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amg280

03 Ls430 Catastrophic Sludge Problem

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You know on second thought, maybe the bearings are not severely compromised. Usually, low oil pressure relates to worn bearings or a worn pump but with sludge buildup, the pressure is most likely low because of severely blocked passages (which does not bode well for the lubrication of internal parts of course). However, if after a more thorough cleaning, the oil pressure on a gauge seems appropriate and the cylinder compression looks good, you may have dodged a bullet.

All in all, this is a very unusual case and I would be interested in how it all turns out. Please keep us posted Andy.

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Im interested to know why you think the engine is shot,

btw,

that machine wont work. The oil sump pump sends pressurized oil to the oil filter and then to the engine. It gets clogged before it even gets to the filter. But that was a good suggestion.

Andy

I did not say the engine was shot. I said the bearings appear to be shot (ie: low oil pressure). But more thorough analysis needs to be conducted. I would hook up an actual oil gauge and get a direct reading. It may turn out to be the oil pump itself and a new one may restore pressure(if pressure is indeed a problem). The fact that you did not drive long with the oil warning light on does not mean the doctor did the same. If it came on for you, it is very likely to have lit up for him as well.

I am surprised to hear you dismiss the Motorvac machine so quickly. They use a special solution and filter. It really may not work as poorly as you believe.

Again, blue smoke on acceleration?

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Andy,

Take it slow and don't take any drastic action like rebuilding the engine or replacing it. Try replacing the oil pressure sensor first, a comparatively inexpensive approach. A couple of cycles of cleaning and replacing the lubricant and filter should also be considered. Not having seen the patient (your car) I'll not try to diagnose it's apparent problem, Lexus is a great car with almost bullet proof engines, something simple may be just what the doctor ordered.

Tom

A past ASE certified Master Auto Technician

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I've never heard of such sludge problems. 10 pounds of the stuff? A little sand and stone mixed in and you can patch your driveway. I wonder if someone used some magic elixir oil additive and this is the long term result.

Maybe you should try some of these oil detergent additives and do a few back to back oil changes.

New oil & filter. 500 miles. Repeat.

Maybe fresh oil and/or and additive will thin out the sludge such that you can get 90% out in a 2-3 oil changes over a couple weeks. Maybe you're out $50-75 for your trouble but if it improves matter then its a very cheap fix.

I recommend a true pressure reading (psi) of the oil pressure as others have suggested. If the wane pump for the oil is worn it could mean insufficient oil pressure. Without enough oil getting circulated perhaps oil is being baked on the inner surfaces and turning to sludge. A new oil pump is a lot cheaper than a new engine and if you've have the pan off it might not be too much of a job.

This sludge thing sounds pretty bad according to the link below. Also Toyota is one of the more often cited "problem engine" when it comes to sludge. Ouch.

www<dot>schleeter<dot>com/oil-sludge.htm

www<dot>consumeraffairs<dot>com/automotive/toyota_engine.html

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I don't believe you.

+1 cheers.gif There is more to this than just oil whistling1.gif And such serious problems and no documentation ? Pictures ? Or any real proof, All heresay...

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There are some interesting threads on the Corvetteforum regarding sludge in the radiator. It seems that when certain types of antifreeze are mixed together they can form sludge. One of the the posts also goes on to describe a case where the antifreeze was mixing with the engine oil and creating more sludge.

Now I am not a mechanic, but it would seem to me that something just got into your newly cleaned oil pan to create all that sludge. Ruling out the local neighborhood vandals, that would leave only gasoline, rainwater, or coolant, that could possibly gain access to the inside of your engine. My feeling is to always try the lowest cost shots first. Flush the radiator, replace with the proper coolant, Lexus specifies its particular type of coolant, make sure you bleed all the air out of the system and pressurize it, and then see if you get the sludge again. Also, take a look at what comes out of the radiator. MY 95 LS has 150k miles on it, and the engine runs smooth as silk, no reason yours should not either.

Good Luck.

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I don't believe you.

LOL I was reading all this and I was like 8 lbs then 10 lbs...what the...there is no way the oil was ever changed. Come on...

Good call SRK!

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This sounds like a bogus post or that someone sabotaged an engine since there is no history of either the LS400 or LS430 engines having sludging problems.

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Regular oil changes have always been done on this car since it was a baby.

This was in your first post. Now you are questioning if a oil change was done at all in the first 30 some thousand miles? If it was a leased vehicle there should be documentation on the service history.

Andy sorry to be so skeptical but this is hard to believe. If this is car is having a problem like you are describing I would say I would be suprised if the oil was ever changed.

