2011 Prius, typical problems, thinking of replacing engine

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by maurakl, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    I have been reading up and apparently I have a 2011 lemon. It is doing the classic oil consumption, about a quart every 800 to 1,000 miles. That was doable, though it seems unreasonable. Now, I have the horrible knocking at start up. I have 227,000 miles on it and drive about 20,000 a year plus probably. So, I have the check engine light on. The first time I had it checked, it said I was misfiring on 3 of the 4 cylinders. So, I took it to the dealer and they did the $95 diagnostics. They could not find a problem. They said, they did not see the signs of the head gasket problem, which was a relief. So, they said maybe it was the intake manifold, and I could replace that for $700. I declined. Several months ago, I did a carbon cleaning thing of some sort there which was like a tune up, but also included a special carbon cleaning process that was tried to help the oil consumption problem. It did not help with the oil consumption, but I needed the tune up anyway. Sorry, I don't know the official name for that carbon thing.

    So, the dang car is not paid off and I do not want to start over with a new used car with payments for eternity. I was thinking of replacing the motor. I did find a 2013 motor, but it does not have the intake manifold, so I would have to get that, too. That was $1900. Then about $1200 to change out the motor.

    So, my questions are, do you think upgrading to the 2013 engine will be a good move? It has like 63,000 miles on it. Is there something else I should also replace at the same time? I feel like if I do this, I should get another 200,000 or hopefully more miles out of this car. I like the car, good blue color, bluetooth, cd changer that I am happy with. The interior is in good condition, pretty new tires. My only other complaint is that the headlight covers are so cloudy and the regular headlights seem sooooo dull, like I need the brights on all the time to see decently at night.

    Is the 2013 1.8 liter engine good? It has got to be better than the 2010 or 2011. I did a quick search for 2013 problems and didn't find much here.

    I figure if I spend this money now, I can at least continue driving the car after it is finally paid off. Any thoughts on this that might help me out?

    If I get this 2013 engine, will it have any kind of warranty since it only has 63,000 miles on it? How would I get updates or recalls for that engine?

    I have read lots about the oil catch can and cleaning the intake manifold, etc, but since I can't do it myself, I don't think that is possible for me. Looks like I need to be a mechanic to own a 2011 Prius and I am not one! Does having a catch can void any warranty? Should I see if I can get someone to put one on if I get the 2013 engine?

    Thanks so much for all of you great Prius owners out there that help other owners with their cars!!!
     
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  2. Borninblue

    Borninblue Member

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    Can I ask you a question as to why you feel a car with 227,000 miles is a lemon? What other major problems have you had before this?
     
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  3. FnRedPrius

    FnRedPrius Member

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    Look newer, much much newer. Ours is a 2010 and I am finishing up (hopefully tonight) installing a 2016 motor with 5800 miles. There is one mechanical mod to the block structure, you use your exhaust, EGR, intake, flywheel, Damper, front motor engine mount and waterpump. Mine has taken longer than it should have, but I went in and cleaned the engine bay and wiring, then rewrapped all of the wiring looms. @Raytheeagle @cnc97 and @Ragingfit posted an entire video series on Youtube under "fixThatPrius" documenting the swap. I was lucky that my engine came with the entire wiring harness and many hoses. It can be done and isn't that bad, just tedious. I will detail more on mine later.
     
  4. rosencrantz

    rosencrantz Junior Member

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    I agree with FnRedPrius.... except I wouldn’t necessarily go with a gen4 engine as it involves quite a bit more work to swap it into a gen3 car. If it were me, I’d look for a low mileage ‘15 engine (I think improved pistons and rings) and then completely scrub the EGR system stem to stern on that engine before swapping it in your car.
     
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  5. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    I feel like it is a lemon because it is a design problem that Toyota won't do anything about that is causing these problems. It is frustrating that they know this is a problem, yet won't fix it on our cars. My mileage is around 40 now rather than around 50, which kind of negates the reason to have a hybrid, for the great mileage.
     
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  6. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    So, you think it took until the 2015 model for them to fix the piston issue? Wow. I was just reading that some think the 2013 has the same oil issue, but that we are now seeing enough miles on them now to see the problems. Sigh.
     
  7. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    Thanks for the tip on using a Gen 3 and not a 4. These are the things I need to know! Keep it coming! This 2013 engine is the only one my husband could find in our area!
     
  8. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    I have to hire someone to put the engine in, is this scrubbing something that I could expect a mechanic to do for me if I request it?
     
  9. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    A salvage yard said that I could use an engine up to a 2017 for my car. I am looking at some available online and they give part of the VIN numbers. Do those have to match what mine is? Is there a way for me to know if one is a Gen 3 or 4 by the VIN number? There is just so much to know, that I don't know!! Sorry, I am definitely a question asker! Thanks for all of your input so far.
     
