Courier CT update: first problem detected

Discussion in 'Lexus Hybrids' started by Raidin, May 17, 2017.

  1. Raidin

    Raidin Member

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    Yesterday, after I changed my transmission fluid, I was told that I have my first real issue. A rear main seal leak. It's not bad, but were I to repair it, it would cost $2,000 at the dealer, and maybe a little less at my mechanic's. The dealer told me this is a 12-hour job.

    My mechanic also told me this could have been caused by debris in the oil that made it past the filter. Since I run long OCIs (Oil Change Intervals, currently 26,000 miles), that may have allowed something to make it past the filter. He suggested I look into bypass filtration again. Long story short, I once looked into that to increase my OCIs but the cost difference wasn't worth the trouble. Since the filter on the bypass system is finer than the standard oil filter, it may be worthwhile just to avoid problems like this down the road.

    I don't plan on fixing the leak right away, only when it's necessary. Just in case I run into another issue down the road where the transmission has to come out anyway.
     
  2. gamma742

    gamma742 Junior Member

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    You change your oil every 26000 miles?
     
  3. Raidin

    Raidin Member

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    Yes. Working on going further, but now I may need to scale back or just go with bypass filtration.
     
  4. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Or just change your filter more often than the oil. Though that could be a messy PITA depending on where the filter is. The last two GMs spoiled me with a cartridge type filter that is easy to reach from the top of the engine; no crawling on the ground and blind reaching.

    I've heard most oil filters clog and have the bypass valve open long before it is time for the next oil change, and have seen black oil near the time for the change become merely cloudy brown a week after just swapping the filter. So I wouldn't worry about the long oil change intervals being the cause, but would consider changing the filter more often since taking the particles trapped in it out of the oil eliminates them as a potential acid source.
     
  5. Raidin

    Raidin Member

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    This is essentially what my mechanic meant. The long OCI means more stuff gets past the filter, and as you have heard, if the filter "maxes out," the bypass valve lets everything through, meaning more chances of something causing damage to a seal, which may be what happened here.

    My research shows that beyond removing harmful particles from moving around the engine and causing problems, there are two other advantages to bypass filtration (which is why they are used so much in commercial fleets where you want to keep your engine running as long as possible); one, you reduce wear and tear on the engine because most engine wear is due to particles floating around with the oil and rubbing against the inside (some sites suggest bypass filtration essentially removes all engine wear, though I'm skeptical about this), and two, engine oil (modern synthetics mostly) basically never break down, and essentially only need changing because of the contaminants that a bypass system would clean up.

    With such a system, I will have a much longer OCI, longer engine life, and I only need to change the filters, along with adding additives when they oil additive package runs out. Right now this is what I've learned, but I'm still researching it.

    I also wanted to add that at 25,000 miles, only 1k short of my next oil change, my oil level is beyond the full mark (I have my shop add all 5 quarts instead of the 4.8 my car requires since I drive so much), so the leak I have right now is minimal and insignificant for the time being.
     
    #5 Raidin, May 19, 2017
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    My understanding is that the majority of the particles that end up in used motor oil are organic in nature; they are bits of oil that got burnt. The tiny bits of worn metal would be a wear source, but I can't say effective these scorched oil bits are at abrading metal. Relative hardness is a factor, but these bits remain suspended in the oil due to detergents, which should mean a better buffer of oil between them and engine parts.

    As your research showed, the actual oil doesn't lose its lubricating properties over time. It tends to thicken over time and use has portions evaporate off or degrade, which reduces efficiency. The main reason for changing it is because additives get used up. In addition to the detergents, the consumed additives include antiseize compounds and the base package.

    The antiseize compounds prevent micro welding when direct metal to metal contact does happen. GMs oil life monitor calculates oil life form the known use rate of a common antiseize compound at varying engine and environmental conditions. the base package neutralizes acids. The real warm of those the bits of burnt oil is that when mixed with the water that will get into the oil, they form acids.

    A little aside. becak when I had the 2005 Prius, there was a post, maybe here, from someone that had a bypass filter on a truck and multiple cars. They put fresh oil into a daily driver, take its used oil for the truck, and when the bypass filter had cleared up the oil, transferred the oil to another car. They did do oil analysis, IIRC. Eventually he took the by pass filter off the truck and plumbed it to a pump and small tank, and just ran old oil through it for the family fleet until analysis showed the additives were used up.

    If you don't mind getting a little dirty, a DIY filter change could be a lower cost option to a bypass filter for much of the same benefits. The last Toyota I had was that 2005 Prius, so I can't say how easy a filter swap would be though.

    This might be the source of your leak, or at least a contributor. When using the last free oil change from the dealer, the tech put a full extra quart into the Sonic. Likely though I had the base engine. In the week before I got it all out, there was some seepage from the valve cover, and I've such leaking on over cars over filled with oil.

    Point two quarts may not sound like a lot, but the oil is already under pressure with the engine running. Going over full could lead to that pressure increasing, and even a tiny increase can have consequences over time.

    Next oil change, stick to the 4.8 fill, and think about using a high mileage oil. They are on the thicker end of their weight label; that can help with a slow leak, and they have additives that can reswell old seals and gaskets. Your rear seal could simply be a result of it shrinking from the heavy use.
     
  7. Raidin

    Raidin Member

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    Thanks for this reply! I'll definitely look into all of this.
     
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