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New versus used engine to replace 2008 Camry engine

Wait a minute here. My understanding now is that you drove this car with the oil light on and the engine making a racket for two days before the oil change. Then you got the oil change and they left the cap off and that is when the oil got all over the inside of the hood.

BP is responsible for making the mess, but not for the engine.

Toyota dealer might not have remanufactured engines but most any parts store should have a supplier. Short block is simply the engine block without the cylinder head (or heads if it’s a V6)

Probably quicker and easier to just get a Remanufactured engine with a warranty than to try to rebuild your engine.

I drove it with the oil light on definitely the day before Thanksgiving. I didn’t drive on Thanksgiving. Then, on Friday I took it to the shop which was the original oil change place. As I drove that 2 miles to the shop, the engine started making funny noises. (Before the guy at the shop realized they were the last one who changed my oil, he came out and asked me who the last one who changed my oil was)They said there was oil all over the place and then mostly cleaned it up.

When I went to the dealer, they said the insulation was soaked with oil (and needed to be replaced) and there was oil in lots of places it shouldn’t be and said that it appeared to be the result of an oil cap that hadn’t been put on. At that point, there was an after market oil cap on the car, which may have been put on by the oil change shop when I got the oil change the same day. Unfortunately, it is not clear what happened.


I don’t understand why you continued driving with the red oil light on

2008? I think it would be a pretty good bet to just install a used engine from the junkyard with a similar number of miles, from a similar vintage Toyota Camry. I think that is what I’d do. There are complications with computer software compatibility when doing this, so you’ll get better results if you find someone who has done this before rather than using a “used engine installer” newbie. Used engine comes with guarantees or warranties so make sure yours does too. The supplier understands that sometimes the engine turns out to be no good at start up, they will just cough up another one without complaints. If it runs bad before the end of a years time, the warranty should provide you a replacement engine. If it runs ok for a year, then the used engine is ok, and you are golden.

They’ll likely give you some discount if you give up your damaged engine to them. Me, unless the discount was substantial, I’d probably keep the old engine and rebuild it in my spare time, then I’d have a replacement engine in storage all ready to go. But that’s me. I don’t mind having an engine laying around for no apparent reason.

I always check my oil once a week and every day for about a week after an oil change. so I ask you are you checking the fluids in your car.

@db4690 I continued driving because I needed to get home.

@Toyotachick. You do realize that the low oil pressure light comes of for a reason right? How long had it been since you actually checked the oil level yourself?

Did you need to get home $6100 worth?

The oil change in question was just before Thanksgiving? If so, then I think I was right on my first post, they did not finish filling the engine and that was why the cap was left off.

You still haven’t answered my second question, has anyone put oil in the engine and started it up to see how it runs.

@oldtimer We all mistakes. There is no need to rub it in. If I realized doing so would ruin my engine, I would not have. I did not realize a check oil light automatically equated to tow your car to the nearest gas station.

@Toyotachick … you wouldn’t be the first person to keep driving when the oil light comes on. If it comes on, of course the best thing from the point of view of the engine is to stop and check the dipstick. It’s possible the light circuit is faulty after all. Or the oil might be just slightly low.

But stopping straight away might not be the best thing from the point of view of the driver. There are lots of times where if the check oil light came on – because of where I was, what time it was, who was in the vicinity, etc – in many cases I’d have kept going oil light or not! After all, which is more important? The car’s safety, or the driver’s safety?

@Keith No, the oil change was actually 2 months before. When I went to get it changed again the day after thanksgiving, the first question the guy asked was who (with emphasis) last changed my oil. (His station, in fact). There was oil all over the engine, in the hood insulation etc.They put oil in the car and I drove 2 miles back to my house and the engine sounded horrible. I then had it towed to the dealership (although they haven’t worked on it yet). The dealership concluded that the place that changed my oil 2 months ago had left the oil cap off (although there was an after market oil cap on the oil tank).

I went back to the oil change place (the place I got oil changed 2 months ago and on Friday) today to discuss things. He also thought that someone left the oil cap off, but denied that it was him and said that it was on when he changed the oil. He also stated that if he had left the cap off 2 months ago, I would have had a problem right away and would have smelled smoke etc. Do you think it is possible that it would have taken that long for me to detect a problem without opening the hood? I am mystified as to what happened. So far, the oil cap seems to be the only explanation but I didn’t have a problem until recently. Could there be any other explanation?

If the oil cap is left off, the oil won’t all drain out at once. It’s not like leaving the oil drain plug off. If that happens the oil will be all gone within a few minutes.

The oil cap is in the valve cover, under which is the camshaft(s). These shafts are being constantly sprayed with oil when the engine is running. If the oil cap is missing, there’s a hole in the cover and some of the oil will spray out that hole, and eventually most of the oil will be sprayed out that hole if it goes on long enough. But I’m not sure how long that would take. Quite a few hours of driving I’d expect.

Since you aren’t a DIY’er I presume, don’t fix your own car or change your own oil, you are not used to dealing with these kinds of problem in the engine compartment, you well might not notice anything wrong. You are within your rights to depend on the oil change shop to make sure everything is put back together properly after an oil change.

In the future I’d recommend – if you are inclined – after oil changes, before leaving the shop to turn on the engine, pop the hood, and look for oil leaks coming from the top of the engine through the oil cap area, and look under the car to see if there are any oil leaks down there. Then drive the car 5 miles, and do the same thing. And again one more time the next morning, including checking the dipstick.

The aftermarket oil cap remains a mystery though. Any ideas about that?

The shop left the oil cap in the valve cover, two months ago. The cap fell out of the engine bay while driving. When confronted with the oily mess, an aftermarket cap was put on, after the damage was done.

That’s not perplexing; what is perplexing is how anybody could lose a GALLON of oil out the engine, over several months, without noticing anything amiss.

The underhood must’ve looked like the Valdez accident; there must have been an oily spot wherever she parked; the manifold must have been smoking enough oil to qualify as a mosquito-abatement device!

At any rate, OP, I would advise against legal action against the oil change place. There’s a reason they don’t weld the hood shut: you’re expected to open it periodically. (Not to mention you disregarded an oil warning light.)

Chalk it up as a “learning experience” and resolve to become a more attentive car owner!

@meanjoe75fan There was no oil ever when I parked and I never smelled smoke or any other strange odors. That remains a mystery. An expensive learning experience.

OK now I understand the sequence of events. I agree with meanjoe above so I won’t rehash his post. But I will add that you should have had a lot of smoke form the oil being slung out of the engine and some landing on the exhaust pipe, and a little oil makes a LOT of smoke. It probably would have taken 2 months for the oil level to drop below the pickup level.

Your car is new enough to justify a good remanufactured engine, but if the Toyota dealer can find an engine that has been maintained at a Toyota dealer, that could also be a good deal.

Red = danger

Toyota has a service bulletin to address oil consumption on the 4 cylinder 2007-2009 Camry. It involves replacing the pistons and rings but in this case after running out of oil the engine goes into the scrap pile.

This known oil consuption problem suggests that this is more than one way to run out of oil but the oil mess on the underside of the hood is evidence that can’t be ignored.

A quick look at used engines on Ebay, they are not cheap, $1500 plus. If a used engine in your area costs $2000 plus labor and additional parts/fluids it will total $3500-4000.

If somebody never checks the engine oil level and ignores the red oil pressure warniing light, you can NOT claim the engine design is the problem

I’m well aware of that TSB, by the way. In fact, it is one of the reasons I ruled out buying any Toyota with the 2AZ-FE engine