2001 Toyota Avalon - 1MZ-FE engine......"cleaning oil"

Messages
79
Location
NJ
Hi everyone,
I was recently given a 2001 Toyota Avalon with 99,100 miles. I don't know that much about the maintenance history on the car, other than it was "dealer" serviced. The Toyota 1MZ-FE is a known sludge engine, and as such truly requires a 3,000 mile OCI. I don't know if this car had 3,000 OCI's, but I do know that it was left outside and not driven for the better part of three to four years. At this point the car seems to run well with a good amount of power, but I don't know if there are any sludge issues.
I am looking to do some "cleaning" oil changes on the car to "baseline" the engine and hopefully clean it up a bit.
I know the oil was changed in October of 2020 by Pep Boys and they used an unknown oil and a cheap Purolator filter. I changed the oil on Saturday and the oil in the car came oil very black, with a few hundred miles on it.
When I changed the oil on Saturday, I used a Fram Ultra oil filter and Kirkland 5w30 oil. I don't how long I will keep that oil/filter in the car, but I will probably change it much sooner than 3,000 miles.
Does anyone have a recommendation for an oil that has very good cleaning/detergent properties? How would you rate the Kirkland oil in terms of it's cleaning prowess? What do you think of my filter choice? Should I stick with the Ultra or go with an OEM Toyota oil filter? Would a good "high" speed/RPM run down the highway help expedite the cleaning process?


Thank you in advance!
 

JRed

Site Donor 2021
Messages
2,317
Location
Virginia
Can you see down into the head through the oil fill cap? If so how's it look?

Last 1MZ-FE car I looked at there wasn't a baffle or anything beneath the oil fill and I could see a little varnish but nothing to be concerned about.
 
Messages
11,752
Location
USA
Any full synthetic should be fine. As you know, the 1MZ is one of the few cars that actually requires a 3k OCI with synthetic.

You can use the cheapest synthetic on sale. There is nothing wrong with Fram Ultra. They are very good filters. Another good choice is Napa Platinum, on sale this month for $7.49, slightly cheaper than an Ultra. While you're there, pick up a jug of their house brand synthetic, which is made by Valvoline and also on sale this month.

Maybe you can do three 1-month OCI's and then 3k thereafter.
 
Messages
510
Get an OEM PCV valve and change that pronto, if concerned about sludge. Next, you can run 3K oil changes on that engine using synthetic blend, and 5K using full synthetic, and maybe more towards 6-7K using a 20K long drain oil. Only use 89 octane or better gas.

For oil, Mobil 1 claims to clean up sludge pretty well. Maybe a M1 5w-30 or 0w-30 would clean things up with a short oil change interval of less than 3K for a couple of drains.

OEM oil filters, which you would want the YZZD1, are very good and pretty cheap if bought in packs of 5 or more from an online Toyota dealer. Never buy them on Ebay or non-dealer sites. Way too many fakes. But, the Fram Ultra has the same bypass pressure spec, and is a great filter, so would be fine leaving one of those on for 2-3+ oil changes if going 3-5K on oil. I leave my OEM filter on for two, 3K oil changes on my van that uses the exact same engine.
 
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Messages
2,393
Location
Paradise of Florida
All oils will clean. Stick with the 3k interval if you want to use conventional oil. If you use synthetic, I would still keep 2-3 short intervals before extending to 5k miles. If there is room, use the PH3600/FL400s oversized filter.

To avoid some of the issues, you need the newer valve covers/PCV system
VALVE COVER RIGHT
11201-0A060
VALVE COVER LEFT
11202-0A051
VALVE COVER GASKET
11213-0A010
VALVE COVER GASKET
11214-0A010
PCV VALVE
12204-20040
PLENUM GASKET
17176-62030

And, you are overdue for a full timing belt service, coolant/thermostat/radiator cap/hoses, PSF flush, ATF drain/refill, serpentine belt, brake bleed, spark plugs, air filter, cabin air filter, check tires manufacturing date, .........

Take care of it and it will run forever.
 
Messages
116
Location
Kansas
Add MMO to the oil. My Honda had a problem with oil consumption. I used 3.5 quarts15w40 oil and 1 quart of MMO to see if that would help per MMO label. It did!! The oil was dark by 1200 miles. I ran it for 2500 miles total. It must have cleaned up the oil control rings as my oil consumption problem is mostly gone. Car has 160,000 miles. I'm back to using 5w20 semi synthetic. So far the oil level is just under full at 3200 miles. Will change it at 5K or maybe 7.5 depending on what the oil level does. 2010 Honda accord with the 2.4. Bought with 120,000 miles.
 
