By on July 6, 2015

Mitsubishi GDi Engine (Dion)

Hi Sajeev & Steve,

“You have not covered extensively the problems encountered by GDI engines, especially Mitsubishi Dion (the engine is 4G63). As the revs go beyond the 2000 rpm, the ‘check engine’ light comes on, then eventually the engine — if forced — cuts off. After a few minutes, the engine can start but it does not take long before it repeats. I was told by a mechanic to buy a new pressure pump. This was fitted but the problem has not gone away. Please help!”

Ummm… we think your mechanic needs to keep away from Runaround Sue.

Cut Portion:

It turns out that a TTAC alum, Andrew Bell, did a fantastic job explaining this issue a few years ago. I’ll offer the Cliff Notes version here.

“In a GDI engine, the gasoline doesn’t touch intake side of the valve. As a result, the droplets have a tendency to bake onto the valve and significantly reduce performance… Even more alarming is that these deposits can dislodge and damage other downstream components (turbochargers, catalytic converters, etc). Manufacturers have added systems to capture these oil droplets and particulates, but no system is 100% effective. As a result, there are many disappointed early adopters with large repair bills.”

Steve Says:

When folks ask me why I am so sour on recommending cars that are on the early curve of advanced powertrain technologies, it’s because I regularly see these types of vehicles traded-in and sent to the auctions at a far greater frequency than their less technologically advanced counterparts.

Whether it’s a vehicle equipped with an early CVT that simply couldn’t handle the load (Ford Freestyle, Nissan Maxima/Rogue/Quest, Dodge Caliber), or a direct injection engine design that has severe teething issues (Mazda CX-7, the VW/Audi FSI engines, BMW with their N54 and N55 engines), I have come to the personal conclusion that automakers are far more apt to sweep these problems under the rug than to tackle them from the early get-go.

To Hyundai’s credit in particular, owners are now using a fuel additive to get rid of excessive carbon that can accumulate in their GDi engines. But there is a dark cloud in that silver lining, and it comes from the feedback of over 750,000 vehicles that have been independently inspected and appraised by certified mechanics and car buying professionals.

Automakers, to no fault of their own, often get sideswiped by long-term issues that couldn’t be anticipated during the research & development phase. As a result, those who stay with the tried and true often have a far better record of long-term reliability than their less conservative counterparts. Or to put this in a more brand specific way, there is a reason why a brand like Mitsubishi is ranked 8th at the moment when it comes to long-term reliability, versus a brand like Hyundai which has gone headlong into to direct injection, and is now ranked 21st overall. As I explained a few months ago on Yahoo:

“Mitsubishi has benefited from long model runs over the past ten years, and much of what they sell is devoid of the unproven electronics and technologies that have hurt other brands. Four-cylinder models are particularly strong in terms of long-term reliability.”

Does this mean a new Accent can’t last over 300,000 miles? Not at all. It does represent the fact that more sophisticated powertrains often have to compensate for unknown variables that can hurt their long-term reliability. In the case of GDi engines, it’s those vehicles that are not driven on a regular basis and have the corn curse that is ethanol lodged into their fuel systems.

This also bears some unusual fruit in the used car market. You may find that a 2011 or older Hyundai Azera offers an exceptional bang for the long-term buck because it didn’t come equipped with the third generation GDi engine. While a low-mileage late model Azera that gets driven infrequently, and has very short trips, may require a bit more engine care.

As many of you know, I absolutely love personal stories about cars that are kept for the long haul. Whether it’s a 30 year old FIAT that miraculously lasts over 500,000 miles, or a first-generation Dodge Neon that also gets to the moon and back, I love seeing cars live up to their potential longevity. But complexity is a real bitch when it comes to cars, and the current CAFE regulations are going to likely promote more rolling long-term dogs in the near future.

So let me ask you: Anyone have unfortunate experiences with what seemed to be the latest and greatest powertrain technologies? Whether your unpleasant experience came from ye olde Cadillac V8-6-4 which had the then tricky cylinder deactivation technology, or a late-model truck or SUV that had a CVT that became DOA within 100k, please feel free to share your experiences below.

Sajeev Answers:

Well then! What else can I add, especially considering relevant info of Piston Slaps past? (Here, here, and here.) Let’s focus on the 4G63. Wait, was that direct injected? Do you mean the 4G93? If so, that was the first production GDI motor and likely lives on the bleeding edge of technology like most cutting-edge products. So what will get you out of your predicament?

Probably a good de-coking of the intake system, ditto the EGR. And maybe some walnut shells blasted into the system if you put a scope into the spark plug hole and notice excessive carbon buildup.

Or maybe its the throttle body.   No matter what, I suspect you need to find another mechanic.

