End of the Road? (Bad HEAD GASKET?)

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Luckykat32, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    First off, I've read A LOT of threads, watched tons of videos, and have done most of the maintenance myself. (lately Ive been reading the blown head gasket threads & biting my nails...hoping I can get a little more out of my car)

    I have a 2010 with 248k. Between 220-230k I cleaned everything (IM, EGR, etc), plus I added the Oil Catch Can. EGR valve was bad, so I replaced it with a used one ...Thank you NUTS & BOLTS for the great videos!
    I replaced the gaskets at that time, as well as all 4 coils and spark plugs.

    In the past 2k miles, check engine light came on...misfire codes plus hybrid battery code, so I cleaned the IM, egr pipe, and changed the spark plugs again. the code went away for a few hundred miles (after I reset it) & the shaking mostly went away. But then the shaking came back & like everyone says, its bad on start up, when the ICE kicks in, then the engine warms up & it goes away.

    Yesterday, after looking things up on the forum, I replaced the Fuel Injectors (I was intimidated because people here said they showed leaks after install), but it was fairly easy & fairly quick, with some gas as lube & some patience, it was no problem (I'm an amateur weekend mechanic at best).

    the NEGATIVE... it has been drinking coolant
    the POSITIVE... I dont see white smoke and I didnt notice any milky oil or anything on the spark plugs.

    After i replaced the fuel injectors I took my car to get the codes read & all the misfire codes and hybrid battery codes were there again, plus the MAP sensor code came up (i believe its P01308...which hasnt happened before). I did take off the intake box and surrounds to have more space to get to the injectors....coincidence? maybe I just moved the MAP plug? not sure...strange.

    At this point, with my high mileage (248k), & what ive read, even though I dont see milky oil or white smoke, I'm assuming its a head gasket, but im not sure...

    MY QUESTIONS:
    1) Is it worth doing a compression check &/or leak down test?
    2) Does it sound like the head gasket is bad?
    3) Should I just throw in the towel & buy a new car? (Ive had a good run, so im happy overall & will be buying another prius (probably the V), but I'd like this car to obviously go as long as possible.


    Side note: Thank you do everyone who contributes...takes time out of their busy day & gives us not-so-knowledgeable folks a chance to extend the lives of our cars & save some money in the process.
     
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  2. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    Yes. If you own a compression gauge, this is free to do at home. Even if you buy one, it's not very expensive.

    The next question you will face is "if the head gasket is failed, is it worth it to change it on a car this old".
     
  3. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Well, if your thoroughness in working on this problem reflects that the rest of the car has been well taken care of as well, if I were you, I'd find a low mileage engine w/transmission from a wrecked Prius and turn back the clock and keep your car on the road for another 200K miles. Then add a brand new battery pack towards the end and then once you get past 1/2 million miles buy a used Prius that needs a new Battery pack for cheap! :)
     
  4. spiralhelix

    spiralhelix Member

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    A compression check will tell you if somethings wrong. You already know that something is wrong. Loss of compression can happen from blown rings, blown head, bad valves, etc. you won’t know which is the issue unless you tear into it. It’s very much possible it’s just leaky valves and the HG.

    You could rebuild the engine for less $$ than a lower mileage used one but is quite a bit of work, or just drop in a used engine which might be faster. It can be a gamble either way since you won’t really know the history of the “new” engine.

    I’d say if you have taken good care of the rest of it, have the time to do the work yourself, fix or replace your engine.

    If you decide to get a new vehicle, go with 2015 or newer.


    -Spiral
     
  5. NewHybridOwner

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    Why should he not take the head off and look at it first? If the blown head gasket hasn't resulted in too many other problems (is that likely?), replacing the head gasket and doing some other minor maintenance will be a lot cheaper than buying a replacement engine. Or am I writing nonsense?
     
  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yeah.... It's the same debate with Hybrid batteries... Do you rebuild for a way less expensive short term fix, or do you spend big and double the lifespan of the car. Every person has a different budget. If you can afford it the long term fix is always better...

    Perhaps the next step before deciding is to put a camera down the spark plug holes and see what it looks like in there without the hassle of taking it apart...
     
  7. NewHybridOwner

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    I like that suggestion.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Do the leak down test.
     
  9. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    I dont know if i have the skill (or even right tools) to replace the head gasket, if that is the problem.
    So I guess, by many peoples advice here, I'm gonna go to the leak down & compression test. Does anyone know the approximate costs? I dont have the tools (or a good scanner) to do it myself, so i'll just pay to have it done.

    Also, others said have the engine rebuilt, or buy a used motor, but at this mileage I'd still be on "borrowed time" because the rest of the car has so many miles on it, so there are other things that will start to go bad and/or breakdown. At this point, if i can't get a repair done for a few hundred dollars or less to give me another 50k+ miles then theres no point to keep feeding money into this ol' girl. Anyone else share the sediment?

