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blackcruzelt,

There appear to be two different issues that potentially cause the same problem; coolant venting under the hood, and lubricant heating up in the heater box. Based on information posted by several different members, it is looking more and more like the "coolant smell in the car" issue is caused by the latter and may have nothing to do with the under hood venting (which may turn into a non-issue).

If you read that other post you will see that yes, GM has known about the issue for some time, but they've just been informed of a fix within the last few days. Word of that fix appears to be spreading through the dealership network; we're just waiting for evidence that it is curing the issue on other vehicles (it has apparently worked on one car with the issue).

If you are convinced that you want to do the buyback, that's OK. BUT, if you are otherwise happy with the car and don't mind giving them another crack at fixing it, give this a try and report back with your reslults.
 

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This grease does also not explain why coolant smells suddenly started for people that had their car last winter and suddenly appeared with 10-15,000 miles on them.
It could be that it takes time/heat to break it down enough to cause noticeable smells, who knows. These things can be really tricky to nail down. Cars are very complicated systems and sometimes what you think may be causing the problem has absolutely nothing to do with it. Troubleshooting things like this is a profession that some people devote an entire career to, and even then they're struggling to hit curveballs all the time.
 

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How is GM alerting the dealerships? I was surprised to see nothing in the Feb. 11th issue of Techlink. Did they do it in last week's Emerging Issues VOD? It's not scheduled in the one on tomorrow.
Keep us posted on this. I would imagine they are working on an Engineering-based identification/troubleshooting/repair procedure that could take a little time to formalize. The news of the problem's source and fix is litterally a few days old. Once they confirm the issue (and any other intricacies that may be related that we here would not anticipate), they will also need to work with the supplier to identify an immediate containment solution as well as identify, if possible, which vehicles may have been affected, and then develop an improved process for producing/supplying these HVAC assemblies. As owners and forum members we simply cannot appreciate the scope of an issue like this.

I would imagine right now it is being spread verbally as a method of dealing with extreme cases first, and widespread deployment will follow.
 

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Does a new entry on a carfax report get generated each time an attempted fix is made on the Cruzes?
I have no expertise in this area, but I would be AMAZED if this were the case. I wouldn't be surprised if it tracked recalls simply so the potential buyer could make sure all recalls had been performed.

If someone else knows for sure pleaase let us know.
 

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I feel it is too early to confirm that this is where the problem lies. We have thousands of Cruze's that don't have this issue. Do they have lubricant in the HVAC boxes? If so, why are only certain Cruze's affected? I understand this is a complex issue and I don't think anyone has all the answers yet.
Lubrication of parts like this is almost surely done manually. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a "minimum" grease specification (ex. number of areas to be lubricated) but a "maximum" grease specification might be something very general.

An issue like this comes down to supplier quality. The more QC (Quality Control) put in place for a supplied part, the more money the part costs the supplier to make. Car companies are constantly working with their suppliers to ensure adequate QC, but sometimes a learning curve comes into play.

Sometimes you get a careless individual that just has sloppy work habits and some of his/her work makes it through the QC process. It may surprise some people to hear this, but it might be theoretically possible that every person with excessive grease applied to HVAC components could potentially be the result of a single person not doing their job properly. Yes, it is the job of Engineers to develop a process where, theoretically at least, this doesn't happen. But sometimes theory is trumped by reality and we have to go back and make changes.

Often there are multiple lines making the same part. An intermittent problem with one person/machine on one line can be very tough to find. Sometimes parts are supplied by overseas countries in which case the supply chain could have weeks or months worth of parts already produced and in transit with a problem before the issue is discovered, and this requires extremely lengthy and costly reworking at third party sorting/containment facilities.

Situations like this make identifying/tracking down/correcting a problem increasingly difficult, and is why manufacturing often goes to a tracking system where they can narrow down the details of each part made to simplify the process. It is not uncommon to see date/time/batch/line/shift/etc. information recorded on products for this very reason, but as with most things the benefits have to be weighed with the costs, and doing this always adds cost to the parts.

SO IN A NUTSHELL, you may be right and the silver bullet to kill this issue may not have been found yet. Based on comunications with GM posted here, it shouldn't be long now.
 

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I did decide to crack my window prior to arriving home and got a bigger whiff when initially cracked. My first opportunity today to keep heat off and temp control to cool position since owning the vehicle.
Montana, can you do me a favor and check the coolant level in your reservoir with the engine COLD? It needs to be checked while parked on a level surface. Have you ever topped it up since owning the car? How many miles on your Cruze now?

I've read quite a bit on this topic now and it seems that the coolant level in the reservoir may be related to the smells that originate under the hood.
 

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however I don't think they are the type to listen to a customer...
If it is an option for you, don't rule out giving your business to a different dealer that shows some interest in pleasing you. If everyone stopped going to the dealerships with poor service they would go out of business or be forced to "upgrade" their level of service. For some people this isn't an option, but for those living in populated areas there will usually be more than one Chevy dealer around to choose from.
 

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Update to my addition of an overflow container connected to the vent line of the surge tank...

Another piece of information surrounding this issue.
Would you mind re-posting pics of your modification and explaining when and where you see coolant movement? I'm compiling some information and yours might be very valuable.
 

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If you have a leak in your system, this will not fix your leak. But it will capture any venting that is occurring from the surge tank.
So what you're doing is putting the bottle on the end of the tube with the tube submerged in coolant in the bottom of the bottle, then putting a hole in the top of the bottle so air can get in/out? What coolant level are you running in the reservoir, cold level at the fill arrow?
 

