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I've greatly enjoyed my 2014 Cruze LT RS. I've learned how to deal with the 1.4 engine's idiosyncracies thanks to you folks, and know how to drive it and maintain it to keep it humming. Here's my question. I'm considering purchasing a Buick Encore for my wife, which has the same 1.4 Ecotec engine. I'm wondering if, since the Encore is built in Korea, that engine is manufactured in a different plant than our North American Cruze Ecotec engine is? Does the Encore 1.4 Ecotec have the same issues as ours do ... Valve Cover, water outlet, little red button, PCV valve, etc? I've asked at the Buick dealer, but only get the "best, most positive" recommendations. is it the same engine, same plant, or same engine, different plants. Has Buick tweaked it? Same or different reliability? Any knowledge on this? Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the tips and learnings over the past few years.
 

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There are two 1.4's available in the Buick. The version that is in your current Cruze and the new 1.4 found in the new Cruze.
The 1.4 in your current Cruze has a iron block with aluminum head......the new generation has all aluminum construction and also has 'Start Stop'

The iron/aluminum 1.4 that you have is the only engine offered in the Chevrolet version of the Buick (Trax). I have one in my driveway.
According to the techs. (all friends) at the dealer I hang out at, the iron/aluminum 1.4 has essentially become problem free......no failure trending.
The all aluminum 1.4, the optional engine in the Buick, seems to having some growing pains similar to the early iron/aluminum 1.4's, that being piston failures and some oil leaks.
So far, I am inclined to recommend the base 1.4 without stop start in the Buick.

BTW....all the Trax are now coming out of Mexico.....initially they were coming out of Korea.

It is my understanding that both engines (and transmissions) are U.S.A.

Rob
 

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Having owned both the 1st gen 1.4 and 2nd gen 1.4, there is no way I'd buy the LUV over the new LE2.

The LE2 is an all-around better engine. More punchy, feels way less underpowered, now feels like one of the most refined engines in its class, gets better gas mileage, etc. There have been cyl #1 issues in a handful of them like the old 1.4, and they have leaked at the oil pans for the first production versions from the US/Mexico. Hopefully they have changed to the updated pistons on the assembly line by now. I'm just going to run 93 octane and hope for the best. The 6T35 transmission that is paired to the engine was also smoothed out massively compared to the old 6T40 paired with the LUV. Otherwise, I really have not seen many issues with them - some people hate stop/start, but I really don't mind it. It can be deactivated by putting the car into "L" mode.

Meanwhile the old version has seemingly constant PCV system (valve cover and intake manifold failures) and water pump issues that were certainly not ironed out even by the 2015-2016 Cruzes, crummy coil pack design, hates summer, is slow to warm up...mine just left a bad taste in my mouth. Turbo underboost codes become quite common at higher mileages, requiring the whole exhaust manifold to be replaced, and they have occasional piston problems as well (less in the later years, but still not totally uncommon). My sister was actually looking at a Trax, and I had to said that I couldn't recommend it whatsoever based on my experience with my 2012 Cruze.
 

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There are two 1.4's available in the Buick. The version that is in your current Cruze and the new 1.4 found in the new Cruze.
The 1.4 in your current Cruze has a iron block with aluminum head......the new generation has all aluminum construction and also has 'Start Stop'

The iron/aluminum 1.4 that you have is the only engine offered in the Chevrolet version of the Buick (Trax). I have one in my driveway.
According to the techs. (all friends) at the dealer I hang out at, the iron/aluminum 1.4 has essentially become problem free......no failure trending.
The all aluminum 1.4, the optional engine in the Buick, seems to having some growing pains similar to the early iron/aluminum 1.4's, that being piston failures and some oil leaks.
So far, I am inclined to recommend the base 1.4 without stop start in the Buick.

BTW....all the Trax are now coming out of Mexico.....initially they were coming out of Korea.

It is my understanding that both engines (and transmissions) are U.S.A.

Rob
Rob-

Why would GM offer both engines since the spec's between the two 1.4L's is fairly close.

Is this a case of the Buick Encore going through a refresh year like the Cruze Limited's with the 1.4L Cast Iron/Aluminum engine being replaced with the Cruze 2016.5 new design having the new 1.4L?

I didn't think that many 2017's were using the old 1.4L engine. It looks like it's still in Sonic, Trax, and Encore.. Surprised there's this many models using it with the new 1.4L out.
 

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Rob-

Why would GM offer both engines since the spec's between the two 1.4L's is fairly close.

