Follow up...Oil changes, Toyotas, and GM problems

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In a recent post, I voiced my discontent with the way GM had handled the plenum failure problem in general, and mentioned it might be time to look at a
Toyota.
Someone (pardon for not remembering whom) posted that Toyota had also had problems with sludging engines, leading to failure in some instances.
Drove the Toyota today. Wonderfully quiet, smooth, and responsive. Was really impressed.
So I asked about the sludging problem while at the dealership. They confirmed it had happened and gave the reason that many people tried to run too long between oil changes. They said that the manual clearly called for oil and filter changes near the 3000 mile interval, but a lot of people tried to push oils to 7500 and more. And it just didnt work.
This post covers several items, and comments are welcome.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

I believe Toyota settled several lawsuits to get out of a bad PR problem. They required virtually no documentation that an oil change had been done - I think the threshold was one change in a year!
Like you and the car dealer I believe the purported sludging problem is tied entirely to lousy maintenance practices by a handfull of Toyota car owners. You can't run an engine to 10,000 miles between oil changes without damaging the engine and causing a sludging problem. My son's Camry has 210,000 miles with no evidence of sludging, but it gets an oil change every 3,000 miles.
As the saying goes, Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later, but You Will Pay.
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Totally agree. This has been my philosophy for a long time, and I am reinforced in it. When I can run cars for 100,000 to 200,000 miles with no oil burning and no engine problems (as I have for as long as I have used this maintenance schedule), I need not defend my choices further.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

That's what I'd expect them to say, but I don't believe a word of it. LOTS of engines run perfectly well on 7000 or 9000 mile oil changes, so why don't Toyotas? Are Toyota owners maintenance slobs and everyone else takes perfect care of their cars?
Horsefeathers. They have (or had) an engineering problem with those engines, and they failed too often and too consistently. And that's another thing- why was it just a couple of PARTICULAR Toyota engines and not all of them?
Toyota isn't perfect, unlike what they'd love for you to believe. They laid an egg, and blaming it all on "poor maintenance" just puts more egg on their own faces.
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Steve,
With no disrespect intended, if they tell you to change the oil at roughly 3000 mile intervals, and you dont do it, who is at fault?
Now, I cant prove that this was the case, but IF you are given the clear instructions, and cant comply, it darn sure isnt Toyota's fault.
If you find a manufacturer that will approve 20,000 mile oil changes, fine. If I were the manufacturer, I wouldnt
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

You are, of course. However, a 3000 mile change interval is STUPID with modern oils, and any engine that truly REQUIRES it is a piss-poor design and unworthy of being on the market. My 1966 V8, my '69 V8, my 73 V8, and my 93 V6 engines ALL have passed 160,000 miles (241,000 for the 93, 430,0000 for the 73!) with 7000+ mile change intervals. 1973 American engine technology isn't THAT much better than modern Japanese engine technology! ;) End of discussion.

I agree when it comes to suing Toyota or doing something like that. They covered their bases just fine, and so the only real recourse people have is to quit buying Toyotas until they can demonstrate that the problem is well and truly fixed.

No, but lots of them, including GM, allow much longer drain intervals and have oil-monitoring systems.
This may sound like I'm ripping Toyota a new one, but I'm really not. They've made some incredibly reliable engines over the years. My gut feeling is that they tried something to reduce emissions or increase efficiency, and it had an unwanted side-effect. Same thing for the Chrysler 2.7 v6, in my opinion. Chrysler is my brand of choice most of the time, but I won't buy a 2.7 for anything! It happens to all carmakers. What I can't understand or abide is the attitude that "<insert car brand here> can do NO wrong! It must be the owners!"
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What I can't understand or abide is the attitude that

Fully agree. I maintain my cars very well and seldom have I had a problem. (Exception, a Ford 428 Cobra that broke a piston at 17,000 miles)
Chrysler engines have traditionally been very strong, as you say. Their Mitsubishi engine choices may not be so great.
Toyota appears to have had some some sort of problem with these engines, but hesitates to admit it if it is so. The service manager at this dealership states that he believes that the problem has been solved (aha...maybe there was a problem), but still recommends conscientious management.
Some of the web accounts I have read indicate that many owners were less than diligent about keeping their documentation about oil changes, and Toyota was probably looking to avoid paying whenever they could. It was relationswise a bad move.
I live about 60 miles from the dealership. I do not intend to drive there every time I need an oil change to get their blessing. If that is the name of the game, I'll do something else.
I find situations like this very unsatisfying. The truth is there somewhere, but it seems hard to get to the very bottom of this story.
Appreciate your comments.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

