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Toyota Engine Sludge Problem

catcher09catcher09 Posts: 7
After reading other post about Sienna owners having sludge problem, I wonder if these owners are using conventional motor oil and changed their oil at every 7,500 miles or 6 months interval?

Does anyone using 100% synthetic (not blend) motor oil and changed their oil at above stated interval also experiencing engine sludge problem?

I have a 2001 Sienna and I had my first oil change at 2K. I replaced with Mobil 1 oil & filter. I changed the oil 6 month later using Amsoil oil & filter. I have no problem. I changed from Mobil 1 to Amsoil because Mobil recently changed their formula in their production of Mobil 1.

Maybe using 100% synthetic motor oil might avoid sludge problem because synthetic oil can absorb a higher tempeture so the oil would not breakdown so easily. Any comments welcome and will definitely help all Sienna owners.
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Comments

  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    Thank you, but I prefer to stick to the more specific inquiry about sludge in the Sienna, Camry, Avalon, and Solara. I am not interested in posting in the "Maintenance & Repair" forum under "Engine Sludge" because it is a *particular engine* that I am investigating. To "muddy the water" with discussion of other engines would dilute the dicussion at this time. I don't wish to wade through discussion of sludge in all makes and models.

    My topic is focused only on those vehicles, so the thread needs to be included in the "Problems" page of each. I do not want my posts redirected to this area. Specific model information is sought which is best under specific model problem discussion.

    Thank you.

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Oh Lawd...... here we go again.
  • One might be moved to ponder why your motives are on these models only. Are you a reporter? An attorney? Would it not be prudent to care to know about all engine sludge issues? Would it not be best for all consumers to be aware of all engines that have a potential sludge problem?

    I for one, would want to know all makes/models or owner experiences who have had this problem. I would consider myself a more informed consumer.

    I was under the assumption that Town Hall was a place for all consumers and the objective was to share and discuss information, not gather ammunition for one's personal ventures.

    I for one, think that this is good place for such a discussion and would welcome any comments or user experiences on this issue.

    Has anyone had this problem? If so, what make/model? What was your maintenance schedule like?
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    Did you know that some owners are experiencing sludge in the engine and being denied warranty claims? Did you know that these same owners are paying $5,000-8,000 for new engines? Did you know that some 2000 Sienna owners are having torque converter replacements within the first few hundred miles of driving? Did you know that others have had total transmission failures after after a few thousand miles? Did you know that there are other problems common to this vehicle? Have you had:

    1) Persistent drifting/pulling to the left or the right
    2) Uneven wear of tires with need for early replacement
    3) Premature brake component wear, including rear brake drums
    4) Power steering problems, including inner tie rod or total rack and pinion replacement
    5) Vibrations, esp. at speeds above 50 MPH
    6) Premature transmission problems or failure
    7) Torque converter replacement, sometimes just after delivery
    8) Sliding door latch problems with sticking and difficulty opening
    9) Oil sludge in the engine related to a contaminated system

    IF you have experienced these problems, please write to the following agencies and file a report detailing your case. THEN, network with others by visiting sites where owners post experiences.

    U.S. Department of Transportation
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Office of Defects Investigations
    NSA-10.01
    400 7th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20590

    1-800-424-9393
    1-888-327-4236

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov

    Center for Auto Safety
    1825 Connecticut Ave., NW
    Suite 330
    Washington, D.C. 20009-5708

    http://www.autosafety.org

    The Complaint Station--click "T", then "Toyota"
    http://www.thecomplaintstation.com

    Car Trackers Discussion Forum
    http://www.cartrackers.com

    Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid Car Guides
    http://www.lemonaidcars.com

    Also, use the USENET groups:
    alt.autos.toyota
    alt.autos.toyota.camry

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I'm a little bit nervous about posting here in such an open forum, but I think there is verifiable proof that the problems you refer to are a result of Martians using underage labor to produce those engines.

    If you post at http://www.itsaconspiracy.com, I'm sure someone will be able to help.

    ;-)
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    I understand that the charcoal canister is in a different location in the '99 Sienna (vs. the '98 one). Can you tell me what the role of this component is? I ask because I have smelled gas on several occasions under my van. I'd like to pinpoint the source if possible. Where is the canister in the '99 model and would a gas smell emanate if it were not working properly? Otherwise, where would the gas smells be coming from other than the filler cap area?

