Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation?

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12,673
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Kendall, FL
Cujet, this is the issue with Forums. One Tech can say something and by virtue of being a Tech, his word is gospel. This isn't to say he's being disingenuous. His experience is as true as another Tech's whose experience is completely different. That other Tech would be an acquaintance of mine. The truth is most certainly somewhere in the middle.
 
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694
Location
MB - Manitoba
My parents have a Sportage 2.4. Its been a great little engine. You are not going to win any drag races but easy on fuel. It used a bit of oil when breaking in but has stopped. My Dad runs M1 5W20 in his.
 
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94
Location
South
my brother-in-law had bad luck with his theta powered hyundai. turned his vehicle in after many issues. only 38,000 miles. not saying it's a bad engine. i've read that many ppl have had great experiences with these ice. ymmv. he's running a rav4 now and has had good luck
 
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3,491
Location
Cincinnati, OH
I think it boils down to fuel dilution and low quality lubes mostly. People have been told that cars don't need oil changes as often, which was true pre GDI-TGDI. What most don't realize outside of forums like these is that running 7.5k-10k OCI on the cheapest dealer fill is disastrous for modern GDI engines. Guys like Wemay use premium lubes every 3-5k and get excellent results. If everyone ran something with a MB229.5 or 229.51 spec or even a way less stringent A5/B5 spec we wouldn't see the issues at those longer intervals, however most people are buying the $29.99 whatever the dealer puts in and driving 7-10k miles without ever checking the dipstick. Check out this UOA on a KIA where a dealer is using garbage oil. Imagine this oil being ran 2 times longer than it was...bearing wear would continue to increase. Recent KIA UOA Posted
 
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606
Location
NC
Originally Posted by killswitch83
My '11 Sonata currently has 112,500 on it, and still runs like a top! Running M1 EP 5w30 with a Fram XG9688 filter.
Your year was not affected.
 
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Location
NC
Here's what you need to know: The problem was with 2013 2.4 and 2.0T engines. A very large number of these engines failed by throwing a rod and some caught on fire. I saw one on fire myself on the highway. These engines were in numerous Kia and Hyundai cars. 2014 was also affected but the failures were drastically reduced. They blamed it on a few things. Debris at the Alabama manufacturing plant, bad oil pump design, restricted oil flow. They improved the engines and suggested using only Hyundai oil filters since they are rated at 50 microns. I own the Santa Fe group on FB where we have close to 10,000 members. Have heard multiple testimonials and as frustrating as it is, owners are getting new engines. I myself owned a 2013 2.4, the worst one out there. Everything was ok until 126k miles and I traded it in. That doesn't mean that it didn't give me worries and it's part of the reason I traded it in (extended warranty was until 120k miles). Bragging about your Hyundai which is a totally different year doesn't change the fact that the 2013-2014 had serious issues.
 
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74
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ms
This spring we sold our 2012 Sonata SE to a co worker. It had 144k on it when sold. 5k mile oil changes since new. Dealer changed the first 80k or so. 2.4L. I actually had the oil changed early for the first one. 2K I think. It did use roughly a quart of oil when I sold it to him. I told him this. 3.5 months later the engine locked up on his son. I figure they put 4-5K on it. They put a new engine and starter in, paid towing and gave him a rental. He dropped the car off on Monday and picked it up Thursday afternoon. I sent him numerous emails about the recall with free oil change. It had not been done at time of lockup. Even though this is a problem, they took excellent care of him. He was told he had a lifetime warranty on the engine.
 
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154
Location
Texas
Originally Posted by Matagonka
Here's what you need to know: The problem was with 2013 2.4 and 2.0T engines. A very large number of these engines failed by throwing a rod and some caught on fire. I saw one on fire myself on the highway. These engines were in numerous Kia and Hyundai cars. 2014 was also affected but the failures were drastically reduced. They blamed it on a few things. Debris at the Alabama manufacturing plant, bad oil pump design, restricted oil flow. They improved the engines and suggested using only Hyundai oil filters since they are rated at 50 microns. I own the Santa Fe group on FB where we have close to 10,000 members. Have heard multiple testimonials and as frustrating as it is, owners are getting new engines. I myself owned a 2013 2.4, the worst one out there. Everything was ok until 126k miles and I traded it in. That doesn't mean that it didn't give me worries and it's part of the reason I traded it in (extended warranty was until 120k miles). Bragging about your Hyundai which is a totally different year doesn't change the fact that the 2013-2014 had serious issues.
The 2011 Sonata in fact did have the same engine as the 2013-2014 Santa Fe Sport.The 2011 Sonata was the first vehicle to come with the Theta II GDI engines and they exhibited high failure rates.
 
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5,887
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Texas Hill Country
Yes my 2011 also turns oil into Mud after 3000 miles. My dealer has been changing with their syn blend 5w30 every 3750 miles, I wouldn't go much beyond that. Mine will use about half a quart of oil towards the end of the run. Pings on 87 octane fuel, not so much on 89 octane. Starter on this car has a plastic lever in there, replaced my starter 3x in 87k miles. Purchased Oreilley lifetime starter after the first one.
 
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30
Location
WestCoast
Nov 1st I'm going to buy a jug of the new Pennzoil Max Power 0w-30 for my Optima 2.4L. Its not due for a change until January, oh well.
 
