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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is Version 2 of the Antifreeze Smell Thread. Due to the sheer length of the original thread (in excess of 100 pages), it has exhausted its usefulness and has been locked.

This thread is dedicated to the discussion of the antifreeze smell that some of us are experiencing with our Cruze. You are free to complain or vent frustration, but not free to do so excessively or to troll. I understand that for many of you, this is a big concern and a huge inconvenience, but in the interest of everyone's sanity and of maintaining a positive environment, keep your complaints limited. Believe me when I say we've heard them already, in every possible variety you can imagine.

To be clear, this thread is not for the reporting of your problem, but for the discussion of the problem, its nature, GM's progress with a fix, and any other related topics. If you wish to report this problem, I have created a thread that GM is watching: http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/25-service-issues/10677-antifreeze-smell-support.html. Please read and understand the original post in that thread before posting.

Thank you for your cooperation.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Got some information finally regarding all of this that I can share with you guys.

I had someone from GM's executive office in Detroit get in touch with me regarding the issue with my car, and she was very transparent with me regarding what the status of the issue is. I also talked to my contact in social media, and she gave me some insight as well.

GM is aware of the problem; there's no doubt about that. However, they are also aware that it doesn't work for everyone and that many people are still having an issue with their car. As a result of that, they are currently working on a more permanent fix. This tube+glue fix that is available in a PI is not the final fix. For whatever reason, it may work for you or it may not.

If you currently have the coolant smell issue in your car, you have two options:

1. Take your car in and get this PI service done on your vehicle
2. Wait until GM comes out with a permanent fix for it

I have opted not to get the current fix done as my issue is not anywhere near as severe as that of other members. My case executive will be sending me an update every month regarding the status of GM's progress with finding a fix for this issue, and will notify me when it is completed. My contact in Social Media is also in touch with Brand Quality and she will work with them to see where they are at with regard to status or progress on finding a permanent fix and making it available. She will let me know as soon as she gets more information.

GM is being quite transparent about this issue and has given me the good-to-go to share this information with you guys. At this time, you can rest assured that GM is indeed aware that the current "fix" is not effective and they are working on a better one that will get rid of this problem.
 

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Is there a way to subscribe to a Thread without posting on it? I want to follow this issue until it's resolved. I guess the point is moot now that I posted but for future Threads.
 

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I would like to say I took my car in this week & they checked the system for leaks. None were found so they added the vent tube to the surge tank & upgraded engine compartment seals. I have driven about 100miles so far & have not had one wiff of antifreeze in the cabin. Both days were below 15degrees(today below zero) which normally would cause the smell the whole time once the car was at 180-230degrees.

I still have smell under the hood & slight smell standing next to the car but as long as I can drive & breath freely I'm happy. I will watch my surge tank level to see if I loose any. I see the dealer filled to the arrow(it was always low), I added a couple inches a few thousand miles ago which seemed to have vented into the atmosphere.

Overall I am happy but feel the car should not be loosing antifreeze or smelling even under the hood.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would like to say I took my car in this week & they checked the system for leaks. None were found so they added the vent tube to the surge tank & upgraded engine compartment seals. I have driven about 100miles so far & have not had one wiff of antifreeze in the cabin. Both days were below 15degrees(today below zero) which normally would cause the smell the whole time once the car was at 180-230degrees.

I still have smell under the hood & slight smell standing next to the car but as long as I can drive & breath freely I'm happy. I will watch my surge tank level to see if I loose any. I see the dealer filled to the arrow(it was always low), I added a couple inches a few thousand miles ago which seemed to have vented into the atmosphere.

Overall I am happy but feel the car should not be loosing antifreeze or smelling even under the hood.
I am hoping that their permanent solution will address the concern of the antifreeze venting into the atmosphere at all.
 

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I would like to say I took my car in this week & they checked the system for leaks. None were found so they added the vent tube to the surge tank & upgraded engine compartment seals. I have driven about 100miles so far & have not had one wiff of antifreeze in the cabin. Both days were below 15degrees(today below zero) which normally would cause the smell the whole time once the car was at 180-230degrees.

I still have smell under the hood & slight smell standing next to the car but as long as I can drive & breath freely I'm happy. I will watch my surge tank level to see if I loose any. I see the dealer filled to the arrow(it was always low), I added a couple inches a few thousand miles ago which seemed to have vented into the atmosphere.

