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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, it happened. Traveling on the highway and all of a sudden I heard clacking, lost power and a sort of roaring or grinding sound. Pulled over and had to have it towed.

My question to you guys is, how do I find out exactly which engine I have? I of course have the VIN if that helps.

I know about the extended warranty on engines, but I fear that it was my timing belt that went, in which case I would assume that it's not covered. I'm only guessing. I will have it towed to the dealership tomorrow. I just thought I'd check with you guys for any head-up and would see if I could identify the engine.

2012 Sorento, FWD, basic package. 102,000 miles

Thanks for any help.

steambc
 

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2012 Titanium Silver Sorento LX w/ GDI
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I believe these cars have timing chains. You should have been receiving the letters from KIA Corporate regarding warranties and recalls if you're engine is on the list.
 

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2011 Forte SX 2.4L (thankfully MPI) A/T 144K miles
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Well, it happened. Traveling on the highway and all of a sudden I heard clacking, lost power and a sort of roaring or grinding sound. Pulled over and had to have it towed.....
Before getting into a discussion about your engine, I'll ask if you're certain that's where the problem is? Did it shut down, and wasn't able to restart? If it didn't shut down, did you try idling in neutral to find out how it was running with no load? As always, just trying to confirm what the problem is before getting to the solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It did not shut down. It lost significant power and was making a combination of loud clacking inside the engine and sort of a groaning noise which increased in intensity when I stepped on the gas.

After I pulled over I shut it off (while in park) and then waited about 3 minutes and started it up again. It did restart but required me to lightly gun the engine in order for it to not stall out. I ran it for only about 15 or 20 seconds this way. At that point I didn't want to keep it running.

I did not notice any blue or black smoke coming out the exhaust, but it was hard to tell for sure with the windows being tinted and not super-clean. I looked carefully for that though. I did not notice any kind of burning smell once I stopped, and although the tow truck driver said he smelled a little something, it wasn't very strong. I had popped the hood to see if there was any smoke or smell, and thought there was none.

Thanks for asking and for offering any insight.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, is there a way to identify my engine type with the VIN?

Thanks again.
 

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It did not shut down. It lost significant power and was making a combination of loud clacking inside the engine and sort of a groaning noise which increased in intensity when I stepped on the gas. After I pulled over I shut it off (while in park) and then waited about 3 minutes and started it up again. It did restart but required me to lightly gun the engine in order for it to not stall out. ...
That's a curious set of symptoms, which doesn't match what happens with most of these engine failures. The seized engines typically make no noise at all, quit completely, and will of course not restart. A timing chain loop part might make noise, but any chain issue with that much noise should certainly cause the timing to jump, valves to bend, and the engine to quit with no restart. But I guess it can't be ruled out either, until the actual cause is determined. Were any codes set as a result of this problem? A single cylinder misfire code would likely be helpful in diagnosing the issue.

I don't know for certain if the engine in your vehicle is a GDI or an MPI. According to the specs I have, only the 2012 EX model came with a GDI, while the other 2012 models were MPI. But I'm also not sure that what I'm reading is correct either. Your best bet would be to call Kia, and ask them if. your VIN is included in any of the Theta recalls.

If it's an MPI and not covered by a recall, then they're going to give you a quote for a replacement engine for around 7K. In that case, I recommend trying to diagnose what the actual issue is. For instance, something wrong in the valve train would cost much less than 7K to repair. And there's also still the possibility of something other than the engine being the actual cause - unlikely yes, but possible. One thing that comes to mind in that category would be if the cat had a sudden major failure, and broke apart internally. I'm certainly not saying that's what the problem is, but it would actually be a fit with just about everything that you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More info: It starts right up, and idles. There is a VERY loud tapping seemingly from within the engine, but that's just my best guess. It is very loud, about 4 taps per second. When I say "taps" it's not like those quiet valve taps you can sometimes hear, but rather it's a very loud tapping that you can hear from the driver's seat.

I hooked up my scanner and no codes have been thrown.

Any and all ideas are welcome.
 

