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2000 Ve, 103,500 Km, Sludged

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I've mentioned this in a separate thread, but it was totally off topic there so I thought I'd post specifically about this issue and put it in the right place (although in noticing that the last post in this sub-forum was from Feb., I'm not too optimistic about getting many replies). First some basic background:


Car was purchased from the original owner in early May of this year with 96,000 km on it. She had every invoice for all work done on the car, and even had them sorted by shop and organized chronologically. Anyway, I recently noticed sludge on the crankcase cap, and when looking inside the oil fill hole, I could see it baked onto the crankcase and some loose deposits clumped there too. This was roughly 500 km ago. My theory as to what caused it:


1) She missed an oil change at about the first 50,000 km mark, and had driven it 1,200 km on dino;

2) She otherwise changed the oil regularly, but followed the regular service schedule instead of the severe schedule she should have followed (I'll elaborate bellow);

3) Her OCIs were 4,500-7,500 km with the exception of the missed oil change;

4) Her driving habits consisted mainly of short inner city, stop-and-go trips, without much highway driving;

5) She used to the remote start to "warm" the car in the winter, and it may have spent up to half an hour idling while "warming" up.


I think those factors created the sludge (I've only had it for 7,500 km since, all spring and summer driving and a mix of 50-50 city and highway with very little idling), but at any rate its there, its clearly visible, and my goal is to remove it as gently as possible with a clean engine being the outcome. And without doing a tear down and rebuild as I don't think, despite the presence of sludge, its warranted. MPG is good (30 mpg+), performance is good, and the only issue I've had is an unrelated cold-start problem that I'm pretty sure is the IAC valve (where its summer, and I'm pretty sure this is the cause, its not yet a priority).


Oil was changed by Toyota about 1,000 km ago using their Toyota shop oil. They forgot to change the filter, and rather than wait around for them to put it back up on the ramp, I let it go to do myself. About 100 km ago I swapped out a Honeywell Defense filter with 4,200 km to a Mobil 1 extended performance filter. A fair amount of oil spilled during the change, so I topped it most of the way with the 750 ml bottle of Castrol GTX I had kicking around. With the sludge and what not, I decided to pick up some synthetic to use as top up and blend into my next oil change. Walmart's daily rollback that day was Penzoil Platinum, which cost only a couple bucks more than the leading dino brands (except Castrol and Supertech dino, which were also rolled back that day). I put the 250 ml of PP in the crankcase just to bring it to the full mark, and then set the 4.4L jug aside.


On "bobistheoilguy" I found a very old thread where a poster had a sludged Dodge with a lot more miles on it than mine. I believe the engine was a 3.6L V6. His idea was to use a blend of Penzoil Platinum to desludge it, blended with 1L of Valvoline MaxLife to preserve and condition the seals, etc. Of the 9 or so responses he got, the consensus was unanimous that his plan sounded good, and only one person voiced an objection; not to the blend, but that he thought 1L of MaxLife was too little (the others disagreed). Unfortunately, there was no folllow up post from the OP; however, the theory behind it seems sound to me, and even though my odometer hasn't hit 120,000 km, it does burn some oil.


With all of the above in mind, I'm thinking along the lines of an early OCI at about 3,500 km to get the Frankenblend out and put something in to tackle the sludge. I plan to leave the new Mobil 1 filter on and use 3L of PP and 600 ml of the newer 100% synthetic MaxLife. Right now that ratio is still being debated and I may up the ratio of MaxLife, but if I do it won't be beyond 1L. I will run that blend for about 5,000 km (if I go ahead with this plan), then change out the oil and filter.


Any holes in this?



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Sounds pretty solid to me - good plan. The slow method of getting the engine clean is preferred, especially for cars with a good amount of mileage on them. Those "shock" flushes will clean the engine, but usually cause problems in the process (wiping oil starved bearings, clogging oil passages, overwhelming the filter).


On the BITOG forums - they also love AutoRx, I haven't tried that, so I can really comment on it. But on the mixing/blending of your own oils - that is not a problem. The mix will depend on the oils you use, the actual ratio will depend on several factors. The biggest one to keep in mind, is that those additive packages generally do not stack - in some cases, they can buffer one another - effectively lessening the protection the oil was designed for. But with oil change intervals so short - this becomes almost a non-issue.


