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Toyota Settles Class Action On Engine Sludge

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Copied From Automotive News

 

LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has quietly settled a class-action lawsuit that covers about 3.5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles that may have been damaged by engine oil sludge.

 

Details of the settlement, which allows for third-party mediation of sludge claims rejected by Toyota, have been mailed to 7.5 million current and previous owners.

 

Critics contend Toyota has told customers and dealers too little about sludge issues. They say some customers took vehicles with dead engines to dealers who had little or no knowledge of the problem and often assumed it was the owners' fault.

 

Unhappy customers had no remedy other than hiring a lawyer to go after Toyota.

 

Under the agreement, owners whose claims have been denied by Toyota may submit them to a third-party mediator at no cost for binding arbitration.

 

"This settlement breathes life into claims that have been dead for years," said Gary Gambel, a lawyer for plaintiffs who sued Toyota. "This is not a settlement that gives a few dollars to everyone. The relief is exactly tied to the problems and damages that someone might have."

 

The lawsuit, filed in a Louisiana district court, is expected to be approved by the court in early February.

 

Toyotas at risk

 

About 3.3 million Toyota vehicles are susceptible to oil sludge, which can cause thousands of dollars in damage and require replacement of the engine. Here are the vehicles included in the settlement.

 

VEHICLE MODEL YEARS

 

Camry 4 cyl. 1997-2001

 

Camry 6 cyl. 1997-2002

 

Camry Solara 4 cyl. 1999-2001

 

Camry Solara 6 cyl. 1999-2002

 

Sienna 6 cyl. 1998-2002

 

Avalon 6 cyl. 1997-2002

 

Celica 4 cyl. 1997-1999

 

Highlander 6 cyl. 2001-2002

 

Lexus ES 300 1997-2002

 

Lexus RX 300 1999-2002

---------------------------------------------------------------

 

So Toyo finally is forced to admit the sludging problem...after a CA lawsuit? They stonewalled this well known problem

long enough.

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trap

You are right - I don't see Corolla on the list.

Don't some of the have the same problem?

Edited by Bikeman982

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Guest scotchnsoda
Copied From Automotive News

 

LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has quietly settled a class-action lawsuit that covers about 3.5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles that may have been damaged by engine oil sludge.

 

Details of the settlement, which allows for third-party mediation of sludge claims rejected by Toyota, have been mailed to 7.5 million current and previous owners.

 

Critics contend Toyota has told customers and dealers too little about sludge issues. They say some customers took vehicles with dead engines to dealers who had little or no knowledge of the problem and often assumed it was the owners' fault.

 

Unhappy customers had no remedy other than hiring a lawyer to go after Toyota.

 

Under the agreement, owners whose claims have been denied by Toyota may submit them to a third-party mediator at no cost for binding arbitration.

 

"This settlement breathes life into claims that have been dead for years," said Gary Gambel, a lawyer for plaintiffs who sued Toyota. "This is not a settlement that gives a few dollars to everyone. The relief is exactly tied to the problems and damages that someone might have."

 

The lawsuit, filed in a Louisiana district court, is expected to be approved by the court in early February.

 

Toyotas at risk

 

About 3.3 million Toyota vehicles are susceptible to oil sludge, which can cause thousands of dollars in damage and require replacement of the engine. Here are the vehicles included in the settlement.

 

VEHICLE MODEL YEARS

 

Camry 4 cyl. 1997-2001

 

Camry 6 cyl. 1997-2002

 

Camry Solara 4 cyl. 1999-2001

 

Camry Solara 6 cyl. 1999-2002

 

Sienna 6 cyl. 1998-2002

 

Avalon 6 cyl. 1997-2002

 

Celica 4 cyl. 1997-1999

 

Highlander 6 cyl. 2001-2002

 

Lexus ES 300 1997-2002

 

Lexus RX 300 1999-2002

---------------------------------------------------------------

 

So Toyo finally is forced to admit the sludging problem...after a CA lawsuit? They stonewalled this well known problem

long enough.

