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Toyota Avalon Engine Questions

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    extreme maintenance schedule for your car lists oil changes at 5K miles, and if I were you, I would not bother to change it more frequently than that. Just use regular "dino" oil - no need for synthetic unless you prefer to use it.

    Toyota has warranted your engine against sludging out to eight years from the date it first went into service, regardless of mileage, so you do not need to worry much until 2008 anyway.

    The sludge problem was overblown. They still have less than 400 engines out of more than 1 million that needed replacement.

    By contrast Honda has already had several thousand fail out of the 1.2 million automatic transmissions they recalled this year.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Thanks for the response, I'm glad that problem is overblown, i will just use good regular oil and change it every 5k. Its a great car, the bench seat setup is refreshing and nostalgic (for me).

    I have the stock stereo, and have since replaced the back and front speakers with Infinity 6.5 inch coaxials in the back, and these amazing Alpine 6.5 inch seperates (SPR-176A) in the front. The total cost of the upgrade was less than 300 dollars, and the sound improvement is incredible.

    I will add an amp and some kind of woofer/subwoofer system next, any ideas anyone?
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    I have read a few posts in the forum recently regarding the timing belt replacement. I was informed by my dealer at the last oil change (66,000 miles) that I was overdue for timing belt replacement. I took them for their word and scheduled an appointment. I then did the plug change and pcv valve services myself due to cost savings. I then consulted the owners manual in regards to proper maintenance schedules, the manual says 90,000 miles is appropriate for timing belt change. I then cancelled my timing belt appointment, and will have it done next year at this time, which is when I will be around 85,000 or so. The 90,000 mile interval is more consistant with previous cars I have owned. Although I must be honest here, this toyota and all the sludge rumors have me a bit scared about maintenance. I have never had major mechanical problems of any kind in the past with other vehicles I have owned. What is the general consensus here among other avalon owners? I have been having all my oil changes done at the dealer I purchased the car from, and doing so at 3,000 mile intervals. This for me is my peace of mind in regards to any possible sludge issues. How could toyota claim improper maintenance when they are the ones turning the wrench on oil changes? The reason I am worried about sludge is in regards to an issue I had upon purchasing this car. It was experiencing smoke on startup, and the dealer overhauled the valve train to resolve the problem under warranty. They never indicated a sludge problem at that time, even when I specifically asked about it. How does this correlate with other avalons?
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    overhauled the valve train could be they did a slight rebuild or replaced valve seals or perhaps they did a flush of the system. Maybe you need to inquire further to see what service was performed during the purchase of the vehicle. Id do an oil analysis on the vehicle to determine the cleanliness of the motor internally
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    http://home.cfl.rr.com/sgonzales/sludge.jpg

    this a photo from when I started my car this morning. This is actually a lot less smoke than it made over the previous few morning. it slowly declines over about 5 minutes till it is gone. the smoke smells strongly of burnt oil. I got out my receipts of the work performed under warranty approximately 1 year ago, and it shows they replaced all the valve stem seals. since this has happened again in only 1 year, with oil changes and maintenance being done always on time, and always by the dealer, what should be done to fix this once and for all? should they use the new redesigned valve covers and completely redo the top end of the engine? or should I insist they replace the engine completely.....
  • How much oil are you losing on the dipstick.

    Its a shame to see that kind of smoke on such a shining looking unit.
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    It was down over 1/2 quart after only 1000 miles since the last oil change by the dealer. Its in the shop now torn down, dealer is trying to figure out what is causing this. they pulled the front valve cover today to see, and they said it didnt have sludge on the front side, tomorrow morning they are pulling the rear cover, and will proceed as needed. They assured me whatever is wrong is fully covered, since they repaired this same issue last year under warranty. the car only has 67,000 miles on it since new, and only 22k since the last repair for smoke on startup.
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    Just an update on my earlier situation. I received my car back from the dealer yesterday afternoon. They state there is no sludge in my engine of any kind, although they would not let me see my engine when the valve covers were removed. They say they performed "Induction service" at no cost to me. This is the same service they tried to sell me last month for $150. He said that some white smoke at startup is normal and nothing to worry about. Time will tell, and If I start it up today after sitting all night, and it smokes and the smoke smells of oil, well I dont know what to do at that point. I must point out that the car does run flawlessy and is very smooth and quiet.
  • Some white smoke is normal...especially this time of year....but oil usage is not. Have a 2000 XLS with nearly 50,000 miles and this car has been flawless.....not even as much as a drop of oil has been used and at 3000 miles when the oil is changed it is as clear and clean as the day I changed it last.

    My dealer tells me the only sludge issue they have seen was in a Sienna mini-van and the oil had not been changed in over 35,000 miles and when it was changed before that the person did not change the filter.
  • In February I had engine warning light go "on" on my '96 Avalon. (52K miles). Concurrently, I had to take Avalon in for 2-year smog certification for California re-registration.

    Avalon failed smog check because of "malfunction of vacuum valve in emissions system". Took car to Toyota Carlsbad: vacuum valve replaced @ $207; smog certification @ $58.

    A week or so later Toyota Hdqrs sent warranty letter to me saying several emissions control functions in Avalon were subject to a new, extended warranty. One such was "vacuum valve".

