08 Kia Rio lots went wrong all at once - Kia Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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08 Kia Rio lots went wrong all at once

Hello all,

I've been a longtime lurker but now have some problems I hope to get some help with.

My mom has an 08 Rio with 109,000 miles. Bought used around 2012-2013. Never any problems to report and had routine maintenance done. For the last two years or so, I've been handling maintenance and repairs. I've only had to replace the crankshaft position and MAF sensors. Otherwise, it has been a sturdy, reliable car. However, it is due for a timing belt change.

Here's what happened over an evening into the next afternoon: she left the key on the "on" position in the evening and there was a torrential downpour / thunderstorm overnight. The next afternoon, I found that the battery was dead and the fuel gauge would only register E although there was about half a tank in it. I jumped the car but it wouldn't stay running at first. After a couple of tries, it ran long enough to move it up the driveway, but it kicked out a tremendous amount of water from the tailpipe.

I didn't have a lot of time to investigate*, but I noticed the following: (1) the trunk had about 1/2 inch of water in the spare tire well. I have never known the trunk to leak up to this point. (2) it keeps kicking out a lot of water from the tailpipe and a little white smoke, but no clouds. (3) there's the dreaded milky white build-up under the oil fill cap and the oil on the dipstick is turning a light color. (4) after idling it for a bit, it died and won't restart. Up to these strange events, the car had been running really well, and there has never been a problem with overheating to my knowledge or observation.

So what in the world could be going on? I assume that the dead battery and fuel gauge problem are due to leaving the key on. I'm guessing a new sending unit will fix the fuel gauge. The instrument cluster fuse is fine. But where to start with all the other problems? It seems like the head gasket is blown, but what tests can rule that out or point to it? Given the amount of water in the trunk, could some water have gotten into the gas tank? What's the best place to start in terms of running diagnostic tests to find out the problem(s)?

*I drive an 07 Spectra that's been making grinding noises from the front end. I just replaced the CV axle but it didn't stop the noise, so I'm having to divide my time between the two cars, and it looks like the Rio is going to be the bigger PITA to figure out. I'm an intermediate level shade tree mechanic, and any repairs will have to be done in the driveway, which is why I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction on the Rio.

Thanks in advance,
Richard

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 07:32 PM
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I'm no expert but if there's water in the engine, as appears to be the case, you don't want to start it up or else you'll fry a bunch of sensors attached to it and possibly any circuits their attached to, like the ECU. Plus it won't run in any case, not for long or properly at least. How the water got in there and whether it had anything to do with leaving the key in and in the on position is something you're going to have to figure out, or have a pro figure out, and see if it can be fixed.

My guess is that if the key/on had anything to do with it, there was some other thing going on, some engine orifice that was open to the elements when it shouldn't have been, perhaps a loose sensor leaving an air gap, loose spark plugs, loose intake or exhaust manifold, perhaps a blown freeze-out plug, etc., and the key/on somehow made it worse. You'll need to go over every possibility and rule them out. Was the hood fully shut? If so how would water get into the engine compartment? Is there a hole in the hood, or torn/worn seals preventing water from seeping in sideways in a downpour?

As for the trunk, possibly the same cause, bad seals (I'm referring to the rubber water seals that line all doors and the hood and trunk lid and keep water out.

I can relate to your situation as I also take care of my mom's car, in addition to my own. Hers has nearly the same miles as you mom's, but is 15 years older (don't ask). It's got all sorts of issues but still runs. My car's in better shape but has also needed a bunch of work lately. It's actually my dad's old car, a 2010 Rio LX, that he gave me when he stopped driving. Plus my actual car, that hasn't been working for nearly 5 years, I intend to eventually get to and restore. So, I'm basically taking care of 3 cars. Fun!

Good luck and let us know what you find, and hopefully people with a lot more expertise than I have can be more helpful.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 09:22 PM
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Hi...
I think you have a lot of coincidences going on here...
The water in the exhaust could just be normal as the Catalytic converter creates water as a byproduct... but a head gasket failure may really be your problem... Coolant getting into a cylinder would also cause the "smoke" out of the tail pipe...it would also create a "milkshake" in the oil... A good indication of where the head gasket has failed is checking the spark plugs...One or more spark plugs that look unusually clean compared to the other plugs may indicate the area where the gasket has failed...

The water in the trunk area could have come from the car being parked with the nose pointing down hill... The water would normally run down the sides of the trunk and exit below the tail lights... If parked with the nose down hill the water would accumulate by the back window and may have pushed by the rubber seal on the trunk lid...

The ignition being left on would have drained the battery but should have done nothing more...

I would suggest draining the oil, removing the oil filter, and draining the antifreeze to reduce the chance of damage to the rod and main bearings from the mixture... I am also a driveway mechanic that has torn down a 1.6L Hyundai/KIA engine for my son when a new timing belt tensioner broke shortly after replacing the timing belt... It had two exhaust valves bent so the head had to come off... It wasn't a terrible job replacing/lapping the valves and the head gasket... Be sure to clean the head and engine block surfaces well... Use new head bolts as they are torque to yield and can't be reused...mark the timing chains in relation to the cam gears... The torquing of the head bolts IS critical and requires a torque wrench and a gauge to measure I believe 90 degrees of tightening AFTER torquing the bolts down... I did all this and the engine is still going strong after another 30k miles... Be sure to mark where the cam caps and bolts were... use plastic bags and mark each location on them ( like I1,I2,I3,I4, E1,E2,E3,E4).... It can be done in a driveway (done here in Ohio)...

