Last post on Jul 18, 2007 at 10:32 AM
You are in the Toyota Sienna
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Toyota Sienna, Van
#342 of 3687 Engine Sludge
Oct 19, 2000 (2:36 am)
We bought our Sienna in 1998. It currently has 27,00 miles on it. True, the oil changes didn't get done as often as they should have, but they got done. A few days ago smoke came out of the van after it was started but quickly cleared. It was a cool morning, so we thought it was from the coolness of the air. It happened again the next day. Checked the oil and the dipstick had no oil on it. Towed it to the dealership to check it out. They took a full week to get back to us to say that the short block needed to be replaced and it was going to cost us $6100. Toyota said they would make a goodwill gesture of $1000, but the remaining $6100 we had to cover ( total cost $7100). I have never heard of an engine going bad this early on, no matter what. Our dealership says Toyota does not cover damage from sludge. What do you think?? We are so disgusted about this, we want to trade the thing for a different make altogether.
#343 of 3687 idahomom
Oct 19, 2000 (2:57 am)
Hey thanks for the suggestions!! I will go that!
I actually looked at the headrest and thought about doing that, but noticed that one side of the bar has notches and did not think it would even fit. Great idea.
Oct 19, 2000 (12:58 pm)
I have read several postings on the "engine sludge" problem with the Sienna's, most recently from cblake and abcdefg6. I'm no mechanic, but wonder why, if this is a TRUE Sienna flaw, that more people have not experienced this same problem?
In #359, the owner clearly admits to not having the oil changed regularly and that there was no oil on the dipstick. Does this mean changing the oil every 5,000 miles instead of 3,000, or simply skipping an oil change every so often? The fact that there was no oil on the dipstick meant that it was at least 1 - 1 1/2 quarts low-not a good sign. But where did that oil go? If it was on the floor of the garage or driveway, then it was leaking through the oil pan and should have been noticed. If it was burning up (visible smoke), than I believe that means the rings are bad, which could have been caused by not changing the oil regularly. I'm also curious as to why it was towed, did the engine actully sieze?
The bottom line is that oil will break down, regular oil quicker than synthetics or blends. If you value your vehicle, no matter what make or model, have the oil changed every 3,000-5,000 miles and check it every 2nd fill-up. Next to gas, oil is the most vital fluid in your engine.
#345 of 3687 Low Oil Light
Oct 19, 2000 (3:08 pm)
Was your "Low oil light on"? If it was and you neglected it for awhile perhaps the fault is yours. If it did not turn on then perhaps you could claim that this malfunction prevented you from realizing that your oil was too low. Also, as readytobuy4 inquires, what was the cause of your Sienna to loose over 1.5 quarts of oil!? If that was due to malfunction, perhaps Toyota would be responsible. Since they already tore your engine apart it is unlikely that you would find this out now.
I change oil ever 3500 miles and notice that there is no measurable loss in the oil level.
#346 of 3687 Oil Pressure Light
Oct 19, 2000 (4:16 pm)
Keep in mind that the oil light in the Sienna indicates low oil pressure, not oil level. When the pressure is low enough to turn on the oil light, it's usually too late. The damage may have already been done. It's better to do a visual inspection of oil level.
Several years ago, my father had his oil pressure light start flickering ON in his 1984 Camry. When I checked his oil dipstick, there was no oil! I asked him who had worked on the car last. He said the timing belt and oil had just been changed. Looks like somebody drained the oil, changed the timing belt, and then forgot to fill it up with new oil. Nice going! It still ran OK till he traded it in, but sounded a little funny after that incident. I would recommend that everyone check their oil level regularly and especially after any oil change. Don't wait for the oil light to come on.
Oct 19, 2000 (7:55 pm)
so basically there is no function in a "low oil pressure gauge" since if it comes on it is probably too late. They should change that because as far as I am concerned it is a waste of $ to put it in.
#348 of 3687 Re: Clunking Noise on Backing Up
Oct 19, 2000 (11:28 pm)
My follow up to "leslieldf" would be to say that I am very in-tune to ABS noises. I had major ABS failure in a Dodge Caravan (along with thousands of other owners), and the van would constantly "buzz" like a bee.
Why? The ABS pump would have to run nearly constantly to make up for depleted pressure in the hydraulic assembly of the ABS. The noises were said to be "normal" by all Chrysler dealerships (data accumulated over two years). In fact, the noise was a real sign that the ABS was not working properly. The "buzz" should have been very intermittent.