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More info: It starts right up, and idles.....
Does this mean you no longer need to give it throttle in order to keep it running? If so, how does the engine seem to run (aside from the tapping) when you rev it up? It might help if you can locate the source of the tapping - a long stick used as a stethoscope can often pinpoint a noise source fairly well.
 

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My question to you guys is, how do I find out exactly which engine I have? I of course have the VIN if that helps.
steambc
My 2012 Sorento LX has this plastic cover on top of the engine. It says GDI right on it in big bold letters.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Does this mean you no longer need to give it throttle in order to keep it running? If so, how does the engine seem to run (aside from the tapping) when you rev it up? It might help if you can locate the source of the tapping - a long stick used as a stethoscope can often pinpoint a noise source fairly well.
Yes, it will idle without having to give it throttle. It starts right up. It seems to run ok when I throttle up, but I think that under load I would see the same loss of power as when I got stuck.

The tapping should really be called loud knocking. It is a VERY loud sound of metal against metal. It is so loud that it doesn't seem possible to isolate its source with a stick.

Big question is, should I even take it to the dealership, who will probably charge me $400 just to diagnose it, or should I try to find a shop that can handle this kind of thing?

As always, Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My 2012 Sorento LX has this plastic cover on top of the engine. It says GDI right on it in big bold letters.
Yes, I saw a picture of one. I don't have that cover unfortunately.

So am I to understand that only the GDI model is covered by the recall/extended warranty, and definitely not the MPI?
 

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.... So am I to understand that only the GDI model is covered by the recall/extended warranty, and definitely not the MPI?
Yes, there definitely has been no recall on any Theta MPI. However, you should still give them a call and ask about your VIN. They're probably going to say it's an MPI and not covered, but it just doesn't make sense not to invest 5 minutes to make absolutely certain what you have, before moving on to plan B.



Yes, it will idle without having to give it throttle. It starts right up. It seems to run ok when I throttle up, but I think that under load I would see the same loss of power as when I got stuck.

The tapping should really be called loud knocking. It is a VERY loud sound of metal against metal. It is so loud that it doesn't seem possible to isolate its source with a stick.

Big question is, should I even take it to the dealership, who will probably charge me $400 just to diagnose it, or should I try to find a shop that can handle this kind of thing?

As always, Thanks!
First off, it's strange that the engine is doing better than it was previously. Any major mechanical internal failure should never fix itself, even for a short time. I think it's worth a quick road test to confirm it still struggles under load. And the other thing you should do before taking it anywhere for diagnosis is an oil change, in order to find out if there's metal shavings in the oil. Significant metal would confirm rod knock due to a spun bearing, and would also eliminate the need to take it anywhere for diagnosis.

Regardless of anything else, I strongly recommend that you don't take it to a stealership. All they do is engine replacement, and as I wrote previously, the bill will be around 7K. Try to find a quality independent shop that (willingly) works on Kia/Hyundai engines. Be advised that many engine rebuilders want to have nothing to do with the Korean automakers, so don't be surprised if the typical answer is 'no'.

You also need to be aware that reasonable mileage, used Theta MPI engines are VERY scarce and hard to find, which makes this whole thing a much more difficult prospect for you. That's why it's important to try to figure out on your own if this is really rod knock due to bearing failure, before doing anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@kiaguy002

I greatly appreciate all your advice. I know it takes up your valuable time to answer and I don't take that for granted.

Well, I called Kia and as expected, my engine isn't covered. The guy I spoke to told me to talk to the local dealership service to see if there's "something they can do", which probably means nothing.

I'm on the fence about taking it to the dealership, or trying to take it to a local shop. I'm wondering if the dealership can make a deal with me since the car is leased. The lease is up in December of this year.

As it stands now, I'll be paying another $2500 till then for a piece of scrap metal, and then the buyout of about $3,000.

Or, as you suggest, I could take it to a local shop to at least have them diagnose it. It's hard to know what to do. I don't want to get reamed by the dealership and I don't want to rack up fees for diagnosis only for it to end up at the dealership anyway.

