Grand Vitara monoblock fracture?


I was driving down in Mexico for a vacation on my 2009 Grand Vitara SUV on the freeway with no indication of any malfunction whatsoever.

It has been a great car since I bought it new from the dealer.

Just as I parked the car and stepped out of it, I noticed it smelled like anti freeze. I checked below the engine and found the green liquid dripping down the middle of the engine compartment. I opened the hood to see if I could locate the source of the leak but I did not. All I can tell you the leak was coming from the middle of the engine just behind the front wheels and somewhat to the left side. The temperature gauge never raised above normal, and I guess the spill wasn’t that much since the reservoir had a normal antifreeze level.

I thought it was a hose so I took it to the local shop to have it replaced.

The mechanic said that indeed it looked like it was a broken hose and would need to replace that. One day after that he calls with the bad news…the engine mono block is fractured and needs replacement, he said, and the leak is coming from that tiny hair thick fracture. He said that since I bought the car 4 years ago I should take it back to the dealer and make use of the warranty. Problem is the warranty expired at 3 years and is no longer valid.

The car has 30,000 miles on it and is otherwise in excellent condition. The oil is not contaminated with the antifreeze so I suspect the diagnostic is not accurate.

Do you think the actual mono block can be fractured like that without damaging the hole engine and be the actual source for the leak?

Please help and thanks


Mono block? You mean “block.” Sure, it could have a crack from the cooling system to the outside.

Can this crack can be fixed? I mean the mechanic wants to replace half the engine block. One friend said something about a liquid that would seal the crack?

There are a number of magic liquids you can add to the coolant and try to seal the leak.

Make sure the directions are followed as many of these are not compatible with antifreeze until they set up so the system must be thoroughly flushed and filled with water before adding the stop leak.

I’ve heard claims of plugged heater cores and such from the use of stop leaks so also be aware of that.

If it were me I would definitely give some sort of stop leak a try; do some research on something good, it probably won’t cost $5 at the store but considerably more.

I might block off the heater hoses to make it less likely to plug the core and may even remove the thermostat (but depending on the directions I may just leave the thermostat in and replace it with a new one once plugging the leak is confirmed).

Thank you. I will try that. I think its worth the shot before replacing the engine. Do you have any idea as of why the block would crack? could it be high temerature? What bothers me is that I never got a high temerature reading and I know the gauge is working. After the leak is fixed…(if)… should I have something else checked before driving the Vitara back home?
Thanks again.

I would start by trying Bars Leak #1111. It costs about $30/bottle, but I have used it as a temporary fix for a head gasket issue, and so far it hasn’t clogged the heater core. Also, it is compatible with coolant, so you don’t have to do the draining and flushing of the system.

DO NOT do anything without taking it to the dealer first. You need to make sure the block is cracked and then if it is, you can appeal to the dealer and the manufacturer for a good faith replacement or repair. You may have to pay a part of the repair because of the use you have gotten from the engine already.

If the block is actually cracked, and it has never been overheated or been in an accident, then the crack is most likely due to an undetected casting defect. It is also possible that the crack can be repaired with a TIG welder if it is an aluminum block.

BTW, isn’t the Grand Vitara a Kia and doesn’t the engine come with a 10 year, 100,000 mile warrantee?

If you add some liquid chemical to the cooling system and it does more damage, then you will not get any help from the dealer or the manufacturer on this.

I would have to agree with @keith to make sure that you have exhausted every possible avenue of a “proper” repair before using any stop leak.

I dont have idea about it being a Kia… warrantee expired at 3 years. Dealer wont even hear any reasoning or try to help in any way. As I said, it never overheated to my knowledge and never been in an accident. I guess I will try the stop leak method and hope for the best. Should I replace the thermostat, water pump or anything else also?

My bad, its a Suzuki and that may be a lot more problematic. Check your owners manual for a customer support number and call it, but I’m not sure they are answering the phones for North America any more, but try anyway.

I guess thats why they seem not to care. What are the odds for the stop leak to work?

I also believe that the importer may come to the table to help fix this as it’s a very rare failure and a factory defect, if correctly diagnosed as a casting fault. @keith, no, it’s not a Kia. @hammy55, you haven’t told us if it’s the 2.4 or the 3.2 engine, not that it matters much (except I have the 2.4.)

Stop leak, not much but you can try, but wait until you have exhausted all recourse with the manufacturer. BTW, have you gotten a second opinion on the crack yet? Once all appeals have been exhausted and when the stop leak doesn’t work, I would take this to a welder that does TIG welding for repair. Make sure they do TIG and not MIG.

If this crack is just between the water jacket and the block wall, it can be repaired this way, possibly without even pulling the engine. It depends on exactly where the crack is.

It’s the 2.4 engine. I’ll try to contact the importer. maybe they will help. I’ll try to get a pic of the crack so you can get a look at it. I have been surfing the web and came up with K-Seal and Bar’s Leak’s Liquid Aluminum, cooling fixes.
Honestly I don’t think I am getting any help from the manufacturer or the dealer so I think I’m going for this before trying Keith TIG welding.

Between the chemical fixes and the TIG welding, there is one more possibility that might work that you can do yourself. JB Weld. Make sure it is not leaking when you apply it and be aware that if it doesn’t work, then it might make doing a TIG repair a little more difficult as it will have to be removed, and it is not easy to remove.

JB Weld is a 2 part, reinforced epoxy. Do not use the quick set for this, but if the crack is weeping, you will have to completely drain the cooling system, including the block drain. Then use a triangular rifler file

to make a very shallow V notch over the crack, then mix the JB Weld and fill the V. The V should be not more than 1mm deep.

If you can get a good picture of this crack, I will be able to tell if it is a cold shut. If it is a cold shut, then it is definitely a casting defect. A cold shut has smooth edges, it looks more like a fold in the metal rather than a crack. That would be good in a way as a cold shut doesn’t generally “progress” with time and do not have to be stop drilled for a really good repair.

Hey Keith. Thanks a lot. I’ll get the picture but will have to post it tomorrow. You have been great help. Hope you have the time to check back on my picture tomorrow and hear from you about it. thanks again man.

The prospect for any good will help will be very slim. Suzuki entered bankruptcy court and my understanding is that 45 million dollars has been allocated to take care of warranty issues, etc.
In the auto world, 45 million is barely a drop in the bucket and getting any help may be similiar to a DIY wisdom tooth extraction… :frowning:

It doesn’t hurt to ask though.