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I see a great deal of Charlene bashing going on here, I for one agree with her.
Up until recently I had the utmost confidence with toyota products. Like many on this site I believed the sludge problem was due to poor maintenance procedures. But I began hearing about Toyota's sludge issue from multiple sources.
Then something happened to make me see the light. My father in law owned a 2002 toyota sienna mini van. He became a victim of the toyota sludge problem.His engine had to be rebuilt with only 45,000 miles on it. It started rather suddenly when the engine would belch out huge amounts of white smoke upon starting the engine. Then his oil consumption went through the roof as in 1 quart every 1,000 miles or less! Toyota said the car was out of warranty and refused to do anything unless it was payed for. The problem became so bad my father in law relented and had them repair the engine. I am sure that totyota dealers across the country are doing what this dealer did to my father in law. This tactic would explain why the sludge issue "appears" to be a small problem according to toyota. But her is the best part. My father in law is religous about changing his oil. Oil and filter every 3,000 miles like clockwork.
Just a quick side note, as per consumer reports Toyota is no longer the best car maker with the fewest reported problems. They have slipped into third place. It is easy to assume that their sludge problem has played a role in this.
So "back yard mechanic" for one, agrees with Charlene Blake?
The "for one" part is significant--there aren't many who do!
That must mean "back yard mechanic" subscribes to dramatic overstatements, half truths, lying when everything else fails, and always blaming others for one's misfortunes! (Small wonder she gets bashed--if her remarks the slightest bit honest the sludge issue would be more credible!)
That said, "back yard mechanic's" support for what's wrong with Blake's manipulative tactics and the accomanying story seem right out of Blake's playbook!!
Coincidence perhaps??
Back yard mechanic, your father's story is not unique. I wish I could say it is. I have corresponded with too-many-to-count Toyota/Lexus owners and the stories all reverberate the truth! Toyota has a serious engine oil sludge issue. Period.

Silverfox, if your only defense is to bash the messenger of the unfortunate news, then I personally think that you have no valid rebuttal. I am not concerned one way or the other, though, as the truth speaks much louder than any defamatory posting by you. I'll not waste my time defending the truth; the Toyota engine oil sludge evidence is out there for all to research.

The fact remains that Toyota and Lexus owners who maintain their engines *better than recommended* are still seeing sludge build-up or worse...engine failure. You can claim that it isn't so and you can even claim as "Pilot13" did in the original Edmund's Town Hall posting that Toyota engine oil sludge is a HOAX created by me....but it will not change the FACTS or the history of this very serious vehicle problem.

I neither started the engine oil sludge problem nor will I finish it. Toyota is the one that did the former and will have to do the latter! All I do is chronicle what is happening to the Toyota /Lexus owners as reported to me or posted online. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to know why you might not like what is being said even if it is the truth. We do understand that the truth hurts in some cases. So be it.

I am on the side of "Back yard mechanic's" father. I am on the side of the innocent Toyota/Lexus owners who THOUGHT they purchased an iron-clad vehicle but found out otherwise. I am on the side of those who are demanding that they GET what they PAID FOR...a safe, reliable vehicle which holds its resale value over time. I am on the side of those who believe that their new vehicle warranty should be HONORED as written! I am on the side of those who have been treated unfairly by Toyota.

I am NOT on the side of someone protecting an automaker which thinks more about its bottom line than its own customers. I am NOT on the side of someone who is willing to discredit and defame an outspoken auto consumer advocate in order to attempt to prevent the TRUTH from being told. I am NOT on the side of someone who wishes to bash anyone who supports logical thinking in this matter.

The name-calling is not acceptable on this web site. The paranoia is way over the top, too. Am I alone in seeing this?

By the way, I can't be in New York and Virginia at the same time, can I? I work full-time, too, so how can I possibly be "Back yard mechanic?" OTOH, there are a disproportionate number of Toyota engine oil sludge-bashers from Ontario, Canada, INCLUDING "Pilot13"...the original HOAX-story poster!

Food for thought...I've done the research;-)

Charlene Blake
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge

Yet gain, with trademark bluff and bluster laced with inference--coupled with a few subtle lies to bolster the inference--Charlene Blake, you're out in left field once more--COMPLETELY WRONG!!

I have never said anything about sludge being a hoax, nor am I an incarnation of someone else who may have said it. (Is this inference another form of your 'fire for effect' lies??)

On the contrary, I have already stated that engine sludge is a reality--many times.

Unlike you, however, I hold to the truth.

Like a multitude of knowledgeable and responsible individuals--many whom you have arrogantly dismissed and marginalized in similar fashion in your remarks to me--I KNOW engine sludge can occur for a multitude of reasons.

I also KNOW that sludge is (thankfully) a fairly rare occurence, and likely won't happen at all if certain fundamental tenets are adhered to.
These tenets involve modest attention to what is going on in one's engine, with a similarly modest degree of personal responsibility toward ensuring that attention is given.

I read through your comments in this forum--and to my amazement found them copied into an extraordinary number of other sites--hundreds in fact--and I decided to address what is essentially compendium of manipulative spin, plus more than a few serious untruths.

If, on the other hand, your expressed angst against Toyota hadn't been so blatantly dishonest, I wouldn't have done so.
If you aspire to genuine consumer advocacy you would be wise to stick to the truth.
Spin and outright dishonesty don't help any cause--ask your President about WMD in Iraq--you and Mr. Bush have much in common it seems.

You come across very clearly as one who has a compulsive personal vendetta and is willing to use whatever it takes--including outright lies--to convince others of the rightiousness of your case.

And you evidently have no conscience whatsoever in saying the things you say!

Either that or your objective is sparked by some form of monetary gain to dissuade as many people as possible from buying a Toyota product.

I came upon this site as a Toyota owner looking for info on buying another Toyota--which I intend to do in spite of your fatuous comments and illusions about doom and gloom, and those who challenge your outragious lies.

