Last post on Jul 14, 2012 at 2:34 PM
You are in the Toyota Solara
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Camry Solara, Coupe, Convertible
Feb 21, 2011 (2:06 pm)
I did not hear from a dealer until January 2011. By that time I had traded the car in. Really left a bad taste in my mouth and probably will not purchase a Toyota again. Roofie
#3970 of 3978 Re: bgtees [alpha01]
Oct 20, 2011 (10:44 am)
i am considering a 2002 solara convertible ($6200 private owner, plan to offer $5500 as it's been for sale for months with no buyers) how can i be certain the car doesn't have a sludge issue? i just sold my beloved sienna (2000) for $1500 because of the engine dying (it had 102,000 miles on it and was perfect other than this problem - missed the sludge class action cuz it was running fine). You seem certain that the solara isn't a sludge engine, may i ask how you know? i may need ammunition for my husband's objections! thanks very much!
#3971 of 3978 Re: bgtees [oviedo45]
Oct 20, 2011 (6:08 pm)
You need to be aware that Camrys were made with a choice of 2 different engines; an inline 4 cylinder and a V-6. The post you responded to was about the 4 cylinder engine; which was changed to a different design in 2002. But very few Camry Solara convertibles were made with 4 cylinder engines; which was 2.4 liters in displacement and had the model number 2AZFE. Most of them have the V-6, which was 3.0 liters in displacement, and had the model number 1MZFE; this was the engine that most commonly became known for the sludge problem. If you continue considering this convertible; it would be important to find out which engine it has in it. The average resale price for a 2002 Solara SE convertible with a 4 cylinder motor is at least $7925, according to Edmunds used car listings. The average resale price for a 2002 Solara SLE convertible with a V-6 motor is at least $9216. So the car you're considering is priced quite low.
One way to see if the motor was sludging would be to remove the oil filler cap, and look at the underside of that cap. It should be clean and free of carbon deposits or gooey substances. It also may be telling to use a flashlight to look into the valve cover through the opening for the oil filer cap; and see whether the metal surfaces are clean; or are either carbonized or coated with gooey sludge. If either the oil filler cap or the inside of the valve cover show these kinds of deposits; the motor is sludged. In addition; I absolutely would not buy this or any other used car without having it first inspected and evaluated by a competent, experienced, honest professional mechanic; or a AAA diagnostic center or equivalent. The used car market is full of reconstructed wrecks, and sloppily repaired damaged vehicles. You are swimming in shark infested waters when you buy a used car. Take this advice, and you won't regret it.
Regarding your late Sienna; it is highly unusual for a Sienna engine to fail at just over 100,000 miles. It may be that this engine was still good; but just had a problem which was not understood. If you post the symptoms which led to the conclusion that the vehicle died; and also tell me who made that determination; I'd appreciate a chance to respond.
#3972 of 3978 Re: bgtees [zaken1]
Oct 20, 2011 (6:06 pm)
Thanks so much for posting - my Sienna just started "sputtering" in traffic - and the engine would die. I took it to master care and they said the engine was clogged up - and wanted $450 to clean it - i remembered that i had taken it to my toyota dealership for an oil change in 2004 and they kept it 3 days due to cleaning out the sludge. So i thought i would just take it back to my dealer and have them clean out the sludge again. They told me it was dead and needed replaced - so I hired a mechanic to look at it and he said the same thing. I work with an attorney who reviewed the class action lawsuit and because my van ran 2 years past the deadline, my engine was not eligible for replacement. I also consulted my dad and took pictures of it and I described the problems and he said that if i took the heads off i might be able to salvage it - well i am not a mechanic and neither is my husband so we gave up. My husband did not want to put any money into a 10 year old vehicle even though I wanted to. Not worth a fight. I should add my husband did the oil changes, and we didn't keep records. this was my fourth toyota and i had hoped it would last 20 years. Thank you again for any insight.
#3973 of 3978 Re: bgtees [oviedo45]
Oct 20, 2011 (6:11 pm)
Thank you for the response. I accept the conclusion. Please re-read my first post; as I revised it since you first saw it.
