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Old 01-09-05, 01:09 PM
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ES3
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Default Engine Sludge Issue...

Anyone else delt with Toyota/Lexus on this?
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Toyota Customer Support Program Provides Comprehensive Coverage for Unusual Maintenance-Related Cases

April 3, 2002, Torrance, Calif. - Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced a new customer satisfaction program for owners of 1997 through 2002 Toyota and Lexus vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter V6 or 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engines. Toyota is taking this action because a very small number of customers have reported engine damage from motor oil breakdown, also known as oil gelling or "sludging," a result of oil change intervals delayed beyond the factory-recommended schedule. While any make vehicle can suffer from this condition if the oil is not changed often enough, Toyota has initiated this program to ensure owner peace of mind.

To make sure that customers have absolute confidence in their vehicles, this program will cover repair costs and incidental expenses for which a customer has paid or could incur as a result of damage due to oil gelling for a period of eight years from the date of first sale or lease without a mileage limitation. In addition to the costs of repairs, reasonable incidental expenses, such as car rental, and other out-of-pocket expenses will be covered.

This program replaces a previous special policy adjustment regarding oil gel damage, and extends protection against this condition well beyond the new vehicle powertrain warranty period.

Oil gelling is not caused by engine design, but by the long-term effects of changing oil at intervals longer than factory recommendation. When maintained according to schedule, it is extremely unlikely that any vehicle powertrain will develop this condition.

Lexus and Toyota will continue to communicate to customers the importance of assuring proper maintenance schedules for any automobile. Customers whose engines have needed repair in the past should contact Toyota at 888-802-9436 or Lexus at 888-654-6421 for details on obtaining reimbursement. In the very unlikely event that this condition should develop in the future, customers are advised to see their dealer to arrange for repairs.
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Old 01-09-05, 03:33 PM
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mooretorque
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Are you asking if any of the CL members had sludged engines or if anyone has any input/thoughts??

Edmunds had a HUGE discussion on the RX300 forum back then; those of us who owned RX300s all got "the letter" from T/L extending the engine warranty (actually, there were two letters since their initial warranty upgrade was not as lenghty as the current version).
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Old 01-09-05, 04:58 PM
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Much has been written and publicized on this issue....and Toyota, to some extent, has talked out of both sides of their mouth on it.
The basic problem, the way I understand it, and the way I have been told by service people, is that the 3.0 V6, in an effort to get the engine to run hot enough to meet emissions standards, was given rather narrow oil passages. This generally presents no problem as long as recomended oil and filter change intervals are adhered to......which in most cases mean 3750-5000 miles. (3000 miles really is best, IMO). But this engine, unlike some others, will NOT forgive extended drain intervals. If you don't change the oil in a reasonable amount of time, in this engine the oil will gel, form sludge, and in some extreme cases solidify into carbon-coke particles and plug up the narrow oil passages even more. After a while, the bearings can take only so much of this.....then they sieze and it's good-bye engine.
I have seen for myself in service shops just what this stuff looks like. Believe me...it is NOT pretty....especially when you are talking about a $6000 engine. It is like a thick, brown JELL-O gelatin-looking substance that just gums up all over the place.......valves, camshaft, rocker arms, bearings, cylinders, piston rings, etc..... Just an awful sight to look at.
A lot of these cases have happened in cars that were leased rather than owned. Many leasees tend to be negligent about basic service. They figure they're only going to have the car 2-3 years....why spend money? Other cases involve owners who are ignorant of the importance of oil changes or just plain lazy.
Toyota is not entirely correct about it not being in the engine design, however...the narrow oil passages tend to make the oil run hot and break down sooner.....unless you use synthetic oil.
But reasonable oil change intervals still should present no problem.
Toyota's official warranty position on this, the last I heard it from the service people, is that as long as the car owner can document at least one oil change in the last 12 months (with the correct-grade oil and filter, of course) the company will replace the engine if necessary, no questions asked. That, IMO, is abuse of the engine on the owner's part and should not be warranty-covered....oil should be changed at least every 3-5 months as stated above. But it's the company's money and their own good-will policy, and apparantly Toyota is willing to eat the bill for what is mostly, but not totally, owner neglect, so I guess this is a case of some negligent owners making out like a bandit.....take the new engine and run.

Last edited by mmarshall; 01-10-05 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 01-10-05, 06:53 AM
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mm, I agree that most cases are due to minimal or no maintainence and your synopsis, btw, is excellent. Way back in the beginning, however, there were a number of owners who complained bitterly that they were being hosed and stonewalled by T/L on the issue DESPITE documented oil changes on the maintainence schedule. (Again, this was over on Edmunds; CL didn't really have anything on the problem at the time.) That's where the firestorm really started. Of course, from a corporate standpoint, it makes sense that the initial response was slow since undoubtedly the problem arose only gradually as the numbers of engines in service increased.

