2000 Sienna PCV / Oil Leak / Check Engine Light

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Old 27 Feb 2012, 11:24 pm   #1 (permalink)
RonG
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Default 2000 Sienna PCV / Oil Leak / Check Engine Light

It's been quite a while since I last posted. My 2000 Sienna, with
just over 153,000 miles so far, has been very reliable. I do most of
the routine maintenance and minor repairs myself..

My oil change interval always has been 3000-4000 miles (usually in the
low 3000's). For the first 15,000 miles, I had used conventional
Mobil 5W30. Since then, I've been using Mobil 1 -- most recently the
"high mileage" version that is formulated for better seal swelling
properties. I also change my pcv valve (using a Toyota OEM part)
every 15,000 miles.

When I changed the oil 3000 miles ago, I couldn't get the usual Mobil
1, so ended up buying WalMart's house brand, fully synthetic 5W30.
The purpose of this post is not to malign WalMart, because I've read
that their full synthetic is a very high quality oil. However,
unfortunately, after a few weeks of using this oil, I started noticing
that oil was oozing out around the valve cover gasket, and dripping
onto the exhaust manifold (and burning) and/or onto my garage floor.
I attribute this to the fact that this oil probably doesn't swell the
engine seals as effectively as the high-mileage Mobil 1.

After the WalMart synthetic had been in the engine for about 2000
miles, the "check engine light" came on. I noted that the oil still
looked nice and clean, and I'd only lost less than 1/2 quart due to
seepage during those 2000 miles (and I don't think I'd used or burned
any oil). Also, there has never been any smoke coming out of the
tailpipe or any other sign of engine sludge. For some reason, I
decided to investigate the condition of the pcv valve (which also had
only 2000 miles on it). I found that it had a coating of oil on the
intake portion of the valve (i.e., the part that is inserted into the
rubber grommet in the engine manifold) and, most importantly, it
seemed to be clogged. I shook it, but there was no rattle.

So I replaced it with a brand new pcv valve and, lo and behold, after
just a few cycles of driving the van, the check engine light went back
off and stayed off for about 1000 miles.

Just a few days ago, after about 3100 miles with the WalMart oil, I
did another oil change (back to the Mobil 1 high mileage oil). The
WalMart oil still looked pretty good. There had been no large loss of
oil, and I saw no sign of any sludge or solids in the drained oil.
But the next day, after driving around a little with the Mobil 1 in
the engine, the check engine light came back on for the first time in
about 1000 miles. So I checked the new pcv valve (in use only about
1000 miles), and it once again had a coating of oil on its intake
portion, and it also seemed clogged (i.e., would not rattle). So I
cleaned it out with a carb cleaner spray, blew it out with a
compressor, and it seemed like new again. I reinstalled it and then,
today (after just a few cycles of driving with the clean pcv valve),
the check engine light went off again, and has stayed off.

I don't have an OBD reader, so I don't know the code for the CEL event
that just occurred. I've read that a clogged pcv valve would NOT
trigger a check engine light. However, this is what seems to have
happened these last two times.

When the van reaches about 180,000 miles, I plan to bring it to my
local garage to replace the timing belt and to have the valves
adjusted. At that time, I will ask them to look closely to see
whether there are any blockages in the engine, and hopefully they'll
be able to stop any remaining new leaks when they install new gaskets
and seals. Between now and then, I intend to clean or replace the pcv
valve at every oil change.

Does anyone have any ideas about what is going on, or any suggestions
about this? Thanks for your help.