Overall I am happy but feel the car should not be loosing antifreeze or smelling even under the hood.
It is promising to know that apparently the PI was able to provide you with some relief. My car is going in on Monday and I feel confident that the PI will be completed as outlined. Working closely with my service manager has given me hope that "fresh air" is on the way. It is good to hear some news that is promising. From Xtreme's previous posting it appears that a permanent fix will replace the tape/tube maintenance and address the smell under the hood. Thanks for the positive update.
 

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Given that the anti-freeze into the cabin ranges from none to immediate health issues I'm not surprised that GM is having a hard time tracking this down. I suspect there are a variety of problems that cause this issue.
 

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Given that the anti-freeze into the cabin ranges from none to immediate health issues I'm not surprised that GM is having a hard time tracking this down. I suspect there are a variety of problems that cause this issue.
And the final resolution will require more than one corrective action. I also am happy to hear that Chevy is working on a better fix than the tape/tube one.
 

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Is there a way to subscribe to a Thread without posting on it? I want to follow this issue until it's resolved. I guess the point is moot now that I posted but for future Threads.
Go to top of thread to black bar, click drop down for thread tools, click Subscribe to this thread (last option), then choose your preferred subscription type (instant email, etc.) and save the changes.
 

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Never had this issue hope I never do. Good read.
 

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Here is an update on the work being done to my Cruze.....

I have had the seal replaced, hose added to bottle, and heater core replaced, all to no avail.


Next steps are to replace some of the heater core mounting structure with the thought that it is porous and may have soaked up antifreeze from the leaking heater core.
 

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Here is an update on the work being done to my Cruze.....

I have had the seal replaced, hose added to bottle, and heater core replaced, all to no avail.

Next steps are to replace some of the heater core mounting structure with the thought that it is porous and may have soaked up antifreeze from the leaking heater core.
Has your dealership checked the material under the floor base carpet? It is porous and will absorb anti-freeze.
 

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Got some information finally regarding all of this that I can share with you guys.

I had someone from GM's executive office in Detroit get in touch with me regarding the issue with my car, and she was very transparent with me regarding what the status of the issue is. I also talked to my contact in social media, and she gave me some insight as well.

GM is aware of the problem; there's no doubt about that. However, they are also aware that it doesn't work for everyone and that many people are still having an issue with their car. As a result of that, they are currently working on a more permanent fix. This tube+glue fix that is available in a PI is not the final fix. For whatever reason, it may work for you or it may not.

If you currently have the coolant smell issue in your car, you have two options:

1. Take your car in and get this PI service done on your vehicle
2. Wait until GM comes out with a permanent fix for it

I have opted not to get the current fix done as my issue is not anywhere near as severe as that of other members. My case executive will be sending me an update every month regarding the status of GM's progress with finding a fix for this issue, and will notify me when it is completed. My contact in Social Media is also in touch with Brand Quality and she will work with them to see where they are at with regard to status or progress on finding a permanent fix and making it available. She will let me know as soon as she gets more information.

GM is being quite transparent about this issue and has given me the good-to-go to share this information with you guys. At this time, you can rest assured that GM is indeed aware that the current "fix" is not effective and they are working on a better one that will get rid of this problem.
So when did they actually figure out that PI did not work? It has been almost 8 months since they released that and they are telling you they are still working on things? You don't find that kind of strange?
 

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I am hoping that their permanent solution will address the concern of the antifreeze venting into the atmosphere at all.
XtremeRevolution and others on this forum:

I've had the same issue with my 2011 Cruze Eco (antifreeze smell periodically in the cabin when it is cold outside, with the heater at above 50%, at freeway speeds for about 10 mins and with minimal coolant loss). I've very much appreciated the way you have handled this forum, and am glad for your proactive and helpful approach. I won't go into alot of detail on my issue except to indicate that I've had it in the dealership twice for this issue, and the second visit resulted in application of the PI (which didn't take because the adhesive on the black tape failed). By profession, I'm an engineer (no, I'm not an automotive engineer, but instead I do system design, and I also do most of my own auto maintenance and repairs). I'm a first-time poster on these forums, so please bear with me if I mess up. Here's what I have to add to help. I've written the narrative below using a tool I use for troubleshooting things and getting to root cause called the "5 Whys." Apologies that it is so long. Please give it a read and let me know what you think. I tried to read the entire 1st forum you created on this issue before generating this document. If you think it may be useful to the engineers at GM who are working hard on this issue, please forward it to them.