    ***Is it worth paying for the leak down & compression test with the shaking still going? Obviously there's a problem, but will be an easy fix? ...I'm guess not, especially if its the HG or valves

    When it comes to a "new" car, I plan on getting a V with around 30-40k miles on it & installing the OCC right away, instead of waiting 200k miles, plus now that I understand Prius' so much more, I can check everything out in the beginning. (I didnt find this website til i was about 180k miles into my current 2010). Plus, I love to drive...Ive done several full west coast roadtrips as well as a couple cross country trips with my prius...so I dont want to worry about it when I'm driving.
     
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  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Good points. Maybe time to sell it.
     
  11. spiralhelix

    spiralhelix Member

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    A few hundred if you do it yourself. Head bolt kit is $100. Then you need gasket maker, the head gasket, etc. most comes apart with 10, 12, 14 mm socket. The head bolts you need 12 point torx type tool (I got a kit of them for $20.

    If someone else does it I think your looking at $1k+. It is slightly time consuming.


    -Spiral
     
  12. Pluggo

    Pluggo Active Member

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    Just for ready reference, there are 6 types of head gasket failures, and each area has its own symptoms.
    upload_2019-7-6_20-57-37.png
     
  13. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    Good info gentleman, thank you.

    Realistically, does anyone know HOW LONG it would take to replace the HEAD GASKET if there's not serious complications?
    If I replaced the HG does the stress/heat to the head go away? Does it go somewhere else that will force me to replace something else very soon after? What happens if I replace the HG and the shaking doesnt go away?

    (I know these are probably obvious questions to most, but I'm far from a pro & I've just learned about cars by watching others & still learning many of the technical aspects & how each part interconnects. Again, thanks for the amazing help & notes)
     
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  14. IMkenNY

    IMkenNY Im just being nosy

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    I just replaced the head gasket and a bent connecting rod on a 2012 Prius a week ago and I would allow 18 hours for the head gasket.

    It can be accomplished on a weekend as long as your excused from yard maintenance that weekend :)

    If its drinking coolant you can be quite certain the head gasket is your problem and if you put it off to long you could run into a bent connecting rod or worse if the engine tries to compress a cylinder filled with coolant.

    This you tube below video sums up the work/ tools required:

    youtube prius head gasket - Bing video

    To the tool list mentioned above add a 1/2" torque wrench

    I used this eBay head gasket set and was content with its quality/price:

    Fits 10-15 Toyota Prius V Lexus CT200h 1.8L Hybrid Head Gasket Set Bolts 2ZRFXE 738614975338 | eBay

    I resurfaced the cylinder head myself with sand paper glued to glass and was able to easily able to get the head deck to one thousand of an inch tolerance.
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Here's a video, two we-come-to-you guys. They do the bare-bones, and the engine cover is filthy before they start, and they don't care to clean it off. But a good video. There's a significant amount of prep-for-access not shown.



    Also, some Repair manual info attached. Also a Toyota service bulletin, which has gasket kit part number.

    Still, I like what you said about the miles on this car; it might be time to move on.
     
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  16. kens97uber171

    kens97uber171 Active Member

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    If it is burning coolant and you take a camera and look down the spark plug hole. The cylinder should look squeaky clean.. no carbon. The coolant is steam cleaning the engine.
    You could be loosing coolant from someplace and not see it... Also bad radiator cap can cause an u explained coolant lose. The cap lets out the pressure into the over flow, eventually the overflow fills up and then dumps the coolant into the ground.. usually when your driving so you may NOT see a puddle.
    Then it sucks in the coolant when it cools off.. this process eventually leads to low coolant in the radiator.

    The misfires are a common issue with coils.. perhaps bad ones.. or bad plugs or bad injectors.

    It seems like a lot of issues cam up after you did your routine maintenance... Buy maybe I misunderstood the timing of it all.

    I would use a camera and do a compression test... And or leak down test.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  17. Icyair

    Icyair New Member

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    Hi 500k and still on original battery and drives like new replaced water pump and aux battery so you have nothing to worry about just drive it gently

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  18. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    About 12 hours.

    I have a link to my HG replacement thread in my signature.
     
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  19. egn83b

    egn83b Junior Member

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    For the amount of effort here taking care of the car a check engine light for a failing battery is a big enough game changer to start thinking about a used battery or a new car. In the interim to fix your gasket drain the coolant and put liquid glass sealer in the radiator, it will seal up your block and replace the oem coolant back in. This will buy you a year or two more to save for a good down payment. If you plan on keeping a money pit car get a used battery and take your engine to a machine shop and get it rebuilt correctly.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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