: You know you own a Toyota if



osv_alero
02-11-03, 08:06 AM
Because of the big law suit against Toyota about engines breaking down with very low miles, this email was sent to Letterman.

Top 10 reasons you know you know you own a Toyota.

1. Your Dealership tells you your 2 day old car should be traded in because of the need for a new engine.

2. When going up overpasses, 1960 VW Bus pass you.

3. Your garage floor is turning greenish.

4. You go looking for a gas station that gives you a an oil change with every gas fillup.

5. Your mechanic asks how high your credit limit is.

6. The manufacture tells you your car is perfect even though your is sitting in the driveway with only 5000 miles and a blown engine.

7. Your mechanic lectures you on how changing your oil every 2500 miles is not often enough.

8. Your engine sits in a bag in the back of your car instead of the front

9. Your motoring life is more like the Saturn commercial. You find yourself walking with a horn in hand.

10. You never believe ANYTHING in Consumer Reports again.

BeelzeBob
02-11-03, 08:34 AM
Hi OSV.. Welcome aboard! Tell me about this law suit.. I've never heard anything about it.. Does it apply to Lexus vehicles as well?

osv_alero
02-11-03, 09:47 AM
Kinda of long, but here it is. Funny, you don't here as much about this as the Ford Explorer recall.

Toyota, owners spar over engine sludge problem


Miami resident Maggie Alemany in the back of her 2000 Sienna minivan, which has been undriveable for the past year because of Toyota's refusal to repair her engine. (Photo by Mike Hamel)
By JOE KOHN
Automotove News
LOS ANGELES - In September 1999, Maggie Alemany, a 47-year-old medical transcriptionist, drove off the lot of Kendall Toyota in Miami with a new 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6.
_
Having leased two Previas previously, Alemany says she felt comfortable with Toyota and confident of its quality. But just over a year and 29,000 miles later, she took the Sienna back to Kendall for service because the oil indicator light stayed illuminated.
That's when Alemany got yanked out of her Toyota comfort zone.
"When I got there," she recalled in a telephone interview last week, "they told me I needed a new engine and that they wouldn't pay for it." Kendall Toyota quoted the repair at $8,000.
SLUDGE ALERT
What: 3.3 million Toyota engines built from 1996 to 2001
Problem: Sludge buildup that can ruin engine
POWER BUNCH
Toyota models equipped with 3.3 million 1MZ V-6 and 5SFE inline 4 engines produced between July 1996 and July 2001
Camry, 4- and 6-cylinder, August 1996 to July 2001
Camry Solara, 4- and 6-cylinder, June 1998 to May 2001
Sienna, July 1997 to May 2001
Avalon, July 1996 to May 2001
Celica, 4-cylinder, August 1996 to April 1999
Highlander, November 2000 to July 2001
Lexus ES 300, August 1998 to July 2001
Lexus RX 300, January 1998 to July 2001
Source: Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.
Like more than 3,000 other owners who have complained to Toyota about vehicles equipped with two of the automaker's core engine families - the 1MZ V-6 and 5SFE inline 4 - Alemany suddenly found herself at loggerheads with a company she had long associated with high quality and caring customer service.
Her engine was choking on a buildup of sludge, oxidized oil in the form of mucky goo that can seize up an engine. But because the problem can be caused from failure to change the oil regularly, Toyota steadfastly has refused to cover it under its five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Her Sienna has been parked in her front yard, undriveable, for the past year while she argued unsuccessfully with Toyota.
That part of her ordeal appears to be over, though.
In a letter sent last week to more than 3.3 million owners of vehicles equipped with the two engines, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. says it will pay repair costs for sludge damage in cases where customers can provide proof of "reasonable efforts" to maintain the vehicle.
The so-called special policy adjustment, requiring proof of only one oil change in a year, is good for one year. At the same time, though, the U.S. sales arm refused to veer from its position that negligent owners, not the product, are the source of the problem.
"We're not aware of any cases of oil gelling in properly maintained engines," said Bob Daly, general manager of Toyota Customer Services, in a press release that admonishes owners to maintain their vehicles properly.
"Toyota understands that customers can sometimes be confused about how to properly maintain their vehicles. We're confident that this program will remind customers of their responsibility as well as reassure those who have had regular oil changes that they have nothing to be concerned about."
Toyota and Lexus owners manuals stipulate oil changes every 7,500 miles or six months, whichever comes first, under normal driving conditions, and 5,000 miles or four months under severe driving conditions.
But to Alemany and thousands of other complainants who have vented on the Internet, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to lawyers, to radio talk show hosts - and to Toyota - the company's stance is the worst kind of distortion. In the view of these angry owners and some experts, the problem stems from design or quality flaws in some of the 3.3 million engines produced between 1996 and 2001.
