Opened up valve cover on 185,000 mile '96 Toyota Avalon sludge monster V6

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I bought a '96 Toyota Avalon a couple weeks ago for $2,800 with 184,800 miles. It had no maintenance record, no service history, nothing. The oil had been changed a month before I bought the car though, and the engine seems to pull strong - and it passed smog easily when I tested it. Still, I've been afraid of the 1MZ-FE engine being a big ole bloody sludge beast, and ordered 4 bottles of Auto-RX. I figured that I'll need all the cleaning I can get! In the meantime, I decided to open up the valve cover to replace the leaky valve cover gasket and get an idea of what I'm up against. The result was surprising. 185,000 miles on the sludger, remember!  - Oh wow.  - Buttoned her back up last night and took another picture for the heck of it.  - How can I tell if this is the original engine? Does the serial number of the engine need to match up with the VIN number?
 
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Yes, serial number on the engine shall match up with the VIN. When in doubt, always write down the engine number and the VIN number and approach a friendly stealershiip counterperson for help. He shall be able to cross-reference or tell you if yours is the original engine. If this is so, congrats! That is what I expect to see off of any so-called "sludger" Toyotas served with conservative OCI scheme. You may run 2 runs of AutoRx and keep the rest 2 for your friends or use it in your AT trannie.
 

Thermactor

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Well, the number on the engine is 5112736 and the vin number is 4T1BF12B4TU083498. Heh, guess it's as original as Rocky 6.
 
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My Lexus was the same way. Got some pix on this forum (about 6 months ago). WAS using Amsoil for over 10K drains.. I still do not get the sludge issue? It is so small unless people go 4 years on dino. Some tips, clean the EGR, IVAC and TB. The TB WILL be caked with junk. Also be sure to changed the PVC about every 15K miles. The EGR sys is WAY overactive on this car. It plugs up the EGR and TB etc becuase of this. Oh, the valve cover seals on this engine model suck. They all leak in due time; these engines sooner then others.
 
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If that is the original engine and never been cleaned, all I can say is WOW, fantastic, awesome, and many other nice words. I am impressed. Good find. [Smile]
 
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Thermactor, looks like you got a great deal. Are you going to check with a dealer and see if you can find out any info on this car? I imagine it's in the Toyota Service Database if the engine was replaced.
 

Thermactor

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quote:
Originally posted by mburnickas: My Lexus was the same way. Got some pix on this forum (about 6 months ago). WAS using Amsoil for over 10K drains.. I still do not get the sludge issue? It is so small unless people go 4 years on dino. Some tips, clean the EGR, IVAC and TB. The TB WILL be caked with junk. Also be sure to changed the PVC about every 15K miles. The EGR sys is WAY overactive on this car. It plugs up the EGR and TB etc becuase of this. Oh, the valve cover seals on this engine model suck. They all leak in due time; these engines sooner then others.
I already spent a little time spraying the TB with carb cleaner and wiping it down, but there's a buncha crud in there. I should really get a PCV catch can. It'll probably take pulling the intake manifold off to get everything, but I don't really wanna go to all that trouble! Wah! I'll order a couple new PCV valves, a fuel filter and a few misc. gaskets from Toyota soon. What's the best way to clean the EGR valve? Spray it down with carb cleaner, maybe? Also, what is "IVAC?" Does it have something to do with the vacuum pancake valve at the end of the plenum opposite the air filter side? I already cleaned the MAF with electronics cleaner and I changed the spark plugs to NGK Iridiums. Another note, the engine really doesn't look to me like one that's been run for 185,000 miles, especially because of the richly colored dino varnish on it. It looks more like an engine that's been run 30,000 miles! For reference, here's a view of my '86.5 Supra's head. This is an engine that had about 60,000 miles on it at the time the photo was taken, and had 5,000 miles on a fill of GC:  -
quote:
Originally posted by toocrazy2yoo: Nice! Does this beast REALLY need to use the auto RX?
All right. Well, looks like I'll only be needing one Auto-RX treatment, and that's just for peace of mind and to pretty much get the engine sparkling, or at least to "unstick" the ring packs. The varnish will probably go away if I run a nicely detergent synthetic oil, but since I do a lot of short distance driving, my gut tells me that Havoline synblend 5w30 or TropArtic synblend changed every 3,000 on the dot is better than pushing Mobil 1 for 7,500 miles. What oil do you guys think is best to run on this car?
quote:
Originally posted by 427Z06: Thermactor, looks like you got a great deal. Are you going to check with a dealer and see if you can find out any info on this car? I imagine it's in the Toyota Service Database if the engine was replaced.
I'll get around to that sometime. I avoid the local dealers like the plague and try to order stuff from Champion Toyota online (25% discount on parts).
 
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Someone was very retentive about maintenance. Engine compartment is cleaner than car interiors half that age. Good find!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Thermactor:
quote:
Originally posted by 427Z06: Thermactor, looks like you got a great deal. Are you going to check with a dealer and see if you can find out any info on this car? I imagine it's in the Toyota Service Database if the engine was replaced.
I'll get around to that sometime. I avoid the local dealers like the plague and try to order stuff from Champion Toyota online (25% discount on parts).

I understand. Here's my '89 Supra at 126K miles. M1 until about 57K, then Castrol Syntec up to this point.  -  - Gotta love that bright Texas summer sun. [Big Grin] The cam covers were cleaned with some mild engine cleaner IIRC, the light varnish didn't come off. It was almost like the metal itself was stained.
 

JAG

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Original poster, that's varnish, not sludge...hard thin layer vs soft thick layer. Still good idea to use Auto-RX though. I think you got a good deal on that car.
 
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Proof that dino is more than sufficient and this sludge monster stuff is waaay overblown here.
 
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Miraculous (or not) the Supran, and the Avalon. When I think of the sludge that was inside my 2.3 litre 74 MustangII when I was in high school after 50K and that was with religious 2-3K OCI. Good job, the both of ya. And your oils.. [Patriot]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan: Proof that dino is more than sufficient and this sludge monster stuff is waaay overblown here.
How is this proof when the OP has no service history on the car and doesn't know what kind of oil was run in it prior to him purchasing it? For all we know, it might have been run on Redline with 3,000 mile OCI's.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by AndyH:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan: Proof that dino is more than sufficient and this sludge monster stuff is waaay overblown here.
How is this proof when the OP has no service history on the car and doesn't know what kind of oil was run in it prior to him purchasing it? For all we know, it might have been run on Redline with 3,000 mile OCI's.

Yeah Redline every 3k [Roll Eyes] . Most likely it wasn't dude.Most likely dino every 3 -8k like most joe blow toyota owners do.
 
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To the OP. Looks like you got a good deal. About 6 months ago I acquired a 97 camry with 5sfe (2.2. 4cyl). It also had a valve cover gasket leak. Here is what I found when I replaced the gasket:  -  - The "ball" of sludge is probably just a chunk that fell off the underside of the valve cover. I had to use a chunk of wood and a hammer to get the cover off. I am currently on my first rinse phase of ARX and before I started the ARX I did a 2 min kerosene flush. I am at 3500 miles since doing the kerosene flush, and it runs great. I think the first ARX has already helped. Kevin
 
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