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Old 11-03-08, 12:28 PM   #1
goredsox98
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Default RX330 oil problems

We have a 2004 RX330 with 41k miles. Around town driving seems to be fine, but whenever we go on a trip over 100 miles and drive 70 - 75 mph, the oil light comes on when we exit the highway. When I check the oil, it is very low (3 - 4 quarts). There are no visible leaks and no smoke from the exhaust. The Lexus dealer has looked the engine over twice now and has no explanation. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:52 PM   #2
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So I take it that you have measured the oil before the trip and checked it after and you lose oil? How did you know it was 3~4 quarts...you add around 3 quarts to fill it up? Total oil is 6 quarts, right(just checking)?
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Old 11-03-08, 03:37 PM   #3
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Exactly. Check it before the trip... between the two fill marks. Halfway through the trip (150 miles or so)... down to the first mark. After the round trip (300 miles)... not registering. Put three quarts in, dealer had to add another quart. Weird. The dealer said something about the oil getting "vaporized at high speeds throught the PCV valve" or something like that. They replaced the PCV valve but it's still happening....
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Old 11-03-08, 04:10 PM   #4
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Have they opened the valve cover yet? It's unlikely at 41k miles you have sludge but that is the only other thing I can think of.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:08 PM   #5
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well, its obviously going somewhere! Have you checked where you park to see if there is an oil stain. Have you looked at the coolant to see if it was contaminated with oil (head gasket). When you go up hill, if you stomp on the accelerator, do you see blue smoke. In llieu of those, have you seen alien spacecraft following you donw the road.
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Old 11-03-08, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biff44 View Post
well, its obviously going somewhere! Have you checked where you park to see if there is an oil stain. Have you looked at the coolant to see if it was contaminated with oil (head gasket). When you go up hill, if you stomp on the accelerator, do you see blue smoke. In llieu of those, have you seen alien spacecraft following you donw the road.
I agree, Biff. Has to be going somewhere. If not out the tail pipe as blue smoke and not on the ground or all over the chassis via some type of leak, it has to be going out in the coolant.

If this is a new(ish) purchase and under warranty I might demand a compression test and a more detailed look at the problem.

By the time the light is coming on you are already too low on oil for comfort.
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Old 11-05-08, 10:37 AM   #7
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Default Thanks for all the ideas.......

There's no spaceship in sight. There are also no oil stains on the ground and no blue smoke from the tailpipe. The dealer has it now and has informed me that the district and regional managers have all said they want them to tear the engine apart and find out what the real problem is. They also informed me that the warranty expired in April so the diagnostic costs and any repairs are all on me. They also said that if it's not a defective power train issue, it's most likely a result of neglect and a new engine would be $12 - $15k. Nice. Although I asked nicely to see if they could at least do the diagnostics at no charge or at cost, they politely said "not a chance". I think I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. They're taking the heads and the oil pan off now to see if they can find out what's causing the problem. I'm on my way to the bank.
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Old 11-05-08, 11:59 AM   #8
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It might have been interesting if I were there to smell the exhaust or perform a gas analysis test (virtually same thing as an emissions test) to see what was coming out of there to see if you had a compression issue. There's not much of any place else where the oil can go other than via leak, but I do know of vehicles my uncle worked on where no blue smoke but sure enough there was a compression issue and oil was seeping through but just enough not to cause a blue smoke issue. Keep in mind with two precats and one precat on your vehicle that can dilute some of the issue to a point where no blue smoke would show up.
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Old 11-05-08, 04:43 PM   #9
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Wow! $12000-15000? That buys a HE%& of a lot of oil. I keep my cars pristine and like new, as much as I can but I would never pay that kind of a price. Before I would eat the cost of a new engine, I would exhaust every possible solution. Including parking your car on the street in front of Lexus with a big lemon sign on it. Once those were exhausted, I would buy a bulk quantity of oil and check it daily. How about an engine from a wrecked RX?
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Old 11-05-08, 06:29 PM   #10
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Default good suggestion