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Old 28 Feb 2012, 11:10 am   #2 (permalink)
Jeff Strickland
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Default Re: 2000 Sienna PCV / Oil Leak / Check Engine Light


"RonG" <ronaldbgoldstein@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:d14ce4d3-e4f7-46d7-9c6c-0b23b5440b2c@gr6g2000vbb.googlegroups.com...
> It's been quite a while since I last posted. My 2000 Sienna, with
> just over 153,000 miles so far, has been very reliable. I do most of
> the routine maintenance and minor repairs myself..
>
> My oil change interval always has been 3000-4000 miles (usually in the
> low 3000's). For the first 15,000 miles, I had used conventional
> Mobil 5W30. Since then, I've been using Mobil 1 -- most recently the
> "high mileage" version that is formulated for better seal swelling
> properties. I also change my pcv valve (using a Toyota OEM part)
> every 15,000 miles.
>
> When I changed the oil 3000 miles ago, I couldn't get the usual Mobil
> 1, so ended up buying WalMart's house brand, fully synthetic 5W30.
> The purpose of this post is not to malign WalMart, because I've read
> that their full synthetic is a very high quality oil. However,
> unfortunately, after a few weeks of using this oil, I started noticing
> that oil was oozing out around the valve cover gasket, and dripping
> onto the exhaust manifold (and burning) and/or onto my garage floor.
> I attribute this to the fact that this oil probably doesn't swell the
> engine seals as effectively as the high-mileage Mobil 1.
>
> After the WalMart synthetic had been in the engine for about 2000
> miles, the "check engine light" came on. I noted that the oil still
> looked nice and clean, and I'd only lost less than 1/2 quart due to
> seepage during those 2000 miles (and I don't think I'd used or burned
> any oil). Also, there has never been any smoke coming out of the
> tailpipe or any other sign of engine sludge. For some reason, I
> decided to investigate the condition of the pcv valve (which also had
> only 2000 miles on it). I found that it had a coating of oil on the
> intake portion of the valve (i.e., the part that is inserted into the
> rubber grommet in the engine manifold) and, most importantly, it
> seemed to be clogged. I shook it, but there was no rattle.
>
> So I replaced it with a brand new pcv valve and, lo and behold, after
> just a few cycles of driving the van, the check engine light went back
> off and stayed off for about 1000 miles.
>
> Just a few days ago, after about 3100 miles with the WalMart oil, I
> did another oil change (back to the Mobil 1 high mileage oil). The
> WalMart oil still looked pretty good. There had been no large loss of
> oil, and I saw no sign of any sludge or solids in the drained oil.
> But the next day, after driving around a little with the Mobil 1 in
> the engine, the check engine light came back on for the first time in
> about 1000 miles. So I checked the new pcv valve (in use only about
> 1000 miles), and it once again had a coating of oil on its intake
> portion, and it also seemed clogged (i.e., would not rattle). So I
> cleaned it out with a carb cleaner spray, blew it out with a
> compressor, and it seemed like new again. I reinstalled it and then,
> today (after just a few cycles of driving with the clean pcv valve),
> the check engine light went off again, and has stayed off.
>
> I don't have an OBD reader, so I don't know the code for the CEL event
> that just occurred. I've read that a clogged pcv valve would NOT
> trigger a check engine light. However, this is what seems to have
> happened these last two times.
>
> When the van reaches about 180,000 miles, I plan to bring it to my
> local garage to replace the timing belt and to have the valves
> adjusted. At that time, I will ask them to look closely to see
> whether there are any blockages in the engine, and hopefully they'll
> be able to stop any remaining new leaks when they install new gaskets
> and seals. Between now and then, I intend to clean or replace the pcv
> valve at every oil change.
>
> Does anyone have any ideas about what is going on, or any suggestions
> about this? Thanks for your help.
>



You spin an interesting tale, but to no avail. There is nothing to do until
you pull the code that turned the check engine light on. Lots of places will
pull the codes for free, and for the price of paying the dealer to do it
once, and at most twice, you can buy your own code reader and pull codes
anytime you want and as often as you want for whomever you want.

You throw good money after bad by changing the oil far too often -- you buy
expensive oil that is designed for long life, and then change it as if it is
the crap that they put in Grandpa's engine in the decades that followed the
invention of the wheel.

You drive a car that is closing in on 15 years old, and are asking why it
leaks. Age, my friend. Age. The leak and the light are not likely related,
and the oil you use and the light are not related. You are taking steps to
fix stuff, but you don't know what to fix.