One more thing.
Insofar as anecdotal stories such as those by of "back yard mechanic", I take them for what they are--anecdotal, unverified, anonymous, unproven, and coupled with a follow on to your rhetoric, probably false!!
to Charlene, thanks for your response

To silverfox
The only person spreading lies and inuendos on this site seems to be you. Your only rebuttal to Charlene's claims and myself seems to be ad hominum arguments which carry no weight. I merely relay a personal experience which supports Charlene's claims and you get your panties in a bunch. Why is that anyway? You own Toyota stock?

Just for your own edification Toyota has put out several bulletins with regards to engines prone to sludge, thus far thay admit to 2 engines in particular. Maybe you should call them and tell them they are lying!

In addition, Amsoil also has a list of cars prone to sludge, and yes Toyota is on their list as well.Maybe they are lying to!

You can go to bob is the oil guy's website they have numerous discussion on the toyota sludge problem, guess they are lying too!

How amazing, you seem to be the only one smart enough to figure out everyone else is lying! And we we have your say so as proof!I guess everyone should come to you first and see if the problems we are having are real or if we are all just hallucinating. Thanks for clearing that up.
Sorry, you who call yourself "back yard mechanic", but you just tripped over your own loyalty to dishonesty, and completely ignored what is clearly evident in this forum


Charlene Blake--your hero--said, and I quote:--"Millions of Toyota owners are experiencing sludged engines".
Is this truthful...not!!

Charlene Blake also said, and I quote--:"Those millions of owners with sludged engines signed a class action lawsuit against Toyota".
Is this truthful..not!!

Charlene Blake has also said--and repeatedly alleged that Toyota has influenced various agencies to "block her advocacy efforts around the net everywhere".
Is this truthful...not!!

Charlene Blake accused me personally of being some other person who has waged some mythical campaign of harrassment against her for years.
Is this truthful..not!!

Charlene Blake has stated "she has corresponded with 'hundreds' of individuals who have experienced sludge, and has stated all of these stories are true and accurate",---when in fact it is very clear she personally has not investigated any of them, looked objectively at the facts, and can say with no reservation that each and every one is a genuine case of culpability by the automaker.
Is this truthful...not!!

I could continue with a multitude of other transgressions and self serving liberties Charlene Blake has taken with truth and integrity, but just those mentioned are sufficient to confirm a complete absence of believability in anything she says.

Charlene Blake has ignored a basic truth--"SPIN, PLUS MORE OF THE SAME = MORE SPIN".

Charlene Blake has absolutely NO RIGHT to criticize anyone, since she herself has a much larger character flaw than any of those she criticizes!!

The proof is there for everyone to see.

All of your altruistic manifestations can't change that!! :-)
Backyard mechanic, great writing and so absolutely true!

Silverfox, isn't your claim that I am Backyard mechanic outrageous? I wish I could write as well!

It is interesting to note that you and my Toyota-protecting nemesis also misspell the exact same words over and over! Weird coincidence, I guess?

This whole issue of Toyota/Lexus engine oil sludge really gets under your skin, doesn't it? Well, it gets under the affected Toyota and Lexus vehicle owners' skin, too!

They do NOT like the fact that their engines are failing emissions testing, operating sluggishly or failing to operate at all, throwing rods, or catching fire spontaneously! They are just as hopping mad as YOU!

Many of the these owners are just like Backyard mechanic's dad...bullied into giving in and paying for an engine that should have lasted far longer! I've heard the stories time and time again.

Let there be no mistake...some owners have been ORDERED off the car lot when they report sludge in the wake of regular (no...superior!) maintenance!

Toyota doesn't want to document sludge in the face of good maintenance. If it did this, its whole cover would be blown, wouldn't it?

Toyota has made it clear from the start that this is the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY of its very negligent vehicle owners! Read the first letter that went out to the owners if you don't believe me. The Toyota and Lexus owners were stunned by the finger-pointing! Toyota's own admission, it is just certain Toyota model (and model year) owners that do not properly maintain their vehicles. Wonder what makes all those negligent owners go for the same Toyota models?

Silverfox, the Toyota and Lexus owners have been mistreated...given a faulty engine and then blamed for the engine failure. This is simply not right. Auto consumers see that clearly.

BUT...if it makes you happy to spew your venom on me and/or those I stand for, then go for it! Surely the administrator will take note of it, though.

Charlene Blake
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge
Silverfox, I beg to differ. Backyard mechanic's posting had no spin whatsoever. He stated the facts of the matter.

There are almost 2400 signatories on my online Toyota engine oil sludge petition now. Remember...Toyota claimed that there were only 3,200 sludge victims from the beginning. How realistic is that number considering the fact that the equivalent of 75% of that number of owners has now gone online to register DISSATISFACTION with Toyota?

Logical reasoning, Silverfox...its all there. Illogical reasoning is using name-calling (no, libel!) as a defense. Do you suppose you are helping Toyota make amends to the vehicle owners? I represent over 2,000 of these owners by virtue of my petition alone. Will you now spew names at them, too? More importantly, will you continue to minimize the effect of this serious engine problem?

Charlene Blake
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge
I took the liberty of posting 2 articles about toyota sludge problem. First one is from 2002 the second is more recent, from 2005. There were some great pictures of Toyota sludged engines but they didn't paste over for some reason. Do a google search for "toyota sludge" You will find plenty more reading.
As for myself, I'm buying a Honda , They are number 1!

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

Oil Sludge: an expensive but preventable disaster
Every year, more of my customers suffer through unnecessary and very expensive engine re-builds due to oil sludge. The causes are complex but sludge damage can be prevented.

