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Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years #5270032 11/17/19 02:41 PM
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smc733 Offline OP
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Hi All,

The 2016 Sonata in my signature (bought CPO w/35k) is coming up on 70k miles, about the milage Theta IIs seem to start to fail. Despite Hyundai's claims that the issue was limited to 2011-2014, there are tons of reports of 2015s failing, and Hyundai has extended warranty coverage up to and including the 2019 models (the 2020s will come with the new Theta III). I'm wondering if anyone has experience with a 2016+ Theta II failing. I have had ZERO issues with the car up to this point, not even a set of brakes, which makes it tough to want to give up the car so soon. But, my job is keeping me very busy and I really don't want the hassle/lost time of an unexpected breakdown on the highway, dealing with a tow, and fighting with Hyundai for rental reimbursement. I realize I am under warranty for the engine, but the hassle alone is not worth it.

On two recent cold (~20 degree) mornings, I heard what I think is noticable knocking on start that goes away after a few minutes. I'm told this can be an early warning sign of the premature bearing failure. I can post a video when I get back to my home computer.

I'm lucky to have made some investments a few years ago that have put me in a great spot financially, so I can trade it in for another car with barely a dent to net worth. But still being cheap and preferring practical, reliable, lower cost transportation, I am thinking of just trading the car in for a 2016 or 2017 Camry (pre new DI engine/8spd) that I can keep until the wheels fall off. Likely an LE, but maybe an XLE, only thing I will do is that I will probably put in an aftermarket headunit so that I can keep CarPlay.

What would you all do?


2016 Hyundai Sonata
2019 Subaru Impreza
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270034 11/17/19 02:43 PM
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dogememe Offline
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Upgrading to a Camry sounds like a good idea. If you have the $ and you want to keep it for a while I'd go new. You get a better interest rate, better warranty, and can be sure it's been well maintained from day 1.

Last edited by dogememe; 11/17/19 02:44 PM.

2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~102K Miles: Castrol Magnatec 5W-20, Wix Filter.
2001 Chevy Suburban 5.3 ~289K Miles: Unknown Oil, Filter.
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270048 11/17/19 03:03 PM
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SatinSilver Offline
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I think the first sign of the engine starting to have issues is when it consumes oil. I'd prob start changing the oil every 4k miles. I believe Hyundai states every 3750 for severe service which your car sees. Maybe even an HM oil like Valvoline Maxlife. Cars make funny noises when cold. The 2012-2017 Camrys have a start up grind that they make no matter what the temperature is outside.

Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270053 11/17/19 03:13 PM
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csandste Offline
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I've had four Kias and a Hyundai without incident. Girlfriend has a 16 Optima, no problems and no consumption with any of them-- as well as a number of cars that my daughter has owned. I informed my gf and others I know with Theta II about the extension of the warranty-- with the comment that I wished it applied to my 2 liter.

Divide by five has always been my matra with any HyunKia car. I put on a lot of miles and 5000 mile changes come up with regularity. i also use 5w30 which always leads to an argument when my gf gets her oil changed at Wally World.

The knock on startup would concern me depending on how bad it really was. Always have ear out for start up noises with non oem oil filters, but never had a problem.

Remember the Toyota sludge problems of about twenty years ago. Can't remember Toyota doing a warranty extension on that one, but then again, didn't own any Toyotas.

Last edited by csandste; 11/17/19 03:18 PM.

2017 Kia Soul Plus-- VWB 5w30+ a bit of Harvest King syn 5w30-- 70,000 miles
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270110 11/17/19 04:37 PM
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Propflux01 Offline
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At -20*, I would reckon all kinds of noises will form on any engine. My 2014 MPI 1.8L has done this on very cold mornings for quite some time. Uses no oil, changed every 5K, has never seen anything but an OEM filter, and with 106K on it now, I plan on keeping it. My other 2014 Elantra, a GDI, has been flawless so far with 78K. While I wouldn't trade the car personally, I think you already have it in your mind of that Camry. In that case, buy what you feel you most like.


2014 Hyundai Elantra
2014 Hyundai Elantra GT

A 55 Gallon Drum And A Shovel Can Solve A lot of Life's Little "Problems"
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270131 11/17/19 04:58 PM
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smc733 Offline OP
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Thanks for the input so far. I have been doing dealership oil changes (OEM Filter + Semi Syn) every 5k miles. The engine has always sounded rough on cold starts, but the metal noise I am hearing is new this year (and what has made me start looking back into the Theta II issues).

Here's a short clip of a cold start:
https://streamable.com/s/e0dts/huxw

Also, regarding the Camry grinding noise, I thought that was the VVT gear and was fixed by a recall?

Last edited by smc733; 11/17/19 05:01 PM.

2016 Hyundai Sonata
2019 Subaru Impreza
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270170 11/17/19 05:55 PM
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JustinH Offline
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engine sounds fine, mine sounds like a tractor every cold start. Mine is an 11 with 86k miles now.

Keep the oil level up it should serve you well.


'16 Ford Escape
'11 Scion XB
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270183 11/17/19 06:08 PM
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user52165 Online Content
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The high pressure fuel pump on these DI engines is noisy on start up, which is normal.

Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270192 11/17/19 06:17 PM
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Mad_Hatter Offline
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Originally Posted by smc733
I'm wondering if anyone has experience with a 2016+ Theta II failing. I have had ZERO issues with the car up to this point, not even a set of brakes, which makes it tough to want to give up the car so soon. But, my job is keeping me very busy and I really don't want the hassle/lost time of an unexpected breakdown on the highway, dealing with a tow, and fighting with Hyundai for rental reimbursement. I realize I am under warranty for the engine, but the hassle alone is not worth it. - let's be honest here, you're fretting about other people's problems because my ear doesn't hear anything crazy wrong with the engine. For all you know your engine could go another +200k and not experience ANY of the problems you've read about (engines make all sorts of sounds on a cold starts)... and for all you know, you could be trading in one set of "problems" for another set of problems. There's no guarantee the car you trade in for isn't going to turn out be a lemon or even more problematic

On two recent cold (~20 degree) mornings, I heard what I think is noticable knocking on start that goes away after a few minutes. I'm told this can be an early warning sign of the premature bearing failure. - or it could just be a sign of a cold start where chain tensioners need to take up slack etc. You have 70k miles on it, try running some MMO or Rislone in the crankcase to free things up some. You might have some sludge/deposits that have formed that have slowed the flow of oil a bit. Do you know if the dealership is using the more expensive OE filters or are they just throwing in a cheap jobber filters now? On Hyundai's and Kia's full flow filters are important, they're finicky engines that way.

What would you all do? - me, I'm not in the habit of trading away non problematic vehicles, and your current ride is non problematic IMO despite everything you've shared, for the unknown, especially when I'm covered bumper to bumper by the mfg for the next how many years?

Last edited by Mad_Hatter; 11/17/19 06:19 PM.
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270198 11/17/19 06:23 PM
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Jimzz Offline
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I've got a couple customers with the 2.4L motor and over 100k with no issues.

Yea they have a higher fail rate but its not like most will have it. That and the extended warranty should cover the main issue/time frame of failure.


yup
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270205 11/17/19 06:29 PM
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PimTac Offline
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That engine sounds normal to me. That’s the sound of the high pressure fuel injection pump.


2017 Mazda CX5
Havoline Pro DS 0w20
Roki OEM filter.
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: Mad_Hatter] #5270209 11/17/19 06:35 PM
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smc733 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mad_Hatter
Originally Posted by smc733
I'm wondering if anyone has experience with a 2016+ Theta II failing. I have had ZERO issues with the car up to this point, not even a set of brakes, which makes it tough to want to give up the car so soon. But, my job is keeping me very busy and I really don't want the hassle/lost time of an unexpected breakdown on the highway, dealing with a tow, and fighting with Hyundai for rental reimbursement. I realize I am under warranty for the engine, but the hassle alone is not worth it. - let's be honest here, you're fretting about other people's problems because my ear doesn't hear anything crazy wrong with the engine. For all you know your engine could go another +200k and not experience ANY of the problems you've read about (engines make all sorts of sounds on a cold starts)... and for all you know, you could be trading in one set of "problems" for another set of problems. There's no guarantee the car you trade in for isn't going to turn out be a lemon or even more problematic

On two recent cold (~20 degree) mornings, I heard what I think is noticable knocking on start that goes away after a few minutes. I'm told this can be an early warning sign of the premature bearing failure. - or it could just be a sign of a cold start where chain tensioners need to take up slack etc. You have 70k miles on it, try running some MMO or Rislone in the crankcase to free things up some. You might have some sludge/deposits that have formed that have slowed the flow of oil a bit. Do you know if the dealership is using the more expensive OE filters or are they just throwing in a cheap jobber filters now? On Hyundai's and Kia's full flow filters are important, they're finicky engines that way.

What would you all do? - me, I'm not in the habit of trading away non problematic vehicles, and your current ride is non problematic IMO despite everything you've shared, for the unknown, especially when I'm covered bumper to bumper by the mfg for the next how many years?


You make some very good points here. I like this car a lot, love it, in fact. I think it drives and looks nicer than the same MY Camry, which is why I bought it over that one in the first place. I do know that the dealership is using the OE filter (I confirm with the oil change and it's on the receipt... granted I haven't looked below the car).


2016 Hyundai Sonata
2019 Subaru Impreza
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270217 11/17/19 06:47 PM
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Mad_Hatter Offline
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Originally Posted by smc733

You make some very good points here. I like this car a lot, love it, in fact. I think it drives and looks nicer than the same MY Camry, which is why I bought it over that one in the first place. I do know that the dealership is using the OE filter (I confirm with the oil change and it's on the receipt... granted I haven't looked below the car).

Good. I'm glad you're looking at things through a different lens. Fwiw, I've got a Kia with 164k miles on it..yes it's the Lamda engine and not the Theta 2 but my point is, even with the Lamda engine there were issues (it makes a startup tick for a few seconds then goes away..has from day 1).. albeit not like the Theta but issues none the less. But I stayed the course on the engine and had the mfg address anything covered by the warranty and 10yrs and 164k miles later I've got an engine that consumes zero oil (or so little it's not noticeable on the DS over a 5k mile oci) and runs strong like the day I purchased. I wouldn't trade this engine in, i know it back and forth and sideways and I fully expect it to go another 100k miles barring an accident - ugh! (knock on wood)

Last edited by Mad_Hatter; 11/17/19 06:52 PM.
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270234 11/17/19 07:09 PM
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csandste Offline
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You have money to buy a new or late model Toyota. Do so if the Sonata blows up. Fix it and sell it. Chances are 95 percent that nothing is wrong with the Sonata.


2017 Kia Soul Plus-- VWB 5w30+ a bit of Harvest King syn 5w30-- 70,000 miles
Re: Hyundai Theta II Engine in Newer Years [Re: smc733] #5270248 11/17/19 07:26 PM
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twouvakind Offline
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I have a MPFI 2011 Kia Forte with 120k on the odo, I did 3750's with PYB till 110k, now doing 5000 with Havoline 5w30 full syn in a box. Theta keeps on motoring.


Just put the friggin' Maxlife in and be done with it!
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