  10. rosencrantz

    rosencrantz Junior Member

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    2016 - 2019 would be a gen4 engine. You could use a gen4 engine.... BUT, it’s more involved to modify and swap into your gen3 car. I’m unsure how to know by VIN what the generation of the vehicle/engine might be.
    I’m sure you could pay the mechanic doing the engine swap to make sure the EGR system is thoroughly cleaned....it’d be much easier to scrub with the engine out of the vehicle. And, in my opinion, it’s VERY important to have done. In other words, if you’re not doing the work yourself, choose a mechanic that you can trust to clean the EGR system- including the cooler. Optimally, you’d find a 2015 engine with less than 75k miles (an engine with less than 75k miles probably wouldn’t have been exposed to a seriously clogged EGR). I think some have theorized a severely clogged EGR can cause the engine to run hotter than normal and this may put the headgasket at risk. Cliff note version: buy a 2015 engine with low mileage and verify the EGR system is clean.
     
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  11. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    Thank you so much! I really appreciate you helping me with this! I now know what to look for. I will have my husband talk to the mechanic we are planning on using. Local guy that seems to be very honest and helpful.
     
  12. FnRedPrius

    FnRedPrius Member

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    The mechanic can do the EGR cleaning but it is either time consuming or nasty. Using the OxyClean soakings are much cleaner but much slower as it takes several soak and rinse cycles. Using pressure is very messy as the exhaust byproducts mixed with the burnt oil are nasty and go everywhere. Then the tubes and EGR passages in the intake have to be thoroughly cleaned as well as the rest of the intake. The price to clean the EGR may be more than a new one.
    The Gen IV transplant isn't as hard as I was afraid that it might be, but I was lucky that the engine I bought had the entire wiring harness and many of the hoses. There isn't that much more work transplanting a IV instead of a III. Most of the parts swaps involves most of the same parts that would have to be swapped anyway as most recycled engines do not come with those parts attached. The changes that have to be made are fairly simple thanks to the efforts of @cnc97 and @Ragingfit.
    Those changes are:
    Cut a nub off of the back of the head,
    Extending the temp sensor wires by about 10 inches,
    Add a T-connector to a present water line and run a new water line from that T-connector to the throttle body,
    Re-route a heater hose,
    Slight modification to the lower radiator hose by either adding a piece of conduit or purchasing a OEM "pipe" (
    16577-37080) that is about $15-$20 online,
    Move three ground connectors.
    One other thing I did was heat one of the heater hose connections and move it to a little better angle to clear another outlet.



    After reading the threads by @cnc97 and @Ragingfit and watching the latter's videos it added maybe a real hour to the job. In my reality it probably added 3-4 hours simply because I wasn't working towards book time, and few mechanics would have taken the time to clean the engine bay, clean and re-wrap the wiring looms, re-work and reattach the wiring harness mounts, and a few other bits of tidy work.
    I was able to take a donor hose from the new engine and connect it to on original rather than using the 90 degree connector on the OEM.

    I completed ours tonight, but I want to check a couple of things before I put SWMBO into the car. If the CEL doesn't clear in the AM I'll take it and have it checked and cleared, and the water pump was noisy so I want to check that out. I used the original water pump and I've heard issues that the 2016 doesn't play well with the 2010 system.
     
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  13. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    So, can the EGR be replaced with a new one? Is that what you are thinking maybe I should do rather than ask the mechanic if he can clean it? I am thinking maybe that would be better than trying to put a gen 4 engine in?
     
  14. FnRedPrius

    FnRedPrius Member

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    If you are having "all the same" Gen III issues, then a short diagnostic isn't going to reveal a head gasket. The cylinder misses can either be sporadic or consistent enough to keep the CEL on. The cure for the oil consumption is either a "piston soak" that may or may not work, or have various degrees of success but is a temporary solution. The permanent solution is a rebuild with later model pistons and rings, which also cures the blown head gasket. The vast majority of the time, I don't have any indications of the blown head gasket other than the occasional miss and coolant loss from time to time. The vast majority of postings ( as it seems ) to be this issue. I'm sorry that you are having this issue and seem to be stuck with the car. Luckily I have the ability to do mine and after hours and hours of research, I did mine. I haven't changed an engine in over 30 years and nothing other than racecars in 35. We paid $1600 for the engine with 5800 miles, and I bought a hoist and stand. In all, I have about $2K plus my time. Back when we had a shop, I would have added and hour for what I have done to ours. Many a time have we pulled one across the street to clean the engine compartment, then do it again after the engine is out.