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GA.
+1 ... *I'm not willing to find out if I can help it ! I'd say if you are on the fence regarding moving up to a 30 weight synthetic - choose PPPP 5W30 as it is a thin 30 weight oil ... Otherwise a synthetic 30 weight oil from Mobil , Castrol , Quaker State , Valvoline which is D1 / Gen 2 rated will do you well .
Originally Posted by Cujet
In the general discussion section of another forum, (a firearms forum and not a car forum) there is a Kia tech that is quite active in such threads. I enjoy reading his very honest posts. He discusses the warranty issues at length. From reading his threads, there seems to be a continuing series of problems even with newer vehicles. All covered for newer vehicles. The fact is, the problems are not limited to US built engines and not caused by debris, despite the numerous articles claiming such. Poor maintenance is absolutely a factor, as are the inherent design weaknesses. It's good to know that poor maintenance choices will shorten engine life with other brands too. My suggestion is to choose a robust synthetic oil of higher viscosity and change it every 5000 miles. The fact is, these engine failures are closely related to a lack of viscosity, both due to thin oil choices and fuel dilution, coupled with particulate contamination. We would like to think that manufacturers produce a robust product, capable of operating endlessly with the cheapest maintenance products possible (dealership fill for example) but that's simply not the case. The reasons are self evident for those willing to look, and include inexpensive components manufactured in exactly the same manner they have been for the last 50 years, yet with lower tension rings, smaller bearings, higher cylinder pressures and RPM, long timing chains that operate position critical variable cam timing devices, contaminate producing direct injection and the move to water thin oils. Do you really expect a different result?
 
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GA.
Originally Posted by buddylpal
I have one of these 2.4 gdi engines. I can't speak to long term reliability since mine only has 15k miles but Hyundai/Kia just reached a settlement agreement earlier this month. Both companies are offering lifetime repairs free of charge for short block replacement due to rod bearing failure. With the newly developed knock sensor detection system, if your car throws a code for engine bearing failure it's covered for life.
*Good to know - previously only Kia offered (go figure ?)
 
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12,673
Location
Kendall, FL
2011 - 2014 were problem years but the internet has a way of amplifying issues on all makes and models. I am glad that H/K has taken care of those who've suffered engine failure. We've been advised by both that each of our cars is covered for the lifetime of the vehicle, regardless of the vehicle year. This is transferable to all subsequent owners as well. ChrisD46, you can call HyundaiUSA to confirm.
 
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134
Location
Minnesota
Thread starter
Originally Posted by Matagonka
Here's what you need to know: The problem was with 2013 2.4 and 2.0T engines. A very large number of these engines failed by throwing a rod and some caught on fire. I saw one on fire myself on the highway. These engines were in numerous Kia and Hyundai cars. 2014 was also affected but the failures were drastically reduced. They blamed it on a few things. Debris at the Alabama manufacturing plant, bad oil pump design, restricted oil flow. They improved the engines and suggested using only Hyundai oil filters since they are rated at 50 microns. I own the Santa Fe group on FB where we have close to 10,000 members. Have heard multiple testimonials and as frustrating as it is, owners are getting new engines. I myself owned a 2013 2.4, the worst one out there. Everything was ok until 126k miles and I traded it in. That doesn't mean that it didn't give me worries and it's part of the reason I traded it in (extended warranty was until 120k miles). Bragging about your Hyundai which is a totally different year doesn't change the fact that the 2013-2014 had serious issues.
Are you saying 2013-14 are the only years with these engine issues? I thought it stretched back to 2011?
 
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Messages
154
Location
Texas
Originally Posted by Whammo
Originally Posted by Matagonka
Here's what you need to know: The problem was with 2013 2.4 and 2.0T engines. A very large number of these engines failed by throwing a rod and some caught on fire. I saw one on fire myself on the highway. These engines were in numerous Kia and Hyundai cars. 2014 was also affected but the failures were drastically reduced. They blamed it on a few things. Debris at the Alabama manufacturing plant, bad oil pump design, restricted oil flow. They improved the engines and suggested using only Hyundai oil filters since they are rated at 50 microns. I own the Santa Fe group on FB where we have close to 10,000 members. Have heard multiple testimonials and as frustrating as it is, owners are getting new engines. I myself owned a 2013 2.4, the worst one out there. Everything was ok until 126k miles and I traded it in. That doesn't mean that it didn't give me worries and it's part of the reason I traded it in (extended warranty was until 120k miles). Bragging about your Hyundai which is a totally different year doesn't change the fact that the 2013-2014 had serious issues.
Are you saying 2013-14 are the only years with these engine issues? I thought it stretched back to 2011?
I think he might be confused, he stated he runs a Santa Fe group on FB. We know that the Santa Fe Sport was introduced for 2013 and they have the Theta II engines so maybe he is thinking that 2013-2014 are the bad years based off of the info from his Santa Fe group. Maybe he just didn't know that the MY 2011 Sonata was the first vehicle with this engine.
 
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30
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WestCoast
Are any Theta II 2.4L owners having good results using 0w-30 or 5w-30? I'm currently using 0w-20 and are considering trying out either 0w-30 or 5w-30 my next change.
 
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1,776
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Kingston
A guy I used to work with at Goodyear (a tech there) bought a 2013 Santa Fe about 9 months ago. All the other techs were giving him a hard time because it was the most expensive vehicle he'd bought and it's known for engine failures. Surely enough last month it seized up without warning at about 106k miles. He had the 2 oil changes during his ownership done at the dealer in case this happened. They covered it no problem and I believe he got a rental. Only one return trip to the dealer after when it stalled due to a loose connector. My girlfriend's 2013 sonata is still running okay at 62k miles or so. No oil usage yet but it turns black really fast especially in the winter.
 
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Most engines in the Hyundai/Kia's family are in fact Mitsubishi based, I'm of the opinion that there exists inherent design flaws literally tracing back to its origin, their cassette type balance shaft assembly manufactured by a supplier is also suspect, not just the 'metal shavings left behind during production' which is their official excuse, and their jump to direct gasoline injection too early. Two years ago my colleague bought a couple of auction cars to sell, one was a Kia Sorento V6, it's engine also a Mitsubishi design I think, overheated and immediately seized on the highway.
 
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