Messages
1,355
I just don’t like that it sat outside for 3-4 years and wasn’t run, especially being a sludge engine. I’ve taken apart engines that have sat for a long time...the pan is where I found the sludge, not so much the valve train.

So, quite honestly, I’d get that thing hot and do an oil change, then let it fully fully drain...leave the plug out and stick a long plastic wire tie into the pan through the plug hole...pull it out and see if there is sludge on it (sitting on the bottom of the pan). If so? I know this sounds crazy, but if the pan is easy to get off, I’d remove it and clean it manually. If you can’t get it off...I’d short change intervals using Pennzoil platinum (last I checked it was the “cleaning” oil around here). Good luck, I’m sure everything will be great. Congrats on the car.
 
Messages
17,591
Location
Upper Midwest
As is the case in nearly all these threads you first need to determine if the engine needs "cleaning" before you worry about it. And as to the idea of looking into the fill hole to determine that, you won't be able to do so on this engine as there is a baffle in the way and that baffle is coated with a gritty black substance from the factory that should not be mistaken for sludge.

As someone who has operated a 1MZ-FE engine for nearly 450,000 miles and 22 years, just keep the PCV valve clean and run any synthetic oil from Walmart that's on sale on a relatively short OCI such as 6000 miles. If you do that it will keep running for longer than you need or want.

There used to be numerous valvetrain pictures on here that I posted as I did valve cover gasket changes etc. but most of those have disappeared due to Photobucket's changes. But since you will have to replace those gaskets anyway due to leaking that's a good time to assess the engine condition especially on the rear cylinder head.
 
Messages
17,591
Location
Upper Midwest
Mobil 1 0w40, readily available and cheap at Wally's and forget it. It is a light 40 and the 3.0 will suffer no adverse effects using it, in fact it may run quieter.
I used that for many years in my old Sienna and it is a very good choice. $22.37 right now at Walmart for five quarts. One of the best oils money can buy at a very low price.
 
Messages
116
The BMW guys swear that the best cleaning oil out there is Royal Purple. The down side is $8 or more a quart if bought in a 5qt jug or $11 in one quart bottles. Another option is Auto-Rx Plus about $25 a bottle on Amazon. Pour in a bottle or two at your next oil change. Drive for 4000 miles, change out the oil and filter, then put on another 4000-5000 miles, this is the rinse phase. At your next oil change your engine should be sludge and varnish free. BTW I run an Auto-Rx treatment every 60K miles and my cars. Auto-Rx Plus does what it says it will do.

If that engine is a known sludge monster then definitely I would recommend only using a high quality synthetic oil, and doing 5,000 or less oil changes from now on.
 
Messages
7,054
Location
Wet side WA
The BMW guys swear that the best cleaning oil out there is Royal Purple. The down side is $8 or more a quart if bought in a 5qt jug or $11 in one quart bottles. Another option is Auto-Rx Plus about $25 a bottle on Amazon. Pour in a bottle or two at your next oil change. Drive for 4000 miles, change out the oil and filter, then put on another 4000-5000 miles, this is the rinse phase. At your next oil change your engine should be sludge and varnish free. BTW I run an Auto-Rx treatment every 60K miles and my cars. Auto-Rx Plus does what it says it will do.

If that engine is a known sludge monster then definitely I would recommend only using a high quality synthetic oil, and doing 5,000 or less oil changes from now on.
Well RP may be great oil I've never used it before. But at $35 a Jug I never will. But about 15 month ago I found some on close at Wally World $20 a Jug just barely made my cut off point but I bought two Jugs. We're about to find out how great it is!
 
Messages
1,161
Location
United States
mobil 1 or castrol 0w40, several steps above any vanilla syn oil

if your engine appears clean run it to the traditional 7,500 interval or more
 
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Messages
2,141
Location
Somewhere in time
I had a 2003 Camry with the 1MZ-FE that I ran to 279,000 before it was sideswiped and totalled. Dang I loved that car.

I did 6500-7500 OCIs (and a few out to 10k) with M1 5w-30 for the life of the vehicle with mostly around town and city driving. I never had an issue that was the result of the oil or the OCI that I chose to run.

You can find several UOAs I posted on this vehicle and they are some of the most boring, predictable and excellent reports you'll ever read.

