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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Pulled the front valve cover on the 98 1mzfe with 189,000 miles to replace leaky seal. Sludge galore. :headbang:

Is it a lost cause? Should I button it back up and call it a day? I haven't gotten to the rear valve cover but imagine it is 10x worse. This is 15 year old vehicle. Was thinking about giving it to son when he starts driving in a year. Aside from the oil leak and now the sludge it has been problem free. What's the best course of action to reduce sludge and still keep it running?

Here's the ugly pics:


 

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I've seen worse. It really depends how long you plan on keeping the car, and how much money you want to put into it. You could do nothing and drive it as is, or you could do the basics like new valve cover gaskets and PCV valve /grommet.

Either way if you plan keeping the car at all, put a new filter and a high miileage oil like Castrol, plus a can of Seafoam and drive like that for 400 miles. Then do another oil change with the same oil or switch over to 100% synthetic.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I already have the pcv valve/grommet, valve cover gasket, valve stem seals, crank & cam seals, timing belt, water pump, thermostat, radiator hoses, plugs, so I am committed to that much. The crankshaft seal kit has the oil pick up seals, so might as well drop the oil pan and clean it up too. Besides filter and seafoam and oil changes should I try to remove what's there or leave it be?
 

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Besides filter and seafoam and oil changes should I try to remove what's there or leave it be?
If you're patient and willing to do, it's best to get as much crud out as possible, will make the cleaning properties of the oil and any additives work better and faster. But you need to be very careful not to drop chunks of crud down into the engine, in theory it can clog vital oil galleries. To answer your question, not a lost cause, I've read about people with worse sludge problems and with some work the car ran much better and stopped pushing blue smoke.
 

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Both the cars in my signature were like that thousands of miles ago, and are perfect today. I used Mobil 1 High Mileage and Kreen. Use a heavy duty sludge trapping filter like the Fram XG. Stick to 3k OCI's for 2, then stretch to 5k. The Mobil 1 High Mileage oil and Fram XG can be had at walmart. PM me if you want more info.
 

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Forgot to mention - Clean the valve cover while its off.
 

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It is not a lost cause. It really isn't sludge galore. It will keep running with preventive maintenance!

Clean off as much as you can or want to.

GF5/SN oil will slowly clean that little mess. Full synthetic will help prevent it.

Change the oil/filter every 3k using a full synthetic current spec oil. You can rotate among the brands as each will have strengths/weaknesses on what it can clean, and by how much.

Check oil regularly and top off as needed. Do not ever run a teaspoon low on oil.

Kreen/Seafoam/LC20/Neutra/Marvel/Rislone/AutoRx/Lubegard/.... are all unneeded and unnecessary. Some could also cause problems by removing too much too quickly. Skip 'em until you're 3-4 oil change intervals away from now.

Fancy oil filters are not required. I'd avoid them since you NEED more frequent maintenance and the cost associated with a fancy filter will not be beneficial. Fancy filters could also be flow/pressure restrictive and you want as much oil flow as possible.

I would recommend a larger oil filter(sized L20195 FL400s PH3600...) if there is room.

If you haven't dropped the oil pan, you should(for inspection, pictures, and some cleaning too). If you can't, I'd recommend buying or borrowing a borescope for inspection after oil draining. You don't want the oil pump pickup screen clogging with crud loosened by <insert fancy cleaning chemical brand name here>.

Keep driving and don't worry about it.
 

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Corrections. Kreen is not a fast flush, and should not be lumped together with other products. Its a carbon emulsifier. Protection against any chunks of sludge becoming dislodged during the cleanup process. To the contrary, cheap filters should not be used for cleanups, as they clog rapidly. As soon as 1k miles. A filter with extra dirt trapping capacity is necessary only during cleanup, then once its clean, use a P1, classic, etc.

I've done this a dozen times now, so I'm speaking from experience.
 

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Kreen is a fast flush. Works great too. Don't kid yourself with the "fancy marketing terms", like emulsifier. Its a solvent, thins the oil, and dissolves krap....hows that for marketing.

Cheap filter should DEFINITELY be used. With sludge, its the size of the canister that determines how much is going to be caught. Don't fall for the filter manufacturers "gram count" of engineering dust. We don't have grams of scientific sifted to size dust in our engine. We have hard and soft sludge.
 

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Just curious what kind of oil change intervals were used and the type of oil and filter?