Note: All the links in this article have been sanitized and customized for your own viewing pleasure. Please click on at least a few of them, because it will likely give you a far greater understanding of this topic, and besides, the Long-Term Quality Index can always use a few more clicks and critiques. If you have used car questions, please contact us directly at [email protected]

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107 Comments on “New Or Used: Wishing For Simpler Times...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m surprised GDI is so problematic. Diesels have used DI for decades with no issues. What’s the difference?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      They also carbon up like crazy and owners often turn to similar additives and/or expensive service as a result. The issue is with no fuel injected on the backside of the valve, carbon builds up fast.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      EGR. In port injection gasoline engines, the fuel-air mix would wash the intake valves. With direct injection, the recirculated exhaust gases leave crud deposits on the intake valves over time.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Ah so no EGR on diesels? I guess that makes sense.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Most if not all modern diesels have EGR systems which carbon up in the intake system as previously described.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            And there are EGR-delete mods out there. I understand the ones for the Ford 6.0 and 6.4 are quite popular.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            re: EGR-delete mods

            I may be stating the obvious, but doesn’t that defeat the drivability and fuel economy advantages of a diesel truck?

            From what I’ve heard, modern diesel engines will outlast the pickups they are installed in (in the rustbelt anyway).

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “And there are EGR-delete mods out there. I understand the ones for the Ford 6.0 and 6.4 are quite popular.”

            Yes, mostly because they crack and leak cooland into the engine and exhaust.

            “From what I’ve heard, modern diesel engines will outlast the pickups they are installed in (in the rustbelt anyway).”

            It’s the other way around. Modern diesel engines are generally quite problematic. Of course, not all are equal.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “From what I’ve heard, modern diesel engines will outlast the pickups they are installed in (in the rustbelt anyway).”

            If Ford’s aforementioned escapades are anything to go by, then what you’ve heard is very much wrong.

            I liken the current emissions equipment on diesel engines in the US to malaise era emission and smog equipment. Give it some more time and things will become much more efficient, reliable, and cost effective.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Not familiar with the Fords, but I have a friend who works on a fleet of Duramax, and his assessment is that the trucks fall apart before the engines do. These are GM tow-truck platforms.

            Another friend who runs his business out of a 3500 Cummins Ram claims he’s spent more money on front-end work than he has on his engine.

            These are both high mileage (half million km and up) applications, so perhaps these engines benefit from being run almost constantly.

          • 0 avatar
            greaseyknight

            No, an EGR delete improves the reliability of the engine, especially in the 6.0 and 6.4 Ford engines. As the EGR introduces a great deal of heat into the engine that it cannot handle. EGR is primarily a emissions function.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            “especially in the 6.0 and 6.4 Ford engines. As the EGR introduces a great deal of heat into the engine”

            Must be an implementation issue. EGR is supposed to reduce combustion temps (and thus NOx). I guess Ford managed to screw that up, or they accidentally heated-up a part of the intake that wasn’t designed to handle hot exhaust.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            On a modern engine, deleting the EGR will not improve anything including reliability. They are designed for the EGR to lower combustion temps, and have compression ratios and boost levels that take this into account. Deleting the EGR will result in excessive combustion temperatures that will lead to engine failure.

            Most of the carbon buildup comes from the crankcase. The reason old diesels didn’t suffer as much as new ones, or GDI with carbon deposits is because they didn’t have throttle valves. The intake vacuum resulting from the throttle valve makes it easier for oil deposits to make it into the intake. Add EGR to the mix, and it results in the carbon “gunk” that is now plaguing these engines. My advise is to spray something into the intake on regular intervals. You can use seafoam, techron or I have even heard of water working. The idea is that with a very hot intake, it will steam clean the intake. I like some of the solvents more than water, because water will eventually condense in places and most parts of an engine don’t play well with water.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Re: 6.0 and 6.4. Lets get one thing out of the way (that none of you have mentioned thus far, so Im assuming youre unaware of): the 6.0 and 6.4 were Navistar (AKA International) designs, not Ford designed. Aside from early teething issues (which were nothing compared to the 6.0/6.4 issues), Ford’s own-designed (current) 6.7L TurboDiesel is reliable. It replaced the troublesom Navistar units as Ford severed ties with Navistar.

            That is one reason the new Ford-designed F-650 and F-750 are built in Avon Lake, Oh (where the E-Series used to be built). The previous 650/750 were joint venture designs built in Mexico in a plant that was jointly operated by Ford and Navistar called Blue Diamond Truck Company.

            Now, Ford has totally divested itself of Navistar/Blue Diamond, and replaced all Navistar and joint Ford-Navistar products with products of their own design (the only exception would be the Ford LCF, which was not replaced as Ford left the cab-over medium duty market, but Navistar still produces their version of that vehicle at Blue Diamond in Mexico and its called the International City Star).

