Toyota V6 Sludge Prevention/Maintenance

Messages
1
Location
St. Paul
New to this site but am amazed at the amount and variety of information. My 1998 Sienna has 74,000 uneventful miles on the infamous V6 prone to "sludge" occurence. At this point, I have been changing the oil every 4,000 - 5,000 miles (never felt comfortable with 7,500 mile interval) using Valvoline All Climate 5W-30 with Toyota's OEM filter. I hope to get 200,000+ miles from our van. Looks like the interval should be dropped to 3,000 to be safe. I am interested in any additional changes or items BITOG members would recommend to help me have the greatest chance of avoiding a Toyota warranty discussion due to "sludge" and make it to 200,000+ miles (e.g. treatment with Auto Rx, changing oil brands, etc.). Hopefully this horse has not been beaten to death in earlier posts. Thanks!
 
Messages
9
Location
New Jersey
Although my Toyota is a Highlander, this vehicle shares the same engine as your Sienna. At 4K oil changes I am very pleased with the results of using the non-equilon Havoline 5W30. My impression from those on this board is to stay away from Valvoline. Oil of preference appears to be Mobil 1, Chevron Supreme, non-equilon Havoline and Pennzoil. Good Luck
 
Messages
8,467
Location
Colorado
Apparently people who change their oil often enough do not have the sludge problems with the Totyota engines that are supposed to be sludge producing engines. It apparently does not matter what oil you are using (Valvoline, Castrol, Quaker State, Pennzoil, whatever). Auto-RX may also help to prevent problems. According to what I have been able to find out, synthetic oil is no solution to the problem. An engine can break down the synthetic oil the same as a conventional oil. Safest thing to do is to change oil often (every 3000 miles/three months) if you have a potential sludge producing engine.
 
Messages
28
Location
Tennessee
This issue has been discussed at length here over the past two weeks. Because I also have a sludge prone Toyota engine, I have been following the posts. I have also spent a lot of time at other boards researching the issue. For what it is worth, these are my thoughts and conclusions. 1. The sludge problem is NOT caused by Toyota owners who fail to change their oil frequently enough. Sludge is a huge problem in Toyotas. You do not hear of similar problems in other makes. To buy this argument put out by Toyota, you would have to conclude that Toyota owners, and only Toyota owners, are too stupid to change their oil on a regular basis. The general concensus among experts is that the sludging is caused by engine design. 2. Toyota has offered to check engines free for sludge. Many people complain that it is a cursory check and ends up with a diagnosis that everything is OK. If you want a real check, they will do it for about $125. 3. Toyota has promised that it will fix sludge related problems for 8 years, regardless of mileage. Many people complain that problems that are obviously sludge related are something else and therefore the customer ends up paying thousands for the repair. They appear to be taking a real hard line with the consumers. 4. If you think you may have a problem, you will have to solve it. As for me, I am going to pay an independant shop (not Toyota) to check for sludge. If there is some, then I will get it fixed. The method will depend on how bad the problem is. 5. I have used regular dino oil with 5,000 mile changes. I was never comfortable with their recommendation of 7,500 miles. I am switching to Mobil 1 with a Wix (or NAPA Gold) filter and will be changing it every 4,000 miles. There are two comments I read that impressed me the most. First, it is stupid to spend $20,000+ on a nice car and then try to save a few bucks by getting cheap oil and filters. Second, if a customer sells his Toyota because it has sludge, then Toyota has lost that customer probably forever. But the person who buys the sludge mobile will probably never buy another Toyota. And, they will tell all their friends. Toyota will be better off fixing the problems than to continue denying them.
 
Messages
950
Location
Loveland, Ohio
I read that Toyota made a change to increase engine temperatures for improved emissions and this led to temperatures too high for the oil. (Like 265 F head temperatures and/or localized high temperatures) Think I read that these hot spots increased the liklihood of sludge. I do not understand the comment that synthetics are not the cure because I thought they could tolerate the higher temperatures much better then reg oils and were unlikely to develop sludge. If I had a Toyota I would definitely put in synthetic........my $0.02 worth. John
 
Messages
1,462
Location
MD
I have a an 02 Sienna.Around 16K.A big thing I don' see mentioned a lot is the importance of keeping up with the PCV system. Changing the valve and cleaning the system is important.When it gets clogged it prevents the crankcase from "breathing" therefore creating oil nitration. [Big Grin] 3K oil changes with a decent oil can go a long way.
 
Messages
8,467
Location
Colorado
If Toyota does have a sludge problem and if they do not correct it, this could be the beginning of the decline of Toyota. Nobody is going to spend big bucks on a car/truck and have problems like this. Toyota has an almost unbelievable quality image. If they are willing to sacrifice that image to save a few bucks, they will probably be sorry later.
 
Messages
1,006
Location
Colorado
A buddy of mine is a Toyota tech. From what he has said over and over, as long as the car was maintained with oil changes, he said he has never seen a Toyota come in with a sludge problem. One guy came in with 25,000 miles and no oil changes; another had close to 15,000 miles, again, no oil change receipts. He advises oil and filter changes at least every 5,000 miles for normal and every 3,000 miles for severe. My wife drives 25 miles each way (all Interstate), so I change her 99 ES300 oil/filter every 5,000 miles.
 
