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Toyota Echo



  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Last weekend my wife and I took a backroad trip in the ECHO from Westmont to Saratoga Springs NY, a distance of about 330 miles. All deserted two lane highway basically following the Delaware River into NY. Probably the most time we have spent together alone for a few years! Which is dangerous because although we get along very well all the friction between us comes out when we are driving together. ("Are you going to hit EVERY pothole in the road?" "WHEN are you going to turn the windshield wipers on") But we got along famously the entire time and the ECHO besides being a pleasure to drive on twisty turny roads got 38 mpg.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    My ECHO passed its first NJ inspection yesterday. In the NOX department with a score of 725 to pass, the ECHO got 14. In the HC part of the test, you can get a 14 and still pass. ECHO got 1. There was 0 thats right 0 measured CO in the test. I wonder what the Prius's are getting?
  • The echo, along with most (not all) of the other vehicles in Toyota's product line are classified as ULEV vehicles. This means that they have 10% or less of the emmissions of a LEV vehicle. Proof is in the Pudding as they say, so congrats.
  • Georgia does not have inspections for things like NOX. Many years ago Georgians were required to have inspections but the law was negated. Does anyone know which states mandate inspections, or if the list in shorter, which states do not require inspections?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I know MD doesn't require inspections. You do have to do the emissions testing only, and that's every 2 years. But no inspections.
  • The articles I have read about the 2003 Echo indicated that the length was being increased by about 1.6 inches over the 2002, but the brochure I have does not show that change. It does show one [glaring] change in figures, though.

    The 2003 brochure shows that ground clearance has been reduced by about half an inch. Does this mean the Echo has been lowered or has the front and rear redesign caused the change?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    That would be the only thing I would think.

    How is your Echo holding up now? It's been awhile since I have seen you here. Did you ever convince your roommate to get an Echo? :) I got my best friend to get one, and he loves it thus far.
  • My Echo is coming up on its second birthday [as measured when I bought it] and it is rapidly approaching 50,000 miles. Still love driving it.

    My roommate is still without her own car, but her son is leaving the area [to join the Marines] and won't be taking his car so she will be driving his for a while.

    Vocus, your answer wasn't really clear to me so would you clarify. It was almost like I asked, "Do you want tuna salad or chicken salad?" and you said, "Yes." I couldn't figure out if you thought the Echo had been lowered or the change in facia had caused the lower ground clearance. What do you think?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Sorry, that was a dumb answer, now that I reread it. :)

    The front/rear restyle wouldn't have anything to do with the lowering of the car. Maybe Toyota lowered the car to try and not make it feel tippy, as some people complained about.

    I raced around a corner with my friend's car, the day he bought it (used), and it felt tippy to me. BUT, I am used to driving a turbo Jetta with sport suspension and 17" tires on it too.. :)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Today My ECHO is two years old. 13,501 miles, tires half worn out (potenzas) windshield wiper blades replaced, average mileage so far 38 mpg. (almost all city driving) No problems!
  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    Does your ECHO have an automatic or manual tranny? 2 dr. of 4 dr?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Its a five speed, two door. (but what diff would a two door make I wonder?)
  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    I was just curious about how many doors because I'm still undecided on which model I'm getting in Mar 03.

    Seems like most ECHO's are 4 doors.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Yes thats true there are. Its easier that way to carry passengers. But my two door is like a hanicapped bus its SO easy to get in and out of with my bad back!
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    TWO years old and you only have 13,501 miles?!? I hate you! :) I have 26K miles on my Jetta, and it just turned a year old the Sunday before last. I drive 35 miles one way to work daily though...
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Yes but you are doing "good" miles where the engine fully warms up. I expect youll easily see 150k out of the engine that way...maybe more. I on the other had have a 6.5 mile trip to work and thats about all the car gets. The dipstick is already brown coated with varnish, despite oil changes three times a year.
  • hey i have an echo bodykit for sale imported from japan taking reasonable offers

    also have B&M short shifter asking 100 + shipping

    also omp adjustable strut tower brace asking 70 + shipping

    also jsp touring spoiler already painted electric green 150 + shipping

    also have aem power pulley (alternator under drive pulley) made to fit gt celica and corolla was going to try and make fit but never got the oppertunity to inspect it out completely selling for 70 plus shipping comes with belt

    also 17 inch enkei sazukas asking 400 plus shipping needs new tires

    also intrax camber kit 20 plus shipping

    lastly i have a pioneer avx p7300dvd w/p8000r brain for 1100 shipped

    all prices are USD and are negotiable if interested please post or email me at
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    To solve the problem you are facing (varnish) you can simply use a good synthetic oil like Mobil 1 or Amsoil and this will clean the engine up.

    Another choice would be to use an additive to clean the engine before your next oil change.

    Take a look at the following url's, you might decide to use this product.

    By the way I am not a dealer and I have NOT used this product.;f=5;t=000026

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    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: 1,694
    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: 1,694
    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: 1,694
    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?
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