            The jist/point is that Ford didnt design or produce the 6.0/6.4, and ended their relationship with Navistar as a result of the screw ups that were those engines (as well as the V-6 version used in the LCF).

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “6.0 and 6.4. Lets get one thing out of the way (that none of you have mentioned thus far, so Im assuming youre unaware of): the 6.0 and 6.4 were Navistar (AKA International) designs, not Ford designed.”

            I’m very aware of this, as well as the ensuing law suits. It just wasn’t relevant to the conversation. people here are more apt to recognize the engines by the vehicles they are installed in, rather than the company contracted to make them.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “The intake vacuum resulting from the throttle valve makes it easier for oil deposits to make it into the intake.”

            Intake vacuum in a turbocharged diesel? That’s interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            The reason diesels used to not have any vacuum was the lack of a throttle valve. Once you ad a restriction into the intake, after it the engine will pump air out and cause vacuum. The throttle on these engines is not used to control input from the driver, but to add the vacuum conditions for when it will benefit emissions.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    Compression versus detonation? Not sure just stating the obviously difference.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How has GM been doing with their DI thus far? (Thinking specifically of the 3.6 VVT DI engine that has been likely put in hundreds of thousands if not millions of vehicles…)

    • 0 avatar
      Buckwheat

      Quite a few have needed the high pressure pumps replaced (both 4 and 6 cyl) GM DI engines. The pumps start bypassing fuel into the crankcase, which is not terrific.

      Not related to DI, but most of GM’s DI engines need timing chain replacements by 100K.

    • 0 avatar
      pbxtech

      I was disappointed in the 3.6 I had in my wife’s Aura. Crankshaft reluctor CEL at 100K. I traded it for a Mazda 6, I could not see putting another dime in that thing. You just can’t trust GM with any new technology, ever. I would love a Volt, but I’m sure there’a a similar screwing coming for those poor owners too.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      As the responses indicate the 3.6 has had its share of issues but it seems that carbon buildup has only been one of them in very rare cases.

  • avatar
    GST

    Our 2011 Audi Q5 with the 4 cylinder turbo was an oil burner. After a longish process of my complaints, Audi finally ran some kind of check on the engine, and ended up rebuilding it. That took care of it, but it took some perserverence on my part. We later replaced it with a 2014 Audi Q5 and it does not burn any oil at all at the 10,000 mile mark.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I hope they learned some lessons from the earlier TSIs. So far so good with the 1.8 TSI/EA888 in my wife’s Jetta. 15000 miles and it’s not burning oil so it’s looking good.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “It does represent the fact that more sophisticated powertrains often have to compensate for unknown variables that can hurt their long-term reliability.”

    Preach brother, preach!

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I don’t disagree with you, 28. What’s disappointing is that the transitions from carburetion to TBI and from TBI to MPFI by and large were win-wins in terms of increasing efficiency *and* increasing reliability. That may not may not have been uniformly the case, but I think it generally was. Variable valve timing is another technology that one would have expected to create a lot of issues but instead seems to have been a win-win.

      With GDI, however, the industry really seems to have been blindsided by the carbon buildup issue. I also think it’s been an under-reported issue because (1) the industry wants to play it down as much as possible and (2) new car reviews and even long-term tests don’t entail taking an individual car from new past 100,000 or 150,000 miles.

      It’ll be interesting to see if Toyota’s and VW’s port injection/direct injection model becomes the standard and how well that setup performs.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        So far it seems like the Toyota dual-injection setup is working brilliantly. I’m not as familiar with VW’s.

        Straight direct injection also seems to be working fine for some manufacturers (GM and Honda in particular).

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I know GM has had many of the common DI issues with high pressure pumps and carbon. Honda’s system is too new to tell how reliable it will be. I’m very surprised more manufacturers haven’t copied Toyota’s system.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Carb to TBI to Multiport was certainly a beneficial transformation although we must remember this took place over roughly a twenty five year period. The first EFI system offered in the US was actually sold in 1957 (Electrojector). Bosch developed D-Jetronic for 1967’s VW 1600TL and the system was subsequently adopted by VW, Mercedes, Porsche, Citroen, Saab and Volvo. Thus the technology had a fair amount of time to filter down into mainstream use before total adoption in the late 1980s. AFAIK direct injection as a mainstream technology isn’t quite ten years old. I imagine it will take another five to ten years to iron out all “bugs” with the technology, assuming things like carbon buildup can even be mitigated.

        “Chrysler offered Electrojector on the 1958 Chrysler 300D, DeSoto Adventurer, Dodge D-500, and Plymouth Fury, arguably the first series-production cars equipped with an EFI system. It was jointly engineered by Chrysler and Bendix. The early electronic components were not equal to the rigors of underhood service, however, and were too slow to keep up with the demands of “on the fly” engine control. Most of the 35 vehicles originally so equipped were field-retrofitted with 4-barrel carburetors. The Electrojector patents were subsequently sold to Bosch.

