Toyota Sienna oil/filter opinions

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82
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Milwaukee, WI
I just purchased a low mileage, 2001 Toyota Sienna with the supposedly "sludge producing" engine. At 27K all the service has been done by a Toyota dealer and the engine is sludge free...as far as we know. I do all my own maintenance, so it'll be getting Pennzoil or Chevron 5w-30 with a NAPA Silver filter from this point on. I don't see any major benefit of a synthetic with an OCI of 3-4K? (I could be wrong...and usually am) Is this reasonable combination of dino oil and filter? Any thoughts?
 

Roadking

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82
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Milwaukee, WI
The Toyota owners manual recommends 5w-30 This vehicle will see about 10 miles a day, short trips. From all the reading I'm doing, most suggest a 10w-30 synthetic over a 5w-30 Does a 10w-30 synthetic have better wear characteristics for heat...or why 10w-30? Then a 6 month or 6000 mile OCI BTW- Thanks for all your help.
 
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68
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NW Tn.
RoadKing, I bought my wife a new 1998 Toyota Sienna van in Nov. of 1997. I changed oil every 3,000 miles using Pennzoil 5w-30 and factory oil filters. At the 25,000 mile range I noticed sludge building up some by pulling a valve cover and inspecting. So in spite of the 3,000 mile oil changes I WAS getting the notorious sludge this engine is famous for. I changed to Mobil 1, 10w-30 at 25,000 miles(still using the factory oil filters) and change oil at 5,000 mile intervals. I'm now at 65,000 miles and the engine appears to be clean and sludge free. This is one motor that just is very sludge suseptible and the synthetics seem to be able to beat the heat that conventional oils won't do in this particular engine. I thought my 3,000 mile changes with dino was "overkill" and learned the hard way that this is not the case. My van has never towed anything, no real heavy loads, and 95% hwy. miles(I live in the country, hardly any city driving), and not driven hard by any standards. Hope this helps you in your decision as to what oil to use but from my own personal experience you got to go the synthetic route.
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by Roadking: The Toyota owners manual recommends 5w-30 This vehicle will see about 10 miles a day, short trips. From all the reading I'm doing, most suggest a 10w-30 synthetic over a 5w-30 Does a 10w-30 synthetic have better wear characteristics for heat...or why 10w-30? Then a 6 month or 6000 mile OCI BTW- Thanks for all your help.
Recommend you experiment around a bit with various syns until you find one that feels best to you. I've got 35k miles on my 1MZ equipped '03 Camry, and so far, I've tried M1 in 0w-30, 5w-30 and 10w-30, Royal Purple 10w-30, Amsoil 5w-30 (ASL version), and German Castrol 0w-30. The one I've liked best so far is the Amsoil, which produced very smooth, easy revving, quiet performance. So far, the GC seems to produce a louder and harsher sounding engine at higher rpms. Mobil products all seem to work fine, with a bit more noise from the 0w and 5w versions. Coincidentally, I had my front head cover off at 25k to replace its seal (it had started leaking when new BEFORE I started using syns, so not a syn leak...). At 25k (having started syn at 2k), in hot climate, with fairly heavy footed driving, the engine was factory spotless. Zero sludge, zero varnish. This is otherwise a fantastic engine. It's smooth, quiet, and especially in the VVT-i version (which sadly you don't have) is very potent. But it's also perhaps the best real-world proof that there is a difference between the performance of good synthetics and dino oil. Dino may be 110% fine for many cars, but it's not for this one. Please use whatever your conscience dictates, my respectful recommendation is that the old saw about "pennywise and poundfoolish" applies to the dino/syn choice in this instance.
 
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1,013
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Colorado
We had a 99 ES300 with the V6. I used Mobil 1 5W30 and at the 70,000 mile mark, we removed the valve cover and it was very clean inside. This was with 5,000 mile oil changes and Toyota OEM filters. YMMV.
 
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11,284
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Spring HIll
First off, change your PCV every 10K max. I wouldn't push any dino beyond 2,500 miles in this application...they just break down too quickly. Using a good PAO synthetic such as M1, GC, or Amsoil will allow you to go 5K between changes (or more) and not worry about sludge. Just about any oil filter will work just fine for a 5K run. I owned one of these, they do require more care than a regular engine... Good luck!
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Your engine is a pre-anti-sludge model, and therefore is susceptible. No guarantee it will sludge (in fact, it probably won't), but it's one of the generation that is vulnerable. Let the syn/dino debate rage on, but this is one place to go syn. One of the characteristics of PAO syns is that they resist oxidizing/burning at temps substantially beyond what dino can tolerate. One of the key contributors to sludge is high heat in the heads of these engines causing them to burn up less resistant oil. Pull a Toyota service guy aside and they'll tell you that the best way to avoid sludge is to change reasonably and use synthetic oil. Dino looks like it's fine for many less taxing applications, but here, you're taking a chance. Any reasonably good filter should do fine for you.
 