Best regards ... cruzex

5 Whys for Cruze Antifreeze Smell (with minimal coolant loss)

  1. Why is there an antifreeze smell evident in the engine compartment and/or cabin of some 2011 through 2013 Chevrolet Cruzes?
Ans: Since the coolant is a closed system (pressurized at up to the 20 psig rated pressure of the overflow tank), the smell must come from either antifreeze liquid or vapor escaping from the closed system. If it is a large / steady leak, occurring under all circumstances, the leak would be typically be detectable by traditional dealer troubleshooting techniques (dye, pressure testing, etc.), and more coolant / fluid would have to be added to the system regularly.

  1. Why do some vehicles experience the antifreeze smell without experiencing significant / observable fluid loss?
Ans: The leak must either be a steady by imperceptible / low exchange rate leak (difficult to detect using traditional troubleshooting techniques) or the leak happens infrequently such that only enough liquid / vapor escapes during the leak / vapor “events” to be detectible by the vehicle occupant’s nose(s) (also difficult to detect as it is also hard to catch the vehicle “outgassing event” in the act).

  1. Why is it challenging to duplicate the events in which the antifreeze smell is detected in the vehicle cabin?
Ans: Many owner’s reports (in the forum) describing the antifreeze smell in the cabin find that it occurs at specific “events.” Namely, that the vehicle has often needed to be warmed up for a period of time with a greater than 50 percent heater setting, and during cold weather and driven at higher rates of speed. Because of the number of factors which have to be present to duplicate the Cruze coolant smell “events” in the cabin, it is challenging to duplicate.

