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Hole in engine block , what next?

I have a V6 3.0L 2002 Toyota Highlander Limited edition with 124,000 miles on it. I have performed regular oil changes and scheduled maintenance checks including a 120,000 mile maintenance check before my road trip for $500+. Recently on a road trip while relocating from WI to CA my car engine failed in TX. After towing the car for over 100 miles we were told by a Toyota dealership in CA that there was a hole in the engine block with $7000+ in repair. I am extremely disappointed in this car and Toyota quality given that Toyota is considered to be the # 1 car maker. I am over my extended warranty period by 3 months. I am in a quagmire as to what to do next? Trade in this car, repair at dealership, or buy a used engine and find a local mechanic? Any suggestions are much appreciated.

There are shops which specialize in engine changes. Contact one of them and explore your options.

Used engine best bet. I would not bother with a new motor.

Trade it you will get very little except on paper as this is headache.

I don’t care who the manufacturer is…there isn’t ONE manufacturer who’ll manufacturer 100% perfect cars. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. However…Toyota does produce a higher percentage of near perfect cars then MOST manufacturers. You are definitely on the minority. Toyota did have a sludge problem with this engine…but 2002 was NOT effected by it…only 1997-2001. That engine is used in several models (Camry’s, Avalons, Lexus ES-300, Highlander)…Very durable engine. It happens…sorry it happened to you.

As for getting it fixed…Your best bet is to find a low mileage used engine. Very Very few dealers will even think about putting a used engine in a vehicle (Especially if the customer is paying for it). Find a good local mechanic who does this kind of work. They can probably cut that cost in half.

I agree with the other responders. But since “a hole in the engine block” is so unusual a problem (almost incredidible?), I’d try to make sure the diagnosis is correct. Can they show you the hole? How did the hole get there?

Unfortunately, you might have to get the vehicle towed to an independent mechanic to get a second opinion. But then you would already be in the right place if you decide you want to swap in a used engine.

I agree with art1966.
For all we and the OP know, the “hole” in the engine block could be a Freeze Plug that rotted out as a result of poor maintenance. A second opinion from an independent mechanic is definitely called for in order to determine if the dealership is being…overly aggressive with their estimate of needed repairs to the engine.

Also–something does not make sense geographically. The OP tells us that the engine “failed” (which could mean many different things) in Texas, that the car was towed for “over 100 miles”, and that it was diagnosed by a dealership in California. What happened between the first place to which the vehicle was towed–in Texas–and the dealership in California? If the mystery problem that led to engine “failure” in Texas was not repaired properly, driving the next 1,000 miles (or more) to California could have done the engine in.

So–we need to know the actual details of the engine failure in Texas, as well as what repairs were done in Texas prior to driving the rest of the way to California. As is fairly common with posted questions, there are some very important details missing from the scenario that was provided to us.

Since the odds of an internal engine part such as a connecting rod breaking are about as close to zero as it can be, the reason for something like this almost always falls back onto the car’s driver.

A hole in the block usually means a thrown connecting rod and a thrown rod is caused by excessive RPMs, excessively low oil level or no oil at all, etc.
At this point I would not blame Toyota and the dealership should be able to point out to you what failed and why it failed.

Some more info would help.
Buy the vehicle new?
How many miles elapsed between the service and the engine giving up?
Any noises BEFORE the engine gave up?
How often, if ever, do you check the engine oil level?

As to options, a used engine is the best bet.

I’m of the opinion that we need a lot more information. For a stock engine to fail in a way that punches a hole in the block is extremely extremely rare, especially a 2002 the engine management system of which would not allow you to be driving the engine beyond redline.

Can you define exactly what “hole in the block” means? Have you actually seen the “hole”?

This description just doesn’t feel right to me. Something is missing IMHO. I’ve no doubt that the OP is passing on the description that he/she heard, but I’m not sure the description is accurate.

Unless during that 120,000 mile servicing someone forgot to tighten the oil drain plug…

You don’t say how the engine failed. Did it lose all the coolant and get hot and seize up? Did it run out of oil and throw a rod? If either of these happened, you need a new/used engine. However, if it just got extra warm and you noticed it in time, you might be able to repair a hole in the block. I depends, of course, where the hole is. As VDC driver says, it might just be a freeze plug.

I’m starting to wonder if the OP is going to return to give us all of the missing information, or if this is just going to be another one of those “trash the manufacturer and never return” threads.

Just bumping this back up. Based on the little info provided, I tend to think there’s a hole in the block due to lack of oil which could be caused by one of several reasons.

A 120,000 maintenance and 4000 miles later it has a blown engine? Wonder if the hood was ever raised in that 4000 mile span.

A hole in the engine block is one of only two things that can happen when rod bearings fail, the other is a hole in the oil pan. The broken rod will come out somewhere.

I have another question after rereading his post, If he was on the way from Wisconsin to California, what was he doing in Texas, also what speed had he been going for how long in how much heat ?

I drove from Madison, WI, to San Francisco and back via I-80 in December 1970. I was young and foolish. I had big don’t-want-to-repeat blizzard adventures both ways. If you are going from WI to Southern Cal in Winter, it makes a lot of sense to drop thru the Texas Panhandle.

Oops! we’re hijacking the thread. But I have a feeling the OP is not coming back. Maybe s/he has vented enought to realize that the failure is not quick-lube’s fault. Or maybe it is, and s/he is busy with legal work.

I’m starting to wonder if the OP is going to return to give us all of the missing information, or if this is just going to be another one of those “trash the manufacturer and never return” threads.

As we have seen with other threads of this nature, once an OP perceives a lack of support for their position of total fault on the part of the manufacturer/total innocence on the part of the car owner, they tend to not like that.

I would still like to know HOW the engine failed. Ran out of oil or out of water, or whatever.

On many of these threads, if the OP does not come back by the third post, you are just talking to yourselves…

…especially if any of us challenge the OP’s preconceived notion that the vehicle manufacturer bears all of the blame.

In almost every case of catastrophic failures that I’ve seen the cause was traced back to negligence rather than a manufacturing fault; out of oil, forgot to add oil, never checked oil, or any one of a litany of reasons.

And in almost every case the car owner insisted that someone was at fault; the car maker, the dealer, the oil company, the Vatican, or whomever but it was not their fault and they will never be convinced that it was.

My big question, which will likely remain unanswered, is if the hood ever came up during that 4000 mile stretch.

I had a connecting rod break on an engine and put a hole in the block. The crankcase was full of oil when this happened. The engine was a Briggs and Stratton on my lawnmower, but I guess if it could happen on a lawnmower, it could happen on a car.