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Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? #5252283 10/28/19 04:33 PM
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Whammo Offline OP
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I have heard that Kia has a lot of nice things going for them but the Theta II engines are not one of them. Are these engines really awful?

Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252290 10/28/19 04:42 PM
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wemay Offline
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Get ready for extreme opinions. My anecdote won't sway anyone but let's just say I am extremely pleased with ours.


19 VW Passat Wolfsburg TSI (VW Genuine 0W-20+OEM)
13 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T (Shell RGT 5W-30+OEM)
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252298 10/28/19 04:55 PM
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walterjay Offline
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No problems with my Theta 2.4

Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252303 10/28/19 04:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,388
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MParr Offline
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We had a 2013 KIA Optima. It was trouble free for 60,000 miles. We traded for a 2019 VW Tiguan. I wouldn’t hesitate buying another Theta II equipped vehicle.


2019 VW Tiguan SE 2.0 TSI Now: Castrol Pro OE LL IV 0W20 & OE VW
2017 Ford Escape SE 2.0T Now: Kendall GT-1 Max 5W30 FS & NAPA Gold 1348
2014 F-150 4x4 Now: Pro DS 5W20 & Motorcraft FL-500s
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252314 10/28/19 05:08 PM
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benjy Offline
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earlier ones "seem" to have the issues! girlfriends 18 optima 2.4 is way better than her oil consuming 13 2.5 malibu bought new!! so far so good but time will tell + those buying new have the longest warranty of any vehicle!

Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252324 10/28/19 05:15 PM
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benhen77 Offline
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My 2012 Forte (Korean build, no DI) is doing fine so far. No signs of issues at 50k.

That said, I see them on Craiglist with rod knocks or dead engines around 100k with some regularity. Whether that's because of faulty design or faulty owners? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


2012 Kia Forte EX 2.0 I4 6AT 49k- Valvoline Synpower 5w20
1994 BMW 530i, 5MT 201k M1/Castrol 0w40
2009 Honda Accord 2.4 I4, 5AT, 178k- RP 0w20
2004 BMW X5 4.4l 239k- M1 0W40 FS
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252355 10/28/19 05:59 PM
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WhizkidTN Offline
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Yes, there was some issues with certain year models 2.0T and 2.4 NA engines but they seemed to have resolved them. My engine was replaced at 76K miles with a new long-block under warranty (totally free, including the rental) and the dealer even moved over my performance modifications to the new engine. It had developed the "rod knock of death". I now have a "forever warranty" on the engine from Kia with unlimited miles and unlimited time and it even extends to all future owners (assuming I'd sell mine which I won't). I've been a very happy camper and Kia treated me right. I would have no issues buying a Kia in the future if I was in the market.

As an aside: I've always used 0W-40 full synthetic oil and change it and the filter every 4-5K miles.

Last edited by WhizkidTN; 10/28/19 06:04 PM.

His: '12 Kia Optima SX - 2.0L GDI Twin-Scroll Turbo [Tuned] (87K)
>EDGE 0W-40, Fram XG9688
Her's: '14 Nissan Rogue SL AWD - 2.5L NA (100K)
>EDGE 0W-20, Fram XG6607/XG7317
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252360 10/28/19 06:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 25
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DZcreet Offline
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I have an 015 Optima 2.4L. I stay on top of the oci and filter changes with no complaints. I'm near 16,000miles now bought new. I like it enough to be curious of the 020' models that have the Theta III 2.5L engines.


015'Optima 2.4L 0w-20PUP or M1-EP FUS or 104a
XGA10881 af
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252377 10/28/19 06:21 PM
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Posts: 201
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HorseThief Offline
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Bro had an 07 Rondo w/2.4 - never any engine mechanical problems from 70k to 170k and didn't drink a drop and would be lucky if it saw more than a dozen Oil changes during that time.


I saw a brown dog
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252383 10/28/19 06:26 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 2,854
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csandste Offline
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Debris in American engines and update kits that weren't correctly installed by dealers gave 'em a bad rep. Flaming cars can be spectacular but that was a miniscule percentage and in the past. My Nu, my daughter's gamma and my girlfriend's Lambda II are all Hertz rentals and are all trouble free.

Last edited by csandste; 10/28/19 06:56 PM.

2017 Kia Soul Plus-- Valvoline Daily Protection 5w30+ a bit of Harvest King syn 5w30-- 75,000 miles
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252392 10/28/19 06:32 PM
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csandste Offline
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Four Kia's and a Hyundai, no problems, but they seem to like 5000 mile OCI's. That seems to be more important than syn vs conventional (blend).


2017 Kia Soul Plus-- Valvoline Daily Protection 5w30+ a bit of Harvest King syn 5w30-- 75,000 miles
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252520 10/28/19 08:25 PM
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killswitch83 Offline
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My '11 Sonata currently has 112,500 on it, and still runs like a top! Running M1 EP 5w30 with a Fram XG9688 filter.


2011 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.4L
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252531 10/28/19 08:42 PM
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junk1020 Offline
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We have a 2011 Sonata as well, 72000 miles or so, and no problems so far. Turns the oil to mud after about 4000 miles, but runs like a champ.


2011 Hyundai Sonata, Castrol Edge 0w40, Hastings LF565
2017 Toyota Sienna, Castrol Edge 0w20, Hastings LF607
2018 Hyundai Sonata, Mobil 1 5w30, Hastings LF565
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: junk1020] #5252538 10/28/19 08:52 PM
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ernied Offline
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I had a 2010 and gave it to my son 120000 miles sofar noproblems.i have a 2015 sonata had a 2015 santafe
traded for a 2020 santafe all with the 2.4 no trouble with any.change oil every 5000 miles synpower or mobile 1
great vechiles.


2015 Hyundai sonata
2020 Hyundai santafe
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252674 10/29/19 03:39 AM
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Posts: 2,779
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ChrisD46 Offline
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*No "forever warrantee" with Hyundai Theta II engines (parent company of Kia - what's up with Hyundai and no "forever warrantee" on replacement engines ?) ... Hyundai only gives an extra 20K miles on Thetta II replacement engines . OK - that said , my 2017 Sonata 2.4 GDI Theta II burns about 1/2 to 2/3rds of a quart over a 4K to 5K mile OCI ... While you can't over come a bad design (rod bearings are now THE issue causing rod knocking / engine failure along with contributing factors of not keeping oil level to full with shorter OCI's of < 5K Mile OCI's) ... Moving up to 5W30 oil weight is thought to help provide greater film strength to rod bearings (especially in the summer hot months) .

Theta II Engine Rules To Live By :

* Keep oil level full at all times !!

* Keep OCI's less than 5,000 miles

* Move up to 5W30 oil weight D1 / Gen 2 rated synthetic oils for greater rod bearing film strength , less shearing , timing chain protection and other benefits a D1 / Gen 2 synthetic engine oil provides for GDI engines

* Use only Top Tier gas

* Use CRC Intake Valve Cleaner through the intake manifold every 12K miles

P.S. *I am running an experimental QSUD 5W20 4K mile OCI which will go to Blackstone as a worst case baseline for my Sonata 2.4L GDI - afterwards it's back to only using 5W30 D1/Gen 2 synthetic oils !!


'17 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L GDI 5W20 QSUD / Fram Ultra #9688
'10 Hyundai Elantra 2.0L 5W30 (50%) / 5W20 (50%) QSUD / Fram Ultra #9688
'07 Kia Sedona 3.8L 5W30 Castrol EP / Fram Ultra #9999
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