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Engine head failure at 60K - Lexus ES350 (2007)

While driving to work, engine light and VHC light came on. After reaching work place , tightened the fuel cap. While driving back home, light disappeared for sometime, then came back again. Did not drive after reaching home. Next day (took my college going daughter’s car to work) after work drove the car to Lexus dealer. Next day the service person called to say that the water pump is leaking and that was the reason for engine light. They had to order parts and would take two days (cost $980). Two days later , service person says, the engine wont start and they need to keep it over weekend until the technician has time to check more. On Monday he called to say that there is no pressure in engine head and he is going to contact Lexus to see if they would “help” due to high cost. Three days of wait and bad news is delivered: Lexus refused to help and cost is additional $7140. Today called Lexus directly and filed a complaint. Isn’t this very unusual? My other Toyota and Honda cars had water pump going to 100K and never had engine damage even at 140K. This car had last maintenance (oil change; tech also checked for fluid levels, breaks etc) at 56K in April. Oil changes done at every 5K. What are my options?

Is it possible that you leaked too much coolant, overheated the engine, and blew a headgasket? That would fit your description.

Whatever, the costs being quoted you are horrendous. For $9,000+ you should get a brand new engine. And a detailing. But nothing dealerships quote surprises me anymore. If the work has not been started yet, I’d pay them for their shop time, and have the car towed to a reputable independent shop. If I’m right and you did pop a headgasket, the cost will not be cheap, but it’ll be more like $1200+… you’ll save thousands.

It is my impression the 2GR-FE V6 is extremely difficult to work on. I’m not sure, but I believe it may have 3 chains. My point is, replacing the head is a lot more work than on a small block 350

Not to mention the high dealer labor rate, plus dealer parts prices

The “no pressure” is somewhat confusing. I suspect the problem is low compression

This car is old enough that there are plenty of used engines available. Installing a used engine would be more economical than replacing two damaged cylinder heads.

My vote is for finding a low miles used engine and dropping that in. Severe overheating can damage the lower end so the thought of spending a small fortune on a pair of heads only to end up with a smoking, oil burning engine would be hard to take.

After the engine light came on , car was driven only 45 miles or less. Also, when the engine light came on , checked the temperature gauge and tht did not indicate any high temperature. It was not even close to the redzone marker.

BTW, Car has a power train warranty of 72 months / 70K. Car has only 60K, but, 72 months now. That is why I am hoping Lexus would cover it. Does anyone know the escalation path, if their initial reply to me me is negative?

to Nevada_545 and ok4450, how would I locate a used engine as you recommend? I guess that comes with no warranty too. How much would you typically pay for that? BTW, dealer’s quote for a new engine was $12K.

“Car has a power train warranty of 72 months / 70K. Car has only 60K, but, 72 months now”

Lexus is under no obligation to cover the problem

Your car is older than 72 months. Once you exceed either mileage or time, the manufacturer is technically off the hook

Play nice and they might help you

You can google “used Japanese engines” or have an independent shop find one for you.
Keep in mind if you find an engine on your own you’ll need to find a shop to install it.

Anytime you severely overheat an engine you run the risk of head-gasket damage. We had to replace the waterpump on my wifes 07 ES-350 also…but it had about 120k miles at the time. Never let it get hot. Changed it before it did any damage. That was 20k miles ago…engine runs great.

Just to make my earlier post clear, I don’t believe for a moment that this is more than a blown headgasket. Knowing now that the engine didn’t overheat, I now suspect the problem might even be of a lower magnitude than even that.

I think the dealership saw a full change purse coming and is trying to rip the person off. The prices quoted are my primary evidence.

If it does have a bad head gasket, I’d rather put in a used engine. has lots in my area, all for under $3,000.

But sure is odd situation. I would find a good independent Toyota mechanic (your car is identical to a Camry, as far as the engine is concerned) and have it towed to them for a full diagnosis. You can click on ‘Mechanics Files’ above, then click the ‘Advanced’ tab to search for Toyota mechanics in your area.

Even if the dealership is 100% correct, if no help is coming ($) from them I’d rather save a LOT of money and have a good independent shop handle the repairs.

I’m also inclined to throw in the possibility of having the vehicle towed somewhere else for another opinion as there is a lot of murkiness behind the complaint and the stated diagnosis.

The no pressure in the head along with the vehicle being driven to the dealer which was then followed by several days of back and forth does sound odd.
It went from a running, driving vehicle to one with a no-start due to a trashed head, or heads as the case may be?

My suggestion is to get a lot of clarification on what and how and post back here for some objective opinions before authorizing anything.

Yeah I think a second opinion is in order. Even with a blown head gasket, the car should start I believe. I could understand a timing chain/belt problem caused by a water pump issue or vica versa and that could cause a no start. She said the car was not overheating, so why a blown head gasket?

Lexus case manager called. She stated that 45 miles is too long to drive after the engine light came and hence they cant help. Waterpump can fail any time is the explanation for why it failed at 60K.No explanation on why the temperature gauge did not hike up. So, I am on my own. Dealer maintenance guy states that both engine heads need to be replaced (parts cost $3150. Labor for 30 hrs $3776. He says it is like rebuilding the engine.Including taxes, $7147). Leaning towards towing it to another mechanic and take second opinion. Seems like a poor part problem (water pump) causing this damage or bad diagnosis.Please post any other suggestions. Thanks

If that’s the correct diagnosis, then I’d worry about other problems caused by the apparent overheating, so I’d get the second opinion, and lean towards a replacement engine with a (short) guarantee.

After the engine is torn down for inspection they may find that the deck on the engine block is warped. Ask for a price quote to install a used engine and compair with other shops.

BTW, I replaced two water pumps last week on the same engine as yours. RX350 with 58,000 miles and an ES350 with 90,000 miles. They do fail.

This is a diagnosis begging for a second opinion.

I’m all faor a second orinion too. The story just doesn’t add up and this is a very expensive price to pay for a head gasket job.
At 30 hours, even I could pull an engine, rebuild it top and bottom in 30 hours if everything was laid out and I had the facilities that a dealer has.