2008 Prius - burning oil at 135,000 miles

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Dave333, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    I think I have fixed similar Prius, and Camry Toyota vehicles having same issue some months ago.

    For the Prius, it was just a 179, 490miles car, that was imported from the USA into Lagos, Nigeria.

    Symptoms were:
    * excessive oil consumptions, more than a quart even.
    * poor MPG
    * loss of poor when driving.

    This car has being properly maintained, looking at the maintenance book that came with it from the USA, but it was still having such issues. We've tried all kinds of oil viscosities, to no avail.

    Our discoveries:
    * valve cover gasket was already brittled, so had it replaced.
    That still didn't solve it.

    *replaced all the four spark plugs
    That didn't work too.

    *There wasn't engine oil spills at the exhaust pipe.

    How we fixed it:
    A complete engine overhaul was the solution to it.
    * piston rings were severely worn
    * crankshaft journal bearings worn also, with signs of scratches (can't remember the technical jargon now).

    PS: Almost every critical engine components were replaced, and since then, we've had no issues with oil shortages again.
    I think its kinda of a norm for Prius to loss some quarts of oil, before the next oil change.

    So, to the OP, inspect for oil leaks at the valve cover area, crankshaft pulley oil seals, etc. If they check OK, the engine might need to be overhauled, or replaced.



    Dxta
     
  2. Owner of "Little Green"

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    Have you had any more experience stopping the oil consumption with the Seafoam and where did you put it? Can I put it in my car myself. Do you have to have an oil change after or change the spark plugs?
     
  3. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    I've never used it, but I believe that you can add it to your crankcase along with your normal oil.

    Can you tell us how much oil "Little Green" is using? And are you currently topping it off regularly, that is the most important thing.
     
  4. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    Don't add seafoam to your crankcase! Seafoam is sprayed into the intake with the engine lightly reved.

    My working theory on why older Prii start to use oil is a combination of wear and gunk on the piston rings. There's nothing that can be done for the wear without an engine rebuild. However, removing carbon buildup from the piston walls and rings is possible to some degree without an engine teardown. Seafoam is very intense way to remove carbon buildup. There are risks to putting seafoam into the engine due to it breaking off large chunks of carbon which can then both clog up the oil and exhaust systems. Therefore, unless it's worth the risk, I would use a gentler treatment. I would run 3 tanks of fuel injector/fuel system cleaner (Techron) and see if the oil use gets better.
     
  5. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Other thing that you can do to open up the gummed up piston rings and oil drain holes is just to pour the solvent into the cylinders from spark plug holes and let it seep through for at least a day. Then change the oil and remove the rest of solvent from cylinders by cranking it without spark plugs.

    This does help or even (almost) stop the oil consumption on some engines (including older Toyota engines). I haven’t heard anybody trying it on a Prius engine.
     
    Kevin_Denver and SFO like this.
  6. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    I hadn't thought of this, but I definitely see how this could work, especially if you crank the engine over by hand a few times to expose all of the cylinders walls to solvent. On the Prius you'd want a code reader that can clear the Toyota ECU codes (which it will inevitably throw after attempting a startup and failing with no spark plugs). What solvent would you use to do this? Acetone? Liquid from one of those oil flush kits?
     
  7. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    You don’t really need to turn the engine as what you really want to clean is not a cylinder wall but the sides of pistons, piston rings, ring lands, and oil drain holes.

    Lots of different products that you could use. Basically anything that will dissolve carbon buildup.
     
  8. steph2be

    steph2be Junior Member

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    I know this advice was 4-5 years ago. Do you still believe it? Are you still driving that Prius?

    My 2007 has 121,000 miles and until this past Summer gave few problems. In the Spring, my low engine pressure light came on. My oil was close to empty. I had never checked my oil between 5000 mile checkups before. 5000 mile checkups occur every 6 months. I was overdue at the time so it was approx. 8 months when the light came on. Later, in the Summer, my hybrid battery and fuel pump died. I took the gamble and changed it. Then, the day I picked it up from being repaired, my air conditioner was dead. While getting a 2nd opinion on the air conditioner, I asked about my engine. No indication of leakage was found. From July to November the engine oil was topped off a little. This week my check engine light came on. The mechanic indicated a faulty new catalytic converter. I paid $100 to turn off the check engine light. Now, I am going for a 2nd opinion and learning everything I can about function of, need for and causes for damage of a catalytic converter. I am also aware that something caused my engine oil to practically run dry in the Spring.

    So, as part of all that, I want to try putting some cata-cleaner, adding ethanol additive to my current tank and using ethanol free gas to see if this helps extend the life of my 2007 Prius. Is it Lucas Oil safeguard Ethanol fuel conditioner or Lucas Oil Fuel Stabilizer? I want to add to my current tank. Thanks for this and for the Pure Gas app reference.
     
  9. steph2be

    steph2be Junior Member

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    I know this advice was 4-5 years ago. Do you still believe it? Are you still driving that Prius?

