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You are in the Lexus ES
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Lexus ES 330, Lexus ES 350, Lexus ES 300, Engine, Sedan
#18 of 66 Engine light related to oil sludge?
Mar 08, 2007 (2:22 pm)
I'm new here, I'd really appreciate some advice.
I am the second owner of a 1998 ES 300 with approximately 86k miles. I purchased the car 12/01 when it was 4 years old and had 35k miles on it so I've had it a little over 5 years. So, the car is 9 years old as of last December.
I have never taken the car to the dealer for service because it is quite far from my house.
My "check engine" light has come on three separate times, starting in May of 2005. The first mechanic said it was the O2 sensor and he reset it.
Later it came back on.
The second mechanic replaced that sensor.
The engine light came back on but the same mechanic said it was the "knock sensor" P-330 and he reset that because the "condition wasn't present at that time."
Now the engine light is back on and I am aware that in addition my engine has a significant sludge problem. I've changed the oil every 3-5k miles.
Unfortunately, neither of the mechanics mentioned the sludge problem to me.
My question is this- is the oxygen and/or knock sensor possibly related to the sludge?
I ask because I have a claim with Lexus/Toyota re: sludge only if I can show that the sludge problem existed within 8 years of purchase. If the engine light reoccurence will demonstrate that (it started within 6-7 years of purchase) it may help my case.
Thanks so much!
#19 of 66 Re: Engine light related to oil sludge? [tammy10]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Mar 09, 2007 (8:21 am)
If I were you I'd petition Toyota for relief and just leave out the engine light issue altogether. I don't mean lie or anything. I mean that it's probably not related and driving around with the engine light on is not a great thing to reveal to Toyota. And your mechanic blew it, because an error code for an 02 sensor doesn't necessarily mean a bad 02 sensor at all...it just tells us that the 02 sensor is unhappy for some reason.
Are the engine light and sludge connected? That's impossible to say with any certainty at this point, but it doesn't help your case I don't think to mention it and I don't see any moral reason to reveal it. It's not like the oil pressure light went on , or the overheat light, which it seems to be would relate directly to a heavy sludge issue.
Find someone who can fix the engine light issue and then petition Toyota. Maybe they'll help you out.
#20 of 66 Re: Engine light related to oil sludge? [Mr_Shiftright]
Mar 09, 2007 (8:52 am)
I didn't actually drive around for a long time with the engine light on, I did take it in when it went back on twice, albeit not to the dealer. It would be fine for a while, and then go back on. I only drive the car to work and back.
The thing is without the engine light "evidence" (and I guess it's really not!) I have no potential proof the sludge problem existed before the extended) warranty regarding this problem expired.
I just didn't know I should have been looking out for the problem because I didn't get the letter Toyota sent to the owners of these cars in 2002. If I did get a letter, I would have found a way to take it to the dealer to make sure my car didn't have the problem. I know sludge is a monster.
Instead, I drove around for the last few years and I'm sure made the problem worse despite getting oil changes regularly!
I was really hoping there was a potential link either to the O2 or knock sensor (the mechanic said the car did not knock so I guess something else made that one activate)
Anyway, thanks for the advice : )
#21 of 66 Re: Engine light related to oil sludge? [tammy10]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Mar 09, 2007 (9:02 am)
Well ask around but I don't think the 02 sensor is evidence of anything...it's just circumstantial. You need proof of services done. What if they say "Oh, your engine light was on...why didn't you bring it to a toyota dealership immediately?"
#22 of 66 Engine Ring Replacement?
Jun 07, 2007 (11:04 am)
I purchased a '97 ES 300 in 2000 with 31,000 miles on it. Currently, the vehicle has 83K miles on it. During the past couple of years, I've used the car intermittantly, which I guess threw me off my regular maintenance schedule.
I periodically checked the oil and other resevoirs and had no problems, other than air conditioning, with the vehicle.