I would guess that the difference between the day I got stuck and today is temperature. It was very hot that day and I was highway driving, but I am always looking at the temp gauge and I am absolutely certain it did not overheat. In fact as soon as I felt the hesitation I looked at the gauge and it was fine.

I'm afraid to keep running it and incur more damage, and also it's in my condo unit parking space now and I'm concerned about it giving up the ghost completely which will necessitate another tow. I will try to start it again in a minute and perhaps move it around in such a way that I can push it into a visitor spot if it dies.

Again, your help and guidance is very greatly appreciated.
 

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[MENTION=307353]...I'm wondering if the dealership can make a deal with me since the car is leased. ....
I can't give you any advice on a leased vehicle, because I've never had any experience with leasing, and know virtually nothing about them. I'd like to believe the lease offers some protection against engine failure, but that's just a feeling and not based on any facts I'm aware of. And I also can't speculate on the 'deal' you mentioned. It might very well become your best option, but that's something I can't give you any advice about.

I will tell you that a dealership service dept will hear that knocking and tell you 'new engine' - no further diagnosis needed. They have done this same thing with many Theta engines over the past few years, so this will be their automatic response to your situation. And, based on the knocking you described, rod knock due to a spun bearing is quite likely to be the case. But again, you can confirm that by simply draining the oil. If there are metal shavings in it and/or the oil filter, you would know that a replacement engine or a rebuild of yours would be required to keep it on the road. But in the unlikely event that no metal shows up, then perhaps a good indy shop can find out what's actually going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It starts right up and idles fine. I hear that extremely loud "rapping" sound, about 4 taps per second at idle.

I reversed it out of my spot and back in, it has at least that much power. Giving it gas in park yields the expected revving.

I hear a very faint squealing or squeaking sound, most people I'm sure would not even hear this. It's either related or possibly a peripheral device like an idler or alternator or such. It's too faint to tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can't give you any advice on a leased vehicle, because I've never had any experience with leasing, and know virtually nothing about them. I'd like to believe the lease offers some protection against engine failure, but that's just a feeling and not based on any facts I'm aware of. And I also can't speculate on the 'deal' you mentioned. It might very well become your best option, but that's something I can't give you any advice about.

I will tell you that a dealership service dept will hear that knocking and tell you 'new engine' - no further diagnosis needed. They have done this same thing with many Theta engines over the past few years, so this will be their automatic response to your situation. And, based on the knocking you described, rod knock due to a spun bearing is quite likely to be the case. But again, you can confirm that by simply draining the oil. If there are metal shavings in it and/or the oil filter, you would know that a replacement engine or a rebuild of yours would be required to keep it on the road. But in the unlikely event that no metal shows up, then perhaps a good indy shop can find out what's actually going on.
Oh, I totally know that. I was just musing about it, not asking for advice about those leasing issues.

Yes, I'm sure you're right about the "stealership". I can't stand dealing with them for obvious reasons. Problem with looking at the oil is that I rent in a condo complex now and they will barely let you open your hood around here.

At this point I'm inclined to bring it to the indy shop and at least have them evaluate it. This shop gets a multitude of stellar reviews so it sounds like my best shot. Of course they may tell me "no thanks" with taking on the job, but maybe I can get a little insight.

At least my time constraint has been relieved as I can borrow a car from my brother-in-law.

I'll update the thread when I know more. Again, many thanks for you help!
 

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... Problem with looking at the oil is that I rent in a condo complex now and they will barely let you open your hood around here.

At this point I'm inclined to bring it to the indy shop and at least have them evaluate it. This shop gets a multitude of stellar reviews so it sounds like my best shot. Of course they may tell me "no thanks" with taking on the job, but maybe I can get a little insight....
I understand completely why you're unable to do a DIY on the oil.

Just ask the shop to start by changing the oil into a clean container, instead of the big common one they normally use. And tell them you want to be able to examine the oil for metal shavings yourself. If there is no metal in the oil, then ask them if they're willing to cut the filter open to check for metal there. Given the circumstances (i.e. the knocking), they should understand what you're asking for, and be willing to do this, regardless if they want to try additional diagnosis or not. They should hopefully not charge much above a regular oil change to to this for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I understand completely why you're unable to do a DIY on the oil.