The dealer appears to want as much money as you are willing to part with. A new engine in a 5 year old car doesn't make sense. Also, it may well be that the entire engine is not bad, just part of it, i.e. valves. A complete valve job or even a new engine head would be a lot cheaper than a new engine. Obviously you need to do what meets your needs and hopefully preserves the value of the vehicle. If there is no warranty help, you may want to consider a high quality independent shop. Since the car runs, even though it goes through a lot of oil, you don't need to make a decision immediately. Good luck.
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Old 11-05-08, 07:10 PM   #11
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Default What's that fish smell

Something smells fishy. The dealer, I think, is going to try and milk this for all its worth. Have you consider another dealer or contacting Lexus USA. Give it a try.

As for the oil loss, it isn't evaporating that fast. Think about it, without any diagnostic work how in the heck could they possibly know a new engine is called for. Get someone to follow you and do some hard takeoffs and high speed highway cruising and see if they can detect any blue smoke.
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Old 11-05-08, 07:35 PM   #12
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Wow, I would RUN to another dealer or independent guy and find out what is wrong first! You might only need rings, and they will charge you 15K for that?
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Old 11-06-08, 06:35 AM   #13
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My owners manual says the powertrain is covered for 72 months or 70,000 miles. An engine is part of the powertrain. Call Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 800/255-3987 and relate your issue to them.

Sounds like your dealer may be trying to stick it to you.

Lexus Powertrain warranty:

Powertrain Warranty
This warranty covers repairs needed to correct defects in materials or workmanship of any component listed here and supplied by Lexus, subject to the exceptions indicated under “What Is Not Covered” on pages 19–20. Coverage is for 72 months or 70,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

Engine
Cylinder block and head and all internal parts, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, timing belt and cover,
Differential carrier assembly, drive shaft, axle carrier, axle case, axle bearing, axle shaft, seals and gaskets.

Transmission and Transaxle Case and all internal parts, torque converter, clutch cover, mounts, engine control computer, seals and gaskets.

Front-Wheel-Drive System
Drive shaft, axle, hub, bearings, seals and gaskets.

Rear-Wheel-Drive System
Differential carrier assembly, drive shaft, axle carrier, axle case, axle bearing, axle shaft, seals and gaskets.
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Old 11-07-08, 12:45 PM   #14
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If you are the original owner and have maintenance records to show regular oil changes, etc, then you may have some leverage against the power train warranty. If not then the dealer (and Lexus) could claim negligence if the maintenance scheduled was not followed. It would still be hard to believe that maintenance neglect would damage an engine after 41k.

Please keep up posted.
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Old 11-12-08, 01:29 AM   #15
goredsox98
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Default Thanks for all your help and support.....

The dealer's position is that this car is damaged due to neglect. They've even gone as far as saying the oil has never been changed since the car was bought new. I am the second owner and I bought this car from a reputable used car dealer who bought it from Chase Manhattan Financing. But, my dealer admits they did not ask for maintenance history from Chase. The car had been returned after a three year lease with 34k miles. We've contacted the original owner who refuses to talk to us, let alone provide any maintenance records. (And threatened legal action if we continued to contact her.)

It's beyond me that anyone could own a luxury car and not change the oil once in three years. Or that the engine could be that damaged in such a short period of time. But, it is what it is.

The dealer has now offerred to cover 50% of the parts to fix the car, reducing the rebuild charge to $9,300. It's beyond me why they claim the car needs a new short block, considering the car only has 40k miles on it. I've contacted a machine shop who claims they can redo the entire engine for $8,000 or less, depending on the condition of the engine.

I'm now in contact with Toyota customer service and I'm trying to get some recovery or at least some additional help. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all the support. This just plain stinks.
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Old 11-12-08, 01:29 AM
 
 
 
 
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