The 1.8L _Nu_ engine has been ticking owners off with its constant ticks and connecting rod knocks. The engine appears to be predisposed to engine bearing failure and oil sludge. Now there are allegations that Hyundai is purposely placing blame on owners maintenance habits in order to avoid warranty repairs, even though most Nu engine problems happen well before the automaker’s 100,000 mile warranty expires.
For a bit of backstory, the 1.8L Nu engine was first introduced in the 2011 Elantra. It aimed to “fill the gap” between Hyundai’s 1.6L Gamma and 2.0L Theta engines, while improving on the fuel economy of its 1.8L Beta predecessor.
|Beta 1.8L||130hp||126 ft.lb||9.2:1||Cast Iron|
|Nu 1.8L||148hp||131 ft.lb||10.3:1 Aluminum|
The engine offers similar power to the Beta engine, but its “unique configuration results in a block that is 30 percent lighter than an iron block, shedding more than 74 pounds off the entire engine weight1.
And that’s good … that means it’s a lot less bulky when you’re forced to bring it to the scrapyard.
Piston Slap and Ticking Noise Complaints
The Nu engine has an infamous engine tick that is consistent with something known as piston slap. That happens when the piston head isn’t properly secured, allowing the piston to rotate and slap against the cylinder wall.
Owners typically complain about the ticking or knocking noise during the engine’s start-up. That’s because as the engine reaches operating temperature, the piston will expand to sit more securely in the cylinder.
Hyundai Canada releases TSB #12-20-002
In March of 2014, Hyundai Auto Canada Corporation released a technical service bulletin that acknowledged the ticking noise as “defects in the piston skirt coating as well as improper finishing of the connecting rods.”
The TSB went on to say “the engine exhibits a loud knock during start up but the noise reduces as the engine reaches operating temperature.” Dealerships were instructed to reject any warranty claims unless the owner could provide perfect oil change records.
At the time, the TSB only covered the 2011-2013 Elantra in Canada. A similar TSB wasn’t offered in the US despite the engines being built on the same assembly lines.
Lawsuit Over Ticking Noise From Pistons in Nu Engines
In July of 2018, Elizabeth Brown filed a lawsuit accusing Hyundai of covering up known Nu engine issues and failing to honor their warranty.
Although her Elantra engine was allegedly still covered by a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, Hyundai said the oil sludge problem was caused by Brown for failing to change the oil in the car. The Hyundai dealer allegedly said the least expensive option would be to pay $3,500 for a used engine.
Brown’s engine failure happened around 64,000 miles which is well below the standard 100,000 mile warranty. But rather than offer to help, the automaker was quick to point fingers at the oil sludge as a potential sign of neglect.
The lawsuit points to TSB #12-20-002 as evidence that Hyundai prefers to blame an owner’s maintenance habits over their own knowledge of the engine’s defects. Despite the fact that replacement Nu engines have exhibited the same defects as before.
The lawyers at Sauder Schelkopf are currently investigating a class action lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia for the alleged premature engine failure.
If you own a 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantra with a 1.8L engine and you’ve experienced engine failure, they are asking owners to contact them.
In the past, Sauder Schelkopf has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of consumers and have earned their reputations as skilled and aggressive veteran litigators.