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#240 of 364 engine sludge settlement
Jan 13, 2007 (5:48 pm)
Hello Boys....since I purchased my 07 XLS Avy, I've read several posts where people have had complaints with engine sludge problems. Well so far nothing like that with my car (yet) but I did read an article today that I thought would be of interest to you. bewarned.. it's long, but you might want to print it out for future reference, just in case. here it is...
Toyota Agrees to Sludge Settlement for Consumers
Class Action Suit Brings Relief to 3.5 Million Toyota, Lexus Owners
By Joe Benton
January 8, 2007
• Toyota Agrees to Oil-Sludge Settlement
• Toyota Coughs Up
• Toyota Sludge Complaints
• Lexus Complaints
Consumers saddled with sludge-clogged Toyota engines may soon get some help from the Japanese auto giant under the terms of a class-action lawsuit settlement that covers roughly 3.5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles damaged by engine oil sludge.
An engine gummed up with oil sludge can cost thousands of dollars to repair and in many cases must be replaced. The class action settlement could potentially cost the automaker hundreds of millions of dollars.
The agreement will allow consumers whose claims have been denied by Toyota to submit those claims to a third-party mediator at no cost for binding arbitration.
The lawsuit, filed in a Louisiana district court, could receive final approval by the middle of February. Details of the settlement are being mailed to 7.5 million current and previous Toyota and Lexus owners.
The agreement provides owners of sludge-damaged Toyotas eight years plus 120 days from the original purchase date to file a complaint.
Toyota consumers who have repaired their sludge-damaged engines may be able to recover their costs. The car only needs to show evidence of oil sludge damage.
The terms of the settlement are transferable to future vehicle owners.
Toyota owners have repeatedly written ConsumerAffairs.Com detailing Toyota's attempts to blame sludge problems on inadequate vehicle maintenance by the owner.
Charles in Arkansas said: "At 36,000 miles the engine gummed up and quit running. My wife had the oil changed at Wal-Mart and did not keep receipts for the oil changes. The North Little Rock dealer and the Toyota representative told us such problems were rare and that we had caused the problem but for $2,500 they could fix it. They inferred that my wife was a liar," he wrote.
With the new agreement, consumers need only show reasonable maintenance in terms of oil changes.
Toyotas covered by the Louisiana settlement include the:
• Camry 4 cylinder from 1997-2001,
• Camry 6 cylinder from 1997-2002,
• Camry Solara 4 cylinder from 1999-2001,
• Camry Solara 6 cylinder 1999-2002,
• Sienna 6 cylinder from 1998-2002,
• Avalon 6 cylinder from 1997-2002,
• Celica 4 cylinder from 1997-1999,
• Highlander 6 cylinder from 2001-2002,
• Lexus ES 300 from 1997-2002 and
• Lexus RX 300 from 1999-2002.
In 2002 Toyota admitted receiving 3,400 complaints about sludged engines and the automaker extended its vehicle warranty to eight years along with unlimited mileage to owners of 1997-2002 Toyota and Lexus vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter V-6 or 2.2-liter four-cylinder engines.
At Toyota dealerships, however, consumers have encountered repeated denials from service managers insisting that sludging occurs primarily when owners fail to change their oil frequently enough.
Lauren wrote ConsumerAffairs.Com from Tampa, Florida that, "My check engine light came on once again so I immediately returned to Stadium Toyota. The next day, I received a call from Stadium Toyota telling me that my engine is damaged due to engine sludge and it will cost me $4,500 to fix it."
In Lawrenceville, Georgia Valerie ran into a hostile dealer despite Toyota confirming her vehicle was "part of their oil gelling/sludge program. The service dept at the dealership says that I'm not entitled to anything," she wrote.
In Apex, North Carolina Jan heard the bad news from her Toyota dealer.
"They checked it over, then called and said that the engine had sludge in it and it needed a $7,000 to $8,000 repair," she wrote.
"They also said it was my fault, because the oil had obviously not been changed properly. When I purchased the car, the Toyota dealer talked me into a $999 extended warranty plan, which he assured me would cover any major issues that might come up with a car. It is called their Tender Loving Care package."
Edward from Parma, Ohio received the Toyota brush-off despite promises of an extended warranty.
"I called the dealer and was basically told by their customer service manager that they refused to do anything and did not care if I chose to file a lawsuit or anything else, Edward told ConsumerAffairs.Com.
Lois from Cedar Rapids is still steaming over her treatment despite promises of an extended warranty.
"We received a letter from Toyota that indicated the engine was covered for a period of 8 years for engine sludge. In February of 2006, at 144,000 miles, the engine started making a loud noise. We were told that our car had 'blown a rod' and needed a new engine. We asked about the previous problem but were told that this was not related to the sludge problem and the car was not covered by Toyota."
The Toyota agreement the court is examining contains no finding of fault by Toyota or its dealers and does not prove Toyota or Lexus vehicles are predisposed to develop oil gel.
#242 of 364 2000 Avalon Engine Light On?
Feb 12, 2007 (6:33 pm)
It has 84K miles. One month ago, the light was on and the code is P171. I had the MAF sensor changed. Then two weeks later, the light was back. This time the codes are P125 (engine temperature) and P135 (O2 sensor). My mechanic told me there is no oil sludge problem. He also told me I should begin to use premium gas. I have been using regular gas for the last 20K miles. He told me the regular gas is killing the sensors. Can anyone give me some idea what could be wrong? Could the premium gas be the answer or the sensors just quit working? Could it be the air filter? I bought the Fram filter (better one) from walmart about half of year ago. Just guessing.
#243 of 364 Re: Reset the Maintenance Required light on '05 [gomst1]
Feb 12, 2007 (7:57 pm)
Thanks, TH. I've been trying to get the MAINT REQ'D light off for the past two weeks. You did it!
