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Hi all,

I posted this thread under the Sonata forum, but I thought I would post it here as well, since Santa Fe uses the same engine set up.

This is an article from a Korean newspaper, published in October of 2016.

"Foreign matter (metal shavings) in process? Hyundai's GDI engine was a problem from the beginning"


Link to the article

"http://www.autoherald.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=20174"

With Google Chrome, you can right click -> "Translate to English"

The translation is not perfect, but you can at least get a sense of what they're trying to convey.


When Hyundai had a massive recall for engine failures in 2011-2014, they initially claimed that it was due to metal shavings not being removed properly during the manufacturing process. This article suggests that the real reason for the failures is the design flaw of the GDI engine.

They have pictures to show the damage that happens to the cylinders over time. This damage will lead to knocking, excessive oil consumption, decreased power output, engine stalls and eventually engine failure. Hyundai has tried to remedy the problem by making some adjustments. However, the article suggests that the adjustments are only a band-aid fix and will only delay the inevitable problem.
 

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Good article, but I am not sure it all adds up. As read it certainly makes it sound like there would be symptoms before engine failure, yet as I understand it most owners do not experience any symptoms which tends to support a sudden catastrophic failure more easily explained by the metal contamination theory.

I definitely agree that the manufacturers in general are pushing engine design to the limits. Hyundai is not the only manufacturer seeing premature engine failures. Part of that is being driven by consumer demand (higher mileage without a compromise in engine power) and part of that is being driven by federal requirements (Some of which are about to be rolled back) that push for goals that are not easily attainable without switching to hybrid power plants. While I find hybrids useful, the price of the eventually required battery replacement (Assuming you keep the vehicle through its life expectancy) often offsets any fuel savings.

Engines across the board could be far more reliable if the consumer is willing to accept reduced performance. I am not making excuses for any given manufacturer. It is just my opinion that the issue of engine failures is more complex and being driven by multiple factors. I would say the same for transmission failures which are also becoming far more common in some brands.
 

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Good article, but I am not sure it all adds up. As read it certainly makes it sound like there would be symptoms before engine failure, yet as I understand it most owners do not experience any symptoms which tends to support a sudden catastrophic failure more easily explained by the metal contamination theory.

I definitely agree that the manufacturers in general are pushing engine design to the limits. Hyundai is not the only manufacturer seeing premature engine failures. Part of that is being driven by consumer demand (higher mileage without a compromise in engine power) and part of that is being driven by federal requirements (Some of which are about to be rolled back) that push for goals that are not easily attainable without switching to hybrid power plants. While I find hybrids useful, the price of the eventually required battery replacement (Assuming you keep the vehicle through its life expectancy) often offsets any fuel savings.

Engines across the board could be far more reliable if the consumer is willing to accept reduced performance. I am not making excuses for any given manufacturer. It is just my opinion that the issue of engine failures is more complex and being driven by multiple factors. I would say the same for transmission failures which are also becoming far more common in some brands.
This may explain the horsepower drop in the new 2.0T engine.
 

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Good article, but I am not sure it all adds up. As read it certainly makes it sound like there would be symptoms before engine failure, yet as I understand it most owners do not experience any symptoms which tends to support a sudden catastrophic failure more easily explained by the metal contamination theory.

I think it's fair to say that the Theta II design isn't going to go into the automotive annals as one of the more reliable and robust designs. The failures are likely becoming more often in later revisions to the Theta design as power output increased - as posters have suggested. If true that suggests that the original design just wasn't as robust as needed and the extra stresses of increased power output bring out the weak points in the design.
There are definately some mfgs that build engines that are more capable of higher power outputs and designed with greater tolerance for that, but that of course typically comes at an addition cost. And most if not all other makers water cool their turbos, and some Ford, Toyota and some mentioned VW are utilizing port injection along with GDI. All that of course comes at additional cost but is done for reliability reasons. With Hyundai their focus on producing vehicles at a lower cost point can come at a cost to the buyer, sdo I don't blame government regulations, it's what Hyundai does to make their autos less expensive and therefor more attractive to the value orientated buyer. So buyer beware you may be buying a vehicle that could see more problems down the road that some competing makes.
 

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I guess for me it is hard to view Hyundai engines as being that problematic when I see how many 4,6, and 8 cylinder Chevrolet engines we either make major repairs to or replace every year under GM'S 5/100 powertrain warranty (Reduced to 5/60 for 2016 and newer). But...That number is out of how many on the road in our area?

It would be interesting to see a comparison of major engine failures by manufacturer from about 2010 forward based as a percentage of sales.
 

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I guess for me it is hard to view Hyundai engines as being that problematic when I see how many 4,6, and 8 cylinder Chevrolet engines we either make major repairs to or replace every year under GM'S 5/100 powertrain warranty (Reduced to 5/60 for 2016 and newer). But...That number is out of how many on the road in our area?

It would be interesting to see a comparison of major engine failures by manufacturer from about 2010 forward based as a percentage of sales.
Surprised to hear GM V8s are being replaced - generally regarded as dependable engines.

I can't see putting a lot of blame on gov regulations - the big 3 got seriously hurt in the 70s and 80s because of failure to have invested in modern technologies - they tried to modify big displacement push rod stuff in bloated vehicles, whereas most foreign makers were doing overhead cams and a number esp Europeans offered multiport fuel injection, not that carbureted injector crap that Detroit tried to pass off a fuel injection.
The Japanese already had efficient 4 cylinder designs so were better positioned for the US regs and they developed some nice 6 cylinder mills as well.