Depending on the mileage on your Spectra you may have a wheel bearing going bad causing the grinding...
Dave
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Habanero64 and Dave,

I appreciate both of your replies. To answer some of your questions / suggestions: the Rio was parked on a nearly flat level, so there must simply be a leak somewhere along the trunk. It's been raining here recently, so I'll have more opportunities to figure out where. There wouldn't have been any reason to leave the trunk open (I left some tools in there, so I definitely would have closed it) nor the hood, so I think I'm safe in ruling that problem out.

I ran a compression test on the cylinders to check for consistency. Three of the four cylinders had a psi reading that's actually in spec; the fourth failed by being 30 psi lower than the others. I noticed that the same cylinder (#4) had excessive moisture around the valve cover, so I'm suspecting that both the valve cover gasket and the head gasket are leaking around that cylinder. Habanero64: no need to worry about running the engine--it won't start, LOL.

Next week I'm going to start breaking the engine down with the goal of replacing the head and valve cover gaskets. I appreciate Dave's advice on the bolts; the more tips I can get, the better.

I'll update what I find on here so other folks similarly situated can take advantage--whether it's to avoid what I'm doing or to imitate it is another matter.

Dave--thanks for the advice on the Spectra. I've had others chime in that it's probably a bearing. I gave both tires the "wobble" test, and both passed. Tomorrow I'm going to pull both tires off and really give the suspension system a going over to see if there's anything obviously wrong with it. On Saturday I need to replace the driver's side lower ball joint, so maybe I'll discover something else while doing this.

Thanks again,
Richard
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Dave,

I had already planned to drain the oil and coolant. They both have to go, and I'm going to replace the thermostat while rebuilding the engine. I also need to replace the timing belt and water pump, so this is going to be a pretty big project. Fortunately, I've found alternative transportation for dear ol' Mom in the meantime, so this is going to be a project car for a while.

Thanks,
Richard
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 09:17 PM
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Heh, not to make light of your mom's car's situation, but most of the jobs you have to do on it mirror ones I recently did or need to do on my car: replace timing belt, thermostat and water pump, oil/filter, flush/replace coolant, and replace both front wheel bearings and hubs (they were making that tell-tale whining noise at speed, and both wheels rocked when off the ground).

I also replaced both outer tie rods and a CV axle (and that only because I ruined the old one getting it out of the hub, to which it had seized tight). Oh, also front pads and rotors, and full brake fluid replacement. (And on my own mom's car, a caliper, brake hose and the master cylinder, and obviously fluid replacement--plus the oil/filter and coolent flush/replace.)

I didn't have the grinding noises you hear with the bearings, but bearings fail in different ways for different reasons I suppose. In my case I assume that it was just wear and tear (the car had 150k on it and they were probably the original bearings). If it is the bearings, absolutely replace them ASAP. Do you have a bearing kit? If not you'll have to get the old ones pressed out and the new ones pressed in. I bought one for the same amount it would have cost me to have a shop do them. Seemed like a good deal. They're around $80.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by KiaSpectraRio View Post
.... I ran a compression test on the cylinders to check for consistency. Three of the four cylinders had a psi reading that's actually in spec; the fourth failed by being 30 psi lower than the others. ....

Next week I'm going to start breaking the engine down with the goal of replacing the head and valve cover gaskets....
One cylinder being 30 PSI lower than three others in spec would be close to the normally allowable 15% differential, and doesn't necessarily mean it 'failed'. You definitely would want to repeat the test a couple of times, just to make sure the testing was consistent across all cylinders. IMO you would be making a mistake to tear down the engine based on that test alone, even if subsequent compression tests come back with the same results. I'd recommend at least doing a leak down test, in order to confirm the compression test results, and also to pinpoint exactly what's going on with the cylinder having the lower compression.

But putting all of the above aside, the compression results you already have would most definitely not be the cause of the no-start. I'd strongly recommend that you figure out the no-start before even considering rebuilding the engine. Start with the simple things, such as spraying a small bit of carb cleaner or sensor-safe starter fluid into the intake, in order to see if it runs on outside fuel for a few seconds. If it does not, then check for good blue spark using a spark tester, or do the redneck method of grounding the plugs to the block.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Habanero64--That didn't come across as making light of the situation at all; rather, you can see where I'm heading and what I'll be dealing with under the hood. Fortunately, there aren't any suspension / steering problems with the Rio (yet).

I don't have a bearing kit, so if it turns out the Spectra needs (a) new one(s), I'll have figure out if I want them pressed on or get a kit. Without having looked into it, I would have thought a place like Autozone would rent a kit. Looks like tomorrow I'll get a break in the schedule and weather, so I can get up underneath the front end and see if there's anything obvious going on.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the test suggestions, Kiaguy002. I wasn't aware of some of them, so I'll look into those further. Like you, I don't like the no-start condition. I've read that it can be related to a blown head gasket, but not commonly. My thinking is that the fuel pump is shot. I think it's reasonable to assume the sending unit went out when the car was left on "on," hence the dead fuel gauge, so I figure that the fuel pump also went out. Assuming the car does not run on an outside fuel source, what would that point to? I'm not familiar with what the check for good blue spark would reveal.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 09:32 PM
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.... Assuming the car does not run on an outside fuel source, what would that point to? I'm not familiar with what the check for good blue spark would reveal.
If it starts and runs for a few seconds on outside fuel, that would indicate some type of fuel issue or possibly a blown fuse, so you should also check all fuses. Make sure to spray in only a small amount of fluid.

If it does not start, then that would likely indicate a no-spark condition, which is what the spark test is trying to confirm. Although a strong blue spark is best, almost any spark should result in at least some partial (sputtering) start, so the expected outcome of the test in this case would be no spark.
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