Sludged up Lexus RX300

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Been doing the oil changes on a family member's '01 RX300 with the V6 that is notorius for sludging up. When you take the oil fill cap off and stick your finger in there... you get nothing bug GRIT, and chunks of blk stuff on your finger. That can't be good. I just put mobil 1 in for the 2nd or 3rd time with a Pure1. Trying to de-sludge this thing safely. the Oil that came out had 5K on it and was Blacker than midnight. and that's M1 with a P1!!! they were previously taking it "lexus" to get Oil changes done.... they were using cheap cheap filters... some white quaker state filter I think. that's scary.... and not right. you should be getting TOYOTA/Lexus filters at the dealer!!!
 
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Perhaps I can offer a little hope. . . I've owned both an 01 Highlander V-6 (essentially the same vehicle as that RX, different skin and stretched WB), and an 03 V-6 Camry, both powered by the 1MZ-FE engine (though only the Highlander was in the sludge time window). Once in a rare while, Toyota does something truly and inexplicably stupid. With the 1MZ, in an apparent attempt to cut down valve train noise, they placed a thin rubbery coating atop the valve cover baffle (the thing that keeps you from seeing inside the engine through the oil filler). Making matters worse, the coating is black! Many, many owners have legitimately and honestly mistaken this coating for a bad case of sludge. I've read descriptions of some using a knife or screwdriver to actually scrape it off! I "got into it" on ToyotaNation a few years ago with a guy who accused me of halucinating this, so I took pics, and posted. Below is the oil filler on my Camry (the Highlander looked exactly the same on the day I bought it). The Camry was four months old when this photo was taken, and it looked the same the day I got it. Does this look like what you're seeing? If so, you might not have the problem at all. [Cheers!]  -
 

vad

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Even though the coating can confuse some, If you have even a remote idea what to look for (dry hard chunks and muddy gooey substance) it's just impossilbe to confuse that coating for sludge! I'm sure that the topic starter does know what sludge is.
 
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My Previous toyota tacoma had this baffle. My current 1GRFE fills right over the timing chain and I get to see moving parts once again! I have heard of lots of people mistaking the baffle for slydge.. and of course this is a low flow high condensation area so anyonje running a finger over it will get some "grit" The price we pay for consumer complaints about valve train noise are these engineering solutions.
 

Toy4x4runner

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Ok... so we get a grit trap instead of having valve noise. Now I know why I don't buy Lexus or new(er) toyotas. lol. Nothing like 80's Toyotas!! they're "real". Good to know about the valve cover baffle design... I'll just keep chaning the oil with M1 and P1 at 5K/6month intervals. it's got 84K right now.. she wants to hit 150K with it and get a new/another car.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by vad: Even though the coating can confuse some, If you have even a remote idea what to look for (dry hard chunks and muddy gooey substance) it's just impossilbe to confuse that coating for sludge! I'm sure that the topic starter does know what sludge is.
You would think so. OTOH, the guy who was arguing with me about this was, of all things, a tech at a Toyota dealership. Read this ToyotaNation thread. The fun really gets going on the second page. Stay with it until at least the third page, on which the Toyota tech makes "the discovery." At least he was man enough to admit he had been wrong. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. [Roll Eyes] [Cheers!]
 
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I doubt that Lexus uses the same engine that was responsible for earlier "sluddging issues" *failure by neglegent owners to change THEIR oil at required intervals}. I do believe it was a smaller engine.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by H2GURU: I doubt that Lexus uses the same engine that was responsible for earlier "sluddging issues" *failure by neglegent owners to change THEIR oil at required intervals}. I do believe it was a smaller engine.
Respectfully, that's incorrect. There were two Toyota/Lexus engines afflicted by the sludge plague: the 5S-FE 2.2L 4cyl and the 1MZ-FE 3.0L V-6. The 1MZ appeared in multiple Toyota and Lexus models. On the Lexus side, the ES-300 and the RX-300 (the vehicle in question in this thread) had the same 1MZ as the Toyota models made at the same time. During its production run, the 1MZ was upgraded into a variable valve timing version (VVT-i as Toyota/Lex calls it). The Lexi got VVT-i first, but it was still essentially the same engine. Finally, the RX-300 is on Toyota's list of afflicted vehicles.
 

Toy4x4runner

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Yup, ekpolk is correct. I've researched the "sludge" motor(s) and the RX300 is in that catagory. the grit I get on my fingers is deffinately not a coating. it's all different sizes and looks like old carbon build up. My oil fill hole looks different than the one picutred. I can see bare metal and junk all over it. Either way, car runs good, doesn't leak, and the car is in better shape now with 84K than it was a couple years ago with 60K when the dealer was always touching it. I'm gonna flush the p/s system this weekend on it... it's turning brown. the dealer tries to sell her a **** wash wax package and tires but won't suggest a p/s flush... idiots. They outa teach dem leSXus Meknaiks how 2 poot air boxes bak togetheir! lol. and not roll the car around w/out CV's b/c it'll ruin them spinny things called bearings! Lexus of Tampa bay has the worst service dept EVER. One time she came home and they forgot to put the oil fill cap back on, it was laying in the cowl! EVERYTIME they touch that RX it comes back with problems. They need to stop spending big bux on fancy buildings and red carpet in the lobby and train them there mekanicks!
 
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T4x4: I wonder if your baffle got scraped bare by one of the helpful brainiacs at your local dealership. I've seen that story repeated a couple times -- "helpful" tech or paniced owner sees the baffle coating, assumes horrible case of sludge, and proceeds to scrape it clean. Yeah, I know that's silly, as if clearing two square inches would make a difference if you did have a sludged engine, but some have done it. FWIW, I've used M1 ATF in both our Toyota and Infiniti PS systems. It seems to resist browning considerably longer than the mineral based stuff. I use the "repeated extraction and refill" method. After sucking out the reservoir, refilling, then cycling the system, and repeating 5-6 times, the fluid gets and stays cherry red. Be careful of disconnected hose methods -- the PS system generates some pretty substantial pressures. You can easily make a huge mess, damage the system, or possibly injure yourself in the process. [Cheers!]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by brucelee: If it were me, I would simply run Mobil 1 with an OCI every 5K miles. I would also use the M1 filter.
Which, by the way, is exactly what my Toyota dealership service manager recommended when I pressed him on the point. I found out about the developing sludge story several months after I took delivery of the 01 Highlander, and started pushing them for details. Thankfully, the service dept at our Pensacola dealership is far better than the Lexus place that T4x4 describes.
 

Toy4x4runner

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When the front bearings both went out the day after we picked it up from the dealer having it a week for that trans/oil leak they started going out on I75 on our way to Tallahassee. Tally doesn't have a Lexus dealer so we stopped at a Toyota dealer. They pulled it in and said we were lucky the wheels were still on the car. They even blamed it on lexus of Tampa bay.... (rolling aroud w/out CV's and or pounding them in). They took us out in the garage and showed us the slop in the wheel... about 3/4". wheels were about to fall off. That toyota dealership did excellent work, great people and said we could take it to a yota dealer since we had so many problems with our Local tampa lexus dealer. Perfect example on how it can be so bad or so good of a dealership experience. I've used M1 filters and think they're overpriced. I like PureOnes better... and half the price:) i'm not gonna mess with much more.. I just wanted to see what the deal with the sludging is.. and now I learned about that valve cover coating or whatever... for noise muffling.
 
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