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  • Sludge in Engine

    The Oil light in my dad's Avalon started comming on, when we start the car, but going off after about 2 seconds. We checked the manual and it said that this was normal.

    Then 1 week later whilst driving it the oil light came on and then the engine started making very bad noises. Immediately pulled over and had the car towed to Frankston Toyota. Now Frankston toyota are saying there has been a build up of sludge in the engine - the cause of they don't know and they want to replace the engine at a cost of $10000.

    The reasons I can see for the sludge buildup is a lack of oil changes, but the car has always been serviced at Frankston Toyota in intervals as specified by the logbook ever since it was bought new.

    I've done a bit of research and found that owners the USA who have the 1MZFE engine have reported similar engines and that Toyota eventually gave in and provided free replacement engines for those affected. Anyone know if a similar scheme operated in Australia?

    Toyota Frankston are taking the stance that they are not at fault and that because for the 15,000km service the car was brought in at 20,000kms caused the engine sludging. I am hard pressed to see if that is the case why it took almost 101000kms to notice anything wrong with the engine.

    In the US the court judgement saw it fit that for an engine to be adequately maintained oil be changed only every 12 months. But Frankston are trying to say that in the US they use different addiditives and whatnot, who cares mate it's the same engine!

    Plus Customer service said that the dealer should've noticed sludge comming out of the engine in the other services whereas Frankston are saying you can't detect sludge from just draining the oil.
    This is what you get for having your car serviced 100% at Toyota.

    I have yet to hear what customer service are going to propose. From now on I think I'm only going to deal with customer service and not with Frankston Toyota.

    It's been a week now and it's starting to become a bit of an annoyance having no car! Might check if the RACV provides a free rental car for comprehensive insurance.
    Fox Mulder
    2004 Toyota MR2
    Modified Intel Xeon E5450 3Ghz Quad Core 2GB RAM 160GB SSD M4ATX Xenarc 700TSV TS Toslink Audio BU353 DiNovo Mini Car2PC ODBII Bluetooth HF 16x2 Character LCD

  • #2
    You'd have to have a pretty significant buildup of sludge for it to take out a motor, even the smaller 4-cylinder engine.

    Realistically, if you have enough sludge building up in your engine (regardless of what the Castrol ads tell you) to destroy the motor, then there's likely to be some other issue causing the motor to fail.

    101,000km is only about 60,600 miles, which isnt' all that much, particularly for a Toyota motor. Unless you're filling the motor with the bottom-of-the-barrel gasoline (86 octane or lower, if you can even get it) and used motor oil, you're probably not generating enough internal sludge to have any adverse effect.

    I think that "Engine Sludge" is nothing more than the latest automotive buzzword.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      Car has awlays been run on premium unleaded (95RON) (get more km/litre) and the oil changes should've been done by ther service centre, unless someone there has stuffed up and put the wrong oil in it.

      Ah saw your mooninite Ignignot avatar good pic!
      Fox Mulder
      2004 Toyota MR2
      Modified Intel Xeon E5450 3Ghz Quad Core 2GB RAM 160GB SSD M4ATX Xenarc 700TSV TS Toslink Audio BU353 DiNovo Mini Car2PC ODBII Bluetooth HF 16x2 Character LCD

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      • #4
        depending on how they drain the oil depends on what they will see. Its common for garages to suck the oil out the dip stick tube with a pump. If they do that they don't see or touch the oil. Its also likely that they wouldn't get all the sludge out leading to it building up.
        All that said and even with the late service I don't see how enough sludge could build up to kill an engine. I think something is wrong and they are trying to get out of it.
        As for different oils in different countries, all dealers should use what Toyota specifies the world over. If they aren't then its their fault, if they are then its the same as everywhere else.
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        • #5
          This sludge is a known problem

          My girlfriend's 2000 Lexus RX-300 had the same problem a couple of months ago. They tried to get her to pay for it first, acting as if they had never heard of this problem. There was plenty of history of this type of problem found by using Google search. I think there was even a class action suit somewhere in the US. After some arguments about it, Toyota (Lexus) fixed it at no charge. She just had to prove that adequate maintenance was done. Good luck.
          ~Jimmy

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          • #6
            I would download all you can find on the US problem and how Toyota addressed it - then hope for the best about your country's Toyota rep.

