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2011-2016 Cruze 1.4L PCV Valve Cover/Intake Manifold Issues

Video:
I made a video to help better explain how this whole PCV system works to supplement this article.


Overview
I find myself having to explain this issue to someone almost daily, so in the interest of brevity, I'm creating a thread specifically for people to reference quickly if they have an issue.

The Cruze 1.4L Turbo engine has a terrible PCV check valve design that afflicts 100% of cars I have come across. It's not a matter of if, but when, it will fail. There are three primary components to this system that frequently fail: the PCV regulator diaphragm (some people call it a check valve) on the valve cover, the check valve in the intake manifold, and the corrugated hose going from the intake manifold to the turbo. We will focus on the first two, which are the most likely failures.


Symptoms
Depending on how long you've had this issue, your vehicle may throw a check engine light with any or all of the following codes (DTCs):
P0171
P0106
P1101
P0507
P0299
P2096


Note: lack of check engine light does not mean everything is operating correctly!

Your vehicle may also exhibit any or all of the following symptoms:
- Elevated oil consumption
- Smoke blowing through the tail pipe
- A hissing sound in the engine bay
- A rough/stumbling idle
- Loss of power
- Reduced fuel economy


Diagnosis
Valve Cover

With the engine running, inspect the vent on the PCV regulator diaphragm. The PCV regulator diaphragm has a round non-removable cap on the driver side of the valve cover. Remove the cosmetic cover off of the valve cover:


Underneath, you'll find the cap that covers the PCV regulator diaphragm. If this has failed, the engine will be sucking in air from here, and creating a hissing sound. Place your finger over this hole to cover it. If the engine RPMs change or the hissing stops, the valve cover needs to be replaced.


DON'T STOP THERE! Failure of the valve cover PCV regulator diaphragm may only be a symptom of a greater problem: the PCV check valve in the intake manifold. If the intake manifold PCV check valve has failed and you only replace the valve cover, you will find yourself replacing valve covers every few months not knowing why.


Intake Manifold PCV Check Valve
With the engine off, locate the corrugated hose coming out of the top of the PCV check valve:


With tightly gripped pliers, remove the clip holding the hose off by pulling it out:


Pull the corrugated hose off from the base, taking care not to pull from the hose itself as it may crack or tear. Using a flashlight, look inside the hole. If you are facing the engine bay from the front, there should be an orange/pink/peach nipple/valve on the "back" of that hole that looks like this:


If you don't see that check valve, use q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean that area and check again. If you still don't see it, this must be addressed.

There's one final part that needs to be checked:


PCV Hose/Valve
In the last section, you need to remove a hose from the intake manifold. That hose has another check valve at the other end of it; at the turbo inlet. To verify its functionality, blow into the hose; it should blow freely. Suck air back through the hose; it should completely block airflow. If it doesn't do either of these, the whole thing needs to be replaced. Those hose also has a tendency to become brittle and crack, at which point it will also need replacing. Be sure to check this hose everywhere if you suspect it is leaking or are hearing a hissing sound in the engine bay.


Repair Solutions
Both of the above components are covered under your powertrain warranty. If your car is still under powertrain warranty, bring your car to the dealer and tell your dealer you are experiencing oil consumption of one quart per 1,000 miles and to reference GM Bulletin PIP5197C.

If the PCV regulator diaphragm on the valve cover has failed, replacement is required and will cost ~$60. Refer to this tutorial for replacing the valve cover. https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/129-gen1-engine-transmission-tutorials/49665-how-replace-valve-camshaft-cover-1-4l-turbo.html

If the check valve on the intake manifold is missing, you have three options:
1. You can replace the intake manifold with a new one. As of late early 2018, GM is phasing out the intake manifold that ships with all accessories and is selling a bare intake manifold. I don't yet have the part number for that.
2. Dorman has begun releasing an option. However, this option has the same check valve design as the GM manifold, meaning it will be prone to failure and boost leaks, and is not serviceable. The part number is 615-380, but availability is currently limited.
3. You can install one of my Intake Manifold PCV check valve fix kits for as little as $85, which is much cheaper than the Dorman intake (after shipping) while providing you a more robust, leak-free, and durable check valve. My external check valve design allows for easy (doesn't require removal of the intake manifold) servicing and cleaning, and inexpensive replacement. Details are in this thread: https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/34-gen1-1-4l-turbo/189402-2011-2016-cruze-1-4l-turbo-intake-manifold-pcv-check-valve-fix.html