Is this a case of the Buick Encore going through a refresh year like the Cruze Limited's with the 1.4L Cast Iron/Aluminum engine being replaced with the Cruze 2016.5 new design having the new 1.4L?

I didn't think that many 2017's were using the old 1.4L engine. It looks like it's still in Sonic, Trax, and Encore.. Surprised there's this many models using it with the new 1.4L out.
I suspect the older version continues mostly because the new design doesn't have enough production capacity for all the chassis that have/had the earlier version.
That and the new 1.4 is 'Start Stop' capable......meaning it was designed around that capability.

Since we are thinking with a keyboard, the question that keeps popping up in my head is, Why did/do they bother with a second generation 1.4 at all?
The 1.5 installed in all the Malibu's and now the base engine in the new Equinox and also designed around 'Stop/Start, IMO would have been the way to go for all GM vehicles that are sporting the new 1.4.

Seems like a royal PITA to be constructing engines that weigh the same, have the same physical dimensions, just for a 100cc (5.9 cubic inch) spread to me........

As far as my thoughts to the new 1.4.....since it was a clean sheet design that addressed many of the weak spots of the earlier design as well as a power and torque increase that can be felt, it will ultimatly be the better engine once past its growing pains.

Rob
 

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I suspect the older version continues mostly because the new design doesn't have enough production capacity for all the chassis that have/had the earlier version.
That and the new 1.4 is 'Start Stop' capable......meaning it was designed around that capability.

Since we are thinking with a keyboard, the question that keeps popping up in my head is, Why did/do they bother with a second generation 1.4 at all?
The 1.5 installed in all the Malibu's and now the base engine in the new Equinox and also designed around 'Stop/Start, IMO would have been the way to go for all GM vehicles that are sporting the new 1.4.

Seems like a royal PITA to be constructing engines that weigh the same, have the same physical dimensions, just for a 100cc (5.9 cubic inch) spread to me........

As far as my thoughts to the new 1.4.....since it was a clean sheet design that addressed many of the weak spots of the earlier design as well as a power and torque increase that can be felt, it will ultimatly be the better engine once past its growing pains.

Rob
I hate the clean sheet redesign. to me it just says the current one sucks and we need to a total redesign.
I with ya about have so many engines. I am still not crazy about the new redesign look of the cruze. I do like the hatch and if I got another one that would probably be the one I get. I will probably wait till the third gen if I decided to get another one and if mine remains trouble free.

If they don't have a third gen and keep the cruze around I will most likely be done with gm products.
 

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Just a guess here, but I'd guess they stuck with 1.4L for the Cruze to keep it as a fuel efficiency champ in the lineup. Driving the LE2, it feels like it is detuned and even slightly lethargic feeling at times at light throttle applications. The transmission is definitely programmed to upshift as soon as possible and keep revs low. Romp on the pedal and it ramps up boost as commanded - there's a meaty midrange torque band there.

In contrast, the 1.5 in the Malibu (160 HP) and Equinox (170 HP) feels very torquey down low and feels like it has no problems using boost to make power to haul around heavier platforms. It's noticeably more gruff than the 1.4 after 4000 RPM. Common complaints about the Equinox are that the transmission upshifts too early; I didn't feel that way about the Malibu I drove.

Seems to me like they could have just accomplished it with different tunes on one of them, though. The only real difference is the stroke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks very much gentlemen, for your helpful replies. I thought the LE2/Start-Stop engine in the Cruze and Encore was the 1.5, but it's a 1.4 with about 15 more HP! We’re going to have to do some test drives it seems. Rob, the techs at our Chevy dealer echoed the same message as your pals … to date Trax has been problem free, and still ironing out the new LE2. Never did consider the Trax before your comments and I do seem to remember you talking about it well in another post. What grade of gas to you like to use in it? “J” I’d much prefer to move ahead into the newer generation of engines – your comments make that a very appealing choice -- but things are still being ironed out. (I know you dissuaded your sis from the Trax! Wish it had the new engine without Start-Stop!) And, it’s got Start-Stop – a tough pill to swallow for me – and minimally advantageous in our driving here around the St. Pete/Clearwater area. Yet, considering the LE2 opens options to include new Cruze Hatch, about the same $$-wise as the LE2 powered Encore. So like I said, we’ll have to do some test driving. While this was my first post, I’ve done extensive reading on the site over the past few years, from my phone during work travel. “J” I look at your 2012 ownership as on the job training for being able to help us all out from firsthand experience!! Thanks to all!
 