        Bosch developed an electronic fuel injection system, called D-Jetronic (D for Druck, German for “pressure”), which was first used on the VW 1600TL/E in 1967. This was a speed/density system, using engine speed and intake manifold air density to calculate “air mass” flow rate and thus fuel requirements. This system was adopted by VW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Citroën, Saab, and Volvo. Lucas licensed the system for production with Jaguar.

        Bosch superseded the D-Jetronic system with the K-Jetronic and L-Jetronic systems for 1974, though some cars (such as the Volvo 164) continued using D-Jetronic for the following several years. In 1970, the Isuzu 117 Coupé was introduced with a Bosch-supplied D-Jetronic fuel injected engine sold only in Japan.”

        “Direct fuel injection costs more than indirect injection systems: the injectors are exposed to more heat and pressure, so more costly materials and higher-precision electronic management systems are required.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_injection

        I like your thinking here:

        “It’ll be interesting to see if Toyota’s and VW’s port injection/direct injection model becomes the standard and how well that setup performs.”

        I too an interested to see what happens. Multiport (only) should really be the default technology for most ordinary models, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Isuzu and Mitsubishi both had direct injection on mainstream trucks as far back as the early 2000s. Thankfully we never got the GDI variant of the 3.5 V6 in our Monteros, as it had all of the usual maladies. I know that in Russia where quality gasoline is by no means a sure thing, the GDIs are particularly sensitive and trouble-prone.

          The Isuzus that had them here in the States are likewise known to be finicky, most people buying used prefer to buy a lower-power but more reliable port injected variant. In fact, have a gander at that Quality Index site, the Isuzu Axiom is specifically singled out for powertrain issues.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        “With GDI, however, the industry really seems to have been blindsided by the carbon buildup issue.”
        It seems to me, the issue has been known of since the early-2000s, when VW’s own patent applications revealed the issue.

        What really bothers me is that auto “journalists” (other than Sajeev and Steve) have completely avoided discussing the topic, likely in an effort to avoid the wrath of automakers who will balk at loaning them cars for future reviews. We’re supposed to believe it’s simply old news, the problem has been solved, and there’s nothing to be concerned about.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          RE: autojournos ignoring DI teething problems

          IMO the issue lies more-so in their total ignorance of anything technical beyond trivial number sheet specifications and “ooh new technology.”

          All I hear is complaints and calling cars “outdated” when they don’t immediately adapt direct injection or the latest n-speed transmission, or disk brakes on a 110hp compact. Of course it isn’t exciting to say that “this engine has been around a while and has proven to be a trouble-free workhorse with decent power”

          TTAC and people like Steve Lang are my daily antidote to simple minded drivel the likes of TFLcar and most of Jalopnik.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            They’re either (a.) idiots, or (b.) shills who put aside their knowledge in order to promote the products they are ‘reviewing.’

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ gtemnykh & CJ, I find your comments to be harsh, cynical, and in all likelihood correct.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I looked at a 2006 Ford Freestyle a couple years ago that appeared to be nice and priced low enough that I would’ve been able to pay cash. It had a CVT. Just out of curiosity I called a couple transmission shops to price out a replacement-just in case. The cost? About $5k. In other words, it’s junk once the inevitable tranny issues creep up. Thanks but no thanks.

    Also, I wrench on my own cars (at least I try to) and would deter any potential beater-buyer from getting something they couldn’t perform basic repairs on. Unfortunately, I predict slim pickings in the future.

  • avatar

    Again we learn not to ever buy the first year’s production of anything….especially a new technology.

    Often the issue is not “does it work”, but “does it work at the price we want to pay the supplier to make it”. So, something that might work on a Peterbilt or Freightliner, with a million mile expected life span, maybe not so much in the car world where the design life is 120k.

    I had a mad crush on the 335d, until I saw forum after forum post about how the 40-70k miles car was being taken apart and the intake manifold and heads cleaned…under warranty, often replaced (!). It appears that the cars were carboning up big time, and the bill was often five figures or close. Not for this shade tree hack mechanic !!!!

    The article properly discusses the HPFP issues the early BMW turbo sixes had.

    The VW TDi also had some of this, but most turned out to be gas in the diesel, destroying the pump. Yes, I read all the NHTSA information prior to buying…pages and pages.

