Toyota 5S-FE questions

Messages
42
Location
CA, USA
Our Toyota has done 160,000 miles and is a US 1993 model with the 5S-FE 2.2L 4cyl. I've read here that the 1997 model + 5S-FE is prone to sludge. Our car smokes on startup, and I thing that's due to seals rather than impeding doom since it's done it for 60K miles or so now. Smog checks are always very clean with the car up to temp. It drives well. The car gets Castrol GTX 10W-30 (started with SJ when new, now SL formulation) every 3,000 to 4,000 miles. It might need 0.5 to 0.8 or so qts between drains, and I attriibute this to the cold startup smoke and a leaking valve cover gasket as well, so no dramatic oil use. My question: I've noticed yellow varnish when I look down the oil filler opening on the valve cover. It's been there forever. Given the mileage and maintenance schedule and low oil use etc., is this cause for worry? Should I leave well enough alone? My guess is that this motor will easily see 200K at this rate -- so I'm inclined to think "why worry?" Did I miss something though? *Should* I worry? Thanks!
 

Rallyfan

Thread starter
Messages
42
Location
CA, USA
I should add this question: Are the early 5S-FE motors also prone to sludge, or is it just later motors? Is 1997 mentioned simply because that's what year Toyota decided to start claims at, or is it actually the first year motors developed issues? Is my '93 not prone? Thanks again!
 
Messages
323
Location
California
Well I have a 5sfe 00'. From what I was told from my friend "A toyota master mechanic" they went cheap on the valve seals, and it usually starts smoking around 80K. I asked him about the sludge problems, and he said that there is more problems with the 6 than the 4's. The sludge is due to the heat buildup between the head and intake manifold for the 6, but he said with the 4 just to change the oil every 3K and it should be fine. Didnt ask about the difference between the old and new 5sfe's. The old MR2 used the 5sfe and I havent heard of sludge issues. One thing that I did notice is that the PCV valve on the old 5sfe is angled while mine has a sharp right angle, that in itself I believe causes slight restriction for the valve to work. I still worry about my engine regardless of what my friends says though...well I just need it to work for at least 10years, I drive like 9K a year so I'm pretty sure it would make it to 90K.
 

Rallyfan

Thread starter
Messages
42
Location
CA, USA
Aha! Our car is a US MR2 MkII incidentally. OK thanks very much for the info! Unless someone else objects then, I'll just keep up my maintenance routine and not worry about the yellow inside the valve cover right under the cap... By the way, I tend to think your car will exceed the miles you mentioned with proper care.
 
Messages
323
Location
California
yea my cap isnt super clean either and I only have 27K on it. I've used synth since 15K and I change the oil every 3-5K more. When I did use dino, I changed the oil every 2500mi, the first 500 and 1000mi I changed the oil and filter.
 
Messages
3,593
Location
Outside smalltown, IL
Years ago I used to use Castol GTX in everything. Without fail, every engine I took apart that had run it long term had the yellow film/varnish you describe on the internal parts. It wasn't really sludge tho, more just a "coloring" and I don't see how it caused any harm...
 
Messages
9,448
Location
USA
I have no doubt that you will hit 200,000 miles baring a catastrophic failure. On that same note running a bottle of Auto-Rx through it for the new extended millage would not hurt either. It might just stop the oil seal leakage!
 
Messages
7
Location
Orlando
Just to add to the discussion, I have a '97 Celica GT with the 5SFE. I bought it with 42K miles on the odometer, now has 117K miles. It's had its oil changes done @ the Toyota dealer ever since every 3K miles. The dealer uses Castrol GTX. My valve seals did give way around 70-80K miles on startup...puff of blow smoke every morning. No major oil consumption. I did try Castrol HM, didn't make a difference. Ran MAXLIFE too, the engine was a bit quieter. I'm currently running Chevron Supreme 10W30. I wanna try Delo 400 10W30 but can't find it here in Orlando, only 15W40. I may try the Mobil Drive Clean Blend for the next oil change. I hope to make it to 200K mark...
 
Messages
1,533
Location
Ephraim
quote:
Originally posted by Rallyfan: *-*-*-*-*-*- My question: I've noticed yellow varnish when I look down the oil filler opening on the valve cover. It's been there forever. Given the mileage and maintenance schedule and low oil use etc., is this cause for worry? Should I leave well enough alone? My guess is that this motor will easily see 200K at this rate -- so I'm inclined to think "why worry?" *-*-*
Least it's still yellow instead of dark grungy black or dark brown. All oil's do this. ALL OILS. Mine, Bob's, ANY OIL does this. Some take longer than others. Just like Gold, it rusts... sure does, it just takes a long time. It seems to me like you kinda already want to let sleeping dogs lie. Then okay, It will more than likely get you over 250K and probably 300K. If you want to do something you can. Will it cause a problem, maybe maybe not, depends what you define as a problem.
 
Messages
6,388
Location
Washington St.
Rally, If the yellow varnish is just really a stain with no noticable thickness, don't worry. If it has some thickness, cleaning is a very good idea. If you plan on keeping this car, and it sounds like you do, a two-stage Auto-Rx cleaning of the engine oil system is highly recommended regardless of whether you have staining or varnish. From my results and the results of others, the stuff does make the engine run better and very likely live longer. While you're at it, seriously consider Auto-Rx cleaning and subsequently flushing your transmission, if automatic. Ken
 
Messages
7
Location
Orlando
quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: Vert97 15W40 will not hurt that engine any at all! I would recomend you try delo 15W40!!
Thanks for the advice. I will give it a try in the future. It should quiet down the engine a bit, eh?
 
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