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- My service manager did seem to believe that something will surface soon.
No doubt there will be a long lineup of people waiting for these revised parts, so once the info is released it still may take a while to get the ball rolling. At least there seems to be some genuine light at the end of the tunnel!
 

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Hopefully the PI will also instruct dealerships to replace any coolant surge tanks that had the earlier PI to reroute "coolant fumes" to the bottom of the engine compartment.
This would not be necessary. As long as the surge tank has the ability to vent, it won't care where it vents to. I strongly doubt that any harm could come to the cooling system because of this modification. If it were a risk at all they would not have done it in the first place.
 

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Glycol, injested, is a poison that will destroy kidneys.

Glycol fumes, in the concentration that would exist in the cabin are just that, fumes.
While I'm not sure about the lubricant "fumes" from the HVAC box, I know when actual "coolant" evaporates it's not actually the glycol coolant evaporating, it's the water in the coolant evaporating (the glycol coolant boils at a much higher temperature than the water does). So what you are smelling is water vapor that smells like coolant and I doubt very much that there's a high concentration of anything toxic in what you're actually breathing in.

Now if you took coolant and boiled it in a pot on the stove, put your face down close and draped a towel over your head to concentrate the vapor, well then I could see a problem (and a little searching on the internet will confirm this). But there's a HUGE difference in the concentration of what it takes to smell something and breathing it in concentrated form. Sure, you don't want to smell it at all, but just because you can smell it doesn't mean it's hurting you.
 

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I think it is important and hope that GM will continue to evaluate the surge tank issue and not leave the tape/tube dangling from the tank.
Yes, the surge tank venting is another issue entirely, but I imagine the tape/tube job is only a cosmetic concern, not a functional one. I wonder if the dealerships are keeping the little plastic vent covers they're removing from the surge tanks... I doubt it, and I also doubt they can be ordered seperate of the surge tank. You might get some resistance asking them to return the surge tank to its original state.
 

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obermd?

You successfully have my head spinning here.......I've read your response several times aaaaaaand I believe something got lost in translation regarding the surge tank modification.
Rob, you beat me to it. I just got back from the dentist... I didn't want to get into a long reply using my iPhone.

The only marker on the surge tank is a arrow that says 'FULL HOT'......well, thats just great but useless....unless you really want to remove a cap, under pressure, with scalding coolant that will blow out the moment the pressure drops.

I found by having the cold, first thing in the morning cold, coolant level 1/2" above the lower tank inlet hose, in line with the top of the verticle cast in the plastic line that is centered over that lower hose nipple, the surge tank pressure rises to 14psi and stays there regardless of the length of my trip.

I proved this by operating the vehicle with a pressure tester installed in place of the cap and bunge corded away from moving parts.


I still contend.....the majority of these concerns are a result of inadvertent overfilling of the surge tank due to G.M.s inability to provide a 'FULL COLD' marker and poor/imprecise info in the owners manual.
GREAT work! I don't have a pressure tester so I was doing it the long way working backwards... reading all of the coolant smell threads, reading about the vent line fix and then assuming this to be the problem, I topped my surge tank up to the arrow when COLD (I didn't think to look for something telling me that was the cold or hot fill line - who would?). As soon as I topped off my surge tank I started smelling coolant when coming to a stop after having the engine under load. My plan was to drive the car until the water vapor escaping the surge tank vent eventually lowered the coolant level until the venting stopped and, assuming the cap holds exactly 20 psi, marking the new cold coolant level and reporting this to the forum. You have expedited that process.

What I might ask of you is, when the weather warms up if you're able to experiment by adding a little coolant until the system pressure peaks at around 16-18 psi, then we could safely claim that amount of coolant is the ideal COLD fill and give a reference to forum members as to how they need to PROPERLY fill their surge tanks. If the level in my car stabilizes by then it will give a 2 car sample, and further forum feedback can solidify the data.

What would the world do without car forums? :)
 

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The coolant tank cap is a pressure relief cap at 20 PSI, allowing the coolant to run at temps above it's sea level boiling point of 14 PSI.

According to the materials data sheet, DexCool boils at 226 F at sea level. Water boils at 212 F at sea level. The Cruze ECU likes to keep the car around 215-220 F when the engine is lightly loaded. Under load it drops the temp as low as the upper 170s to protect the engine from overheating.
Coolant at sea level is at 15 psi absolute (actually ~14.7, but close enough). A Cruze at sea level with a 20 psi tank cap will allow 20 psi gauge pressure to build inside the cooling system, and at that point the coolant is actually at 35 psi absolute pressure (15 psi absolute + 20 psi gauge). I'm pretty sure that's what you meant to say but it just didn't come across clearly.

Most cars come with a 15 psi cap which raises the boiling point of 50/50 Dexcool to about 265F. The 20 psi cap on the Cruze will increase this temperature slightly beyond that, but not much.

Another thing to consider: The Engine Coolant Temperature sensor is measuring the average temperature of the coolant exiting the cylinder head. Some of the coolant, like the coolant that cools the exhaust valve area of the cylinder head, will actually get much hotter than that before mixing with colder coolant and exiting the head. Then, hot coolant that has already passed by the ECT sensor is fed to the oil cooler and the turbo. The coolant in this engine gets HOT, much hotter than most people realize.
 
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