firstly, i'll be honest. I don't have a Chevrolet Cruze. I have the first generation Opel Insignia. Both the first generation Insignia and Cruze, when it comes to petrol engines, have the same 1.8 litre Ecotec engine, code name A18XER (Opel) or 2H0 (Chevrolet). Even the software programming for the engine is almost the same, both GM.
I came to this forum because I could not found the answer elsewhere. Since both cars have the same engine, maybe someone has experienced something similar on the Chevrolet Cruze.
What I have is a small or light engine pinging. I have this since I have gotten the car a few years ago.
The sound is not sever and there is never any power loss when it does it. The sound can only be heard if you are not driving in traffic, windows down and you must not have your radio on. I would record the sound, but unfortunately it is not possible because the sound is simply not strong enough. I mention this to establish how light the pinging is.
It is definitely engine pinging in my opinion. The recommended octane fuel ratting for this engine in Europe is 95 RON by the manual (I will just refer as EURO octane), which is around 91 on your petrol stations (RON + MON / 2, I will just refer to it as US octane). You can use 91 EURO octane or 87 US octane according to the manual, but I don't think you can get less octane ratted fuel in Europe than 95 EURO octane or 91 US octane, so the car was always filled with that.
Using a 100 EURO octane fuel — which is around 95.5 US octane fuel — helped a little and made the sound go away, but only in winter or if the outside air temperature would not rise above 10ºC or 50°F. The sound is almost always present when using 91 US octane fuel and regardless of the fuel (using 91 or 95 US octane) in summer.
Amazingly it is only presents at light load for example when I change the gear and applying a little throttle, like less 1/3 of the way, or when driving up hill with 1/3 throttle.
For example if I start to go up hill when the engine load is most severe, the engine will never ping or if the hill is really steep and you have to apply more throttle. It will only start pinging when the car reaches a certain speed when the load is no longer so great and the car can climb the hill with less then 1/3 throttle. When it starts pinging, I can apply more throttle and it will stop pinging. It will also not ping if I apply a really heavy burden on the engine, like switch to a too higher gear (I don't actually do this, but just to point out where the engine pings).
I don't think I am driving the car to low on RPM, since I usually drive uphill around 2.500 RPM to 3.000 RPM, sometimes even more. It will only be present for 1 or 2 seconds top. It will also sometimes ping o straight road when there is little throttle applied, but will always go away after a second or two. The pinging will also never be present at hard acceleration or when I apply the throttle in neutral.
Spark plugs are new, OEM Bosch. Oil is Motul 5W30 X-clean EFE (it has the Dexos 2 sh*t logo on it) if it helps. There are never any faults logged because of this. I have also run threw Liqui Moly Injector Cleaner, but there was no improvement. The engine does not have an EGR valve, so at least that is ruled out. The catalytic converter is also new so backpressure is definitely not a problem.
Otherwise than this, the engine runs like a Swiss clock, hardly consumes any oil.
I know that these engines run hot. 105ºC - 110ºC or 221°F - 230°F is the normal operating temperature for these engines. Is possible that because of this, these engine are a bit prone to pinging? I used to have an Opel Astra with the X16XEL engine and it used to produce a similar sound, but not so often.
I noticed this on the Maxima forum:So maybe it is some truth on this?Light spark knock is mild, barely audible pinging at partial throttle. It's kind of subjective, but if you've ever heard heavy detonation, you'll know what light knocking is.
Research has shown engines to be the most fuel efficient and to produce the most power when the timing is advanced to the point where light knocking is produced. Engines do not sustain any appreciable damage from light knocking at partial throttle, even over many thousands of miles. Knocking at WOT is cause for concern, though.
Hope someone can help with the answer.
All the best from Europe!