Try to leave it as much as it is for now. But definitely change out the PCV/grommet and make sure the PCV hose and the fresh air hose aren't plugged. Also check to see if the valve cover area under the PCV is plugged. Like you said, drop the pan and at least make sure the oil pickup is clear and get an idea how much build up is down there. I wonder if the oil pump pressure relief valve should be checked while the lower pan is off??

Clean with an oversized filter as suggested, such as Motorcraft FL400s from Walmart and change oil/filter on short intervals by monitoring the condition of the oil frequently as it turns dirty. Walmart also has Mobil-1 5qt jugs for about $25, which is very close to syn-blends in price. When the engine cooks oil like this I'd move to synthetic or HM synthetic.
 

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Use the motorcraft filter and supertech synthetic 10w30. Change every 3000 and try to drive on the highway.

It'll clear up slowly. Seafoam would be the only thing I would recommend, and maybe after 3-4 synthetic oil changes.

That isnt bad at all. That wont kill a toyota. Aggressive cleaning methods on a minor issue like this will.
 

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So the suggestion about diesel fuel is a pretty good one.

Another method I have never tried but many have used with success is mixing 50/50 with motor oil and transmission fluid. If your car takes 5L of oil.. Put in 2.5L of oil and 2.5L of tranny fluid.

Transmission fluid has some really good cleaning agents and detergents that should help free up a lot of that gunk and sludge. Again though, realize that no one really knows the potential ramifications of this. If your engine is worse than it looks you risk dislodging sludge like others have said and ruining internal components. Ultimately though we hope that these steps will help clean this out and free it up so that it comes out when you drain the oil out over and over

Sent from my HTC Ruby using AutoGuide.Com Free App
 

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One more thing. If you use these methods all you need to do is let your motor idle. No need to drive the car. The goal is to circulate the oil but not heat up the motor too much by driving. Remember that tranny fluid does not protect against heat and friction like engine oil foes when used in a motor.. Therefore just be easy on it.. Idle it for 10-15 minutes.. Drain the oil and repeat as necessary. If it was me I'd do three drain and fills cycles of the oil.. Using the transmission fluid method. After the third time, remove valve covers and assess for further cleaning

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I use transmission fluid to clean sludge. Just hope that it doesn't plug an oil port lol

when I do it, I was idling the engine until it got to normal temperature, then shut down, drained, refilled with oil, repeat, drained, repeat, drained, repeat, then ran straight oil, drained, repeat, drained, repeat, drained, repeat.

I flushed straight oil a few times to make sure i got all the ATF out

I did this with my engine i bought for my 95 camry. I bought it with a blown engine, went to the salvage yard and got one, but it had some sludge in it. Drove it about 80,000 miles since i put the engine in so far and havent had any issues.

The honest to goodness best way to clean a sludged engine is to completely break down the engine and have the block and head Dipped at a machine shop. You might as well buy a new engine by the time you do all that crap though
 

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Don't use ATF. Its the oldest wive tale out there. It doesn't have a surplus of detergents catered to the byproducts of engine lubrication. Don't fall for the fallacy of the ATF farce mixed with motor oil.

I also don't see or care for the common 10w30 recommendation when a 5w30 will do just fine, and provide easier cold start oil pumping, and improved cold flow.

De-additizing oil is an engine wearing hobby that many need to avoid since they just don't understand what they are doing.

Hot idling is at low oil pressure and flow. If anyone plans on using ANY 5-10 minute full dose 'distillate' type kerosene/diesel flush, or any other oil thinner, use it only on a cold engine just prior to an oil change. I recommend that you hold that RPM at 1000-1200 or cycle between 1000-1500rpm to maintain PSI and flow. Cold engine 'start RPM' and 'cold engine oil viscosity', should suffice for any of your experimental oil thinning. The word "cold" is a simple method for idiot proofing, when using those pint-quart-50:50 dosages of oil thinner flush products and pseudo lubricants.

As JohnGD already mentioned, I'd also love to know the maintenance history, and brands/types of oils/filters used to cause to this.

And, don't get caught by the wifey with engine parts in the dishwasher. If she's not looking, just swipe the Easy-Off oven cleaner to assist stripping the valve covers.
 

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Well I can tell you that after using ATF in my engine when I first put it in, my head got extremely clear, and so did the lower half of the engine. Since then I've used regular 5w30 and regular oil changes and it's still clear.. Just changed the valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket and it looks just as clear as after I did an ATF flush

Might not work for rx7 but it worked for me
 

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ATF works great for removing all kinds of nastiness from just about anything. We had techs that used it to "preclean" the crap off their hands that Gojo wouldn't pull loose. Can't see any reason why it wouldn't do the same inside an engine.
 
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