Fell victim to a set of cracked pistons...awesome
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Thread: Fell victim to a set of cracked pistons...awesome

  1. #1
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    Fell victim to a set of cracked pistons...awesome

    Well you can add one more 1.4 to the list of cracked pistons. 2011 M6, currently has 51k miles on it. I don't know how many yet, at least two. Probably happened about 10k ago, I'm guessing. Had it at the dealer a couple weeks ago when it started leaking oil from up by the intercooler. GM told them to put a new turbo and intercooler on it. Drive it for about a week and its leaking worse and from more places than before. So got it back to the dealership monday, today they called and said it has cracked pistons and its also getting a new head.

    I really wish they would throw a new longblock in it, but I know GM says not to unless needed. Sorry, but I'm not comfortable with people basically rebuilding my engine that don't do it on a regular basis, much less doing it half-assed. But I know I don't have a choice in that.

    I am curious as to what they have done to others that have had this problem. Are they replacing all the pistons, or just the cracked ones? They putting new rod bearings and main bearing in them? Who knows how many shavings and or pieces have gone through it. In my case, Something had to have gone through it to require a new head. Hopefully They put a (another) new intercooler in it since it is full of oil again.

    I'm going to head over there tomorrow and have a look for myself, and talk to them about it. My wife has been dealing with it thus far, so I have not been able to chat with them yet.
    2011 Cruze Eco. 6M, Imperial Blue. GM fog light kit.
    Belongs to the better half

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  3. #2
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    I suspect you'll get your car back sooner this way than if you wait for a long block. GM's making Cruzen as fast as they can and there aren't a large number of major engine components available as spares. We had a member last year have to wait over a month for a replacement engine block simply because there weren't any available.

    Keep us posted on how your car is doing.
    Last edited by obermd; 11-06-2013 at 09:40 PM.

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  4. #3
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    Tuned?
    '12 Cruze 1LT M6 - K&N Drop In, Intake Resonator Delete, Black Label Tuned - 162whp/186wtq @ 18.5psi

    '05 GSXR750 - Big ole turbo.

  5. #4
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    I agree a long block would be best.The problem is GM will not pay very good at all labor time to fix your car.They hide behind the Certified service modo.In realitiy they pay short times and the techs may have twice as many hours into fixing a car than GM will pay.And presto yes your engine is hacked to death.That being said feel the service out at the dealer.Some dealers do help there techs on very time involving procedures.Management takes pride in fixing the car right.A majority of others its every man for himself with the Tech on the short end.As far as the repair GM will want it done the most cost effective way.I know i wouldn't feel right unless it had all new pistons.It does not necessarily need new bearings.If you stay on top of it you will get a better repair performed.Just make it clear your keeping the car and don't want news of any piston that wasn't replaced breaking shortly after the warranty period.They may extent your power train warranty for you.Just the view from my side of the wrench
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  6. #5
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    This was a known issue with a defective batch of pistons in 2011. It isn't the result of any tune or modification. It is well known. We've had people get their pistons replaced and they've been happy with their cars. Haven't yet had anyone report back that their engines had issues. The pistons are designed to MUCH tighter tolerances than they were 10 years ago. It will last. I wouldn't be worried about it at all.

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    I wouldn't mind waiting for a longblock, honestly.

    No tune, bone stock. Haven't touched this car.

    I am well aware that the tech gets the short end of the wrench in these deals...which is part of what scares me. The only good thing is, this dealership usually has a good reputation for taking care of their customers. One of the reasons we bought the car from this dealership was because they were the only ones in the area doing free lifetime oil changes. Now everyone does. So Now they are doing lifetime powertrain warranty on anything you buy from them, even used non GM vehicles. Sadly, we bought before they started doing this.

    Anyway, That was one of the things I am planning on asking tomorrow, is are they going to help out the tech so he isn't in a hurry. Because it is a car we were planning on keeping, and having problems arise from this down the road is what has me worried the most.
    2011 Cruze Eco. 6M, Imperial Blue. GM fog light kit.
    Belongs to the better half

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    Went down and took a peek today. Three cracked pistons. They are replacing the head just because GM as an updated head for it, not because of anything wrong with the original. The only difference is the area where the valve cover mounts as far as we could tell.

    They are going to replace all four pistons, about the only good news I think. But are reusing the rod bearings. I didn't even think to ask about piston rings until just now, I would think those would get replaced with the new pistons, but I also thought they would put new rod bearings in it. They are not replacing the intercooler again, as GM said no, even though they replaced it last week because it was full of oil, and this time its worse, tech said he has to just clean it out the best he can. Hopefully the turbo is ok with all that oil having run through it. They are supposed to put the original valves in the new head (another thing I'm not too happy about), but he is going to try and get them to put new valves in it. Am getting a new set of plugs. You could tell which ones were leaking just by the plugs, but all four were not in very good shape.

    I was not impressed with the cleanliness of inside the engine, looked like it had 250k on it from all the carbon buildup. Even the plug that didnt have the cracked ringland did not look very good. There is a lot of carbon buildup on the top of the pistons, on the head and valves. The tech mentioned GMs "top tier" gasoline bulletin and pulled it up for me, this car only sees those gasolines anyway. I've had the head off of a different car of mine with 360k on it that runs from the same stations and it looks much better inside then this does. Granted, some of it is from the rings being cracked. Bt even the one last hole that wasn't still looked horrible, I'm hoping that the fourth one is cracked as well and they just didn't find it.