#3974 of 3978 Re: bgtees [zaken1]
Oct 20, 2011 (6:21 pm)
thank you again for updating your response, i am nervous about buying a used car - have never bought one from a private owner - only dealers and my other 3 toyotas (celica gts, paseo and sienna) were all brand new. i can't afford new right now - and dealers are so expensive. I won't buy without a competent mechanic, the one i used to evaluate my sienna charged $100 for the evaluation and i thought that was more than fair considering the replacement cost of the engine. do you think it is generally safer to buy from a dealer? this seller has a carfax on the solara I am considering - is that even helpful? i really appreciate your responses.
#3975 of 3978 Re: bgtees [oviedo45]
Oct 20, 2011 (7:05 pm)
Glad to contribute here. I actually prefer buying used cars from a private party. Dealers typically inflate their prices and are sometimes known to misrepresent the vehicles they sell; so I wouldn't give any credibility to claims they make about a car's condition.
The Carfax is nice to see; but I wound not take as a substitute for a mechanic's evaluation. Sometimes bad things can happen to a car since the last time it was serviced at a dealership. The $100 inspection fee is pretty standard for this sort of work.
Ask the mechanic to evaluate the color of the transmission fluid (which indicates the type of driving and maintenance a car has had) and similarly evaluate the condition of the coolant. Another way to get a sense of the engine's health is to remove several spark plugs and inspect them for excess carbon deposits or signs of oil consumption. A cylinder compression test would be even better for this purpose; but many mechanics would charge extra for this level of work. I would gladly pay extra if it was asked.
Please be aware that all too many mechanics just compare how even the compression pressure readings are in the cylinders, and pronounce the engine good if all the readings are similar. This is not a reliable way to evaluate a compression test: The vehicle manufacturer publishes a specification for the new and the minimum allowable compression pressure in this motor. The limits are different on different engine brands and models. Your mechanic should look up the specifications for the compression on this motor in a service manual BEFORE running a compression test. I have repeatedly seen mechanics pronounce a compression test result "good" when the numbers were actually below the minimum limit. I apologize in advance if he is offended by this request; but a truly knowledgeable mechanic will recognize the necessity of knowing the correct pressure specifications. The minimum allowable pressure should be somewhere between 150 and 170 psi; and the new pressure should be about 30 psi more than that. A really good motor should have close to new compression. The minimum limit is not a pressure I would like to have in a car I owned.
#3976 of 3978 Re: bgtees [zaken1]
Oct 25, 2011 (6:50 am)
3.0L V6 EFI - is this a potential sludge engine? i am looking at a solara from a dealer - the private party isn't working very well - seems the car isn't available right now, etc.
it's a 2001 with 128,000 miles - you aren't in the orlando area by chance? if you are, I would love to hire you to check out my potential cars! Thanks
#3977 of 3978 Re: bgtees [oviedo45]
Oct 25, 2011 (12:37 pm)
Gee, that offer sounds intriguing. Unfortunately, although I lived in Kissimmee for 4 years, while I taught at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando; I now live all the way on the other side of the country. At today's gas prices; you probably wouldn't want to hire me.
The sludge issue on the Camry 3.0 liter engine began with the 2003 model year. At that time they redesigned the cylinder heads to use variable valve timing; and they also redesigned the coolant passages in the heads, so the engine would warm up faster, and thus produce fewer emissions during the warm up cycle. This revised coolant passage design turned out to produce hot spots in the heads; which cooked the oil that passed over those areas, and produced sludge. Some 2003 3.0 motors had variable valve timing; while some still used the older design cylinder heads, which did not have the revised coolant passages. But all Camrys from 2004 on were sludge prone.
So the 2001 model you're considering is unaffected by the sludge issue.
Jul 14, 2012 (2:34 pm)
I have an `06 Solara Convertible. Been thinking a lot about whether to trade it in for something new or fix it up. Saw one all tricked out with XRS technology at a car show not long ago. Thought it was a cool idea.
So, am I nuts? Would rebuilding the engine, replacing the tranny and gearbox, rear end exhaust and suspension be a bad idea? Would it be, more expensive than buying something new that's made to be speedier?
I don't want to race, I just want a more enjoyable driving experience and I really love my Solara.
Please speak from experience and don't be shy.