14th Jan 2016, 15:30
The car is still fine; a 4 wheel balance and alignment and an oil and oil filter change is all that has happened and all that was needed. I did replace the spark plugs with new Denso Iridium twin tips which weren't really needed, but I wanted to. These will last nearly 100,000km so anti-seize went on the threads. Remember if you use anti seize on these, not to over tighten the plugs. Glad I put them on the old plugs which hadn't been taken out for a long time; they came out with no thread grabbing. They showed no signs of abnormal operation.
Other things were just making sure the distributor cap and rotor were clean, all hinges, latches and locks lubricated. Replaced the buttons in the central locking remotes as the rubber had perished (nifty eBay sellers sell silicone replacement buttons which just click in).
That slight clutch shudder when cold mentioned before disappeared soon after. I'm sure it was just some slight corrosion on the drive plate due to an engine bay clean and some water going down the inspection hole.
Only other thing was a can of liquid moly fuel system cleaner, as the car was only getting used for short trips so had a lot of cold rich running for a while. This had started to show in decreased fuel economy, so a 400km stint on the freeway helped clear some of that carbon build up.
21st Jul 2017, 11:36
The car has hit 170,000km now (I take the public transport to work). The car is 19 years old now and the engine has started to show signs of valve stem seal degradation. After sitting for a week, the car emits a puff of oil burning smoke (blue/white) on start up for about 5 seconds. If started at shorter intervals there's no smoke.
I'm getting a quote to replace the seals, but the cost to replace these is usually very high (labour wise) and I can't justify the cost on what is not exactly a rare/collectible/historic car. If I had the money to splash about I would get them done, because the car still has a lot more life left in it and it's still in excellent condition in other respects.
I will probably keep the car for a little while longer till I decide on a replacement car or the start-up smoke gets worse. I'd hate to see it go, but unfortunately I only have funds/space to keep one car.
4th Mar 2018, 01:48
Reviewer update 4/03/2018
The Corolla started to puff a little smoke on startup signalling that the 20 year old valve stem seals needed replacing; also a shuddering clutch indicated possible issues with the pressure plate. These repairs are rather expensive in terms of labour and it looked like it would need engine/transmission mounts as well.
Bearing in mind this repair cost would run into the thousands, I bit the bullet and sold the old Corolla off and purchased a Mazda 2 sedan.
Thank you to my old car for giving me so many years of trouble free motoring and keeping that 90s Japanese car fun element.