Not a lot of miles, but believe the engine's days are numbered

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Brad from Ohio, Nov 24, 2021.

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  1. Brad from Ohio

    Brad from Ohio New Member

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    2011 Prius well maintained with only 127k miles. Runs fine and looks fine, but beilieve the cold starts are going to eventually kill it way before its time.
    Since 120k have performed all the most common recs to address the issue including cleaning the EGR pipe and cooler, cleaning the intake manifold, replacing the spark plugs, replacing the PCV valve, installing an oil catch can, replacing the spark plugs, replacing the air filter, and replacing the fuel injectors.
    After all that has been done, the cold starts are less rough. With the return of the cold weather, sure enough the cold startup rattle/rumble noises are back. Occasionaly the engine still sounds like it fighting itself upon startup.
    The radiator reservoir fluid level remains stable at the FULL line, so doesn't appear to be a blown head gasket issue at this point.
    Believe that tolerating occasional rough starts since around 70k miles or so, may have compromised the integrity of some of the pistons, rods, rings, or whatever it is making the cold start rattle sounds.
    Admit I often ponder "just how long to eventually a cold start, blows a rod or a piston and takes out this otherwise excellent running engine?" Wonder if it'll make it through another Winter.
    It's soon to be an 11 year old car with 130k+ Northeast Ohio(harsh environment) miles on it. Would really like to get 15+ years or 200k+ miles out of this Prius. But will sell it for parts rather than throw a few thousand+ into an engine rebuild.
    Putting the car into Reverse right away after turning the Power on seems to prevent/minimize this nasty phenomenon. As the car coasts slowiy down the flat driveway, for whatever reason, the ICE comes on without making the nasty rumble/valve/rod shake it would have if left to warm up in Park mode. Has anyone else done this? Is the ECU changing the fuel/air ratio or something? Any science as to what is actually occuring? And might doing this delay the demise of the engine?
     
    #1 Brad from Ohio, Nov 24, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    does it burn any oil?
     
  3. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    dreaded gen3 EGR Head Gasket issue?
    If it is and you caught it in time, count your blessings!
     
  4. Brad from Ohio

    Brad from Ohio New Member

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    Burns about a quart of oil every 5k miles.
    The coolant overflow stays at the Full line, so am not worried at this time.
    Will sell the car for parts rather than drop over a grand on replacing a head gasket.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it's worth a lot more whole, with a new head gasket than parts
     
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  6. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    did you searched priuschat for - gen 3 prius EGR
    yet
    I got almost 200 hits 10 pages of post links

    edit: sorry forgot to mention the order - EGR clogs than head gasket gets blown later.
    EGR cooler
    EGR passages
    Intake manifold EGR passages
     
    #6 vvillovv, Dec 2, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  7. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Since the cold start "knock" is usually the damper assembly being tossed around the engine will tolerate things for quite a while.

    Sounds a little penny wise, pound foolish to not repair a low mile car and scrap it instead though. Certainly much cheaper then replacing it in any case. People are free to throw money away as they see fit though.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    In reverse the car’s motivation is purely by the electric motor.
     
  9. Tbkilb01

    Tbkilb01 Active Member

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    Yea
    I put it in D
     
  10. abdullah arslan

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  11. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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    The cold start rattle certainly sounds horrific but it's not the pistons, rods, or rings... it's simply the damper rattling. It's almost certainly caused by a misfire. The question is: what's causing your misfire? It appears you've addressed the usual suspects. Is the Check Engine light on? You mention the EGR pipe & cooler have been cleaned along with the intake manifold. Did you do these yourself?
     
  12. Brad from Ohio

    Brad from Ohio New Member

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    Yes to all your questions tv. Performed them myself. Cleaning the EGR cooler seemed to have the most positive impact of those tasks.
    No longer get the occasional convulsions during cold starts. But still get an occasional brief rattle sound when starting cold.
     
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  13. Brad from Ohio

    Brad from Ohio New Member

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    Hear what you are saying md. But the car is in its 11th snowbelt winter. By age 15 cars from around here have lost around 90% of their value. Also the rough roads hard on the suspensions.
    We are in awe upon seeing 20 year old cars from the South which are rust-free.
     
  14. OptimusPriustus

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    in other words: you don’t have oil burning issue. It’s as good as new:)
     
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  15. rjparker

    rjparker Tu Humilde Sirviente

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    You 90% have an occasionally leaking head gasket that seals quickly when started. Its a strange behavior but these cars do it. As suggested above, going into reverse [usually] forces the engine off [or disconnects from the load]. Entrained gas can temporarily make up for the small coolant loss. A borescope inspection of the cylinder is often definitive.

    Rust is the wild card here. But even the Browns have a chance; so maybe your gen3 can live to retire gracefully at 250k.

    Since you are ready to part out the car, there are drastic short term measures for low dollars. While not recommended, a head gasket sealer will quickly eliminate the rattle for the winter, absolutely define the problem, but you risk taking out the heater, radiator and or thermostat. There are old school sealers that require extensive flushing but have advantages. They require multiple initial flushes before using, distilled water when the sealer is added and multiple flushes before adding new antifreeze. However they can be run for 500 miles assuming freezing is not an issue or removed quickly. Three to six months of rattle free engine often result.

    As is, it will get worse with obvious white steam out of the exhaust (using an observer in the rear), coolant loss becomes obvious, rattling at every engine engagement begins, eg clear end stage head gasket symptoms. You could simply wait for that since the subsequent options remain the same except for an annoying potential for stranding and a no choice emergency repair or disposal.

    Like most things gen3, a head gasket job is several thousand done professionally and is full of speed bumps for a diy attempt. Which is why most pros will recommend a rebuilt engine, usually $3500 or higher depending on market and choice of shop. Your engine at 127k may be a good candidate. Think of it, new rings, rebuilt head, new seals, a like new engine.

    When you realize desirable new cars are often $10k over msrp (if available at all), late model used cars are going for new prices or what $5k-$10k will buy used, then a rebuilt engine looks pretty good especially if your brake booster has been replaced. The car may then get you to 250k miles assuming the rust inspection guy does not stop you first.
     
    #15 rjparker, Dec 12, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2021
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  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    Going into reverse when cold, the engine will continue to run, but will be disconnected, not turning the wheels.
     
  17. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Unless you have something that you haul to a car show on a trailer, or only drive on the weekend when the weather is nice, CARS are not especially “valuable.”
    They’re a transportation EXPENSE, and you seem to be managing yours rather well.

    Keep changing your filters, fluids, and performing maintenance and run it until gas prices drop, car prices moderate, or your G3 becomes too unreliable to use for transportation.

    Good Luck!
    Let us know if the CEL comes on and what codes it starts spitting.
     
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  18. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    @rj still only 3k on all prime trims locally, but like everywhere I've heard of here, pickens is thin.
     
  19. rjparker

    rjparker Tu Humilde Sirviente

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    Around here the dealer's lots are empty except for overpriced used cars. I did see a transport carrying new design 2022 Tundras heading from the factory to Houston last week.
     
  20. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    I've yet to see one of those carvana flat beds too. Still wondering if they get enough business to use multi car flat beds. I've seen a couple of them around over the years. Thinking back to the days I used to dream of gettin a union job drivin for one of the grocery chains and transports were everywhere, I haven't seen many of them, maybe 5, since than.
     
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