    Re: the Chrysler situation, are you saying the cases are similar? I need to let you know that there was a major NHTSA investigation of the ABS in some Chrysler models (for several years). When the ABS failed, the regular brakes were almost totally absent. There were ultimately 350,000 vehicles RECALLED for that defect. Yes, a class action lawsuit had been started BEFORE the recall. NO, Chrysler made no move to recall the brakes PRIOR to that time.

    YES, there were networking owners who banded together to initiate the suit but only after being STONEWALLED continually by the automaker AND being forced to pay up to $3,000 for the ABS repair. End result? Chrysler reimbursed all owners (of new and used vehicles) for the repairs....at least the ones who KNEW about it and requested it. By the way, I see the same complaints on the '94 and '95 Chrysler minivans, too, but they were not included in the recall.

    Look, if you think that is the route ANY of us want to take in ANY confirmed defect, you are wrong. All you have to do is pick up a copy of the LEMON BOOK by Clarence Ditlow and Ralph Nader to see what owners have to go through in many cases to be HEARD by the automaker. In the Chrysler case, I heard it all. Nothing surprises me anymore. From early '95 until mid '96, it was that "owners just don't know how to use their ABS." This was the **SPIN** by the automaker to explain the countless occurrences of brake failure, which resulted in accidents for many owners. BUT, the owners did not buy it. Good thing that they did NOT.

    Having said all that, I do not want to be part of a class action lawsuit. I want the safe and reliable vehicle promised me. I want to own my vehicle for 10+ years with no MAJOR failures. If I have this, I will be totally satisfied. I doubt that I am alone in this sentiment.

    I would prefer not to be here in this forum. If I was satisfied with the quality of the product, I wouldn't waste my time here trying to locate additional information. You will not convince me that satisfied owners spend their time in a forum about PROBLEMS. It wouldn't make sense.

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The carbon media in the cannister absorbs gasoline vapours from the fuel tank when the engine is shut off, to prevent the release of hydrocarbons to the atmosphere. After the engine has started and warmed up, the throttle is off idle, and certain other criteria have been met, vacuum from the engine purges the stored vapours from the canninster.
    The most common cause of media saturation and gasoline odour is forced filling of the fuel tank.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,044
    Change your oil and you won't have "sludge"!

    And, if you do have a bit of sludge...so what?

    It isn't going to kill your engine!

    If we simply ignore her postings she will go away, folks!
  • danadana Posts: 36
    After reading this Discussion, I felt it necessary to remind some of you of the Terms of Use agreement when becoming a member of Town Hall:

    "I agree to disagree in a civil manner should I take issue with the statements of another Town Hall participant or any Edmunds.com, Inc. Editor or content contributor. I understand that civility and respect underlie the success of an on-line community such as Town Hall."

    Thanks for your cooperation in maintaining the standards of Town Hall by adhering to the Terms of Use agreement.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to mail me.

    Dan S. Livingston
    Manager, Community
    Town Hall
    Edmunds.com
    dlivingston@Edmunds.com
  • I find all of these 'sludge' posts interesting, however have not read anything about other possible causes of sludge other than oil chgs....
    In my old Chry. voyager, 3.0 lit. engine, the pcv valve stopped up and i caught it quite by accident when checking the oil about a month after an oil change.
    There was a jelly-ish like crud on the oil cap and more in the inside of the valve cover. PCV was totally blocked, and the other crankcase vent hose had some blockage too; WHen I replaced the pcv and changed the oil a couple time to get the gunk out, all was fine; no idea how much stuff remained in the engine though.
    I believe that even a partially blocked pcv in engines, esp with cold weather short trip driving could build up sludge in the engine as the blow-by gases which contain moisture, don't get vented properly. The voyager pcv threads into the intake manifold and has a VERY SMALL bore; much easier to become plugged than my other car's.
    Any others heard about this being a problem point in engines / engine maintenance?

    PS: Have a new 2000 sienna and am watching for any indication of sludging; based upon the above posts will bring the issue to the attention of my Toyota dealer during maintenance and get THEIR recommendations for 'PROPER' maintenance.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    This is a well known problem to those "in the know". Toyota decided to scrimp on the components which compose the isolinear converters in these engines. As a consequence, Toyota on-board Level V diagnostics will not report an engine fault since the faulty converters attenuate the multiphasic signals of the gravimetric relays and flux capacitors which integrate into the powerplant/chassis interface node. Thus, chronometric crystals begin interacting with the petrochemical lubricant and sludge accumulation is the result.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Starfleet Command has a clear directive regarding the issuance of humor. I think its their Secondary Directive - "Thou shall not jest".