A tutorial for removing the intake manifold is located here: https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/129-gen1-engine-transmission-tutorials/190442-how-remove-2011-2016-cruze-1-4l-intake-manifold.html

If the check valve at the turbo inlet has malfunctioned or the hose is cracked, you will need to replace it: ACDelco 25193343 PCV Pipe with Valve


Resources
To learn more about this engine's PCV system, refer to the following thread: https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/34-gen1-1-4l-turbo/175793-cruze-1-4l-gen1-pcv-system-explained.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oh good, a link I can save to send to the 3 people a day that ask about it.
Same here. As these cars age and people start buying them out of warranty, we will be getting asked about this one very often.
 

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I noticed that the design of the intake manifold kit on Amazon that you reference looks a little different and says "Designs are enhanced and amended to incorporate updates, upgrades, and Technical Service Bulletins" I wonder if they corrected the week parts and made it better?
 

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I noticed that the design of the intake manifold kit on Amazon that you reference looks a little different and says "Designs are enhanced and amended to incorporate updates, upgrades, and Technical Service Bulletins" I wonder if they corrected the week parts and made it better?
Nope. Even people with replacement intakes have been reporting failures. I have a nearly new intake manifold here (GM replaced it spring of last year). I ran my fix on a manifold I got for someone for free for testing. They didn't change anything about this area.
 

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Nope. Even people with replacement intakes have been reporting failures. I have a nearly new intake manifold here (GM replaced it spring of last year). I ran my fix on a manifold I got for someone for free for testing. They didn't change anything about this area.
That's a shame, knowing what they do you'd think they would change the design to make it better or at least incorporate a changeable PCV valve!
 

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That's a shame, knowing what they do you'd think they would change the design to make it better or at least incorporate a changeable PCV valve!
Yeah you'd think. That would make too much sense.

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"If you don't see that check valve, use q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean that area and check again. If you still don't see it, this must be addressed. "

When I check to see if the check valve is still there I clean it with a q tip and Amsoil power foam. Do you think I am hurting anything? I wouldn't think I am because I use Amsoil power foam to clean the throttle body but who knows.
 

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"If you don't see that check valve, use q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean that area and check again. If you still don't see it, this must be addressed. "

When I check to see if the check valve is still there I clean it with a q tip and Amsoil power foam. Do you think I am hurting anything? I wouldn't think I am because I use Amsoil power foam to clean the throttle body but who knows.
You are neither hurting nor helping anything by cleaning it. I've seen people clean it and still had it fail. Seen people not know it's there, and still had it fail. Both were in large numbers.
 

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I take it GM has still no real fix for all this mess? I had three replaced under warranty , but am now out of warranty. Knock on wood, I'm still going... but as near as I know it's a matter of time before it fails again... Presumably after the check valve has failed... Last replacement I had was just before it went off warranty and they replaced the intake and the valve cover... I haven't looked at the intake in a while to see if the check valve is still there or not.
 

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I take it GM has still no real fix for all this mess? I had three replaced under warranty , but am now out of warranty. Knock on wood, I'm still going... but as near as I know it's a matter of time before it fails again... Presumably after the check valve has failed... Last replacement I had was just before it went off warranty and they replaced the intake and the valve cover... I haven't looked at the intake in a while to see if the check valve is still there or not.
No fix. I still see intake manifolds and valve covers fail all the time. Now, the corrugated hoses are cracking more frequently too. It's a **** shame.

I spent many hours designing the kit to fix the intake manifold issue, so at least there's a cheaper solution. GM could have done the same.
 

