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Catlover

Prius an oil burner????

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A friend of mine last summer bought a 60 plate Prius from a Toyota dealer. Turned into a bit of a nightmare. The problem I highlighting and want to know if others have suffered is that the engine used Oil at the rate of 1 litre per 1000 miles. No blue smoke, but was drinking Oil. After much discussions the seller stripped the engine and declared the piston rings were a problem and fitted new pistons and rings. Apparently the pistons were of a different design compared with original. The car had done about 65,000 miles, which taking into count some of that would be on electric, probably engine done say 40,000.

Has anyone had similar problem or know someone who has. 

Before I bought my Gen3 59 plate with 100,000 on the clock I did a search of the internet and cant recall reading of this problem. 

 

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Prius is not an Oil burner. I am on my second Prius and have never had to add Oil.

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Both 1.5 and 1.8 Prius engines have been known to start using a little Oil after 100,000 miles but I've never before heard of anything as severe as the one Joe described.

Only one of the 4 Prius I've owned (plus 3 company cars) passed 100k, and it started to gradually use a little between services.  By the time I sold it with 163k on the clock it went from Max to Min on the dipstick in about 7,000 miles, and adding 1 Litre was more than enough to keep it above Min until the next service.  I've heard about a number of cars that have had similar (a little better to a little worse) loss at these mileages btu that's all.

Certainly, I've never before heard of Oil consumption that would raise eyebrows, never mind require surgery.  Indeed, in the 1970s and 80s it was far from uncommon to have to top up new cars between services (which were often at 5/6,000 mile intervals then) in their first year!

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Was it a private sale?
Haven’t heard of anything like that before.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Hi Anthony.   Stated in the first line the source - a Toyota dealer.

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Hi Anthony.   Stated in the first line the source - a Toyota dealer.


I admit I was a bit tired before.
The bit about the pistons being different is the bit I’m wondering about.
Considering Toyota engines are supposed to be legendary for their reliability.
Previously I did buy a corolla verso that was 7 years old and 90000 on the clock, the clutch was worn and that only had a slight Oil leak that was only noticed during a service. Never added Oil between services, mainly down to doing less than 6000 a year. I sold the car to someone at work. All they had to do was replace the clutch and drive shaft, by that time it was over 130000 miles and it’s still not needing topping up with Oil.

In the my Toyota history is there any reference to any repairs?

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I hear about piston rings leading to Oil consumption all the time with Gen 2's and early Gen 3's from owners in the US, though usually only after they are well over 100k miles if not double. There was a redesign of the piston rings and pistons in the 2ZR-FXE (Gen 3) at some stage, but I'm not sure when this was introduced.

Certain other Toyota engines are known for similar issues - some early ZZ engines had serious Oil consumption problems (some were replaced by Toyota), and the 4E-FE (1.3 common in the Starlet and Corolla for most of the '90s) are not unknown for burning Oil with high mileage.

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Further to Aaron's post, I think that there were a few modified piston, ring and head gasket part numbers in the first year of Prius production, 2009-2010.

In this link :-https://priuschat.com/threads/excessive-blow-by-head-gasket.200698/   a Canadian owner, Mendel Leisk , lists the part numbers from 2010 onwards in post no.20.  But just to confuse, by convention, the Americans call a 2009 car a '2010 model year' . So the exact year starts to get a little vague.  This table is for US and Canadian market Prius, but I don't know why this shouldn't also apply to European Prius and Auris.

Whilst any likelihood can be discounted in this case, just for reference, the OP's friend's car's mileage could be confirmed as genuine by reading estimated mileage total (in kms, actually) that exists in the engine ECU and is viewable through Techstream etc. This cannot be changed easily, unlike the speedo/odometer.  It would be an easy car to clock as they hide their mileage so well.