    Besides, starting a class action litigation against Toyota is already what someone has in mind.
  • I guess I was mistaken; no serious thinkers left in this forum;
    Dan, 'read only' is a good fate for this topic.
  • So.....Charlene's not alone (maybe it's a girl thing)! I bought my 1999 Lexus (same company, right?) ES300 18 months ago. Changed my oil on a timely basis but because Lexus did not do the oil changes they didn't want to hear about it. This car has 18000 miles on it. I spoke with the Service Manager as well as the District Sales Manager. They didn't even care to see receipts and told me to take it back to where I had it serviced. Good thing I didn't change the oil myself, hub?
    Basically, my warranty on this relatively new car is null and void! They told me I'd be forking out between $5-7500. to fix it or they could "clean it up" for $2,000. but with no guarantee. It would probably still smoke.
    I've ALWAYS purchased Toyotas and bragged about the cars. My last Carry went 186,000 miles and I'm sure it's still going great. Wondering if another messenger is right in that maybe Toyota is getting arrogant and their workmanship isn't the same as it used to be. Definitely their service attitude has something to be desired.
    Anyway, they put the fear in me so I traded it in last week for an Infiniti. I love the new car but feel sad that my relationship with Toyota ended this way. I'd never recommend them again and I'm sorry about that.

    Diane
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Sorry, definitely should have gone to court!!!!! They must prove that the sludge was caused by not having the Lexus dealer change the oil???? Bull. If you can show the oil was changed and they cannot show that it was due to poor oil quality etc. they are liable. Hit them with a lawsuit and see what happens. Any ambulance chaser would have taken this one on commission. No engine does that at 18,000 without a defect somewhere.
  • Never thought of suing their butts! I did think about the Lemon Law but that only applies to car within 12 months of warranty and I was over that.
    Lexus Service Manager told me that, although I had receipts from others, there is no proof that they actually replaced the oil or the filter and I would have to prove that they didn't. He told me to go back to the "oil changer" for justification. I didn't think of him having to prove the other way around.
    Didn't mention before that the Service Manager told me, frankly, that I should get rid of the car. What's that tell you?! The District Sales Manager didn't like hearing he said that!
    Also, when I called around to different Auto Mechanics in the area, I was surprised to learn each one of them had an ES300 in their shops for the same problem..... including the Lexus dealership.
    Can't help but think there really is something there and Charlene may be right, guys!
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    "Dbauman2," please see the "Complaint Station" for some posts about the Lexus and sludge. I did ask for information at that site about Lexus owners and the sludge problem. Do post there for others to see, if you can ("http://www.thecomplaintstation.com" then
    "T," then, "Toyota"). You are not the only Lexus owner who has posted about the matter, rest assured. I just noticed recently that Lexus owners are describing the same phenomenon.

    I would imagine that you are not alone re: early trade in either. It is unfortunate that your warranty was not honored. I suppose most owners would expect that the higher price of the Lexus would come with higher quality. It's like the "Town & Country" Chrysler minivan vs. the stripped-down Plymouth Voyager....you get the SAME ENGINE. When there is a defect, you lose more with the luxury model.

    By the way, "dbauman2," could you verify that we have not linked either by e-mail or on a website? People post when the need arises. I am glad that you chose to share your story. Thank you.

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • "dbauman2", it does sound a little bit odd that Toyota would flat out refuse to look at your oil change receipts. Had you decided to pursue the matter in court it seems as if a judge would have most probably sided with you. How often did you change your oil, was it as specified in your owners manual? Did you have receipts for EVERY oil change-I would assume with 18k miles you would have probably had oil changes done 3-5 times?

    I have a hard time believing that Toyota would fail to honor their warranty simply because you couldn't prove that you actually had your oil and filter changesd IF you had receipts for EVERY one. There is nothing that stipulates that you must have all work done from a Toyota dealer.

    I do know that there are times when an "oil changer" says they changed the oil and did not. I was getting my tires balanced and rotated at a tire place that did oil changes and overheard an irrate custumer complaining that they had paid for an oil change, got home, checked the dipstick, and realized the oil had never been changed. Now this place was doing a lot of oil changes, so I wonder how many other people this may have happened to?