On a frigid January evening this year, I started the car at night after leaving class and I noticed what I thought was a plume of smoke in the rear view mirror. I convinced myself that it was just the exhaust tempered by the cold weather, and drove home with no incident. A few days later, I noticed the smoke, again and while driving home, the car started to stall and idle almost violently at a stop light. This would happen at every stop light. I made it home and checked what I thought was the oil dipstick, which was full. I noticed the car was very hot and unscrewed the top of the oil resevoir and steam and smoke poured out of it for minutes. It was late and dark in my garage and I decided to revisit the situation in the light of morning. I took the manual in the house and realized that I had been checking the dipstick right next to the oil resevoir, but that this was the power steering dipstick. The oil dipstick is located on the other side of the engine, towards the back. There was singed oil on the inside of the oil resevoir cap and the oil was nearly gone. I put 4 quarts in the engine and decided if the problem persisted, I'd take it into the dealership.
The problem perisisted, I took it into the dealership explaining same and they called saying I needed new plugs and wires. They charged me $400 and sent me on my way. The car drove beautifully, though there were hints of minor exhaust smoke a few days later.
After 2 months and 600 miles, the car started exhibiting the same exact symptoms as before. I took it back to Lexus and they then said I needed new rings on the engine pistons. They said the rings are failing and oil is mixing with the gas and the engine sensors are detecting it. He said the idling and near engine shutdown was caused by the wires falling out and the plugs being dirty with oil. When I questioned him as to what they did the first time to get it running back smoothly, he said they replaced the bad plugs, cleaned off the good ones and replaced the wires. He said the plugs were again oily and the wires were again fallng out. They told me they could get me a rebuilt engine for $7,800. Not an option.
At no point during this debacle did the oil light ever illuminate, other than when the car was idling violently and threatening to shut down.
Unfortunately, I don't have much confidence in the Lexus service repair department to tell me what is acutally going on, as I find it hard to believe that they didn't discern the problem was internal to the engine the first time I took it in, rather they felt it was unlikely I'd get the engine repaired there, so they sold me what they could to get what they could out of me. Call me paranoid (OK, along with stupid for checking the wrong dipstick all these months).
Finally, here are my questions: Does this diagnosis sound legitimate? What should I look for in terms of credentials and experience in an auto mechanic when/if I take it in for a second opinion or repair? What is a 'reasonable' charge to replace the rings on the pistons?
I'd really appreciate your help.
#23 of 66 Re: Engine Ring Replacement? [shello]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jun 07, 2007 (11:24 am)
What needs to happen is this: A Cylinder Leakdown Test.
This gives a quantitative measurement of internal engine wear, and will tell you if its the rings, the valve guides, the valve stem seals, or just excessive crankcase pressure.
Without this test, everyone's just guessing.
If the test has been done, they should be able to show you actual results on a print-out.
#24 of 66 Re: Engine Ring Replacement? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jun 08, 2007 (6:03 pm)
Excellent! Thanks for your help. I can assume this test can be performed by Lexus. Can other mechanics specializing in foreign cars perform this test, too?
#25 of 66 Re: Engine Ring Replacement? [shello]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jun 08, 2007 (8:03 pm)
Yes any mechanic who found his or her way out of their house this morning should know exactly how to do this test. I'm sure a Lexus dealer has this tool in their required tool shed they buy from Lexus when they open a dealership. It might be dusty (sounds like it) but they have one.
But any good import shop knows how to do this.
#26 of 66 Re: Engine Ring Replacement? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jun 09, 2007 (3:46 pm)
Thanks for your timely response.
I called the dealership today and they have yet to return the call.
Say that they did use this test and it does in fact reveal the rings need to be replaced. I know prices vary from shop to shop, but what is a reasonable price for this kind of repair? I need to decide whether to invest further in the vehicle or to trade it in.
#27 of 66 Re: Engine Ring Replacement? [shello]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jun 09, 2007 (4:07 pm)
It will all depend on the condition of the pistons themselves and on the true-ness of the cylinder bores. Re-ringing an engine with 87K on it is tricky because you may want to do work on the cylinder heads as well, and the bearing clearances should be checked as well. It's one of those "while we're in there" kind of jobs where the costs are hard to control.
But since they haven't really tested it they don't know yet, or they didn't tell you properly what they found. Perhaps you have worn valve guides or valve stem seals, which would give the exact same symptoms but only require removal of the cylinder heads---perhaps a $1,500 repair.