The dreaded Common Rail disaster

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 18:36
ThreadID: 135465 Views:4668 Replies:8 FollowUps:13
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Just finishing off a great 6 week holiday in our 120 Prado 3 litre diesel in northern QLD and heading for the cold weather back home. I was stopped at a traffic light, light changed and I put my foot down on the accelerator, Hmmm didn't want to go anywhere, started missing and blue smoke out the back. The kiss of death to the motor.
RACQ to the rescue at a little town called Gayndah but too big a job for them. RACV Total Care contacted and vehicle and caravan to be put on truck back to Melbourne. Wife and I taxied to Maryborough and a hire car provided to drive home.
Would have been up a certain creek without Total Care so what a great service they provide.
Prado had 180 thou on the clock and had been serviced every 5000 and injectors replaced at 100 thou. Dual fuel filters changed every 10 thou and EG temperatures always kept below 500 degrees.
So what do you have to do to keep these common rails in one piece?
Hate to think what this will cost me but I am sure I will get no change out of $10000.
Anyone recommend and engine reconditioner in the N/E area.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 18:40

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 18:40
Could just be a failed pump.
AnswerID: 613322

Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 08:09

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 08:09
The above, indicates engine failure but not fuel system failure. A failed pump would stop the engine and since it doesn't control injection, if not delivering, it wouldn't run. The injectors, by all accounts are still running and supplying fuel, other wise it couldn't run and pour out blue smoke.
FollowupID: 883771

Follow Up By: Old 55 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 12:58

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 12:58
Ok I see that and have read the service bulletin below. My mistake, I was of the opinion that the high injector pressures were the contributing factors and thought that maybe an injector had failed and punched a hole in the piston. A cracked piston would make more sense as the vehicle was running flawless until I pulled up at the lights and would be the source of the cloud of blue smoke, the miss and blow back into the rocker cover. I guess I will know when they pull it down. I agree that Toyota are probably the ultimate culprit however at 9 years old I don't expect they would take any responsibility. All the other systems were functioning, radiator clean and no overheating at the time.
FollowupID: 883774

Reply By: RMD - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:20

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:20
The common rail may have nothing at all to do with the failure. It sounds like you have split a piston crown and that happens without being common rail.

If there is suddenly blue smoke it indicates engine oil being where it shouldn't be. A relatively common issue with Toyota 3 litre engines.
I would expect your EGT temp to be always under 500C no matter what you do. The ECU should be programmed to hold it less than 500c if the probe is just after the turbo. Since the drop of temp across the turbo is around 200c that would mean around 700C leaving the cylinders. Far less is better.

I own a 3litre turbo diesel of another brand and it runs a Max of 430 on a hot day.
I presume the engine just had enough at 180,000km. Probably the common rail system has allowed it to get to those km instead of blowing beforehand.
I presume ALL the other engine systems, ie, cooling system was in perfect condition because it too has an effect on engine life. People blame common rail for many things without consideration of basic engine functions which also have to perform properly.
Nissan 3 litre engines do it too.
AnswerID: 613323

Follow Up By: Old 55 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 13:15

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 13:15
RMD. yes all systems were functioning properly and the vehicle was running well seconds before the failure. My pyrometre is located just after the turbo in the exhaust pipe and if I let it temperatures could rise to well over 600 but I always back off at 500. It has a Steinbaugher chip and this could well be a major contributing factor as well. I was towing a 2 tonne van at the time. This was my first diesel having owned 3 Landrover petrols series 1, 2 and 3 and a 60 series Tojo then an 80 series. I guess I am disappointed in the extra maintenance and servicing of the diesel compared to my old 80 series petrol that had over 280 thou and was still running like new when I sold it. I bought the Prado for the safety factor (air bags and stab control etc) and deeply regret selling the 80.
Still life goes on. Thanks for the reply.
FollowupID: 883775

Follow Up By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017 at 06:09

Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017 at 06:09
Pretty crook when you only get 180,000 out of a diesel engine isn't it? I would expect twice that. At least. For me the days of new diesel vehicles are long over, especially Toyotas. If they not going to last what on earth are we paying all that money for? Toni
FollowupID: 883804

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017 at 07:39

Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017 at 07:39
I mentioned this to my mechanic and his opinion at first thought was the piston as well. He's seen quite a few and reckons the injector spray pattern is faulty and not misting correctly, putting out a direct concentrated stream that acts like an oxy torch on to the top of the piston.
FollowupID: 883805

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:22

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:22
Sorry to hear about your problems, but shouldn't you be blaming the manufacturer rather than common rail. There are many light vehicle common rail engines that have gone way, way over 180000K. Many are now up in the 300000 to 400000k range and that includes the 70 series toyotas.

