99 Chevy Prizm (aka Corolla) oil loss/ "air" sound

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I am a pretty novice car guy and wanted some help:

Got a 99 Prizm. 95k miles. Manual trans. Never pampered.

Bought at 65k. Great car. Never lost any oil even driving cross-country. Continued to change oil every 3000k. Suddenly at 85k started loosing oil (1 qt./ 1000 mi.) and fouling PCV valves and plugs on one cylinder(blow-by?). Low compression on one cylinder. Used 5W oil then switched to 10w-40- no improvement. Valves? Any recommendation as far as an oil additive?

Related or not? When the car is warm, there is a loud muffler like sound coming from the top (left) of the engine. Sounds like a hollow air sound (kinda like an old Subaru muffler) coming from near the air cleaner (or lower). Gets worse when it snows or rains. Louder more airy sound and when wet affects performance. When its wet you put gas down and the car does not go. But once the car sits, it seems to dry out real fast. When dry, there is only a slight performance drop but just the sound bothers me. When the car is cold, it is perfect - no sound & good performance. Problem seemed to start gradually around the time of the oil issues.

Checked the spark plug wires look fine 1 yr. old. Tried removing the air cleaner and running like that and replacing the filter. No change.

Seems like you can see smoke in the headlights at night when backing up. Not sure.

Good mechanic checked it out and said the whole muffler was fine.

It seemed better after an oil change, but maybe this is my imagination? Could this be an oil sludge issue?

Thanks very much...

posted by  AkivaF

you didn't say if the cyl with the low compression is the one with the fouled plug. as far as oil additive try 1 quart Marvel Mystery oil and the rest use a 20-50 weight(due to the low viscosity of MM). your oil consumption could be traced back to your piston rings or your leaking it through your valves. that sound that you hear might be that your intake valve(s) is not seating properly(this can explain your porr performance issue) and allowing some air to escape back to your intake manifold, run some fuel additive(Techron) this might remove some carbon buildup and allow your valve to seat properly.

posted by  carlos

Thanks, Carlos.

The same cylinder that had the fouled plug had the low compression.

I live in Cleveland, OH where avg temp is around 30 degrees- would you still reocommend 20W with the Marvel Mystery oil?

Should I keep using the Techron fill up after fill up or does it begin to do some damage to the plugs at some point?

If it is a valve issue, does it make sense that there is no noise when the car is cold?

A lot of questions!

posted by  AkivaF

if you think its an iol sludge issue remove the valve cover and that should tell you, and it really isnt that hard to remove it

posted by  jnemeth

there is something they do to de carbon the valves and head,but my guess is yours is far gone and you should get the head taken off and re done.its weird that so soon.i have a 93 prizm with 140000 miles and the head is original.it is still the original transmission.i have a spare engine with 11000 km
on it and a spare transmission too.

posted by  the lobster

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