Many owners had brake failure (I don't want to hear that it was just the assist because many accidents occurred, nonetheless.). It was a situation that was *grossly minimized* by the manufacturer. NOTHING was admitted until hundreds of owners banded together on-line and in a class action lawsuit. The NHTSA was *partially* helpful but mostly in the manufacturer's "back pocket" on the problem (as it continues to be today, IMO).
So, it is *not* the ABS that I hear. It is a metallic clunk clearly. But, thank you for your input.
#349 of 3687 RE: Engine Sludge Issue
Oct 19, 2000 (11:48 pm)
Thank you for posting, "abcdefg6." Before you trade in that van and take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for this problem *before* knowing if it is an inherent problem, would you mind sending me your details in an e-mail message? I have been keeping tabs on the trends I see because many of the vans affected are the '99 van, which I currently own. Your information could help add to the growing database on this matter.
Please, do not go silently away without documenting fully. Contact the Center for Auto Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in writing and describe the problem details. The details you have given sound very similar to others who have had the same problem. Many have changed the oil more often than you but they have still had the problem.
"Readytobuy4," it seems that you are "readytoblame" the owner without further evidence. As "mrfong1" points out, the check oil light did not come on. This has been noticed in the other cases, too. One owner is very upset that his warning system was not effective in preventing a low oil situation. What if an owner DID change the oil every 3,000 miles, but the light did not work when abnormal oil consumption began? I have seen that other owners complain that the Sienna began to burn oil prematurely. I'd like to know also what causes this.
I have begun to see white smoke, too. I am now attributing it to the cool air as "abcdefg6" did. I will check my dipstick to make sure. I think this owner did the right thing by towing. Wouldn't you blame him if he drove the van knowing it had no oil?? Sure you would. Why would you question why he had it towed?
There are still many questions to be asked about the sludge issue. No one is going to convince me that these cases were preventable with every 3,000 mile oil changes UNTIL THE ROOT CAUSE is found.
My guess is that Toyota will NEVER say a word.....well, unless FORCED to do so by a lot of angry owners. Let Toyota PROVE that the owner caused the sludge problem. I'd like to see the scientific proof, especially since Toyota has rejected PROOF from owners with sludge that it was NOT their fault.
Owners report that Toyota isn't interested in doing any testing beyond the independent testing done by the owners. Toyota's stand is that it is the OWNER'S FAULT....no proof necessary. It says sludge is NOT COVERED....REGARDLESS of the root cause. Easier to say it is infrequent oil changes IN ALL CASES.
Can you really blame Toyota? Why would it want to open that can of worms???? In the words of Martha Stewart, "Too much testing is a bad thing." It can be quite incriminating for a manufacturer! Too many damaging documents might be generated....
Well, I suspect time will tell "readytobuy4." Many of the '99 vans are just now approaching the infamous 25,000 miles+ when the sludge is often seen. There are tons of these vans around where I live....time to start looking for the white smoke and making inquiries. If this is truly a NON-problem as some are implying, then I won't find out much from such inquiries.
#350 of 3687 cblake-metallic clunk
Oct 20, 2000 (11:22 am)
I believe the noise you hear when backing up and applying the brakes are the front brake pads "moving" in their "holders". If I remember correctly pads for disc brakes are not rigidly mounted in their holders. They sort of "float" in a pocket on each caliper. By float I mean they are able to move back and forth (front to back) a bit. My guess is that the pads are normally in a forward position. When backing and up and the brakes applied the pads move to rear position and the clunk is heard. My van also makes this noise. My Nissan Maxima does also, but it much quieter...you have to be outside of the car to hear it. In my opinion, this noise is a non-issue. If you are concerned about the noise, take it to a brake professional. I sure they will tell you the same thing. I would say take it to your Toyota dealer, but from previous posts I do not believe you would value their opinion.
#351 of 3687 Response to cblake
Oct 20, 2000 (1:54 pm)
I have to say, after having read postings related to Toyota Sienna in the past 5 months I have yet to see anyone other than cblake have as many problems with their past and current vehicles. Just remember, paranoia will destroy you!
As far as being "readytoblame" abcdefg6, try reading my posting again. Merely asking questions does not equate to laying blame. I sympathize with abcdefg6 if indeed the vehicle was maintained and the repairs are due to a flaw in the Sienna's design. It just seems odd that a vehicle with only 27k miles would consume 1.5 quarts of oil if properly maintained. Also, asking whether the engine siezed would let us know if the engine had lost even more than 1.5 quarts of oil-or was it towed as a precaution.
If you are keeping track of those Sienna owners who have had sludge problems, I'd be curious to know how many have responded to you. And of those, how many can PROVE that their vehicle was maintained properly? It seems odd that so many people spoken out about their torque converter problems, as I have, yet so few have said anything about sludge with their Sienna???