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https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2018/hyundai-engine-oil-sludge.shtml

HYUNDAI ENGINE OIL SLUDGE LAWSUIT FILED IN ILLINOIS

Class-action lawsuit alleges Hyundai and Kia Theta II engines have oil sludge and stalling problems.

By David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com Posted in News


April 24, 2018 — A Hyundai oil sludge lawsuit alleges Kia and Hyundai vehicles equipped with Theta II engines have fuel injection systems that cause contaminants to invade the engine oil.

Plaintiff Andrea Smolek and her husband purchased a new 2015 Kia Sorento LX with a 2.4L Theta II engine in October 2014 from a dealership in Illinois.

In 2016, the plaintiff was driving the Kia when she heard a series of loud noises from the engine compartment, followed by violent shaking of the Sorento and the illumination of the check engine light. The SUV was towed to a dealership where the technician allegedly found the engine oil had turned to sludge.

Kia asked for the oil change records and Smolek says she provided the records to prove the oil had been changed based on Kia's recommendations. However, a technician then told her he had believed the oil had never been changed.

The warranty claim was submitted to Kia but allegedly denied, causing the plaintiff to complain to the dealership. Smolek was allegedly told the dealer could inspect the engine but would charge $1,000 if no engine defects were found.

In addition, a dealer employee allegedly told her any remaining powertrain warranty would be voided if the plaintiff did not have the engine replaced before leaving the dealership.

Smolek says she felt like she had no choice but to purchase a refurbished engine from the Kia dealer at a price of $6,000, including installation, a task that allegedly caused her to take out two loans to pay for the engine.

According to the lawsuit, the oil sludge occurs because of the Theta II fuel injection systems within the combustion chambers. A Theta II GDI engine sprays fuel directly into the combustion chamber using pressures up to 1,935 psi, but the intake valves do not get sprayed with fuel.

The buildup of oil and other contaminants on the intake valves reduces engine performance and fuel economy, but the buildup eventually dislodges from the valves and falls onto the piston heads in the combustion chamber.

The high pressures needed for combustion allegedly force the dislodged buildup against the engine’s piston and piston rings. As the particulates stick to the piston seal ring, they create microscopic grooves in the cylinder walls and cause gaps for more dislodged buildup to move from the intake valve into the engine’s oil.

This, according to the lawsuit, creates the oil sludge that ruins the engines.

Pumping oil sludge through the engine’s oil ports causes the ports to clog and restricts the flow of oil, leaving the moving parts to rub directly on each other. This metal-on-metal contact creates metal shavings that combine with the oil sludge and causes total engine failure from bearings that seize.

Owners typically report knocking engines, a loss of power and stalling engines, and the lawsuit alleges the only fix for oil sludge problems is a new engine which may cost up to $10,000.

The plaintiff claims Hyundai and Kia have known about the oil sludge problems because dealers were sent technical service bulletins in 2012 regarding Theta II engines that suffered from knocking noises.

But the plaintiff claims rather than accepting responsibility, Hyundai and Kia blamed the problem on the use of aftermarket oil filters commonly used in oil change shops and instructed dealers to replace the oil filter and charge the owner for the filter and labor.

The plaintiff also claims Hyundai and Kia changed the owner's manuals to require the addition of fuel additives to the gas tanks with every oil change, allegedly making the alterations because of knocking engines.

According to the lawsuit, Hyundai and Kia have received thousands of oil sludge complaints yet they constantly deny warranty claims for Theta II engines that have been destroyed.

The lawsuit also references a report about a former Hyundai engineer who told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about alleged oil sludge problems.

Both Hyundai and Kia have ordered recalls for vehicles with 2.0L and 2.4L Theta II engines, including a 2015 recall of 470,000 model year 2011-2012 Sonatas.

Then in April 2017, Kia recalled more than 618,000 Kia Optima and Sorento vehicles, and at the same time Hyundai recalled 572,000 Sonatas and Santa Fe Sports.

