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Old 06-16-14, 08:04 PM   #1
nickpilot
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Default Looking for a little engine advice...

Hi All, new guy here.

I have a 2002 RX300 that was passed on to me about 5 years ago when my mom passed away. I've loved the car, and obviously it has sentimental value.

Two years/23,000 miles ago the engine went out, indicated by a loud lower end knock and oil light. The car at the time had approximately 150,000 miles on it with no maintenance issues other than routine stuff, so I figured it had had a good run. I took it to a local non-dealer shop and after they misdiagnosed the problem and spent a week changing timing chain gears they told me that they had found out it was a crankshaft bearing. I have used this shop for tires and minor work for several years simply because a friend worked there. I have since found out that this shop has quite a reputation in the area for poor workmanship and perhaps intentionally 'over fixing'.

Anyway, $4300 later I had a lower end rebuild and thought the car would be good for many more miles. Then with 23,000 miles on this work (with oil changes done) the oil light came on and the engine started knocking worse that the first time. I stopped immediately and had the car towed to the shop.

They told me that the problem was that it had less than a quart of oil in it, but that it was my fault for not changing oil. They claim there are no leaks and that it's not their problem, but that they will gladly rebuild the engine for me.

Well the engine is leaking oil profusely around the front main seal, with oil dripping from 4-5 places underneath. The didn't even clean it off to leak check it before telling me it isn't leaking. Needless to say I am not happy with this situation. During the first rebuild the shop made no mention of the sludging problem with this engine (I was unaware of the problem and lawsuit at the time). I have also since been told that the work on the engine was done by an off duty mechanic after hours, so he could be paid under the table.

So my question is...do I have any recourse here, or am I just screwed and stuck putting another engine in the car myself?

Thanks for any and all input.


Nick
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Old 06-16-14, 08:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickpilot View Post
Hi All, new guy here.

I have a 2002 RX300 that was passed on to me about 5 years ago when my mom passed away. I've loved the car, and obviously it has sentimental value.

Two years/23,000 miles ago the engine went out, indicated by a loud lower end knock and oil light. The car at the time had approximately 150,000 miles on it with no maintenance issues other than routine stuff, so I figured it had had a good run. I took it to a local non-dealer shop and after they misdiagnosed the problem and spent a week changing timing chain gears they told me that they had found out it was a crankshaft bearing. I have used this shop for tires and minor work for several years simply because a friend worked there. I have since found out that this shop has quite a reputation in the area for poor workmanship and perhaps intentionally 'over fixing'.

Anyway, $4300 later I had a lower end rebuild and thought the car would be good for many more miles. Then with 23,000 miles on this work (with oil changes done) the oil light came on and the engine started knocking worse that the first time. I stopped immediately and had the car towed to the shop.

They told me that the problem was that it had less than a quart of oil in it, but that it was my fault for not changing oil. They claim there are no leaks and that it's not their problem, but that they will gladly rebuild the engine for me.

Well the engine is leaking oil profusely around the front main seal, with oil dripping from 4-5 places underneath. The didn't even clean it off to leak check it before telling me it isn't leaking. Needless to say I am not happy with this situation. During the first rebuild the shop made no mention of the sludging problem with this engine (I was unaware of the problem and lawsuit at the time). I have also since been told that the work on the engine was done by an off duty mechanic after hours, so he could be paid under the table.

So my question is...do I have any recourse here, or am I just screwed and stuck putting another engine in the car myself?

Thanks for any and all input.


Nick
Wow... just wow... I am a service manager at a car repair shop and I HATE hearing stuff like this - it gives us all a bad rep...

Is it a small independent shop or part of a chain? If something like that happened (a tech working off the clock to get paid under the table) in my company, we would all be fired, for sure. You would also get a new / rebuilt engine free of charge...

You may be out of luck, depending on the warranty terms and how much they want to be sticklers about it...

Sorry to hear about your issues - hopefully you get something resolved!
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Old 06-17-14, 07:42 AM   #3
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Hi and thanks for the reply!

It's a small independent shop, though affiliated with a major tire brand. The owner has a bad reputation around town for screwing customers over, and apparently has had more than one appointment in court with dissatisfied customers.

I wish I'd woken up to this sooner. The owner told me that the rebuilt engine failed partly because the RX300 has a 'weak engine design' and that the car's 'weight and aerodynamics' are too much for it. He has never mentioned anything about the sludging issue though. When a non-dealer shop does major engine work would they typically research recalls, service bulletins (thats the aviation term, not sure the automotive equivalent, but you get my drift) and that sort of thing?
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Old 06-17-14, 11:53 PM   #4
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Independent shops usually don't have access to recall information like dealerships do. Most have access to AllData or Mitchell, which provides extended warranty and TSB information just as dealerships do. However, being a straightforward engine repair, I doubt they accessed that information.

I question whether your engine actually suffered from sludge. The 1MZ-FE engines used in your car and many other Toyota cars between mid-90's to mid 2000's had sludge issues due to the oil pick up screen. Although I've never encountered this problem myself, I hear stories of from techs at my work with 20+ years of experience. Toyota had implemented a remedy part for this problem in the early 2000's I believe, so either your car had the improved part, or there may have been a recall campaign to fix it for the cars without the remedy.

Regardless, it's hard to believe this issue can cause catastrophic damage after only 23,000 miles. A tech not installing a seal correctly that lead to oil leaking is a much more likely scenario. If you have evidence that it is leaking from the front seal, the shop should have no reason to not repair it. If you can, you perhaps have a more reputable shop perform the repairs, then have this place cover the costs. It's unlikely from their excuses and how they've treated you up to now, but I think that would be best for your car.

Hope it ends well for you.
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Old 06-18-14, 12:08 AM   #5
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I've searched TIS and couldn't find any SBT/TT or service campaigns related to the sludge issue for a 2002 RX300. I'm not sure if it's not applicable to 2002 models or if the site is just not responding correctly.

Either way, I found this post that I think would better inform you of the sludge issue:
http://www.clublexus.com/forums/es30...e-problem.html

I know it doesn't exactly help your situation, but hopefully by knowing the issue, you can put more pressure on the shop to fix your car.
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Old 06-18-14, 11:28 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning towards offering two options. Pay for the work to be done at another shop or refund 2/3 of what I paid for the repair.
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Old 06-18-14, 11:28 AM
 
 
 
 
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