#244 of 364 Re: engine sludge settlement [rpfingsten]
Mar 09, 2007 (12:35 am)
Since you have a new Avalon with the new 3.5 liter engine, you shouldn't expect to have the "sludge" problem. That problem was mainly with the 3.0 liter V-6 in '99-'01 Siennas. We have a '97 Avalon--featuring that same V-6--with 178,000 miles on it. It continues to run like new, although the idle is not as refined as it once was. I've used nothing but Mobil One fully synthetic oil on it, and I usually don't go much beyond 3,000 miles between oil changes. Some folks might call that expensive overkill, but this car's bulletproof mechanical flawlessness since we bought it in '99 speaks for itself. We believe we've more than offset the additional cost of maintenance. A couple of common threads I've seen from people complaining about sludge problems with these engines: they get the oil changed at Wal-Mart or Jiffy-Lube (a BIG mistake, IMO, with precision engines found in Toyota products), and/or they go 5-10,000 miles between changes. Again, I can't imagine ever doing that, regardless of what a manufacturer allows for. If you're willing to spend the extra money to buy a Toyota, you should be willing to get the best maintenance available.
Back to your '07 Avalon: we bought a new '06 last year. That 3.5 liter V-6 is the smoothest six on the planet, and that includes the BMW straight six. It feels like it ought to go 300,000 miles without so much as a hiccup. It drives like a much more expensive car than it is, although I've noticed a couple of minor rattles in the door or seat trim over rough pavement. A bit of a surprise, considering the car's obvious structural integrity and rigidity. Otherwise, it's a winner. Congrats on your purchase!
#245 of 364 Re: Engine Noise [sbman]
Mar 09, 2007 (12:52 am)
I understand that the direct-injection mechanism on the new 3.5 liter engine makes a ticking noise as a part of its normal operation. Car and Driver mentioned this in a review of the Lexus ES-350, so it seems normal for this engine. I noticed it in our '06--esp. when cold--and not in our '97 with the older-type indirect-injection 3.0. It quiets down in a couple of minutes, and you can only really hear it when you're outside of the car. Most of the time, you have to look at the tach to tell if the engine is running.
#246 of 364 Re: Engine Noise [oldyotadriver]
Mar 09, 2007 (6:22 am)
Hi , Thanks for your post on the ticking noise. Would a different grade of gas help? Or maybe an additive?
Funny that the noise did not appear for about 45 days after I purchased the car. The weather did get colder by then. I also saw some Camry posts with the same ticking noise problem.
#247 of 364 Car broke down due to Check engine light on, I need help
Mar 26, 2007 (4:45 pm)
Thank you to all forum member for contributing all your valuable inputs.
I have 1995 avalon xl (155k miles), recently I took it for oil change at Firestone. After Oil change, i put approximately 250 miles(daily commute 50miles) after that Check engine light is on. I checked fuel cap and it is fine. I took off connection from battery and reconnected so that Check engine light would go off. But it did not happen, after that i drove for 25 miles and parked car at work place in the morning and returned to car in the evening to drive back to home. Engine did not start, i tried with jump started but no use. I request forum people to contribute any help that can help me out get starting my car or to take necessary actions to get it done fixed.
Thank you very much for reading this.
#248 of 364 noise in engine of 2000 avalon
Mar 29, 2007 (12:37 am)
Hello. I recently observed a vibrating noise in the engine of my 2000 avalon. The noise cannot be heard from inside the passenger compartment but only when in front of the hood and when the engine is revved between 1500 and 3000 rpm. Is this serious or what? i have not had any major issue with the car in the last 30000 miles. Pls HEPL!!!
#249 of 364 Re: engine sludge settlement [rpfingsten]
Mar 29, 2007 (5:59 am)
There was a lot of hype and considerable misrepresentation about the so called "sludge" issue. My experience with a 2000 Avalon XLS(currently 168,000 miles, and purchased new) is very likely a much more typical experience.
An article in another popular site best describes the issue IMO. Hope it helps put your mind at ease:
"Toyota Engines - The Sludge Problem
Both four-cylinder and six-cylinder Toyota engines have experienced oil gelling or "sludging." This has even been reported to affect cars that are only a couple of years old. Before buying a used Toyota, it may pay to look under the valve covers for "sludged" oil. Blue smoke may be one symptom. We recommend use of synthetic oil.
What causes the problem?
In some situations, oil additives are burned off or otherwise made useless; then oxidation occurs and various pollutants congregate in the oil, producing sludge and varnish. Originally, it was thought that the oil was being "burned" by excessive heat, but the problem appears to be caused by problems with crankcase ventilation, at least in some cases. The problem is not particular to Toyota and Lexus - Mercedes,Saab, BMW, Volkswagen, and Chrysler have all had problems (Chrysler's with the 2.7 V6, and cured soon after it surfaced) - but Toyota appears to have been afflicted more than any other automaker, and it affected both V6 and four cylinder engines (built from 1996 to 2001), but still, only about 1% of cars made appear to have had problems (keeping in mind that reported cases are probably fewer than total cases). However, any engine by any manufacturer can be damaged by the problem if reasonable care is not taken.
Making it worse, the volume of rubbish in the engine (including oil that's become heavy and burned, or sludged) can plug filters, the oil pickup screen, and oil passages, causing precisely machined parts to fail. Toyota's solution has been to extend warranties on the engines of these cars to eight years and unlimited miles, but originally blamed the owners for extending time between oil changes, and for a time refused to pay at all for engine damage. Mercedes raised their warranty to 150,000 miles after a lawsuit.
The moral: keep your oil change receipts (or have oil changes done by a dealer) and use synthetic oil."