Toyota 2ZZ-GE intake cam wear - bad oil or bad filter?

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I removed the valve cover to replace the gasket on my Toyota 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine and got a nasty surprise. The high cams on the intake camshaft are wiped. All the low cams on the intake and all the cams on the exhaust camshaft are fine - totally smooth to touch. The car is a daily driver, 40/60 hwy/city.

I had inspected the intake camshaft about 40,000 miles ago and it was OK. Very little wear, barely noticeable. Nothing like now. Wondering what could've caused this. Here's my oil change history since I last inspected it, most recent first:

OilFilterMiles on oil and filter
Shell Gas Truck 5W-30CarQuest R84145 (made by Wix? looks the same)6,956
Mobil 1 5W-30CarQuest R84145 (made by Wix? looks the same)8,106
Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 5W-30Wix 571456,570
QS Ultimate Synth 5W-30Purolator L144779,388
Mobil 1 5W-30Purolator One PL144779,332

Apart from the obvious high cam wear, there is also evidence of some sludging (??) in the lower left corner of the picture. They're spongy black particles, not typical sludge. Perhaps a Purolator media tear 4-5 oil changes ago? Or is one of the oils on the list worse than others? Every used oil I drained from the engine was still transparent with honey-like color, except the SGT after the very last oil change which was very dark, almost black after less than 7K miles.

I have a new intake camshaft and rockers on order from Toyota. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what to do to prevent this from happening again. Would zinc additives help? I think I will start by shortening oil change interval to 6K and avoiding Shell Gas Truck oil. Thanks.

2ZZ-intake cam.jpg


FYI, the 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i is a high-output engine (180HP from 1.8L, 8600 rpm redline) made by Yamaha for Toyota. It has variable valve timing and lift (VVTL-i), which is similar to Honda's VTEC technology in principle. The engine was used in Toyota Celica GTS/Matrix XRS/Corolla XRS, Lotus Elise and Pontiac Vibe GT.
 
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I searched YouTube for "2ZZ-GE cam wear" and found this posted as a comment: "High intake cam lobe tips get eaten away if the valve clearances are too tight." Perhaps this explains your issue? This comment was posted by hiblendmedia (see his entire post for details) in this YouTube video:
 
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ProbeGT

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Thanks! I saw a similar comment on one of the Lotus forums. When I install the new intake camshaft I will make sure the clearances are near the high limit of the spec.
 
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Carquest filters haven't been Wix in a long time, so those filters must be old! How long did it take you to drive that 40k? When was the CQ filter on the car? Purolators do suffer from tearing, as you know :unsure:

Do you happen to know any of the date codes? Recent CQ filters have been Purolator, though they were Fram/Champ for a very short time a few years ago.

None of those oils are known for any particular problems, and modern SN/SP oil is no problem at all. There is nothing wrong with Rotella Gas Truck.

Glad to see you actually use the high cam though :D

The odometer stops at 299999 anyway :sneaky:
 

ProbeGT

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I do my oil changes annually, so ~5 years. The CarQuest filter was on the car in 2021 and 2020 (last 2 oil changes). I have one more of those CarQuest filters, got them on sale for $1 each about 3 years ago. Pictures attached. I don't understand the meaning of the numbers on top of the filter. Assembled in U.S.A. Affinia, Gastonia, N.C.

The car only has 124K on the ODO, long way to go to 299,999! Every time I hit lift and rev to 8,600 I feel like I'm driving a Ferrari :love:

CQ2.jpg
CQ1.jpg
 
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111114 = November 11, 2014
so that filter is 7 years old!

E is the production line, 2 is the second shift
20:57 is 8:57 PM

Wix made CQ house brand filters through 2015.
Fram/Champ made them in the first half of 2016
They have been Purolators since.

Filter media can get brittle and hard after a few years, so it is worth using newer stock filters since that size is common and easy to find.

You might also want to consider Wix XP/Napa Platinum or any Fram
 
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Cam wear is directly related to valve clearance. Nothing to do with oil or oil filter. I'd consider it more of a factory defect, as many 2ZZ engines experience this.