  1. Why do the difficult to explain / diagnose Cruze coolant smell “events” in the cabin seem to happen more frequently with cold weather, high heater settings, and higher rates of vehicle speed (which would typically not be a worst-case coolant heat build-up / pressure build-up scenario for most vehicles with a traditional thermostat)?
Ans: Typically, most vehicles have high heat build-up / pressure build-up in the cooling system after being driven in hot environments, under high loads, and after stopping / turning the vehicle off (because there is no convective cooling air either from the vehicle moving, or from the fan, to remove the heat from the coolant). In addition, a frequently used remedy to reverse overheating for most vehicles (if they are beginning to overheat during use) is to run the heater as the heat exchange between coolant and the heater core helps act like an additional radiator to cool the coolant. Regarding the Cruze, however, many owner’s reports (in the forum) have described the coolant temperature of the Cruze rising to between 200 and 226 degrees when cold outside temperatures are occurring, and with the heater on with a greater than 50 percent setting and at higher vehicle speeds.
Compared to most vehicles with a traditional thermostat, the observation of the Cruze antifreeze smell along with rising coolant temperature under these conditions would seem counterintuitive. For vehicles with a traditional thermostat during cold outside temperatures, the thermostat remains closed and the coolant is allowed to re-circulate within the engine to allow the coolant to be warm enough to make the heater effective. When the coolant temperature reaches a specific set-temperature, the thermostat opens automatically (due to a bi-metallic material in the thermostat which opens the valve against a spring which has to be overcome for the valve to open) and the coolant is allowed to circulate through the radiator to cool the fluid and prevent the system from overheating / outgassing / etc.
For the Cruze which has an engine computer unit (ECU) controlled thermostat, it appears that either the “electro-thermostat” is waiting too long to open because of the cold outside temperature and extra demand for heating due to the vehicle temperature setting being above 50 percent and / or due to inaccurate ECU sensors or lags in the “electro-thermostat” to respond to the ECU command to open. If the “electro-thermostat” doesn’t open “on time” under these conditions, the coolant temp and pressure within the closed system will rise, and coolant / antifreeze vapor will outgas and / or fluid will escape from the system. The Cruze coolant, under these conditions, will outgas / escape will occur at either the location it is designed to escape from (i.e., the cap on top of the overflow bottle), or from the weakest connection within the system (example in the forum of one instance in which the hose to the coolant tank was oversized, and could allow vapor / fluid escape if pressure / temp was high). Because the vehicle is moving at a faster speed, the vapors will make their way through the hood / cowl seals, and into the “fresh” air-intake and into the cabin (depending on how well these seals are working). The faster the vehicle is moving, the more that static pressure builds up on the hood and cowl seals (i.e., pressure which is trying to force air through the engine compartment and through these seals over to the area (behind the hood / outside the engine compartment) where the “fresh” air is designed to enter the cabin.
Depending on how complex the computer algorithms are for the ECU’s control the Cruze’s “electro-thermostat”, various scale-factor errors on such sensors the Inlet Air Temp (IAT) sensor, the Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS) and etc. could be giving inaccurate readings to the ECU while it is making the decisions regarding when to open the “electro-thermostat”. I’ve experienced a situation in which a CTS on a GM Saturn that I owned became “cracked” and let coolant seep in and affect the accuracy of the CTS, and these inaccurate readings to the ECU caused overheating, and additional issues / errors with the vehicle emissions calculations that he ECU performs at the start of a “drive cycle.” Possibly one or more sensors on the Cruze become inaccurate over time (e.g., a non-linear output, or where the sensor’s output reaches a limit when the ECU expects it to be giving an output which varies with the outside environment). There were a few reports in the forum in which specific temperature readings were recorded from the DIU as to when the coolant smell event occurred. However, if the sensor which provides the data to the ECU that the DIU is displaying is inaccurate at specific temperature ranges and gives erroneous readings to the ECU, it could cause the ECU to wait too long to open the “electro-thermostat” under the specific conditions of the Cruze coolant / antifreeze smell “event(s)” The “electro-thermostat” itself could also cause an issue if it becomes degraded over time, and requires more drive current from the ECU (only a guess / speculation here) when the vehicle’s coolant becomes hotter, and this could occur if they allow the coolant to become hotter in the Cruze when it is cold outside, and when more demand is required from the heater, and when they know that lots of forced air cooling will be occurring due to highway vehicle speeds.
Having sensor errors creep in over-time, and / or having some of the sensors which are received by GM having calibration errors could explain why the onset of the issue is delayed for some Cruze owners, and why not all Cruze owners have the problem / issue. Also, unique to the Cruze 1.4 l engine (as some in the forum have also discussed) is the turbo charger which may be adding (speculation here) to the cooling system heat load while the vehicle is driving at freeway speeds, and this heat load may build up (speculation here again) more rapidly than expected (under the cold-outside / high interior heater demand condition) and help push the coolant temperature over the set-point for opening the “electro-thermostat” (especially if the CTS has lost its accurate calibration or was not calibrated properly to begin with). In addition, the forum records that some of the Cruze antifreeze events are occurring with the Cruze Eco (which I also have) and this vehicle has a set of vents at the front of the car which are supposed to close at highway speeds to reduce drag / increase gas mileage. The Eco also has smaller cutouts in the grill for fuel economy as well. It could be that the highway speeds (plus cold temp, plus higher heater setting) and Cruze Eco antifreeze events could have a link … as the Eco’s have less air moving through the engine compartment / radiator to cool the engine, and perhaps combined with an inaccurate sensor (or two) the ECU program is not adapted for the Eco and lets the cooling system “overheat” and vent coolant.

  1. Why doesn’t the PI that GM implemented with the dealerships consistently work to solve the “Cruze antifreeze smell in the cabin” issue?
Ans: 1) It’s not really a solution at all to the real problem (as many have stated / alluded to in the forum, and which XremeRevolution has recently relayed), but instead appears to be a temporary attempt to remove the smell symptoms after the venting / outgassing event occurs. If the system was working “as-designed” then the system wouldn’t need to “vent” as it is designed as a closed-loop system (others have made this observation also). It’s not supposed to lose coolant liquid or vapor unless something goes awry and it needs to vent to protect the system. Well designed pressure systems (and the Cruze cooling system is a type of pressure system) have a “relief valve” so if the pressure rises above the design point, it can vent to prevent the pressure from rising to the point that something “blows up” and hurts someone. It is likely that the Cruze cooling system may have been designed to keep the coolant temperature / system pressure at the correct values under most operational conditions, but if there is an inaccurate sensor or two providing bad data to the ECU, then off-nominal operational / environmental conditions could cause it to vent.
2) Many have had to have the PI “fix” reapplied multiple times because the 3M tape that is used to hold the rubber vent hose in place can’t stand the heat and the tape detaches, and the vent hose is no longer held in position. This happened to mine after the PI, and now I get the smell of “too hot” rubber and sometimes the coolant smell under the conditions in which it is cold outside (30 to 40 deg F), heater set at 50% or more, and vehicle moving at freeway speeds for a period of time which has caused others to have the Cruze antifreeze smell issue.
 

