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Today I got a notification in the mail concerning my parents old Toyota Camry. Everyone complains about the VW/Audi 1.8T's sludging issue, but it looks like even naturally aspirated cars from a brand which is considered a polemark of reliability in the automotive industry can fall victim to this issue. I wonder how Consumer Reports will rate used Toyotas now!
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People who bought or leased a Toyota or Lexus could get benefits from a class action settlement.

A nationwide settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit about whether certain Toyota and Lexus vehicles are predisposed to develop oil gel. The settlement continues and enhances a Toyota/Lexus Customer Support Program and allows people who had claims that were denied to submit thenm to a neutral third party evaluator.

If you are included, you may ask for benefits, or you can exclude yourself, or object. The 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana authorized this notice, and will have a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement. Get more details at the website or by calling 1-800-279-4405.

Who's included?

If you got this notice in the mail, you have been identified as someone who may be included in this Class action. Class members are people who bought or leased one of the vehicles in the center box when it was new, currently own or elase one, or owned or leased one in 2002 and recieved mailing from Toyota/Lexus about this issue.

What's this about?

In 2002, Toyota/Lexus established a Customer Support Program giving vehicle owners additional protection beyond the warranty for damages from either oil gel or sludge. Oil gel is a thick, gummy substance that impedes operation of the engine, causes damage to engine parts and can, in some cases, require engine replacement. The lawsuit says that the vehicles covered by Toyota/Lexus were defective, leading to oil gel and expensive repairs and other expenses. It also says Toyota/Lexus did not describe the benefits of the Customer Support Program to customers. Toyota/Lexus says that following it recomended maintenenceschedule should prevent your engine from experiencing oil gel. The settlement doesn't mean that Toyota or Lexus vehicles are predisposed to develop oil gel. The Court did not decide which side was right. Instead, the settlement resolves the case and gives benefits to Class members.

What does the settlement provide?

Toyota/Lexus has agreed to continue and enhance the Customer Support Program, to describe its features in a settlement agreement, and also to make them known in a "glove box notice" issued with this settlement notice. The Customer Support Program described who qualifies, and how to qualify, for oil gel related repairs and reimbursements; tells customers they have an additional 120 days after the eight (8) year program coverage to submit claims for reimburement; and allows customers to submit anny denied claim for review and a final decision. If your eight (8) year eligibility for the program ended before you recieved this notice, you have until March, 15, 2007 to make a claim, so long as your oil gel problem occured within eight (8) years from the date of purchase sale or lease. You can read all the details in the settlement agreement at www.oilgelsettlement.com

How do you get the benefits?

If your vehicle has symptoms of oil gel (blue smoke from tail pipe, illumination of the check engine light on the instrument panel, or excessive oil consumption) take it to your Toyota/Lexus dealer. If your vehicle has is covered by program and you have made reasonable incidental expenses in the past, and have not been reimbursed, or your claim for reimbursementwas denied in the past, please call one of the numbers in the glove box notice below.

What are your other rights?

If you don't want to be legally bound by the settlement, you must exclude yourself by December 30, 2006, or you won't be able to sue, or continue to sue, Toyota/Lexus about the legal claims this case resolves, ever again. If you exclude yourself, you may not get settlement agreement benefits, but you will, if elligible, get Customer Support Program benefits. If you stay in the settlement, you may object to it by December 30, 2006. The detailed notice explains how to exclude yourself or object.


Which Vehicles?

Camry 4 Cyl. 1997-2001
Camry 6 Cyl. 1997-2002
Solara 4 Cyl. 1999-2001
Solara 6 Cyl. 1999-2001
Sienna 6 CYl. 1998-2002
Avalon 6 Cyl. 1997-2002
Celica 4 Cyl. 1997-1999
Highlander 6 Cyl. 2001-2002
ES300 1997-2002
RX300 1999-2002
 

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"I wonder how Consumer Reports will rate used Toyotas now!"

The sad part is the CR rating will probably not change.
Just like when Honda replaced hundreds of thousands of transmissions in Accords and Odysseys; somehow the ratings did not go down.

I believe the reason for this phenomenon is what I call the 'perceived quality' effect. Remember the CR reports are not based on actual documented problems but rather # of customer complaints. When an owner feels good about their car, even if it has problems, they may not report the issue. People buy Toyotas to make them feel good ("I am smart, I made a smart decision"). These are the same people who are very reluctant to admit they could be wrong.

The converse is also true. Pick up any issue of CR and you'll see black circles for VW Passat engine beginning in 2001 or so. This is not due to an actual defect but rather a lack of maintenance on the owner's part. So to call VW engines after 5 years unreliable is mostly incorrect, but unfortunately that's what the average reader of CR will believe.
 

