HELP! 2010 Prius vs Pot Hole... Blown Head Gasket???

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Outdoorsmanism, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. Outdoorsmanism

    Outdoorsmanism Junior Member

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    Hi PriusChat Nation,

    This last weekend my wife and I were driving through Salt Lake City, UT when we hit a large pothole in our 2010 Prius (195k miles - original engine and battery). Immediately the engine began clanking. Since I assumed it was "collision" damage, I started a claim with GEICO under our comprehensive coverage.

    After having it towed to a Toyota dealer in the area and having the GEICO adjuster take a look... they said that no collision damage was noticeable, and that the problem was a blown head gasket. All anger and frustration aside... now we're left with figuring out what to do.

    We've cared and maintained the Prius per all recommendations from the day our family bought it new. My key questions....

    How in the world would hitting a pothole cause this amount of damage to an engine without there being any signs of the collision?

    WHAT DO WE DO NOW? KBB has the private-sale value range around $4-5k. The estimates I've received for a full engine replacement are around the $4k mark. It seems silly to not just sell it "as-is" and buy something else, but our model was fully-loaded and spending $4k on another vehicle wouldn't put us in nearly as good of shape vehicle from what we've seen.

    I WANT TO KEEP IT but don't know where to go from here... HELP!
     
  2. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    You sure it isn’t a motor mount?

    Is the engine coolant level low?
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    idk if it is possible, but maybe the head gasket was hanging on by a thread? it is a known 2010 problem.

    if you can't afford a new vehicle, shop around for a mech who will replace it or the engine with a salvage unit.
     
  4. BZzap!

    BZzap! Senior Member

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    First off, get a second opinion.
    On the Prius the engine is suspended on the front (passenger side) motor mount that is attached directly to the front of the cylinder head. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the severe jolt that it encountered could have disturbed the head gasket seal... maybe even pull a head bolt loose.
    As I said, “Get a second opinion.”
     
    #4 BZzap!, Oct 27, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  5. Johnny Cakes

    Johnny Cakes Active Member

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    Could you more fully describe the "clanking" sound?
    Any unusual exhaust smoke?
    Any signs of overheating or coolant leaking?
    Any misfiring?
     
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  6. Outdoorsmanism

    Outdoorsmanism Junior Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions and advice!

    Upon startup the following morning, the engine knocking was far worse and white smoke was spewing from the exhaust. The check engine light also came on. From everything I've seen, this is an obvious sign of blown head gasket.

    After the full inspection from Toyota, they said they found codes for miss fires, also found coolant being burned causing the misfires, and that the head gasket was blown (plus they charged $60 just to scan the codes).

    It looks like I can buy salvage engines with low miles for around $2,000 - $2,500.

    How much should I expect an auto shop to charge for the labor if I mail the engine directly to them?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Yes, get a 2nd opinion...
    No...
    No "jolt" would do that. It would have to have been hard enough to cause a crash, which I take did not happen.
    Outdoorsmanism: Are you able to do the work yourself? It is time consuming, but not really difficult, unless you've
    never don't any type of car work.
    Did you ever clean the EGR system? Most notably, the egr cooler? That seems to be the main reason the head gasket
    blows...
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Can you address this question?

    Right now you're likely just in need of a new head gasket, which is arguably a little less drastic than an engine swap. I would not drive it any more, lest it gets so much coolant in a cylinder that you end up busting a piston arm, maybe putting a hole through the block in the process.

    Amen.
     
    #8 Mendel Leisk, Oct 28, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
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  9. PriusOffroad

    PriusOffroad Junior Member

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    I think we all know that feeling of the "jolt" you experienced with the pothole. Especially assuming you still have the factory shocks/struts at 195k miles. Ouch! o_O As far as it blowing your head gasket, I would say it was just a coincidence and it was just its time. As mentioned above, a new head gasket isn't the end of the world as long as you don't continue driving it and add salt to the wound. My vote is have a new head gasket installed, and put the money you saved towards improving the ride over those nasty potholes. ;)
     
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