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Old 28 Feb 2012, 11:36 am   #3 (permalink)
C. E. White
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Default Re: 2000 Sienna PCV / Oil Leak / Check Engine Light


"RonG" <ronaldbgoldstein@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:d14ce4d3-e4f7-46d7-9c6c-0b23b5440b2c@gr6g2000vbb.googlegroups.com...
> It's been quite a while since I last posted. My 2000 Sienna, with
> just over 153,000 miles so far, has been very reliable. I do most of
> the routine maintenance and minor repairs myself..
>
> My oil change interval always has been 3000-4000 miles (usually in the
> low 3000's). For the first 15,000 miles, I had used conventional
> Mobil 5W30. Since then, I've been using Mobil 1 -- most recently the
> "high mileage" version that is formulated for better seal swelling
> properties. I also change my pcv valve (using a Toyota OEM part)
> every 15,000 miles.
>
> When I changed the oil 3000 miles ago, I couldn't get the usual Mobil
> 1, so ended up buying WalMart's house brand, fully synthetic 5W30.
> The purpose of this post is not to malign WalMart, because I've read
> that their full synthetic is a very high quality oil. However,
> unfortunately, after a few weeks of using this oil, I started noticing
> that oil was oozing out around the valve cover gasket, and dripping
> onto the exhaust manifold (and burning) and/or onto my garage floor.
> I attribute this to the fact that this oil probably doesn't swell the
> engine seals as effectively as the high-mileage Mobil 1.
>
> After the WalMart synthetic had been in the engine for about 2000
> miles, the "check engine light" came on. I noted that the oil still
> looked nice and clean, and I'd only lost less than 1/2 quart due to
> seepage during those 2000 miles (and I don't think I'd used or burned
> any oil). Also, there has never been any smoke coming out of the
> tailpipe or any other sign of engine sludge. For some reason, I
> decided to investigate the condition of the pcv valve (which also had
> only 2000 miles on it). I found that it had a coating of oil on the
> intake portion of the valve (i.e., the part that is inserted into the
> rubber grommet in the engine manifold) and, most importantly, it
> seemed to be clogged. I shook it, but there was no rattle.
>
> So I replaced it with a brand new pcv valve and, lo and behold, after
> just a few cycles of driving the van, the check engine light went back
> off and stayed off for about 1000 miles.
>
> Just a few days ago, after about 3100 miles with the WalMart oil, I
> did another oil change (back to the Mobil 1 high mileage oil). The
> WalMart oil still looked pretty good. There had been no large loss of
> oil, and I saw no sign of any sludge or solids in the drained oil.
> But the next day, after driving around a little with the Mobil 1 in
> the engine, the check engine light came back on for the first time in
> about 1000 miles. So I checked the new pcv valve (in use only about
> 1000 miles), and it once again had a coating of oil on its intake
> portion, and it also seemed clogged (i.e., would not rattle). So I
> cleaned it out with a carb cleaner spray, blew it out with a
> compressor, and it seemed like new again. I reinstalled it and then,
> today (after just a few cycles of driving with the clean pcv valve),
> the check engine light went off again, and has stayed off.
>
> I don't have an OBD reader, so I don't know the code for the CEL event
> that just occurred. I've read that a clogged pcv valve would NOT
> trigger a check engine light. However, this is what seems to have
> happened these last two times.
>
> When the van reaches about 180,000 miles, I plan to bring it to my
> local garage to replace the timing belt and to have the valves
> adjusted. At that time, I will ask them to look closely to see
> whether there are any blockages in the engine, and hopefully they'll
> be able to stop any remaining new leaks when they install new gaskets
> and seals. Between now and then, I intend to clean or replace the pcv
> valve at every oil change.
>
> Does anyone have any ideas about what is going on, or any suggestions
> about this? Thanks for your help.



I doubt the Wal*Mart oil is a factor. Most likely you eninge is suffering
from excessive blow-by, likely related to worng rings. The appearance of oil
leaks and the coating on the PCV valve point to this BUT, it is only a
guess. Next time the light is on, take your car to the local AutoZone and
get them to read the codes for you. Regardless of the codes, a plugged PCV
valve can contribute to oil leaks by allowing pressure to build up inside
the crankcase and valve cover.

