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Bad head gasket or bad head due to violent shudder

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Car is a 2013 CT200, one month ago had the EGR and manifold replaced due to shudder and shaking on start up. $1,100 and one month later the shudder is back.....VIOLENT shudder. Tech found codes for misfires. Diagnosis is either a bad head gasket or bad head that is allowing coolant into firing chamber.....when plugs fire it is put out by coolant in head, causing misfire and the VIOLENT shudder. Anyone ever hear of this? Seems to me if the shudder was there a month ago, that may have caused the head gasket to break or the head to crack. Estimate to repair is $4,500. WHASSUP?
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Absolutely, our fuel is not as clean as yours. In fact i mention as to this in a previous post, and also recommended fuel injector cleaner monthly..

our gas stations over here are not all that clean in certain areas either, and I remarked to stay away from older stations.. ? water in tanks ?

See folks- water in gas can also take out your plugs with what we call Flashing, this leaves sediment remnants of the water minerals on our plugs that foul them out..

Thanks for the point-out on your location stormchaser, I wasn’t aware, we can only hope our petroleum distillates become as clean as yours ? but I don’t think that’ll happen anytime soon..
Post proof of this seeing all gas stations are certified. Change the fuel filter every so often is a great idea. Our gas is super clean here every gas station in America by now passes federal mandated tank replacements or they are out of business. I would NEVER, EVER recommend injector cleaners. Additives are just money makers. Change the plugs yourself takes 15 min. Change the fuel filters every so often too. I've changed four in 50k miles more from age than needing it. (2012) Google US gas vs Europe. Some ridiculous comments made here.
I would NEVER, EVER recommend injector cleaners. Additives are just money makers..
And your reasons being?
We at Lexus have a fuel system cleaner and injector cleaner. We use this when servicing customers cars.
You show me where there are 2 fuel filters on a CT

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After my gasket replacement, problem solved. Got my gasket changed after reading the forum. The crazy noise and studding started during cold “soak”. That’s when these symptoms happen. After it initially goes away after 10-15 seconds, it doesn’t come back until the car is allowed to cool down and not driven for several hours. Gasket Masters did the replacement and they came to my home and finished in 3-4 hours. Check them out on YouTube. These guys in the Northern California Bay Area were just awesome. I highly recommend them. They ensured the area was clean before and after the work was completed. Used torque wrenches everywhere, cleaned the Intake and attached their diagnostic tool to ensure the car was functioning properly - temperature was stabilizing (shows the thermostat working) - and the hybrid battery was still functioning well. I also watched them use their straight-edge to determine if the head was warped (it wasn’t -phew). Their price is a steal considering what a dealer will charge for this service. That was my gasket (pictured) and the red area is where the coolant seeped through. You can see that the other cylinders didn’t have any breakage that allowed the coolant to leak into the cylinders. Noted that like their YouTube videos mention, when the head was removed, that the affected cylinder was absolutely clean compared to the other 3 with their carbon build up of an engine with 135,000 miles. Highly recommend These guys.
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I went through the exact same thing with corporate and everything. I ended up buying an engine from LKQ and having that put in. Cost me about $1200 for a 36k mile engine. If theres anything I can help with, let me know.
Can you send me the info for the place you got the engine from, im currently having this issue now.
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Here is the answer; The head gasket was bad, water got into combustion chamber and caused VIOLENT misfire. Lexus changed the head gasket. Problem solved. Lexus did provide a $1500 one time good will cost sharing (my 3rd Lexus) and I paid $861.01. Regardless how senior member others are on this forum, they don't know everything. BELIEVE IT!
EXACT Same issue. EXACT same motor. EXACT same calendar, in reference to first repair, etc. EXACT same problem with error codes (13 of them) misfire, etc, after the car ran like a dream. Additionally, the place I got my last two oil changes NEVER changed the oil filter, it seems. That caused issues as well. Oh, well, here I go with the head gasket crap. Oi, Y'Voy...
Can you send me the info for the place you got the engine from, im currently having this issue now.
Can you send me the info for the place you got the engine from, im currently having this issue now.
Interesting... I was going to get a new head... Do you think that a new engine is a better option? I'd go for that...
Can you send me the info for the place you got the engine from, im currently having this issue now.
oooo... I'm in NorCal now. I will look them up. Gotta get this gasket gig done...
Back in this thread again, 50k miles later, with 224k miles on the odometer.

