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Toyota Avalon Engine Questions



  • 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: 12,726
    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.

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

  • 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: 12,726
    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 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.

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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.

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

  • 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: 12,726
    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.

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

  • 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?
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    I received the car back from the dealer again today. I realize that the words toyota and sludge in the same sentence raises the ire of many people on the internet. Now, my engine is supposedly repaired for a problem attributed from sludge, due to poor maintenance. I puchased this vehicle as a "toyota certified used car" last year with 44,000 miles on the odometer. Now the engine has been repaired twice in one year for this same problem. ALL my oil and filter changes are done at the toyota dealer. Now, if sludge is due to poor maintenance, but I have done all proper maintenance on time as required what is the problem then. I can only reasonably assume that the original owner of the car was negligent. but that covered the first repair I endured. There is a lot to be said here, and it doesnt look good for the dealer or toyota. Shame on the original owner for not keeping due diligence in the maintenance of the car. Double shame on the dealer for not spotting this during the "certification" process. So what we have here is a string of bad circumstances that affected me directly. Even though I maintained the car properly, I was the one blamed, once they found out it was their fault, they still wouldnt admit it. Then, to top it all off, they needed 2 more attempts to fix it. Now I have a car that is supposedly fixed, but I have lost all confidence in the dealership, the service department, and toyota the corporation. So what happens now, will this finally be the end of my horrible experience, or will the engine fail yet again?... I have to say it is my belief at this point that toyota made bad design choices, be it by market pressure, or from government regulations, rather than admit they had problems they just conjured up this mess. YES, failure to maintain proper oil change intervals can cause sludge, but so can PCV system design. I am leaning towards believing the PCV system is at fault, but due to emmissions regulations they cant fix the problem without recertifying the engines with the government again, this is the real reason everything is still being swept under the carpet. Rather than face the feds, the consumers bear the brunt of just plain bad decision making on toyota's part. All I can say at this point, is god help anyone who buys a used toyota with these engines in them. Talk about a crap shoot. We will know when their book values drop like a rock.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I am a Toyota fan in general, so my bias will show through a little on here, but out of the more than 1 million engines manufactured of the types affected by the sludge TSB, Toyota never did more than 500 or so sludge repairs, which leaves me wondering "could it really be a maintenance issue rather than a design issue?"

    BUT some people posted here at Edmunds that didn't sound like the ranting sort, that had engines maintained perfectly and still affected by sludge, so that pushes me back to leaning toward "poor design".

    Either way, one thing is for sure - people who lease cars very rarely maintain them by the book. They know they will be turning them in in a year or two, and they just do enough not to get dinged with charges when they go to turn it in. That is why "fresh off lease" in the advertisement has never been much of an incentive to me personally to go see a car.

    But for you wmunn, one thing is definitely in your favor: between the certified extended warranty and the special sludge warranty, you are well and truly covered for some time to come!

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

  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    another big puddle of oil on the garage floor. Another trip to the dealer, another rental car.

