The Big Problem with 4 Cylinder Car Engines

The Big Problem with 4 Cylinder Car Engines


rev up your engines, Gonzalez says
Scotty why do four-cylinder Toyotas vibrate in idle, a lot of cars
vibrate in idle, the ones that don’t have actually anti vibration parts inside the
engine, like you take a lot of the four-cylinder especially the older Honda
Accords, they were extremely smooth but what they had was, they had a timing belt
that ran the cam to run the valves, but then inside that, they had another belt
that went to an anti vibration shaft that spun to get rid of the vibration of
a four-cylinder engine, and man they were really smooth, now cost more money to
make them that way and you lose a little bit of horsepower in the engine for that,
but engines can be made that way, now Toyota and to my knowledge I’ve never
seen one, never made anything had anti vibration systems in them so they’ll
vibrate a little, it doesn’t hurt anything and you actually get better gas
mileage if you don’t put that in, because it takes energy to run the anti
vibration system, most four-cylinder engines are going to vibrate a little
because they’re little and they only have four cylinders, the more cylinders
you add the smoother they are, that’s why ages ago a lot of the big fancy ones
went to v12 of course they’re really smooths with v12, you got six cylinders
on each side and they all balance each other out, Caraballo says Scotty is a
scion fr-s a good sporty looking reliable car looking to buy one at a
good price you know their sporty good-looking cars
I got a customer that’s got one that he bought it for that very same reason, it was
a four-cylinder one, he’s loved the car he got a standard transmission and he
likes how fast it is he drives like a maniac, so know you he liked the acceleration
of it but if it’s an automatic you know they’re a little out of slow side I
gotta say, but as a standard they’re a very quick little car and if you change
the oil regularly they’re very reliable cars too and you can’t really call it a
sports car but you did say sporty and they are sporty cars, you know Toyota
never really was in the sports car market, that isn’t their thing, look at their
new one it’s basically it’s really a Subaru makes them, I’d driven them and you
know they’re nice cars they can get around their sporty but they’re not
sports cars, they’re not all that quick and for the money of a brand new one I’d buy
something else myself, Kevin Clarke says, on a lease car should
I change the oil or have the dealership do it, change
it yourself, oil is oil as long as you change the oil, you don’t have to pay a bunch
of money at some dealership that has
something done, you’re leasing it’s not even your car so you know what do you
care, just and it’s law I know it’s law because of the
Magnusson warranty act is, as long as you keep the receipts of where you
buy the oil and filter from and change it, you’re proving that the oils been
changed for, I know when you take the lease and
you got to prove that you’ve maintained the car they can charge money for it, but
as long as you keep the receipts it’s legal
because I had a customer they tried to get him over and said hey you didn’t maintain
your car and he said no here’s all the
receipts of the oil and I changed it and I said, you know as an additional thing if I
were you, take a picture every time your changing the oil just to say
here’s a picture of me change the oil and here’s the receipt then they can’t
get you and you’ll save money that way, John says Scotty what do you think
of the 2001 Nissan Altima, not much I had customers with them and they had
engine head gasket problems or automatic transmissions are garbage they went out all
the time, I would never advise somebody to buy one of those, now if you buy brand
new one, that might work okay for you know the first eighty ninety thousand
miles and if you’re happy with that you can go ahead, but they’re not gonna
run like a Toyota or Honda go two three four hundred thousand miles,
they’ll bankrupt you then because after that Renault and Nissan merged and then
the Nissan quality just went to be down the toilet,
Nissan’s been on the verge of bankruptcy for a long time, they’ve had a lot of
problems with productions and with sales I mean Ford almost bought them a long
time ago but then the Ford stock went down when the market crashed and they gave up
with buying them too, Weaver says Scotty I got
an 04 Buick Regal every 3,000 miles I have to add a quarter of oil no spots
on the driveway and I replaced the PCV valve each time what could it be
hey it’s a 15-year old Buick, it’s just burning oil either the valve seals are a
little rotten and worn and their sucking oil into the engine or the piston rings are
worse, if you actually want to know what it is , do what’s called a wet and dry
compression test, you take all the spark plugs out, then you do a compression test
with the compression reader then you put like a half a tablespoon of oil in each
cylinder hole and retake the compression level
and if the pressure goes up quite a bit, it’s the piston rings that are worn but
if the pressure stays the same, then it’s the valve seals that are worn and you can
tell that the valves are worn so you could test it that way, either way you got to
rebuild the engine so you know, it’s not worth fixing on some one thing like that,
so if you never want to miss another one of my new car repair videos, remember to
ring that Bell!

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

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    This was an excerpt from one of my Live Car Talk shows where I answer your car questions Live. If you enjoyed it, every Thursday at 1 pm CST and Saturday 10 am CST I live stream and answer your questions!

