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Toyota Echo



  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    It was interesting to read the information about auto-rx. Varnish deposits are a sign that an engine has not run far between startups. Most wear takes place during the initial warmup. Thats where the dammage happens. Im afraid there isnt any way to avoid that and additives like auto-rx are probably not going to help there. No manufacturer or independent testing laboratory has found that additives help prolong engine life. As a mechanic when ever I see these deposits I know how a car has been used. They are especially visible if you remove the valve covers.And when I see an engine with 100k on it and the valve train is sparkling clean, I know this is probably a well maintained car that has been driven good miles. I use STP in my wifes Honda because it leaks/burns oil and that will give you more miles between having to add oil. Every year she uses this car to take her mom to Maine and she frequently returnes with no oil on the dipstick! The STP helped a lot here. The fact that shes run the car a lot with the engine oil low is why it burns oil. But you know what? If you start the car car and watch it drive away blue smoke can be seen coming out of the tailpipe. But let the car warm up and the catalytic converter heats up and incinerates this oil. I thought the car would NEVER pass inspection like that, but let it warm up and it does!
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    I agree with you, varnish or sludge is a sign that the engine is used on very short trips and probably has received infrequent oil changes.

    I believe that using a good synthetic oil will prevent sludge and varnish in a "sound" engine.

    Although costly, at maybe $ 20 to $ 30 per oil change, depending on the application and brand name of the oil, it is still much cheaper than having to rebuild the engine.

    If you want to be absolutely sure about the frequency of the oil changes that you should perform you might want to try analyzing the oil at varying intervals. I know, it is expensive with oil analyzing kits selling for $ 15 or $ 20 or more, BUT, you will be able to do a trend analysis and ascertain the exact oil change interval that is the optimum for your application.

    After 2 or three analysis results you won't have to spend money for analyzing the oil any more since you will know how long the oil is going to hold up.

    All of this will only make sense to people that keep their car for very long.

    If you sell or trade your car every 3 or four years, do 3k miles oil changes or every three months with an inexpensive "dino" oil like Pennzoil, Castrol GTX or Chevron (all SL standard) and I sincerely doubt there will be any problems before well past 150K miles.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I thought people were doing timely oil changes to their Toyotas, only to have them sludge up? That was the impression I got from reading about the issue anyway.

    Also, if you have to change the oil every 3K miles to prevent sludge, and the car's maintenance schedule says 5-7.5K miles for an oil change (which most of the new ones do), then shoudln't the manufacturer replace the engine for free, considering you followed THEIR maintenance schedule for the car?
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    If you follow the maintenance schedule, use the type of oil the manual says and the engine dies prematurely I'm sure Toyota would pay (keep all your receipts).
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    Ive heard about this sludge problem with Toyotas. What is REALLY going on here I dont know but I can guess. Someone never changed the oil on his Toyota and had the engine fail. Having never changed the oil the engine failed AND was crudded up. Being resourcefull this person attempted to hornschwaggle Toyota into believing that the engine crudded because of some technically unexplainable fault Toyota evily engineered into its engines. (when REALLY the fault was the owner not changing the oil) So what we have here are incredible manipulative persons trying to take TOyota for all theyre worth. Recently I saw a person on TV trying to argue that the US is an evil entity because it is seeking the death penalty for John Malvo, the sniper. In this persons eyes the bad guys are the US for having laws permitting the executiuon of minors. They were really angry at the US. Maybe they can get Johnny C to get him off.
  • Would you buy another 5 speed manual? Consumer Reports writers do not like the 5 speed manual transmission in the ECHO (in addition to trashing the styling and other ECHO features).
    The 4 speed AT is very nice in acceleration, response, and fuel economy. Is the 4 AT worth the extra $$$?
    Also, would you buy a NEW 2002 at 10% discount off MSRP or pay MSRP to get the 2003? I am considering an ECHO 4 door sedan for a 2nd vehicle as it is difficult for the wife and I to get by with only 1. The 2002 4 door ECHOs in stock have 5 Speed Manual, A/C, PS, All Weather Guard Package, and Sport Cladding. THANKS for your advice.
  • There is such a significant difference in the exterior design of the 2002 and 2003 ECHOs. Which one do you like better?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    Advantage Auto: better resale value, no fear of needing costly clutch repairs, easier for older legs to operate.
    Disadvantage Auto: worse mileage, more difficult to control the car in slippery conditions, more expensive to repair than manual and fails sooner.