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Hi, this is a well known problem with some Toyota engines, design flaw on piston rings and or a stuck piston rings. There is a lot of information on the net, particularly YouTube. Don’t remember if Prius 1.8 engine has the problematic rings, probably not , because I had more than 5 of those cars and non of them had ever consumed any Oil between changes. My last Auris Hybrid done Euro trip from London to Black Sea in Bulgaria and back on 0w20 Oil with temperature of the air as high as 40c and no problems at all, never even topped up during the 6000 miles journey. Now the car travels 5000 miles per month mostly motorways and no consumption at all 90k miles on the clock. The main reason you can have piston rings stuck is neglecting Oil changes or using a poor quality Oil or wrong type of Oil or any combination of the above done by the previous owner. There is an option to try to get the rings unstuck without opening the engine but has a bit of a risk and no guarantee that will help, if the cylinder wall is already glazed Oil consumption will remain however can be more acceptable, but 1 litre per 1000 miles it’s a way too high. 

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49 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

Don’t remember if Prius 1.8 engine has the problematic rings, probably not...

That is the 2ZR-FXE I speak of, and it does, at least up until some point in 2014-2015 - and it would be the same engine in Auris Hybrids of that era.

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In this case this proof only one thing: lack of maintenance or improper maintenance are the reason for a high Oil consumption, especially on the cars with low miles, I guess they might well been using 5w30 Oil too. 

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Hi everyone, 

you wont believe what I seen yesterday morning rush hour. On M25 there was an 17 plate grey Toyota Prius Gen 4 that was smoking blue smoke  from the exhaust, it was so bad that cars behind had to go to the other lanes . Each time the car was under load/acceleration there was a smoke from burning excessively Oil, the car really looked like is a two stroke powered vehicle from 1970’s. It was a private hire most likely an Uber driver, but that’s no matter. What can it be in so new car, only 2 years old and probably 60k miles.? 

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Maybe it just came from service and they overfilled the Oil? I saw this happen,  Oil over max, but dont know what's the possibility of it getting into the cylinders.

 

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I would imagine that if there was a big enough overfill (2+ litres???), then I think the Oil would overwhelm the crankcase breather piping and then find its way into the inlet manifold.  Not least because the crankshaft would be thrashing around in the Oil, rather than above it, so the Oil would likely become a mist or spray in the crankcase.  Also the air volume under the pistons would be reduced, changing the way the crankcase ventilates e.g. the smaller volume of air has less 'give'.  And the take off point for the crankcase breather is on the side of the crankcase, if I remember correctly (on the gen 3 it is anyway), so even more prone to problems than a rocker cover ventilation system.

If enough Oil was being put into the combustion chamber, I think some would pass through unburnt into the exhaust to some extent, where it would probably get burned off under the heat of acceleration. 

The gen 4 Prius are becoming available as a private import from Japan, so if this was one of those it could be out of warranty and getting serviced independently.

I look forward to seeing a post on this forum soon from the driver......

 

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Or he could have put diesel in it ?

 

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22 hours ago, Gerg said:

I would imagine that if there was a big enough overfill (2+ litres???), then I think the oil would overwhelm the crankcase breather piping and then find its way into the inlet manifold...

I guess it could take that much Oil to really "fill" the engine? I've heard of that mistake being made a few times with DIY novices.

But something could have gone wrong too, even Toyotas are not 100% flawless. I recently saw a C-HR at a local dealer with no engine - I have no idea what happened to the engine, but I guess a failure on such a new car isn't impossible either.

I thought diesel in a petrol car would cause white smoke, not blue?

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Yeah, I am sure wasn’t a diesel fuel filled in otherwise they are going to be bangs and knocks as well so driver would notice, and he was so relaxed like nothing is happening, most likely he doesn’t even knows about it. I guess because of those cars are mostly driven in town , was an Uber driver apparently, is it going to be possible there is Oil in the intake manifold collected, if they have a similar design as gen 3 for example and now the car is taken on motorway trip, fully loaded, there were passengers on board too, and the car been pushed harder to accelerate keeping up with rush hour traffic and those aged Oil get burns because of higher rpm ice was operating? For me is super unusual because I have never seen anything like that from a hybrid Toyota before, not even first gen or second gen Priuses. 

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The only two cases I've heard of where a Prius was fed diesel fuel, in both cases the engine refused to fire at all, and after too many attempts to run it the HV Battery was depleted to the extent it was unusable.  The first was a Gen 1, and it took a month for the dealer to join the queue for the only special charger in the whole of Europe to be brought to the UK to recharge the Battery.