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Agreed! And I thank you for what you have done so far. My daughters will be out of warranty in October, if it has not failed by then, your fix will be inevitable for me. I keep a check on it, and fail or not, after warranty is out I will do your fix. She will be going off to college, and I do not want to be worried about this while she is gone. Thanks again.
 

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For me... the more likely route might be just to sell the car and move on to something that might be better. Is there any reason to believe these issues have been addressed with the newer model years?
 

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Just had my valve cover and intake replaced not long ago. First dealer tired to fight me and say my air intake caused the failure. Put my stock airbox back on, went to another dealer 10 miles away and it all was replaced no questions asked. Really lost faith in GM build quality.
 

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Agreed! And I thank you for what you have done so far. My daughters will be out of warranty in October, if it has not failed by then, your fix will be inevitable for me. I keep a check on it, and fail or not, after warranty is out I will do your fix. She will be going off to college, and I do not want to be worried about this while she is gone. Thanks again.
Sounds like a good approach, and one that I inadvertently took for my own car. I had my intake manifold replaced last year around this time, so I swapped out the still good manifold with only 5k miles on it for a broken one with the fix installed. I don't plan to swap back.

For me... the more likely route might be just to sell the car and move on to something that might be better. Is there any reason to believe these issues have been addressed with the newer model years?
Every car has issues. It just seems that GM dropped the ball on a few components where they could have put a bit more time and built in a bit more reliability and serviceability. No reason to sell the car over it; you'll lose a lot more than the $220 it costs to fix the manifold and replace the valve cover. The critical parts of the vehicle seem to be fairly reliable.

Just had my valve cover and intake replaced not long ago. First dealer tired to fight me and say my air intake caused the failure. Put my stock airbox back on, went to another dealer 10 miles away and it all was replaced no questions asked. Really lost faith in GM build quality.
Unfortunately, all you can do is find another dealer. I lost a bit of faith in GM build quality as well, which was discouraging given how much I liked the Cruze the first 3 years I owned it. Still, it could have been much worse. All in all, it's still a good vehicle.
 

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I have had my Cruze for about a year and a half. In that time I have put a little over 18k miles on it. I have went through 2 valve covers and think the current one is going bad with only about 2000 miles on it because it is starting to idle rough again and I am getting the worse fuel mileage I have had during my ownership of the car. I told them the check valve in the intake was gone, but don't think it was relayed properly to the people doing the repair. I have also noticed a slight knock sound every so often though everything shows fine. Starting to wonder if it isn't one with bad piston skirts. Being as warranty expires in November, not sure if I should take the time to find out.
 

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PCV VALVE - GM (25193343)
Is this the part you are talking about in the second part of your post? The one that you stated could not be bought separately? Not trying to call you out or anything, just making sure I get the right part.
 

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PCV VALVE - GM (25193343)
Is this the part you are talking about in the second part of your post? The one that you stated could not be bought separately? Not trying to call you out or anything, just making sure I get the right part.
No, that is the other check valve that is connected at the turbo Inlet. The check valve I'm referring to resides inside the intake manifold and cannot be replaced as there's no way to reach inside to put a new one in.

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I never met a pcv system that I liked. Have to take off the intake manifold to get the pcv valve on our 2007 mazda 3s - hasn't failed yet with 110,000 miles.

Not to bad on the cruze if you can catch it before it gunks up the turbo.

Only thing you can do for pcv system is run good oil and fuel and hope for the best. I guess an occasional throttle body cleaning could not hurt.

Keeping everything gunk free helps in the long term. PCV systems suck on all cars IMO.
 

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I never met a pcv system that I liked. Have to take off the intake manifold to get the pcv valve on our 2007 mazda 3s - hasn't failed yet with 110,000 miles.

Not to bad on the cruze if you can catch it before it gunks up the turbo.

Only thing you can do for pcv system is run good oil and fuel and hope for the best. I guess an occasional throttle body cleaning could not hurt.

Keeping everything gunk free helps in the long term. PCV systems suck on all cars IMO.
On this car, even maintenance won't save you. The PCV check valve and the pressure regulator diaphragm are made of rubber that gets brittle and breaks. If anything, trying to clean it with a solvent might accelerate that process.
 
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