Another Toyota (Lexus) sludge monster

wwillson

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Naperville, IL
All, I took the oil cap off my Mother-in-law's Lexus RX-300 with 56,000 miles. I was absolutley shocked to see about 1/8" of black sludge all over everything I could see inside of the engine. Is this one of the famous Toyota sludgers? The kicker is that she has been having the oil changed at the dealer about every 3000-4000 miles. She asked me if I wanted to start changing the oil, but I really don't think I want anything to do with this engine. Thoughts? Thanks, Wayne
 
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85
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California
I wouldn't worry about the engine as much as I would worry about the mother-in-law!!! Is she's like mine, you are in a no win situation no matter what you do and if ANYTHING goes wrong in the future, in her mind, it will be related to your oil change! Let her deal with the dealer!!
 
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2,361
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Texas
Yeah, Dont fool with it, anytime anything breaks you will be reponsible for it. Let her take it to the dealer for their stellar service. Dan
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Wayne: You can come down from the ceiling -- her engine is most likely not sludged. What you're looking at through the oil filler in a 1MZ-FE V-6, the engine in that vehicle, is an oil "baffle" that is coated with a black rubbery substance that I've been told by Toyota people is their to absorb valve train noise (hmmmm, not sure about that, but that's not pertinent). For whatever insane reason the coating is a thin black foamy/spongy substance that resembles a coating of sludge, but it isn't sludge. I know what you're thinking right now -- "yeah right, he's nuts..." I'm not. But please don't take my word for it if you're at all inclined to doubt me. I offer two recommendations in support of what I've said. First, the photo below is of the filler on my then-nearly-new 2003 V-6 Camry. I assure you it looked this way on the day I drove it off the dealership lot.  - [Photo taken in August, 2003] Second, if this isn't enough (and that's OK if it isn't), please go to the nearest Toyota dealer and look for a new LE or XLE V-6 Camry. These two models, not the SE, have exactly the same engine as your RX. Inspect the oil filler on one, and you will find the exact same thing. Oh yeah, here's a third observation. About three months after the above photo was taken, I saw the engine with that valve cover off for a seal replacement. The entire top of the front cyl bank head was totally spotless and without any sign of dirt, varnish, or sludge. Happy Motoring! [ August 08, 2004, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: ekpolk ]
 

wwillson

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ekpolk, Thanks for the heads up on the dampener! I about soiled myself when I saw what I thought was sludge. I even thought about sticking my finger in it to see if it really was sludge, but didn't.... It still wouldn't suprise me if there is some sludge. She starts and stops the engine about 100 time/day while she's out running errands. I don't think the oil has gotten over 160 degrees for about 5 years.... Wayne
 

wwillson

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Naperville, IL
quote:
Originally posted by Dan4510: Yeah, Dont fool with it, anytime anything breaks you will be reponsible for it. Let her take it to the dealer for their stellar service. Dan
No kidding - that's why I don't do anything to her car. It's just a lose-lose situation. Wayne
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by wwillson: ekpolk, Thanks for the heads up on the dampener! I about soiled myself when I saw what I thought was sludge. I even thought about sticking my finger in it to see if it really was sludge, but didn't.... It still wouldn't suprise me if there is some sludge. She starts and stops the engine about 100 time/day while she's out running errands. I don't think the oil has gotten over 160 degrees for about 5 years.... Wayne
Wayne: You're definitely right; those driving conditions would make her a prime sludge candidate with this engine if she has not been changing oil. On the other hand, she should have seen some bas symptoms by now, so I'm hopeful for her (and YOU [Wink] ). About a year ago or so, I got into a heated debate over on ToyotaNation with one of those guys who lights up the flame thrower any time someone comes close to disagreeing with him. He saw the same thing and thought he had sludge. That's what generated the above photo. . . and the one below. As you can see, I did run my finger around on the coating inside the filler. You can plainly see how clean it is, despite the black, slimy look of the filler baffle coating:  - Now, is there anyone left here at BITOG who doubts my obsessive-compulsive credentials? [Wink]
 
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MD
I change the fluids on my mother in law's car.No biggie.I even put M1 in the last change.
 
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MD
BTW,I also have a 1MZ motor in a Sienna,has he same oil baffle that looks like it's sludged. M1 5W30 with no problems.
 
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4,478
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Southern California
One thing your mother-in-law <i>is</i> doing right are the 3,000-4,000 mile oil changes. Encourage her to maintain 3,000 mile OCIs though. Any "SL" rated oil should be able to handle that - even with her cumulative short-trips-to-engine-he11 driving habits.
 
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Joplin
So does this mean that this entire issue of sludging on these motors is without merit? Just that everyone saw this baffel and, understandable, went ape? Or was/is there indeed some concern that these can produce sludge more often than other engines?
 
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180
Location
San Jose CA
quote:
Originally posted by Cressida: So does this mean that this entire issue of sludging on these motors is without merit? Just that everyone saw this baffel and, understandable, went ape? Or was/is there indeed some concern that these can produce sludge more often than other engines?
The problem gets very exagerated sometimes by hysteria. If your using mineral oil, keep changes at 3K. Mobil 1 can be good for 5-6K. More 'botique' oils such as Amsoil and Redline can go 7.5 - 10K. GC and Schaefers may also be able to do this. Do oil analysis to make sure these longer intervals are suitable for your conditions first. What happens is that the oil can be fine until it starts to break down and then that can happen pretty quickly. Observing the above benchmarks will avoid this. Some have had trouble with the PCV valve clogging up, so it is a good idea to check it on a regular basis. (I've never had any trouble) The engine is hard on oil, but other than that, it is an excellent design and very long lived if maintained properly.
 
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Slider hit the nail on the head. The 1MZ is a wonderful engine, especially in its later VVT-i configuration in which it got a healthy boost of low end torque. The sludge problem exists, but my own theory is that it got greatly magnified by Toyota's inexplicably stupid choice of baffle coating. The coating looks just like sludge, and they've left it there throughout the entire sorry sludge saga. I suspect that a significant number of owners paniced and dumped perfectly good 'yotas fearing they had a sludger when they actually had a perfectly good engine. Don't think those folks will be found in a Toyota store any time soon. [Duh!]
 
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33
Location
mississippi
I had a 99 camry v6 and I also thought it was sludged by the look inside the oil filler. So, I took the valve cover off and SURPRISE, very little of anything. Mileage was 90k....so change the oil regular and drive them!
 
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