Misfiring came back on and off over the last year. Replaced the plugs at 202k and 208k which temporarily fixed the issue each time. No coolant consumption up to 208k miles.

Beginning at 221k miles, it happened almost every cold start. Misfires go away in less than 1 min.

Beginning 223k miles, it happens closer to > 50% of all combustion starts (cold or hot). Coolant consumption is now half the expansion tank every week. MIL on, misfire codes on cylinders 1-4.

Brought vehicle for head gasket replacement quotes at 3 non-Lexus repair shoppes.

Quote 1: $3500 for head gasket replacement + $1000 for timing chain replacement (optional, recommended). Parts, materials, labour included. 1 week turnaround.

Quote 2: $2900 for head gasket replacement. Parts, materials, labour, alignment included. Oil and oil filter explicitly included as well which may not be compulsory in the job but it was offered. 1 week turnaround

Quote 3: pending

If I DIY, it’s probably $750 estimated in parts for head gasket + timing chain. Anticipates no other issues, like bent rod or machine work to minimal deck (-0.002”) the mating surfaces. Time needed is 1 week of my time stretched over several nights after work and weekend. Already have 2nd vehicle so no rental cost accrued. I’m not super young anymore but could probably handle it.

Really hate outsourcing that much for a repair on a vehicle only worth $5k.
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Currently at 225,290 mi. Was going to replace the head gasket, clean EGR, replace timing chain components, and all gaskets this long weekend but work is getting in the way again. The misfires were okay for a while but have gone back misfiring at every ICE start until it clears out the water. Current consumption is roughly 1/4 the reservoir every 72 mi daily commute.
The dealer confirmed the engine needed significant repairs. The quote was over $5000 with several unknowns that could be more. I can not understand how such a failure could occur. We were always on top of maintenance and had been running smoothly for years.
Hey Jody - what did you end up doing with your car? I have the same problem now, with $92K miles on a ct200h, always serviced at the dealer on time. I have a 2014 but it seems like model years 2011-2016 all have this problem. Did you pay for it?
Hi all,

Add my name to the list here... violent shudder when accelerating, engine warning light, into the dealer to assess the light, code P0300, P0301, etc. which indicates cylinder misfire, diagnosis as issue with intake manifold and crack in head gasket, beaucoup bucks to repair, yadda, yadda...

How many people on this board reported the issue? At least 25+ by my count. That is just Lexus CT owners who found this board to see why and how this would happen to such a high-end brand car and maybe to complain, probably countless others who just paid for the repair and just moved on without digging into it. Then there are also probably a multitude of others who have an actual Prius with this same engine with the same issue, and I have good sources who have looked at Prius boards that confirm this.

I purchased a CT200 late last summer, and over the course of the last week found out that this problem was really a problem with how Toyota/Lexus is addressing the issue. They knew long before any one of you hit 100K miles that this failure was inevitable, yet they did nothing for the customer to avoid the major issues - a blown head gasket, or at worse: hydrolock, a bent cylinder or a cylinder through the block, complete engine destruction. Sure, they put out a TSB on the intake manifold, but never did anything proactive to help the customer avoid the major issue down the road. Look at the TSB --> L-SB-0019-16. They put this out in January of 2013. They knew that after a cold soak (apparently that is engineer-speak for turned off car and let sit idle for a time) that the engine might "run rough" at first, "rattle", maybe have a diagnostic code that indicated a cylinder misfire. Guess what - by that time it is too late! You already have coolant leaking into the cylinder at that point and you already have a cracked head gasket.