The oil sludge problem is reaching epidemic proportions on many 1997 and newer cars, with the following cars greatly affected:

Audi - 1997-2004
Chrysler - 1998-2002
Dodge - 1998-2002
Hyundai - 1998-2004
Lexus - 1997-2003
Toyota - 1997-2003
SAAB - 1999-2003
Volkswagen - 1997-2004

What is oil sludge?
Oil sludge is the breakdown product of over-stressed oil in your engine.

Oil that is stressed by contaminants and oxidation-or has to work thousands of miles longer than it was designed to-will break down into a gel that sticks to your engine parts. As the sludge sticks, there is less good oil to circulate and do its protective job. This coating of gel also stores heat instead of releasing it which stresses the radiator and cooling system.

Although at first the motor oil level may appear OK, a sludgy engine is being damaged with EVERY stroke. Your engine may lose oil pressure, get terrible gas mileage, and other components might mysteriously fail such as timing belts, idle speed controls, and gaskets.

Sludge begins to appear in the oil pan and valve covers. Oil filler cap inspection as an indicator of sludge build-up is not conclusive, as normal engines can have a small amount of sludge and condensation present at this 'high point' of the crankcase.

Why is oil sludge affecting more cars?
My research and experience concludes that both environmental and financial pressures have combined to affect your oiling system. Here's how:

Environmental pressures:

In the struggle to pass tougher federal emissions specifications, car manufacturers have raised engine operating temperatures and increased exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). In 1996, tighter federal emissions standards were enacted. Fuel mixtures have to run leaner, and leaner mixtures cause higher combustion temperatures. When nitrogen in the air is raised to higher temperatures it is converted into new contaminant cocktails. By 1997, sludge is appearing as a major problem.
New "long-life" antifreeze was introduced in 1995 to reduce the amount of chemical pollution in our environment. But longer 100,000-mile radiator service intervals often leads drivers to neglect their cooling systems. Worn-out coolant takes on an electrical charge that chemically acts like acid on engine parts. Depleted coolant also results in higher engine temperatures.
Federal pressures for more fuel economy in cars and trucks led car manufacturers to design engines for lower viscosity motor oils. Lighter oils tend to break down faster under urban driving conditions.
Financial pressures:

Some manufacturers recommend oil change intervals longer than 3,000 miles to market their cars' quality or to appeal to buyers on a budget. Consumers, already paying on auto loans, are reluctant to spend money for maintenance and embrace these extended intervals.
Quick lube shops competing for your business cave into pressure for bargain oil changes. To cut costs, they might buy single weight oil in bulk or use recycled oil. They use cheaper, less durable oil filters. Low-wage, inexperienced technicians sometimes make servicing mistakes when trying to work faster.
A very short history of oil change intervals
With oil prices so high in the early 1970s, and with engine designs evolving, Mobil introduced the Mobil 1 synthetic oil for gasoline engines. At the time, Mobil was promoting 20- or 25,000-mile oil changes with synthetic products, but they soon backed down from this.

In the 1980s, Toyota came out with a 10,000-mile oil change policy, in part to brag about the quality of their cars but mostly to market low maintenance costs. After receiving thousands of warranty claims for engine repairs from angry customers worldwide, they backed off of this absurd recommendation and went back to 3,000 mile intervals.

Improvements in motor oil chemistry in the 1990s encouraged many car makers to promote long oil change intervals. The long intervals actually worked OK until 1996, with very few sludge-related engine failures reported and many happy customers driving up to 10,000 miles between changes. After 1996, tighter emissions standards added pressure to the oiling system, and problems appeared.

Now in the 2000s, oil sludge buildup and sludge-related engine failure is a costly and frustrating nightmare for many. What's going on?

Your car's oiling system is its lifeblood
The oiling system in an engine is similar to the vascular system in a human body. It must absorb and release toxins, transfer heat, and suspend harmful particles until they can be filtered out. Unlike the blood in your body, though, engine oil is not self-renewing and has a limit to how much stress it can safely handle before it needs to be removed and refreshed.

As your car is driven, oil is pumped under pressure from the oil pan up through the oil pump. The oil pump sends oil to the crankshaft and camshaft, and is squeezed into the tiny channels of the motor. The moving parts also splash oil onto other components in the crankcase, and finally it falls under gravity back into the oil pan. Meanwhile, about 20% of the oil flow is diverted to the oil filter for cleaning. On some engines, an external oil cooler is used to dissipate heat from the engine.

Motor oil has a complex chemical job to do (see below). While lubricating your engine's moving parts at high temperatures, motor oil carries combustion by-products, collects airborne contaminants from the air-intake system, and absorbs and releases small amounts of water from engine heating and cooling. Circulating motor oil also suspends acids that are formed by chemical reactions in the crankcase. Sometimes tiny leaks allow some fuel or coolant to creep into the oiling system.

How oil does its job
Motor oil is a refined base stock with chemical additives. These additives work to suspend contaminants, inhibit corrosion, coat metal parts, keep viscosity stable, and slow oxidation.

As you drive, the combustion process allows small amounts of unburned fuel to escape into the oiling system which causes oil contamination. Contaminants are handled by:

oil additives, which suspend and contain the contaminants to prevent damage to metal engine parts
the oil filter, which captures large particles that are suspended by the additives
the PCV system (positive crankcase ventilation) uses a vapor separator to capture the lighter, gaseous contaminants and recirculate them back to the combustion process while the heavier contaminants drain down into the oil pan. So not only is the PCV system an important emissions device, but it's also crucial to keeping your motor oil clean.
As contaminants build up, the oil base itself starts to oxidize and turns the familiar red-brown color of worn-out oil. If not changed promptly, your engine is irreversibly damaged by chemical reactions, heat, and friction.

What makes synthetic oil superior to conventional oil?
I recommend synthetic motor oil to all my customers to prevent sludge. Why?

Synthetic motor oil is made from a blend of mineral oil, natural gas, and special additives. Because this blend is extremely pure from the beginning, it can withstand more torture in your vehicle's engine.

