Blown Headgasket on high mileage 2011 Prius. Advice on how to proceed.

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by WiSeIVIaN, Oct 21, 2021.

  1. WiSeIVIaN

    WiSeIVIaN New Member

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    Any input is appreciated. I have a 2011 Prius with 200k miles (I used to have a long 40k miles/year highway commute). In July it began rough idoling upon start-up for 5-15sec. Check engine light showed misfire codes. I took it to a mechanic that couldn't figure it out. Fast forward to last week I blew my headgasket and dumped all my coolant into engine/oil. I drove about a half mile when first getting overheat warnings.

    I understand at the point the EGR system (which has never been cleaned) almost certainly got clogged and stressed the engine then blew the head gasket. Given the engine's high mileage and near certain residual damage from long term egr clog, I don't think I can just replace the head gasket, so it's Engine swap or new car.

    Online local the cheapest lower milage gen3 engine I could find was $2k for 74k miles. I called a shop for a quote on labor for an engine swap and they said $1350 which I don't know if I'll find much cheaper in the chicagoland area

    How do you suggest to proceed? Car's kbb is around $5k if it was running, is it crazy to spend $3500'ish on a used engine swap? Would. I need/want to get other things (water pump etc) replaced at the same time?

    If I could get another 2 years out if my beloved prius I'd be happy to pay that over a new car payment. But obviously if the car becomes inoperable shortly after the large repair expense, I'd feel foolish.

    Advice welcome. I'm work from home now so lower mileage, but I still need a vehicle in the suburbs. It's be cool to get a new prius prime but I don't love the idea of having a $450/mo car payment. Even CPO used prius look closer to $350/mo.

    Also if I did not repair, what's the best way to sell a prius with a bad head gasket? Or am I really just looking at scrap value at this point?
     
  2. Darthchoke

    Darthchoke New Member

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    Swap out the engine for a 4th gen engine no more worries about HG issues best upgrade you can do to your Prius
     
  3. PsychicNumb

    PsychicNumb New Member

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    I just went through this myself with my beloved 2013 prius; you can read more details on the thread I started here.

    Long story short, I bought a used JDM motor off eBay for $1400 and had a mechanic install it for $1500. So for a total of $2900, it's running again. I've already driven around 2k miles in the last few weeks. I did receive the car back with CEL light still on and a code about the O2 sensor; I need to get this checked out but I'm really hoping it's just something that got tripped up during the motor swap.
     
  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    You may be right, but a head gasket replacement "may" also do the trick.

    How's the oil consumption?
     
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  5. privilege

    privilege Active Member

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    sounds like a good idea
     
  6. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Senior Member

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    Change the headgasket with new head bolts.
    I did mine at 230,000
    $250.00
     
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  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Long video, but worth a watch:

     
  8. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I would not just change the headgasket. Your headgasket was leaking when the rattling started back in July. That was headgasket territory. I realize Priuschat has many who suggest egr, plugs, coils and or injectors will fix a cold rattle that goes away. All this does is cost people money for those jobs and gets them a bigger repair later.

    Now you have a coolant to oil leak with overheating, a more serious problem. Warped block and head is extremely likely. I would get a replacement engine, maybe the 74k unit. You will also have a better chance that it is not an oil burner yet which is far worse than a clogged egr. Of course you have the mechanic clean and verify all parts including the egr. Most would replace the two water pumps but that adds cost, likely over your quote.

    To get an engine replacement that adds real value, have it rebuilt. New pistons and rings. Machined head. Maybe you don't need ten years, thats fine. Just swap the engine but get a decent guarantee. 6-12 months.
     
    #8 rjparker, Oct 25, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
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  9. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Senior Member

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    Wow
    I didn't read the entire post....you are correct.
     
  10. Rocky Mountain Priusman

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    It makes sense to repair, but you also arn't stuck between repairing it and buying a brand new car. You can always go with a simular vintage Prius, or other used car for relatively cheap and likely get a number of problem free years out of it if you pick wisely. Have a look at used Toyota Matrix's - I bet you can find a good one from $2,000-4,000.
     
  11. WiSeIVIaN

    WiSeIVIaN New Member

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    Thanks! I watched the first half and determined I am never going to try to try a head gasket on my car myself! Felt like a baby being explained how to build a spaceship. :)
     
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  12. WiSeIVIaN

    WiSeIVIaN New Member

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    Appreciated for the input. Unfortunately this forum shelved my post as a new user for 5 days, so I didn't get any advice before I made my decision. Your post *might* have swayed me to move forward with the engine replacement. Thanks!
     
  13. WiSeIVIaN

    WiSeIVIaN New Member

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    So I ended up making the decision to cell my beloved Prius on facebook marketplace. Almost replaced the engine but at the end of the day, I am not mechanically inclined up to maintain an older car myself, and even if I had spent $3500 to replace the engine, I was fearful of all the maintenance that'd be upcoming as the car continued to age.

    I actually posted for $3500 on facebook marketplace (fulling disclosing issues) and ended up with a buyer at $3200 which is more than I was hoping for. I don't have a car now, but will be buying another Prius (gen 4 new or used) at some point in the not-distance future.

    Thanks again for all the replies!
     
  14. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I wish the moderator would weigh in on this situation which is repeating itself many times a month. Can we get multiple moderators to allow the forum to add value in a timely manner?
     
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  15. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    In this case we want the admin and not the moderator;).

    The one person show of @Tideland Prius has got to be taxing in multiple ways:whistle:.

    An influx of fresh talent would seem in order :).

    Hope it happens to give Tideland some support(y).
     
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  16. koco

    koco Member

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    Looks like a fairly happy ending to this story. A head gasket repair on a motor that has coolant in the oil can be sketchy and may not even last.
     
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