If you're concerned about the possibility of sludge, it's easy to pull the front valve cover to inspect. Then proceed based on the results of your inspection instead of internet message board blather.

Yes, these engines are more likely to develop sludge conditions over time, typically as a result of severely neglected maintenance intervals.
That said, no, you don't need to run 3000 mi OCIs.

YMMV.
Good luck!
 
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Messages
176
Location
California, United States
If that was me I would run some short 3k oci and a good filter, either oem or wix even fram ultra is good on the forum too.
Run the oil now for 3k but for a cleaning one Ive had good success with Pennzoil Ultra Platinum or normal Platinum 5w30 on my lexus. I would also add that you should make sure you get it nice and hot with a good drive, and have it see a little higher than normal rpms to move some oil around this first time safely. If its really sludged I definitely wouldnt push it to redline since you may clog something.
And once your at the 3k oil change mark, run the liqui moly engine flush per the directions. I wouldnt do the flush again just for safety reasons, and a toyota mechanic on youtube talked about having success with that brand liqui moly oil flush to stop oil consumption too. Once done with this I would run another 3k oci and this time around give it the hammer on the highway here and there but only after its been warmed up good.
 
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Messages
7,271
Location
Roanoke Virginia
I have a four cylinder engine from Toyota. Known for consumption and sludge we personally use Castrol and Valvoline in ours currently. We have used everything in it pretty much except SuperTech we haven’t used that. So far the engine is nice and clean from what I can tell. Just get a good known oil and it should clean it up nicely.
 
Messages
2,409
Location
Seattle-ish, WA
The Toyota 1MZ-FE is a known sludge engine, and as such truly requires a 3,000 mile OCI.

Yeah, that's not true. At all.

I don't personally know who "Imp4" is above but listen to him, too.

It IS true that if you run excessively long OCI's w/dino oil on them, you can sludge the oil as the rear bank does run hot, and oil pools in the head around cylinder 1 on the low side near the highest heat area. This was back in the day when people literally said, "It's a Toyota, I don't ever change the oil." I know that sounds crazy but I knew people who did that and that's where most of the myth arose. I have been to cocktail parties in Cambridge, MA where people boasted about not changing the oil in their Toyotas after 30k miles. It was a badge of honor.

I have a 2002 ES300 with 325k on it. Same car. I have run 7,500mile OCI's on it for the last 200k miles, using Mobil 1 10w30 HM. Oil consumption is 16 ozs every 7,500k and it was that at 100k and it is the exact same at 325k. I have also added some Lubegard Biotech to the oil for the last 100k miles, the ester base in that + additives really work.

If you want to take care of the engine, run an oil appropriate to your climate. That's likely 10w-30 unless you live in Alaska. NJ needs nothing weaker than 10w-30. If you want to do some feel-good stuff, run some Mobil 0w-40 like Trav and others said with 10 to 15 ozs of Lubegard Biotech for 5k. Then switch to the 10w-30 HM and additive and go 7.5k and you're fine. I run the Fram Ultra for 3x OCI's. 22.5k miles. Filter changes on these engines are annoying and messy so that's a gift from Fram; take it. I have cut-open past Ultra's I have run 15k and 22k and they were solid - have posted about this in years past w/pics. So run the ultra and feel good to run it to 20k miles or such.

This oil issue is really a red-herring. What you need to be thinking about with that car is to flush the fragile PS system - it runs hot and eats high pressure hoses and pumps. You also need to think about if the belt was done - likely not. The timing belt tensioners on these can fail, a thorough timing belt job is WAY more important on a 1999 Avalon with 100k than a Jesuitical debate about oil choice. Another thing to keep in mind is the 99 avalon was built in Kentucky and not Japan. While that's my home state and I say that with pride, you can't equate Japan-built Lexotas with US built ones; there is a long-term difference IME. Maintain this car and it will last forever, but don't neglect it.

I've worked on and serviced a lot of these cars, been a moderator at ToyotaNation in the Camry/Solara/Avalon sub-forums (a nightmare I don't want to repeat, btw), and also avid at clubLexus. I say that not to boast but to establish that I have not only my personal knowledge about them but also years of forum activity/moderation where I surveyed user/owner experiences and developed a deeper understanding of the issues and how they arose. I strongly suggest you not over-fret about the oil issue and look at the other long-term maintenance issues.

I do not at all intend to sound like I am talking down to you. That you did some research and came and asked means you care and that's great. Just trying to spread the experience I've paid for and learned, as I have benefited my whole life from others doing the same.
 
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