Sludge

Here is my problem. Engine failure due to sludge in 97 Camry at 79k. I dont want to get into a 'design flaw or abuse" thread, I just want advice.
If I have a used engine dropped in, how can I be sure that there is not a sludge problem. If there is, can it be cleaned easily, or is that an expensive job?
Thanks,
CW
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In being of bellicose mind posted:

Before you buy a used engine, you must inspect for sludge ... obviously. Just have the seller remove the valve cover so you can personally see if it is sludged. Take no one's word for it. Be there. See for yourself.
--
* Philip

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being of bellicose mind posted:

Absolutely critical to inspect under the valve cover. I stupidly bought a 96 with some sludge in it. I subsequently found the sump had been off,.........no guesses as to why. Fortunately the engine has not failed and goes well.
Jason
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So what's to stop him from cleaning out the sludge before you see it?
being of bellicose mind posted:

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In being of bellicose mind posted:

Art: Serously, have you EVER had a valve cover off a badly varnished ... let alone sludged ... engine? Have you ever tried to remove varnish with chemicals or some scraping instruments? Do you have any idea how many nooks and crannies there are in this area? Pretty darned difficult to make the valve train look like new or ... look like an engine that's had recreational oil servicing.
--
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I've never had a sludged up engine but it seems to me that if someone wants to be devious there is always a way.
being of bellicose mind posted:

varnished
any
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In

Have you ever removed the valve cover from a double overhead cam aluminum head engine (as if there were any other kind... LOL)? Remember, the orginal poster is thinking of buying a used engine ... in which case he can request a visual inspection under BOTH valve covers. Doing so is easy with the engine sitting there on the ground. Varnish just does not come off all that easy and completely with any chemicals I've ever used ... short of disassembling the entire engine and putting it in a "hot tank" with caustic soap under pressure.
--
* Philip

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While visiting my brother-in-law during Thanksgiving, he mentioned a nearly identical problem with his '97 Camry ... The car is now parked until a decision is made on what to do.
His daughter was driving the car back from college on an Interstate highway when it began making a noticeable valve clatter noise and also was losing power ... My guess is that one or more valve lifters was causing the noise due to varnish/sludge buildup on the outside of the lifter or possibly internally ... She stopped the car and called her dad who arranged to tow the car home. The oil pressure light did not come on.
Engine definitely sludged after removing the valve cover.
My question is whether any commercial products might help to free the lifters without having to dissassemble the engine?
Chuck D.
wrote:

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was this car a 4 or 6 cylinder? was the oil changed on a regular basis?
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In being of bellicose mind posted:

Every year or two whether it needed changing or not. LOL
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* Philip

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On 08 Dec 2003 23:01:30 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (ROBMURR) wrote:

4 cylinder

Probably not, but not entirely sure.
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At such an advanced stage, NOTHING your can pour in the engine and drive around on is going to dissolve enough sludge to buy you time. When the oil pump inlet screen is clogged... it's over. You're going to be writing a check soon, either for an engine or another car.
--
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On Tue, 09 Dec 2003 01:11:14 GMT, "Philip"

Good point! .... However, I seem to recall that running an oil and automatic transmission mixture in the crankcase might be able to fix noisy lifters .... Not sure if worth trying on a sludged-up engine.
Charles D.
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In wrote:

Please understand: ONCE the oil pump inlet becomes obstructed in ANY mechanism requiring pressurized lubrication, the "Mechanic in a Can" approach will only result in more damage if not a thrown connecting rod. While the engine is still in one piece, I would tow the car to a shop and have the valve cover pulled to confirm the levels of sludge.... followed by oil pan removal to inspect the oil pump inlet screen. If loose connecting rods are evident (while the oil pan is off), then you can make an informed decision about what to do next.
--
* Philip

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Chuck wrote:

It is my understanding Toyota noticed ALL they would go back 8 years on sludge problems and make them right, the 1MFZ or whatever engine if you have regular oil change records.
One should also be apprised between 2002 and prior year models and 2004 models the recommended maintenance intervals have gone down from 6 months or 7500 miles to 6 months or 5000 miles, in writing baby.
Don't tell me the sludge problem does not exist; it seemingly has been "verified" by such manual change.
Gordon
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Raneman wrote:

Toyota is not alone in reducing oil change intervals to shorter intervals. I think this was done because people don't understand the concept of the severe service oil change interval and, even if they do understand the concept, they don't believe that their driving pattern is severe service. Personally, I think 3000 mile oil change intervals are too short for any vehicle that is not a taxi, police car, delivery vehicle, or a Toyota. On the other hand 7500 miles is too long for most people except those who rack up 2k t0 3k miles per month. 5000 miles is probably a happy medium value for most typical drivers operating well designed vehicles. I like GMs concept of adding a computer operated oil change indicator light. This seems like this is far better idea than trying to pigeon hole everyone into "normal" or "severe" service schedules.
Ed
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In being of bellicose mind posted:

Specifically, which auto manufacturers have revised downward their oil service intervals?