Synthetic lubricants cost just slightly more than conventional oils, but offer the best engine protection because:

synthetics remain stable at high temperatures (conventional oils break down faster at today's higher engine temps)
synthetics remain fluid at very low temperatures (conventional oils thicken)
additive packages are formulated with special chemicals for top cleaning and anti-oxidant protection
Remember, you can switch to synthetics on any car regardless of age or previous motor oil. If your vehicle has been acting up, have your technician check for sludge.

So why don't all cars suffer from sludge?
Some car makers stay with the standard 3-month/3,000 mile oil change interval. Others, such as BMW's longer interval, rarely cause any problems. Why? Their new engine designs call for a 7 or 8 quart capacity, almost twice that of the average car—and they specify full synthetic motor oil.

In addition, some drivers protect their cars by ignoring the recommended longer interval and changing their motor oil every 3,000 miles. These drivers ask for high-quality oil and filters, and keep up with other maintenance schedules.

Remember—any car can suffer an oil sludge problem, and some manufacturers more than others due to various design differences. It's to your advantage to get a technician's advice on what interval your engine and driving habits REALLY requires, and take matters into your own hands!

Legal issues about sludge
Information is slow to emerge about why sludge damage is so widespread, probably due to automotive complexity and large liability issues involved. Reports are circulating that dealerships are reluctant to admit to similar problems with other customers.

Manufacturer warranties might refuse to cover oil sludge damage by blaming you, the customer, for poor maintenance habits or neglect—even if you can prove you changed the oil every 3,000 miles. Without warranty protection, engine replacements are $5,000-$10,000. SAAB, Toyota, VW, and a few other manufacturers have some limited coverage for sludge damage.

Make sure your oil change receipt has the mileage, VIN, and parts listed, and organize all maintenance documentation in a notebook.

Stay updated on your vehicle
Make sure that the manufacturers' corporate Customer Service office has your current address in case recall letters or service bulletins are released. Look in your owner's manual for the 800 number, or contact a dealership or mechanic.

NHTSA (National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration) has a free web site and 800-number for "safety-related" or "crucial" bulletins and recalls on all vehicles. Look for the federal government to get involved with oil sludge in the future if and/or when this problem gets worse.

Ask your mechanic to check for updated parts or repair procedures that are related to the oiling, cooling or PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system. For instance: Toyota has a little-known, updated valve cover replacement part for the V-6 engine ($520) to increase PCV system efficiency.

The bottom line on sludge damage
Modern cars are very complicated machines, and a huge financial investment. Research your car make and model BEFORE you buy or lease. Remember--as manufacturers struggle to balance environmental and cost pressures, they make changes that work FOR THEM but call for closer attention from YOU.

Even small changes can make a difference:

Change your oil every 3,000 miles regardless of how many days it has been. Insist that the shop write down the mileage and VIN on the receipt.
Make sure the shop that services your car uses the highest quality oil (brand name, full synthetic). Synthetic oil adds only $16.00 to $30.00 to an oil change. Read why synthetic prevents sludge build-up>
Ask for a high-quality oil filter. The cost difference is less than $2.00.
Replace the PCV valve (if equipped) every 30,000 miles.
Maintain the cooling system with fresh anti-freeze mixed 50/50 with distilled water only every 2-3 years or 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
If you're on a budget
Your car is an important asset that can last longer with good maintenance:

Avoid buying car models that have very unusual oil sludge problems.
Change the oil every 3,000 miles.
On any vehicle, if you can't afford synthetic oil, check your owner's manual and insist on the correct weight of quality oil.
Buy high-quality oil filters on sale and bring them to your oil change.
You can change the PCV valve yourself, or have it changed with the 30,000-mile coolant service. But remember, coolant is best changed by a technician so they can dispose of the fluid properly.
Keep receipts for all your maintenance, even self-maintenance.
Find out more
Feel free to email Norris if you have any questions about oil sludge and your car.

Read a letter about oil sludge research from a reader in Canberra, Australia >>

Online sources about motor oil and oil sludge
NOTE: Second Opinion does not endorse or co-sponsor any of these sites. These links are for consumer information only.

Center for Auto Safety - Oil Sludge
EPA website on oil and oil recycling
NHTSA Clearinghouse
Dodge Durango sludge
Volkswagen sludge
Lexus sludge
Hyundai sludge
Toyota sludge

Posted 25 September 2005
© by Norris Schleeter and Melanie McCalmont

We are happy to authorize reprints of this article. Please contact us.
Back Yard Mechanic:

Post all the info you choose re sludge.

Can you justify Charlene Blake's lies?

Or is this another attempt to deflect attention from her compulsive lying??

My beef is only with Charlene Blake's lies.

She continues to post lies here.

Charlene Blake also posts lies in other sites.

This time she got caught.

Then she hides those lies with meaningless rhetoric.

You also hide them with information which in no way excuses her lies.

End of story.
Silverfox, you have a "beef" with me. OK. Fine.

My online Toyota engine oil sludge petition represents thousands of Toyota owners who have a "beef" with Toyota.

The deleted postings on the petition represent *active sabotage* attempts by someone using the same language as you. You know, the "bluff and bluster" and "innuendo and inference" alliterations. Odd, don't you think?

I was told by Clarence Ditlow at the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, D.C. that the numbers of signatories on my petition is "significant." He should know since he has been in the business of auto consumer advocacy for decades now, and he has worked closely with Ralph Nader.

Together, Clarence Ditlow and Ralph Nader wrote a great book called "The Lemon Book" which is a must-read for any vehicle owner. The book does need to be updated to include all the online ways that consumers can fight back when there are injustices, though.

Silverfox, I take it that you would love to see my petition vanish? for all the Toyota sludge victims to simply go quietly away? for all the articles and postings by very concerned Toyota owners to disappear (as happened when several sites FULL of Toyota sludge victim postings were hacked and permanently disabled)?