    As far as the tech doing the work, seems like he knows what he is doing, which is a relief. But I still don't like the whole situation and how its being handled by GM. And it doesn't seem like the Service manager is helping the tech out at all with the hours, i think he is new. I brought that up with both of them standing there, and the SM just kind of laughed it off and said the tech takes tips.
    The tech is a very much "by the GM book" kind of guy it seems. I tried to get them to put the new underbelly tray piece of plastic on it, to get rid of the sawzalled mess that is under there now. He wouldn't do anything as "as far as GM is concered, its been fixed." He said things have been a lot different since the bankruptcy. Probably true.

    So in a nutshell, I have faith in the guy to get it back together just fine. But I dont have any faith in the car anymore. I dont see it making 250-350k miles without some issues down the road like other cars I have done. I buy cars with the intention of keeping them, and driving them into the ground. I have an 88 prelude that I drive everyday, has 365k miles on it. Only had the head off to replace a couple valves when the timing belt went. Thats it. Never touched anything else on it, still has the original clutch and the original windshield even. Its starting to show its age on the outside, but I have complete confidence that it will get me to work everyday.

    We will probably be getting rid of the cruze before the warranty is up, wasnt planning on it before this, But I dont want to have to start replacing things that I shouldn't have had to do in another 100k. And we probably wont be buying a GM vehicle to replace it. Although, I do really want to play with the new LT engines.
    2011 Cruze Eco. 6M, Imperial Blue. GM fog light kit.
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    I have a 2012, how do I know if I am at risk? The label says it was manufactured in 2011.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BustedCrank View Post
    Went down and took a peek today. Three cracked pistons. They are replacing the head just because GM as an updated head for it, not because of anything wrong with the original. The only difference is the area where the valve cover mounts as far as we could tell.

    They are going to replace all four pistons, about the only good news I think. But are reusing the rod bearings. I didn't even think to ask about piston rings until just now, I would think those would get replaced with the new pistons, but I also thought they would put new rod bearings in it. They are not replacing the intercooler again, as GM said no, even though they replaced it last week because it was full of oil, and this time its worse, tech said he has to just clean it out the best he can. Hopefully the turbo is ok with all that oil having run through it. They are supposed to put the original valves in the new head (another thing I'm not too happy about), but he is going to try and get them to put new valves in it. Am getting a new set of plugs. You could tell which ones were leaking just by the plugs, but all four were not in very good shape.

    I was not impressed with the cleanliness of inside the engine, looked like it had 250k on it from all the carbon buildup. Even the plug that didnt have the cracked ringland did not look very good. There is a lot of carbon buildup on the top of the pistons, on the head and valves. The tech mentioned GMs "top tier" gasoline bulletin and pulled it up for me, this car only sees those gasolines anyway. I've had the head off of a different car of mine with 360k on it that runs from the same stations and it looks much better inside then this does. Granted, some of it is from the rings being cracked. Bt even the one last hole that wasn't still looked horrible, I'm hoping that the fourth one is cracked as well and they just didn't find it.

    As far as the tech doing the work, seems like he knows what he is doing, which is a relief. But I still don't like the whole situation and how its being handled by GM. And it doesn't seem like the Service manager is helping the tech out at all with the hours, i think he is new. I brought that up with both of them standing there, and the SM just kind of laughed it off and said the tech takes tips.
    The tech is a very much "by the GM book" kind of guy it seems. I tried to get them to put the new underbelly tray piece of plastic on it, to get rid of the sawzalled mess that is under there now. He wouldn't do anything as "as far as GM is concered, its been fixed." He said things have been a lot different since the bankruptcy. Probably true.

    So in a nutshell, I have faith in the guy to get it back together just fine. But I dont have any faith in the car anymore. I dont see it making 250-350k miles without some issues down the road like other cars I have done. I buy cars with the intention of keeping them, and driving them into the ground. I have an 88 prelude that I drive everyday, has 365k miles on it. Only had the head off to replace a couple valves when the timing belt went. Thats it. Never touched anything else on it, still has the original clutch and the original windshield even. Its starting to show its age on the outside, but I have complete confidence that it will get me to work everyday.

    We will probably be getting rid of the cruze before the warranty is up, wasnt planning on it before this, But I dont want to have to start replacing things that I shouldn't have had to do in another 100k. And we probably wont be buying a GM vehicle to replace it. Although, I do really want to play with the new LT engines.
    What fuel do you use in the car, out of curiosity? And was this carbon build up on the piston or the combustion chamber, or was it down the oil passages?

    Knowing what I know, I would not be worried about it at all. It almost sounds to me like you'd be better off having never known what was wrong and just driving the car after they replaced the pistons. Like I said before, this has been repaired before and those who had the work done never had a complaint with their car again. Nobody ever came back and said that they had issues as a result.

    I think with some time, you'll gain some more confidence in this car. Sucks it had to happen, but that's how these things go. They took apart my entire dash to replace my HVAC unit for the grease smell issue, and I have no regrets having them do it. The dash still hasn't made so much as a squeak and it has been 15k miles since that.
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  11. #10
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    For fuel, it is usually Chevron, or 76. Other stuff once in a while, but never had a drop from arco. But like I said, I have taken apart other vehicles that use the same stations, and they looks so much cleaner. Hopefully most of it is a result of the cracked pistons, and that forth one is cracked as well. The buildup was on the pistons, the valves, and the combustion chamber. Even the plugs had some buildup on them.

    I'm hoping everything will be fine, and it probably will be. I'm sure it will be fine for probably another hundred thousand miles or so, but beyond that is where I have my doubts. Reusing rod bearings just doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling, and putting old valves in a new head...
    XtremeRevolution likes this.
    2011 Cruze Eco. 6M, Imperial Blue. GM fog light kit.
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