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.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
Thank You email@example.com
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Need I go on?
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
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.
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