Toyota needs you, Silverfox, to defend it against all those pesky Toyota owners who just don't know how to properly maintain their iron-clad (NOT!) vehicles! Little 'ole Toyota needs someone like you to frighten or intimidate these owners away from speaking out like I have! It needs you to put those Toyota owners like Backyard mechanic's dad in their places...make them feel they have no options but to give in to the corporate bullying.

Toyota calls this "Customer-Generated Media" management, doesn't it? Isn't there someone in charge of this new forum for Toyota owners to speak out? Gotta get a lid on it, don't you? Must keep the PR spin intact! Wouldn't want anyone else to be successful in organizing the dissatisfied Toyota owners, would you?

I am here to tell you, Silverfox, that Toyota owners have revealed to me that TOYOTA has lied to THEM...big time! Until you have spoken to as many Toyota owners as I have (via postings, e-mail, phone, etc.), you cannot relate.

Feel free to come here for the sole purpose of attacking me personally. It won't change the truth. I am not an anonymous poster who has created yet another user name in order to discredit someone speaking out about Toyota engine oil sludge. I am and will continue to be pro-consumer.

Charlene Blake
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge

The title of this thread is toyota engine sludge. That is what those articles are about.It is not about Charlene no matter how hard you try to change that fact.

Second, my 2 articles were found with a google search and took all of 10 seconds to find. There were literally dozens more I could have posted.

Third, these articles do not hide her lies, quite the contrary. They only show how widespread the problem is, far more than the 3,000 Toyota is admitting to.

If you wish to continue to champion toyota in the face of overwhelming evidence that is your choice. You keep asking for proof but offer none in return. If you can offer proof that this is all bull please do so with something a little stronger than liar liar liar. It only hurts your cause.

You clearly have some personal issues with Charlene and as such those comments should be kept private. It certainly doesn't belong here. I have said all Im going to on this particular subject.

Buy Honda, They are #1!!!
Oh, I get it now. You wish to discredit me so that no one will believe that the petition is bona fide and currently applicable?

You hope that when sludge-affected Toyota owners do a google search for information that they will read your libelous statements about me and discount the *current* importance of documentation in the Toyota/Lexus sludge matter.

Won't happen. I'm not the one that got Toyota in this mess. It did it on its own. I am certainly not the only outspoken Toyota owner, and based on Toyota's actions, I won't be the last. Hey, just go to to see what I'm talking about!

PLEASE, if you experience Toyota engine oil sludge, post your experience online. If you have note failed emissions testing, a thrown engine rod, or a spontaneous engine fire associated with sludge, then file online owner reports with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Center for Auto Safety (tell Mr. Ditlow that I referred you), and (read all the angry Toyota owner accounts there!).

Proper documentation should start with a CERTIFIED letter to formally notify Toyota. No one knows just how Toyota keeps count of the sludge victims. Seems to be quite the mystery! Seems owner after owner after owner has simply been coaxed into trading in or selling their Toyota sludgemobiles before any formal letter-writing is done!

Backyard mechanic is correct in deducing that the numbers are far more than Toyota reports. This is a FACT! No one has recorded all the Toyota owner transactions after Toyota sludge crippled their engines. Many were scared into dumping their Toyota sludgemobiles after being intimidated by Toyota dealerships. The number of Toyota-reported cases of Toyota engine sludge is grossly underestimated. Period.

Check all the statements made by Toyota. The spokespersons said "very small" from day one. They have never bothered (maybe intentionally refrained from it?) to update that number post SPA and CSP.

One thing my petition and postings have done is to encourage the affected Toyota owners to DOCUMENT, especially with Toyota. Naturally, Toyota isn't interested in documentation that shows Toyota engine oil sludge in the wake of proper maintenance.

The AERA came out and hinted about this problem years ago. It clearly stated that the condition of engine oil sludge in Toyotas was noted even with proper oil changes. Toyota owners have been documenting this ever since, too.

Silverfox, your personal vendetta against me (you stated the same here more than once!) is misplaced in this forum. It has done little to deter Toyota engine oil sludge victims from reaching out to those who may have more information. Are you perhaps worried that current Toyota owners will be looking for this information? Well, you are right; they already are...have been well beyond the arbitrary 2002 Toyota cut-off.

Charlene Blake
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge
Just so others know, there are currently over 5,000 postings in a (formerly Edmund's Town Hall) under the topic "Toyota Engine Oil Sludge."

I just thought I would do a google search to see what is new. I found quickly that a 2003 Camry owner with less than 75,000 miles (typical in these cases) has gotten engine oil sludge. The oil changes were done every 3,000 to 5,000 miles...better than recommended.

I have noted many 2003 Toyota owners have come to my petition to place an entry. Did the 2002 model year end Toyota engine oil sludge? When Toyota stopped making the one Toyota Camry 4-cylinder engine, did things change? Toyota engine oil sludge STILL a problem?

Do the research. YOU be the judge.

Charlene Blake
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge

No, I don't have a personal vendetta against you, or anyone else.

I just don't think it's right when someone lies to make a point--like you do.

It's personal thing--I have a beef with anyone who tries that same stunt.

So I challenge you on your lies.

Nor am I trying to discredit your petition.

You managed that all by yourself, by saying there were 2400 signatures when there were not.

Oh, by the way. You just lied again.

Over 5000 posts in Edmunds Car Space re sludge?

Implying what--that 5000 different people posted there?

Check again Charlene Blake--most of that entire forum is comprised of (at best) 50 or 60 of the same posters going back and forth on the issue.

Check again Charlene Blake.

You need to do something about your lying--it seems addictive.

Someone with an 03 Toyota signs on her petition.

One of those 2400 signatures that aren't all there perhaps??

Charlene claims it's a legit complaint.

Well, how did Charlene Blake manage to verify it as legit--when the phone number accompanying it doesn't exist??