In addition, in May 2017, NHTSA opened an investigation to determine if the recalls were good enough to fix the oil sludge problems.

The proposed class-action lawsuit includes all consumers in Illinois who are former or current owners or lessees of vehicles equipped with Theta II engines that were not previously recalled.

The Hyundai and Kia oil sludge lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois - Smolek, et al., v. Hyundai Motor America, et al.

The plaintiff is represented by Bardo Law, P.C., and Migliaccio & Rathod LLP.
 

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HYUNDAI, HEY, OVER HERE!!!!! Dual injector per cylinder is the fix. Toyota and Lexus has fixed the issue with the second injector in the intake port behind the valve. 100% fixed the issue. Start incorporating this into EVERY car and SUV you make.
Link to article re what Toyota has done, Ford Audi and Nissan doing dual port on GDI engines. Hyundai probably working on successor to Theta II , as issues related to fixing, recalling and legal defense must be costing huge money and likely will for yrs to come.
I mentioned in a prior post that Theta II might be the poster boy engine for GDI issues and that was met with responses about BMW and Audi GDI issues, it would seem to me though that the number of seizures/failures point to an engine design that is overall less robust than competitors. And this current lawsuit like the Theta II engine recall in the US had it's origins with owners being denied warranty coverage and seeking relief via legal action. Let the beatings continue.......

Toyota Advances D4S With Self-Cleaning Feature on Tacoma | Technology content from WardsAuto
 
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Servicing done at the dealership is a good defensive move as far as warranty is concerned. You know where to point the finger if/when the engine fails.

Still does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling. There should be no doubt that the engine could go 200k with regular maintenance, dealership maintained or not. That is what many cars do every day.
 

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Dealership oil changes just help keep a paper trail in case of warranty issues.

However, coming in on a 7500 OCI based on owner manual with 2-3 quarts low in an oil burning Sonata does not aid longevity. In the vast majority of cases where an owner is going to the dealer, neither the owner who has never looked at the dipstick nor the dealer are aware the engine burns oil. I doubt a technician will check the oil level from the dipstick before opening the drain bolt, and documenting the oil level on a ticket.
 

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It's hard for me to understand engine sludge from GDI. Who gave the car owners and lawyer the expertise to make the claims on the cause?

Remember this is a lawyer (non-engineer) with the first shot across the bow with, what seems to be, one plaintiff. Lawyers often launch lawsuits with no real facts, then use discovery to see if there is any substance to their client's claim. Lawsuits are mostly about no court easy settlement money making because lawyer costs are so high.

Why no problems with other GDI engines?

Anyway, I use full synthetic with max 5K oil changes with quality filter and keep my records. As well I use UOAs from time to time to track engine/oil wear.

Right now I may have an elevated aluminum content in used oil sample and will need to monitor. If it persists next oil change I'll send to Hyundai and see how they respond.
 

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... I doubt a technician will check the oil level from the dipstick before opening the drain bolt, and documenting the oil level on a ticket.
Why bother, when they know beforehand that nothing will be on the stick :wink:

Nice to see someone finally mentioning oil 'usage', which IMO is one of the major contributing factors to these Theta engine failures. It never ceases to amaze me how badly Hyundai/KIA has butchered this whole usage issue.

- They specify oil change intervals of 7.5K miles (5k for severe).

- They routinely tell owners that 1 quart of oil 'used' in 1K miles is 'normal'. (5.5 quart sump - 7.5 quarts used = -2 quarts remaining)

- The Orange dipstick shows that they are TOTALLY aware that excessive oil usage is a huge issue with these engines.

And yet, in spite everything they know, I'm not aware of anyone from these automakers who is aggressively pushing owners to check their oil on a regular basis. They've attempted to sweep the whole thing under the rug, because they obviously feel that admitting to building oil burners would be a huge black eye. So, although I'm not normally a big fan of lawyers and their lawsuits, in this case the automakers have clearly shown that they deserve everything bad that happens to them related to these engines.
 