  2. What a shame. Nissan used to be awesome. My first car was a 1988 Nissan Stanza–bought it with 638,000 miles on it. Sold it with 790,000 miles on it. Original engine, and everything in that car still worked. Power windows, power mirrors, sun roof, etc. All of it.

    Man I miss that car.

  3. The reason inline 4s vibrate is not simply because they don't have enough cylinders. It's because it's not possible to balance all of the forces that result from the piston motion in that particular configuration. Boxer 4s don't have that problem. 90 degree v8s can only balance all of these forces if they use a cross plane crankshaft. Using flat plane cranks will result in the same imbalance problem that the inline 4s have. If the engine displacement is small enough, the vibrations aren't too detrimental, but in larger engines the vibrations become too big to ignore. This is why inline 4s smaller than about 2 liters rarely include balance shafts but larger ones often do. This is also why Ferrari's can can get away with flat plane cranks but Ford/Chevy cannot. Also why v6s almost always use 60 degree v-angles, and v8s 90. Inline 6s can balance all of the primary forces AND their harmonics, hence why they are so smooth. Same for v12s (basically 2 inline 6s).

  4. Well, my '98 Altima is my first car to make it over 200K miles without engine or tranny problems. Is it because '98 was before the Renault merger, or did I just get lucky? More power and better suspension than my '96 Camry too.
    Also, while in drive, my 4-cyl Camry vibrates like crazy at idle. The original oil-filled engine mounts are shot, replacements from Toyota are real expensive, and the aftermarket ones are junk. OH well, at least it smooths out some if I shift to neutral at traffic lights!

  5. Its surprising to me how many problems you have with automatic transmissions in the US. I think that is the reason why most of the cars here in europe are manual.

  6. The problem with 4 cylinder engines is they are missing 4 other cylinders. Sometimes I can't even tell if my 318 in my old Dakota is even running!

  7. Mr. Scotty Kilmer i am thinking of a old school Nissan 200 sx standard is that a good idea to get a old car ? Thank you !

  8. Got a 2004 Toyota Camry v6 3 litre..with a 189k in a clock but still running very good, not loosing any oil between oil change.. didn’t have any major problem…driving it everyday.. Toyota is really one of the best japanese car.

  9. 2001 Altimas were good. 2002+ 3rd+ gens were terrible. 1st and 2nd gen KA24DE engines were great. I had a '93 and '95 auto trans up to 230k and an '89 240sx with a '97 motor drift car I beat on every day and it went onto be an ice racing car after I sold it. Its one of the better engines out there.

  10. So I've heard that the newer honda civic si does not have vtec, but older versions did. I also hear a lot of people say that the new civics aren't as good because they don't have vtec, but I've also heard that the civics with turbos instead of vtec actually make just as much horsepower but also make more torque. So if the turbo engines are better, why do people hate on them so much?

  11. Hey scotty! I have a 2000 camry le with a 2.2L this motor is SUPER smooth due to the fact it has a balancer assy connected to the bottom end! You should look it up and do a detailed video how it works and makes the engine smoother.

  12. Toyota does free oil changes for 2 years or 50k miles (not sure about 50k miles) I just know I get free oil changes 🙂

  13. Toyota did make a balanced 4cyl. The 3rz 2.7l in the 4wd tacomas, accompanied by the 2rz 2.4l, the non-balanced brother in the 2wd tacoma

  14. Some of the Toyota Centurys come with V12s. they produce about 250hp and have 6 mufflers on them they are built to be the smoothest quietest ride money can buy.

  15. I have a 2000 Nissan Maxima. It has 150k miles. Bought it at 98k. No problems with engine or transmission. Only thing done was had to have 02 sensor replaced. Love the car. Quick and handles very nicely in the snow! Uses no oil.

  16. I just bought a Honda Accord 2006 LX 2.4 4Cyl V-Tec Manuel And I Love it. Just got the oil and filter changed and I was sitting in it and I forgot it was ON!!!!!! No Engine Light Either. I got it For 4200. Near Adline H.S. outside houston. I really want u to look at my car before I pay it off.

  17. Scottty FYI, 5SFE engine in toyota Camrys for YEARS had balance shafts at the engine bottom, people sometimes remove them and the MR2 version left it out.

  18. I like the vibration because it fools me into thinking there's power and also will tell you if it's idling ok.

  19. Do 4cyl cars need transmission replacements typically around 140k miles?? My mom says all 4cyls need Trans. Replacements around 140k miles. My 2012 Buick regal had to have it done…

  20. I would expect that a Buick burning noticeable amounts of oil would also be producing noticeable amounts of smoke. How much oil has to be burned before you notice the smoke?