Maybe a seasoned mechanic can tell me I'm wrong here, but the way I see it, the intake manifold is the contributor to the head gasket failure. The EGR system in this engine sends exhaust to individual runners (or EGR port, whatever you want to call it) in the intake manifold, then onto each cylinder as part of the exhaust gas recirculation process. With the temperature control at the EGR valve and nothing to monitor the temperature at each individual runner, any carbon deposit build up that clogs an individual runner and increases the running temperature at that individual cylinder will cause that cylinder to run hotter than the other cylinders that have less clogging. This uneven temperature between the cylinders causes a differential expansion on the cylinder head and eventually causes the head gasket failure at that cylinder.

So, yes. The offer is out there to mechanics on this board. Tell me where I am wrong in this assessment of intake manifold - individual runners - carbon clogging EGR circuit - differential expansion on cylinder head - head gasket failure. I'll admit that I am no mechanic, so clarify any points I make that are wrong (as well as confirm any parts that are right).

Back to the real issue - what did Toyota/Lexus do about this, aside from putting out a few TSBs (also see L-SB-0019-16)? Nothing, that I can see. Lexus/Toyota has not been proactive with its customers to offer a solution to this problem that avoids major expense to the customer. There are a number of ways Toyota/Lexus could have saved it’s customers from undue expense. First, Lexus/Toyota should have made updates to the service schedule on this vehicle to inspect the car for clogging in the intake manifold. To my knowledge, they have never updated their service schedule to include this. Toyota/Lexus could have also offered a cleaning of the intake manifold at regular service intervals to avoid the clogging and cylinder failure that leads to the head gasket failure. Additionally, Toyota/Lexus could have required a complete replacement of the intake manifold by a certain mileage so the customer could avoid a head gasket failure. Any one of these proactive decisions could help your customers avoid the issues that lead to higher repair expenses on the car.

No, Toyota/Lexus knows. Toyota/Lexus knows there is a problem with clogging in the intake manifold and that this clogging problem contributed directly to the head gasket failure. But they chose to do the least they could do, and the owners of these cars are now getting stuck with the results of this negligence.

Question is, are we all just going to plunk down our hard earned money to fix a problem that could have been avoided if Toyota/Lexus did the right thing?
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I've been doing a lot of reading on ct forums as well as prius forums; specifically for information on this particular engine. Decided that I will post on this thread to continue following it. These problems don't deter me from owning one, btw...the best type of vehicle care is preventative care...and these problems everyone is having seems to be a direct result of improper care. NOT the owners fault by any means, but I think Lexus is failing in communicating proper type of care for this engine...Anyway, found a used one with 191,7xx miles for sale for $6k in my area...decided to look it up in Lexus' service history program...Lookie what we found here:


The infamous engine shakes!! Prior history inputs on this vehicle show that the owner took it in very regularly to perform the Lexus recommended maintenance schedule, and this issue wasn't discovered until the engine started shaking on start up - probably right around 190-191xxx miles.

Just thought I would share this with anyone reading this thread and interested in more instances of this same issue.
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And your reasons being?
We at Lexus have a fuel system cleaner and injector cleaner. We use this when servicing customers cars.
You show me where there are 2 fuel filters on a CT

Thanks for your reasonable and wise approach to our cars. I work with an independent hybrid mechanic and there have been conversations about water pump failure = blown head gasket. I’ve had my ‘14 for a month w 72k miles - changed the plugs and the ceramics were burned. Will take your advice and run some cleaner through my next tank.
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Long Post here, but hope i can help some folks out.

i Had a shutter or JackHammer Banging when i did an oil change at 62,000 myself. 1st thing i noticed doing the oil filter, was that the Dealer gave me a different filter "?" no caps on top and bottom of filter

2014 Fsport
71,000 miles

Anyway- Immediately shut engine off, checked fresh oil level, good, reopened access panel verified filter cup, good, restarted and No knock.. Hmmm, figured the different filter was at fault.. Walmart had the Correct capped end filter for $3.99 I'll give it a week see if it knocks and change it out..

Research time..
Atkinson cycle engine (it's not a Normal engine)..

Exhaust Gas blow-by is inherent with this cycle of engine.. Carbon mess on the inside.. Valve retardation also allows the blow-by..

