The Four Common Hyundai 1.6 Engine Issues. The 1.6L engine in Hyundai and Kia is a naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam inline-4. The Hyundai 1.6, which was introduced in 2006, is still produced today for Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The 1.6L belongs to the Gamma engine family, which includes five different engine variants. The Gamma isn’t known for its power or performance, but it is known for its dependability and fuel economy. However, no engine is flawless. This article discusses Hyundai 1.6 engine issues and reliability.
Variants of the Hyundai 1.6L Gamma Engine
The Gamma I engine was manufactured from 2006 to 2010, and the Gamma II engine has been manufactured since 2011. The first generation 1.6 had an MPI version as well as a hybrid engine powered by liquefied gas and an electric motor. The MPI, GDI, and turbo-GDI engine options are available in the second gem family.
Gamma I, the first member of the Gamma engine family, was released in 2006. The Gamma II engine family received various upgrades in 2010. The Gamma engine family includes a 1.6L engine as well as a 1.4L I4.
Hyundai 1.6 Gamma engines were available in both MPI and GDI configurations. Port injection is used in MPI versions, whereas direct injection is used in GDI engines. In addition, a T-GDI version was released in 2011 with the addition of a turbocharger.
To be clear, all of these engines were also used in a variety of international Hyundai and Kia vehicles that aren’t listed below. All of the US models are listed below.
G4FC Gamma I 1.6 MPI
The G4FC engine is a multi-port fuel-injected engine that produces 122 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque.
- Hyundai Accent 2011-2017
- Hyundai Elantra 2006-2020
- Hyundai Veloster 2011-2018
- Kia Rio from 2011 to 2017.
- 2008–2012 Kia Forte
- 2008–2011 Kia Soul
L4FA Gamma I 1.6
The L4FA is also known by the engine code L4FC. It is a hybrid engine powered by liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and an electric motor. It was only used in the Hyundai Avante LPI and the Kia Forte Hybrid on a global scale.
Related : The Top 5 Ford Focus ST Speed Upgrades
MPI Gamma II 1.6L (G4FG)
The G4FG engine is a port fuel injected engine with variable valve timing. It generates 121-132hp and 111-116lb-ft of torque.
- Hyundai Accent (2011-Present)
- Hyundai Elantra (2010-Present)
- 2012-2018 Kia Forte
- Kia Rio (2017-Present)
- Kia Soul (2011-Present)
TDI Gamma II 1.6 (G4FD)
The G4FD engine is a direct-injected, dual-continuous variable valve timing engine. The Hyundai 1.6 TDI generates 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque.
- Hyundai Accent (2017-Present)
- Hyundai Tucson from 2009 to the present
- Hyundai Veloster 2011-2018
- Kia Rio from 2012 to 2019.
- Kia Sportage from 2010 to the present
T-GDI Gamma II 1.6L (G4FJ)
The turbocharged 1.6 TDI engine is known as the T-GDI engine. In addition to direct injection and dual-CVVT, it has a twin-scroll turbocharger and an intercooler. It has 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Furthermore, some of the cars equipped with the turbo GDI had a de-tuned version that produced 175hp.
- Accent from 2011 to 2017
- 2017-2020 Hyundai Elantra
- Sonata (2014-2019)
- Tucson (2015-2020) (detuned engine)
- Veloster Turbo from 2012 to the present.
- Forte from 2012 to the present
- Optima (2015-2019)
- Soul (2019-Present)
Hyundai 1.6 Engine Issues
Now that we’ve covered the various 1.6 variants, let’s talk about the common problems with the Hyundai 1.6 engine:
- Oil leaks (valve cover gasket and turbocharger)
- Carbon accumulation (in exhaust manifold especially)
- Failure of the purge control solenoid
- Catalytic converter failure
The 1.6 Gamma has been in production for quite some time, and there are several variants. Not all of these issues apply to every single engine. We’ll do our best to identify which variants are most impacted by each issue listed.