Quite a few "favorites" out there, various people/groups have their own special blend to tackle sludge. Some like using ATF, some run MMO, Rislone, diesel motor oils, thinner viscosity oils, synthetic blends, full synthetics, esters, various solvents, petroleum distillates, BG chemicals, more. I'm always a fan of just using high mileage oils (many are synthetic blends) or full synthetics. Sludge forms over a period of time, removing it slowly also limits what else could bite you down the road.


I would highly recommend a used oil anaylsis program. At the very least - before and after sort of check, to see if the "mix" is working for you. This becomes more important if you plan on running an extended oil change interval. You can assess the effectiveness of the additive pack on wear metals and oil life (TBN, also see if the filter is performing as well as you hope based on wear metals and insoluables, and see how well the oil is handling and running in your engine (shear, visocity, any fuel dilution, any coolant contamination, etc.)

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I agree that maxlife oil is a great choice for this neglected car. My understanding is that Maxlife is one of very few oils that would decrease oil consumption in Saturns due to cleaning of gummed up rings. BTW, your engine has the same tendency to bake up oil in rings and produce oil consumption. I would personally use only regular maxlife (that used to be considered synth blend in the old days) and change it often enough (~5000 km). Couple of days before you change oil, add half liter of MMO to the crankcase and drive gently. ATF can be used for the same purpose. Last thing, Mobile 1 filters are very restrictive (very small pores in the media). I would not use them for cleaning.

Edited by friendly_jacek

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When I suggested mixing PP & MaxLife over on bitog, the responses I got were akin to as if I`d posted something sacrilegious. The amusing part was that I borrowed my idea from an older thread on that same forum, and all the responses on that thread were in favour of it (the only thing debated in that thread was how much MaxLife to blend in).


I`ve already been blending my oils since I first bought the car, and as long as the OCIs are reasonable, different high mileage oils aren`t mixed, and the grade used is consistent (I stick with 5w30) every oil producer`s website I`ve read, and other articles online by people who seem to have some knowledge on the subject, all agree that this is an acceptable practice.


First blend was Irving High Mileage (because I was in the middle of nowhere and the oil level, it had an unfixed leak at that time through the O-ring, was just below the bottom add mark) with the Motomaster Formula 1 5w30 that was in the car when I bought it. Next blend was maybe half a litre of Castrol HM added to GTX as top up oil. Current blend began as Toyota Dino with the rest of the Castrol HM added in, followed by some of the PP because the oil level was low and I had the newly bought 4.4L bottle of PP already in the trunk (1L of it has since poured into my empty 1L Castrol HM bottle to keep in the trunk for topup).


jacek, I`m inclined to agree with you on the Mobil filter (you raise a valid point I hadn`t thought of). An OEM long filter (to trap as much gunk as I can) is probably a better bet. And likely a bit cheaper too.


MMO isn`t available in Canada (this has been confirmed by other posters on bitog). This is why I`m thinking about Seafoaming the crankcase before changing the current oil out (Seafoam is sold in Canada).


There is a LOT of sludge in this engine, and its pretty scary to look at when it has so few miles on it too. I`ll find a way to get some pics posted before I start the cleaning process. The best I can do in the meantime is to describe it: looking through the fill hole you can see it baked all over, its charcoal blacky with a very coarse looking texture to it. There`s also some clumps of it visible, particularly on the fill cap. Its just nasty. That being said, the car still runs like a top and mileage is on par with factory spec. But I like to take care of my cars, and I want this one to see at least 300,000 km (and I 100% believe it can do it with enough TLC). Being a novice back yard mechanic, I accept that it`ll take a while to restore it to the condition I want it to be in, but I enjoy the challenge. Once its there I`ll go bargain hunting for a cheap project car (either another Toyota, Honda, or Subaru) to restore. May as well get as much mileage out of the toolkit I`m assembling as I can (latest addition was a pair of 12,000 lb rated ramps so that I can finally get under the car). Plus this has become a new hobby for me (white collar job, rarely get a chance to get my hands dirty there) that I enjoy.



Edited by Spyder

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