Alemany said she showed her dealer oil change receipts from Jiffy Lube showing that she had changed the oil in the Sienna regularly.
"I might not have done oil changes every 4,000 miles," she said. "I have some at 4,000 and some at 6,000 - but I have had oil changes. But they wouldn't accept my Jiffy Lube receipts."
Similarly, Robin Burpee, a 38-year-old homemaker in Mendon, Mich., says she was refused warranty coverage for sludge damage even after showing her dealership, Sunshine Toyota Inc. of Battle Creek, receipts for regular oil changes. Her leased 2000 Sienna XLE broke down on the highway in November and had to be towed.
After filing for arbitration under recommendation from an independent master technician, Toyota in late January agreed to pay for Burpee's engine repairs but refused to pay for alternate transportation, costs for hiring an independent technician and other incidental costs associated with the repair.
"I am out of pocket nearly $5,000 of incidental expenses that they are refusing to reimburse me for," Burpee said last week.
Although it's not clear why the two Toyota engines are so susceptible to sludge buildup, some independent experts say the concentration of complaints within two engines and a narrow time band points to either a design flaw or a quality defect.
Larry Perry, an A.S.E.-Certified Master Technician, repair-shop owner and host of a radio talk show in Orlando, Fla., says he has discovered an apparent design flaw in 3.0-liter V-6s produced between 1999 and 2001. He says he sees a disproportionate number of the engines coming through his shop on 1999 and 2000 Siennas.
"We believe Toyota reduced the size of cooling passages to the cylinder heads in those engines in order to increase combustion temperatures for more of a complete burn to reduce exhaust emissions," Perry said.
Excessive heat makes oil more susceptible to sludge. Perry says he has measured cylinder-head temperatures as high as 260 degrees in those engines - 30 degrees higher than in earlier models.
Perry also points out that this engine series uses a lifter bucket instead of a rocker arm to open and close the valves.
"The lifter sits in the head and gets sludge and debris compacted up underneath it. So when it gets compacted by the camshaft, it's squeezing oil into the combustion chambers," he said.
In this case, he said, the solution is to use only 100 percent synthetic motor oil.
Another Toyota Sienna owner, who declined to be identified, said an analysis of her oil by Valvoline Co. in Lexington, Ky., found traces of chemical glycol - pointing to the likelihood of a leaky head gasket, allowing coolant into the engine chamber.
That also would raise engine temperatures, leading to sludge buildup.
Last week, Toyota said that its policy change is not an admission that there is any defect in the engines. Rather, the company says, it is an attempt to calm an inordinately large number of concerns about sludge while encouraging customers to maintain their vehicles properly.
In the scope of Toyota's millions-strong customer base, the approximately 3,100 consumers to date who have complained to the company about sludge - 2,400 Toyota owners and 700 Lexus owners - is microscopic. The group consists of less than .01 percent of Toyota owners in the United States.
But some Toyota owners who have incurred large costs because sludge has ruined their engines still are adamant in saying that Toyota has not done enough and are turning to lawyers to make their voices heard.
Lawyers in Florida, Georgia and Idaho are using Internet message boards to gather clients in hopes of forming class-action lawsuits against the automaker.
Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said Toyota monitors the "vocal few" customers on the Internet who warn others about purchasing Toyota products because of sludge problems. But he and Daly said the company was not aware of lawsuits being formed.
Regardless of what potential legal action may do, Toyota still faces dozens of customers who, like Alemany, insist they deserve more compensation than the cost of replacing an engine.
"They don't know what I've been through," she said late last week after Toyota announced the new policy.
"My daughter has been stuck at school, I have been asking for rides, walking home, waiting two hours for a bus - all the while I'm making car payments. I don't think I'm asking for too much at all. Not at all. I've been abused by this big corporation. That's how I feel."

osv_alero
02-11-03, 09:51 AM
Many have said the current engines aren't any better. The design flaw is still there.

BeelzeBob
02-11-03, 11:45 AM
I guess every car company has its dark secrets.. It appears the least-expensive Lexus' would have this problem as well...

Elvis
02-11-03, 11:48 AM
I think I remember reading that the Dodge 318 has the same problem.

Devil_concours
02-11-03, 12:59 PM
yikes. There goes their reputation of quality and reliability

BeelzeBob
02-11-03, 01:27 PM
That could be pretty big.. Very interesting...

elwesso
02-11-03, 04:46 PM
Whenever i think of toyota, i think of cars that last forever, with low maintenance. Not anymore......

I dont think that i would buy a toyota now, not for the engine defects (although a factor), but the fact that toyota refused to do anything about it, especially to the people that proved they had oil changes.

Dead Sled
02-11-03, 07:50 PM
Originally posted by Elvis
I think I remember reading that the Dodge 318 has the same problem.