    I knew why the 335d diesels, non CPO, were moving for way less than the gassers, and usually with more equipment……

    What is confusing, is that the big BMW diesel has a long, long history in Europe, so why do they carbon-up here ? The TDI, so far, personally and according to the forums, does not……

    • 0 avatar

      I disobeyed this rule recently with my 2015 Golf SportWagen, which is not only a new vehicle, it has an all-new engine (which is also used in the Jetta, as of 2015). I considered that it would be a problem, but then decided that buying a Volkswagen was enough of a crapshoot in and of itself that a first-year Volkswagen wouldn’t be much more of a risk, anyway…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    So for my GDI Sonata (that has 2 trips per day on the highway of about 25kms each way at just over the legal limit) should I use Formula 1 Gasoline Direct Injection Fuel System Cleaner (or a similar additive) every 6,000km or will that just create another problem? At $13 per bottle, not much of an expense (about $52 per year).

    What about my mother’s Sonata that gets driven much less and rarely if ever at over 80km’s per hour?

    Or would regular fills with higher octane fuel help at all?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m not exactly sure how any sort of fuel additive will affect cleanliness of the backs of intake valves and intake ports, but then I am no combustion engineer.

      I’d worry about a car that only sees very low engine speeds and few trips at lower speeds. That can cause problems even for regular, port injected engines in regards to excess carbon buildup, let alone for a direct injected engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @gtemnykh, Thanks. Come on B&B, I am asking for your recommendations. And as my Sonata is a rare 3 pedal model, I do on occasion give it an old fashioned ‘Italian tune-up’.

        Unfortunately I would doubt if my mothers has ever been past about 3,200 rpm.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Additives won’t do anything for GDI carbon issues. Best thing for your car and your mother’s is to just take them on longer runs every once in a while. If your mom is only filling up the car every other month, higher octane gas will last longer before degrading.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        A long drive again won’t do anything for carbon in the intake because there is nothing to wash it off with. A fuel induction cleaning like in this video (about the 9:45 mark) is really the only good way.

      • 0 avatar
        Exfordtech

        Why does higher octane fuel “degrade” less quickly than regular?

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Sometimes higher octane fuel has less ethanol than lower octane. The more ethanol, the quicker the fuel will start degrading.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @mbella, thanks but could you provide a link or something to that video?

            And I am more than a little shocked that only 4 of the B&B and none of the TTAC writers provided any comments regarding my concern.

            Guess that there is not a lot of interest in or love for Hyundais out there?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Just keep on truckin, not much else to be done aside from taking your mom’s car on some longer drives every now and then.

            The Hyundai reliability/value sweet spot seems to have been the mid-late 00s, now they are just as pricey and just as prone to incorporating the ‘latest and greatest’ tech into their vehicles. ’06-’10 Elantra (aka 05-09 Spectra) are underrated compact cars IMO.

  • avatar
    Kosher Polack

    Similarly, how are the latest ‘manumatic’ 6-7-8-9-speed transmissions generally holding up compared to their torque-converter predecessors? The Honda CR-V and Toyota Corolla of a few years ago got a lot of harsh criticism over their 5 and 4-speed transmissions, but those had billions of miles under their belt by the time they were phased out. I’ve been wary since of torque-converter-less designs, but should I be?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Most all of the 6+ speed automatics still have torque convertors. These days the gear selection is controlled by computerized servos and such, instead of check balls and line pressure.

      • 0 avatar
        Kosher Polack

        Oops, My terminology is incorrect (this terminology is all over the place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-automatic_transmission#Comparison_to_other_automated_transmissions)

        I was thinking of a ‘semi-automatic’ transmission which uses clutches, not a ‘manumatic’ which uses a torque converter. Different manufacturers have been using different types, for different cars, jumbled up by inter-company technology sharing, etc. yada yada so it’s kind of hard to figure out which are which sometimes.

        For example, Ford and Volvo’s “Powershift,” a dual-clutch semi-automatic: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_PowerShift_transmission)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      The Corolla wasnt just critisized over its 4 speed a few years ago, it was much more recently when the new one was introduced and it was found to be still used on some versions.

      Corolla (and Neon) also had 3 speed automatics well into the late 90s and into the 2000s in the case of Corolla IIRC.

      I cant think of any other car built after 1994 (when Tempo and Topaz production ended) with a 3 speed automatic.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Chrysler put their TorqueFlite transaxle into vans and Neons well into the early 2000s, Toyota dropped their 3 speed auto near the end of the AE110 body (98-02) Corollas. I think it was only available on the “VE” trim, which had the 3spd auto as an option.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    “But complexity is a real bitch when it comes to cars, and the current CAFE regulations are going to likely promote more rolling long-term dogs in the near future.”

    The above nails it.
    Example:
    I’m hardly a GM fan, but I think the Cruze is an excellent vehicle value. However, I’d stay way from the turbo powertrain.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    Along these lines is why I try to buy cars that are of the final run of a generation before the new one comes out. Example one being a 2002 Saturn SL2 I own. Last of that generation, and so by then, the kinks have been ironed out, compared to the 90’s SL2 and its issues. Just have had wear and tear maintenance to handle.