1. Hyundai 1.6 Leaks of Oil
While oil leaks is a broad term, a few components in the 1.6 GDI engines have been known to leak. Oil leaks are still a common problem throughout these engines, and any engines for that matter, outside of the few specific areas we’ll discuss below. Gaskets, seals, o-rings, and other components commonly leak as the 1.6 Gamma engine ages. Oil leaks become much more common once you reach 100,000 miles. However, the leaks discussed below are more likely to occur before the engine reaches high mileage.
First and foremost, the valve cover gasket is a common source of leakage. Valve covers protect the valvetrain by bolting to the top of the head. They also provide the necessary oiling for the valvetrain to function properly. A rubber gasket is used to seal the valve cover to the head. This valve cover gasket is prone to deterioration and leaking due to heat, engine vibrations, and natural wear and tear.
Second, the 1.6 T-GDI engine is known to have leaky turbos, which cause oil to seep from the turbocharger. Internal seals in turbos are prone to wearing down and leaking over time. However, the leak on this engine is more commonly caused by the turbo oil feed line than by the turbo itself. The oil feed line, as the name implies, supplies oil to the turbo. Because this line is usually the source of the leak, only the line needs to be replaced rather than the entire turbo.
1.6 Symptoms of Gamma Oil Leakage
Among the symptoms of a Hyundai 1.6 Gamma oil leak are:
- Significant oil leaks
- Oil leaking down the street (valve cover gasket)
- Oil leaking from the turbocharger (feed line or turbo itself)
- The engine frequently runs out of oil.
- Burning oil odor in the cabin and after driving
Because engines consume oil naturally, the need for frequent top-offs may not indicate an oil leak. The most obvious sign is visible oil leaks on the ground beneath your engine. However, oil leaks can occur without any drips onto the ground.
If you smell burning oil, the leak is most likely near the top of the engine, i.e. the valve cover gasket. The odor is caused by oil dripping onto hot engine components. If there is a large puddle on the ground, it is most likely coming from the engine’s bottom side.
2. Carbon Build-up Issues in Hyundai 1.6 TDI
You 1.6 MPI owners are in luck with this one. Only the TDI direct injected 1.6 Gamma engines are affected by carbon buildup. However, this isn’t just a Gamma engine issue; it also affects the 2.4 Theta and 2.0T Theta.
“Blow-by” occurs in all engines. This blow-by is recirculated back into the intake system via the PCV valve. Because the blow-by air is dirty and greasy, carbon deposits naturally form in the intake valves.
MPI stands for port fuel injection, and it refers to the injection of fuel into the intake manifold/ports. When fuel is injected there, it travels with the air through the ports, cleaning out any gunk that has accumulated. As a result, no carbon buildup occurs.
TDI stands for direct injection, and it delivers fuel directly into the cylinders. As a result, no highly pressurized fuel is passing through the intake ports to clean them. The only thing passing through the ports is air, which is insufficiently powerful to remove the carbon buildup. As the carbon accumulates, it can restrict airflow to the cylinders and cause a variety of performance issues.
Carbon buildup occurs over time, making it difficult to detect because the performance declines it causes are gradual. By the time you reach 100,000 miles, you’ve probably accumulated a significant amount of carbon in the intake valves. Every 100,000 miles, we recommend cleaning the intake valves with walnut blasting, which we’ll go over below.
Carbon Build-up Symptoms in 1.6 Gamma TDI
The symptoms of Hyundai 1.6 carbon build-up are as follows:
- Misfires in the cylinders
- Inadequate idling
- Hesitation while accelerating
- Power loss and sluggish engine performance
Misfires and rough idling are unlikely to occur until you have well over 100,000 miles. And power outages are difficult to detect because they occur gradually. As a result, diagnosing this issue is a bit difficult. Having said that, carbon deposits are a fact of life for direct-injected engines. We guarantee you have a lot of carbon deposits in your valves by the time you reach 6-figure mileage.