Im not aware on any flaws of that mangnatude with the 318. They are almost as indestructable as the 225 Slant Six

kcnewell
02-11-03, 07:58 PM
I've never heard of any complaints about the 318 either.....Other than not enough power for theamount of fuel used!

lev
04-10-04, 03:45 PM
You and your damn mechanic are not on fist name basis and you never tow your car or dumped untold thousands of dollars just to keep it running.

Playdrv4me
04-10-04, 07:01 PM
You and your damn mechanic are not on fist name basis and you never tow your car or dumped untold thousands of dollars just to keep it running.

What?

No, I dont think this will destroy Toyotas reputation of quality and reliability, in fact I think it is BECAUSE of their reputation that the idiot customer service people are so hyped up on the impossibility that something like this could happen they refuse to give customers the benefit of the doubt which is VERY VERY bad on their part. Will this hurt them in the long haul though?? Probably not, just like GMs problems with coolant in some of the V6s hasnt hurt them. Problems happen, corporations deal with them and then they are mostly eventually forgotten. BMW had several complaints on the 3.2L unit grenading in some of the early 2000's M3s and they eventually neatly shoved that whole ordeal under the carpet with the typical "ok well give the customers just enough rope so they dont hang themselves or us" approach.

It happens to the best of them, the unfortunate point is, that in 99 percent of the cases of such large problems, the manufacturer almost always rears back and takes the stance of it not being "their fault".

Spock
04-10-04, 09:05 PM
No way I'll even consider a Toyota after reading this article.
It's not to do with the car itself, but the company. Even after overwhelming evidence that certain types of engines are faulty, they refuse to issue a recall or even to repair the cars that have malfunctioned because of their lack of vision. Poor customer service is the problem here.

El Dobro
04-10-04, 09:52 PM
Is it just me or has anyone else ever noticed how the news media treats recalls and campaigns differently beween foreign and domestic car builders? It just seems that the domestic vehicles get more coverage when there's a problem. I've known about the Toyota sludge problem for some time now. I heard about it on the net, not from the news.

Playdrv4me
04-10-04, 09:58 PM
Is it just me or has anyone else ever noticed how the news media treats recalls and campaigns differently beween foreign and domestic car builders? It just seems that the domestic vehicles get more coverage when there's a problem. I've known about the Toyota sludge problem for some time now. I heard about it on the net, not from the news.

Maybe... I remember it was all over the place when both VW/Porsche and Mercedes issued their recalls for the Dashboard Fires and Mercedes' seatbelt latch problems. Theres also another Toyota recall that made big news recently where the Camry has unintended acceleration.

Pimpin_Whity
04-10-04, 10:20 PM
No way I'll even consider a Toyota after reading this article.
I didn't consider a toyota before this. it's a rice pattie, it was when it came out and it will be for the rest of it's life. the company's reputation was build on hype created by the people and stupid magazines (they talk about reliability of a brand new car, every car runs fine for the first couple of years).

Vesicant
04-10-04, 11:13 PM
Motortrend did a long term test on a new Toyota Camry... big downside was not only low HP but a major repair because the headgasket and oil pan gasket went on it.

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedan/112_0310_verd/index1.html


At around the 20,000-mile mark, we noticed the brakes pulsated during hard stops. A trip to the dealer resulted in new brake pads and machine turning of the brake rotors. We also were notified that the cylinder-head gasket and transmission-pan gasket were leaking and needed replacing--not the usual Toyota durability we're used to, but all was covered under warranty, and this minor malady seemed unique to our particular test car.
Is this to say that many Camrys are like this? Donno, but it corresponds with the problems Toyota is having.

El Dobro
04-11-04, 01:27 AM
Maybe... I remember it was all over the place when both VW/Porsche and Mercedes issued their recalls for the Dashboard Fires and Mercedes' seatbelt latch problems. Theres also another Toyota recall that made big news recently where the Camry has unintended acceleration.

I really don't remember seeing anything on those recalls. One I do remember though concerned Saturn about ten years ago. There was a wire that went between the alternator and the starter. Saturn felt that it may heat up under certain conditions. They felt that rather than take a chance of this happening, they voluntarily recalled every single one of their cars and changed the wire. Fine and dandy, except the news media went into a chicken little mode and all the talking heads told us that Saturns were in imminent danger of bursting into flames and to contact the dealers immediately, although not a single one even came close to burning.

Does anyone remember the time NBC news rigged up a GM pick-up truck gas tank with an igniter to explode the tank because the car they set up to hit the pick-up on their investigative report couldn't get the tank to go off?

inmycadillac
04-11-04, 04:15 AM
wow, i never heard about this before. should make the rice burners happy!