    My 2007 has 121,000 miles and until this past Summer gave few problems. In the Spring, my low engine pressure light came on. My oil was close to empty. I had never checked my oil between 5000 mile checkups before. 5000 mile checkups occur every 6 months. I was overdue at the time so it was approx. 8 months when the light came on. Later, in the Summer, my hybrid battery and fuel pump died. I took the gamble and changed it. Then, the day I picked it up from being repaired, my air conditioner was dead. While getting a 2nd opinion on the air conditioner, I asked about my engine. No indication of leakage was found. From July to November the engine oil was topped off a little. This week my check engine light came on. The mechanic indicated a faulty new catalytic converter. I paid $100 to turn off the check engine light. Now, I am going for a 2nd opinion and learning everything I can about function of, need for and causes for damage of a catalytic converter. I am also aware that something caused my engine oil to practically run dry in the Spring.

    So, as part of all that, I want to try putting some cata-cleaner, adding ethanol additive to my current tank and using ethanol free gas to see if this helps extend the life of my 2007 Prius. Is it Lucas Oil safeguard Ethanol fuel conditioner or Lucas Oil Fuel Stabilizer? I want to add to my current tank. Thanks for this and for the Pure Gas app reference.
     
  10. CBarr31

    CBarr31 Active Member

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    I actually sold Ema just at the beginning of the new year. At time of sale she had 523,750 miles on her and still was burning oil at about 1 quart every 1500 - 2500 miles or so depending on RPM's, gas and other factors. This has been the steady burn rate of oil for her for the past 200,000+ miles or more? I would have to go back and look at my notes.

    Along with running ethanol free gas I actually switched to Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment as my preferred ethanol reducer. That along with SeaFoam in with the engine oil about 500 miles before oil changes seemed to keep the oil burning to a minimum for me.

    Good luck with your car. This is a FANTASTIC website for Prii information so use the search and do your research. Hopefully you can keep yours in good shape although most aren't Ema :D:D:D

    Happy driving,
    Chris
     
  11. Kaptainkid1

    Kaptainkid1 Active Member

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    Hi Chris,

    I wanted to recap your maintenance on EMA. I currently have a 2009 Prius and she's burning a little oil, about 3/4 of quart for every 3000 miles. I know it's not bad and I'm at 165k miles now. She was well taken care of by the last owner and I wanted to add a preventative maintenance by introducing seafoam or ATF fluid for the last 100 miles before an oil change to keep the engine clean and minimize the oil scum build up on the oil return ring. Do you think adding the engine cleaning step for every oil change from this point will help with the oil burning? or Do the cleaning everyone 30k. I read seafoam or ATF might harm the rubber seals in the valves and could increase the oil burning. How often did you do an engine flush and did you notice less oil burning? After adding the flush to your schedule do you think if you did the engine flush at every 30k since owning the Prius from new, do you think your Prius oil burning would have been delayed? Maybe I'm guessing burning wouldn't be noticeable until 250k instead of cars burning oil at 100k-160k.
     
  12. capolihu

    capolihu Member

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    Interesting what you are saying Chris. I wonder if Ethanol free vs ethanol 10% has any benefit with Prius. Do they sell ethanol gas in Japan? as far as I know you can fill up with it.

    How much SeaFoam do you put into before oil change? Hasn't ever ruined your Cat?
     
  13. bernie3015

    bernie3015 Junior Member

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    Avi told me about Sea Foam down the spark plug holes. I have used it on three Prius now to great results. The following car had the highest mileage and was in the worst shape as far as burning oil.

    My 2007 with about 272k was burning 1.5 to 2 quarts of oil for every tank of gas. Now at 285k miles it is burning 1 quart every 3,000 miles. A BIG IMPROVEMENT. I had to replace the catalytic converter in the car. Hopefully the current oil burn rate will not kill the CAT. If anyone knows I would love to hear. Also the oil now stays clean whereas before it would get dirty very fast and by putting a camera down the spark plug holes I noticed the cross hatch groves in the cylinder walls. so i think I can get some more miles out of this engine. But in California Catalytic converters are VERY EXPENSIVE. So running the engine to the bitter end does not really pay!

    What did I do? Put 4oz of Sea Foam down each spark plug hole and let it peculate down through the two compression rings and the oil ring and the oil passages to the bottom of the piston. Probably overnight works 18 hours with just a rag over the spark plug holes left the pistons dry in another Prius. I have pictures and more detail at Burning oil problems due to dirty piston rings (oil & compression) and prevent catalytic converter problems and keep the oil cleaner for a longer engine life.
     
  14. roamerr

    roamerr Member

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    Low tension oil control ring with an engine that starts often. I don’t consider 1 quart per 3000 miles to be an issue.

    Use a quality synthetic oil and add as needed. That motor is still great and will go 300k miles most likely.

    Long thread - I hope the OP hasn’t spent lots of $$ on this.


    iPhone ? Pro
     
  15. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    1 qt per 3,000 miles? I haven't burned oil that bad since my Vega in high school...a very long time ago. YMMV
     
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