Roadking

Thread starter
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82
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Milwaukee, WI
Thanks for the advice everybody. I decided I'll go with the M1 5w-30, NAPA (Wix) filters and the 6K or 6 month OCI. What might be the telltale sign of sludge? Is the color or texture of the drain oil any indication? Would an oil analysis be of any help in diagnosing sludge?
 
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1,462
Location
MD
I have a 02 Sienna with close to 20K on it.I've experimented with synthetics and dino with this motor.Mine burns M1 faster then dino which does get exspensive if you top off with synthetics. I yanked off the PCV for the first time yesterday for the first time and it was somewhat oiled/gummed up.I had a replacement but elected to clean up the original which cleaned up really nicely.These Toyota V6's need attention in the PCV system(not just the valve)regardless of what oil is used.Dino seems to work fine as long as you don't push the OCI. It's a really nice engine in a nice van. [Cheers!]
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by Alan: I have a 02 Sienna with close to 20K on it.I've experimented with synthetics and dino with this motor.Mine burns M1 faster then dino which does get exspensive if you top off with synthetics. I yanked off the PCV for the first time yesterday for the first time and it was somewhat oiled/gummed up.I had a replacement but elected to clean up the original which cleaned up really nicely.These Toyota V6's need attention in the PCV system(not just the valve)regardless of what oil is used.Dino seems to work fine as long as you don't push the OCI. It's a really nice engine in a nice van. [Cheers!]
Alan: With all due respect, I'd urge some caution here. You were lucky. Not all of the 1MZs sludged, even if slightly abused. Others are very prone. And the symptoms may not be noticeable until the sludge is well developed. Have you seen inside yours? Both a gunky PCV and oil use are indicators that you may have the problem, in early stages. Also, did you try 10w-30 M1? It's fine in the 1MZ and seems to evaporate less. When I first asked about this issue, my dealer service manager, usually a very talkative guy, got nervous and didn't want to discuss it. I pushed him, and he offered that the single best way to avoid the sludge was to use synthetic oil. This certainly isn't meant as a flaming, but I see your advice as being a bit like you telling your kid to go ahead and smoke because you haven't been diagnosed with lung cancer yet (as you hack a bit between syllables). You've been lucky so far, and I hope you stay that way. The best way to beat the odds, though, is to use synthetics. You're absolutely right though; it's a nice engine in a nice car. [Cheers!] [ May 18, 2004, 08:20 AM: Message edited by: ekpolk ]
 
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1,462
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MD
None taken [Cheers!] I still stand by my acessment as the PCV had some oil in it however it was an extremly small amount,the ball still moved freely.I've used Mobil 1 5W30 for 17K of the 20K on my van.I trust it's clean under the cover but you never know [I dont know] . I really don't think the engine is so bad as far as killing oil as long as its "kept up".The problem is most soccer moms really don't know nor want to about car maintainance.The PCV valve(system)is often an overlooked but extremly important part in an modern engine,especially one like this one [Duh!] . I am thinking of going to 10W30 in either a dino or synth.
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
You're absolutely right that poor maintenance is a huge aggravator of this problem. There was, however, an inherent problem with both the 1MZ V-6 and the 5S-FE I-4. The 5S is gone from production, but the 1MZ actually received an design update to quell the problem. The notable revisions were a change to coolant flow in the heads and improved crankcase ventilation. The changes came in for either the 02 or 03 model years, I forget which. Probably the easiest way to pin down is to run a search for Toyota's extended sludge clean-up policy. It ends with the MY where the changes went into effect. With this in mind, use what your conscience dictates, and good luck! [Cheers!]
 
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1,462
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MD
When I went to go purchase the PCV from the dealer they asked which month in 02 it was made in.Counter guy said that there was 3 PCV's made for that model year. [I dont know]
 
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68
Location
NW Tn.
Alan, Your statement that "Dino works fine as long as you don't push the OCI" simply doesn't hold water with me! Pls. read my above post (#5) about my sludging experience with Dino oil. I never went beyond 3,000 miles between changes, new air and PCV filters every 10,000 miles, and I still got the sludge build-up. I'm as anal about auto maintenance as most every one here at BITOG so pls. don't try the "soccer mom" lack of maintenance in my case. If you think Dino is okay to use in the Sienna then why are you using synthetic? I think you're doing a dis-service to other Sienna owners when you make a misleading statement that using Dino is A-Okay. My personal first-hand experience tells otherwise. You may have the "improved" motor that Toyota re-engineered to help avoid the sludging problem. ALL 1998 through 2001 models AND PART YEAR 2002 Siennas had the motors that sludge easily. You may have one of those that had the improved modifications made. Not trying to flame you or start a "word war" but I feel so strongly about the sludging I got even though I was using a 3,000 mile OCI which should have been more than adequate but wasn't for this motor. I just don't want someone to follow your advice on using a Dino oil and then develope a major sludging problem.
 