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I don't care, Hyundai already replaced my engine on my 11 Sonata at 123K miles and it has less than 20k now. I plan on trading it in next fall after I move to Austin in the summer. lol
 

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Every Sonata owner is taking a hit to the wallet in the form of lower trade in value. So some may come out ahead with a new engine, some will have their original engine last to 200k. It is a luck of the draw.
 

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Every Sonata owner is taking a hit to the wallet in the form of lower trade in value. So some may come out ahead with a new engine, some will have their original engine last to 200k. It is a luck of the draw.
Yes automobile ownership lived at the lower levels of the food chain certainly brings some level of increased risk, but some prefer to live life on the edge - is today the day my luck will run out and the swarfs inhabiting the innards of my Theta II will decide my time is up ? The next day is never a guarantee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Another possible reason for the engine failure may be low speed pre-ignition that happens with GDI/turbocharged engines.

Here's a link and a youtube video that has a good explanation
"http://www.enginelabs.com/news/video-how-lugging-will-destroy-your-engine/"

so, a combination of
1. GDI engine's inability to clean carbon deposits on intake valves,
2. weak cylinder walls that are unable to handle high heat (as mentioned in another post)
3. low speed pre-ignition (which is worsened by #1 and #2 factors above)

will lead to engine knocking, excessive oil consumption, oil sludge, damage to bearings resulting in metal debris, and engine failure,

Hyundai is developing Theta III engine, to be released in late 2019

Hopefully they will have addressed these issues by then, and also admit the design flaws of Theta II engines instead of putting the blame on the consumers.
 

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It's hard for me to understand engine sludge from GDI. Who gave the car owners and lawyer the expertise to make the claims on the cause?

Remember this is a lawyer (non-engineer) with the first shot across the bow with, what seems to be, one plaintiff. Lawyers often launch lawsuits with no real facts, then use discovery to see if there is any substance to their client's claim. Lawsuits are mostly about no court easy settlement money making because lawyer costs are so high.

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How do you know the lawyer doesn't have an engineering background ? I see TV ads where an car injury (ambulance chaser) lawyer also is an MD, and my always ready to fleece me dentist is a MD and DD . Legal system is the US gives us the right to pursue legal recourse - it's up to the judge to review the case and decide if it has merit or to throw it out. The plaintiff in this case is out some $6k to have an engine replaced and contends that the warranty stipulations were adhered to and the engine failed because of designs defects - it's not like that is a new claim given Hyundai's Theta II history. So a lot of the discovery work might already done for the lawyer, he could make some money with not a whole lot expense on his side, but if the claim is repayment for the $6k in the engine replacement - he's not going to retire on this case. Now if I were the judge I'd levy an additional fine for emotional pain and suffering in having to listen to the dealerships fud.
 

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So a lot of the discovery work might already done for the lawyer, he could make some money with not a whole lot expense on his side, but if the claim is repayment for the $6k in the engine replacement - he's not going to retire on this case.
On the surface this is a small claims case against the dealership for breach of contract. In Illinois the small claims limit is $10,000 which includes costs, more than enough to cover this complaint. Filing lawsuits is cheap and easy, discovery is where all the money is spent; lawyers don't do much pre-discovery discovery because they won't make money on un-billable discovery. The claims in the case are almost word for word from internet searches, not much expertise needed for that. A search of GDI problems shows most manufacturers are having problems, not just Hyundai, and that a different maintenance schedule is necessary.

Let's see if a judge will even certify this a class action. I've gotten notices from lawyers asking me to be a plaintiff in a class action suit, most of the time the lawyers make millions while individual compensation is less than $100. It's more of a penalty for the defendant.

Now if I were the judge I'd levy an additional fine for emotional pain and suffering in having to listen to the dealerships fud.
You should know that this case is not applicable for pain and suffering. If fraud is proved then sanctions may be assigned - but that's rare.
 
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