Ms. Blake, you really must do something about these lies.

Have you verified ANY of the 2400 signatures--which, as we now know, aren't all there?
I am a victim of 99 camry and the engine failed at 38,000 miles in september 2002 and Toyota didn't pay any penny to repair. It costed me 5,400 dollars to repair the same. I came to know about this just now and saw everybody bashing about Charles. I don't see any bad mouthing from him. As a victim of (once known for quality) toyota camry and paid over 5000 dollars. I am as mad as Charles and unfortunately I didn't get paid for my repairs by Toyota. Any suggestions on how I can fight over this as the 8 years is over and didn't see this petition or never received the glove copy for oil gel from toyota as I have changed my address few times in the last 5 years
Agreed. My credibility on the subject of Toyota engine oil sludge is well-established. My credibility to gather auto owner information is also well-established. My efforts have been noted in Automotive News, Business Week, as well as other online forums. I've been following this matter since late 2000; it is still a problem for vehicle owners.

Vehicle owners like Ram_Camry_Victim have asked for information; they deserve a legitimate response. It is inappropriate for someone who disagrees with the facts to lambast the messengers.

Charlene Blake
Originally posted by Ram_Camry_Victim:
I am a victim of 99 camry and the engine failed at 38,000 miles in september 2002 and Toyota didn't pay any penny to repair. It costed me 5,400 dollars to repair the same. I came to know about this just now and saw everybody bashing about Charles. I don't see any bad mouthing from him. As a victim of (once known for quality) toyota camry and paid over 5000 dollars. I am as mad as Charles and unfortunately I didn't get paid for my repairs by Toyota. Any suggestions on how I can fight over this as the 8 years is over and didn't see this petition or never received the glove copy for oil gel from toyota as I have changed my address few times in the last 5 years

Ram_Camry_Victim, you are far from alone. Many of the Toyota sludged engines occurred well inside the new vehicle warranty period. I know of some owners with only 12,000-15,000 miles when they first experienced sludge. One owner of a Rav4 had fuel in the oil and metal shavings at under 1,000 miles on the odometer (why aren't the Rav4 vehicles included in the Toyota CSP, many want to know?).

First, you must send Toyota a certified letter to formally notify it. The 3,200 sludge victims that Toyota acknowledges publicly don't count those who traded-in or never took the time to notify it. Do you suppose this estimate is a gross underestimate? Of course it is! Why, there are thousands who have signed the petition alone and most of these signatures have occurred beginning *one year after the CSP was implemented*. There are plenty of owners with vehicles not within the group Toyota acknowledges are sludge-prone.

File online reports, Ram_Camry_Victim, with the NHTSA and CAS (Center for Auto Safety). Call the hotline for Toyota sludge and ask it what Toyota is going to do for you as you were completely in the dark about the matter. It didn't help you when all the thousands of postings about this matter were stripped from internet searches. There were over 10,000 postings on this subject on "The Complaint Station for Toyota" but the site was maliciously hacked until it went down permanently back in 2004. Someone wanted this site down and down fast! Guess which company was number one in the number of complaints recorded there? Yes, Toyota was #1 on this complaint site at the time it went down. All this was due to engine oil sludge...

Ram_Camry_Victim, I am not surprised that you did not receive the infamous engine oil gelation letter. Many Toyota owners didn't---even those who have *not* changed addresses as you have. Mr. Bruce C. Ertmann, a Toyota executive I met with in May of 2002, said that the mailings were halted after lots of owners complained about the harsh, finger-pointing tone in the first letter. Then, Toyota issued a second, "softer" letter which still admonished Toyota owners for NEGLECT of their own engines. Not all the Toyota owners got this letter either, however. (It is interesting to note that Mr. Ertmann is now executive of "Consumer-Generated Media." Does that mean he has a hand in manipulating what is said about Toyota by Toyota owners???)

You could find the CSP information on Toyota's website intially, but it didn't take long for this information to be put in a location not easily found by Toyota owners. Many Toyota owners began to write to me saying that Toyota wasn't honoring the CSP at all behind the scenes. Engine flushes were being done, not engine replacements as promised by Toyota publicly. One Toyota spokesperson said that owners had to show at least one oil change receipt in a year's time, but dealerships made owners produce *every single receipt* before they would consider resolving the matter! Toyota owners have had to jump through hoops to get justice in this matter---and much of the time, they report that Toyota has loopholes to allow lack of follow through. No, Ram_Camry_Victim, you are not the only angry Toyota owner out there, rest assured.

If I were you, I would expect Toyota to resolve your matter. If it doesn't, I would enlist the help of any consumer reporter in your area that will listen to you. Imagine how many Toyota owners are slipping through the same cracks that you have slipped through! For Toyota, better you take the financial hit than it---it isn't willing to give up those record profits no matter what your pain isFrown

The facts speak for themselves as back yard mechanic has highlighted. This issue isn't about me; I am simply a messenger (well researched one). Can you imagine that I was accused of spreading this HOAX that is Toyota engine oil sludge and was attacked viciously on Edmund's Town Hall back in January of 2001? Do you suppose Toyota enlisted help in bashing the truth-seekers? Can you imagine the uproar when I stumbled on the "Engine Oil Sludge Policy" link on the Toyota Financial Services web page---in plain view for all to see???? Well, that link was stripped off the web page within 48 hours of my exposure of it! Yes, TFS had a SLUDGE POLICY long before Toyota initiated the "Customer Support Program for Engine Oil Gelation" in February 2002 (and again in April of 2002)! FACT. Period.

Ram_Camry_Victim, please keep us posted of the status of your case.

Charlene Blake
Last edited by charleneblake
Considering the number of old Toyota engines including 4 banger Camrys on road, the sludge issue here is being blown out of proportion. Actually VW have had more catastrophic sludge related failures and their solution is to use only a particular synthetic oil so it goes to show as others here have been indicating that apart from engine design and poor maintenance and driving habits, its also the oil being used has bearing on this issue.
Ms. Blake, there are number of very serious inconsistencies in your post.