Scoured the EGR cooler and pipe cleaning process.. Then i came across a guy on video Duplicating the dreaded JackHammer Banging by simply disconnecting the #1 fuel injector BANG BANG BANG reconnect and smooth..

Same bang bang as Each injector was disconnected..

i got to thinkn, and delved further into operations of Atkinson engines..

With an Atkinson cycle engine we have exhaust gases moving Backward through the intake system, and sucked Back in for firing.. Plugging up your Fuel Injectors with carbon deposits.. Once an Atkinson engine is not firing a cylinder (bang bang) it has lost it's force pressure on the connecting rod.. Boom people throw a rod etc.. And the slapping takes out the head.. It's piston slap..

Restart.. Do Not Let it bang.. if it will not clear-up pull injectors out for a carbon cleaning.. spring/ball pressure injectors, maybe replace them for a For-Sure it's clean thing..

Whatever the dealer tells you-
Do Not Continue Running Engine without a cylinder firing.. The bang bang will take it out.. Atkinson cycle engines Require piston pressure for operation..

IF it's just a knock or two and smooth- GO dump a bottle of injector cleaner in the tank and fill it up.. ?

Myself, full injector bottle every month
==No Matter What==

Everybody was on the right track with EGR carbon cleaning of EGR cooler-pipe-manifold.. But there's More carbon to the story..

i was Way Too Nervous to allow that "updated" oil filter without caps to stay in there, changed oil again..

Anyway, since that initial oil change Quick Bang Bang, nothing but smooth running.. So Far...
(knock on wood (not the piston walls))

Attached image is of the Correct oil filter for this Atkinson engine, oil blow-by prevention caps at both ends

Hope this helps..
Thank you for this! I think it’s exactly what is going on with my vehicle so I’m going to check into everything you said.
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Try filling your oil midway between the high and low marks. For some reason I no longer get the rough start since my last oil change and I didn't fill up to the high mark. I was getting rough start twice a year on cold mornings. I use genuine Toyota filter without the "blow-by caps" and use Mobil 1 oil.
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Simple simple simple..
Starts Banging SHUT IT DOWN..
Don’t let these Atkinson engines bang..
They don’t like it, and it will cause damage rather quickly, like Less than 30minutes quickly..

Change the plugs, Ensure gaps are .041
Still a bang, coil going out, Replace them
Have a nice day..

Don’t fret this EGR money dump scam, system is designed to warn driver of EGR Restrictions, clean it then..

Mind you, this is IF you catch it fast enough.. Like don’t drive home or to the dealership Banging away..

Let it bang, well your in for a few surprises-
1- intake manifold gasket goes out
2- head gasket goes out
3- wrist pin circlip pops
4- throw a rod out the side of the block

so what is this Bang “?”
It is an out of order firing of gases in the cylinder head behind the valves when a spark plug is not firing.. Want to test this yourself, pop the hood unplug a spark plug coil, or pull the coil over plug off the spark plug, go start it for a second.. Bang Bang.. This procedure is called Duplicating The Complaint, at dealerships that say they Can’t Duplicate the customers complaint..

Atkinson engines have a valve timing for fuel efficiency, some gases blow back for reburn.. Spark plug not firing, the next cylinder fires the unburnt gases, explosions in the cylinder head.. that’s enough to take out the intake gasket if left banging till it clears up.. While this is happening we have an out of thermal balance of heat at cylinder Deck, allowing uneven thermal expansion of the cylinder head, takes the head gasket out.. Like sandpaper.. Let us not forget, as SOON as it starts banging we have undue stresses on the wrist-pin, that if left Banging, takes the circlip out that hold the wrist-pin in place.. well now that holds the piston and connecting rod together.. Boom throw a rod out the side of the block, it’s done..

this all cumulates to Having a Bad day..

and yes the Manual is Wrong..
Change plugs every 60,000 miles, not 120,000 miles as per Properly Dealership Maintained

that’s it.. Enjoy your CT’s and Prius’s and Ford Fusions and anything else using the Atkinson engine
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