Question about 1997 Toyota Camry

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1997 Toyota Camry with second round of engine sludge

First, let me say that I have always had the oil changed in my 1997 Camry every 3,000 miles, since I bought it new 12 years ago.  I had the sludge problem about 5 years ago and since I had my documentation that showed I had done the required maintenance and oil changes on time (I use a private mechanic), the dealer replaced the engine and did everything else needed for free.
Now the engine has begun to sludge again (it has 107,000 miles on it), and I have two questions:
[1] I recently bought a new car (before I new about the new round of sludging).  I was hanging onto the 97 Camry because my nephew was interested in buying it, but wouldn't be old enough to buy it until this month.  The sludging problem was found when I took it to my mechanic and told him that I wanted him to check the car with a fine-toothed comb before I sold it to my nephew.  Other than the sludge issue, the car is in great shape and I have never had any other problems with it except a weird problem with the door locks -- I have only had to do regular maintenance. 
If there is a way to prevent the sludge from recurring (and I _have_ had the oil changed every 3,000 miles) I would like to sell him the car (or if the dealers are fixing successive rounds of sludging free -- with documentation that the car has had the maintenance done as directed).
But I don't want to sell him the car if the car is going to continually re-sludge even if he takes care of it properly, unless there is some way to prevent it.  Can anyone answer this, or tell me where I can find information about this?
[2] Does anyone know if dealers are likely to do the repairs on this free also?  It was caught earlier, and so the engine doesn't need to be replaced -- just de-sludged.
Thanks for any help!

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The best way to solve the sludge problem is to drive the car! If you drive a few miles then shut it off that advances sludge issues. Make sure you get it fully warmed up. Toyota sent me the notice on the sludge issue in 1998. I have 327,000 miles on my Camry now. When I drive it I get it fully warmed up, and most days I put on at least 20 miles. I change oil every 4-5000 miles. These are great cars.
I never changed any of the common parts that fail on most American cars before 100,00 miles. Such as O2 sensors, alternator, starter, cv joints, all original still.

Vince Salmela

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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Hello I'm in the same boat- my 1997 camry blew up at 105,000 -i changed my oil every 3000 miles.and was religious with maintenence and I am really pissed the mechanics were saying i was neglectful.when it was a toyota engine defect all along !!!! it turns good oil into sludge !!!!.--you need to go to these websites and you will get all your answers ....then call your local tv station investigative division when you are done !!!!-this is a nationwide secret recall..hushed up...

go to sludge settlement, run a car fax to see when your car was 1st titled, this site rocks..--, go to the nhtsa-odi nat'l highway transportation safety admin-odi-office of defects investigation, there was a court settlement in 2002 in louisiana where toyota says certain models are affected, and call toyota north america with your VIN # ., and they will tell you if your car is affected...
ps... you would be covered for 8 years from org purchase-+ 120 days..
if over 8 years you may need to get extra help from the news press..

hope this helps--ps please fwd this to a million or so extra people you know so everyone knows about this safety issue......good luck !!!!

Posted on Feb 15, 2009

  • zippymerlot Feb 15, 2009

    zippy merlot is right ignore the other me


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Sounds like your using the wrong oil ,,,,,????try using diesel engine oil with a 3sec squirt of washing up liquid ,sounds like your using recycled oil.Some engines do suffer from this like the old perkins in the transit in the 60s using an expensive oil with lots of additives expasperates the the problem.try it go on cheapest diesel engine oil and a squirt of washing up liquid,bet it works

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

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