Under valve cover pics

OVERKILL

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Family friend’s 2006 Toyota Matrix, 171k miles, says he usually takes it in for the $30 oil change specials at 5-6k miles since he bought it new. The windshield sticker says Penz conventional oil so I assume he gets conventional oil changes. Not bad for the mileage. It’s the original valve cover gasket wasn’t as brittle as I’ve seen before. Went ahead and replaced the tensioner o ring, and the spark plugs while I was in there.
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Fair bit of varnish, which I suspect means the ring land area doesn't look too hot, but not unexpected for the oil used and the mileage accrued. I agree with a few of the others that suggested this would be a good time to try the HPL cleaner, see if it puts a dent in it.
 
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Results are ok but it would have been significantly cleaner on well formulated synthetic.

I like seeing these kind of threads, I started out with Mobil 1, then Amsoil, jumped to Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra, now back to Mobil1

People go to a quick lube place and they think they are getting a good deal, maybe labor wise, but oil wise they are getting cheap oil. I wish I took pics, but my valvetrain looked clean as a whistle when I replaced my valve cover gaskets. I do change my PCV every 30K, so I am wondering if the valvetrain looks the way it looks because of:

Cheap Oil
Driving Conditions
Not changing PCV

Better question would be if a good synthetic oil was used would the Valvetrain look better?
 
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It's really hard to say for sure due to all the factors. My guess would be a top tier synthetic would have left that engine significantly cleaner at those intervals.
 
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I don’t think it looks terrible given the age and mileage.

I’ll add: “if” I owned it though I would be doing shorter oil changes with a top-tier synthetic to try to at least make it somewhat cleaner visually, I don’t think any of that varnish is going to affect performance or engine longevity though.
 
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16 year old car with 171k miles.

The average Joe doesn't enter his valvetrain into beauty contests using under valve cover portfolio pics.

We've all seen "better" but that doesn't mean this Matrix won't reach 300k miles.

I know, I know....it's a motor oil forum.
 
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OVERKILL

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I don’t think it looks terrible given the age and mileage.

I’ll add: “if” I owned it though I would be doing shorter oil changes with a top-tier synthetic to try to at least make it somewhat cleaner visually, I don’t think any of that varnish is going to affect performance or engine longevity though.
The effects of varnish are typically subtle (not noticeable without a dyno) unless it is severe.

- Varnish causes ring sticking, which will reduce oil control effectiveness of the ring pack, as well as reduce compression. This increases blow-by and the rate at which the oil is degraded, as contaminants are introduced more quickly and in greater quantity.

- Varnish will slow the operation of hydraulic actuators like cam phasers, making them lazy, and lash adjusters. If bad enough, it can trigger a code.
 

barkingspider

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I’m gonna handle the maintenance on it, going to use havoline syn blend 5w30 (have a small stash) at 5k oci. He drives a lot for work now so OCIs will be every 2-3 months. Will use whatever oil is on sale after that.
 
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I am running some summer cleaning oil in my 2008 Corolla 1ZZFE w/ 145k as we speak. I have 3 quarts of HDEO 15w40 and a quart of MMO. I'm 1400 miles into this run and I have got the two best fuel mileage tanks to date. 37 mpg is a new record for this ol gal. I plan to do around 3500 miles before I switch it out. I'm curious what kind of crud the filter will have accumulated by then. I have done this on a couple higher mileage vehicles with good results.
 
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7,000 mile oil changes with ACEA A3/B4 lubes (135,000 total miles): View attachment 108036
Pictures like this, is this right after the cover was taken off and this is what you see, or is there wiping up excess oil and cleaning it up some for the picture?

Just asking is all. I’ve never taken a valve cover off but wouldn’t mind attempting to do it when my accord gets a couple hundred thousand miles I. It just to see what it looks like
 
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Pictures like this, is this right after the cover was taken off and this is what you see, or is there wiping up excess oil and cleaning it up some for the picture?

Just asking is all. I’ve never taken a valve cover off but wouldn’t mind attempting to do it when my accord gets a couple hundred thousand miles I. It just to see what it looks like
There was no wiping or cleaning before pic. This was taken right after cover was removed.
 
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7,000 mile oil changes with ACEA A3/B4 lubes (135,000 total miles): View attachment 108036
beautiful, any flushes ?
The effects of varnish are typically subtle (not noticeable without a dyno) unless it is severe.

- Varnish causes ring sticking, which will reduce oil control effectiveness of the ring pack, as well as reduce compression. This increases blow-by and the rate at which the oil is degraded, as contaminants are introduced more quickly and in greater quantity.

- Varnish will slow the operation of hydraulic actuators like cam phasers, making them lazy, and lash adjusters. If bad enough, it can trigger a code.
--- if cold cover is dirty, hot pistons will be covered in crap.:eek:
 

OVERKILL

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+1. But what we are looking at is mostly varnish, not sludge. Engine will run the same if it's spotless or if there is some varnish.
I'd wager that if we see visible varnish, the ring land area is significantly worse. While the engine may "run" the same, its performance is likely down a bit over an engine that was maintained with better fluids.
 
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I'd wager that if we see visible varnish, the ring land area is significantly worse. While the engine may "run" the same, its performance is likely down a bit over an engine that was maintained with better fluids.
Maybe but the cam lobes look in very good shape. Would you expect the ring land area to not be in good shape but the cam lobes to be in very good shape?
 
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