The second was a Gen 2 a few years later (around 2007) and there was still only one charger, and by the time it got to the London dealer the HV Battery had died beyond recovery.

I suppose if a very small amount found it's way into the tank maybe the engine could still run, and I've no idea what colour any resulting smoke would be.

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I think you can’t put a diesel into a petrol car these days due to a size difference of the nozzle, but you can fill in petrol into a diesel car easily and if a small amount is filled will probably cause no harm, but depends,. Anyway that car was burning Oil like hell, blue smoke like a two stroke engine, this guy probably is not aware and most likely he doesn’t visit this forum to clarify what the issue is really with his car, also he probably rent his car so even less care about it. 

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On 7/17/2019 at 1:55 PM, QuantumFireball said:

I guess it could take that much oil to really "fill" the engine? I've heard of that mistake being made a few times with DIY novices.

My reference on this: In about 1984 (!), I was trying to help out with a Renault 16 TX auto (1647cc, pushrod, petrol with carb., obviously no cat.).  It had been overfilled with 4.5 litres (a gallon can) of unnecessary Oil, as the owner was checking the auto transmission dipstick whilst filling the engine with engine Oil - then wondering why it didn't seem to show any increase.  It did run, and had travelled perhaps 10 miles, probably in heavy traffic, before I got to drain all the extra out.

The amount of smoke that came out of the exhaust, especially on 'kickdown', was simply staggering.  The world behind just disappeared behind in the smoke.  The Oil did eventually burn off and the car ran ok afterwards. It was sold not much later.

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At somewhere not too long over 100k miles, my old Gen2 (by then in the hands of another family member) started using a lot of Oil, several litres between services. 

There was no sign of an Oil leak, and with that volume of Oil it would have been very obvious. So my conclusion was that the Oil was being burnt. It went through several services and MOTs without problem

The service manager at my Norwich dealer agreed that the Oil was being burnt, and that major work would be needed to fix it. We decided that the best approach would be to suck it and see. If the cat failed, then something would have to be done. 

In the end, 2 1/2 years, several services, and many buckets of Oil later, the car was still smoke free when part exchanged at 185k miles. 

Based on this experience, i find it hard to imagine what could have caused the smoke described by the OP. 

 

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Just an update on my original post. Spoke to my friend the other week specifically about “the problem”, and after the remedial work his gen3 is running perfectly, using no Oil. That’s been well tested as they have travelled back to London area couple times and holidayed in Devon, so done some long trips.

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9 hours ago, Ancient Nerd said:

At somewhere not too long over 100k miles, my old Gen2 (by then in the hands of another family member) started using a lot of oil, several litres between services. 

There was no sign of an oil leak, and with that volume of oil it would have been very obvious. So my conclusion was that the oil was being burnt. It went through several services and MOTs without problem

The service manager at my Norwich dealer agreed that the oil was being burnt, and that major work would be needed to fix it. We decided that the best approach would be to suck it and see. If the cat failed, then something would have to be done. 

In the end, 2 1/2 years, several services, and many buckets of oil later, the car was still smoke free when part exchanged at 185k miles. 

Based on this experience, i find it hard to imagine what could have caused the smoke described by the OP. 

 

Never reply from memory. I think I confused this with another post. This sounds a lot like the same problem. 

And why can we no longer edit posts? 

2 hours ago, Catlover said:

Just an update on my original post. Spoke to my friend the other week specifically about “the problem”, and after the remedial work his gen3 is running perfectly, using no oil. That’s been well tested as they have travelled back to London area couple times and holidayed in Devon, so done some long trips.

So my dealer's service manager was almost certainly correct (he did say that it was probably the piston rings) . It looks as though both generations can get the same problem. 

However our car was out of warranty, so on balance the cost of a few gallons of Oil turned out a lot cheaper than the repairs would have been. 

What really impresses me is how well the cat managed to dispose of so much burnt Oil, so cleanly, and for so long. This was at least half a litre of Oil every thousand miles, and carried on for almost three years and 70 to 80 thousand miles. In pre-cat days, that would have been a lot of smoke

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