    Advantage Manual: better mileage, better control of vehicle in adverse conditions, lasts longer.
    Disadvantage Manual: may need clutch replaced, harder for older/injured people to operate, less common so less resale value
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    For your information sir, we had a '96 Camry LE that had every oil change done at a Toyota dearler at 7.5k miles, as the manual stated, and still got sludge! The Toyota mechanic noticed it at 80k miles. My question was how come they never noticed it before since they did every oil change on the car?
    I don't consider myself manipulative and resent when people like yourself think they know the answer to every problem that happens to others! I have read many of your posts over the years and have always thought you to be a reasonable person but your last post really pissed me off!
    You should really think before you type about subjects you know little about!
    The Sandman :-(
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    Im sorry to have unfairly characterized you and others that way, Im sure its very disappointing to have a car you paid good money for have something "wrong" with it. But Im wondering, what problem did this sludge cause? Was the car not running properly? Engine dammage? Or did the dealer just say "Your car has sludge." and leave it at that? Perhaps this is a "problem" in their mind. On the other hand, if there is engine dammage I have to think the Toyota service interval of 7.5k miles is to blame. Thats too long to go for an oil change in almost every circumstance I can think of except PERHAPS long distance driving ONLY. And I think its fair to say Ive taken apart and rebuilt dozens of engines with varying degrees of usage. Im not talking theory here. But what happened with the dealer, was there an actual problem with the engine?
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    The dealers mechanic pulled me aside from the sevice adviser and told me and showed me the sludge. His advise was to get rid of the car, which we did 2 weeks later. I was confused, followed Toyotas recommendations in their manual, done by their personnel, and got this problem. Car had 80k anyways and wife wanted to downsize to a smaller car, so...
    Lost a lot of faith in Toyota at that point. Still have my '96 Corolla DX and my last Corolla I had for 10 years. Will try Honda with the next car though!
    The Sandman :-)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    Hmmm Im assuming he had the valve cover off? And there were brown colorations to the valve train? "Sludge" can be varnish like or it can look like cake froasting in extreme cases (like my friend Steves 87 Tacoma) I bought a 91 Accord Station Wagon for my wife in 96 with 80k on it. The very meticulous owners had documentation for oil changes every 6k miles. So when I put a new timingbelt/water pump in it at 90k miles per the schedule I was expecting a clean valve train area when I pulled off the valve cover. It was pretty brown though in there, not heavy like cake froasting but varnish none the less. The car had 153k on it when it was trashed and stolen last month. But the engine even with the sludge ran well, got 25mpg consistantly, and was quiet and powerfull. It did use one quart of oil per 1k miles and my wife did come back from Maine a few times with no oil on the dipstick. And blue smoke came out the tailpipe at startup but whent away when the cat converter heated up.
    So I drew two conclusions from this: 1)6k oil changes probably were not enough for this car 2) even with the sludge the car ran fine (wife took it to maine every years no problem.)
    SOOOO... whats up with this mechanic telling you your car is no good I dont know. He MAY have been perfectly sincere (but wrong, as I see it from here without seeing the car) or he MAY have been secretly trying to get you to buy a new car. (buying tiresat sears a mechanic once told be my brake pads were worn out and the calipers were about to crash into the rotors. I told him Id let my mechanic look at it (ME, who just replaced the pads two weeks before) So these things happen. I THINK there was truly nothing wrong with your Toyota. I mentiond Steves Tacoma 87 with 124k on it, with MAYBE five oil changes in the trucks entire life. You wouldnt BELIEVE the sludge under the valve cover. Runs fine though he drives it every day. Not to mention the gas that has been dripping from the carb fuel line for six years he wont let me fix. Got to go here comes the boss...
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    I thought of another advantage of an automatic over a manual. An automatic is easier to drive in congested traffic. It would be a better choise if youre going to be doing a lot of cummuting in bumper to bumper traffc
  • because I am married to a lady who never learned how to drive anything else.
  • Thanks for the excellent responses concerning 5 Speed Manual vs 4 Speed Automatic transmissions in the ECHO. My wife greatly prefers the Automatic transmissions but there are no left over 2002 ECHO sedans with Automatic and the very appealing discount.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,666
    I would try to get your wife an automatic - try to get the dealer to do a trade, or travel to another dealer that has the car you want.

    My wife is the same - "greatly prefers automatic." The four speed Toyota automatics are very reliable, smooth, and reasonably fast.
  • mdyvrmdyvr Posts: 3
    Hi all

    Just picked up my new Echo today. it's a 2002 4 dr, white, automatic with power windows. Thus far I am amazed at how quiet it is, even at highway speeds.

    We're in the middle of the rainy season here, and the initial problem I'm having is side windows not defogging in the rear seating area. That said, we're pretty much in the time of year when it can rain for a week nonstop. I'll see how it dries out in the next few days. It really could stand to be parked in a heated garage, just to dry it out a bit.

    I got rid of a 91 festiva. I loved it, but it was at the age when I'd get one thing fixed and another would go.

    I bought the automatic because I live in a hilly area and stop and go traffic. Snow happens only once or twice a year, so it's not really a concern.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
  • kaz6kaz6 Posts: 331
    Congratulations! The ECHO is a very quiet car and am sure you'll grow to love it even more!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,683
    At least while the car is being driven, it will help to run the ac along with a hot temperature setting and air selector set to interior to dry the car out. Good luck with your new ECHO! Youve purchased the best at what it does car out there, IMHO.
  • My wife insisted on the 5-speed manual, with 4-doors. She had just purchased a new '86 Colt when she met me and was impressed with how smoothly I shifted gears while she was stalling and bucking. She finally got things smoothed out, married me, and doesn't want to lose her touch. Of course, she didn't have years of experience on 13-speed and 5x4 Diesel truck transmissions like I did...

    Our 2001 has 16,000 miles, the OEM Bridgestones are about 1/2 worn, the engine is sparkling clean inside with Mobil 1, and 39 MPG lifetime, including lots of A/C time here in LA.
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