You've entered the Sludge Zone.
Toyota reverses position on sludge, read the news release dated 2/8/02.

Read the whole article.

Automotive News article 4/3/02 & 2/8/02

Did Toyota do the right thing.

This page and section started off somewhere in Jan. 01 when I was seeing and getting an increasing number of engines that had severe sludge build up internally. At that time all the blame was being placed on the owner with the reasoning that they were not taking care of the engine as Toyota suggested. I felt that with the shear number of vehicles affected that something else was at the root cause. In February 02 Toyota finally acknowledged the condition, without taking real blame for any engineering problems, and started to correct the affected engines. They had some conditions that had to be met but their Special Policy Adjustment was a good start. Now this week, April 3, 02, they finally showed their true corporate stance on the unfortunate problem. They have broadened the scope of the coverage, within the years and models affected, and they are due a well earned thumbs up for this effort to stand behind what I still believe is the best product on the market.

This seems affect mostly Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Highlander, Celica and most Lexus 300/RX series models with the model years after 1997 thru 2001. Toyota made a change in the engine design that actually attributed to the problem.

My biggest question is do I qualify? Here are the guidelines Toyota is using to establish the engines that are prone to having the sludge (gel) condition:

Camry 4 cyl. Produced 8/96 - 7/01

Camry 6 cyl. Produced 8/96 - 8/02

Solara 4 cyl. Produced 6/98 - 5/01

Solara 6 cyl. Produced 6/98 - 8/02

Sienna 6 cyl. Produced 7/97 - 6/02

Avalon 6 cyl. Produced 7/96 - 6/02

Celica 4 cyl. Produced 8/96 - 4/99

Highlander 6 cyl. Produced 11/00 - 8/02

If you look at the vehicle identification label on the left door or left door post you can find the date of manufacutre. It normally is one of the first things you can see on the upper left of the label (example 7/98 means it was made July, 1998).

The actual cause of the problem is an inability of the engine's crankcase ventilation system (PCV) to move the normal gases from the engine. When these gases stay longer in an hot engine it allows deposits to form on the metal parts of the engine. When enough deposits are present "Sludge" is formed. In my opinion the reduced flow of the PCV is related to the vehicle emissions. This presents a problem since to correct it may require Toyota to recertify the engines, come up with a solution acceptable to the EPA and then they still have to repair or assist in repairing the affected engines. The costs would be staggering but ignoring the problem, in so many of their best selling vehicles, may be worse in the long run. In the various articles I've listed below, if you want, you will learn more about the cause an effect.

The following topics are links to gather more information about what causes the condition. At this point this is for information only, if you have the condition please contact your local Toyota dealer.

I must again inform you that this site is in no way associated with Toyota Motor Company and any opinions are based on my 30 years of experience and knowledge.

Article from the

The Engine Oil Bible

My opinion.

Links to others with the problems (caution some of the statements are really unreasonable it's kind of like "have keyboard will travel")

How to prevent sludge.

I have a sludged engine, what can I do now.

Can the Engine be Cleaned?

Join the Sludge Club