Do i need to replace engine

Hi everybody. I have a 2007 Toyota Rav4 4cyl 4WD. One month ago, during normal checkup the dealership told me to replace water pump but I did not do it since they said it is not urgent. Yesterday the car broke down on highway. Before it broke down, several indicator went on (check engine, VSC and 4WD) and the AC only blow cold air into the cabin. Then I found I could not accelerate and gradually the car lost power going forward. After I stopped it and turned it off, some white smoke came from under the hood.

Now the dealership told me (without do detail diagnosis) the car cranks but would not start, and they said the engine is damaged and needs to be replaced. They said a used one would cost about 3k-5k and labor is about 1k.

My question is do I need to ask them to do further diagnosis in case the engine is ok and something else went bad? Any alternatives to save some money?


Get a second opinion. Others here know if it is an interference engine and it is toast or not.

Hi Barkydog, can you let me know why interference or not, toast or not matters?
I am going to dealership again tomorrow and want to be equipped with some new knowledge.

@dangbersen you have a 2AZ-FE engine. It IS an interference engine, but it is chain driven. I think it is highly unlikely that the chain broke. Your waterpump is driven by the accessory drive belt, NOT the chain.

If that waterpump did in fact fail catastrophically, you might very well have damaged the engine.
Overheated engines frequently will not start without a major cash infusion. My neighbor’s waterpump failed on the freeway on his BMW and the engine shut off I checked the compression and it was about 60psi on all cylinders, far too low to ever start again. He eventually scrapped the car, as it was older.

Your car is probably worth fixing, because it’s not old.

I would be EXTREMELY hesitant about installing a used engine. This is why.

If you go for an engine, I advise you to buy a brand new one from Toyota. It will have all the latest upgrades. That way you won’t be buying a used engine which might be trouble down the road. If you do buy a used engine, I would sell the car soon afterwards, before it starts consuming oil like nobody’s business.

Your vehicle has a temperature gauge. At any point during this event did you happen to look at it? When that check engine light came on, did you at least look at the dashboard instruments?

If your engine lost it’s coolant and you continued to drive it until it stopped running, then yes, you DO need to replace the engine…

On my early 90’s Corolla, I hear audio alarms go off if I leave the headlights on or I don’t buckle up, but no audio alarm at all when the coolant temp goes into the red zone. Not even a dashboard light. Just the indication on the guage. Seems like the engine overheating is at least as important as leaving the lights on. I’ve always been puzzled why no audio alarm for this condition. Just curiious. Has this been corrected in newer cars? Is there an audio alarm when the coolant temp gets into the red zone now?

Here is what I think happened. The dealer tells you that the water pump is going bad. Not urgent but needs to be replaced and you drive on. A month later the water pump was leaking and you get low on coolant. The bearing in the water pump gives out and the pump stops pumping coolant. This causes the motor to overheat. The temp gauge doesn’t get your attention, but soon indicator lights go on and the car losses power. At this point the temps inside the motor are high enough to warp cylinder heads and the motor suffers extensive internal damage.

This is a 6 year old car with a lot of life left in the car, but the motor is shot. A used motor is an option. I think I’d price out an installed “Jasper” rebuilt motor. A Jasper motor has lots of new parts, meets or exceeds OEM specs and will be good for as many miles as a new engine from Toyota. If you want to get the car running and plan to sell it within 6 months then a “used” engine should be OK.

Used means a motor is lifted as is from the donor car. You don’t know how it was cared for by the previous owner. It might be fine, it might have never had an oil change - you just don’t know.

The only way to tell the condition of the current engine it to start tearing it down. In the process you inspect and measure the parts that come out of it and replace parts worn beyond the specs given by Toyota. You might be able to run some compression tests, and even put a scope in each cylinder to look for bent valves, burned valves, and gouged cylinder walls. The time and equipment to do these tests and evaluations will cost some money.

@GeorgeSanJose no new car has an “audio alarm” when the coolant temperature is too high.

All driver’s should glance at their gauges every few minutes, as far as I’m concerned.

@db4690 My 1998 Cadillac Seville does.

@98caddy you’re quite fortunate. I hope you never hear that beep.

So does my 2004 and 2005 Trailblazer. Saved my bacon twice. First time driving with plow on and fan clutch took a dirt nap.

@db4690 Ask me how I know :slight_smile:

@98caddy well . . .

@TwinTubo so the fan clutch went on permanent vacation?
Weren’t those fan clutches “electro-mechanical”

My daughter was quoted @11000 dollars from the Toyota dealer for a new 4cyl engine for her 2006 Rav4. no used engines available within 150 miles.

Buy a used 2AZ-FE engine at your own peril, guys . . .

By the way, the fact that no used engines are available “within 150 miles” might imply that they’re in demand.

Yep, Frankenstein version of fan clutch. When it gave up the ghost, it was spinning at like 10 rpm and could be freely spun by hand with engine off. They had problems with those from the get go. The replacement Dorman unit had shorter length hex section that was nearly impossible to reach and tighten. Had to get creative. Then found out it defaulted to engaged which made it sound like a school bus until it warmed up. One benefit from it being totaled was that aggravating fan was gone. Then I ended up buying another but it doesn’t seem to be afflicted with the disease yet. Perhaps redesigned again…

One nice aspect of these trucks is everything is monitored and annunciated through the sound system. Dinging sound for everything from turn signal left on to low gas to overheat.