I had a buddy in college his brother is a master mechanic for a ford dealership and they did an experiment on a ford escort. At 100k miles they quit changing the oil, they only made sure it was full. Quaker state oil and guess what that thing kept going and going. It went and went he drove it near another 100k...and he ran the crap out of the car too. Long story short even when the car did die it was the radiator not the engine.

I just don't think your Lexus could have the amount of sludge in the engine as you are describing. 18lbs...wow.

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(assuming this is not a hoax, and if it is, it's entertaining for now, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt) Please keep us updated on this - interesting mystery here.

If it were me, I'd tow the thing home and remove the pan to clear the sludge as you did before. Replace oil filter. Without worrying much about perfect sealing, replace the pan (because you're going to be removing it again pretty soon). Replace oil, run the engine (with it still jacked up, engine raised to allow pan removal, etc.) until it clogs again. Repeat. At some point, it should just run without clogging. Run some motor flush (Seafoam or other) in there during one or more of the oil changes. Then you can move to road testing, etc. as curiousB suggested.

I think removing the valve covers, etc. will be a lot of work to allow careful cleaning of just part of the engine.

Good job on stopping immediately on the low pressure warning.

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There are some interesting threads on the Corvetteforum regarding sludge in the radiator. It seems that when certain types of antifreeze are mixed together they can form sludge. One of the the posts also goes on to describe a case where the antifreeze was mixing with the engine oil and creating more sludge.

As you can see in my sig I own a Corvette now, and once had a fourth gen Camaro. GM uses a coolant called Dexcool, and it must not be mixed with any other type of coolant, unlike most today which are compatible. Dexcool is good for six years or 150,000 miles according to GM. It's a strange pink colour, intended to prevent folks from putting the green in with it. Used properly it is apparently very good stuff, but there are a few anecdotal horror stores.....which as we know do crop up from time to time......

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For all you people that think your Lexus is so perfect and think im making this post up, here are the pics of the my POS with the drivers valve cover off. Its basically a total loss. Im going back to benz. Sorry to be so rude but come on. Hoax? really? You dont think I have better things to do? The sludge is so extensive its not worth my time or money to fix for a glorified avalon.

Glorified avalon? Enjoy your M.B.

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It sucks but there is no way that regular services have been performed on that engine. I don't see why you are blaming Lexus or Toyota for a engine which has not been serviced. There are way to many of these cars on the road with no reports of these types of problems. You can't even prove if the oil was changed in the first 30k miles of the cars life. Then one of the services went 11k when services should have been done every 5k but either way you have a huge mess.

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That sludge as you call is not the result of antifreeze. It's the result of no oil changes, for a very long time. It's what any engine without service would look like. So no I don't believe you that it's had oil changes. I'm sure you have better things to do than to slag all the people on this board that are devoted to Lexus.

Go buy your Benz. And don't let the door knob hit you on the way out of here.

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amg280, I think your argument is with the man you bought your car from. Some of us, like me, have been around Lexus LS cars since they were introduced, have followed Lexus forums since they started on the internet, know lots of Lexus LS owners and are friends with people who own shops that maintain Lexus LS cars. You are the very first person I have ever heard of having a problem like this on any Lexus LS. Something is very, very wrong and I highly suspect that the problem was caused either by lack of maintenance, completely incorrect maintenance or outright sabotage. Does "Doc" have any enemies?

After 20 years of Mercedes ownership, the past 20 years with Lexus LS cars have been pure joy. But that is just my own experience and maybe yours will be different.

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Looking at the picture from the top of the engine it appears that you have not only sludge but a caked on dry brittle build up on the valve cover???

This indicates that at some point during the cars life it had one or several massive over heatings. WHen oil overheats it will cake and start to clog all your ports. Even if the condition that caused the original problem IE water pump or no coolant the caked up areas will now be cancer to the internal engine and will cause sludge build up for the rest of the engines life. So now you are face with three choices.

!) Tear the engine down and rebuild

2) replace engine with one from a wreck

3) Sell car as is eat you losses

4) sell car for parts

Next time you buy a used car whether it be a ford taurus or a rolls royce it may be a good idea to check for this problem.

Also not sure how you tested this car before you bought it but I didnt read anywhere that you ran this car from cold to hot and kept running it for at least 2 hrs before you bought it. WOuld this problem shown up during that test before you bought it?

Dave 98 LS400 190k miles bullet proof car

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When did you buy the car and what did you pay for it? Is it 95k miles?

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