Messages
2,569
Location
College Dorm...
quote:
Originally posted by Curtis Newton: A buddy of mine is a Toyota tech. From what he has said over and over, as long as the car was maintained with oil changes, he said he has never seen a Toyota come in with a sludge problem.
I believe this as well...sure, you'll have a good amount of deposits (over time) from the high-heat areas in the head, but if changed on a 3,000-5,000 basis with a good oil, you'll be fine...
 
Messages
73
Location
East Texas
[QUOTE] One guy came in with 25,000 miles and no oil changes; another had close to 15,000 miles, again, no oil change receipts. Who's to say those guys never had their oil changed within that 25k or 15k miles? If not having receipts proves that their oil had never been changed within that period, then there are probably a lot of us who couldn't prove it either. I don't usually keep my receipts for the last 25k miles, but I see now that I should. Ronnie
 
Messages
34,063
Location
Southern NJ
Frequent oil changes with dino no more then 3k miles and or run a good synthetic oil such as M1, Amsoil, Redline or GC and use a 3oz maintenance dose of AutoRx. That is what I do. [Smile]
 
Messages
3,216
Location
BC, Canada
That is interesting. Does the Auto RX help the cleaning abilities of synthetics as well as conventional engine oils? [ November 06, 2003, 11:29 PM: Message edited by: userfriendly ]
 
Messages
9,448
Location
USA
It has been preety well hashed out that the problem is with the OCI recomendation. Their are only two engines that are considered sludge monsters and only in two application from 1999-2001 if I remember correctly. THe toyota engines are too hard on cheap thin 5W30 to go 5000-7500 miles between oil changes. It is also true that things like gear driven cams and ballances shafts, cam buckets, increased head temps, oil pooling all work agaisnt the oil. Toyota definately has to take some heat for the idiot like oil change interval with chaep 5W30. I also think though that the whole "Toyota sludge incident" is being blown way out of proportion. Compared to all the problems that Dodge and General Motors have this is incrediable mild by comparsion! I challange anyone here to look at the TSB's put out by the General, DiamlerChrysler, and Ford then come talk about Toyota!! Even with this slight tarnish mark Toyota is still tha gold standard in the both industry and consumer rateings for durability, build quality, consumer satifation........ In some testing buy Terry Dyson he was able to make a cheap oil hold up in a so called sludge monster for 15,000 miles by adding the right additives. Everything is not always as clear cut and black and white as we might like it to be! We also have all the work that BOb did with Toyota to get to the bottom of the problem!
 
Messages
6
Location
Zanesville, Ohio
I'd just add, since it hasn't been mentioned, that Toyota undid their problem, I think in 2002, by eliminating the 4 cylinder engine in question, and redesigning the 6. I gather that, even tho the Sienna and V6 Camry have the same engine, the Sienna is more prone to sludging. (I briefly owned a Sienna that had had the valve stem job at 62k miles.) Why do you think? Pulling more weight?
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,990
Location
Oakville, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by dswift743: I'd just add, since it hasn't been mentioned, that Toyota undid their problem, I think in 2002, by eliminating the 4 cylinder engine in question, and redesigning the 6. I gather that, even tho the Sienna and V6 Camry have the same engine, the Sienna is more prone to sludging. (I briefly owned a Sienna that had had the valve stem job at 62k miles.) Why do you think? Pulling more weight?
It's also possible that it's engine runs hotter due to the way it's located in a minivan with a shorter nose, versus how it's located in the Camry. I bet most minivan engines have much hotter engine bays, which in turn probably raises the oil temps a bit more compared to the same engine in a car with a long hood on it.
 
Messages
246
Location
Atlanta, GA
Do an oil analysis, use blackstone with the Dyson Labs interpretation, and Terry Dyson will give you all the secrets on keeping this engine healthy. I own a 99 Avalon. Currently my path for keeping this car healthy is Redline 5w30 Change PVC valve every 10K (or at least check every oil change) Run premium gas
 

TC

Messages
1,644
Location
California
Frequent interval oil changes would clearly make sense for these engines, although buried somewhere in these forums is a comment by a guy who's relative swears he changed his Toyota's Quaker State every 4,000 miles, and yet still ended up with serious sludge build-up near 100K miles, something like that. I've always had a question about "sludge" engines such as these. Obviously used oil analysis could quantifiably answer any questions regarding sludge presence. But using the NASA high-tech, state-of-the-art "visual" test (simply looking at valvetrain through the oil filler cap), can one readily tell if there's a sludge problem? Not trying to throw out a dumb question here. To put it another way, have there been any verified Toyota sludge cases in which sludge had built up in the crankcase or elsewhere within the engine, yet was NOT readily visible through the oil cap? It's pretty crude, but would this method suffice for most people (including non-Toyota owners) in answering the "Any sludge in my engine?" question..??? Chalk it up to luck and good maintenance, I'd assume, but none of my street or track cars has ever had a hint of sludge visible, so "sludge" = "Greek" to me. [ November 07, 2003, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: TC ]
 
Messages
6
Location
Zanesville, Ohio
TC brings up an interesting point for me. I can't see my valve train under my oil cap, but I can see a metal plate coated with what looks like sludge. That's why I sent my '98 Camry in to the dealer to have the valve cover pulled, but I'm told that the engine had "absolutely no sludge." They explained that vapors rose and condensed under the oil cap and that's how my car (which I've just purchased) has accumulated its black buildup. Sound about right? Do others have this? Doug
 
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