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

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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!"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We've been around and around over this in the ole' Toyota forum. I've de-sludged a few hundred of those darn 6 cylinders since they started showing up a few years back, and not ONE had documentation of a reasonable service history. They were all either spotty (10k intervals or more or so), or absent of any records at all. There are a buch of wierdos out there who like to blame Toyota, but whatever. Maintain the machines you depend on every day, you know? Toyota's decent though, for the money. If you like it, but it and head on over to alt.toyota
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
qslim wrote:

Then sanswer me these:
WHY did they "start showing up a few years back?" Did people suddenly stop changing their oil, or did Toyota make a change that had an unintended effect and rendered that engine susceptible?
WHY don't other Toyota engines show the same problem at the same rate?
WHY don't other carmakers engines show the same statistics? (Some specific engines do, and they have a problem as well!)
Most importantly, why is it so hard to admit Toyota screwed up?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jesus Christ man, calm down. You need to relax. I think the reason all these sludged engines showed up recently is because of a design issue that caused excessive heat transfer into the lubrication system. This is what I was told by a few product engineers at the Central Atlantic Toyota hq in Baltimore. The 'issue', however, was not enough by itself to cause sludging along with regular maintenance. Even cars that strictly followed Toyotas 7500 mile intervals never showed a problem. As is normal, a lot of people pushed the recommendation of 7500 miles, servicing their engines at 10k mile intervals or often more, and the system didn't have enough of a 'buffer' to make up for this excess mileage. Delaying a 3k oil change interval is no big deal, as you are erring on the side of caution to begin with. The fact still remains that I have seen hundreds and hundreds of these sludged engines, and none has ever had a service history that stood up to anything. Oil gelling happens due to lack of attention, and it just so happened that Toyota's 1MZ FE had a lower threshold of poor maintenance. And don't take all this stuff so personally, man. It's not like I'm a Toyota rep out here pushing secrets under the rug. I've been with a Toyota dealer for 5 years, and I'm just telling you what I've seen. All you wierdos out there that think people like me, comboverfish, and MDT from MO are conspirators need to cool it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
qslim wrote:

Cool, I'm a co-conspirator!
Q, noone ever listens to you if their mind is made up about the Toyota sludge issue. I have done *only* a dozen or so sludge jobs, but our shop spreads them out evenly. It sounds like you are the official Sludge Dude at your shop. I can relate. When I started in '96 I became the unofficial V05 / X01 campaign guy, ending up with about 200 of those jobs to present. What the other guys didn't realize was that they were moneymakers.
What I can't get is why the determined-minded detractors don't take any credo from mechanics who see these engines and their repair histories every day. Especially those that don't know anything about cars! -- not a shot at guys on this NG, but in reference to other arenas of discussion. We aren't corporate shills; it's just about letting people know what we see and think about this issue IMO. AKAIC, if people change their oil every 3k - 7k / 3 - 6 months they will be cruising sludge-free with the 5SFE or 1MZFE -- even in the worst driving conditions. Like you said, it's always the cars with no maintenance history that get the free engine work.
And yes, I think the 5SFE is a buzzy, underpowered engine; but the 1MZFE is a work of art. If only the cylinders could be bored after someone trashes one I would have a couple spares in my garage...
Toyota MDT in MO
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SNIP

Off Subject, sorry about that        
    Being you sound knowledgeable as to Toyota engines I was hoping you could answer a question I have regarding the Lexus 98 2JZ straight 6 DOHC Vortech engine. Being that I have yet to receive what I felt to be a straight answer from anyone involved with Lexus or Toyota.     The car, a Lexus GS 300, was purchased new in early 1998 and driven locally for over 3000 miles, running fine. After a trip to Texas our son heard what sounded to him like a cold start rod knock, upon starting the car after setting a day or so. I have complained to Lexus up to the US corporate level for over a year and have received assurances that it is a normal noise for that engine, but with no explanation as to the cause of the noise. The noise is infrequent, about 60% of the cold starts and sounds like a worn rod bering. The car now has over 60,000 miles on it, 95% highway, and still makes the noise so I'am convinced that it is not a rod bearing. Do you have any information as to the cause of the noise, it's driving me nuts? The car a 98 Lexus GS 300 runs and preforms great, no problems other than the noise and dealer recalls. Any help would be appreciated. ***************** Thank You snipped-for-privacy@msbx.net
Jack Kevorkian for White House physician.
To reply to this email please remove the AT after the kgs in the reply to address as shown above.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
KG wrote:

If the noise seems worse on cold starts then it sounds like piston slap, which is caused by worn piston skirts. A rod bearing would make aprox the same intensity of noise regardless of temperature.
One good thing about piston slap is that as long as it is fairly mild, you won't suffer any long term consequences. I don't know if it is common in the 2JZFE (don't see many of these), but it shouldn't be considered "normal". Supra (93-98 non-turbo) and GS300 owner's forums would be where I would search for more owner opinions and talk about this particular engine.
Toyota MDT in MO
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
qslim wrote:

That was exactly the point I was making. Its a design flaw that should be fixed by a fundamental design change, not band-aids.
Whether or not it is aggravated by poor maintenance or not is a completely different question- carmakers have made millions of engines that aren't delicate fainting flowers, have done so since the 1930s, and there's damn sure no excuse for selling two such designs in an ordinary everyday vehicle (pickups and Camrys) in today's world. There's really not any need for engines in "exotics" to be delicate fainting flowers anymore, either. Even if problems can be *usually* be avoided by meticulous mainetnance, there is obviously less margin of safety and problems are more *likely* even with meticulous maintenance.
FWIW- I'm no easier on Chrysler about the almost identical problem with the 2.7L v6, despite the fact that there are folks in this NG who've gotten great service out of them by handling them with kid gloves and changing the oil every 3000 miles. There's no excuse for a company with the record of building wonderful and indestructible engines (318, 383, 440, slant-6, 3.5 v6, 3.3 v6, 2.2 I4, 4.7L v8, 5.7L Hemi v8) to let loose a clunker like the 2.7.
Nor do I easily forgive GM the fiascos with the Chevy V6 intake manifold coolant leaks, Ford its fires, Honda its Odyssey transmission mess, etc. Why should anyone give Toyota a freebie for a mistake as bad as any of the others?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

coolant leaks, Ford its fires, Honda its Odyssey transmission mess, etc. Why should anyone give Toyota a freebie for a mistake as bad as any of the others?<<
I see what you're saying, but I think that coolant leaks and vehicle fires are a far cry from oil gelling in engines that did not have the services performed to them recommended in the owners manual. There is a huge difference between a truck burning down someones house in the middle of the night and engine sludging after several factory recommended service intervals have been disregarded. My overall point whenever this topic rears its head is that I have not seen one case of oil gelling in the 1MZfe that had a history of 7500 mile or less service intervals. MDT and comboverfish have also made this observation, so out of this comes a trend of active owner participation in the aggrivation of a oil cooling design issue that would otherwise lay dormant with the proper servicing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
qslim wrote:

I accept all this as a given... but that doesn't mean that such a marginal design is up to industry standard, hence I would advise the original poster to AVOID the marginal designs altogether. That's all I'm saying. If I were buying a GM, I'd make sure I had a 3800 v6, Ecotec 4, Northstar, or Gen-III v8 and not a 2.8/3.1/3.4 family v6. If I were buying a Chrysler, I'd make sure it had any engine other than a Mitsushitti-built engine or the Chrysler 2.7 v6. If buying a Toyota, I'd avoid the engines that have experienced high replacement rates too.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steve wrote:

Before you go around making more blanket statements about the "marginal" or "poor" designs of certain Toyota motors, I would like to hear the specifics about the poor design features that caused the sludging problem. Please share them.
Also, if the sludging problem is truly related to shortcomings in the design and not poor maintenance, then how does one account the the tens of thousands of cars using those engines that are still on the road and performing just fine.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John S. wrote:

I suspect that only Toyota knows the answer. Same with the Chrysler 2.7. Theories abound, ranging from the manufacturers cutting too far back on PCV flow rates (to reduce emissions and improve efficiency) so that contaminants aren't removed from the crankcase quickly enough, to relying too heavily on oil for heat-removal without adding an external oil cooler.

Its a statistical issue. More of these particular engines fail than other comparable engines GIVEN THE SAME CONDITIONS. Its ridiculous to assume that the owners of all these engines abuse them MORE than average. So, when a statistical anomaly appears, there is very likely an underlying cause. The fact that plenty of the engines live out perfectly normal lives means nothing, except that the flaw wasn't immediately fatal, and very few flaws like that ever get out anyway. Lots of GM 3.4 engines lived happily to 200,000 miles, but the intake manifold sealing weakness was there in all of them and caused failure in an abonormally large number of them. There are many 1981-83 Chrysler Imperials out there still running blithely along with the original fuel-injection system, but the system was generally so trouble-prone that any owner who wanted could get a free conversion to a carburetor. Not EVERY early 90s Honda ignitor module failed, but the design was flawed and recalled. Not EVERY Ford SUV with the brake fluid pressure cruise control switch has caught fire, but everyone agrees its a problem. Not every right-hand drive Toyota has had its headlights go dark, but so many have that it resulted in one of the biggest automotive recalls ever: http://smh.com.au/articles/2005/10/19/1129401295277.html
Need I go on?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steve wrote:

But you are making a specific statement about Toyota selling motors of a marginal or poor design. So please back that assertion up with some facts about the engine design. Otherwise your assertion is completely unsupported.

OK, if it is a statistical issue, then please provide the statistics. How many vehicles were produced that used those motors during what I believe is a 10 year period. And of that number how many failed because of a sludging problem. All I have read to date have been rumors of a huge problem with those engines and a few people who have actually had a problem.
I'm beginning to think this supposed problem is more fabrication than reality - not unlike all of the frenzy surrounding the Audi 5000 cars. Absent any confirming statistics to the contrary I think what you have are a few people who did not care properly for their Toyota cars. The media frenzy from a couple of lawsuits appears to have convinced Toyota that it would be less costly to pay off a few people and move on.

You keep talking about statistics and statistical anomalies but so far you haven't provided any of the numbers (statistics) to show the presence or absence of a problem with those motors.

No what it means is that very few engines really had a problem. Period.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.