Blasting 1.6 TDI Walnut
Walnut blasting is a tried and true method for removing carbon from valves. Small walnut media shells and a shop vac are used for walnut blasting. The shells are blasted through the intake ports with a shop vac to remove any carbon that has become lodged inside the ports.
The materials for this job are cheap, but the labor can be costly. To access the ports and valves, the intake manifold must be removed. For walnut blasting, you should expect to pay between $400 and $600.
Many people go their entire lives without cleaning up carbon buildup. We recommend doing it every 100,000 miles if you care about engine performance. If you don’t care, we recommend just getting it done once you start experiencing misfires and rough idling.
3. Problems with the Hyundai 1.6 Purge Control Solenoid
The purge control valve, also known as a solenoid, is a component of the Gamma engine’s EVAP system. The EVAP (evaporative emissions control) system keeps fuel vapors from escaping from the gas tank and entering the atmosphere. When an engine is started, the purge valve opens, allowing fuel vapors to enter the engine and be burned.
The purge valve on the 1.6 Gamma is electrically controlled. For whatever reason, all Hyundai and Kia vehicles are prone to broken purge valves. When a valve fails, it can fail either open or closed. If it fails closed, the vapors are unable to escape the gas tank. When it fails to open, the vapors continue to flow to the engine even when it is turned off.
If the valve becomes stuck open, a large amount of vapors can enter the engine while it is turned off, making it difficult to start and causing rough idling for a few seconds after starting.
Symptoms of a Faulty Purge Control Valve in a Hyundai
- Starting the car is difficult.
- After starting, rough idling for a few seconds
- Engine code P0441
Because the valve is electrically controlled, it will cause a check engine light to illuminate if it fails. As a result, using a code reader is the best way to tell if it’s bad. If you have a P0441 engine code or another EVAP-related code, the valve is most likely to blame.
Fortunately, the valve is extremely inexpensive and simple to replace.
4. 1.6L Gamma Catalytic Converter Failure
While this isn’t a common occurrence, 1.6 Hyundai and Kias have been known to occasionally blow their catalytic converters. This appears to be more common on the Kia Soul as well.
Catalytic converters are exhaust system components that clean exhaust air before it exits the exhaust and enters the atmosphere. Catalytic converters contain a honeycomb structure made of rare earth metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Nitrogen oxide, the main byproduct of exhaust gas, collides with these metals, causing a chemical reaction that breaks down the NOx.
The combustion chamber’s exhaust gases are extremely hot. Unburned fuel can enter the exhaust system as a result of misfires and ignition problems. When this happens, the fuel collides with the hot metal inside the cat and burns, melting the rare metals inside. This results in hotter exhaust gas temperatures, which further melts the metals and eventually clogs the exhaust system.
If the catalytic converter becomes clogged, it will generate a significant amount of backpressure, resulting in a variety of performance issues. The other option is for the metals to completely burn down and hollow out the cat, causing you to fail an emissions test.
Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Hyundai Catalytic Converter
- Idling in a rough manner
- O2 sensor check engine light
- Emissions test failure
- Exhaust gas temperatures that are higher than usual
Hyundai Gamma 1.6L Reliability
Overall, the 1.6L Hyundai and Kia engines are more reliable than average. Unlike the Theta engines, the Gamma engines have no flaws that could lead to catastrophic engine failure. Oil leaks are common as engines age, carbon buildup affects every direct injected engine, purge valves are inexpensive to replace, and cat failure is uncommon.
There aren’t many issues with the 1.6 Gamma that can result in costly repairs. The majority of the issues with these engines are minor and have no serious performance or driveability implications. Having said that, maintenance is a huge factor in reliability. Hyundai recommends changing the oil every 9,000 miles. Simply changing your oil every 5,000 miles will reduce the likelihood of having any problems.
The Hyundai 1.6 should be able to reach 200,000 miles without requiring significant maintenance. However, keep in mind that as you reach higher mileages, a number of general maintenance items such as spark plugs, water pumps, coil packs, injectors, belts, hoses, and so on will appear.