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Guest Veritas

Some Credible Information On Engine Sludge

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Guest Veritas

Causes and effects of sludge go a lot farther than some suggest, in spite of frequent inferences by a few individuals that an as yet unproven flaw exists which relates to oil change intervals, or their insistence that engines are being properly maintained and still sludging.

There have even been allegations (By one or two more vocal spokespersons) that engines are sludging with as low as 3000 mile intervals--although although in fairness, there haven't been any hard numbers or any pertinent details shown to date.

 

Looking at that one factor alone is an acute case of "chronic tunnel vision",(We often get this in the ongoing crusade of misinformation by a few individuals here which always points blame at only one thing).

 

Oil change intervals are only a small part of a much larger "proper maintenance" equation.

 

At 3000 miles after an oil change, any auto engine is beyond the point where oil levels are going to start to shrink.

At this stage, especially under "average" driving conditions, the process of oil consumption is well under way.

Oil usage in an auto engine is a fact of life. If an engine isn't using oil to some degree, it isn't getting properly lubricated.

 

If an owner chooses to go beyond that "start to shrink" point in oil change intervals, then that owner had better start checking oil levels routinely.

 

This becomes extra critical if the owner opts to go to the longer intervals being suggested by many automakers these days, i.e., 7500 miles or more.

 

Letting oil levels go unchecked at these higher mileage intervals is an invitation to trouble, no matter what make or model of vehicle it is.

 

With today's oil formulations, especially the synthetics, the oil in your engine can handily cope with longer intervals.

 

If oil levels are maintained properly, your car's engine can also cope very nicely with extended drain intervals. (Even Toyota engines can, in spite of efforts by a few to suggest otherwise!)

 

However, if owners don't check and maintain oil levels with these longer intervals, it's not surprising that trouble happens.

Under these conditions, regardless of who made the car, there will be two categories of owners--the first will be those who have already had trouble, and the second being those who will eventually have trouble.

 

Just about every tale of woe we see and hear about re this sludge propaganda makes a big deal of "I maintained my car by the book, I changed my oil religiously, etc.,etc."

Then the finger pointing starts "See, that shows the Toyota engines are flawed,etc.,etc."

 

What we seldom, if ever, hear is how frequently the owner looked at oil levels and topped them up if required.

 

In fact, a case which was discussed here not too long ago started out with the "I got sludge, I went by the book on oil changes, and because I did so, Toyota should buy me a new engine"

And the "hate Toyota" faction had a field day with every accusation they could muster.

However, after some close and astute examination, it was determined that the owner NEVER checked oil levels between changes. The owner admitted to this habitual flaw in how he used his vehicle.

 

We often see the term " I maintained my car religiously" when an alledged sludge incident is reported.

 

"Maintained Religiously" means a whole lot more than oil change intervals.

 

Sludge development is a PROCESS, not an EVENT!!!

 

People who truly "Maintain their vehicles Religiously", a.k.a., among other things, check their oil regularly, aren't the ones who are going to have problems like sludge.

 

I invite comment.

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Guest Paul Cherubini

This is a Corolla forum and no Corolla engine has ever been sludge prone. So sludge is not an issue of concern for Corolla owners.

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Guest Veritas

Paul, I'm on your side.

I stuck this post in because the Corolla engine is being trashed on a few other sites. Call it a pre emptive strike if you will.

There have been a few accounts being posted about "alledged" sludged engines in Corollas. Not here, but elsewhere.

Most of these accounts are being staged and/or cut pasted by non other than Charlene Blake, so chances are she's merely trying to raise the sludge flag again.

I just wanted to throw a bit of common sense into the mix, in case she tried to resurface here.

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Guest Veritas

Please tell us:

 

(1) What sort of help do you need?

 

(2)Why you don't think this is credible information?

 

Or is it one of those "after the fact"situations where all you want is someone else to blame for the problems you've already had?

Edited by Veritas

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When people state that this is "credible information" I expect a serious backup of all your "facts"( have not seen one). How about that.

BTW, I don't check oil between changes

I just use your invitation ...:-)))

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Guest Veritas

Pray tell what "facts" do you dispute?

 

And do you have any "facts" to support a contradictory position?

 

Furthermore, a very solid argument could be made that anyone who doesn't check their engine's oil between changes is foolish.

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i have about 30k miles in 1 1/2 yrs,

Sorry to report that I have no problems

with oil sludge with oil changes at 5-6 k miles.