Ed


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Old 03 Mar 2012, 12:52 am   #4 (permalink)
RonG
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Default Re: 2000 Sienna PCV / Oil Leak / Check Engine Light

Jeff and Ed,

Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I really appreciate that
knowledgeable individuals are still taking the time to participate and
help others in this forum. A few years ago, at least 90% of the posts
here actually had to do with Toyota ownership and maintenance, while
fewer than 10% of the posts were by trolls, political zealots, and the
lunatic fringe. Unfortunately, that 90/10 ratio now seems to have
reversed to 10/90. It is the price and the blessing of living in a
free society.

I agree that an OBD reader might be a good investment at some point.
Ironically, this Sienna is the first vehicle I've ever owned (in more
than 32 years of car ownership and maintenance) where I've had to deal
with a check engine light. I get the idea that, even if I'm able to
pull the code(s), there sometimes can be quite a bit of additional
diagnosis and intuition involved.

So far, each of the CEL incidents has coincided with (if not been
caused directly by) a clogged pcv valve. Each time that I cleaned or
replaced the valve, the CEL turned off after a few driving cycles.
So, even without the benefit of an OBD reader, I think I had
reasonable intuition about the condition of the pcv valve (after I saw
all the oil seepage from the engine).

I guess I shouldn't be surprised to be seeing increased blow-by after
153,000 miles. The strange thing is that I haven't seen any evidence
that the van is burning oil. Since there hasn't been much time/
mileage since the last oil change (to the Mobil 1 High Mileage), it
may take a while for me to see whether this oil actually reduces the
blow-by, reduces the oil seepage, and allows the pcv valve to stay
unclogged. I have to believe that different oils have different
properties, and that some would be better than others at reducing blow-
by (without simply switching to a higher weight oil). I will post
again after I've had a chance to see whether there's been any
improvement.

Finally, as for the short oil change intervals with synthetic oil,
this was a conscious (if not very economical) decision, based on two
factors:
(1) 5-quart jugs of the Mobil 1 are relatively inexpensive at Walmart.
(2) Normally I would run the Mobil 1 for an oil change interval of at
least 5000 miles (as I do in another car that I own), but am
deliberately committing "overkill" here since the Sienna's engine
seems very sensitive to sludge formation.

I'll post again after I see how the van is doing over the next 1000
miles or so. If the CEL comes on again, I'll definitely buy an OBD
reader and will report back with the code(s).

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

Ron
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Old 04 Mar 2012, 05:03 pm   #5 (permalink)
NM5K
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Default Re: 2000 Sienna PCV / Oil Leak / Check Engine Light

On 3/3/2012 12:52 AM, RonG wrote:

>
> I guess I shouldn't be surprised to be seeing increased blow-by after
> 153,000 miles. The strange thing is that I haven't seen any evidence
> that the van is burning oil. Since there hasn't been much time/
> mileage since the last oil change (to the Mobil 1 High Mileage), it
> may take a while for me to see whether this oil actually reduces the
> blow-by, reduces the oil seepage, and allows the pcv valve to stay
> unclogged. I have to believe that different oils have different
> properties, and that some would be better than others at reducing blow-
> by (without simply switching to a higher weight oil). I will post
> again after I've had a chance to see whether there's been any
> improvement.


Myself, I don't really believe in the "high mileage" oils..
You don't want the seals to swell if the car is not burning oil.
And seepage is not a good reason to me.
If it's enough to be an actual problem, you are better off replacing
whatever seal is leaking.
I pretty much consider those oils as bandaids, and in some cases,
I wouldn't be surprised if they actually cause more problems than
they are supposed to cure.
Say if you used it, swelled the seals, which could cause new extra
wear on them, and then switched back to regular oil.. If the seal
swelling receded, you would likely have a worse seal than you started
with before using that oil, if there was new extra wear from when the
seals were swelled.
Almost kind of makes me wonder if this could have been part of the
problem.

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