Input On Blown Engine (4 cylinder)

roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
edited November 2014 in Toyota
Had oil changed on Tuesday (5W20 Blend)
Drove approx 30 miles same day after oil change.
Next day driving at 55mph on highway.
Oil light comes on steady. Pull off road, Turn off engine, Hear noise, smoke from under car
Towed to dealer. Oil pan bolt in place, filter tight with only one gasket.
Drain oil pan which has approx four qts of oil in place.
Fist sized hole in side of block.
I would like some input as to possible causes.
Thank You

Comments

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
    edited November 2014
    Possibly a broken connecting rod that punched out the hole. This video I found matches up with your description of a "fist sized" hole.

    I had a piston rod break on my lawn tractor when the oil ran low, engine got too hot, and the rod failed. Since your oil basically seems to be in place, could be long term heat stress on the rod that eventually caused the failure? (Assuming it was a rod)

    How old is the car? how many miles?
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    Car is a 2007 RAV4 (4Cyl) with approx 92,000 miles
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    Frankly, it's hard to believe only one response to this incident. There must be some
    mechanics on board here that could add some meaningful dialogue.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    Sudden failure of a connecting rod is something that can just happen. In the days of steel or cast iron connecting rods they could bend and actually run for a while. Today many manufacturers use a sintered or powder forged connecting rod and if anything goes wrong with one they simply break.

    Here is a PDF describing some failures. https://www.forging.org/system/files/field.../FatigueBehavior.pdf

    There really isn't a whole lot more that I can tell you about these, and even now this is pure speculation as to how or why it failed.
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    Understand your last sentence. Would the installation of the wrong oil or filter possibly cause the failure since the failure was so close to the oil change ? This is my last question before chalking it up to "fate".
    I appreciate the responses I've gotten.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    If the failure was a rod fracture, then there is no way that the oil change had anything to do with it. But without seeing this in person and examining internal components there is nothing that anyone could do and try to tell you what happened other than a blind guess.
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    I appreciate all the input to this incident.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That's right---a fracture would steer you in one direction of possible causes but clear signs of oil starvation might lead you to another course of further inquiry.

    You didn't happen to hit a large puddle just before this incident did you?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
    Maybe just a chronic condition of the engine operating temperature being a little higher than expected? Perhaps an undetected flaw in a connecting rod that eventually failed? Just trying to think of possible explanations
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    No, no puddle. My major concern is the coincidence of the oil change with the engine failure. OTOH, maybe it's just a convenient way to blame someone ?
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655

    My major concern is the coincidence of the oil change with the engine failure. OTOH, maybe it's just a convenient way to blame someone ?

    I think its natural to wonder about the oil change but without any obvious indication anything wrong was done it is likely just a coincidence.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You'd have to prove oil starvation---and show evidence of that in the engine. Now that wouldn't PROVE the oil change place at fault (and they may not be) but it is compelling circumstantial evidence to at least afford a partial settlement through their insurance.

    Sometimes "stuff happens"---it's a machine made by men (well, and robots) and a certain % will fail. Given the high mileage on your engine, metal fatigue is not to be ruled out. In that case, with warranty over and years gone by, you may have to eat this regrettably.

    A used engine with a warranty from a wrecking yard may be your best course of action, since your engine cannot be rebuilt at this point.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    "Now that wouldn't PROVE the oil change place at fault (and they may not be) but it is compelling circumstantial evidence to at least afford a partial settlement through their insurance."

    Insurance is likely not going to pay anything for the shop. Even if all of the points align and the shop steps up to take care of this it would have to be viewed as negligence on their part by the insurance company and the insurance doesn't cover that. Even if insurance would apply from there it's likely their deductible is probably $1000 (could be higher), and instead of taking a hit on their premiums for the next three to five years they might as just well take the hit now and fix the car.

    Roberto wrote "My major concern is the coincidence of the oil change with the engine failure. OTOH, maybe it's just a convenient way to blame someone ? "

    Its not only convenient its a common practice and one that is often rewarded when shops warrant issues that were in no way their fault. The funny thing is when a business does do that they are by their actions admitting fault and are typically still faulted for the issue and it usually doesn't clear any bad air between the shop and the customer.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    So what are you saying? That you would take your car in for an oil change tomorrow, and it blows up that night, and you'd just wave your hand to the shop that did it and say "hey, no problem, not your fault!"

    Or would you apply your considerable knowledge to further investigation?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    Further investigation is always required and it has to be scientific and logical, not emotional.
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    I think it's time to put this thread to rest. I did call the shop immediately after the incident. The manager said he would contact the shop owner for further instructions. The manager did admit they had paid two claims over the past ten years of operation.
    Everyone makes mistakes and the fact he was willing to say as much was, in a strange
    way, reassuring to me. The shop owner did drive four hours to look at the car, and after his inspection, concluded it was not the shop's fault.
    Thanks to all for your comments and interest in this thread.

    Roberto
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    Can you upload pics to this forum ? I have a pic of the engine my daughter took after it was pulled from the car and taken apart. Any interest ?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    It can't hurt to look at them, but what I need to see is very specific and quite often needs magnified. If you can't put them on here, put them on photobucket and provide a link.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    That's what I was afraid of. The specific points that I really need to see aren't there. I need to see the base of the connecting rod, where the bearings ride the crankshaft. I need to see the fracture points of the connecting rod and the bolts that hold the bearing cap to the body of the rod. I need to see the bearing inserts.

    I also need a close-up of the crankshaft journal to see if it is scored, or blued from overheating from a lack of lubrication. From the pictures what I can see is the engine didn't quit right away when the rod broke. That's why there are little pieces of aluminum in the pan where the balance shafts were. I can see the #3 rod and it looks normal, not overheated. Had the engine of starved I would expect to see some heating on all of the rods. Maybe more precise photos could show more but right now its still inconclusive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It'd be interesting to see the cylinder bores, too.
  • roberto1111roberto1111 Member Posts: 10
    Unfortunately, the engine has been hauled away, so that is the only picture available.
    Sorry and probably time to close this thread for good.
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