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Toyota Avalon Engine Questions

mazdamom1mazdamom1 Posts: 2
My mom took her 2000 Avalon in for 40,000 mile checkup and was told a pipe had melted onto the manifold and could not be removed. The entire manifold had to be replaced in order to pass GA emission testing. Two different kinds of metal were used in the original construction of the car and when the car was heated, the melting occurred. My parents are expected to replace at their own cost. Any other reports of similar instances and if so, how was it handled? Seems like Toyota should be responsible, doesn't it?


  • muru1muru1 Posts: 1
    I bought a 98 Avalon Resently and its engine light comes on, when I shut off the car for few minutes then I start every thing work ok and no engine light on.Also some times it quit the fan and outside temparature.I shut down then start every thing ok.I went to dealer for the engine light problem and they change the speed sensor but I these problems intermittant.Please help me in this matter.
  • jc217jc217 Posts: 4
    I have a 2002 Avalon with 22K miles. I have been running oil samples on this vehicle since the second oil change. Test results show 5 to 9 % fuel dilution in the motor oil as well as some dirt contamination. I have talked to my Toyota service manager. He has no clue as to why all the contamination. I asked about fuel mixture being too rich. He said it can't be changed since everything is electronic. I asked about some type of injection leak. He said it's not possible. I generally run vehicles to 150 - 200K, but am worried about the engine. Should I be worried?

    Any suggestions or ideas?
  • highlander7highlander7 Posts: 177
    I have no idea of why the fuel dilution. Do you know what percent is an acceptical level?


    How often do you change the oil and filter?

    Who changes your oil and filter, Dealer, Local Garage, Self...?

    What type driving do you do? Short Runs, Highway, City, How Severe?

    What viscosity and manufacturer of oil? 5/30? _________

    Do you use a Toyota oil filter?

    Where do you have your oil analyzed for contaminets? How large of a sample do you retain for analysis?

    How does the data you have on this engine compare with other vehicles you have driven?

    I understand that many short runs, mile or two, then the vehicle sits for hours before other short runs will cause condensation and other contamination in the oil.

    The fuel percentage may be troublesome. If this is an easy item to check, I would like to do this on occasion. Thank you for your information, hope you get a good answer.
  • jc217jc217 Posts: 4

    I change the oil and filter every 3 - 4,000 miles. All changes have been made at the local Toyota dealer. I assume Toyota filters. They do use Mobil 5w30 oil. Driving habits are primarily highway/rural road driving, minimum of 15 miles with about 75 to 100 miles per day. Less than 10 miles of city driving about three times per week.

    I use the Oil Analysis Labs out of Spokane WA. They provide a 1-2 oz. sample bottle. They provide test results on 27 factors such as the physical data of the oil, metal concentrations, additive and contaminant products. They can diagnose the fuel dilution to 0.5% I have no idea what the Toyota specs are. Apparently, my shop manager has no idea either. He photocopied my report to discuss with technician but I never heard back from them.

    I also have a 95 Geo Prizm which has the 4 cyl Toyota engine in it. It has 141K miles and its sample tested at 0% fuel dilution. In fact, it tested cleaner than the 2002 Avalon in most of the categories.
  • highlander7highlander7 Posts: 177
    Will Oil Analysis Labs comment on this level of fuel dilution?

    Until you get an answer, I will begin changing the oil on my wifes 03 Avalon every 2000 miles and submit samples for analysis. Before your posting, I was considering changing oil and filter every 2K miles, now with your dilution data I will do so. She only drives 6-8K a year so this will be easy to do. I always change oil at the first 1000 miles, then every 3000 after that. 2000 miles may be excessive but I want the car to last!! Also, I will begin submitting my 4Runner oil for same analysis so I will have a comparison

    If you left the oil in until 7500 miles, wonder if the fuel percentage would be greater? And what damage might this do?

    Does anyone out there have an answer for jc217 posting #17?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    Did you ever get an answer to your question about the pipe melting on the manifold?

    Did the 'check engine light' come on?

    What 'pipe' actually melted? Can you see it melted? I may be presumtuous here, but it sounds a lot like a dealer trying to find a way to do big $$ work.