 

It's Finally OVER!!

However......Let us not forget that Class Action Litigation is more often legalized extortion. :lol:

I could be off-base here, but my understanding was that it was mainly the 3.0 V-6 engine, and the problem occured most often in the Sienna minivan.

It was speculated but never proven this was because of the way the engine was packaged in the minivan, which made it run a bit hotter, and if you didn't keep up on oil changes, it was prone to sludging.

I think ANY 3.0 V-6 from the late 90's/early 00's could be succeptible to it, but it had the highest frequency in the Sienna. However, the Camry seemed to get implicated a lot, most likely because of the vast numbers sold, compared to the Sienna.

FWIW, the only people I can think of that had cars succumb to death by sludge were people who didn't take care of their cars. One was a high school/college buddy who got his parents' '86 Tercel in 1994, after his '85 Cavalier died due to electrical problems. The Tercel wasn't very high-mileage, but was neglected. One day I saw my buddy driving a new '95 Trans Am, and I asked him about the Tercel and he said sludge killed it.

The Mopar 2.7 is prone to sludging as well.Mine has about 127,000 miles on it though, and I have to confess I haven't been the most religious about changing its oil, or keeping it topped off. If it ever does succumb to sludge though, at this point I have nobody to blame but myself...er, I mean Chrysler! yeah, that's the ticket. It's Chrysler's fault.

Seems that most of the people complaining did NOT have their oil changes done by Toyota dealers, but rather by the "iffy lubes." Some people were stretching the time or mileage intervals. In a few cases, it wasn't clear if the oil was changed AT ALL, with engine failures occurring before 20K miles.

I've heard that some subsequent modifications were made by Toyota to

make the engine more tolerant to neglect.

Apparently these worked because afterwards the issue pretty much died.

 

It isn't clear to this day how much of the problem was due to faulty engineering vs. poor maintenance.

Probably never will be.

Edited by scotchnsoda

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My GF just bought a used '01 V6 Camry and her mom has a '97 I4 Camry, what do they need to do to be covered?

Edited by K_Watson

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Guest scotchnsoda
My GF just bought a used '01 V6 Camry and her mom has a '97 I4 Camry, what do they need to do to be covered?

First, if you didn't do so before buying it, check the 01 Camry to make sure it was maintained by previous owner(s). Have a reputable mechanic pop the valve covers and have a look inside for any sludge development.

Second, you may be almost out of luck on the 97 because it's almost at the 8 year limit. However if it was maintained reasonably, you likely will be OK anyway.

Third, check with your local Toyota dealer--or call Toyota on their toll free no.--and get info as to what applies in your case. You can also get info on any reputable consumer advocate site--try autosafety.org.

One caveat. This CA thing isn't a free ride. There are several restrictions and some responsibility on owners.

 

Also bear in mind that sludge problems aren't unique to Toyota. Many different makes and models have experienced similar and even worse situations--Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes, SAAB, for example. Today's engines are far less tolerant of neglect or abuse than the old days, so those who don't pay attention can easily end up with problems.

Edited by scotchnsoda

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Wow -another nail to drive in the 3.0L's coffin, other than the premature Graphite head gasket failure. I understand that ToyMoCo was very liberal in recalls for this problem, so maybe they "dug in their heels" about the sludge buildup issue. Example-my buddy has a 1992 4Runner V6 that lost the HG at 250,000KM (this was in 1999), and Toyota replaced the entire engine under the recall. (cost:$6500 CAD). I can understand the potential losses for Toyota, so I admire them even more for admitting that there was a problem and giving compensation for "sludge complaints". (although, if you don't do regular maintenance on your vehicles, you are to blame as well) For those of you that are pissed with ToyMoCo, it could be worse: you could own a Chevy, Ford, or Dodge and get absolutely nothing for your efforts. Prime examples: Ford Pinto/Chevy Silverado explosion prone gas tank assemblies...

