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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok, i'm thinking about buying a 2001 avalon xls with 92k miles. Everything looks to be in good working order but i'm real worried about the sludge. after reading all the horror stories, i'm a bit hesitant now. is there any real quick way i can check to see if it's developing any sludge? the car is 7hrs away and i planned on going back to pick it up this weekend. i won't have time to have a mechanic look at it so what's the most i can do? also would like to mention that i own a 01 sienna w/ over a 140k on it. seems to run fine. am i just being paranoid from reading the stories?
 

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Sludge problem in the Avalon was minimal. You're in the timing belt replacement range at 92K. If it's a dealer then have them replace it before purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sludge problem in the Avalon was minimal. You're in the timing belt replacement range at 92K. If it's a dealer then have them replace it before purchase.
It is not a dealer so ill have to replace the timing belt myself. Scared that ill be the one to have sludge problems. What are some things I can look for to determine if it has any oil sludge?
 

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i too was looking for older Avalon, Lexus ES300...or other Toyota/Lexus that used the same V6. Sludge is the problem and it is no way to tell by looking or driving. Removing the cover is the only way but most used car dealer won't let you do that. After all, they are selling used car without warranty and and a high price used car.

I spoke to my Toyota tech friend and he told me he used to see sludge 3, 4 times a week. Doesn't matter with regular oil change or not. It still could happen. Based on that, I decided to look for something else or at least whoever will let me take the car for a day for check up (to have the cover remove and check)
 

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I would not buy the car unless I could have a mechanic pull the most forward valve cover. I would absolutely want to know what crud may or may not be under there. I kick myself in the ass about my avalon that i bought about 3 years ago. Even though I lucked out and did not have any sludge problems, I was not even aware of them until after I bought the car. After I bought the car, and was doing some web-searching, I came across all the controversy on the "sludge problem". I should have done my homework some more. It would suck to get one of those " sludge-meisters". If you ask the owner nicely, perhaps you and him could come to an agreement where you both pay 50% of the mechanic's bill to take off front valve cover, inspect, and replace with new gasket, and he pays 50% of the bill. Be nice if mechanic had bright lights and a digital camera to verify the cleanliness of the valve train.
 
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I would not by a used car of this type without a mechanic's inspection that included removing a valve cover to check for sludge. I also bought a used Avalon w/o knowing about the sludge problem. Luckily, my mechanic did know to look for it and mine was clean. Finding a mechanic remotely is a pain, but it can be done. If the seller is not willing to cooperate in getting the car to the mechanic you find - walk away.
 
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