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our oil light went on less than 3 months after an oil change, then not even a mile later, the car stalled out. the mechanic we towed it to said that there was oil in the car, but it was like mud, and he couldn't figure out what was wrong with the car. we had it towed to a dealer where it's sat for a week, they said something like the engine was "drying up the oil", but also can't tell us what is wrong. has anyone heard of such a thing? there were articles about this same problem (oil sludge in toyota engines) in consumer affairs, but not involving rav4's.
 
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Did he say it was like mud or muddy colored? We had a vehicle blow a head gasket and crack the head. The oil looked very muddy color, but it wasn't like sludge.

The only reason I can think that the oil light would come on is if it lost pressure or was very low.

My guess is that coolant got in there somehow.
 
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he said it was thick, like sludge, not mud colored. the dealer wanted us to fax over any maintenence receipts to present them to toyota to see if they will cover what's wrong (meanwhile they still won't tell us what exactly is wrong with the car), so we did. unfortunately the mechanic we take the car to doesn't write down the mileage or vin# on receipts, so they are saying they are useless. we really do take care of the car, and get the oil changed regularly, so naturally we are frustrated. they told us it has something to do with the engine, but will only say it seems to be "drying up oil".
 
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cindyc,
There are some Toyota 6 cylinder engines that are rumored to be "sludge monsters", but I was unaware of any of the 4 cylinders to be so afflicted.

Firstoff, you can count on your stealership's service advisors not to know what they are talking about..."drying up the oil"...that's a new one. :roll: If they can't tell you what's wrong, and won't cover it under warranty, it's time to get the thing out of there.

If, indeed, there is a thick layer of sludge on the bottom of the oil pan, I'd assume that you have a number of oil passages that are pretty clogged up...perhaps even the oil pump itself as well...

What oil and filter were you using? What is your oil change interval?

Bogatyr
 

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Try switching to synthetic motor oil such as Mobil 1, that has been known to help reduce the sludge problem. If I were you I would ask to see the oil pan and also have them take the valve cover off the engine to have a look at the "sludge".
 
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Bogatyr said:
cindyc,
There are some Toyota 6 cylinder engines that are rumored to be "sludge monsters", but I was unaware of any of the 4 cylinders to be so afflicted.

Firstoff, you can count on your stealership's service advisors not to know what they are talking about..."drying up the oil"...that's a new one. :roll: If they can't tell you what's wrong, and won't cover it under warranty, it's time to get the thing out of there.

If, indeed, there is a thick layer of sludge on the bottom of the oil pan, I'd assume that you have a number of oil passages that are pretty clogged up...perhaps even the oil pump itself as well...

What oil and filter were you using? What is your oil change interval?

Bogatyr

We had the oil changed every 3 months , 3,000 to 3,500 miles. They are really giving us the run around, and we wouldn't know where else to take it..The mechanic we brought it to origionally couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. We had 2 cars, and 1, (a honda) was stolen less than 2 weeks before the rav4 went. So we both work, have a newborn, and are trying to take care of all this with 1 rental car. So it would be hard to take it to a bunch of mechanics to try and figure out what's wrong with it. We get the impression from the "stealership" (i love that by the way, right on) that they know what is wrong with it, but won't say because they are waiting to see if toyota will cover it. We are guessing it's in need of a new engine. What do we do then??? everything we've read says that toyota is notoriously bad at covering these things, and we feel like it is unacceptable that a car that is not even 2 1/2 years old could possibly need a new engine. That of course is speculation, but it is the impression we get, because if it wasn't something major, we feel like they would at least give us an estimate of the work.
Any other info you could give us will be greatly appreciated, we honestly don't know what to do. if you think we should bring it somewhere else, we will.
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles, Cindy.

A couple things:

It's true that the sludge issues were not with the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder in the '02 RAV.

If your '02 RAV4 is under 60,000 miles, your drivetrain should be covered under the 5yr/60k mile warranty. This might apply (not sure) whether you bought the RAV new or not. (Did you?)

