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1st Generation (1995-1999) Specific discussion of the first generation Toyota Avalon

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Old 05-24-2010, 05:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sludge Defense

Hey everyone,

I just bought a 1998 Avalon that has a little over 158000 miles on it. I am well aware of the engine sludge issues involved with Avalons and I am actually fairly concerned about my Avalon. As of right now it starts up and drives perfectly. I don't feel any sluggish acceleration or other problems. The owner before me took really good care of the car.

But still right after purchasing it I put in Castrol GTX high mileage. I will probably continue to do so every 2500-3000 miles unless any of you have a recommendation for the oil.

So to my real questions, has anyone else had sludge problems with their first-gen Avalon? What oil do you use (if you choose an oil that protects against sludge specifically)? And lastly, If I change my oil at recommended intervals (or more often) and I fairly safe against sludge?

Thanks everyone.
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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sludge is only an issue if you go 10,000 or more miles on every oil change. the sludge issue was very rare the media hyped it up a lot.
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I didn't see an overwhelming number of cases of it. Just enough to scare me. It doesn't help that my friend's first reaction to me buying it was "I like those, except for all the engine sludge."

So if I keep up my habits from my last car, (I don't think oil ever saw 4,000 miles, I was almost religious about it), I should be golden with my Avalon?

Thanks for the reassurance!
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just purchased a '96 Avalon a couple of weeks ago and to be honest hadn't heard about a sludge issue with these engines until I saw some of the posts on this forum. To be safe before I switch over to synthetic (which I've run in all my cars for the past 30 years), I'm doing the "engine flush" using Auto-Rx combined with Castrol 10W-30. Do a search for Auto Rx; it's very popular here and seems to be highly regarded elsewhere as well, although I hadn't heard of it either.
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tip. I'll have to use it during my next oil change.

I typically use Castrol GTX 5W-30. Do you use the 10W-30 to offset the thickness of the Auto-Rx or is that your general preference for your car even without Auto-Rx?
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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10W-30 is my personal preference. I believe 5W-30 is just too wide a range and that it's promoted primarily as a way to achieve high mpg numbers which makes the auto companies look good, but at the detriment of engine longevity. Especially here in SoCal there's really no good reason to use an oil that's that thin a viscosity and i think even in WI where you are, something like a 5W-30 would only be desirable in the very coldest temperature extremes.

FWIW, BMW recommends 20W-50 in my '85 635CSi year-round, even in Sweden! Their newer engines specify a much lighter weight oil (again, there's that modern, politically correct mpg numbers game...) but then BMW is also now claiming that their auto tranny and differential oil need never be changed, which is totally bogus. The fact is, they don't care about the residual value of their used cars; they want people to keep buying new ones and throw the old ones away...
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfrench View Post
Hey everyone,

I just bought a 1998 Avalon that has a little over 158000 miles on it. I am well aware of the engine sludge issues involved with Avalons and I am actually fairly concerned about my Avalon. As of right now it starts up and drives perfectly. I don't feel any sluggish acceleration or other problems. The owner before me took really good care of the car.

But still right after purchasing it I put in Castrol GTX high mileage. I will probably continue to do so every 2500-3000 miles unless any of you have a recommendation for the oil.

So to my real questions, has anyone else had sludge problems with their first-gen Avalon? What oil do you use (if you choose an oil that protects against sludge specifically)? And lastly, If I change my oil at recommended intervals (or more often) and I fairly safe against sludge?

Thanks everyone.
Changing the oil every 3000 miles is a bit excessive. Modern oils have really improved over what was offered when the Avalon first came out. The older oils contributed to the sludge issue. If you use a good modern rated oil, and change it every 5-7k miles, you won't have sludge issues. Better yet, use synthetic.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ease your fears by removing the front valve cover and check for sludge. If it's OK then just do as ImDisaster suggests and follow the recommended maintenance intervals in your car manual.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You have a lot of work to do if it looks like this!
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I change my oil that often (actually it was 4150 miles last change) because it is cheap insurance. In the words of Hank Hill - "I change my oil every three thousand miles or when I get bored... which ever one comes first."

And no, it isn't that bad. That reminds me of the Ford commercials with Mike Rowe where he dips his fingers in sludge and can't get the sludge off.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I have 2 Avalons.

One is a 95 XLS with 304,000 kms or 190,000 Miles. No sludge
The other is a 97 XLS with 268,000 kms or 167,500 Miles. No sludge.

These engines, like any other engine will become sludged if the owner does not do regular oil changes.

I also have a 1995 4Runner that I purchased pre owened from a kid. It was in his family since 1995. They seldom did oil changes. Guess what... Sludge city. It made the first pic look clean.

The 4runner only has 190,000 kms on it or 118,750 Miles on it.

All I did was remove the engine, send in the block and head for cleaning and she runs like new.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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you should all read the tutorial (or whatever he calls it) at bobistheoilguy. he has an amazing amount of info on engine oil. i personally use mobil 1 and change oil and filter every 5,000 miles. that's real easy to notice on the odometer. he explains why oil goes bad over time, even in unopened bottles on the shelf, and how bad cold is on the oil. detergents are a problem too. you need them in dino oil, but they are a potential problem. what we need to do religiousoly is let the engine run for at leat a loittle whiloe before taking off. not all the way to operating temp, but enough to get everything lubed. read his website. you'll be amazed. an ounce of knowledge is worth a ton of anecdotes.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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this thread is old
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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yup, plus since then, i think many have noticed the avalons are reliable ..... not many in junkyards unless crashed, and almost all i've seen over 250K miles
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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yup, plus since then, i think many have noticed the avalons are reliable ..... not many in junkyards unless crashed, and almost all i've seen over 250K miles
yup I see a ton on the road, and can never find parts at the local yards... mine had 140k on it when I got it 3 years ago and all I've done is minor repairs like master cylinder, fuel injector, and cv's and just got a p0401 about a week ago
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