I hesitate to call them outright lies, but they come awfully close!!!

First of all, you consistently respond to vague and anonymous complaints on the web without asking for any verification, and on the basis of very little history or fact---why not??
Do you accept everything you see on the web without any questions, and arbitrarily assume everything is above board?
How do you know any of what you see is true and accurate?
To make the accusations you make with no real proof is wrong, and it's probably correct that you're fully aware of that.
Yet you always choose use any and all anonymous stories as propaganda for your ongoing campaign of misinformation and manipulation.

You say in your post that you know of "some" owners whose cars sludged within 10 to 15,000 miles.
Pretty vague statement---and have you actually verified that any of these "some" owners you "know of" are being truthful?
I think not, and I think you have kept that claim deliberately vague to hide the real truth!!

Then you go on to speak of "thousands" who have signed a petition--we assume you are referring to your petition, right?
That being the case, there aren't "thousands" of signatures in it---in fact there are less than 2000 signatures, because over 600 "signatures" are merely blank spaces being counted as "signatures".
You also fail to mention that your petition has been running for over 6 years---therefor it is averaging fewer than 375 signatures per year.
Is that something anyone can really brag about?

Next you talk about a site which existed for a short time during 03 and 04.
It was called "Complaint Station", and you claim there are "over 10,000 postings" in it, and suggest that it was "mysteriously hacked until it went down permanently".
Again, a gross misstatement of fact and deliberately vague misdirection.
That site was posted in 10,000 times all right, but truth be told it was dominated by less than 30 or 40 different individuals going back and forth about the sludge issue.
Mostly, the site deteriorated into a few individuals attempting to out insult one another--it was a totally gross experience and you know it!!
In fact, you were among the most prolific of those individuals posting there--you appeared there over 2000 times yourself!!
PLUS---the site was closed because the owners were unable to attract sufficient paid sponsors to keep it going.
The owners shut it down because of lack of funding, not because of any "hacking"!!
This was clearly stated in their parent website at the time.

You went on to rant about how "badly you were treated" by a site called Edmunds Town Hall.
Now now Ms. Blake, you know full well that's not the least bit true.
You broke the clearly stated rules at that site, and were banned for that reason and that reason alone.
You were posting under different usernames, and you got caught at it and paid the price, no more, no less.
And those who were there supposedly supporting your cause were a few very foul mouthed individuals who got kicked off with you because they were rude and insulting others who questioned your comments at the time

Ms. Blake, throughout your post, comments you made have a common denominator---they are all unsupported and vague inferences.
This is, and has been your trade mark style as long as you have talked about the sludge issue--no truths, just distortions and inferences.
There is no credibility in the piece.
As said earlier, I hesitate to call them lies, but they come awfully close!!
By definition, nothing of what you say can (nor should it be) believed!!!
Last edited by silverfox
Originally posted by Gurkha:
Considering the number of old Toyota engines including 4 banger Camrys on road, the sludge issue here is being blown out of proportion. Actually VW have had more catastrophic sludge related failures and their solution is to use only a particular synthetic oil so it goes to show as others here have been indicating that apart from engine design and poor maintenance and driving habits, its also the oil being used has bearing on this issue.

You are absolutely correct in what you stated!!

Yet Ms. Blake NEVER mentions about other automakers, nor does she EVER say anything about the many other possibilities relating to sludge causes.

More reasons to question what she has posted here (and several hundred other sites with the same vague and misleading propaganda!!)
Rodney, what is your advice to Ram_Camry_Victim? Should his significant issue be ignored because SilverFox is attempting character assassination?

In fact, Toyota itself has admitted to the engine oil sludge tendency in millions of its own vehicles. There have been numerous articles about it and even more consumer letters written to various agencies and consumer reporters.

This discussion is about Toyota engine oil sludge. Period. The matter has yet to be satisfactorily resolved according to thousands of Toyota owners.

There is no personal vendetta in wanting consumer-oriented justice for that. Companies that bully their own customers eventually hear about it, don't they. In this case, Toyota has heard from thousands and thousands of its customers, and they happen to be quite upset about it.

Toyota owner experiences with engine oil sludge are welcome in this discussion, and they should not feel intimidated by someone who is bent on defamation rather than sticking to the topic. Nor should they feel compelled to stifle their thoughts just because someone wants to throw the baby out with the bath waterWink
Right!! I agree.

This forum is supposed to be about sludge.

Whenever anything is said on that topic, it is hoped it would be the truth; it shouldn't be used dishonestly, nor should it be used as propaganda by anyone.

Strictly speaking, contributors shouldn't tell lies.

Ms. Blake is not telling the truth by any means.

That has been shown time and time again.

She has lied repeatedly in her many appearances on the web.

It's very clear that Ms. Blake is using the forum as a propaganda tool to promote her crusade against an automaker.

If, as Ms. Blake claims, she wishes to be seen as a consumer activist, then she should start by being truthful and forthright in doing so.

Sincere activists with a genuine causes don't act that way, and don't need to.

Instead, her efforts are characterized by lies, misrepresentations of fact, distortions, and inflammatory comments with no substance.

That is why I choose to challenge Ms. Blake, and I will continue to do so until she becomes honest and forthright in her crusades.

Here are two more graphic examples of her dishonesty; these appear in her latest post(s).

First, she posts under a different username in the Rodney Fitzpatrick piece, above.
That post and her follow on post originate from the same location, and within minutes of each other!
This is no coincidence; it happens repeatedly in her activity on the net. (This is one reason why she was banned from Edmunds!!)

Secondly, she references "Toyota admits Millions of their cars are succeptible to sludge".
Nothing of the sort has ever been said by Toyota.
Yet another bald faced lie!!!!