    You should also remember that there are many discount "oil changers" out there, you know, the one that advertise an oil change for $10-14. Doesn't it make you think what type of quality you're getting when their parts cost is probably $7-9, without labor and overhead. If you guessed lousy quality parts than you guessed right. The oil, probably sold in bulk, is either recycled or of such inferior quality that it does not have the additives necessary to prevent sludge from developing. And a wet paper towel would probably do a better job than some of those cheap oil filters that are out there.

    Please also remember that "cblake", to my knowledge based on her postings, does not actually have sludge. She thinks she might have it but nothing has been confirmed. Her THEORY is that every Toyota engine (or at least the V6 in the Sienna) is designed with a flaw that will create sludge, regardless of how often you change your oil. Nothing has been proven to substantiate this theory. What has been proven is that she has had problems with every vehicle she has owned, regardless of the manufacturer, so I would take everything posted by her with a grain of salt.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    I believe that there is validity to the Toyota sludge issue, especially with the 4 cyl engine. Obvioulsy not in the Lexus. But, the 4 cyl has a documented sludge problem if oil not changed very frequently. Have heard nothing about the V6 though. However, even the cheapest oil rated SJ willl not create sludge if changed at 3,000 miles and for Lexus to imply that the other service centers are crooks (did they really change the oil) is bull. How does one know that Lexus dealer changed it, because of the $40 price tag???? Of course, regardless of who does any work one should always check to see it was done, look for the new filter and clean oil. However, having owned a Toyota for 9 years I also concur the dealers service is going down hill and highly suggest a service manual. I have had times the mechanics disagree with Toyota engineers on fluids etc. and sat in on phone calls whrere the mechanics disagrees with the manufacturer on how to do something.

    Sounds like readytobuy1 is a toyota employee!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • armtdm, that was a good one, an employee of Toyota. I wish I was, I would have probably gotten a huge discount on my +$30k Sienna. Unfortunately, I'm not, nor are the 100's of other people who have made postings singing praise about their Toyota's or questioning the sludge issue. The only Toyota employee I've seen is "cliffy1"and he's been fairly informative.

    Nor am I a mechanic, although it sounds like you're fairly knowledgable. Am I to understand that even the cheapest oils, like those rated SJ, are equivelant in quality to other superior oils? That they have the same additives in them as do the superior oils? And am I to understand that a Toyota filter is equivelant to the no-name $1.75 filters?

    You also make some assumptions: that there is a documented sludge problem with 4-cylinder Toyota engines (can you direct me as to where I can confirm this information) and that everyone changes their oil at 3,000 miles (I find it highly unlikely that the Lexus owner had the oil changed with this frequency and still had sludge).

    As to the dealers high prices, I have to agree. I wouldn't pay $40 for a dealer oil change (regular oil) unless they included a wash and wax. Our local Toyota dealer does regular oil changes for $19. They do get $40 for Mobil1 synthetic oil changes whereas other places charge around $30. I've only had 1 oil change (regular oil) but am considering using Mobil 1 synthetic oil on my next change and for now on.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Well, what I said (or meant to say) was that any SJ rated oil, the cheapest one could find along with the cheapest oil filter (Fram) "IF CHANGED every 3,000 miles" will get the owner 100,000 miles. Changing that often eliminates poor quality oil and filters. Me, I go a minimum of 7,500 miles between changes, some cars 12,000-15,000 using synthetic oil and I have reams of oil analysis to show that this works for me. Toyota V6 Camry SE has 128,000 miles so far. Even if I canged that Toyota every 3,000 with crap I would still probably get the same 128,000 miles. But, the hassle frequent changes is a big factor for me and synthetics just protect so much better all the time.You will not believe me but the Pure One filters and Amsoil/Hasting oil filters do a better job of filtration on my Toyota then the Toyota OEM. At least my oil analysis indicates they filter better. Toyota air filters are better then the after market though!

    As to the sludge issue, sorry, should not have implied that I had documentation. Have heard this from some dealers etc. but no documentation. So, how do you know that they will put Mobil 1 in your engine (unless you watch them) when you pay $40 for an oil change? I do my own because I almost never trust a mechanic to do anything correclty.
  • armtdm, I bow to your knowledge. I have never had any oil analyzed and you apparently have. I still think that if you use the cheapest oils they will have less (or no) additives that are designed to reduce/prevent breakdown and sludge. I do agree that if you change regular oil every 3,000 miles you're less likely to have sludge problems.