In the end my arguement is there are a number of reasons why Hyundai can sell autos at a lower price point - and some of them can be tied to less expensive/marginal designs that may be responsible for the engine failures - just like GM timing chain issues can be traced to using a cheaper chain.

Not an epidemic of failures but certainly enough that brings into question the robustness of the design.
 

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Not worried about it...pretty well everybody has gone to smaller displacement GDI engines, some with turbos. Debris from manufacturing was an issue in older models. I have extended warranty and free oil changes for life. I'm sure someone is going to try to convince me the sky is falling and I'm driving a ticking time bomb, some people thrive on doom and gloom, LoL
 

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After about 1995 there were a couple of GM issues you could count on: 4.3L V6 would develop coolant leaks in the intake manifold around 100K miles. $600 to $800 repair. The 4L60E transmission would break the sun gear before 125K miles, $2000 to $3000 repair. The sun gear issue was resolved around 2002 (IIRC) but it was a failure you could bet on.

And the S series trucks and Blazers would develop leaks in the heater core by 80K miles if you didn't flush the "lifetime" antifreeze by 60K miles and replace with the "normal" antifreeze. I didn't believe this and bought a very nice used 1999 S10 Blazer with 78K miles on it. Every one of the above common failures occurred before 120K miles.

Daughters 2006 Elantra hatchback had 144K miles on it when run over by a flat bed truck. Other than maintenance, no repairs. My '14 Elantra GT has been the most trouble free car I have ever owned. Only non-maintenance work was the warranty replacement of the drivers side mirror glass, and I think it was broken by someone manually forcing it to pivot for use as a makeup mirror.

Between my three Hyundai's we have the 1.8L MFI, 2.0L GDI, and 2.4L GDI. All fairly low mileage, all well maintained, all start easily, idle and run quietly, and do not use any oil.

I guess I will wait and see how they hold up.
 

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So, is the engine changed for 2018? I can't find much info on it.
Supposedly engine had incremental upgrades from 2011-2014... .the 2015+ is the 2nd gen engine that, knock on wood, should have no issues

But, I will still recommend full oil level, synthetic oil, better oil filters, and severe service interval always.

Use a 5w40 on turbo engines and a 5w30 on non-turbos as an upgrade to the pathetic MPG oils on the greenie CAFE sponsored oil cap. These alternate acceptable grades are listed in the factory service manual and your owners manual.
 

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But, I will still recommend full oil level, synthetic oil, better oil filters, and severe service interval always.

Use a 5w40 on turbo engines and a 5w30 on non-turbos as an upgrade to the pathetic MPG oils on the greenie CAFE sponsored oil cap. These alternate acceptable grades are listed in the factory service manual and your owners manual.
I have a turbo and have almost always done my own oil changes because I like to use high end full synthetic 5w30 to minimize wear on the engine. I'm at 128,000 miles now with no engine problems so far. The dealer did the acoustic recall test about 12k ago and nothing found. Hope they're right! I will try to do a good job checking oil levels, though, because it does seem to burn oil more than previous vehicles I've owned.

Question -- what advantage would 5w40 have? I know there's a discrepancy between the manual and the cap, but not sure about which is "better." I live in central ohio, so winter months are cold, so that may play a role in deciding?
 

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Viscosity is more protection in a situation when the thin oil film fails.
This occurs when there is excessive oil shearing, which is a problem with the MPG oil...USA SN/GF5.
Film failure can also occur with low oil levels, oil starvation, high oil temps, and when there is excessive fuel dilution, which factors that are driver style dependent, or negligence dependent.

HTHS protects and is not on the oil bottle label. You can blend a 5w30 with HTHS visc from 2.9 to 3.7. In the USA, our 0w30 and 5w30's are usually 3.0-3.1! Euro, some racing, and diesel oils are 3.5-3.7 HTHS. Since HTHS is not on the bottle label, either selectively choose the oil or simply step up a grade.

There is no oil grade discrepancy. Thin oil recommended is what CAFE/EPA tested with. Alternate grades, often not listed in USA, can be used for better protection. We are lucky that Hyundai offers 5w40, 15w40, 20w50, climate dependent, for the turbo. Non turbos, like the 2.4gdi, can use 5w30, 10w30 and should just avoid 5w20.

BTW, there are Euro, diesel, ... 0w30 and 5w30 that are also very thick and can be used too. 0w40 is also good if you want some cold start flow for the Alaskan winters. 10w40 5w50 ... doesn't need to be avoided either.

Synthetic oil, full oil levels, oil grade bump up, severe intervals... are what I recommend. If you do nothing and cheap out, don't complain about the failure.
 

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Hyundai really should be recommending 5w 30 vs 20 but it's all about fuel economy.

As far as longevity only time will tell. Having owned 2 different Hyundais with the same engine I really believe they started doing something different assembly and QA wise because I have had zero engine issues with Copper Top vs a litany of problems with Red Sled and it's the exact same 2.4l Theta II.

Pushing for 150k before any major failures. Based on experience I think it's possible.
 

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Just had my 2015 sonata sport with 36,700 miles in for its regular oil change and was told there was anecm and instrument cluster update. A few miles down the road, the check engine light came on and car went into limp mode. Limped back to the dealer and pulled codes. Left it at the dealer waiting for Hyundai to decide if it will allow them the do the harness check that my 2015 isn't called out under the campaign. If the harness check is allowed and doesn't fix it, the next step in the campaign is an engine replacement.

Googling was led to learning more about the possible flaws in the theta engine. Seems it's not limited to 2011-2014 sonatas either as more people like me are having issues with 2015 model years. Scotty Kilmer warned about Hyundai engines just a month ago. At least I don't have a fiat!
 
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