    Same for a 2006 Toyota Camry, didn’t have the engine oil consumption issues that the earlier 2002, 2003 models did. In my (highly non scientific and subjective) opinion, the 2007 models of Camry had issues commonly seen in a new generation launch.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    Not really a powertrain item, but my 2002 LS430 had one of the first implementations of an active cruise control. It still works great, but it has a huge design flaw. It’s laser based, which means you have to clean the glass lenses regularly for it to work. Newer designs all use radar which bypasses that problem.

    Still, I can say that my car shoots lasers!

  • avatar
    ajla

    Tacomas and gasoline Sierra 2500s for everyone!

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    I was wondering about this idea for a while:

    In addition to adding an oil catch can to the PCV system to catch the bad stuff going into the intake valve (where no fuel / additive could wash it off), how about piggy back it with another dispenser and you add techron or carb cleaner to it on a regular basis for the same cleaning effect?

    Anyone tried it?

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Damn!

    Are you saying that being on the bleeding edge of technology has some bad stuff going with it? So what the hell are you up to? Trying to trick me into buying in to it?

    Panther love must be the only answer for me.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Well, I thought I might buy a Hyundai until I read this. Nope, no thanks.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Any time I see GDI on anything, my mind goes “Oh God [email protected] It!”

    • 0 avatar

      I just burst out laughing because that’s exactly what the tech said when he opened the hood to my mom’s GDI-equipped 2012 Sonata, when I took it in for an oil change last Thursday and which plainly has GDi written on the engine cover (even though it was a VW store, he’d also just done a 2014 Optima, which has the same engine and cover).

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    It’s funny because anytime Toyota comes out with a new model of something and essentially uses the previous generations drivetrain, reviewers are all up in arms about how behind the times they are by not offering the latest direct injection, turbo, etc. The actual consumer who buys these cars understands this and appreciates the proven track records of these drivetrains when it comes to reliability. The auto media may bitch and gripe about it, but the consumer and Toyota are laughing all the way to the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Toyota isnt rehashing old platforms and using 1990s transaxles because theyre more reliable, its because people like you are willing to pay as though its new (in other words as though they recently spent the R & D money to develop it) when it isnt simply because of the badge. Theyre laughing all the way to the bank, alright, but theyre not laughing with you, theyre laughing at you.

      If you want to buy a car developed about 10 years ago, go buy a 9-10 year old car. Pretending that paying new car prices for a recycled old outdated car (with a fresh bumper-and-light job) somehow makes you smarter has me laughing at you as well.

      • 0 avatar
        2drsedanman

        Your name implies you know a thing or two about long in the tooth Ford products. Nothing wrong with proven drivetrains. I never said it made me smarter than you. I said the automotive press are always berating Toyota because they use older, proven technology a lot of times in their updates. So far it has worked out in my favor, although I am an admitted Toyota fan. I don’t care if the engine/trans in my Sienna or Avalon is 6-8 years old. I suspect most Toyota buyers feel the same way. They may not be the most exciting vehicles to own, but I’m not having them towed to the dealer in 75-100K miles for intake/head work either.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Dumb question:

    On a DI engine, how can a fuel additive do anything about carbon on the back (manifold) side of the intake valve?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Not dumb at all, and I don’t think it does help. The recommendation by Hyundai (and maybe others) run only fill up at Top Tier gas stations or running fuel injector cleaner through every 7500 miles may have more to do with keeping the piezo-injectors and high pressure fuel pumps in good shape.

      More involved induction cleaning services would be involved,with spraying a solvent right into the intake manifold to insure the valves and ports get cleaned adequately.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Much of this nonsense is because of automakers scrambling to meet CAFE requirements.

    The actual cost savings to the consumer (even assuming it doesn’t need servicing) is miniscule. Never mind what it does when the high pressure fuel pump needs to be replaced or the engine tore down all because the automaker was able to eek out an additional 0.3 mpgs. Or that their car is worth next to nothing because no one wants to have to deal with a vehicle that has so many issues.

    Same with the CVT issues. Ask someone that bought some of those early ones if they would have preferred a conventional 4 or 5 speed automatic or instead keep their “grenaded” CVT that saved 75 cents a month in gas.

    Good advice to wait a few generations and let others be the guinea pig.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      > Good advice to wait a few generations and let others be the guinea pig.

      Well done, sir! Well done!

