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I was reading a consumer affairs web site ref oil sludge problems on 4 & 6 cyl motors.It stated that due to restricting coolant flow in the head to increase operating temp which improved mileage and performance the oil cooked clogging the oil return passages. Toyota is sending letters to 3.3 million owners saying it will pay for repairs if the owners can provide reasonable proof that they maintained their engines. Has this problem been corrected? and have the engines been redesigned ? As a first time owner of a 07 Camry SE V6 I don't want to take any chances of problems down the road. Thanks to all Sgt Tip :confused:
 

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Sgt Tip said:
Has this problem been corrected? and have the engines been redesigned ? As a first time owner of a 07 Camry SE V6 I don't want to take any chances of problems down the road. Thanks to all Sgt Tip :confused:
Good question SgtTip. And yes, the problem was corrected awhile ago. These are the engines that were effected.

-Camry 4 cylinder from 1997-2001,
• Camry 6 cylinder from 1997-2002,
• Camry Solara 4 cylinder from 1999-2001,
• Camry Solara 6 cylinder 1999-2002,
• Sienna 6 cylinder from 1998-2002,
• Avalon 6 cylinder from 1997-2002,
• Celica 4 cylinder from 1997-1999,
• Highlander 6 cylinder from 2001-2002,
• Lexus ES 300 from 1997-2002 and
• Lexus RX 300 from 1999-2002

Moreover, "
The agreement will allow consumers whose claims have been denied by Toyota to submit those claims to a third-party mediator at no cost for binding arbitration.


The agreement provides owners of sludge-damaged Toyotas eight years plus 120 days from the original purchase date to file a complaint.


Toyota consumers who have repaired their sludge-damaged engines may be able to recover their costs. The car only needs to show evidence of oil sludge damage."



Hope this helps.
 

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Maven
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I had this problem on my 99 I4 Camry. One of the first. At the time it cost me about 450 bucks to desludge the thing but a few months later Toyota sent me a check. Took some doing at the time. The book had said the oil needed to be changed every 5k miles and it had been done religiously but they didn't define what normal service was and what severe service was, and they felt like my driving was severe because it was mostly in city, short haul. After that I changed the oil at 3k miles and never again had a problem.
 

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At the time it cost me about 450 bucks to desludge the thing
Im curious, Why did it cost so much just for this?

I think i'd first remove the valve covers, scrape and suck out the sludge i could find with a shop vac. Then use rifle cleaning brushes and patches in the oil passages, and then pull the oil pan too for a cleaning. Then change the oil and dump in some auto rx. Short of taking the whole engine apart i dont know how you could do a better job -
 

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marc780 said:
Im curious, Why did it cost so much just for this?

I think i'd first remove the valve covers, scrape and suck out the sludge i could find with a shop vac. Then use rifle cleaning brushes and patches in the oil passages, and then pull the oil pan too for a cleaning. Then change the oil and dump in some auto rx. Short of taking the whole engine apart i dont know how you could do a better job -
And how long does it take to do what you suggest? At 60-80 an hour for shop time it can run up. $450 would pay for maybe 5-6 hours of shop time without any parts. But wait! There's more! The problem is not just sludge. The valve cover gets gunked up and there is a plate welded in there that collects it. Once gunked up it is virtually impossible to clean out, so it gets replaced. Mine came off a wrecked car. Initially they wanted a whole lot more to clean it up. I knew there was a problem and was more than happy to fork out 450. It was a deal, and at the time Toyota had not acknowledged a problem. Only later did I get a refund.
 

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Initially they wanted a whole lot more to clean it up. I knew there was a problem and was more than happy to fork out 450. It
IMO big ripoff, you can almost get a whole used japanese engine for that much but if it was low miles, why not - but anyways my question is, did they tell you exactly what they did to the engine, and do you believe they actually performed the work?
 

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if you have a couple minutes to see more about oil sludge, check out the link below about what i discovered in my motor. im not blaming toyota for this, i think this happened from a previous owner not doing proper maintenance...

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/t160021.html
 

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ghettosled said:
if you have a couple minutes to see more about oil sludge, check out the link below about what i discovered in my motor. im not blaming toyota for this, i think this happened from a previous owner not doing proper maintenance...

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/t160021.html
The way I look at it, there has to be some type of design flaw for any engine to have a sludge build up to that extent. The reason I say that is, I've worked on cars where the owner didn't change the oil for at least 10,000 miles. They would just add oil when needed. The oil looked terrible, but there was no massive build up of sludge. Sure the engine took a beating by not having the oil changed for so long, but the oil didn't burn and turn to crud.

Does anyone know if ALL Toyota engines mentioned in the list are prone to sludge? What I mean by that is, if a person didn't change the oil ever, would every single one of them sludge up? Or to put it another way, is the "design flaw" present in all the engines.
 

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Maven
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marc780 said:
IMO big ripoff, you can almost get a whole used japanese engine for that much but if it was low miles, why not - but anyways my question is, did they tell you exactly what they did to the engine, and do you believe they actually performed the work?
Yes they did and yes I did. The cast valve cover was replaced. I know so because my previous file mark on the old one was absent. I later pulled the cover off and I could off the head.
 

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71Corolla said:
The way I look at it, there has to be some type of design flaw for any engine to have a sludge build up to that extent. The reason I say that is, I've worked on cars where the owner didn't change the oil for at least 10,000 miles. They would just add oil when needed. The oil looked terrible, but there was no massive build up of sludge. Sure the engine took a beating by not having the oil changed for so long, but the oil didn't burn and turn to crud.

Does anyone know if ALL Toyota engines mentioned in the list are prone to sludge? What I mean by that is, if a person didn't change the oil ever, would every single one of them sludge up? Or to put it another way, is the "design flaw" present in all the engines.
My educated guess is that they are all alike within manufacturing dates. If you changed the oil every 3k religiously then there was never a problem. The book said 5k between changes for normal use, and normal wasn't well defined. My short haul, in city driving was considered severe, but nobody said anything until there was a problem.
 

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I wouldn't worry about it if you stick to the 6 month or 5,000 mile oil change interval.

We have an 03 ES 300 and an 05 ES 330. The 03 has a 6 month 7.5k mile recommended service interval. Severe is 4 month or 5k miles, but the conditions for severe were very severe so most people used the 7.5k mile interval. Toyota dropped it to 6 month or 5k miles on the 05. I have kept our oil change interval at 5k miles without any problems.

A lot of the affected engines had recommended interval at 7.5k miles. Plus, the newer Toyota engines have a bigger sump capacity. The old 4 cylinder 5S-FE only carried 4 quarts.
 

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The point I had hoped to make was that Toyota recommended a 5k oil change for the 99 I4 engine and following that schedule resulted in a huge sludge buildup.
 

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gdanaher, I am pretty sure that Toyota recommended 4 month/3750 mi for severe and 6 months/7500 miles for normal for the 99 model year. There definitely were design issues leading to propensity towards sludging in the 5S-FE and especially the 1MZ-FE. It didn't mean they all sludged, but it is pretty bad if you got one of the ones that did.

The fact that Toyta has backed down to 5k miles on the oil change interval and Honda has gone to a 1 year/10k mile interval (with their oil life monitor) with their 4 cylinder makes me believe that Honda engines are easier on motor oil than Toyotas are.
 
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