    Is it just me? I have been very patient, and the comedy of errors continues. What do I need to tell the service manager to inspire them to get their act together and resolve the leaky seals? There is no lemon law in florida for used cars, however maybe I should speak with an attorney anyways. I don't know what if anything could be done legally....... I really don't want it to come to that. Both for my sake as well as the dealer's. I have never been an unreasonable person, however, I feel at this point I am being backed into a corner. Are there any qualified mechanics here that could explain what I should insist be done at this point? I have had a valvetrain overhaul, and a SPA sludge repair , and now the seals around the heads keep blowing out. It sure seems to me the only thing left would be a complete engine replacement, although the service manager insists he can fix the problem. sugesstions on what to do are welcome. I have lost all patience at this point.
  • eskolapeskolap Posts: 1
    In some prior posts, an 8 yr warranty on 'sludge' was mentioned. Does anyone have more details on this?
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    I just got my car back again, and have been able to drive it for a couple of days. It seems to be running properly now, and doesnt leak oil anymore. No smoke on startup and it is getting the proper gas mileage again. This last time they tore it down and redid all the seals, including the oil pan. Evidently, the post rebuild problems were due to poor assembly by the mechanic. While I can understand human error, it can be very irritating. I just hope for my sake that things continue to go well at this point. I am also considering changing over to synthetic oil once I get 1000 or so miles on it. I really dont want this to happen again.
  • twobrownstwobrowns Posts: 52
    I have a 2002 avalon which I purchased in March 2002. I received a letter from Toyota dated Sept. 2002 which states in part"For eight years from the date of sale or lease of your new toyota, with no milage limitation, we will cover the cost of repairs to the engine in your vehicle against damage caused by oil gelling." Also the letter asks that you regularly change oil at recommended intervals and keep receipts.
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Posts: 358
    I got a letter from Toyota to extend warranty on my 97 Avalon engine to 8 years, unlimited mileage due to potential oil gelling or sludge. I haven't had any problem with my 97 Avalon with 104k miles on it. Shall I bring my car in to have dealer taken care this problem? My question is What will dealer do to fix this oil sludge problem?
    Has anyone done it?

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    it you'd know it - your engine would have stopped by now! Don't worry about it, just make sure to keep changing your oil at very regular intervals, and keep the letter in mind if you have a problem with the engine specifically in the next two years. At 104K I would say it is unlikely you will have this problem at this point...

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

  • arslanarslan Posts: 36
    I've got 110,000 miles on my 97 Avalon and haven't had sludge problems, although my car's exhaust does blow a lot of white smoke infrequently (more so during the winter season) and the engine will sound like a jackhammer for about 10 seconds upon ignition, if the car isn't driven for several days. Otherwise, the engine runs smoothly and efficiently. Suprisingly, I've never had to add a quart of oil to the engine.
  • matthew525matthew525 Posts: 52
    OK, Just took the wife's Avy in for its 7500 mile LOF last Friday. Saturday morning: noticed I had a nice pool of oil. Trip to the dealer who replaced the "oil plug gasket" and topped off the oil. Sunday morning: a smaller pool of oil on the driveway. Checked for myself -- sure is dripping from the plug onto the cardboard box I flattened. Can only stand so many oil stains on the driveway.

    So what's up? Did the $6.95 oil clerk strip the plug, did they not getting it tight enough, or do all Avys leak oil?

    What type of restitution should I get from the dealer Monday morning? I consider Saturday to be an abnormality - Monday is going to be a pain in my bumper.
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    I have had severely bad luck with the oil gelling problem, if you go back in the messages I am sure you will see what I mean. After all the nonsense with the engine, last week I had to have the air/fuel mixture sensors replaced, along with the catalytic convertor. Fortunately, I purchased an extended warranty when I bought the car. So it was covered, except for a $50 deductible. If that had come out of my own pocket it would have been $1350.