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Good point on the degraded sensors. I hadn't thought of that aspect. I'd bet checking/replacement of those related sensors will be part of the forthcoming fix. And I bet there will also be a software refresh for the ECM. Perhaps it's time for a "Service Pack" for the Cruze.
 

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XtremeRevolution and others on this forum:

I've had the same issue with my 2011 Cruze Eco (antifreeze smell periodically in the cabin when it is cold outside, with the heater at above 50%, at freeway speeds for about 10 mins and with minimal coolant loss). I've very much appreciated the way you have handled this forum, and am glad for your proactive and helpful approach. I won't go into alot of detail on my issue except to indicate that I've had it in the dealership twice for this issue, and the second visit resulted in application of the PI (which didn't take because the adhesive on the black tape failed). By profession, I'm an engineer (no, I'm not an automotive engineer, but instead I do system design, and I also do most of my own auto maintenance and repairs). I'm a first-time poster on these forums, so please bear with me if I mess up. Here's what I have to add to help. I've written the narrative below using a tool I use for troubleshooting things and getting to root cause called the "5 Whys." Apologies that it is so long. Please give it a read and let me know what you think. I tried to read the entire 1st forum you created on this issue before generating this document. If you think it may be useful to the engineers at GM who are working hard on this issue, please forward it to them.

Best regards ... cruzex

5 Whys for Cruze Antifreeze Smell (with minimal coolant loss)

  1. Why is there an antifreeze smell evident in the engine compartment and/or cabin of some 2011 through 2013 Chevrolet Cruzes?
Ans: Since the coolant is a closed system (pressurized at up to the 20 psig rated pressure of the overflow tank), the smell must come from either antifreeze liquid or vapor escaping from the closed system. If it is a large / steady leak, occurring under all circumstances, the leak would be typically be detectable by traditional dealer troubleshooting techniques (dye, pressure testing, etc.), and more coolant / fluid would have to be added to the system regularly.

  1. Why do some vehicles experience the antifreeze smell without experiencing significant / observable fluid loss?
Ans: The leak must either be a steady by imperceptible / low exchange rate leak (difficult to detect using traditional troubleshooting techniques) or the leak happens infrequently such that only enough liquid / vapor escapes during the leak / vapor “events” to be detectible by the vehicle occupant’s nose(s) (also difficult to detect as it is also hard to catch the vehicle “outgassing event” in the act).

  1. Why is it challenging to duplicate the events in which the antifreeze smell is detected in the vehicle cabin?
Ans: Many owner’s reports (in the forum) describing the antifreeze smell in the cabin find that it occurs at specific “events.” Namely, that the vehicle has often needed to be warmed up for a period of time with a greater than 50 percent heater setting, and during cold weather and driven at higher rates of speed. Because of the number of factors which have to be present to duplicate the Cruze coolant smell “events” in the cabin, it is challenging to duplicate.