      I’ve been saying all along that early adopters of the latest and greatest technologies as soon as they hit the showroom floor have become unwitting beta testers for the automobile industry.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Whenever I read things like this, I pat myself on the back for my 2014 Camry V6 purchase, with it’s tried and true, 10 year old design, port injected, 268 hp on regular gas, no VCM havin’ V6 and conventional 6 speed automatic. It’s also grounded to the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Nice. The 2GR has proven itself over and over, it does not feel out of place at all in my parents’ RX350, even with just a 5 cog automatic. It just pulls and pulls, and gets very respectable fuel economy doing so.

      Call me crazy, but a few days ago I saw a new 2015 Camry XSE V6 in a mocha looking metallic brown, wow that is a sharp car.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        What’s really outstanding about the 2GR is that it is STILL more than competetive with other, much more recently designed engines.

        Call it outdated all you want, it simply performs better, better real world mileage, better acceleration, better NVH, than an Ecoboost 2.0L, or a Hyundai 2.0T.

        It is STILL one of the top powertrains in it’s class no matter what application it’s being used for.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    How is “top tier” gasoline defined?
    Is it the refinery, the retailer or the octane level?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Top Tier Gas is a fuel standard for detergent levels that comes from several automakers (BMW, GM, Honda, Toyota, VAG, Mercedes.)

      Incidentally, Top Tier Gas must be E10.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @pch: thanks but then how is it labelled/marketed? The pumps don’t show the detergent level.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          Yes, and that’s a huge problem. You have absolutely no idea what you are putting into your tank in most cases, and even if there is a placard (“we have 5x the EPA-mandated detergent level”), how can you verify it?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Top Tier does not have to be E10, but can’t exceed E10. Manufacturers don’t really want you burning ethanol in their cars.
        toptiergas(dot)com/faqs.html

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          4.3.1.2 Base Fuel. The base fuel shall conform to ASTM D 4814 and *****shall contain commercial fuel grade ethanol conforming to ASTM D 4806.***** All gasoline blend stocks used to formulate the base fuel shall be representative of normal U.S. refinery operations and shall be derived from conversion units downstream of distillation. Butanes and pentanes are allowed for vapor pressure adjustment. The use of chemical streams is prohibited. The base fuel shall have the following specific properties after the addition of ethanol:

          ****Contain nominally 10.0% ± 1% by volume ethanol as measured by ASTM D 4815 or D 5845.****

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            “Also, TOP TIER gasoline can contain ethanol up to a maximum of 10% by volume. In areas where ethanol is not always used for blending, a TOP TIER gasoline that has passed all performance testing is still qualified as the additive supplier would have tested their product on the appropriate fuel.”

            This is from the Top Tier Gas website on advice for vendors seeking TTG certification.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I know that not everyone is good at reading, but Top Tier makes exceptions for retailers that can’t get ethanol. Otherwise, it’s supposed to have ethanol in it.

            I would presume that this is a response to some state laws that require gas stations to offer fuel without ethanol.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            It isn’t supposed to have ethanol in it. Ethanol is awful. The purpose of requiring ethanol during additive certification is to ensure that the additives can protect engines from the ethanol that is so prevalent in our gasoline.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            So you’re now illiterate three times.

            I’m going to copy and paste this again very slowly:

            “shall contain commercial fuel grade ethanol”

            Now let’s try this again with emphasis:

            “SHALL contain commercial fuel grade ethanol”

            If you received a public school education, then I sincerely apologize. The tax dollars were obviously wasted.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The base fuel is used to test the additive packages. I’m not sure why this has triggered one of your many neuroses, but the point of TTG certification is to ensure that there is gasoline available without the harmful properties of E10. E10 is required in many states and in majority volume federally. E10 gas is used to test TTG additives, because otherwise said additives aren’t protecting engines. If you run E0 gasoline through an engine for 50,000 miles, you won’t be rewarded with broken down hoses or clogged injectors. Testing additives with clean gas is pointless. You need the ethanol to prove that the additives work. That is why the base fuel is E10. How do you decided what to believe? You’re immune to learning anything from the world around you, but that doesn’t explain how you accumulated all of your ridiculous beliefs.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re the gift that keeps on giving.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Apparently it’s you who’s literacy has become questionable. As has been pointed out by CJinSD, that page is talking about the testing process for an additive package to become rated as Top Tier. The test fuel has to be E10, since ethanol will be in the fuel more than 99% of the time. If they tested on a blend that didn’t have ethanol would result in an additive package that wouldn’t sufficiently protect an E10 blend.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Great, another one.

            Go look up the meaning of “shall”.

            And even your consumer-friendly link is saying that the fuel has ethanol except when ethanol isn’t available. This shouldn’t be that tough to understand.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I guess the concept of testing is to difficult for you to understand. Testing is usually done under the most difficult condition anticipated, in this case, 10% ethanol content. Maybe read the whole thing next time instead of a small excerpt.