To defend Toyota for a minute... I think that's a symptom of society. A corporation simply can't honestly admit a mistake these days without opening itself to a FLOOD of damage claims, and I'm not just saying people asking for a replacement engine (which they deserve), I'm talking about people asking for a brand new car because "it shouldn't have broken! I don't want a lemon!" Buyers seem so out of touch with reality that they no longer understand the fact that manufacturing isn't perfect, and "sometimes you get a bad one." And that replacing the defective part is fair, but providing a brand new car isn't.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

Nonsense. Car makers have allowed 7500-mile oil change intervals for about 30 years now and haven't had major sludge problems, despite the SE and SF rated oils back then being much worse at preventing sludge than today's SL and SM oils. Many cars now have 10,000-15,000 mile oil change requirements and few sludge problems. Toyota simply made a major mistake when it reduced the amount of positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) in order to regulate the combustion more accurately for emissions purposes (crankcase blow-by gases burn, just as gasoline does). Toyota reduced it too much, and any mechanic can tell you that this can greatly increase the build-up of sludge.
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Toyota reduced it too much, and any mechanic can tell you that

Perhaps you are right, and perhaps not. IF the manual instructed you to change the oil at 3000 mile intervals (and I cannot confirm this) and you chose not to do it, then the onus is upon you.
There are lots of engineering foibles in every branch of modern technology. If you choose to ignore the requirements, then you have no one to blame but yourself.
IF you follow the factory specifications and there is a class of repetitive failures, then the courts may have to be the eventual referees.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

If you don't believe me, remove the PCV valve hose and see what happens in 1,000 miles.

It doesn't, except perhaps for severe-duty driving.
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wrote:

Since this Toyota business is a bit new to me, I ran a web search to see if the dealership version of the story is the same as the people effected are telling. It isn't.
Apparently, the manual recommended 7500 mile changes, or 5000 if under severe conditions. We are told that the gelation problem has been noted in cars with under 3000 miles on the oil.
The pendulum of truth is certainly not tarrying long on the side of Toyota.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

I've gotta ask. Where "are we told" that the gelation problem has been noted in cars with under 3,000 miles on the oil. Wher did you find this information.
And have those cars experiencing sluding always had a regular oil change within the recommended limits? Or did the car owners in question all of a sudden get serious about oil changes after they had a problem.

Haven't seen anything to verify this statement so far.
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I found it in the websearch. There are lots of pages of info (and probably misinformation as well) about this problem. Toyota flatly states that maintain the oil changes WILL PREVENT the problem, in their website. I have found a good bit of rebuttal for this. 'We are told' is a pretty non accusatory phrase.

Good question. Wish I knew the answer. Usually where there is this level of smoke, there are some sparks, but I dont make any blanket statements until I know more. Some of the posters here, whose opinion I normally respect, have made me doubt the Toyota explanation. But we both know that owners are often lax in maintenance, and inventive in their complaints.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

My previous boss too his wife's Camry to the toyota dealer every 3000 miles for an oil change and still lost the engine at 20something k
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Some research on the Toyota sludging problem suggests that the crankcase vent system too restrictive and was compromised by extending oil change intervals under hard driving conditions, the vent system became restricted allowing vapors to be trapped in the crankcase causing more rapid formation of oil contamination.

-
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formation
I certainly accept that this could have been the case. Don't know exactly, since I never owned one of them.
After having driven one, I can say that they seem to be very well conceived cars. Will I buy one? Maybe...
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Shep wrote:

Except that the engine's PCV system was never changed.
The part numbers for the later 1MZ-FE valve covers is different from the original, and it's my understanding that the valve cover baffling was changed a bit to allow better oil flowback when sludged.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

Claiming to need a 3,000 oil change interval is one way of saying that they cannot fix the problem in the current engine series. If you feel the need to go Japanese I suggest getting the 4 cylinder engine. Powers the Camry just fine. Test drive some of the new GM's first though...
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wrote:

When I polled the lubricating oil producers some months ago, those that answered also tended toward recommended short change intervals. Some did not answer at all.
I dont not know whether Toyota claims a fix for their V6. I drove the 2.4 litre 4 (claimed 160 bhp) and it was powerful enough.
I want to take a look at the new Lucerne too, but none of the area dealerships have them. They seem to have a new engine as well, but I might be hesitant if this is a first year production.
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