    Yesterday received a check for $257 from Toyota after I submitted claim under "new, extended" warranty. I'm a happy camper. Good on Toyota!!!
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    It has been approximately 1500 miles since my last oil change. I checked the oil when I got to work yesterday, and it was completely off the stick! I added 2 quarts and drove it home. The smoke is getting MUCH worse. I guess I need to drop it off at the dealer and let them know in no uncertain words that I am not very happy with them, and this is their last opportunity before things start getting nasty. It is not acceptable that a vehicle smokes like a fiend at such low mileage and runs through 2 quarts of oil that quickly. it is most definitely NOT water vapor. When I started the car yesterday morning it smoked so badly that it left a haze that filled my neighborhood!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    that car has a big problem - accept nothing less than a complete fix. Start documenting everything, and be ready to contact the regional rep as soon as the next dealership visit does not fix the problem.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    My situation with the smoke and oil usage continues to get worse. It is now consuming more than 1 quart of oil at every gas fillup. I had it in to the dealer yet again for this problem today. They are now "testing oil consumption" I am supposed to bring it back for them to check again in 500 miles or less depending on how quickly it drops. I explained my disappointment in the car and their service. It is very annoying to have to check the oil twice a day to be sure it doesnt run down so low to burn it up. I explained to the service manager had I been the typical consumer who didnt maintain their car properly it would have been towed in long ago for engine seizure. Why should the average person who doesnt care get a new engine without all this trouble, while the conscientious customer who takes care of their car gets the run around? Toyota is losing ground quickly in my eyes. This type of situation should be dealt with much more quickly, and not blamed on customers. While I understand the dealer's need to document things properly to get coverage from toyota warranty repair, what point is enough? This is fast crossing the line to "blowing the customer off until it is out of factory warranty." I for one, will not tolerate this type of treatment. Toyota needs to fess up, redesign the engines properly, and quickly recall and replace the affected engines.

    Come on toyota! where do you want to be in a few years? stand up and do the right thing. Stand behind your reputation, repair the cars. Do this and people will continue to buy your products. Sitting on your hands and blaming the customers for irresponsible engine designs will only propel other companies to the head of the charts in sales. Take a good look at Hyundai, they may just give you more trouble than you can imagine.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    120K mi on my '95 Avalon. Bought new and have had no mechanical problems. Started smelling oil while driving and noticed oil around the top of the engine around the ?valve cover. Haven't noticed any leak on the garage floor and the dipstick shows full. Toyota service says this seal should solve the problem --- about $315.
    Does this seem reasonable? Has anyone reached 200K mi on a Avalon?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    should do the trick - that is what is leaking the oil around the valve cover and causing the burning oil smell. It would not leak enough oil for you to notice it on the dipstick or the ground, but it does make an oily mess and smell crappy...it can even create a minor fire risk if it is left a really long time.

    $315 seems a little much to replace it though...check a couple of independent places to find out their price.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    if you are literally putting in a quart at every fill-up and it actually takes a quart at that point, you should just leave it with the dealership. Tell them to lend it to a salesman to drive home in the evening so thay can put a few miles on it, that way you don't have to futz around with it. If you drive it 500 miles, you will be driving at least a couple of hundred down more than a quart of oil right? That is no good.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    Well, I got my car back from the dealer today after 11 days. As I had mentioned in earlier messages, the dealer was swearing up and down I did not have any sludge in my engine. When they tore the engine down they told me it had broken rings which was causing the smoking and loss of gas mileage. Upon recieving the car back yesterday. The invoice said "Goodwill repair sludge" It also listed several parts and at the bottom stated "This is a one time goodwill gesture for repairs towards an oil gel concern. On behalf of toyota we would like to thank you for purchasing a toyota product. It is very important to know that oil sludge is not a defect in product or workmanship but, to a less forgiving to excessive time or mileage between oil changes on certain engines. For example: 5,000 miles or /4 months is the recommended interval. It is very important that this scheduled maintenance be followed by or before your owners manual recommended time. By servicing your vehicle with toyota you can rest assured that we will take great care of you and your car"

    I find it extremely interesting that since I had all my maintenance done at 3,000 mile intervals, and done by the toyota dealer themselves, that I could have a maintenance problem that was not due to design or workmanship. If sludge is caused by stupid owners, or quick lube joints, what happened to my car and why did they fix it?
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    From my previous message you know that I just had my car repaired for "sludge" upon attempting to go to the park to get in a little inline skating, I found a large pool of oil on the garage floor. oil all over the engine compartment. and very little oil still inside the engine. This was after driving it to work 1 time since the repair. needless to say, I was more than a little firm with the dealer over the phone. We will see what they do now. I was skeptical of the messages around the net I had seen about sludge and toyota automobiles before I purchased this car. Now I can understand the situation from their point of view. disappointed doesnt even begin to cover my experience so far with this avalon. pointers are welcome from the group at this point. What should I do?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    the problem is referred to as "sludging" is because the oil sludges up the inside of the engine. Sludging does not cause pools of oil on the floor, nor does it cause oil spraying around your engine compartment. There is very likely a different problem with your vehicle.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    I understand that oil on the floor and around the engine compartment are not sludge. But it WAS caused by improper/ineffectual repair of the engine. The engine was sludged and they performed the sludge repair as toyota has outlined under their SPA letter from last year. My point is if they cant even reassemble the engine properly so that it doesnt leak, how confident could anyone feel in the quality of workmanship of the rest of the repair. Do you get where I am coming from on this?
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