TV news story about sluged motors

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Mar 24, 2004
Montgomery, NY
Tonight CBS2NewYork had a story on the 11pm news about sludged motors. It started with video tape of a mechanic scraping sludge from the internals of a disassembled motor. It looked like it was 1/4" thick. They didn't say what motor it was. The mechanic said he sees more and more motors like that and he blamed it on poor engine designs and excessive heat. A representative for the automotive industry blamed it on vehicle owners lack of maintenence. Another mechanic said owners should follow the more severe service maintenence guide and use the recommended oils but in certain motors there could still be a problem. CBS stated that SAAB, VW and Toyota had offered extended warranties on vehicles with problem motors. A woman who was interviewed showed a receipt for $3800 for engine repairs to her minivan that she said she had babied since new. She had probably gone to CBS after she had to foot the bill. It ended by saying that various agencies that had received complaints about sludge motors were going to the NHTSB to recall a Chrysler motor that was the source of many complaints. Chrysler's response was that sludge was not a big problem. I'm glad I don't have a sludge motor. Forgot to add that the mechanic said to keep all maintenence receipts as they would be needed if a problem should arise.
I believe a lot of folks heard about the famous consumer reports taxi cab study of 10 years ago and think that it can apply to their driving.

Oil is cheap, time isn't, so people don't take the time to change it.
In addition to the myraid of things you have to look for; NOT getting a motor prone to sludging is JUST another thing one has to pay attention. I got a sludge monster in a 1985 Toyota Camry, so truly, the problem has been around for a long time. OCI's were 2-3k with Castrol GTX at the time. Brand wise with Toyota not footing the bill for the corrective procedures really made me think real hard about getting another Toyota product. However the first sentence is the key. This of course applies to ANY OEM.

So the key is to AVOID (like the plague) motors that even HINT at sludge problems. So for example, I have another Toyota model: (have had 5, still have two) Landcruisers. I have done (694,000 miles) and continue to do 15,000 mile OCI's with Mobil One 5w30. NO problems at all. Now a Toyota Sienna, which is a known sludge monster? AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE! Epecially if you will foot the bill in the case of sludging.
Every sludged motor at my dealer (Volvo) is as far as I can see is due to lack of oil changes by the owner. The techs are not happy with the 7.5K oil They would like to see the OCI's go back to 5K.
The worst motors I've seen have been owners that are running their dino oil over 10K. The problem is Volvo recommends 10K oil changes for cars that see mostly highway driving. And we know how cheap people can be. They know more about car maintenance than the manufacture could ever know.
The normal OCI is 7.5K and 5K for severe service.
The August issue of Consumer Reports wrote about the sludging issue. They list the following engines as prone to sludge:

1.8L 4 turbo 1997-2004 A4, Passat

2.7L V6 1998-2002 Concord, Sebring, Intrepid, Stratus

3.0L V6 1997-2001 ES300, Camry, Avalon, Sienna, 1999-2001 RX300, Camry Solara, 2001 Highlander

2.2L 4 1997-2001 Camry, Celica, 1999-2001 Camry Solara

2.0L 4 turbo 2000-2002 9-3 hatchback, 2000-2003 9-3 convertible
2.3L 4 turbo 1999-2003 Saab 9-5, 1999 9-3 Viggen
There is another thing slowing up the process of solving the problem. If the factory fixed the problem the way they know how, by changing the design of parts they would be forced to both repair a lot of vehicles, maintenance or not, and have to re-certify. That is the engineer's solution, but the bean counters are in charge. So, it's time to get out the band-aids and fix only the squeaky wheels.
"That is the engineer's solution, but the bean counters are in charge. So, it's time to get out the band-aids and fix only the squeaky wheels."

Quality costs. The bean counters point out the costs, the management decides what course to take.
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