    You're absolutely correct that you never know what mechanics are doing (or not doing) when you get the oil changed unless you watch them carefully, whether it be at the dealer or anywhere else.

    I used to change the oil myself in my 4Runner because I could crawl under it, but don't want to go through the hassle of lifting my Sienna. I recently had my other vehicles oil changed (2000 Mazda 626) at a Wal-Mart. They charged $28 for Mobil 1 and I was able to keep a close eye on everything. My only problem is they only had Fram and AC Delco filters to choose from, so I ended up using a Fram (yech!). I would have even paid more $$ for a better filter but they didn't have one. I am considering purchasing better filters somewhere else and just having Wal-Mart use it instead of a Fram the next time around. I'm going to look for the Pure One filters or Amsoil/Hasting filters at the local Auto Parts store.
  • hicairahicaira Posts: 276
    It's called an Anti Flowback filter. The higher end aftermarket filters also have the anti-flowback feature. The el-cheapos at the quickie lube will not. IMHO, anyone who goes to a quick-lube joint to save $5.00 on an oil change is asking for trouble. Check out your local BBB. These joints have some of the highest frequencies of consumer complaints of any business. They also tend to be franchised, not owned by the Corp parent - which means little oversight and consistancy from place to place. Branding means nothing. For $50,000 you too can be the proud owner of one of these cash cows.

    Have had 6 Toyotas with a grand total of over 600,000 miles and never any sludge (3 were v-6's).

    This is a BS fantasy.

    HiC
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Well, I am almost positive the maintenance schedule you refer to is the DEALER's printed schedule as it contains prices. This is not the manufacturer's recommended schedule. Guarantee that if you go to the recommended service schedule in the owner's manual it will not be the same as the one that has the price list that you noted. This is probably a handout or attached somehow to the manual. Please let me know if this is correct?

    As to the valves, sorry to inform you but almost every brand of filter on the market has the two valves you speak of. They may differ in quality as to how well they seat etc. and prevent flow back but every filter has these. This is the typical dealer argument (all manufacturers from Toyota to Ford) to use the OEM filters. By the way, ask the parts manger who makes Toyota filters, 99.9% sure that it is not Toyota. Like most products today all filters are made by a handful of companies using different specs per the brand. My Toyota dealer has the cut away comparison of two filters, of course the one that Toyota compared to is a Fram, not a quality Pure One or Mobil 1 or Amsoil.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,044
    It's lack of maintenance that causes sludge. I've owned four Toyotas and never had any kind of a sludge problem. Personally, I think some troublemaker has an axe to grind here.

    But...sadly, some people will probably believe.

    I do have to wonder though...If a person can spend the big bucks requred to drive around in a Lexus, why would they skimp to save five dollars and go to Wal Mart or some quickie lube to get their oil changed?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Also it's good to read the last several sensible posts from pilot13, armtdm, and ready to buy.

    This isn't the first time this sludge issue has come up with respect to the Camry; there was quite a war going on in the first half of 2000, in the Camry sedan topics and later on the now-archived topic in Maintenance and Repair entitled " 'Most post 1992 Camrys have sludge problem and will seize' rumor." The 4-cylinder engine was the prime target then. The rhetoric got so vitriolic that the host froze the topic for a time in July. After about a 2-week pause, I asked him to reopen it, which he did, and this was my attempt at a summary (post #131 of 137):

    "Thanks Bruce! by 210delray
    Jul 22, 2000 (08:22 pm)
    Ok, here goes nothing!

    "Just wanted to summarize where we are and where we've come from, and maybe, where this debate can head....

    "I looked through past posts and came up with only six in Edmunds who reported sludge, after the dealer or other service personnel pulled the valve cover or oil pan: rrinehart, tricia barbee (V6), Boca2, isellhondas, eden1, and aquatic (a.k.a. "frank" in alt.auto.toyotacamry). Plus there were two more elsewhere: "Norm" in alt.auto and liufei's post from looksmart. Did I miss any others?

    "The one common thread through these (at least where enough detail is available) is that the cars all accumulated relatively few miles per year and the oil was changed about every 6000 to 8000 miles, some with Pennzoil which some of you think is bad stuff.