    I can't make that decision for you, but unless you have a pathway to get everything done, you may be having to compromise.
     
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  15. Jon Watkins

    Jon Watkins Member

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    Try to find a 2015 engine because it has the revised rings/pistons so no oil burning issues. Should be able to find one with low miles (less than 50k) and it will drop right in.

    It would be a good idea to add an oil catch can which is no big deal to install even if you aren’t very “mechanically inclined”. Drained the occ in the wifes daily 2015 last night and only got about 1 tablespoon of oil after 1.5k miles.

    You will also need to clean the egr valve and egr cooler every 100k miles or so. No getting away from that on any gen 3 engine if you don’t want to have head gasket problems.
     
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  16. WolfpackBill

    WolfpackBill Active Member

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    @FnRedPrius, you're only up the street from me. I'll be calling you if I ever need my car's engine swapped!!

    I feel very fortunate because my 2010 has 143k miles and it has not burnt any oil at all. However, they're all highway miles so I guess that helps.
     
  17. FnRedPrius

    FnRedPrius Member

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    Just lemme know. The biggest thing I learned was I didn't need to take ALL my metric stuff over to my impromptu work table. I probably wasted most of my time looking thru the tools to find what I wanted. 99% of what I did was 10, 12, and 14MM.

    I'd be for cleaning the EGR like some do voting, early and often. ( We aren't in 9th District ). I'm also going to look for a stud that I can use for the ground wires on the head since I wasn't thrilled with the outcome from drilling the first connector out and I don't like the appearance with it being on a valve cover bolt.
     
    #17 FnRedPrius, Mar 14, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  18. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I would definitely find an engine from a 2015 with low mileage. Car-Part.com is another place you can try to search, or even eBay (look for LKQ sellers). If you have to pay someone for the swap, I would not seek a 2016-19 engine....too many unknowns if you have to pay someone to troubleshoot (and then it won't be worth the cost).
     
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  19. High Mileage

    High Mileage Member

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    Dear maurakl, I do not mean to pick on you but as a mechanic if 16 years I have to ask, and I will not turn this into a rant but will state some ideas and opinions I have.
    You have 227K miles on your vehicle which I assume has been mostly trouble free up till now, but you say its a lemon. So what is your expectation for how many trouble free miles you expected from this vehicle?
    How long has your car been burning this large amount of oil? How did it start? How often did you check the oil prior to it starting to use this amount, and how often do you check it now?
    When I worked for GM which was from 1998 until 2003 they were engineering a vehicle to last ~100K miles under normal use. They were trying to design a vehicle that was reliable, got reasonable fuel mileage, performed well in crash tests, looked decent, reasonable cost etc. Each engineering department had a task, and none of them got everything they wanted.
    I personally think Toyota has done pretty well with the Prius. In my opinion the prius was designed as a hybrid and a certain driving style that goes along with it. My 2010 has 265K miles on it. It uses ~1/2qt every 10K miles. Part of the reason it does not use oil in my opinion pertains to my driving habits, one of which is keeping my speed under 70mph most of the time. I think the initial issue with these cars using oil is due to high vehicle and engine speeds, which was not the design for a hybrid vehicle. The high engine rpm overwhelms the PCV system and ends up sending oil into the intake system that gets burned. The engine starts to use oil. With a 10K oil change interval and owners that never open the hood to check levels the oil system gets low. Low oil level ends up starving the system and causing oil rings to overheat and get coked with burnt oil. Sticking oil control rings contribute to more oil usage as oil is not wiped from the cylinder and gets burned. Some of this burned oil ends up sticking to the top of the piston and cylinder head causing a rise in compression of the engine due to reduced headspace in the cylinder. This oil being burned travels down the exhaust system and ends up settling out in the EGR system since the EGR cooler allows it to condense out. As the EGR system gets plugged the combustion temperatures and pressures in the cylinder go up even more. This increase in temperature and pressure can eventually contribute to a failure of the head gasket.
    Toyota through the years has had updates to oil control rings, head gasket design, intake manifold design etc.
    You say "I feel like it is a lemon because it is a design problem that Toyota won't do anything about that is causing these problems. It is frustrating that they know this is a problem, yet won't fix it on our cars." I really don't see Toyota producing a car with known design problems. They like other manufacturers are always learning and trying to do better, and they do a good job in my opinion repairing. But no one manufacturer is perfect, and each customer has a different "Expectation". Mine must be too low.
     
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  20. maurakl

    maurakl Junior Member

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    Thanks for the tips! I was starting to lean towards a newer engine. May try to find the 2015, if I can.
     
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