2nd Dec 2006, 06:47
The vehicle is located in Perth, Western Australia. You won't find anti-freeze in ANY vehicles there! (even in winter).
5th May 2010, 00:48
Wow, I am so glad to read all of this. I was just about to buy a Carnival, as we are having our third baby, but now am really thinking it's best not too. So many problems have been reported, and they all seem to be that same. Regardless of owner damage and such, I have read so many reviews today, and they all have had head gasket and engine replacements. It's a shame because I was really looking forward to getting it. But very grateful to have read this and other reviews, so at least I have a fair idea of what I am getting myself into. Or not getting myself into as I won't be buying one.
Thanks :-) And sorry you have had to go through all of this.
18th Apr 2011, 02:32
As a builder of performance engines, I usually scoff at the comments on auto bulletin boards but;
having owned a 1999 Kia Carnival for about 6 years, which I bought from an auction in Melbourne for my daughter who has many kids, I was disappointed to hear so many negative comments about their reliability.
Six years and 65,000 kilometers later, this is what I've learned.
The early Carnival was built in China. The original 2.5ltr engine is a Rover 75 unit, which did not have the usual problems that plagued Kia's loss of coolant in the Carnivals..
Being an aluminium engine block with steel cylinder liners, it seems the problem is caused by the cylinder liners failing to seal effectively.
It is possible that the O-ring gaskets were not installed correctly, but more likely that the aluminium cylinder blocks are not of sufficient material quality to support the sleeves without the material wearing and the lower O-rings failing. This, I believe, is why Kia were willing the replace the entire engine block, as machining the original block would not fix the problem.
Perhaps also, the less than professional mechanics, misdiagnosing the problems or failing to correctly machine the cylinder heads, before replacing the head gaskets.
Replacing the head gaskets will not fix the problem, if the seals at the base of the sleeves are the problem.
The transmission is a 4 speed Volvo unit. The early models do not feature an external oil filter, which makes servicing difficult. The rear hub bearings are imperial, not metric like the rest of the vehicle. The hand-brake fulcrum is not sufficient to provide an efficient effect.
Basically, the Carnival was a first attempt by Kia, the low initial cost due to the vehicle being something of a kit car, however, the Carnival is a great vehicle to drive, the engine unreliability is its only major problem.
As it is only natural that the Carnival will do most of its work at the hands of young mothers, there are a few things to check.
Maintaining the vehicle means checking the water (in the radiator) frequently, while the engine is stone cold, as the coolant expansion system often fails to return coolant back into the radiator. Often the coolant bottle is full, while the radiator is empty.
As the radiator hoses deliver coolant to the rear of the engine (battery side) while the water pump is on the front of the engine, four neoprene O-rings in the coolant delivery system are subject to failure. There is also a by-pass hose involving a plastic T-piece, which will fail as the material belongs on a fish tank, not a vehicle. Replace with a brass T-piece, available from any auto parts store.
The vehicle running badly is often caused by a faulty, or just old, oxygen sensor, while poor economy and stalling is usually caused by a faulty MAF sensor, located in the air filter duct, or air leaks in a damaged duct.
Oil changes and filters should be regular, and I've found that running a cleaning solution prior to the change helps eliminate wear and aids hydraulic tappet operation.
My Kia Carnival has survived all these problems for over 200,000 kilometers and runs like a dream, getting over 700 kms to a tank, on the highway.
I'm am unlikely to ever use a Kia dealership, as they don't seem to know what they're doing, or learn from their mistakes. What a shame!