If you're within the 5/60 warranty period, you' d have to prove you had the oil changed. Shame on your mechanic for not recording your odometer milage, but that shouldn't knock you out of the box for coverage if there is any description of the vehicle on the receipt (is there?)- unless the mechanic is a real fly-by-night shop.
VIN shouldn't matter; sounds like the dealership is just trying to scare you off in case Toyota says no to covering you.

Also, it is possible that you paid for oil/filter changes that you did not get. Don't mean to sound negative, but you have to consider it as a possibility.

Good luck.

RAV on (hopefully).
 
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cindyc,
Ouch...and a newborn in the mix...

Now, IIRC, if you have receipts showing the oil was changed, the onus is still on Toyota to prove that the engine failure was due to the oil or the filter. Even without the mileage, there should still be a date on these receipts right?

The warranty is the important question now though, I'd have to assume you are still under warranty with only a 2.5 year old vehicle.

If they start to give you the runaround, don't be afraid of talking to a lawer or the state attorney general.

I know things get *very* busy with a newborn and the lack of sleep and all...but you have to fight them on this one if they try to deny you warranty repairs that are your right...

Certainly, ask to see the inside of the valve cover or the oil pan just to verify the sludge...

And, remember, someone local on this list might be able to offer some assistance...didn't see a location in your profile...

Bogatyr
 
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Not sure about our warranty...we did buy the car new, i have to dig out our paperwork. Would hate to think the mechanic didn't change the oil, my husbands family has been going to him for over 20 years. I feel like that's why he may be lax with the receipts. Not for nothing though, when we brought the car to the first mechanic right after it broke down, he changed the oil, and didn't write didly squat on the receipt either...I don't know is it a jersey thing? (Yeah, I'm in New Jersey, desperate to get out).
Just looked up our warranty, it's 6 years, or 75,000 miles, whatever comes first. In really really small print on the back, it says that vin# and mileage and vehicle description needs to be on the receipt. Man, this is frustrating. The dealership said they will probably have an answer from toyota tomorrow saying whether or not they will cover it.
 
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ejpede said:
Sorry to hear about your troubles, Cindy.

A couple things:

It's true that the sludge issues were not with the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder in the '02 RAV.

If your '02 RAV4 is under 60,000 miles, your drivetrain should be covered under the 5yr/60k mile warranty. This might apply (not sure) whether you bought the RAV new or not. (Did you?)

If you're within the 5/60 warranty period, you' d have to prove you had the oil changed. Shame on your mechanic for not recording your odometer milage, but that shouldn't knock you out of the box for coverage if there is any description of the vehicle on the receipt (is there?)- unless the mechanic is a real fly-by-night shop.
VIN shouldn't matter; sounds like the dealership is just trying to scare you off in case Toyota says no to covering you.

Also, it is possible that you paid for oil/filter changes that you did not get. Don't mean to sound negative, but you have to consider it as a possibility.

Good luck.

RAV on (hopefully).


"Paying for an oil change you didnt get" is certainly very possible. An area service station was caught doing this. Needless to say he's no longer in business. The lube place I went to will actually let me watch them do the oil change. Plus I mark my filter so I know it was changed. You have to look out for yourself these days. Now I do it myself - if I screw up its my fault.
 
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Hello All,
Still haven't heard from Toyota. Every day, they've said they will call us, then don't. We end up calling them, they say they will call us back, but don't. I really just pray they do the right thing. Thanks to everyone that's responded and for being so nice, I look forward to coming home from work to see if anyone has any imput.
I know that there are people that swear by Toyota, but this whole experience has put such a bad taste in my mouth, I just want to get rid of the car now. I have never had a problem like this EVER, I drove my Honda for 115,000 miles with regular maintenence and no major problems, heck, no problems at all...I spose that's why it was stolen. Sorry, but I'm a Honda girl.
I can't wait to let you know what happens.
 
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I don't get the "we don't know what's wrong". I guess I wouldn't take that for an answer. I'd have it towed to someone else for an impartial answer.
 
