearings are available in standard size, and in undersizes for reground crankshafts. Connecting rod-to-crankshaft bearing clearance is checked using Plastigage® or an equivalent gauging material, at either the top or bottom of each crank journal. Plastigage typically has a range of 0.001-0.003 in. (0.025-0.076mm).

  1. Remove the rod cap with the bearing shell. Completely clean the bearing shell and the crank journal, then blow any oil from the oil hole in the crankshaft; Plastigage® is soluble in oil.
  2.  
  3. Place a piece of Plastigage® lengthwise along the bottom center of the lower bearing shell, then install the cap with shell and torque the bolt or nuts to specification. DO NOT turn the crankshaft with Plastigage® in the bearing.
  4.  
  5. Remove the bearing cap with the shell. The flattened Plastigage® will be found sticking to either the bearing shell or crank journal. Do not remove it yet.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 22: Apply a strip of gauging material to the bearing shell or the crank journal



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Fig. Fig. 23: After installing and torquing the retainers, remove the shell and compare the material to the scale provided with the package

  1. Use the scale printed on the Plastigage® envelope to measure the flattened material at its widest point. The number within the scale which most closely corresponds to the width of the Plastigage® indicates bearing clearance in thousandths of an inch.
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  3. Check the specifications charts located earlier in this section for the desired clearance. It is advisable in most cases to install a new bearing if clearance exceeds 0.003 in. (0.076mm); however, if the bearing is in good condition and is not being checked because of bearing noise, replacement is not necessary.
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  5. If you are installing new bearings, try a standard size, then each undersize in order until one is found that is within the specified limits (when checked for clearance with Plastigage®). Each undersize shell has its size stamped on it.
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  7. When the proper size shell is found, clean off the Plastigage®, oil the bearing thoroughly, reinstall the cap with its shell and torque the rod bolt nuts to the proper specifications.
  8.  

With the proper bearing selected and the nuts torqued, it should be possible to move the connecting rod back and forth freely on the crank journal as allowed by the specified connecting rod end clearance. If the rod cannot be moved, either the rod bearing is too far undersize, or a problem exists with the thrust bearing or the rod is misaligned



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Fig. Fig. 24: Once a proper bearing size has been determined, install the bearings and cap



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Fig. Fig. 25: Use a torque wrench to assure proper installation

PISTON/CONNECTING ROD ASSEMBLY AND INSTALLATION



See Figures 26, 27 and 28

Install the connecting rod to the piston, making sure piston installation notches and any marks on the rod are in proper relation to one another. Lubricate the wrist pin with clean engine oil, and install the pin into the rod and piston assembly, either by hand or by using a wrist pin press, as required. If equipped, install snaprings and rotate them in their grooves to make sure they are seated. To install the piston and connecting rod assembly:



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Fig. Fig. 26: Piston positioning



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Fig. Fig. 27: Installing the piston into the block using a ring compressor and a wooden tool handle



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Fig. Fig. 28: Check the connecting rod side clearance using a feeler gauge

  1. Make sure that the connecting rod big-end bearings (including end cap) are of the correct size and properly installed.
  2.  
  3. Fit rubber hoses over the connecting rod bolts to protect the crankshaft journals, as done during the piston removal procedure. Coat the rod bearings with clean oil.
  4.  
  5. Using the proper ring compressor, insert the piston assembly into the cylinder so that the word TOP or arrow faces the front of the engine (this assumes that the dimples or other markings on the connecting rods are in the correct relationship).
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  7. From beneath the engine, coat each crank journal with clean oil. Pull the connecting rod, with the bearing shell in place, into position against the crank journal.
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  9. Remove the rubber hoses. Install the bearing cap and cap nuts and torque to the proper specifications.
  10.  

When more than one rod and piston assembly is being installed, the connecting rod cap attaching nuts should only be tightened enough to keep each rod in position until all have been installed. This will ease the installation of the remaining piston assemblies

  1. Check the clearance between the sides of the connecting rods and the crankshaft using a feeler gauge. Spread the rods slightly using a screwdriver to insert the gauge. If clearance is below the minimum tolerance, the rod may be machined to provide adequate clearance. If clearance is excessive, substitute an unworn rod, and recheck. If clearance is still outside specifications, the crankshaft must be welded and reground, or replaced.
  2.  
  3. Install the oil pump, if removed, and the oil pan.
  4.  

 
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