  1. Why do the difficult to explain / diagnose Cruze coolant smell “events” in the cabin seem to happen more frequently with cold weather, high heater settings, and higher rates of vehicle speed (which would typically not be a worst-case coolant heat build-up / pressure build-up scenario for most vehicles with a traditional thermostat)?
Ans: Typically, most vehicles have high heat build-up / pressure build-up in the cooling system after being driven in hot environments, under high loads, and after stopping / turning the vehicle off (because there is no convective cooling air either from the vehicle moving, or from the fan, to remove the heat from the coolant). In addition, a frequently used remedy to reverse overheating for most vehicles (if they are beginning to overheat during use) is to run the heater as the heat exchange between coolant and the heater core helps act like an additional radiator to cool the coolant. Regarding the Cruze, however, many owner’s reports (in the forum) have described the coolant temperature of the Cruze rising to between 200 and 226 degrees when cold outside temperatures are occurring, and with the heater on with a greater than 50 percent setting and at higher vehicle speeds.
Compared to most vehicles with a traditional thermostat, the observation of the Cruze antifreeze smell along with rising coolant temperature under these conditions would seem counterintuitive. For vehicles with a traditional thermostat during cold outside temperatures, the thermostat remains closed and the coolant is allowed to re-circulate within the engine to allow the coolant to be warm enough to make the heater effective. When the coolant temperature reaches a specific set-temperature, the thermostat opens automatically (due to a bi-metallic material in the thermostat which opens the valve against a spring which has to be overcome for the valve to open) and the coolant is allowed to circulate through the radiator to cool the fluid and prevent the system from overheating / outgassing / etc.
For the Cruze which has an engine computer unit (ECU) controlled thermostat, it appears that either the “electro-thermostat” is waiting too long to open because of the cold outside temperature and extra demand for heating due to the vehicle temperature setting being above 50 percent and / or due to inaccurate ECU sensors or lags in the “electro-thermostat” to respond to the ECU command to open. If the “electro-thermostat” doesn’t open “on time” under these conditions, the coolant temp and pressure within the closed system will rise, and coolant / antifreeze vapor will outgas and / or fluid will escape from the system. The Cruze coolant, under these conditions, will outgas / escape will occur at either the location it is designed to escape from (i.e., the cap on top of the overflow bottle), or from the weakest connection within the system (example in the forum of one instance in which the hose to the coolant tank was oversized, and could allow vapor / fluid escape if pressure / temp was high). Because the vehicle is moving at a faster speed, the vapors will make their way through the hood / cowl seals, and into the “fresh” air-intake and into the cabin (depending on how well these seals are working). The faster the vehicle is moving, the more that static pressure builds up on the hood and cowl seals (i.e., pressure which is trying to force air through the engine compartment and through these seals over to the area (behind the hood / outside the engine compartment) where the “fresh” air is designed to enter the cabin.
Depending on how complex the computer algorithms are for the ECU’s control the Cruze’s “electro-thermostat”, various scale-factor errors on such sensors the Inlet Air Temp (IAT) sensor, the Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS) and etc. could be giving inaccurate readings to the ECU while it is making the decisions regarding when to open the “electro-thermostat”. I’ve experienced a situation in which a CTS on a GM Saturn that I owned became “cracked” and let coolant seep in and affect the accuracy of the CTS, and these inaccurate readings to the ECU caused overheating, and additional issues / errors with the vehicle emissions calculations that he ECU performs at the start of a “drive cycle.” Possibly one or more sensors on the Cruze become inaccurate over time (e.g., a non-linear output, or where the sensor’s output reaches a limit when the ECU expects it to be giving an output which varies with the outside environment). There were a few reports in the forum in which specific temperature readings were recorded from the DIU as to when the coolant smell event occurred. However, if the sensor which provides the data to the ECU that the DIU is displaying is inaccurate at specific temperature ranges and gives erroneous readings to the ECU, it could cause the ECU to wait too long to open the “electro-thermostat” under the specific conditions of the Cruze coolant / antifreeze smell “event(s)” The “electro-thermostat” itself could also cause an issue if it becomes degraded over time, and requires more drive current from the ECU (only a guess / speculation here) when the vehicle’s coolant becomes hotter, and this could occur if they allow the coolant to become hotter in the Cruze when it is cold outside, and when more demand is required from the heater, and when they know that lots of forced air cooling will be occurring due to highway vehicle speeds.
Having sensor errors creep in over-time, and / or having some of the sensors which are received by GM having calibration errors could explain why the onset of the issue is delayed for some Cruze owners, and why not all Cruze owners have the problem / issue. Also, unique to the Cruze 1.4 l engine (as some in the forum have also discussed) is the turbo charger which may be adding (speculation here) to the cooling system heat load while the vehicle is driving at freeway speeds, and this heat load may build up (speculation here again) more rapidly than expected (under the cold-outside / high interior heater demand condition) and help push the coolant temperature over the set-point for opening the “electro-thermostat” (especially if the CTS has lost its accurate calibration or was not calibrated properly to begin with). In addition, the forum records that some of the Cruze antifreeze events are occurring with the Cruze Eco (which I also have) and this vehicle has a set of vents at the front of the car which are supposed to close at highway speeds to reduce drag / increase gas mileage. The Eco also has smaller cutouts in the grill for fuel economy as well. It could be that the highway speeds (plus cold temp, plus higher heater setting) and Cruze Eco antifreeze events could have a link … as the Eco’s have less air moving through the engine compartment / radiator to cool the engine, and perhaps combined with an inaccurate sensor (or two) the ECU program is not adapted for the Eco and lets the cooling system “overheat” and vent coolant.