    Did your Mom actually have any performance problems with her Avalon? If it was running ok, getting normal gas mileage...there's probably nothing under the hood that could melt that would impact emissions in GA or any other state.

    I hope she shopped around for a 2nd opinion.

  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Was it .5% or was it 5%.. Anything under 5(five) percent for me is okay due to more short trips. However, I change the oil every 7500 with synthetic. The ppm of the dirt was not provided. If there is minimal wear metals then the silicon (dirt so to speak) is coming from seals and gaskets, not dirt. The fuel, usually too short trips or excessive idling but if not the case for you it is interesting. However, if under 5% don't worry about it, especially if wear metals are looking good.
  • rmsachsrmsachs Posts: 6
    yes, another flush question. At my last oil change (which I do every 5k miles) My Toyota service manager tried to convince me I needed my engine flushed ($99 special), which I declined. Am I being hoodwinked? I have a 2000 Avalon XLS with 27k, and I don't see anything about this in the manual. I don't have any performance problems that I know of.
  • rmsachsrmsachs Posts: 6
    I get this letter from Toyota Motor Sales USA, assuring me that any Avalon oil gelling damage is covered for 8 years. It says nothing about engine flushing (see previous posting), just do regular maintenance. So what is oil gelling, and how do I know I have it?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Hi RMsachs,

    You are right. If there is nothing in the manual then it isn't required. The only unusual service items that I remember from our 2000 Avalon manual have to do with being in 'high dust' environments and lots of short trips in winter.

    Call your dealer back and ask them what they actually do when they flush the engine. My guess they are talking about the cooling system.

    There's not much you can do that I am aware of to actually 'flush' an engine. That's what happens when you change the oil.

  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    The Avalons use the same V6 (basically) as the Camry and it has been shown to have sludging problems if the oil change intervals are extended, especially beyond 5000 miles. these engines just beat up the oil and can sludge (brown gel or hard baked on gunk) which will ruin the engine. The sludge may not be seen on the dipstick or even inside the oil filler neck. You really have to pull the valve cover to see if you have sludge. Most V6 do not and will not if the oil is changed frequently enough. However, that is why Toyota has given the 8 year warranty.

    Highly recommend you keep oil change reciepts and change within 5000 miles. A flush is normally a waste of money especially if you have been changing the oil. Just a great moneymaker for the dealer and since you have the 8 year warranty I would definitely not have an engine flush.