    "So it seems that following Toyota's normal-service recommendation of 7500 miles between oil changes for cars that are used in short-trip driving CAN lead to problems. Still, it's fairly well known that short-trip driving, especially in cold weather, is a severe-service condition. Toyota itself recommends 5000-mile / 4-month oil and filter changes for severe service.

    "However, Consumer Reports (which is far and away the best source for LONG-TERM reliability information) indicates close to stellar reliability for the Camry engines, 4-cylinder or V6.

    "Still, sludge would not manifest itself to the average consumer UNLESS it caused more serious problems, such as seized engines in rrinehart's and tricia barbee's cases. (It would be nice to hear from them to see how they made out.) So maybe some (many?) people have sludge but don't realize it.

    "Fxashun claims that the presence of sludge can be deduced from deposits on the oil cap. Others say that at least the valve cover has to be pulled first. I would tend to agree with the latter, unless maybe the cap had a half-inch-thick buildup of the stuff. Fxashun: can you tell us how many of the 50 or so caps that you checked had thick buildups? And NO other car models had buildups anything like the Camry 4-cylinder?

    "Then there's the possible related problem of valve stem seals going bad, as happened with my '97 Camry 4-cylinder, with only 57K miles. (Other posters in edmunds have had this probem, not necessarily with sludge.) I changed the oil and filter following Toyota's severe-service schedule. Why did the dealer say, when I described the symptom of blue smoke on start-up, that the first thing they were going to do was check for sludge? Does Toyota know something? (Luckily my engine was said to be "fairly clean" [whew!] and the valve stem seals were replaced under the powertrain warranty.)

    "Let's try to keep this going without this getting into another shouting match between the two sides. Personally, I still love my Camry, but if there's something going on, let's try to get to the bottom of it."

    The discussion however, never got off the ground again, and the topic died just 6 posts after mine. [Isell, the car you mentioned was a Camry wagon that either had been traded in at your dealership or was purchased at an auction.]

    Looks like we're going down that same road again, this time with the V6 as main target instead of the four.

    Interesting isn't it that none of the current complainers state clearly how often their oil was changed before the alleged sludging occurred?
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    I would like to say that the sludge controvery will not be put to rest until there is some *conclusive* documentation one way or the other. As yet, I have not seen any strong evidence to support owner blame. I have not seen evidence to rule out a manufacturer's defect either.

    The MOST COMMON bit of information that I have seen posted by owners is that in virtually all cases, Toyota will NOT look beyond the valve cover. Toyota will NOT look AT ALL into the possibility of another cause for this sludge build up even in vehicles WITH PROPER OIL CHANGE DOCUMENTATION. I believe this treatment is unfair.

    I have heard from owners that they are willing to accept blame IF IT IS PROVEN by a full and thorough examination of the engine to determine alternate causes of the sludge. Toyota is simply not doing any examination. OF COURSE, it doesn't want to know what MIGHT cause the sludge OTHER THAN the owner's neglect. Indeed, in many instances of proven oil change documentation, Toyota says it is OWNER NEGLECT anyway.

    Will Toyota reach a compromise with owners? Will it allow an independent agency to fully examine the engine for problems? Will it accept the warranty for those who FULLY DESERVE it? Probably not. But, why not?

    I disagree that the Complaint Station is not a credible site. Most of the sludge victims have INCLUDED AN EMAIL ADDRESS because they most certainly want to network and get more information. Most if not all remain among a growing list of "email addressbook" members. Go back and check for yourself. Actually, those who have discounted the sludge matter have *not* included an email address.

    I venture to say that most owners would be willing to hear Toyota's side IF a full and thorough investigation of the V6 engine takes place. Will this ever happen? Don't know.

    Those who cling to the theory that owners supposedly got their oil changed but were duped by the non-Toyota facilities are going down a dead-end street. Talk about innuendo! REALLY...what are the chances that this is being done on a regular basis to LARGE numbers of Toyota owners??

    For the record, I have not had trouble with every car I have owned. It is not my theory that every Toyota engine has a flaw that will sludge it. I base my posts on the accumulated owner postings....the trends noted therein. I owned a FORD Mustang for 12 years and over 100,000 miles; I owned a Chevrolet Celebrity for 14 years and over 120,000 miles. I own a '95 Odyssey that began to have ABS trouble this year. The have had only two vehicles in which I felt compelled to write the auto manufacturer....Chrysler ('92 Dodge Caravan) and Toyota ('99 Sienna).