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They are saying the diagnostic test points to the engine, but they won't do anything else to find out what is wrong with it until they find out who is going to have to pay for it. They haven't taken anything apart in the car, so they don't know what is wrong with it. this is what is leading us to believe it is indeed something major.
 
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Cindyc,
Sounds like a bad case of circular reasoning...they need to get the ok from Toyota to tear into the thing.

Hmm, I wonder if you might be able to be a little proactive here. See if you can get a sample of the oil and have it analyzed...I use a company called Blackstone Labs...go to their website, get the $20 kit and then go to your vehicle and pull some of the oil into the sample container...send it off and see if there is anything really wrong with the oil...that might give you more info...hmm, or was the oil changed when the vehicle was towed to that mechanic prior to ending up at the stealership? Having this done might point to something like a coolant leak, too much fuel in the oil or, in case of a total meltdown, high lead content from the bearings...

I know what you mean about Hondas...my daily driver is a 1996 Civic with 124k on the clock...still gets me 40mpg...I've also got a 1984 CRX with 83k on it...nice.

Bogatyr
 
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yeah, the oil was changed at the mechanic before we brought it to the stealership. how long do we let our car sit at the dealership without hearing a darn thing? it's been 9 days....that just seems unacceptable to me. plus they are telling us that once they find out what is wrong with the car it will probably take at least a week to fix. how can they know this if they haven't figured out what's wrong yet? i wish i was a mechanic, or knew someone i really trusted around here, or knew a lawyer.
 
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Cindyc,
You might have to go up the ladder to get a response. Have the service manager give you his supervisor's contact info...if he's not forthcoming you should be able to get the Toyota regional info from the Toyota website somewhere...

From what I've heard from dealership service people, most responses are canned...just to tag you along.

Right, with that oil changed, an oil analysis won't tell much of anything at this point...

What I would do if this was a vehicle I had to diagnose...
1.drop the oil pan, clean up whatever you can
2.check the oil pump, maybe the pickup screen is clogged up...clean that and possibily rebuild/replace
3.try starting it
4.run a cleaner, not the kerosene people usually use, something more gentle...maybe a high detergent diesel oil in there...and only run it enough to get some stuff broken down...500 miles?
5.drop the pan again and see what's going on in there...

Just my 2 kopeks...I have no idea why Toyota is taking so long...especially with a vehicle still under warranty...you might be able to talk to the sales manager to tell him that you're not impressed and might have to reconsider replacing your civic with a corolla...maybe he holds some weight with the service people...

Bogatyr
 

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man, i feel sick....surprise, toyota never called us back. we ended up calling them again today only to find out that toyota will not cover it, and indeed we need a new engine. it will only cost $8,000 for a new one and $6,000 for a used one. seems reasonable for a $20,000 car...man, this sucks. tell me what other type of maintenence should we have had done on a car w/ 45,000 miles on it (besides oil) that if not done, would destroy the engine??? i need to go throw up.
 

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Cindy -

IMHO... you need to contact corporate Toyota -
(info from http://ralphb.net/RAV4FAQ.html )

Subject: 1.3) Phone Numbers

800-331-4331 - Toyota Customer Assistance Center (US Only)
800-GO-TOYOTA (800-468-6968) - Toyota Information Center (US Only)

US Corporate Office:
Toyota Motor Sales USA
19001 S. Western Avenue
Torrance, Calif. 90509
(310) 618-4000 (general number)
(310) 781-2442 (Exectuive Customer Relations)


If they can't/won't help you out, you need to contact a lawyer and/or your State Attorney General's office.... ASAP :!:
 

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cindyc said:
man, i feel sick....surprise, toyota never called us back. we ended up calling them again today only to find out that toyota will not cover it, and indeed we need a new engine. it will only cost $8,000 for a new one and $6,000 for a used one. seems reasonable for a $20,000 car...man, this sucks. tell me what other type of maintenence should we have had done on a car w/ 45,000 miles on it (besides oil) that if not done, would destroy the engine??? i need to go throw up.
When you say Toyota do you mean the dealer?
 
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