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Discussion Starter #1
Mileage ~ 225,000. Manual Transmission, front wheel drive. 1999 model year. VIN JT3GP10V2X0041627
Uneven compression - low on #2, low running compression. Leakdown test shows not not valves. 20% low cranking, 40% low running estimated.
Light came on while driving at about 35 mph steady.
Was reset off, has not yet come back on after about 1.5 hours of all types of driving.
Seems to start and run very well, except maybe a bit rough at idle.
Would like thoughts on:
  • Risks continuing to run the vehicle pending light reappearing, I guess depends on usual reasons for this occurring, am I risking catastrophic failure?
  • I think this has been going on for a few years (no engine lights, though), emissions has been borderline for the last couple times.
  • How long am I likely to be able to get away with this?
  • Is this likely to damage the catalytic system?
  • Anything else I should know?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll guess a head gasket, but with those miles and symptoms it is time for a full rebuild. But if you cheap-out and do "only" the head gasket, at least replace the timing set/water pump/t-stat, have a valve job done on the head, do a major tune-up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for that information. I will need to check coolant levels and appearance. I presume the coolant would have some appearance change?

Given this situation, how about the following questions -
  • Risks continuing to run the vehicle pending light reappearing, I guess depends on usual reasons for this occurring, am I risking catastrophic failure?
  • I think this has been going on for a few years (no engine lights, though), emissions has been borderline for the last couple times. This would cause emissions problems?
  • How long am I likely to be able to get away with this with no major damage?
  • Is this likely to damage the catalytic system?
  • Anything else I should know?
  • I've been given a price of about 2750.00 for a used engine from Japan, installed, out the door. Your thoughts?
Thanks!
 

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If you aren't losing coolant, white smoke in the exhaust, or bubbles in the coolant overflow, then I doubt a head gasket failure.

You could try replacing the spark plugs and the spark plug wires (if original) with OEM Toyota parts, do a oil change and replace the oil filter. Might as well use OEM oil and filter too while at Toyota anyway, then give the car a good long hard run on the highway, like several hours at at least 60mph with a tank of premium gas and see if it improves. Premium gas in case your engine is very carboned up, to avoid pinging. 1999 models were distributorless with a lost spark ignition. If the low compression on cylinder 2 was causing the misfire by oil fowling the plug, there would be misfires on cylinder2 (P302) but also may cause a misfire on the other spark plug on the same coil pack, causing the P300. Maybe the "Italian tuneup" with fresh oil may help if there is a sticking ring on piston#2 to get it freed up.
 
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