Engine is clean, the oil(dino) is clean.

03 corolla driven in cold winters and city stop and go.

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I believe that the engine in question, or the engine that got the problem exposed is a v6 version used in the Sienna van ....correct???? They're also not the only engine having rouble...another for example is a V-8 used in Dodge Durangos. Some of this has to do with excessive heat in areas of the head/block leading to coking of the oil.

 

Use full synthetic and don't worry about it. I bought a Corolla with 1.8 engine and 105,00 miles....great little car. I drive 110 miles per day...95% highway at 75 to 80 MPH. My first oil change interval (with Mobil1 5W-30) was 15K miles and will be 15K miles from this point forward. In the first 15K mile interval I used approximately 3/4 quart. Oil came out a nice healthy brown. I've done this on a number of high mileage but sound engines with great success and expect this engine to be purring nicely at 300K.

 

I used the Mobil 1 product in the early 80's when it was advertised as 25K intervals. I'm guessing that they pulled that marketing back so they didn't have to deal with auto manufacturer warranty issues with all of the bogus American engines that were breaking down with unrelated failures. The slant six was in the 1979 Dodge Aspen that I was driving, ran perfectly for the 80K miles that I drove it and got 27 to 29 miles per gallon running Gasahol. When I sold the car with 100K miles the rockers etc were still nice and clean and ran like new with next to no oil consumption.

 

I go the 7500 mile routine with cars that don't put the miles on as quickly.

 

The way I look at it is...nobodies perfect...including Toyota. They'll fix whatever problems they have but don't expect them to admit that they're wrong...it's just not part of their culture.

 

Good luck,

Jay in MA

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Veritas, that was an excellent, well-balanced report.

 

Paul, Corolland serves not just Corollas, but all "modern Toyotas." Hence the logo at the top of the page.

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Agreed. That observation could apply to ANY car/engine out there today.

 

If anything, it might cause folks to perhaps take care of their cars much better - something I know Mr. Paul agrees with wholeheartedly.

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IMO oil sludging is occuring to individuals that use "Quick Lube" oil changes every 3000 miles, yet drive mostly short trips with lots of idling. It's possible for a car driven on the freeway for 10,000 miles to have less wear than an engine with 3000 miles used by a soccer mom running errands around town and sitting in the parking lot for soccer practice to end with the engine idling for 1 hour or more at a time.

 

At low RPM's the oil pressure is low, the cheap ol filters used by these shops may further reduce flow, combined wiht cheap $0.99/qt oil that is prone ot onerheating, and then possibly sludging.

 

Additionally most oil is burned when the engine is cold before the engine component have heated ot full operating temp. that means a car driving mostly short trips will dramatically burn more oil than a vehicle used for longer trips at hgiher speeds.

 

I've argued that an operating hour gauge should be a standard item on all vehicles. Operating hours is a much better indicator of engine use than mileage. Even a lifetime average operating speed (mph) would be very helpful.

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Guest Veritas

I'd just like to add a couple of things to that post by Cherry128.

The low cost filters used by Jiffy Lubes and their ilk often don't have features that better quality filters do, such as a backflow valve. I don't care who made your engine, if the backflow preventer in your oil filter hasn't held some oil up in the engine's valve train, that momentary rattling sound you often hear on starting is a precursor to premature engine failure! It's a sign of low lubrication. After enough of those low lubrication cycles, your engine will be burnt toast!

The other point I'd like to make is this. The only wrong thing with extended oil change intervals most carmakers offer today, is that this recommendation tends to give owners a false sense of security.

A great many owners just never look under the hood between oil changes any more because of the implied "Well, if I don't have to change oil before 7500 miles, everything's got to be OK".

I submit all this kerfuffle over sludge would disppear pretty quickly if more owners looked under the hood once in a while!

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No new car should burn a quart of oil in 8000 miles. I've never needed to add oil between changes. Typically I even underfill by as much as 1/3 of a quart. There is little benefit of having extra oil in the oil pan. Extra oil can increase power loss from the crankshaft moving through the oil. There only needs to be enough oil that the pick-up doesn't run dry even when cornering hard. You can run as much as 1 quart low (low mark on the dip stick) and still have enough oil for this.

 

1/2 quart or even 1 quart low in a 4 quart system, won't cause and engine to fail. I''d estimate about 1 quart is used (inside the passages) by the engine when running, that still leaves 2 quarts in the oil pan.

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