Threw a rod on 08 Prius. Why?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Jfrench, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    Rough day today. My new-to-me 2008 Touring Prius w 130k miles had a catastrophic engine failure while road tripping back to Austin from New Orleans - about 700 miles into the round trip. There is a hand-sized hole in the bottom of my engine block :(

    I heard a loud bang about 2 hours into the trip, engine started making lots of noise, some black smoke. Big red triangle warning light on the dash. I still had power, was able to limp to a parking lot a mile or so down the highway. We checked the oil at that time, and the dipstick appeared dry(!) after wiping off and dipping. The underside of the vehicle was covered in oil. Got it towed to a Toyota dealer who put it on a lift and quickly found the gaping hole.

    Is it possible I developed an oil leak somewhere along the trip, and ran it dry w/o noticing? I assumed that since the (independent) dealer I bought from 3 weeks ago had verified the oil was full and engine not burning oil, I was good to go (haven't owned a car in 9 years). I also had another shop do a mechanical check before the trip, and they gave it a clean bill of health. So I didn't check oil while gassing up at all. Will not make that mistake again...but I'm confused about why this happened.

    On the plus side, the dealer who sold it to me, who I mostly trust...says he will replace the engine with a comparably aged one for just the cost of labor - $800. I paid $5k for the vehicle so I'm just trying to cut my losses and keep it on the road...fingers crossed.

    Advice, opinions and commiseration welcome.
     
    #1 Jfrench, Nov 2, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  2. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    Additional tidbit: the Toyota dealership I brought it to pulled the service records and saw that in February, prior to my dealer buying the vehicle, it had been bought by a dealership in Dallas with the note "all warning lights on, black smoke, customer declined service"...

    The dealer I bought from, upon me confronting him with this, said he was unaware of the record. He had seen smoke when he was repairing it, and diagnosed it as a faulty fuel injector. He said he fixed it by replacing them...I imagine he bought it at auction, didn't look too hard at the service records from the dealership, and just wanted to flip it quick. I actually don't think he is lying to me, but maybe I'm being too trusting...?
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    Anything is possible, maybe they didn’t tighten the drain plug. You should learn how to check your oil, (and tire pressure) and don’t trust shops to always do the right thing. People make mistakes.
     
  4. ETC(SS)

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

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    Hmmmmmm.
    This is a wobbler.
    Suppose that you need to kick over 2-large for a new traction battery a month after the motor is replaced?
    How about an inverter next year?


    I'd kick over 800 bones for the new engine, but I'm able to DIY all of the maintenance on this vehicle and I would be able to do things like look and see if there are new injectors in the now-blown motor which would tell me much about the trustworthiness of the independent wheeler-dealer.
    I'd insist on a FIRM quote and ask for a warranty.

    As the owner of vehicles with >100,000 on the clock I have a habit of keeping tabs on my fluid levels.
    I'm not trying to shame you here but whatever you do from here on out you need to be a lot more proactive about the maintenance requirements for whatever vehicle you take your next road trips with - unless they are rentals.
    Also...I hope that whatever shop you used to inspect this car doesn't get any more of your money, and I'd actual consider asking them to explain the fist-sized hole in your engine block - ESPECIALLY given the maintenance history for this vehicle.
    Hind sight is ALWAYS clearer than foresight, but the root cause for this failure should have been detectable.

    Good Luck!

    Keep us informed as to how it turns out.
     
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  5. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Active Member

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    Just because the information about "declined service" is visible NOW, does not mean that it was at the time the dealer purchased it, or when you did. Records are not immediate, I know that can be hard to understand in this "right here, right now" world, but that are a number of systems that have to upload that data for it to be known.

    It sounds like the engine was junk originally, cannot know for sure if the injector was the cause, but the failure is suggestive that it was run low of oil previously and failed on your watch. Not an a-typical failure mode, not at all.
     
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  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Fuel injector stuck open will run crazy rich. It will produce black smoke, and the fuel will wash past the piston rings and drain into the oil sump, where it drastically reduces the lubricating properties of the oil.

    That sets you up for dramatically accelerated bearing wear, the engine loses the ability to maintain oil pressure and once it zeroes out... BANG.

    We can't know for a fact that this is what happened, but it's quite plausible to me. It's possible that the shop failed to change the oil at the same time as the injector repair, or that the car had been driven with the bad injector for too long and the damage was already too advanced.
     
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  7. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    Thanks so much for y'alls input. Good suggestion to hassle the shop who gave it a clean bill of health, I'll do that...

    Leadfoot and 05, your explanation makes a lot of sense to me. Super bummer that it happened on my watch.

    Question now is, say the engine is replaced with a ~150k mileage engine. What issues could arise from this replacement? Anything I should watch out for?

    I should mention that I am fairly quick to grok electrical and mechanical systems / am handy, but woefully undereducated about automobiles specifically. I've been riding and fixing bicycles for a decade...not cars.
     
  8. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    What would seem reasonable for a replacement engine warranty in this context?

    I agree with you that I should have been checking fluid levels :/ will be from here on out. Expensive lesson to learn.

    Thanks for your input!

     
  9. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    For $800, don’t expect much of a warranty. You would be lucky to get 90 days/4,000 miles since a used engine is being installed.

    If the replacement engine has logged 150K miles then expect some engine oil consumption. Check the engine oil level at every other refueling until you establish the oil consumption rate.

    Further, expect that the rate will worsen as you log miles on a given oil change since the oil viscosity will get thinner with usage.
     
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  10. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Watch your highway speed (and corresponding oil level), Many experience a correlation between driving fast(er) and excess oil consumption.
     
