Problem Description and Possible Solution
Sludge can build up in the engine because Toyota did not recommend frequent enough oil changes. Lexus will sometimes offer a discount on cleaning the engine if necessary. Owners who changed their oil every 3,000 miles did not experience these problems. This sludge build up can lead to excessive oil consumption.
Average mileage: 155,964 (83,409–249,789)
Engines affected: 2.2L 4 Cylinder, 2.4L 4 Cylinder, 3.0L V6
26 people reported this problem
After hearing scary knocking, took to mechanic, mechanic determined there is excessive oil sludge in the engine and says something (sludge...piece of engine)broke off in the engine. Says he cannot guarantee that it can be removed and recommends engine replacement. Replacement has 60K miles and cost of $2400 w/o labor. Help...does this sound reasonable.. ie diagnosis, inability to get knocking object out and cost for replacment?
I just want to go on record to say there is something environmental or the way different people drive that causes the sludge buildup. A coworker owned my 2000 V6 Toyota Solara for the first 113,000 miles. He had the oil changed every 3,000 miles and I believe he used Penzoil 10W30. I have used the same oil (no additives like STP or anything else) but have changed it every 5,000 miles. The car now has 264,000 miles on it and uses no oil between changes, even during the extended 5,000 mile period. I recently removed the cam cover to replace the gasket and it was clean with no waxy buildup. I live in South Texas and I make a 250 mile run once a week. I think the buildup some folks are experiencing is due to the brand of oil, the driving conditions (in-town vs. long drives), or some other factor. It's possible that changing the oil more frequently in conjuction with a secondary cause keeps sludge from building up but my car is evidence it's not just because of the extended oil change period. By the way, I had a 1998 V6 Camry that I sold to my brother. It now has over 300,000 miles on it and still doesn't burn oil and the oil looks clean for a long time after each oil change. I changed the oil in that car every 5,000 miles and I think he uses the same change period.
First let me say, my 2002 Canadian driven Solara is tops. Excellent fuel economy, no problem hauling my 4x8 utility trailer, very comfortable interior, never had a problem getting acceleration when I needed it and sometimes when I didn't ! as for the dirty engine ... Even with good quality synthetic oil rated for 10,000 km, the oil becomes very dirty much earlier - around 8,000 km. Certainly more frequent oil changes are indicated. I plan to ask a dealer if I can get a free clean as this is a known problem - wish me luck !
I bought my 2000 Toyota Camry Solara in 2003. This had been a car rental before I bought it so I was not notified of an oil gel problem. I noticed I had to keep adding oil because the dipstick would indicate I was losing oil, even though there was never an indication of it under my car. When I brought it in to my Toyota dealer, he told me there was a recall on my vehicle due to oil sludge building up. I don't remember his exact explanation, but it had to do something with the size not being adequate on this model and instead of the oil traveling where it should, it would just build up into a sludge. The service report in front of me states: Replaced short block, valve seals, oil pump, V/C. It was fully taken care of under warranty. It goes on to list the following replacements made: Gasket, valve, pump assembly, motor oil, filter, antifreeze. The only thing I paid for was a new serpentine belt, which they suggested I do then, since the entire engine was pulled from the car. This definitely took care of the oil gel problem. I haven't had another episode since. It was suggested I start using 5w30 full synthetic oil. Now I use the synthetic oil blend and it works just fine. I think Toyota takes care of the oil sludge problem into the 8th year of your car's existence. Just google Toyota oil sludge recall. If you don't fix this problem, it will ruin your car. Good luck.
I have a 99 toyota camry 4 cyl 2.2l, just replaced the valve cover and noticed there was some oil build up(it wasnt much but it flaked off) and i think when i pulled the old cover off it knocked some into the engine, and now it smokes when i accelerate either from a stopped position or from a slower speed, its not continuous it just leaves a gigantic cloud in my rearview.
P.S the buildup was on the cam mounting points if that makes a difference.
My 2002 Solara Camry has had synthetic oil changes every 3 to 5 thousand miles. It's been well maintained and properly driven. The engine now needs to be replaced at 103,000 miles due to oil sludge damage. This has cost me $500.00 thus far (replaced oil control valve and four engine flushes). From all research, this issue is design flaw that warranted a recall. I work and go to school full time, was hoping to get through college with this car. My engine is included in the oil gel settlement but it is now two years past the legal coverage. I am making a claim but from all that I've read it seems like a time consuming battle with an unlikely resolution.
I bought my Solara used with 99,000 miles. I noticed the car would burn oil at start up. I change my oil every 3,000 miles and use Mobil 1 Full Synthetic. My dealership suggested I purchase a whole new engine but I refused and so far so good. Just regular maintenance oil changes at 3,000 miles will correct the problem.