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1,462
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MD
There are a lot of 1998 to 2003 Sienna's out there.My sister-in-law has one(98)with 80K I belive,no sludge.That's with 3k OCI's with Castrol GTX.I still belive it's perfectly viable to use dino in this application. There was a UOA done with with a Toyota V6 with Pennzoil.The oil was totally shot by 2400 miles.There also was mention of a dealer using Pennzoil that had sludge problems where one that used Castrol GTX experienced none.Maybe it's the oil you used?
 

Roadking

Thread starter
Messages
82
Location
Milwaukee, WI
So if I understanding this correctly: Religious maintenance OCI of 6 months or 6K w/synthetic (for summer driving, usually short trips under 10 miles a day-grocery getter/kid hauler) M1 10w-30 would be a better choice then M1 5w-30 in this application? Winter stay with the M1 10w-30? Thanks again for the advice!
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by slider:
Alan: Again, you're right that oil is a factor, but it's not the primary problem. I seriously doubt Toyota would have redesigned or revised coolant flow in the heads or redone the CCV system if the problem was traceable to oil only. [/QB][/QUOTE] I'm not saying you're wrong, but where's the objective evidence that coolant passages were ever changed, one way or the other? I've seen lots of speculation about that, based upon the comments of an media/newspaper mechanic but no hard evidence. The things that were changed as far as I can tell was the holes in the baffle in the valve cover were made larger so the engine can breath better if there is sludge buildup. And the latest 3.3L version has an extra 1/2 qt. for the sump capacity. For the record, on my 98, I've never even had a hint of the PCV valve plugging up (yes, I inspect it regularly) and I do 10K changes with Redline 5W-30 with no apparent sludge whatsoever under the valve cover. [/QB][/QUOTE] ============================================ With an oil this resistant to oxidation (the POE based RL), you're very unlikely to have a problem. I've discussed this issue a couple of times with the service people, and management, at my local dealer. I used to have an '01 Highlander, which had a sludge prone V-6. This is when I first became concerned. I jettisoned this vehicle after a years and a half when I'd already logged 25k miles on a 3yr/36k lease. A year later, I was buying again (after my first Camry died in a wreck), and wanting a V-6, I dug into the sludge thing hard. The dealership svc manager briefed me on the changes, which he indicated included the cooling passages. In retrospect, I wasn't too critical of the info, since the end of the declared "window" coincided with the mods to the engine, whatever they were. Also, this is a truly first-class dealer that doesn't play games with customers. In short, I trust 'em. My real point, though, was that Toyota's changing the engine was an admission that the engine itself did have a problem. I suppose it's possible they were blowing smoke at me, but I tend not to think so. Not only am I a repeat customer (who they have targeted for future sales...), but a relative of mine is in dealership management too. I'm not exactly a "store groupie" but they know me down there. Anyway, even if all they did was modify the CC breathing, that still indicates that there was a problem with this design. [ May 19, 2004, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: ekpolk ]
 
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1,462
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MD
I read there were some minor changes in the spring of 02.I saw this in a Toyota paper regarding the "sludge" issue.
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by Alan: I read there were some minor changes in the spring of 02.I saw this in a Toyota paper regarding the "sludge" issue.
Toyota's public corporate pronouncements on the topic have all been pretty vague and are designed to minimize the significance of the problem. "Officially," they are not even allowed to use the term "sludge". They are supposed to refer to the problem as "oil gelling". I find this pretty amusing, having seen an afflicted engine with its covers off, up close. "Gel" conjures an almost clean image; we eat jello and some of us actually put gel in our hair (not me, mine's so short it would just stick to my head...). I give Toyota a thumbs up for facing up to the problem and establishing the clean-up policy, but they need to muzzle their spinmeisters. The crap inside an afflicted engine doesn't match my concept of "gel" at all! [Cheers!]
 
Messages
9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by Alan: There are a lot of 1998 to 2003 Sienna's out there.My sister-in-law has one(98)with 80K I belive,no sludge.That's with 3k OCI's with Castrol GTX.I still belive it's perfectly viable to use dino in this application. There was a UOA done with with a Toyota V6 with Pennzoil.The oil was totally shot by 2400 miles.There also was mention of a dealer using Pennzoil that had sludge problems where one that used Castrol GTX experienced none.Maybe it's the oil you used?
Alan: Again, you're right that oil is a factor, but it's not the primary problem. I seriously doubt Toyota would have redesigned or revised coolant flow in the heads or redone the CCV system if the problem was traceable to oil only.
 
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