            BTW, most people I know into the Toyota brand (there's 3 Toyota's in my driveway) believe the problem actually centered around a faulty change interval for the PCV valve. And for anyone reading this, I would recommend you do not buy a generic PCV valve (regardless of brand), this is one of the few OEM parts worth seeking as the valve opening characteristics may vary considerably from the generic one-size-fits-all approach.

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            • #7
              Thanks guys, I have a copy of the final judgement of the class action suit and will be talking about that to customer service. Either the engine has a fault with it's PCV or the dealer failed to provide a reasonable level of service in checking/replacing the oil.
              Fox Mulder
              2004 Toyota MR2
              Modified Intel Xeon E5450 3Ghz Quad Core 2GB RAM 160GB SSD M4ATX Xenarc 700TSV TS Toslink Audio BU353 DiNovo Mini Car2PC ODBII Bluetooth HF 16x2 Character LCD

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              • #8
                Look like the dealer doesn't want to take the bill.
                Seriously but what is the 15kkm service include? Oil change and what? How is that 5000km late affect the engine?
                Well, deal with Toyota CS and let see what they said. The dealer should have all service history of the car. Normally, your latest service invoice also has the history of it (well that depend on the dealer too).
                Get some print out regarding to the lawsuit settlement in the US or elsewhere regarding to that particular engine. Compare the different between the US version and the AUS version to see the different so that the dealer/TCS don't BS about it a different engine.
                As for oil use at toyota dealer, standard (Toyota brand oil) shoudl be the same everywhere. They can argue about vicosity of the oil but regardless, it their brand and it should be within spec.

                If all doesn't go to well, you need a lawyer man.

                BTW, all our car in the family had always been Toyotas. I never see oil slug like that whenever I change oil, and I am really paranoid about what coming out of the engine with the fuild whenever I change.
                2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
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                • #9
                  It's the same situation here, whole family, Toyotas!

                  But the dealer is being difficult, they dropped the price to $8,800 but I still dont see why i should be paying.

                  I've spoken to other mechanics (including an ex toyota mechanic) and they all say it would near impossible to miss sludge this bad in the engine especially after a major service at 90,000km since Toyota are claiming the sludging occured because of the delay in the 15,000km service.

                  Lawyers are saying that you might want to try and avoid litigation as the cost of litigating may not be worth the risk.

                  I'm planning to give Toyota a deadline on comming up with a solution or I'm going public with this issue. I know some people (inside Toyota) who say the best way to get Toyota to acknowledge an issue to hold a protest at the Frankston dealership by warning prospective buyers and then if that doesn't work is to hold up signs at the Toyota Headquarters.
                  I've got a bunch of friends willing to help!
                  Fox Mulder
                  2004 Toyota MR2
                  Modified Intel Xeon E5450 3Ghz Quad Core 2GB RAM 160GB SSD M4ATX Xenarc 700TSV TS Toslink Audio BU353 DiNovo Mini Car2PC ODBII Bluetooth HF 16x2 Character LCD

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                  • #10
                    I just wonder how the fk did they miss the sludge when they did the 90kkm service.
                    Okay so what if you miss the service time by 5000 km. Would they catch the sludge when you did at 20000km? Should they give you a warning when you did oil change at 50000km, 60000km, 90000km?
                    The problem is that you paid for oil change, but it never got changed. Instead, the just top of (maybe not).
                    They just found a freaking reason to blame.
                    2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                    89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
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                    • #11
                      Plus Customer service said that the dealer should've noticed sludge comming out of the engine in the other services whereas Frankston are saying you can't detect sludge from just draining the oil.

                      they knew about the problem and didn't want to alert you to it hoping that they wouldn't be eating the price of replacing their faulty engine.

                      i have read the TSBs here in america about this problem, once a few years ago on a 1MZFE engine i had to use compressed air to force the sludged oil out of this guys car. now mind you we serviced his car regularly. toyota claimed that he didn't change the oil enough, if i remember correctly they stated 7500 miles. anyway this guy came back and i printed out all of his service records from our shop. after some *****ing and moaning toyo replaced his engine. so i would press the issue with your dealer as far as the law will allow until you are taken care of.

