Question about 1998 Toyota Camry

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98 Camry 4 cy. - can oil completely leak out of engine and oil pan (regardless of where leak is) and absolutely not hear rocker arms or something chatter loudly enough to indicate low oil, plus not have oil pressure light come on?

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  • from_gs Jul 30, 2009

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    98 Camry 4 cy. - can oil completely leak out of engine and oil pan (regardless of where leak is) and absolutely not hear rocker arms or something chatter loudly enough to indicate low oil, plus not have oil pressure light come on?


    Had mechanic to inspect the engine. (140K) He found zero evidence of oil leaking from oil pan (or plug) or value covers. He removed the oil pan and also the value covers.

    There was evidence of some (not significant amounts) of metal in the pan, and there was, what he described as substantial sludge in around the rockers after removing value cover.

    He flushed the engine twice and said that the oil remained to be dirty looking even after the second flush.

    He said that although the engine would start that it had very litte power.

    The engine light did not come on at anytime. He didn't have a manual gauge that could use. So, ultimately, the actual pressure isn't known.

    He said that without really disassembling the engine in a more profound way...that he couldn't really tell what happened.

    He said that he found no real physical evidence that somebody put sugar in gas tank, but that if the sugar was liquified, then it would make it more difficult to detect. He checked the fuel filer..and found it to be in good working order. So he said that most of the time, sugar will be visible in filter before entering the engine injectors.

    The oil pan and value cover gaskets were replaced in 2007. The EGR value was replaced along with Timing Belt in late 2006 (approx 100K).

    The only conclusion is that it is possible that the engine has died from sludge. The machanic said that he's never looked at an engine that had no visible signs of oil leakage externally or through exhaust and yet most of the oil was gone.

    He came to that conclusion because of the visible sludge after taking off value cover... and the fact that 2 oil flushed later, the fresh new oil appeared to be very dirty.

    We still are at a loss!


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Firstly! Yes alloy engines will run quite along time with little or no oil!
oil warning lights are a waste of space!
if it fails to light up you dont have any warning do you!
i would like to know from you a little more of the story! as to were you driving at the time ?? did it have leaks prior & is the plug still in the oil pan?? or was motor burning oil
Cheers Rob.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009

  • ROB Jul 31, 2009

    oil sludge buildup is due to mixing different brands& not servicing motor regularly!

    it may burn oil when temerature rises if valvse & or their guides are worn & stem seals leaking & you may not have noticed the smoke!

    The oil light [ pressure switch] may be faulty [ no light]

    id say it has worn or brocken oil rings on pistons & withh slude present It needs a rebuild as i would not truast it to be reliable atall

    Cheers Rob


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Unless the drain plug was leaking, there really is no way that all of the oil can come out of the pan, as the oil level is below the sealing area between the pan and the block. With that being said, you will normally not hear any noises untill the oil pressure drops to zero, when there is not sufficient oil at the pickup of the oil pump. After that, and the noises start, you may have internal damage.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009

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