2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!! - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Oil was changed about 5877k miles ago and the reminder light had just come on for a change, which I normally take care of myself (reminder set for 6k). There was no "check engine" or "oil pressure" light of any sort. It just started choking as it was being driven, quickly pulled over to safety, and called AAA. When cranking the starter, it would turn over but then sounded like internal engine grinding. Was there oil in it? Absolutely. It was dirty but not black, and it was clearly in the safe zone.

After a quick inspection from my local dealership, they call to deliver the most horrifying news. The engine block has cracked on my 2012 Sienna LE AWD. It has under 42k miles. The dealership claims that this can only be caused by no oil in the engine, and that repairs would fall in the neighborhood of $9000.

So I called Toyota Customer Experience Center, because I feel like this should be covered under their Powertrain warranty, which I'm clearly still covered by. They said they'd review my case and would rely on the dealership's expertise to determine the cause of the failure. But is a dealership technician equipped to identify, without certainty, the root cause of the failure? I'm not so sure. I've researched cracked engine block causes, which mostly point to coolant failures, pump failures, or defects in the block casting. My point is, this case deserves a little more attention and research. All I got was a blanket generality for what I feel was in the interest of dismissal, and I'm now stuck with either an enormous repair bill for about 2/3rd of the vehicle's current worth.

Am I crazy to expect a positive outcome here? Advice anyone?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 11:14 AM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Did one of the other moderators put a block/hold on this? It was showing as under moderator control. I released it. My own posted reply from 8:30 AM this morning is not showing up as a valid entry (no post number). Please advise....

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX

Last edited by fibber2; 05-05-2017 at 11:18 AM.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 12:28 PM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

I'm not sure what's up with this tread, but I'm going to delete my initial entry and repost......

Who took the picture, and what is it telling us? I think the photographer is standing behind the front wheels looking forward towards the front bumper. The transmission lower bell housing is on the left, oil pan on the right.

Center stage is the exhaust pipe from the front bank, and we are looking at the exhaust under-engine bracket. I think that stamped steel bracket is bolted to the pan. Both bracket bolts appear to be place, but it looks like a bit of the oil pan casting between them is torn out and resting on the bracket? It's hard to tell for sure. I think I see a crack line extending over to the left bolt.

At the bottom of the engine block is a bolt-on lower skirt (upper oil pan), and below that the real oil pan. I'd have to crawl under to verify exactly where this bracket attaches, but it looks to me to be physical damage of some kind and a chuck of the casting is broken free? Did you suffer an impact of any kind? Did the pipe get hit and the jolt fracture the casting? This doesn't look like the type of damage that's typically caused by an internal issue (running out of oil or coolant). But I'm just guessing....

If you are still sure this is an internal issues, ask for a review by the District Manager.

If there's an external cause, you might be able to get some help from your insurance company.
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Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Thanks for the post release and response fibber2. I was wondering what had happened to the post myself. The photo taken was supplied by the dealership service adviser. No impacts of any kind were noticed at any point, and there was no driveway leakage of any kind.

I did appeal to the Toyota Rep on the phone for assistance of any kind. She offered to further review the case which would take a few days, no promises of course.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 04:00 PM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Was your driveway the last place it was parked before the drive when the light came on? Anybody else but you take it for a drive before this?

Do you agree that it looks like a piece torn out of the bottom of the pan? Or maybe an internal engine part slammed down from the inside and ruptured the pan? Odd.

I'm also surprised that there is so little oil on the underside. Yes, there's a lower splash shield that normally covers this area and blocks some wind, but you'd think that a large amount of oil exiting this spot while being driven would have coated the entire area. When I had a crank seal issue years back on my last Sienna, there was oil all the way back to the rear bumper! And I don't see burned-on residue from oil on a hot exhaust.

This whole situation warrants review and more data....

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2017, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

The vehicle was always at home, in my driveway, driven only by my wife for school drop-offs and Target runs (soccer mom driving); hence the low mileage (~8k/yr). I was able to connect with the service manager at the dealership, who is reviewing our case. He said an engine rod broke through the engine block wall, and that it's normally caused by a lubrication issue, so it's definitely something internal. He asked for my service records and will try to work with Toyota on a resolution. I sent over my records and receipts and am hoping for a miracle.

The lack of oil splashed underneath is likely due to my wife pulling over almost immediately after the grinding sounds started (when the failure occurred). It was about a quarter mile from my house, going only residential speeds.

Thanks for the interest in my situation and I'll post more info once I am able.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 09:40 AM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

So it is damage from the inside out - and a piece punctured the pan. Sorry to hear that. Please keep us informed on the outcome, and good luck!

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

**Update**

The dealership had a Toyota field engineer come look at the damage. I'm not an engine technician, so I'll just type the service manager said verbatim.

"It wasn't a lubrication issue. A valve spring broke, which caused the valve to drop down into the chamber where the piston comes up, which hit it and bent the rod, and threw it out of the block."

The entire cost of the repair is now being picked up by Toyota, as this falls under the Power Train warranty.

The service adviser did try and upsell some other parts to replace when they were ordering parts. I explained that if their engineer discovered any other internal systems that were damaged due to this failure, they should replace or repair it on their dime, not mine.

I did find that Toyota policy offers a loaner vehicle while in-patient warranty repairs are being done. So, they'll also be providing a loaner for the duration of the repair. But I did have to ask for it. They should/could have informed me when this turned into a warranty issue.

...more to come as the story unfolds.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:37 PM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by budussy View Post
**Update** "It wasn't a lubrication issue. A valve spring broke, which caused the valve to drop down into the chamber where the piston comes up, which hit it and bent the rod, and threw it out of the block."
Beautiful! And you described it very well. Makes perfect sense to me. I'm glad to hear that the rep didn't try to BS their way out of it. Bravo for an honest assessment, and for Toyota to step up to the plate.

Technically, unless you purchased an extended warranty that has the Rental Car provision included as a benefit, they aren't obligated to give you one for free. The basic warranty leaves it up to the discretion of the rep, on a case by case basis. So be gracious and say thank you!

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 08:55 AM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Yeah, sometimes dealers won't offer things like a loaner car even when you can get one. Sometimes they won't even bother to tell you that repairs are covered under your extended warranty (like your case) unless you fight them. Big p.i.t.a. The problem seems to be very widespread across all makes and models. Ugh.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

You guys are right. I didn't mean to sound ungrateful. The dealership service manager did go to bat for us and worked with Toyota corporate, which got the engineer out there to turn the assessment in our favor. Huuuge debt of gratitude for that. 9000 reasons in fact. Kudos to the service team, field engineers, and corporate decision makers. Faith restored. [vintage Toyota jump freeze frame]

Frankly, the loaner vehicle is a tiny detail in the bigger picture here, and I'm actually fine if they can't provide one. I just thought it was policy and would have been nice if they offered it. This is our first major surgery like this so I didn't know what to expect. They're cooking my meal in their kitchen, so I wouldn't want to irritate the staff if you know what I mean.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 08:15 AM
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Re: 2012 Sienna - Engine Block Cracked!!

Agreed. You don't want the chef or the waiter to spit in your food (or worse).
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