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                      • #12
                        Now Toyota are offering $5,800 which I will accept we need a car and on the condition that I withold my right to take the Toyota Motor Corporation to court and sue for negligence in maintaining my engine.

                        Consumer Affairs have decided to help me out and are getting the VACC (Victorian Automotive consortium place thingy) to conduct an analysis on the engine. The VACC are saying that they think it's cos Toyota Frankston used the wrong oil or engine cleaner or didn't change the oil in the car, well well soon find out with the analysis done.

                        Consumer affairs will then take our case to Court against Toyota Frankston and Toyota Motor Corporation Australia.
                        Fox Mulder
                        2004 Toyota MR2
                        Modified Intel Xeon E5450 3Ghz Quad Core 2GB RAM 160GB SSD M4ATX Xenarc 700TSV TS Toslink Audio BU353 DiNovo Mini Car2PC ODBII Bluetooth HF 16x2 Character LCD

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                        • #13
                          Glad that consummer affairs getting involved. Let see what coming out of this case.
                          You know, it's really suck to get Toyota to admit any wrong doing giving that they have a good history of reliable cars. Their newer car starting to have problem here and there. A simple case is the Mk3 Supra 7M engine with BHG. They never admit that the gasket design and head bolts they use wasn't strong enought for the engine. They all blame the mod to the engine that cause the problem. Feaking, I don't have any mod on the engine other than a dropin K&N filter. I still have BHG at 95Kmiles when I bought the car at 68kmiles . Previous owner had all services done by a single dealer where he bought the car. Other peole mod their engine also had BHG at about the same milleage. That was for the turbo engine. NA engine also fail but all within 10-20K miles later than the turbo. When people crying out about faulty head gasket and bolts, they start changing the design. If it isnt' a problem, why they changing the design?
                          2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                          89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
                          Y2K Accord Dell GX150
                          RoadRunner is the best FE PERIOD
                          EmoRebellion is a SCAMMER

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                          • #14
                            My 2 cents:
                            I worked at a Lexus dealer for 5 years, and now at a Toyota dealer.
                            A dealer would be unable to tell whether the engine is sludged while doing an oil change. They pull the drain plug and remove the filter, they only see dirty (or very dirty) oil coming out. The sludge part stays in the engine.
                            I've never heard of any dealer (or any shop for that matter) suck the oil out through the dipstick tube...that's nonsense, and actually be more time consuming.
                            For several years Toyota "readily" did the repairs on these engines, they even sent out notices to owners notifying them to have their cars checked. (One valve cover has to be removed to properly check it)
                            In the last 2 years or so Toyota has slowly "done away" with free repairs.

                            About the PCV valve (Positive Crankcase Ventilation): changing the PCV valve won't do anything. When repairs are done (or with a new engine), the engine gets new (revised) valve covers that have better "crankcase breathing abilities" thereby reducing sludge (or gell) build up.

                            I feel the problem is/was two-fold: lack of proper oil changes (I've seen 100's of engines that where fine when the service intervals where done within 5000 miles)
                            The valve cover design was an issue, but the bottom line is that oil changes must be done every 5000 miles, and oil sludge most likely will not occur.

                            I think Toyota has been quite generous in doing these repairs. At my dealer people came in with proof of only 1 oil change per year, and the repair was done for free. Once per year???? or 12,000 miles??? that's rediculous.

                            CHANGE YOUR FREAKING OIL PEOPLE!!!!
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                            • #15
                              so your saying that pulling the dipstick putting a tube down and switching on a pump is more time consuming that raising a car, removing all the undertray stuff which often involves removing the wheels then undoing the sump plug and all the other stuff??
                              I think if its an absolute must that you change your oil at 5000 miles in an everyday road car Toyota are going to loose market share big time. 12500 miles is the norm on most cars for about the last three years in Europe. It makes environmental and financial sense and reduces the cost of ownership. 5000 miles is a total joke and if they cant do better than that they deserve to go out of business.
                              Visit my site V8 Scimitar

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