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For those of you that are pissed with ToyMoCo, it could be worse: you could own a Chevy, Ford, or Dodge and get absolutely nothing for your efforts. Prime examples: Ford Pinto/Chevy Silverado explosion prone gas tank assemblies...

 

That is flatly untrue. First off, the Silverado explosion that every one goes on and on about was staged. They had to rig the car with low level explosives to make the car explode. In the real world, the car may have caught on fire in severe side impacts, but none exploded.

 

Secondly, FORD did do something about the Pinto. The Mercury twin of the car, the Bobcat never had explosions. It cost $400 more and for that $400, you got a lot of extras, including a rear sub-frame reinforcement member on both sides of the car. They retrofitted that assembly into Pintos to solve the explosion problem, and it worked.

 

Ford also has made cars with bad parts that they generously replaced for free practically forever. For instance, the early Contours had bad wiring harnesses under the hood. They would crack and short out, causing the cars not to work. Ford replaced the wiring harnesses on any Contour made pre-1997 for free until the car was 10 years old. Ford also replaced the engines in many Mustangs, Thunderbirds and Windstars when they failed due to a faulty head gasket. The thing was that while the head gasket was faulty, if the owners of the cars with engine failure had changed their oil at proper intervals the engines would have not failed. Ford also replaced the head gaskets on many Mustangs, Thunderbirds and Windstars. Another thing Ford did was to replace the flywheel and starter on my 1998 Mystique LS. The flywheel warped and prevented the car from starting consistently. Due to this, the starter was ruined from excessive operation. Ford paid for every penny of the $2500 repair job on the car, despite the fact that it was almost 5 years old and had 70k miles on it.

 

I also know several GM owners who have had engine problems and transmission problems outside of warranty that GM paid entirely for, including the rental car. A couple of Cadillac owners I know were given $3000 discounts when they bought their next Cadillac because GM felt that was an appropriate way to apologize for the problems with their cars.

 

The fact of the matter is that every auto manufacturer makes mistakes and everyone does something to fix it. It is just that some auto manufacturers are more forthright than others with their problems.

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Guest vajenson

I have a Highlander ltd, w/ 6 cyl. I was told the pinging noise comeing from the engine could be bad gas or high amounts of ethenol in the gas. The normal thing to do is to get the gas out. That was a neat trick as they had to remove the back seat and is was one big pain and costly to do this. The mechanic then cleaned the map sensor thinking it may be of help. I went and refilled with high test for another station and it still smoked on startup and pinged.

A few days later I took it to another mechanic and after removing the valve cover oil port he discovered it was full of sludge.

This is a 2003 that has had every oil change and is kep inside on carpet as this is an imaculate vehicle. To hear that I may not have changed the oil at proper intervals was rediculious.

I took it to the shop and the pulled both valve covers, pleanu, and pan and chaned the oil after cleaning and washing down the sludge. It was so bad that they actually used a shop vacuum to suck out the gook on top.

Anyway after this I see that I have wasted almost $1000, on this vehicle and don't know if it will return back to sludge mobile. I oly have 47k on it.

I wish Toyota would just exchange it for another on that is in the same phisical condition as I would not trust this moter.

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What was your oil change interval on the Highlander? What else was done with oil changes, did the PCV valve get checked at the intervals that the maintenance schedule recommend? I've never heard of a shop using a shopvac to pull up sludge - the vacuum generated it not enough to pull anything like that up. Any pics of this?

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Guest Rahul Nayar

You are right - I don't see Corolla on the list.

Don't some of the have the same problem?

 

I own a '98 Corolla that sludged at 33K miles and the engine blew up at 63K . I was set back by 5000 bucks and had the engine replaced. I had the oil changes done on time and showed the receipts to Toyota. They refused to do anything, gave me several reaons and stated that Corolla is not included in the sludge program and sent me a 1K discount towards buying a new Toyota in the next 6 months. Ridiculous!!!

 

Toyota now makes the headlines with the greatest recall in auto history. The Corolla I own is now a piece of junk that no body is willing to buy. I seriously regret my decision of buying Toyota.

 

Rahul

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