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  11. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Fuel injector stuck open + left to run that way for a while can overwhelm the catalytic converters. Sometimes they clog up with hydrocarbon garbage, and sometimes they fight back and burn it off properly.... but they aren't meant to handle that much, so they get too hot and melt internally.

    Keep an eye out for that since it won't be replaced with the engine, nor would a warranty cover it.
     
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  12. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    NO! The Prius would have displayed this: upload_2018-11-2_23-17-27.png = low engine oil pressure due to low or NO engine oil.
    This could have been displayed on the MFD (Multi-Function Display), and you didn't notice?

    Assumption is the mother of all Frack-ups.

    How did this independent dealer verify this? Assuming they even did.
    The ideal way to verify is to drive a lot of miles, arguably one gas tank full, on city streets and highway, under real world conditions. This dealer could have simply driven 5 miles and conclude, not burning oil, which would be correct, but misleading. Any rational person would conclude 5 miles is not enough to determine oil consumption rate.

    What ever they assessed, there were NO glaring obvious problems like leaking fluids, hole in exhaust/engine block, etc.

    Just like humans, you can have a physical, and appear 100% healthy. But, next day you could drop dead due to embolism, aneurysm, stroke, heart attack, etc.

    Even if you had checked the oil level, it may have been between the FULL and LOW mark. But the engine could have failed a few miles later, which it did. No one will never know why, b/c no one knows what the care/abuse of this engine. A more likely probability is the engine was poorly maintained (maybe ran low of oil repeatedly). All this damage is additive and gets worse over time, kicking the bucket on your watch. Only thing that would have prevented this is a new engine or 100% rebuilt engine prior to you driving off.

    Get the independent dealer to buy a lower mileage used engine, not comparable mileage. Hopefully the used replacement was not abused.

    Start preparing for the HV Battery failure; $1600+ repair. If that current HV Battery is original, it will fail in the near future. Contact Matt at Texas Prius Battery Replacement for options.
     
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  13. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Active Member

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    It is certainly possible for an injector to leak fuel when it is de-energized and wash out the cylinder and overfill the crankcase. If that happened, as you suggest the lubrication would have been seriously compromised and rod bearing failure is the usual result.

    As others have suggested, there would have been a warning if that happened. Separately, oil pressure does not provide much benefit to an engine, FLOW does. However, as you correctly pointed out, oil diluted with gasoline does not provide good lubrication and that I am sure, is where the failure came to be.
     
  14. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    Definitely no warning lights or signs on the dash. Everything appeared fine up until Sudden Engine Suicide.

    I'm considering spending under $1k on a used engine from LKQ, and using the dealer's $800 labor offer to install it (haven't checked this with him yet). However, I have no way to evaluate the health / history of the motor.

    The dealer would be pulling an engine from one of the Priuses he's got in the back for parts. Some possibility of knowing the history. It didn't sound like he had any lower mileage ones. If I do go that route, I'll see about getting any warranty on it...and a firm estimate.

    Thanks so much for the knowledge. If I apply it, perhaps I can be wiser...
     
  15. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Active Member

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    It broke because........it broke.

    Unless you have a written warranty, then you bought it "AS IS" and even if the dealer lied about something you are probably on the short end of the stick.

    I think $800 is a good solution.
    Hope the "new" engine holds up.......and they don't break something else in the process.
     
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  16. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Another blown motor dealer "maintained"

    go to

    toyota.com/owners

    and join that forum and list your car. It will ask you for the cars VIN so have your insurance card handy. Then once joined you can see the cars entire toyota service history. Every time the car has seen a toyota dealer in the USA it will have a listing. Like alot of blown up prius we see here the car was probably traded in on the spot because of bad issues that will cost mucho $$$$ usually bad hybrid battery and then dealer gives it a 60 point inspection which is usually rifle through the car for change and clean the windows. If its a clean car out on the lot it goes for the next victim.

    Your car like alot of higher mileage prius was eating oil and the engine ran out of oil. In the beginning it has an engine knock. Then if driven hard moves onto hiss smoke boom. usually rod #3 makes a dramatic exit.

    If you look on that forum you will probably see the oil was changed on that car at the dealer its whole life. None of the DEALER oil change jockeys ever checked the oil when the car rolled in to tell the owner hey your really low on oil so owner never knew his car was eating oil.
    Makes sense as the owner has no personal interaction with there car and relies solely on the dealer.
    That's a death sentence for an older Prius.

    And you never checked the oil yourself because the dealer says its all A OK under the hood. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Btw, the dealer knows they screwed up thats why there giving you such a deal on a used motor.
     
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  17. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    Great resource, thank you!

    It appears that the Toyota dealership still has greater access to service records - I went and entered my VIN and it doesn't show the note that I mentioned above, told to me by the Toyota dealership I got towed to. They did mention that not all of the service records make it to Carfax, but it seems odd that they're not on the Toyota site either...

    There are some big gaps between dealer oil changes. I'm quite happy learning to do my own service!

     
  18. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Active Member

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    Because each "Dealer", whether private of OEM is an INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, not all of the records (if any) may be available on the vehicle manufacturer's website. It is dependent on if the OEM dealer shares data with the manufacturer and some choose not to.
     
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  19. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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  20. Jfrench

    Jfrench New Member

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    100% on point. I did purchase it as-is, with a one week warranty, three weeks ago. Fingers crossed I can get a replacement engine that has been treated fairly, keep an eye on the oil consumption, and get another 100k miles from this car. Geeeeeeez

     
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