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Thanks very much gentlemen, for your helpful replies. I thought the LE2/Start-Stop engine in the Cruze and Encore was the 1.5, but it's a 1.4 with about 15 more HP! We’re going to have to do some test drives it seems. Rob, the techs at our Chevy dealer echoed the same message as your pals … to date Trax has been problem free, and still ironing out the new LE2. Never did consider the Trax before your comments and I do seem to remember you talking about it well in another post. What grade of gas to you like to use in it? “J” I’d much prefer to move ahead into the newer generation of engines – your comments make that a very appealing choice -- but things are still being ironed out. (I know you dissuaded your sis from the Trax! Wish it had the new engine without Start-Stop!) And, it’s got Start-Stop – a tough pill to swallow for me – and minimally advantageous in our driving here around the St. Pete/Clearwater area. Yet, considering the LE2 opens options to include new Cruze Hatch, about the same $$-wise as the LE2 powered Encore. So like I said, we’ll have to do some test driving. While this was my first post, I’ve done extensive reading on the site over the past few years, from my phone during work travel. “J” I look at your 2012 ownership as on the job training for being able to help us all out from firsthand experience!! Thanks to all!
Regarding the fuel grade question.

My 2012 Cruze was fine on regular as long as ambient temps were at or below 60f.
As summer temps kicked in, I would shift to mid grade to get rid of the endless 'flat spot' and maintain economy. I might add, my Cruze,(eco auto), was dead reliable for the 40k I operated it.

The 2015 Trax 1.4 is not quite as sensitive, but driveability above 70f does improve with mid grade and mileage holds at 30+ with a 90/10 mix of around town verses highway. The Cruze mpg was about 5 better under the same conditions and I give credit to the LRR tires for most of that. Trax is a LTZ 2wd with the 18" tires.

Rob
 

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Asking this question here because this is one of the few Buick Encore threads on this forum. What's the interior space/ driving feel between the Cruze Hatch and the Encore?

I know Eric has a Hatch, and his dealership might sell Buick. Is there that much more space in the Buick? Or is it down to the level of "premium features"?

If the Encore is the Trax, I guess the Trax might have more room than the hatch.. Anyone drive both and have comments?
 

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I know this is an old(er) post, but has anyone swapped the LUV/LUJ for an LE2? I know there would be some programming and some sensory differences but I think it would be worth the effort.

I have a 2011 that I've had a terrible time with... several turbos, rebuilt by the dealer, pcv upgrade by me, another turbo done by me. Now I think I have a cylinder that has lost compression.
 

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I know this is an old(er) post, but has anyone swapped the LUV/LUJ for an LE2? I know there would be some programming and some sensory differences but I think it would be worth the effort.

I have a 2011 that I've had a terrible time with... several turbos, rebuilt by the dealer, pcv upgrade by me, another turbo done by me. Now I think I have a cylinder that has lost compression.
The wiring all of the different wiring sensors and PCM being different would really make it difficult. There was a dealer Tech on this forum OnlyTaurus who purchased a Buick Verano with the 2.0L turbo to install it in a Cruze. It was amazing the number of differences during the engine swap. I don't believe he ever got it done. He had a full donor car, and a full GM shop to work in. It's so much more with the PCM and BCM computer configurations than just dropping in an engine.
 

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The wiring all of the different wiring sensors and PCM being different would really make it difficult. There was a dealer Tech on this forum OnlyTaurus who purchased a Buick Verano with the 2.0L turbo to install it in a Cruze. It was amazing the number of differences during the engine swap. I don't believe he ever got it done. He had a full donor car, and a full GM shop to work in. It's so much more with the PCM and BCM computer configurations than just dropping in an engine.
I'm aware of what it would take as far as PCM/BCM, I'm more concerned about whether or not it would physically fit/bolt in. I'll have to do some more research to see if I can find the bolt pattern dimensions for both engines. Thanks for your thoughts though, I'll have to see if I can OnlyTaurus' thread on that 2.0L it sounds interesting!
 

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I'm aware of what it would take as far as PCM/BCM, I'm more concerned about whether or not it would physically fit/bolt in. I'll have to do some more research to see if I can find the bolt pattern dimensions for both engines. Thanks for your thoughts though, I'll have to see if I can OnlyTaurus' thread on that 2.0L it sounds interesting!
Both somehow mount to the Encore/Trax chassis for whatever that's worth. It's based on a Sonic, though.
 
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