The head gasket on our 1999 KIA Carnival blew at 89,000km. The service department immediately admitted that it was a known fault and checked how much KIA Australia would cover of the estimated $2,000+++ costs. Came back to us fairly quickly with advice that KIA would cover the 'main components', but that we would have to pay for various hoses, etc. We agreed and also chose to have the 100,000km service done at the same time as they would already have the motor apart and it would, so they said, save us a significant amount on the labor as they have to change the timing belt at 100,000. After being without the vehicle for about 4 weeks (including Christmas!) we were presented with a bill for $2,037.85. This covered all the hoses as agreed, only $240 for labor, a new radiator because they say the radiator had a leak that was present before the head gasket blew - although there had been no evidence of one, and the rest was the 100,000 service (approx. $1,500)! Had I been told about the service costs prior to them doing the work I would certainly have left it until after Christmas and, as I have said, there was no evidence of a radiator problem before the gasket blew. Could get no satisfaction from service center or KIA Australia and had to have the car, so we paid up.
My major gripe is the fact that owners have obviously not been told about this problem with the head gasket! Pity anyone who might be driving in the country when their's goes. I wonder if KIA would also pick up the tab for towing your vehicle to a major repair center!
I have also had the so-called gasket problem. Luckily it was within the 3 year warranty period. This definitely is a known problem with the Carnival.
KIA originally told me that the problem occurs because the block had not been machined perfectly flat. However, I was later informed that the problem was because the engine, being a "wet type engine", had not been manufactured correctly in the first instance. The engines after being removed are sent to Adelaide for overhaul and then given back to some unsuspecting KIA Carnival owner. If this is true, then KIA should have recalled this model and corrected the problem free of charge in all affected Carnivals. But they didn't, and engines are only being removed when the problem arises. Heaven help those whose warranty has expired.
Same carnival problems here in Switzerland, after 1 repair just in guarantee time, this next gasket one with the motor gone (100'000km) now out of regular guarantee time... so as told here before.. god help me here.