    I agree....take everything EVERYONE says with a grain of salt. Don't believe it just because I say it. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. I wouldn't post here if I had not done so. I am only as credible as the facts I receive from others (see "http://www.businessweek.com/1996/27/b348212.htm"). If no one comes forward with the problem, I will certainly be content to reexamine the matter. I don't expect this to be the case based on current owner testimonial, however.

    You can contact the Center for Auto Safety to see what documentation it has on the matter. You can also check with the NHTSA. I understand that the complaints are increasing quickly at that agency as owners discover where to file reports.

    You might consider going to "http://www.cartrackers.com/Forums" to see a further listing of consumer resources. There is a new folder there entitled "Toyota." The folder was created expressly for Toyota owners to post their experiences. Please pass the word along. Certainly, both positive and negative owner experiences are welcome.

    No matter WHAT the causes of sludge are, I believe Toyota has not investigated enough to satisfy owners. This will be the one thorn in its side. It must show owners that it has FULLY examined its engine for a potential flaw. My guess is that someone, somewhere will get an independent agency to do this and this may lead to further owner distrust.

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Wow, can't believe this is still going on.

    I'm unclear exactly what your problem was. You had 18k miles over 18 months, changing the oil on a "timely" basis (what does "timely" mean in your case? And where did you have it changed, if not at Lexus if you don't mind me asking?) and for some reason took it to Lexus, who wouldn't touch it for less than several grand.

    What was the problem or symptom that you experienced that caused you to bring it to the dealer? What I'm getting is that a person doesn't just walk out to their vehicle and say, "Oh dear. I have sludge. Better have that taken care of". So there must have been something that caused you to take it to the dealer. What was that?

    Also, how would you characterize the bulk of your trips? Short or long? Low speed or high speed? More bluntly, would you say most of your trips were of sufficient duration to bring your engine up to operating temperature?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    ...or Ms. dbauman2.

    On my Camry, the valve cover AND cylinder head were removed. OK, I didn't have sludge, but I did have worn valve stem seals and a head gasket that allowed a little coolant "seepage" onto the outside of the engine block.

    I did not have to fight the dealer, and I only went to this dealer for warranty service. (I bought the car elsewhere and did virtually all the maintenance myself.)

    My engine however, was stated to be "fairly clean" inside.

    Since I did all the oil changes myself, I had only the receipts for the oil and the filters. But I did keep detailed handwritten maintenance records, so I got no flak from the dealer claiming that I had neglected any needed service.

    I received new valve stem seals AND a new head gasket under the 5-year / 60K powertrain warranty, even though the car had 57K miles at the time.

    Last summer, I read over hundreds of posts in Edmunds and could come up with only 6 in Edmunds and 2 from elsewhere that alleged sludge in the Camry, after the valve cover or oil pan was removed. This does not include the 50 or so reports from the Car Max tech of "sludge" on the underside of Camry 4-cylinder oil caps, but it's highly questionable whether that means anything.

    Ms. Blake, you still haven't explained clearly why you believe your Sienna is beginning to show symptoms of sludging, nor how often you've changed your oil, nor how many total miles your van now has. And bblaha's right, you haven't explained clearly either, Ms. dbauman2, what led up to your problems.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I purchased a 3 year aftermarket bumper to bumper warranty when I bought my car recently. In big red letters across the face of the warranty document is "OIL CHANGE MUST BE PERFORMED AT 3 MONTH/5,000 KM (3,000 mile)INTERVALS, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST. DO IT YOURSELF OIL CHANGES NOT ACCEPTABLE" and a copy of the service invoice with the garage's stamp faxed or registered mailed to them.

    As the warranty is underwritten by a major insurance company, and since they don't want to pay any claims they can avoid, I would suggest that they, after consultation with car manufacturers, have determined that 3 month oil change intervals are required to rid the engine of potentially harmful moisture contaminated oil. (sulphur from gasoline blowby + water in the crankcase from condensation = H2SO4 or sulphuric acid, good stuff for bearings) I doubt that they hold stock in any oil refining interests, nor do they own service facilities, but they absolutely will not honour the warranty unless the oil change intervals are adhered to, regardless of manufacturers' recommended service intervals (which in the case of my car happens to be 3,000 mile intervals for city/short trip driving).
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Toyota Engine Sludge Problem — Car Forums at Edmunds.com