These are two more very clear examples of the dishonest tactics she uses to publicize her crusades.
Last edited by silverfox
Well, I certainly agree it's a garbage discussion, and probably should be discontinued.

That said, as long as Ms. Blake (if that's her real name) continues to spew forth with lies, inferences, baseless accuations, or continues to use this site as a propaganda tool for her trumped up crusades, I will continue to agressively challenge her.
Re: Engine Sludging with Premium Synthetic Engine motor oil.
I had a 4 cyl 16 valve. 5 speed Camry Wagon 23,000 miles diagnosed with a engine knock. On its third oil change.
Toyota Service stated the reason for the problem was the oil being used. A 100% Premium Synthetic.
I had complete oil service records, and with the Synthetic Oil Companies support, after months of written and verbal discussions.
Toyota agreed to do the repair with their top mechanic on the repair.
With a signed inclusion that I may have to foot the bill if it was a oil related problem.
The mechanics repair found faulty valve train components,the parts were replaced at Toyota's cost. The Dealers Top Mechanics repair sub notes were "this was the cleanest block he had worked on", "no oil related concerns"
The mechanic pulled me on the side at the time of vehicle pick up asking me what was the brand of oil I used, the service writer / service management had not informed him.

To all concerned, which ever side of the fence your on, be a consumer with armed facts, and service documentation. Very few consumers with out of warranty engines receive due compensation and too many consumers within warranty fall into the voided category.
Originally posted by AutoMarine:
Re: Engine Sludging with Premium Synthetic Engine motor oil.
I had a 4 cyl 16 valve. 5 speed Camry Wagon 23,000 miles diagnosed with a engine knock. On its third oil change.
Toyota Service stated the reason for the problem was the oil being used. A 100% Premium Synthetic.
I had complete oil service records, and with the Synthetic Oil Companies support, after months of written and verbal discussions.
Toyota agreed to do the repair with their top mechanic on the repair.
With a signed inclusion that I may have to foot the bill if it was a oil related problem.
The mechanics repair found faulty valve train components,the parts were replaced at Toyota's cost. The Dealers Top Mechanics repair sub notes were "this was the cleanest block he had worked on", "no oil related concerns"
The mechanic pulled me on the side at the time of vehicle pick up asking me what was the brand of oil I used, the service writer / service management had not informed him.

To all concerned, which ever side of the fence your on, be a consumer with armed facts, and service documentation. Very few consumers with out of warranty engines receive due compensation and too many consumers within warranty fall into the voided category.

We see too many so-called "Complaint Stories" where there is only vague reference to proper maintenance.
Most of the time there's no reference to any maintenance at all.
IMO, if people have solid documentation to show they did everything according to the book, there shouldn't be any problem, and there usually isn't.
Those who expect the most who provide the least, and then complain when they don't get it, are the ones we hear from most often in these forums.
See for almost 3,000 Toyota owner signatories. Most owners voice anger at Toyota for denying their claims under the "Customer Support Program for Engine Oil Gelation."

See for important information on the CSP and the class action lawsuit.

Read to see what Toyota does for customers with major problems.

Go to and search for "Toyota Sludge." See how the problem started and link to the sites under "more info."

Follow "toyotasludge" at for updates on the Toyota engine oil sludge matter.

Watch for the check engine light, blue smoke, and increased oil consumption as all are signs of impending engine oil sludge.

Many emissions control components are replaced before or after Toyota engine oil sludge.

Contact the NHTSA and the Center for Auto Safety to file vehicle owner reports. Tell your experience at and

Charlene Blake
Last edited by charleneblake
jonny-b, if you read the websites I cited above, you would know why the engine oil sludge matter is current at Toyota.

You forget...I have no malice intent toward Toyota. I am Toyota owner benevolent.

Does there need to be a motive if consumer justice is desired?

Why are you, silverfox, and others determined to defame in an effort to distract from the real issue?

What you have posted is libelous. You might want to consider taking that statement down.

I stand by my postings. They are accurate. This matter is unresolved to date.

Charlene Blake
I have been in the automobile business for almost 40 years and have found that pcv system has lots to do with sludge..if the crankcase is not ventilated properly, then moisture can build in the engine helping to create sludge. And as another post said, the extended oil changes don't help especially when most drivers just run a few blocks around town at a time never allowing the oil to properly heat and evaporate the moisture
Originally posted by wylchyl:
I have been in the automobile business for almost 40 years and have found that pcv system has lots to do with sludge..if the crankcase is not ventilated properly, then moisture can build in the engine helping to create sludge. And as another post said, the extended oil changes don't help especially when most drivers just run a few blocks around town at a time never allowing the oil to properly heat and evaporate the moisture


This is probably the most sensible thing I have heard in a while,and very,very true.

This is exactly the reason why I use Synthetic oil that has the lowest possible NOACK volatility numbers.

Many of today's cars don't even have a PCV-valve that can be replaced because the system is now sort of integrated. Imagine clogging that type of system up!

I have found that highly volatile lubes(quickie lube),are used with poor quality gasoline, has become a recipe for disaster in many cases,if not all.

If motorists would only run synthetic Motor oil with a volatility(NOACK) of 4-7%, run top tier gas,and do a few freeway runs on occasion,there would be a lot less sludge out there,if any.

This not only will keep the engine clean,but keep it "like new" for as long as possible,which in turn......keeps it clean for as long as possible. It's a very healthy pattern.

Once the bad pattern(varnish/sludge-wear-varnish/sludge-wear/occurs)'s rebuild time. So it's best to avoid bad patterns in the first place.

Even when True synthetic does evaporate in very hot weather/climates and sees long hard engine runs over the longer haul,and many,many thousands of miles, it seems to only lay down a very thin non-varnish type of "pure" oil film that is harmless and doesn't clog or coat/layer up.
Last edited by captainkirk

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