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Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252675 10/29/19 03:39 AM
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Robster Offline
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Add me to the list of satisfied Hyundai owners. . . we're on our 3rd one. . .all without issues. I'll likely keep buying them, as my wife seems to like her Santa Fe's. . . a lot.


2017 RAM 1500 Big Horn 5.7L:Valvoline AFS 5w-20, Fram TG10060
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate AWD 2.4L:Valvoline AFS 5w-20 / OEM filter
2013 Victory Cross Country:Valvoline 4T syn 10w-40, NAPA Gold
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252685 10/29/19 04:38 AM
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turnbowm Offline
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The majority of Kia/Hyundai engine failures (rod bearings, in particular) were concentrated in model years 2011-2014. In 2015, the oil pump/balance shaft assembly was redesigned and the situation has improved. The use of thicker synthetic oils and more frequent OCIs seem to help, but that's true for all GDI/TGDI engines.


2015 Kia Optima EX 2.4L GDI
2015 Chevy Volt
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252709 10/29/19 05:19 AM
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wemay Offline
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I've used both, Xw20 and Xw30 in the three 2.4L owned, much more Xw20 though. One Sonata was traded in with 188K miles. It ran 90% Xw20 without noticable burning. OCI were/are between 3000 and 5000 miles. Fuel is mostly TT.
These engines have had 5w20 on the oil cap since introduced. If there were an inherent problem, the viscosity recommendation would have omitted this viscosity some time ago.

The 2.0T has 190K+ miles. It gets 5w30 of various brands and recently the occasional M1HM 10w30 with 3000K mile OCI (strict). Fuel is mostly TT.



2019 VW Passat Wolfsburg TSI
Castrol Edge Professional LL IV FE 0W-20, OEM

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T
Mobil1 Annual Protection 5W30, M1-104
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252719 10/29/19 05:49 AM
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Cujet Online Content
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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?

Last edited by Cujet; 10/29/19 05:51 AM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252751 10/29/19 06:16 AM
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buddylpal Offline
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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.


'18 Hyundai Sonata 2.4
'08 Pontiac G5 2.2
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252814 10/29/19 07:35 AM
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wemay Offline
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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.


2019 VW Passat Wolfsburg TSI
Castrol Edge Professional LL IV FE 0W-20, OEM

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T
Mobil1 Annual Protection 5W30, M1-104
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252893 10/29/19 08:59 AM
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FastLane Offline
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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.


2010 Silverado 4.8 4x4 Mobil 1 5W30 Fram XG10060
2002 Mustang GT 4.6 Mobil 1 5W30 Fram XG2
1966 Cessna 150 Phillips 20W50
2013 Mercury 30hp Mystic 25W40
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252933 10/29/19 09:55 AM
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rummy Offline
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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


Honda EU2000i
Delo 400 SAE 30
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5252959 10/29/19 10:33 AM
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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

Last edited by donnyj08; 10/29/19 10:38 AM.

2008 Silverado LT Z71 99k PP 10w30
2016 Tucson Limited 1.6T AWD 32k M1 5w30 AP
2016 Yamaha XSR900 13k, Spectro 10w40, Yamaha Filter.
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5253023 10/29/19 11:41 AM
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FastLane Offline
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The Kia dealer recommended 6000km oil changes to my Dad. He takes it in every 5000kms.


2010 Silverado 4.8 4x4 Mobil 1 5W30 Fram XG10060
2002 Mustang GT 4.6 Mobil 1 5W30 Fram XG2
1966 Cessna 150 Phillips 20W50
2013 Mercury 30hp Mystic 25W40
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: killswitch83] #5253122 10/29/19 01:09 PM
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Matagonka Offline
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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.


2018 Mazda 3 Touring HB 2.5
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5253153 10/29/19 01:26 PM
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Matagonka Offline
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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.


2018 Mazda 3 Touring HB 2.5
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5253202 10/29/19 02:12 PM
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racinjason Offline
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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.

Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Matagonka] #5253250 10/29/19 02:54 PM
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buddylpal Offline
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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.


'18 Hyundai Sonata 2.4
'08 Pontiac G5 2.2
Re: Are Theta II engines really as bad as their reputation? [Re: Whammo] #5253252 10/29/19 02:55 PM
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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.


'16 Ford Escape
'11 Scion XB
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