I also agree that T/L has really stepped up. Regardless of how frequent sludging really occured, the perception was that there was a BIG problem. Their response certainly avoided the Audi scenario...................
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Old 01-10-05, 07:51 AM
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anyone remember the RX300 owner who had something like 40k on his Lexus and both Amsoil and Lexus would not honor his warranty, he had Amsoil in it and had the sludge problem, well after reading this http://neptune.spacebears.com/cars/s.../oil-life.html the Amsoil turned into 15W40 and I doubt these engines are made to run on such thick oil
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Old 01-10-05, 08:38 AM
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15W-40 is way too heavy for most modern low-mileage engines. Most manufacturers today recommend 5W-20, 5W-30, or 10W-30, the reason being that engines today......particularly Toyota-Lexus engines...... are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. Oil today must be thin enough to flow between those close tolerances not only when warm but also, particularly, on a cold-start-up, where most engine wear usually takes place.
As miles build up and engine tolerances increase from wear.......especially after the warranty period, switching to a somewhat heavier oil can help prevent or cut down on oil consumption. In fact, there are a few special "high-mileage" oils on the market especially for this. Thicker oil will not flow as readily at cold temperatures, but it helps to seal up looser tolerances.
As to the age-old question of using dino vs. synthetic, my opinion is that in most of the U.S., most of the time, using the correct grade of dino and keeping it changed every 3000-5000 miles is really all you have to do. I use Castrol GTX 5W-30 dino myself and factory filters. For extreme-temperature areas like the Desert Southwest in summer or the Upper Midwest or interior Alaska in winter, you may want to consider synthetic or semi-synthetic......it will provide better protection in extreme climates. Without synthetic oil or a block heater the oil may not flow at all on start-up in, say, a North Dakota winter morning at -20 or -30 degrees. But remember two things with synthetic....first, don't use it on a very low-mileage engine because it will prevent proper break-in. Second, warranty rules still apply....regardless of what is printed on the can, it still should be changed at the same intervals as dino oil for waranty purposes.
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Old 01-10-05, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mooretorque
mm, I agree that most cases are due to minimal or no maintainence and your synopsis, btw, is excellent. Way back in the beginning, however, there were a number of owners who complained bitterly that they were being hosed and stonewalled by T/L on the issue DESPITE documented oil changes on the maintainence schedule.
Can't really comment on these cases, mooretorque. I don't know the details of them, who specifically was involved, or what kind of oil, filters, driving habits, etc...was involved. All I know is what Toyota says they will do NOW....give you a new or rebuilt / remanufactured engine if you can document a proper oil change within 12 months. Perhaps if these people were turned down before on a warranty claim, it might be to their advantage to try again...maybe ( ? ) Toyota will go 50/50 or some other compromise on a case-by-case basis.
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Old 01-10-05, 09:10 AM
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This issue is very old and it was very small. Toyota being a great company, did this b/c they WANTED to. Not because they had too.

The issue was people not changing their oils and maintaining their cars, complaining about enging sludge. Sigh...
 
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Old 01-10-05, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 1SICKLEX
This issue is very old and it was very small. Toyota being a great company, did this b/c they WANTED to. Not because they had too.

The issue was people not changing their oils and maintaining their cars, complaining about enging sludge. Sigh...
Yes, that's 99% true. The 3.0 V6, though, is not tolerant of long drain intervals....for reasons which have already been posted. Some engines will forgive you....this one won't.
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Old 01-11-05, 09:06 AM
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Well I definitely changed the oil and my connector rod DEFINITELY broke through the oil pan, oil sludge or gelling is possibly not the cause, but if not that, I wonder WHAT is, and how common is it? Is Lexus at Fault? Would they take responsibility? Doubtful..
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Old 01-12-05, 05:30 AM
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My webpage on this topic.

http://home.comcast.net/~94gsxr1100/...oil_sludge.htm

You can do extended drains on any ES. You need to do oils testing to see what is up. My over 12K oil interval was 100% fine!
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Old 01-12-05, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mburnickas
My webpage on this topic.

http://home.comcast.net/~94gsxr1100/...oil_sludge.htm

You can do extended drains on any ES. You need to do oils testing to see what is up. My over 12K oil interval was 100% fine!

What all is invovled in the "oil testing" I would imagine that's what the dealer did? But if not, maybe I should urge them to? They could have just looked inside to see if the gel was present? Anyway, they tell me that's not likely the cause, but whatever happened IS rare, so they're checking to see what Lexus may be able to do for me. Fingers are crossed, to say the least!
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Old 01-12-05, 02:55 PM
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if the sludge is very very bad it will be on the inside. If it is just starting an oil test will show high OXD and NOX levels. The TBN would be very low along with a high viscosity reading.
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Old 01-13-05, 06:41 AM
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How much does it cost to do "oil testing"?
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Old 01-13-05, 06:44 AM
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Depends on what results you want. Most times in USA, it is from $12 to $16
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