There are plenty of other drivers whose driving habits mimic taxi (soccer mom) and police car (pizza delivery, critical medical, etc) service. Any service whose short duration prevents maintaining the oil temperature sufficiently to disperse water vapor and acid from the oil. Think about it. Also, fuel quality (SULFUR in particular) lends decisively to oil contamination.

Severe Service: Soccer Mom Duty Cycle or cold weather.
Normal Service: Commuter Duty Cycle of not less than 30 minutes each way.
Supra-Normal Service: More than 50% interstate operation in warm to hot climates.
--
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I
severe
they
think
taxi,
too
5000
well
change
pigeon
As the original poster, I'll let you know what I did. I had a used motor put in. It looked very clean to the mechanic putting it in Came from a wreck with 22k on odometer. ( I saw it, but would not really know what to look for unless it was completely obvious).
I dont really know if Toyota will do anything or not. I am in the process of trying to gather receipts. I am not one to change oil myself, but I never had the dealer do it either. I am assuming (and hoping) the Valvoline shop can pull my maintenance records.
I dont think that I changed the oil enough for my driving patterns. Most of my changes came right after 5k. (Although I went as long as 6500 once. Although, for my driving patterns, (cold weather, short trips to work) I probably should have changed it alot more.
My thing that bothers me the most about this, is that I received a letter along time ago (July 2002) about possible oil gelling, but the letter said to just keep changing the oil regularly, which I thought I was doing.
I hope an oil change every 5-6k miles constitutes a "reasonable effort" to maintain the vehicle.
Total cost ended up at just around 2,000. $1400.00 for motor, and $600.00 to install. Mechanic told me that book time ( I dont know what book he was referring to, as he pulled it off of a computer) was 20 hours labor for install.
I had quotes on the install that ranged from 500 to 1500 dollars. In the end, I ended up going with a local garage that "specializes" in Toyotas abd Hondas.
Other than that, the car has been great, except for the time a squirrel or some varmint chewed on some wiring. (No kidding).
Kind of a rambling response, but I just thought I would throw my info out there, in case anyone else runs into that problem.
CW
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Chuck wrote:

Personally I think 5k to 6k should be sufficient to prevent gellation (or sludge), but apparently this is not the case for some Toyota engines. I do know that my younger Sister has always had her oil changed by the normal service schedule on all the cars she has owned and has never had any sort of sludge problem. Her driving pattern is really awful (2 miles to work and home, with short trips to restaurants, stores, and maybe one longer trip a month). So far she has had no gellation problems with 3 Fords, 1 Mazda, and 1 VW. My other Sister is even worse about changing oil. At least for her current Honda, there is an oil change reminder (odometer driven). She never changes it more often that the reminder indicates. So far she has never seen any gellation problems either in over 35 years of driving (2 Fords, 2 Hondas, 1 VW). I am not likely to see gellation problems since I have always been a 3000 mile oil change guy. However, my newest vehicle (a Saturn Vue) has a computer operated oil change indicator light. It supposedly takes into account several factor in determining the correct oil change interval. I plan to change the oil as indicated by this device. The vehicle is too new to have needed a second oil change (first was at 3000 miles out of habit), but I am guessing the change interval will be around 5000 miles from talking to others that have GM products with the oil change indicator light. In my life, I have only ever seen one engine that had a significant accumulation of sludge. A friend's 1978 Olds 88 with the Olds 350 accumulated a lot of waxy crap in the lifter valley. In that particular case he was using Quaker State 10W40 and changing it every 7500 miles (and he only changed the filter every other time). He drove the car about 3 miles to work one way, so I'd have thought it qualified as severe service. Even in this case, the goop was not hard to remove, and except for some sticky lifters and a bad rocker arm, there was no serious engine damage that required a complete engine replacement. After cleaning out the goop, he changed to a better quality oil and 5000 mile oil change intervals. There was no reoccurrence of the goop.

I think it does, but I am not Toyota.

This sound pretty reasonable to me.

Heck, I have had a dog chew up wiring under one of my vehicles. She laid underneath and used her paws to pull down some wires and then chewed them up. This was a Ford, so I think the dog was indicating a strong preference for a new Toyota.
Ed
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Chuck wrote:

CW, keep it to 5000 miles max, you'll never see trouble. As for the chewed wires, we have gotten a rash of those already. Must be coming in from the cold. If you have a garage, get rid of bird seed, pet food etc in the garage. We had a new 4Runner, knock sensor wires all chewed up. Her insurance took take of it, then 2 weeks later, it happened again. She swears its a mouse from Japan and thinks Toyota should pay for it. We also has a mouse chew into an 02 Prius, this could be real spendy. Able to fix it with no parts.
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