Sounded Like a Diesel

Dec 5, 2003
New England, USA
Odd one here... What failure mode, probably oil related, could cause a modern gasoline engine to mimic a light diesel sound?

I was getting fuel a few nights ago, when I heard what I thought was a small, older diesel vehicle pulling up. It sounded very similar to my Diesel Defender, but a bit less harsh. I was surprised to see a relatively recent Toyota Venza pull up to the pumps nearest the door and sit there while the passenger got out and purchased and then, after struggling to open the hood, poured in 3 quarts of whatever oil they were able to buy.

Here is what baffles me a bit; this engine sounded just like an older diesel with the regular, rhythmic, clattery, hollow sound of an older, light duty diesel. It did not sound like rod or main bearing knocks or typical piston slap. There was a discernable valve clatter though, like a solid lifter engine, but it didn't sound like it was destroying itself (while clearly it was).

Assuming this was oil related, what do folks think the actual failure mode was? All lifters uniformly collapsed? All bores equally worn due to long running low on oil, all pistons rocking the same?
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Newer Venza? That would be Toyota's D4S dual direct injection system. At idle they will turn on port injection to do a cleaning, and it does sound close to a diesel.

Mine is most noticeable at the drive through at the bank that's covered. Pretty darn noisy.

Now, why this guy added 3 quarts of oil, not sure, especially if it was a newer vehicle. Some people don't understand why all of a sudden their engine became noisy and freak out. Dunno.