Sludge is directly related to the length of an OCI. Keep it at 5k, if using oils listed or similar. 6k-9k is just too long for that engine and your usage, apparently. (Too long to stay sludge-free that is.) But if you decide to keep the same OCI length - the engine will still make it to the odometer limit of 299,999 miles, just a little dirtier on the inside. But at that point how is the rest of the car going to hold up?

I had a 2003 Vibe and at 280k it was like new. Then I had a 2006 Vibe and at 90k it was on it's last breath. Both of mine were 1ZZ though, 2003 was well maintained by previous owner (older lady), and 2006 ended up being a company lease vehicle, so minimum maintenance.

Point is: if you plan to keep it for the long haul (assuming rest of the car's condition allows), then just change oil at 5k. If you plan to upgrade in next couple years - keep doing what you're doing and find something else to worry about.
 
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Cam wear is directly related to valve clearance. Nothing to do with oil or oil filter. I'd consider it more of a factory defect, as many 2ZZ engines experience this.

...
Yeah, I have to agree.
Seems to be a fair amount of comments about this issue with the 2ZZ

"Some 2ZZ engines, especially the 05+ models, have a problem that causes excessive wear to the larger intake camshaft lobes."
Says not to wait and swap it out which the OP is doing .. https://www.monkeywrenchracing.com/product/toyota-oem-intake-camshaft-2zz-ge/
 

ProbeGT

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Cam wear is directly related to valve clearance. Nothing to do with oil or oil filter. I'd consider it more of a factory defect, as many 2ZZ engines experience this.
Point is: if you plan to keep it for the long haul (assuming rest of the car's condition allows), then just change oil at 5k.
^^ This. With the way new&used car prices are going, I plan to keep my current fleet running indefinitely.. or at least as long as parts are available. Then again, that's what my plan was for my '03 Matrix XR (1ZZ) until a truck rear-ended and totaled it. But, both of my Vibe GTs are in great shape and a blast to drive.

Thanks all for your replies!

2vibes_tiny.JPG
 
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^^ This. With the way new&used car prices are going, I plan to keep my current fleet running indefinitely.. or at least as long as parts are available. Then again, that's what my plan was for my '03 Matrix XR (1ZZ) until a truck rear-ended and totaled it. But, both of my Vibe GTs are in great shape and a blast to drive.

Thanks all for your replies!

View attachment 80457
glad one of them is orange :)
 
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sorry to see this wear issue but i'd agree its a valve issue.

curious - did you see any oil analysis that were showing heightened steel or associated metals to indicate this was an ongoing issue?
 

Job

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tremendous wear on that, if it's a roller under it, maybe the roller isn't rolling like it should?
 

ProbeGT

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tremendous wear on that, if it's a roller under it, maybe the roller isn't rolling like it should?
Each rocker has a roller for the low-rpm cam lobe and a flat-tappet for the high-rpm lobe. The high wear is only on the high-rpm flat-tappet style cam lobes and only on the intake camshaft. The low-rpm cam lobes (with rollers underneath) are perfectly smooth.

2zz rocker.jpg
 
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Each rocker has a roller for the low-rpm cam lobe and a flat-tappet for the high-rpm lobe. The high wear is only on the high-rpm flat-tappet style cam lobes and only on the intake camshaft. The low-rpm cam lobes (with rollers underneath) are perfectly smooth.

View attachment 80513
Wow, didn’t know any newer engines had flat tappets-maybe some higher ZDDP oil would help with that! Shell RGT is a fortified higher moly level oil, so it would be a good candidate for a hard run gasoline engine. Rislone makes a ZDDP additive that would help-unfortunately, even modern CK-4 diesel oils are losing their AW additives to protect the DPF emission equipment.
 
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Not sure, but 9,000 mile OCI’s on a potentially 8600 rpm engine with a cam with flat tappets present gets a fail in my opinion.
As noted here, you also almost doubled your OCI for the last 2 oil changes. Doesn't sound like the best idea on that engine.
 
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