Piston Slap: The Lambda V6 Half Life?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap the lambda v6 half life

Dennis writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I own an 06 Sonata with the 3.3. It is paid off and has 79,000 miles on it. I love this car.

It is fast, comfortable and I get about 20 miles per gallon around town and on long trips about 30. I have had a few engine issues and have done all the maintenance as required. It had the Harmonic Balancer replaced, Idle Pulley and sensor or two. The Hyundai Forums have folks cranking out 150,000 miles no problems with this car and others seeing it explode about 80,000.

I would love to hold onto this car a few more years. Any advice on this engine? Things to look out for?

Being a long time ex Ford Owner and loving to read your articles I trust your opinion a lot. I have owned a Mustang, Capri, EXP, Thunderbird, Excort ZX-2 and a Focus and other interesting vehicles in my torrid car past.

Thanks sir!

Sajeev Answers:

Ya know Dennis, its funny how those who fondly(?) recall Ford’s progressive product era (the 80s-90s) find joy in Hyundai’s modern offerings. And not just displaced Town Car fans eyeing an Equus, but you and…perhaps the 5.0L Easter Egg laying artist responsible for the photo above! OMG! OMG! OMG!

But I digress…

The Lambda V6 in your Sonata needs periodic valve lash adjustments. No timing belt worries and little else outside of proper upkeep, from what I see via Googling. I suspect those with grenaded Lambdas had such disappointment because of infrequent oil changes. If you minimize engine wear (i.e. synthetic oil and regular changes), valve lash adjustments aren’t in your future. You’ve likely reached the Sonata’s half-life: and not just because I’m a geek making a very [s]half-assed[/s] clever reference!

I suspect the motor will need a valve adjustment well before 200,000 miles, an awful painful punishment for your wallet. Especially compared to the Sonata’s street value. That’s when it’s time to sell.

Or get a junkyard motor with low miles and a warranty…or…and just hang on with me here…

If it’s okay to put a LSX in a Genesis, why the hell wouldn’t you put LS4-FTW in a Sonata? If you were crazy enough to own a Ford EXP, you know you gotta do it, to it…son!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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2 of 35 comments
  • Mrb00st Mrb00st on Aug 21, 2013

    Some modern motors still require valve lash adjustment. I know my 2007 Accord required it to be set at 105,000 miles, I only kept it till 50 something before I got so bored with it I thought I was going to fall asleep and die. But my mom's CR-V has the same engine (K24 non-vtec) and at 85k miles it makes audible valvetrain racket.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Aug 22, 2013

    Watch for valve cover oil seepage above the alternator. It seems innocuous but is a known alternator-killer on the Lambda. Well worth the cost of the upgraded replacement gasket. Overall it's a solid engine that should be easy on the wallet for a long time.

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