  21. I know plenty of those early 2000s Altimas were wonderful cars. My cousin has 260k miles, his brother has over 200k, another friend bought one with 240k for couple hundred dollars. All run well.

  22. Scotty your subscribers love your honesty and enjoy your comic at the same time. We appreciate you. Thank you.

  23. Speaking of vibrations….
    I drive a 2008 Saturn disAstra with an automatic transmission. The front engine mount should have been changed years ago but I neglected to do so. Would that cause any major problems?

  24. To Weaver with the Buick Regal: With the GM 3800, there is a good chance your oil loss is due to an upper intake manifold leak. A common problem with that engine. Another weak point are the valve cover gaskets. Scotty mentioned a rebuild of the engine, but my guess is you can probably drive 200k mi using a quart of oil every 3000 miles.

  25. Toyota actly have engines that have these antivibration shafts, or balancing shafts as theyre called. Its installed in the asian market toyota estima/tarago/previa and the toyota alphard/vellfire. These minivans use the 2AZ series of 2.4 liter engines during the early 2000 till 2016 if im not mistaken, n they smooooooth…

  26. Scotty my 79 and 85 Toyota 22R I think they were 2.75 liter engine they were do smooth I didn't know they were on. Did they have a balancing shaft. Do all 4 cylinder engines have balancing shaft, like the 5 cylinder engines.

  27. OUR CAR is very powerfull too fast , everything is tunned except the engine is still a v4 , gonna try to get it a v6

  28. My wife's 2001 Nissan Altima has 240,000 miles on it. No major repairs so far. No engine or transmission issues aside from it leaking a little oil. Owned since 2001, mobil 1 every oil change.

  29. Scotty: Why do you always say that Toyota was never into sports cars when in fact they built one of the best sports cars ever sold in the U.S. I'm referring to the MR2. I'm 75 years old and I've had several Toyotas over the years. I liked them all. But my favorite will always be my 1987 MR2. It was one of the very best sports cars ever built. Especially if you're not rich. I've always valued and enjoyed listening to your talks about cars. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  30. The boxers on Subaru are very quiet…with a six boxer, it is so quiet that many times I forgot to turn off the engine as I could not hear anything!

  31. Hey scotty do you know how i can get to the inside of my dash on a toyota corolla 2018 i have rattle noise very unconfortable i want to fix it and also a very annoying clicking noise on the driver seat as i slow down or accelarate i really wish i could fix those noises. please any subgestion?

  32. Scotty the late 80's and 90's 2.2ltr Toyota 4 cylinder timing belt driven engine had a balancer in the oil pan that ran off the oil pump gear i believe. Toyota used that design until they came out with the 2.4ltr timing chain engine

  33. Just out today from OANN, Fiat-Chrysler is negotiating with Renault on a merger. One guy said that it's like tying rocks together hoping that they will float. I gave him a heartfelt thumbs up.

  34. You have any tips on making 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine have more horses?

    I drive a 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse

  35. Every Scotty video is worth watching start to finish incl the highly entertaining but distracting pix

  36. Scotty has never taken his FRS on a clover leaf at 70mph. Oh wait. He doesn't have one.
    A sports car isn't just only a straight line car. They have great handling characteristics as well.

  37. Flat fours are better balanced with less vibrations I think. I think cars are getting boring though and manufacturers are using the environment to give us less for more. When I was a kid a BMW 2.0 or more was a six and creamy smooth. Now all but the very top 3 and 5 series are 4 pots and no matter how much power they have they will still buzz. Same with a C Class Merc. My buddies C200 Merc has a itty bitty 1.5 four in it and that is a 35 grand car :/ I would buy used folks.

  38. I bought a 2017 Chevy Malibu LT with 19,000 miles on it for 16k did I do a good thing? Also how can get this car to have more horse power for pretty cheap?

  39. whew!!! i thought you were going to talk about some other major unheard of problem with 4 cyl engines. nvh can be a problem, but thats why all engines have some sort of engine balancing built into them, the most common method i know of is suitably designed counter weights on the crankshaft

  40. Wifes 08 Camry 204k miles…got rid of vibration with a new torque mount cost $38 and 5 mins but drives like new now. No vibration at a stop.

  41. My Toyota Yaris 1.3 4 cylinder (xp10 – 04 or MK1 British model) is SILENT at idle. I always thought it was just a really efficient engine i.e little mechanical resistance (gets 55-60mpg). Maybe there's some fancy stuff built in?

  42. Also, engine orientation matters. Lateral transfers vibrations axially, resulting in perception of reduced vibration. Axial orientation, vibrations are transferred side to side.

  43. I have had less problems with 4 cylinder engines than with V8s in terms of reliability and longevity, not to mention better fuel economy.

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