    If the dealer suspects sludge them them pull the valve cover at their expense. Experience has shown that if sludge exists the flush will not help, it is too late
  • raylor4raylor4 Posts: 5
    '97 Avalon, 74,000 mi, regularly maintained...Engine light comes on and off every 4 days or so. Engine runs fine. Got the code read by a scanner...Wrote it down, but do not have access to it at this writing. Called Toyota dealer in Napa, CA. Said I have to wait 11 days for an appointment, "Especially for a Toyota" I'm quoting them. Yikes! Will re-post when I get the code and the thing fixed by an independent. Gas cap is OK.
  • Took our 74,000 mile baby to an independent shop in Napa, CA. The scanner read code P1705. The software had no data on this code. Several phone calls later we came up with "direct drive clutch circuit" as the culprit. The tech explained to me that there are two RPM sensors outside the transmission and one is slightly out of parameter and gives no signal at idle.
    We should be out of the shop tomorrow with a bill substantially lower than any dealer would have presented.
    While I was there, I asked about throttle body cleaning, and the tech said they sometimes get sludged up from nearby PCV crankcase vapors. This makes more sense than the Toyota service writer that said they need to be cleaned because gas gets them gummed up.
    Does anyone have an annoying rattle that seems to be coming from the muffler area? Heat shields, clamps, brackets, all OK. I read on Car Talk that there is a "bypass valve" in the muffler. Any ideas?
  • Although not guaranteed, fuel and sludge are related. Aside from octane, premium fuel is more "refined". It carries less impurities that end up being carried in the oil. If you don't need the octane (which slows the "flame front" of the igniting fuel in the cylinder thus eliminating "knock")just change your oil more frequently and use a better filter. It's either/or. Those EGR valves are collecting the same impurities from the exhaust. They combine with the moisture, that is a natural byproduct of combustion to corrode internal parts. Yes, premium is more expensive but if you use it consistently you will see a difference in reliability and oil cleanliness. I have 140000 on my '96 Avalon. At 5000 miles my oil is still transparent on the dipstick. I have always used premium. It is expensive, but I hope to get a lot of miles from my car. Shifting back in forth between premium and regular is a total waste of money. Flushing an engine is pouring kerosine into the engine after the oil is removed. You run the engine for about 5 minutes or until it reaches operating temperature. The kerosine thins out any sludge and carries it away. No guarantee that it got it all, in fact, you should change your oil again (100 miles) to get the flush out. This was popular when engines had no filters (pre fifties). You needed to do this to keep the valve stems lubricated. (that is where most of the sludge is). It was necessary because of paraffin based oils. Actually Toyota's are known for their clean engines on tear down. If a mechanic told me to flush a Toyota, I would probably never go back to him. If a service ticket writer told me to flush my Toyota I would suspect they are running a special!
  • I drive a 2001 Avalon XLS and notice a good bit of wind noise. Anyone have trouble with this in their Avalon? Otherwise I love the car! It drives so smoothly and is easy on the gas. I notice something recently that is a little annoying: when idling I notice the engine seems to run a little roughly--can feel it jerking. What would case this? I use regular gas always. That is the type gas that the dealer told me to use? Would a tank or two of Premium take care of this rough running engine? I have the oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles either at the dealer or a Pennzoil Center. Help me out folks. Thanks.
  • Before my wife purchased her 03 Avalon in June, we were not aware of the Oil SLUDGE problem. I understand that the Avalon/Camry/RX300 3.0L engine will receive modifications to prevent this problem. Has this been corrected?

    If not, When will this modification be done?

    To prevent possible sludging, should I use a synthetic oil like Mobil 1? I am scheduling oil changes every 2000 miles because of the fear of sludge. With Mobil 1 maybe I could go to 5000 miles.

    Appreciate comments and suggestions.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    all the 3.0 engines with the previous sludge problem were modified in their PCV systems to fix this "problem". If you are not sure if your Avalon received this fix before you bought it, your dealer where you bought it will certainly know, and if it was not, they will do it now.

    While all those things said about the coolant system were technically true, usually the level in the overflow tank should stay roughly the same - if the siphon hose to the radiator is leaking, it can be replaced. Evaporation out the top usually does not occur because the cap of the expansion tank has a rubber gasket. However, if you get the car really hot sometime, and the system was already very full, it could expand enough to actually discharge a little out of the expansion tank on to the ground.

    Bottom line: 2 inches a year is not a sign of a major problem, although it is a little puzzling once the level has been adjusted appropriately. Just keep topping it off. if it were a major problem, you would be losing a lot more than that.

    randykidd: at idle when the car is in gear, you may feel a little jerking as the A/C compressor cycles on and off - the idle raises a little when it kicks in, in order to provide more cooling. So if the A/C is on, or the defrost, that is normal.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 2003 Avalon with a engine whine, the dealer said it is a charastic of he car, the 2000 did no do this. Any suggestions.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Go start any others on another lot. If they don't sound like your car, take yours in and ask for the service manager.

    It's the same engine as the Camry V6, the Sienna, The Solara V6 and the Lexus ES300.

    Do they any of them whine? I don't think so.
  • I've always done 7500 mile oil changes, and have had some 150k+ mileage cars, and have never had a serious engine problem. Most mechanics I've talked to say that modern oil can handle 7500miles no problem.

    Ok so now I own a 2000 Avalon and am reading all these "sludge" posts about 2000 mile oil changes, etc.

    So are there a bunch of extremely careful people on this website, or are Avalons really THAT hard on oil that it turn it to "Gel" ? Even modern oils? What about the "Synthetic Blend" oils or the "pure Synthetic" oils. Can I get 7500 miles out of them??

    Or can I just use regular good oil like Castrol or Valvoline and dilligently change it between 4k and 5k?

    Thanks for any responses :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 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

    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!!!
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