5 Big Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI Engine Problems (Theta II – G4KE)

If you’re interested in purchasing a Kia or a Hyundai with the 2.4L MPI engine, you’re in for a wild ride. To say that these engines aren’t exactly known for their reliability, so be ready, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Doing your own homework is integral if you don’t want to end up with a car that is but a headache. A car should not be a headache, it should be reliable and it should serve you. This is why you need to do a lot of research in order to get the best deal for your money. We got your back!

First, we are going to learn more about the basic specs of this 2.4L engine and learn more about the common Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI engine problems. Once we clear that out of our way, we will cover the applications of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Basic Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI Engine Specs

Now let’s learn some specs of this 2.4L MPI engine. What is most important to note is that his engine belongs to the Theta II family of engines by Hyundai.

The 2.4L engine is a modern design with an aluminum block and aluminum head. This engine implements so-called DOHC technology. This technology is known as a double overhead camshaft.

This means that the camshafts are located on top of the engine’s cylinder head. This engine also implements variable valve timing.

The engine management system is made by Siemens. And this engine comes in a few variations. But for this article, we are only interested in the naturally aspirated version with multipoint injection (MPI).

This engine is known as the G4KE. Here are the full specs of the G4KE engine:

  • Configuration: Inline-4
  • Displacement: 2.4L
  • Cylinder Bore: 88 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 97 mm
  • Block Material: Aluminum
  • Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Fuel Injection: MPI
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Horsepower: 176 – 177 hp
  • Torque Output: 168 – 170 lb-ft (228 – 230 N-m)

Common Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI Engine Problems

Common problems with the Hyundai Theta II 2.4 MPI engine include:

  • Rod Bearing Failure
  • Cylinder Scuffing
  • Excessive Oil Consumption
  • Timing Chain Rattle
  • Head Gasket Failure

Now that we’ve listed these problems in a short list, let’s elaborate them thoroughly.

Rod Bearing Failure

Rod bearing failure is probably one of the most common problems with this engine, and it’s a big, big one. So, what is a rod bearing, and why does it fail?

In this 2.4L engine, you have four pistons, and these pistons are connected to the crankshaft. Between the piston rod and the crankshaft journal, you have rod bearings.

These bearings have the purpose to reduce friction and make the pistons move up and down as smoothly as possible.

So, what happens in these engines is that the casting process of the crankshaft is rather poor. And there are metallic flakes that pile up which clog up the oil passages. 

As you probably know, bearings have to be properly lubricated in order not to wear down. So, this issue prevents oil flow and destroys the rod bearings in the process.

We can safely say that this is a factory defect because many of these engines were plagued with this problem.

And whenever there is wear in these rod bearings, there will be a situation known as a rod knock. A rod knock for those who don’t know is a problem where the rod is banging on the crankshaft.

Whenever there is a rod knock, you will hear some knocking noises coming from the center of the engine in a specific cylinder.

The important thing to note is that the problem is very expensive to fix and if you don’t detect the issue on time, you will have to replace the whole crankshaft. And in the majority of cases, this is simply not worth it.

What is worth noting is that Hyundai recognized this major issue and there is a recall on this specific problem. If you’re buying a car with this engine, make sure this issue has been addressed.

Cylinder Scuffing

Cylinder scuffing on these Hyundai engines is also a very common thing to happen. So, what is cylinder scuffing, and why does it happen?

Well, these are scuffs that are created on the cylinder walls. As we noted, there are some blockages in the oil passageways and there are heat spots that are created inside this engine.

The more heat spots, the more damage will be done to the engine internals. Engines do not like heat and whenever heat is present there will be damage.

Some material of the cylinder liner will be shaven and the tolerances between the piston and the cylinder liner will increase.

This allows the piston to have some extra space, or play as it is commonly called. This play allows the engine to cause something known as a piston slap.

Piston slap is there for nothing else, but actual pistons slapping the walls of their “chamber”. Which will eventually increase the wear even more.

And the end result will be a seized engine. Many of these engines simply seize completely and fail. Then you have to do a major engine overhaul and refurbishment to bring them back in working order. Something that is not economically feasible to do in many cases.

There was a recall on this problem and if you have one of these engines, it might be affected by this recall.

The main symptoms of this problem are metallic flakes in the engine oil, quite similar to the rod bearing failure that we covered previously. These two problems are closely related.

Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is another problem that develops when you have cylinder scuffing. The more scuffs, the more space for oil to seep into the combustion chamber.

This will result in high oil consumption. This is important to know. Mainly because a lot of owners are unaware of the problem, and they leave their cars without checking the oil level.

With no oil in the engine, you will face a lot of problems like even more engine wear and creating hot spots everywhere.

Eventually, the engine will simply seize or will throw a rod out of the block. This is why when it comes to these engines, regular maintenance is mandatory if you want to avoid many of these issues.

The more frequent oil changes, the more life will get out of the engine. Not to mention that you always need to use quality engine oil.

Timing Chain Rattle

Another very common problem with these engines is timing chain rattle. So, what is the timing chain, and why does it start to rattle?

The timing chain is the chain that is in charge of keeping the timing of the components in check. Without this chain, the engine will simply seize because the valves and pistons will collide.

What happens with these engines is the timing chain starts to stretch when the engine reaches 100,000 miles.

This stretching will cause the timing chain to rattle because the chain will become loose. What can happen in these situations is the chain can jump and once the chain jumps, it will create engine damage. The pistons and valves will collide, resulting in a very expensive repair.

That’s why always replace the timing chain components once the chain starts to create rattling noises.

Now let’s move on to the next Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI engine problems/

Head Gasket Failure

Head gasket failure is also common in these engines. This is the case because they tend to overheat.

As we noted previously, the lubrication process in this engine is pretty poor. The oil passageways become clogged with debris and this creates hot spots in the engine.

This will eventually result in engine overheating. The engine will overheat and when it overheats, it will blow the head gasket.

When this situation happens, you only have one option. And that is to resurface the cylinder head and replace the gasket.

A very expensive process. But it has to be done if you want to bring the engine back to life.

Which Models Have The Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI Engine?

  • 2013 – 2016 Hyundai Azera
  • 2008 – 2011 Hyundai Grandeur
  • 2010 – 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2007 – 2019 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2010 – 2020 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2009 – 2019 Kia Cadenza
  • 2008 – 2012 Kia Forte
  • 2008 – 2019 Kia Optima
  • 2008 – 2013 Kia Rondo
  • 2011 – 2021 Kia Sportage
  • 2009 – 2020 Kia Sorento


Which Are The Common Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI Engine Problems?

Common problems with this engine are rod bearing failure, cylinder scuffing, head gasket failures, and high oil consumption. The oil passageways of the rod bearings end clogged up, which then causes hot spots and rod bearing failures. The cylinder walls are also scuffed, and the engine will simply seize. These engines do not last for more than 150,000 miles.

Is The Kia & Hyundai 2.4L MPI Engine Reliable?

This engine is not the most reliable engine that you can get. It is prone to rod bearing failure and when the rod bearings fail, there will also be problems with the cylinder walls and the pistons will simply seize, and the engine will stall. You have to refurbish the engine completely in this situation. These engines do not last for more than 150,000 miles, so we would not recommend them to anybody.

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