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"I wonder how Consumer Reports will rate used Toyotas now!"

The sad part is the CR rating will probably not change.
Just like when Honda replaced hundreds of thousands of transmissions in Accords and Odysseys; somehow the ratings did not go down.

I believe the reason for this phenomenon is what I call the 'perceived quality' effect. Remember the CR reports are not based on actual documented problems but rather # of customer complaints. When an owner feels good about their car, even if it has problems, they may not report the issue. People buy Toyotas to make them feel good ("I am smart, I made a smart decision"). These are the same people who are very reluctant to admit they could be wrong.

The converse is also true. Pick up any issue of CR and you'll see black circles for VW Passat engine beginning in 2001 or so. This is not due to an actual defect but rather a lack of maintenance on the owner's part. So to call VW engines after 5 years unreliable is mostly incorrect, but unfortunately that's what the average reader of CR will believe.

I think it also has something to do with how the manufacturer and dealer treat the vehicle owner when they do have problems. My local rental car place told me they rented dozens of cars to Honda Odyssey owners having transmissions replaced, all paid for by the dealer. Apparently they even replaced transmisisons that failed at up to to 100K miles. Do you think VW does this for a sludged-up engine or TB failure at 60K miles?

BTW, to be clear, VW's 1.8T "cokes" its oil--the Toyota issues were true "sludge".
 

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"I wonder how Consumer Reports will rate used Toyotas now!"

The sad part is the CR rating will probably not change.
It will change only if the subcriber surveys reflect a change.
 

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I think the issue is that Toyota erred on the side of the customer (eventually). they replaced a lot of engines they probably shouldn't have. With VW, its the opposite.
Customer care is a big factor in reporting this.
 

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sludge issues with the toyota have been known for several years now.

speaking of which, this isn't really a passat issue, so it should be moved to AA
 

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... BTW, to be clear, VW's 1.8T "cokes" its oil--the Toyota issues were true "sludge".
That is a crucial distinction, that even VWoA's letters to customers and dealer service departments fail to make.

Toyota had an engineering design defect, since remedied, in its PCV system, particularly with some of the V6s.

VWoA's defect was the wording of its 1997-2002 owner's manuals; with synthetic oil on a tight OCI, an oversize oil filter, and even a modicum of turbo cooling before shutdown, coke should be a non-issue in the 1.8T.

I do concur that Honda and Toyota tend to treat their American customers better than VWoA does, and this would be a factor the next time I shop for a car. However, Honda and Toyota both discontinued the specific cars which would have interested me: the Accord wagon and the Camry wagon.
 

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That is a crucial distinction, that even VWoA's letters to customers and dealer service departments fail to make.

Toyota had an engineering design defect, since remedied, in its PCV system, particularly with some of the V6s.

VWoA's defect was the wording of its 1997-2002 owner's manuals; with synthetic oil on a tight OCI, an oversize oil filter, and even a modicum of turbo cooling before shutdown, coke should be a non-issue in the 1.8T.

I do concur that Honda and Toyota tend to treat their American customers better than VWoA does, and this would be a factor the next time I shop for a car. However, Honda and Toyota both discontinued the specific cars which would have interested me: the Accord wagon and the Camry wagon.
The 1.8T coking problem is also a design problem. On the longitudinal-mounted engines, the oil pan was changed to make the engine fit and this reduced the oil capacity to less than 4 quarts, versus close to 5 on the transverse-mounted 1.8T. I think the general consensus is that coking is a rare occurence on the transverse 1.8T motor.
 

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"Customer care is a big factor in reporting this."

I bet you are right. Imagine this scenario...
Two cars have a bad transmission. Car x goes into the shop, is in there for 14 days, no loaner provided, and has to go back in again for some reason. Car y goes into the shop, is in there for 2 days, loaner provided, even a courtesy shuttle and courtesy call, and is fixed on the first try.

Is it possible that Car y's experience is so good that owner dismisses the bad transmission and continues to rate the car as excellent?
 

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Automaker U.S. engine population Engines affected Years built
Chrysler group 1 million 2.7-liter V-6 1998-2002
Saab 132,000 2.0-liter I-4; 2.3-liter I-4 1998-2003
Toyota 3.3 million 2.2-liter I-4; 3.0-liter V-6 1997-2002
VW 426,000 1.8-liter I-4 1997-2004

DCX sucks. . . . why ahve I not heard of thier issues?
Lotta noise about VW/Toyota
A quick google tells me why, DCX doesn't admit crap, at elast VW and toyota have
 
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