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Old 11-02-2011, 07:02 PM   #41
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Re: Best Oil question

I think part of it is that although engine technology has vastly improved in the past 20 years, your average shade-tree mechanic doing maintenance on their car is doing procedures that were optimal for 60's-80's era vehicles. Some aspects of newer vehicles have different maintenance requirements and techniques, that many shade tree mechanics have not caught up with.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:33 AM   #42
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Re: Best Oil question

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Every engine failure I hear of is from a failed head gasket that gets coolant into the oil.
...except Toyota engines with their sludge problem. If you have a Toyota and want it to last, you might want to invest in the best oil you can buy, change it often, and give it Seafoam enemas on a regular basis. My mom's Lexus just died from sludge (according to her mechanic) at 140,000 miles and I'm pretty sure she had the oil changed every 3,000 miles.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:09 PM   #43
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Re: Best Oil question

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This condition, not unique to Toyota or Lexus products, tends to occur due to three factors. Changing motor oil less frequently than the recommended interval is the primary cause along with short, stop-and-go-driving cycles and cold weather climates. Symptoms of oil gelling include blue smoke coming from the tailpipe and/or excessive oil consumption, which may cause the malfunction indicator light (MIL) to illuminate.

"We're not aware of any cases of oil gelling in properly maintained engines," said Bob Daly, TMS group vice president and general manager of Toyota Customer Services. "The vast majority of Toyota owners, and motorists in general, regularly maintain their vehicles and will never encounter this condition. But for some, busy schedules, budget considerations or misunderstanding of what constitutes 'normal' versus 'severe' driving conditions may result in neglecting their vehicle.

Letters reminding customers about the importance of keeping up with their vehicle's recommended maintenance programs and detailing the specifics of the SPA were sent to owners of potentially affected vehicles beginning in February 2002. Vehicles involved in this SPA include certain 1997-2001 model-year vehicles with four- and six- cylinder engines.

Toyota and Lexus owner's manuals stipulate oil changes every 7,500 miles or six months, whichever comes first under normal driving conditions, and 5,000 miles or four months under severe operating conditions. The 5,000-mile, or severe schedule, should be adhered to if a customer drives on unpaved or dusty roads, tows a trailer or makes repeated trips of less than five miles in cold temperatures.
I found this and basically agree, although I wonder why these models were singled out for this issue; perhaps their oil in general runs cooler, or perhaps the engine designs have some undersized oil passages that are susceptible to obstruction, or perhaps the cooling systems don't do enough to promote quick warm-up.

Because I have no direct exposure to Toyotas, I can only guess that many of the affected vehicles were used for multiple short hops and never or too rarely had the chance to warm up to full operating temperature (it is very popular, widespread, and American to drive two blocks and back when walking is a very reasonable alternative) thus many crankcase contaminants never were able to be vaporized and purged. I wish to emphasize at this point that excessive idling ostensibly for the purpose of "warming the car up" ain't gonna cut it. Thus I would say the cure is not to excessively change oil and not to do warm-up idles; the cure is to trip combine several of these little hops into a longer one when possible and/or delete the littlest hops and walk and/or put a warmer thermostat in and/or install a grille block and engine blanket.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:23 PM   #44
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Re: Best Oil question

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Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
I think part of it is that although engine technology has vastly improved in the past 20 years, your average shade-tree mechanic doing maintenance on their car is doing procedures that were optimal for 60's-80's era vehicles. Some aspects of newer vehicles have different maintenance requirements and techniques, that many shade tree mechanics have not caught up with.
^Spot on!

In addition to what I said previously re: oil changes, we have perfectly clean air filters and perfectly good spark plugs and wires being thrown away on a regular basis because of people being stuck in maintenance schedules that might have made sense 50 years ago. Just because Grandpa or Dad did it that way- and their way may have been perfectly correct at that time- doesn't automatically mean it's still correct.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:05 PM   #45
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Re: Best Oil question

^agreed about air filters, plugs, wires, etc...and in the meantime people neglect their transmissions.

As for Toyota sludge, my mom definitely took 20+ mile highway trips weekly, probably more often than that, although the first 70,000 miles were from the previous owner and we don't know their route...all we have is a carfax showing regular oil changes from that owner.

I just asked. She was changing the oil every 4000 miles. The manual specifies 7500 normal / 5000 severe service.

I notice that you trimmed the preceding sentences from your quoted material...the sentences about Toyota covering sludge repairs.

According to http://yotarepair.com/Sludge_Zone.html there is a design defect:
Quote:
The actual cause of the problem is an inability of the engine's crankcase ventilation system (PCV) to move the normal gases from the engine.
From http://yotarepair.com/breakingnews.html
Quote:
In the past it was always assumed that the owner was at fault by not changing the oil, I am now seeing good maintenance customers having the condition, so we are back to the PCV system.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:38 PM   #46
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Re: Best Oil question

Those weren't in the source I quoted from!

What I said before still holds true- the root of the problem is still certain things not getting up to operating temperature, so the actions listed would all definitely help. Now I'd add to that, that a person should check the PCV on a regular basis.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:08 PM   #47
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Re: Best Oil question

You're right, I was unclear there...the quotes I posted were from other sources. The source of yours was the first result for a search on toyota sludge recall and contained the content I described, but the quotes I posted after were not intended as an example of that.

So here's the question: Do all brands get sludge failure under the same usage and maintenance? My mom has never had a sludge problem before.
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