  1. Why doesn’t the PI that GM implemented with the dealerships consistently work to solve the “Cruze antifreeze smell in the cabin” issue?
Ans: 1) It’s not really a solution at all to the real problem (as many have stated / alluded to in the forum, and which XremeRevolution has recently relayed), but instead appears to be a temporary attempt to remove the smell symptoms after the venting / outgassing event occurs. If the system was working “as-designed” then the system wouldn’t need to “vent” as it is designed as a closed-loop system (others have made this observation also). It’s not supposed to lose coolant liquid or vapor unless something goes awry and it needs to vent to protect the system. Well designed pressure systems (and the Cruze cooling system is a type of pressure system) have a “relief valve” so if the pressure rises above the design point, it can vent to prevent the pressure from rising to the point that something “blows up” and hurts someone. It is likely that the Cruze cooling system may have been designed to keep the coolant temperature / system pressure at the correct values under most operational conditions, but if there is an inaccurate sensor or two providing bad data to the ECU, then off-nominal operational / environmental conditions could cause it to vent.
2) Many have had to have the PI “fix” reapplied multiple times because the 3M tape that is used to hold the rubber vent hose in place can’t stand the heat and the tape detaches, and the vent hose is no longer held in position. This happened to mine after the PI, and now I get the smell of “too hot” rubber and sometimes the coolant smell under the conditions in which it is cold outside (30 to 40 deg F), heater set at 50% or more, and vehicle moving at freeway speeds for a period of time which has caused others to have the Cruze antifreeze smell issue.
That was very well thought out and stated. I have had 3 fixes applied and none have solved this issue, because, as you stated very few of these fixes actually solve, in all cases, the real source of the issue. This problem, in my 2013 Cruze, only occurs when the heater temp setting is set on the hottest setting in conjunction with the fan set on the lowest speeds (1 or 2). If the temp setting is raised in conjunction with the fan speed the severity of the smell is greatly reduced. I believe you are correct in that it is a coolant temperature issue and when it gets too hot the resulting vapor makes it's way into the cabin from a number of sources. I hope someone at GM deals with this soon.
 

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A "Service Pack" sounds like it makes alot of sense ... and this may be why it has been taking a long time to get the final "fix" released. Often it takes longer to validate / perform regression testing on a software (or firmware) fix for a complete system like a car or aircraft, because they have to re-verify many of the other systems that the software also controls to ensure that they haven't inadvertently "broken" something else unassociated with the area that they are trying to fix. For a hardware solution, you can build a prototype (or buy the parts if they are off-the shelf parts) and try them out. After a hardware fix is proven, then the parts can be purchased and put into supply.

Here's an interesting photo of the overflow tank / connections from one of the sites that showed pics of the Diesel Cruze (Eco-D). It shows another fitting / hose leading down from the coolant tank. Perhaps there will be a pressure release valve in the fitting, and the 2nd hose will be used to vent things when it gets too hot. BTW: the current Cruze tank has a molded plastic clip that is unused, but this picture of the Diesel Cruze tank shows that this molded clip is being used to hold the additional hose. I don't know whether they will incorporate this new set-up as part of the current Cruze fix, but it looks interesting. I still think that they need to ensure that the cooling system doesn't need to vent in the first place though.
 

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Thanks very much for the additional information ... re: the fan set on the lowest speeds (1 or 2) ... I forgot about that. The lower the speed that the fan is set on, the less heat transfer that is being removed heater core under the dash and being re-distributed inside the vehicle. Perhaps, if they have an issue with their ECU computer program (such that the ECU program was designed to not take the fan setting into account for controlling the "electro-thermostat" for the coolant) then this could be the "straw that breaks the camel's back". That is, the ECU doesn't have all the data it needs for accurately predicting when to open the "electro-thermostat" and allows the coolant to overheat and the cooling system to vent. From other posts, it looks like they get the best fuel economy out of the 1.4 when they purposefully run it "hot", but if their ECU program doesn't have the correct data, or all the data it needs to keep it from getting "too hot" then it gets away from them with these coolant "outgassing" events.
 
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