  • avatar
    Mieden

    Maybe Im out of the loop, but isnt most EGR done internally with cam phasing nowadays? I was under the impression most of the intake trash coating valves is from poor PCV systems. At least on VAG products.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Mieden, 100%… By controlling valve overlap via VVT, effectively reducing NoX, you can eliminate the need for an EGR system entirely. Modern direct injection engines, that suffer from deposits on the back of intake valves, can thank their PCV system. A PROPERLY routed and designed catch-can will help matters, emphasis on PROPER.

      Mbella, I agree with the use of a solvent through the intake tract. It will definitely help matters. In this case, better earlier on than later.

      I eliminated the EGR system on my 4G63 years ago, no negative affects as the EGR is closed during WOT. It is true that the EGR will provide a cooling effect but on a gasoline powered engine the amount of gas being re-introduced is nominal. Insignificant enough to have any affect at preventing any sort of partial throttle detonation or preignition. On a diesel, I believe the EGR accounts for a much larger % and is therefore necessary (I believe).

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Something like an old low compression 4G63 is different from today’s high compression DI turbo motors. These new engines are more similar to those diesels you mention than the older port injections engines. Most are running well above 10:1 compression ratios with high boost levels, and can do it on regular gas. They use EGR way more than previously to lower combustion temperatures. EGR valves are a lot becoming more common again, because cam phasing can’t produce the amount of EGR flow necessary today at many different RPM and load conditions.

        • 0 avatar
          EAF

          Mbella, point taken. I’m just having a tough time thinking of a modern DI engine that employs an EGR valve. Perhaps Honda’s Earth Dreams? Drawing a blank here…

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I don’t know about the Earth Dreams, but the all the new Mercedes Turbo 276s have EGR valves. The naturally aspirated version for North America just uses cam phasing, however the European variant that has stratified charge has an egr valve. I couldn’t find any good information with a quick Google search.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Still puzzling the definition of ‘top tier’ gas.

    Here in Canada we generally have only 3 major retailers of gasoline.
    1. PetroCan which was government owned and is now controlled by Suncor.
    2. Shell which is a multi-national.
    3. Esso which was part of the Rockefeller empire that was allowed to retain its original name.

    Some Canadian Tire outlets sell gas.
    Then there are 3 primarily regional players who both I believe have their own refineries.
    1. Irving in the Atlantic provinces.
    2. Ultramar in Quebec and eastern Ontario.
    3. Husky in the west and parts of Ontario.

    So are they all ‘top tier’?
    Does it depend on the refinery or on the octane levels or on the additives.
    Or is it dependent on the ethanol content?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      As I noted to you, Top Tier gas has to be E10. It’s a standard for detergent levels, and ethanol has value as a detergent.

      Some oil companies such as Shell in the US comply with Top Tier standards.

      There is a website for Top Tier if you want to learn more about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Thanks, although primarily U.S. centered the site does list Canadian retailers.

        So basically gasoline from the big 3 national retail chains in Canada is considered top tier.

        And I would guess that about 90% of gasoline purchased in Ontario is from one of those companies.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        It’s a website you may wish to reference before making claims. Top Tier does not have to be 10% ethanol. It can’t be more than 10% ethanol. The auto manufacturers behind the top tier program would rather you ran 0% ethanol in your car than 10%.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Go read the passage above, and then retract your statement.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Ethanol isn’t a component of a TTG. The purpose of ethanol for testing additives is to prove that the additive package can protect engines from the harm of using ethanol.

            “Also, TOP TIER gasoline can contain ethanol up to a maximum of 10% by volume. In areas where ethanol is not always used for blending, a TOP TIER gasoline that has passed all performance testing is still qualified as the additive supplier would have tested their product on the appropriate fuel.”

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Your gift of illiteracy strikes twice in one post. Congratulations.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You might be an imbecile, but at least you’re shameless.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This is excellent. A fourth demonstration of illiteracy in about as many minutes.

            I’m going to copy and paste this yet again very very slowly:

            “shall contain commercial fuel grade ethanol”

            Now let’s try this yet again with emphasis:

            “SHALL contain commercial fuel grade ethanol”

            I’d suggest that you look up the meaning of the word “shall,” but you obviously wouldn’t be able to read it.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m going to guess you don’t obsess about the word shall when arguing against the second amendment. What you’re failing to understand is that the base fuel is used for testing additives. It isn’t necessarily the same thing as the final product, because ethanol-free gasoline is superior and should be used when available. Additive packages that merit top tier approval must be proven to function with E10. Once they’re certified, vendors are free to combine the additives with clean, ethanol-free gasoline and sell the resulting cocktail as Top Tier Gas.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    My parents were the unfortunate owners of a Mercury Colony Park with a variable venturi carb.

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