Some truck engine manufacturers are offering 1,000,000K warranty's and many truck engines have hit that figure without a problem before an inframe overhaul.
AnswerID: 613324

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 20:49

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 20:49
True, I've had two common rails that made it trouble free to the high 200k's mark without even touching the injectors and one of them was a Jeep. Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Land Rovers seem to make long lasting crd's from my reading. The 3 litre Nissan's and Toyotas do seem to be problematic but there are a bucket load of them around so it may only seem like it due to the number in circulation. Sorry to hear about your problem.
FollowupID: 883764

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 22:00

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 22:00
I work for a company here on the Yorke Peninsula, SA. They use several Toyota Hiace vans, both wide body and the smaller ones. They all have the D4D common rail motors.

The van I drive is a 2008 model and just had the 850,000klm service last does 10,000klm every 3 weeks.

Another three of the vans are on their second instrument cluster.


Well, Toyota probably never envisaged these vans getting over 1,000,000klm so they built the odometer so that it freezes on 999,999klm. The company has to shell-out for a new instrument cluster each time a van clocks up a million klm.

It's not a problem that is anything to do with it being common rail that caused the Prado to fail.

Roachie....Don't follow me....I'm lost!

My Profile  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 883765

Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 22:47

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 22:47
I agree with Roachie.
FollowupID: 883768

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 23:21

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 23:21
Old 55, I'd suggest you are more likely to have the dreaded, early 1KD-FTV engine, piston failure, rather than any common rail injection component failure.

Toyota 1KD-FTV piston failure

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 613328

Follow Up By: Old 55 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 13:17

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 13:17
Thanks Ron. Interesting reading and I suspect your spot on.
Vehicle arrives back on Thursday from QLD and I guess I will get the bad news next week.
FollowupID: 883776

Reply By: Ozi M - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 08:52

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 08:52
You could have a chat with Anthony, he is in Hillside Melbourne, he specialises in Toyota 3L diesels.

You can find him on PP or FB if you Google

He likes to talk about motors :)
AnswerID: 613329

Reply By: Member - cruza25 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 13:56

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 13:56
If the car is kitted out and you intend to keep it a few more years then I would recommend a Toyota long engine replacement.
This is all new with new injectors water pump and built by Toyota.
Cost is about $8000 plus labour and misc parts. Maybe a new turbo if you get yours examined.
It’s a costly exercise on a car in the $15-20 k range but what alternative do you have.
You could try a second hand one and end up in the same boat.
Not sure how good a reconditioned one would be, you need to be sure they are thorough and highly skilled on these engines.

When you think of the price of upgrading the car to say a new or nearly new one then $8k on a new engine isn’t too bad. Just depends on the condition of the rest of it.

Good luck with what you decide.
AnswerID: 613336

Follow Up By: Old 55 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 14:27

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 14:27
Thanks Cruza I tend to agree. I was thinking about getting rid of it but the vehicle, a VX model. with lots of extras is still in top condition and a pleasure to drive. As my wife pointed out yesterday I have got 9 years and 180 thou so don't complain. just drive it and enjoy it. As the vehicle is our touring and 4wd vehicle it has done some hard work over the years. A new long engine would give me the confidence and save all the setup costs of another vehicle.
Will pull it down first to see the extent of the damage anyway.

Thanks for the reply.
FollowupID: 883777

Reply By: Member - cruza25 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 16:10

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 16:10
As someone else suggested if you need some advice or help ring Anthony, he is a guru on prado engines. That’s all he does now.
I can give you his number if needed.
AnswerID: 613342

Follow Up By: Old 55 - Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 22:15

Monday, Aug 28, 2017 at 22:15
Thanks Cruza yes I would like his number if possible you can text it on 0409552991
if you like.

FollowupID: 883800

Reply By: Iza B - Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017 at 07:01

Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017 at 07:01
I'd be considering the effect of the chip before some design feature like a common rail fuel system.

AnswerID: 613389

Follow Up By: Old 55 - Thursday, Aug 31, 2017 at 17:47

Thursday, Aug 31, 2017 at 17:47
Spoke to Anthony (see above post) and he reckons the chip was probably the major contributor as well as injector maintenance. Also read an interesting article by Outback Joe on chips and things. Looking at a new motor currently but just checking out prices. Mr Tojo wants $11000 for a long motor plus fitting ($2000) so still shopping around.
FollowupID: 883874

Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Aug 31, 2017 at 19:32

Thursday, Aug 31, 2017 at 19:32
Old 55 - Have a talk to Bernieparts (, they specialise in both reconditioned, and low km used engines from Japan.

Cheers, Ron.

FollowupID: 883884

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