In a recent post, I voiced my discontent with the way GM had handled the
failure problem in general, and mentioned it might be time to look at a
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
So I asked about the sludging problem while at the dealership. They
had happened and gave the reason that many people tried to run too long
oil changes. They said that the manual clearly called for oil and filter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!"
What I can't understand or abide is the attitude that
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
Haven't seen anything to verify this statement so far.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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
When I polled the lubricating oil producers some months ago, those that
also tended toward recommended short change intervals. Some did not answer
I dont not know whether Toyota claims a fix for their V6. I drove the 2.4
(claimed 160 bhp) and it was powerful enough.
I want to take a look at the new Lucerne too, but none of the area
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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