Just ask the shop to start by changing the oil into a clean container, instead of the big common one they normally use. And tell them you want to be able to examine the oil for metal shavings yourself. If there is no metal in the oil, then ask them if they're willing to cut the filter open to check for metal there. Given the circumstances (i.e. the knocking), they should understand what you're asking for, and be willing to do this, regardless if they want to try additional diagnosis or not. They should hopefully not charge much above a regular oil change to to this for you.
I went to this auto repair place that looked so good on the web and had plenty of good reviews, and it was a dump to put it nicely. I could tell the guy didn't want to take on a rebuild. He said a "remanufactured" engine is my best option. Drum roll for the cost....... $7,000.00, just like the dealer. I asked if sometimes an issue like this can be resolved with a light rebuild directed at the source of the noise, and he said yes, he should take a look at it (I hadn't actually brought the car there), and it will cost $100 for that. He was talking in terms of "condemning" the engine.

I think I should pass on this one. Bad vibe.

I've got another $2,500 in payments due for this car, plus I'll have to buy it out at end of lease for another $3500, so I'll be paying another $6,000 for a piece of scrap metal, plus will need to buy a used car. I have to buy it out because I'm way over miles for the lease.

I've successfully rebuilt a Honda motorcycle engine by myself, and a Chevy small block with somebody else, so I just might consider buying a rebuild kit, renting a garage, and doing the rebuild myself next Spring. After all this, what's another $1,000 if it doesn't work out? I would expect the best but prepared for the worst. I'm used to doing intricate, impeccable work in restoring vintage machinery. How bad can this little 4-banger be? I'm also affiliated with a "living" museum where we restore and maintain century-old planes, cars and tanks, so I have a lot of advisers to draw upon.

LOL, either you guys are going to tell me I'm insane to even consider it, or you will say go for it. Is my idea off the wall, or within reason? My gut tells me that the engine can be salvaged.
 

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...Is my idea off the wall, or within reason? My gut tells me that the engine can be salvaged.
I'd say that with the background you described, you could definitely get a successful rebuild done. The only question would be how long it would take you, and that would mainly depend on how many hours you can give to the project when the time comes. If that's the way you decide to go, then don't drive it anymore - it's not seized yet, and you don't want that to happen. Just make sure you have an engine hoist and stand available, because a lower engine rebuild will require it to be removed from the vehicle. If the crankshaft has not been damaged, IMO you can do a rebuild for a lot less than 1K.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the reply. Today I'm vacillating between doing the rebuild, or spending 3 grand on a used engine and swapping them out myself. I'm sure the best decision will come off the "back burner" of my brain as it cooks for a little while. I can live with having to spend 3 grand to make it run for short distances but 7 grand can't be justified. I do have lots more time than most because my business consists mostly of remote computer work so that extra time I have is a very valuable resource.

Yes, I'm definitely not going to run it anymore. I might tow it to my storage place, which I've recently emptied out, put it in there, drop the pan and take a look up there to see if I've got a spun bearing (which I'm almost positive I do). Of course I'll be checking for metal in the pan, but I'll also be able to eyeball the crankshaft. I've heard of a case where 1/2 of the bearing moved on top of the other one, thereby raising the cylinder too high and causing problems up top, and I'm hoping against hope that's not the case. It is certainly a loud noise it is making but it does sound exactly like a Hyundai I saw on YouTube with a spun bearing.

I've also seen temporary fixes where several guys have carefully and lightly honed the journals with 600 to 800 strips of wet (WD-40) sandpaper and replaced the bearings. It does seem to work in many instances. I'm sure its only a temporary solution, but it would be nice to be able to at least take it for local runs to the store and such.

Well, it all depends on what I see when I get my eyeballs on it. I'll let you know what I see when I do this.

Thanks again for your invaluable advice.
 
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