    This car only has 71500 miles on it, and in the 1 year I have owned it, it has incurred over $13,000 in repairs. All mechanical, and all related to problems with the engine.
  • matthew525matthew525 Posts: 52
    Well the dealer came clean. They stripped the threads last Friday during the routine LOF. Replacing the oil pan & plug, and have purchased me a rental. Not a happy camper yet; but we'll see what the do and say tomorrow.
  • I have a 2001 XLS. I am original owner and have 20,000 miles on the car. The car started smoking heavily during start up beginning in July. Took it to the local dealership where purchased and they blew me off saying they were too busy to look at it. I was leaving for a month long vacation in San Diego in a few days (I live in southern CA desert) and told the dealer that. They told me to take it to the dealer in San Diego. While in San Diego I took a trip to Las Vegas adding oil before I went. I left on Friday and headed back to SD on Sunday. Just as I got in to San Diego the oil light came on. Checked oil and it was down 4 qts.! Took it to dealer in SD told them about smoking problem and oil consumption and they were well aware of the problem. Still, they had to perform an oil consumption test which consisted of driving 300 miles and checking oil consumption. That didn't take very long since my husband was commuting from our home in the desert to the coast. Well, the dealer has had my car for 4 weeks and 3 days. I have been told that the engine is torn down and they have been replacing parts. They won't tell me exactly what the problem is until we get it back. When that is, I have no idea. The dealer gave me a loaner and they really have treated us great. I just want my car back!
  • Lyn03 Please post the outcome of your engine problem as it has many implications. The dealer had your car for 4 weeks at your post time and it's been another 2 weeks. Hope you have good news in your next post. tmp
  • As I had posted earlier, my car had been in the shop for oil consumption. I finally got my car back after 5 1/2 weeks in the shop. They never would tell me exactly what was wrong with the engine but the work they did was a complete engine overhaul. So far so good. But I was very upset that they had put a big scratch on the front passenger leather seat. I don't know how it happened or why they would put anything on the front seat but it wasn't scratched when I took it in. When my husband picked the car up, the service people were out to lunch and no one was available to speak to.
  • yankeryanker Posts: 156
    WMM Check and see if your state has a lemon law. You are getting close to an intolerable situation. Also just what is a certified car if you can't rely on the darn thing to run and be repaired. Last resort get a new dealer. Desperate last resort write a letter in very crude Japanese to Toyota of America
  • kozakidkozakid Posts: 16
    I bought my 2003 Avalon in September of last year. About three months ago the yellow "Check Engine Light" (above the odometer) came on and stayed on.

    Several days later I took the car in to Savannah Toyota (where I bought it) and after running a diagnostic test the technician, according to the invoice, "Replaced Charcoal Canister." (On the invoice I also see "PULLED PO441, 442, 446", whatever that means.) The light did go out, but two days later (July 30th) the "Check Engine Light" came on again and stayed on.

    A few days ago I finally got around to taking the car in again and had a second diagnostic test done. This time the invoice reads "PO 440, 441 VAC. VALVE SWITCH INOP REPLACED." So I assume that means some sort of valve switch was replaced. In any case, today the "Check Engine Light" came on once more and has stayed on.

    Has anyone had a similar problem, and, if so, how was it resolved? Both times I've wasted approximately three hours at Savannah Toyota, and this is really starting to get annoying.
  • wmmunnwmmunn Posts: 18
    Well, It has been about 7 months now since I had all that work done on my engine. Many regulars here will remember the ordeals I went through with this car over the past 2 years now. I have been doing my oil changes on my own every 3000 miles since July, and have been using Mobil 1 synthetic exclusively since August. The car still runs well now, and uses about 1/2 quart per 2500 miles now, which I would guess is normal, but not great. There hasnt been a single hiccup since the work was completed. I now have around 82,000 on the odometer and will be crossing my fingers to make it go for another 3 to 4 years, at which time it should have around 160k on it.
  • Is there a sludge problem on the 2003 Avalon XLS with the 3.0L 1MZ V-6 engine? Has anyone figured out why there is a sludge problem on some Toyotas? My extended warrantee (100,000 miles, 7 years, platinum) excludes coverage of problems with sludge.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    In answer to #353 of 356 sludge by mcescher1 Feb 29, 2004 (8:34 am) :

    "Is there a sludge problem on the 2003 Avalon XLS with the 3.0L 1MZ V-6 engine?"

    After announcement of the sludge policy in 2002, Toyota made some running changes to the V-6 engine to help prevent the build-up of sludge. This was reported to be a modification to the PCV system and some other minor engine modifications.

    "Has anyone figured out why there is a sludge problem on some Toyotas? "

    There has been nothing definitive reported, only a lot of theories. Toyota continues to blame it on owner lack of maintenance. Based on the changes Toyota made to the 2003 engine, it may have been due to the PCV design. Others have claimed that the engine runs hot, cooking the oil and turning it to sludge. The long oil change intervals recommended by Toyota (7,500 mi. normal driving conditions and 5,000 mi. severe driving) were also pointed to as a possible contributor to the problem.
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