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I thought twice about it. I'm waiting here to see what the resolution of the issue is before I plunge in with a purchase. I don't need a $20,000 headache.
Seeing what other people have posted recently about their cars being low on coolant at delivery makes me think GM has done this intentionally to avoid this issue. As jblackburn pointed out, in his case the coolant level was low on delivery and he didn't experience any coolant odors until filling the overflow beyond that level.

I have not experienced ANY coolant smell inside my car at all. The only time I smell any coolant is if I pop the hood right after driving and stick my nose down near the hoses. That isn't a problem in my book. Though I CAN see evidence of vapour escaping the vent on the overflow bottle, that would be considered "normal" as that's why the vent is there. I am interested in this "issue" purely from a geeky Engineering point of view... I love looking into things and figuring them out, as in I like to know what's going on and exactly WHY things happen the way they do.

I bought some distilled water last night and plan to top up the reservoir to the cold fill mark after work today. If my car starts venting coolant when topped off but stops again after the coolant level drops, I would say that's a pretty good indication that this issue is under control. At that point it would just be a matter of GM letting people know that the coolant "fill" level had been revised.

We should be really close to hearing feedback about what appears to be the main cause of the "coolant" smell inside the car, which appears right now to be simply a few cars built with either too much grease on parts of the heater core vent module, or just some grease in the wrong place. Regarding odors from teh overflow tank venting, if GM has intentionally reduced the coolant fill level to resolve this, all new car builds should be without this issue and any cars built before this fix came into effect will have a temporary venting issue that will pass as soon as enough water vapour escapes and the coolant level drops in the tank.

If my mother needed a new car tomorrow I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Cruze. It has been a great car for the 8 months I've owned it, I am VERY happy so far.
 

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We've heard of many people saying "GM is aware of the issue" but no actual fix yet. I spoke with my GM district Rep and she has no idea about any of this. I've had the heater core changed out, and the PI done for the vent tube and it is still doing it.So I've got the general manager of my dealership calling Chevy to get the ball rolling on a buy-back, I've had enough of this issue.
 

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We've heard of many people saying "GM is aware of the issue" but no actual fix yet. I spoke with my GM district Rep and she has no idea about any of this. I've had the heater core changed out, and the PI done for the vent tube and it is still doing it.So I've got the general manager of my dealership calling Chevy to get the ball rolling on a buy-back, I've had enough of this issue.
Why not have them look into the fix in the "coolant smell resolution" thread, and also check out the coolant level as mentioned in the Blue Angel's post? Educate them if your district rep has no idea. I'm going forward with my 2013 ECO MT purchase, as it appears to me there IS some movement to rectify this issue.
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #146 ·
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.
The above is why I insisted so many times in these threads that people just calm down and give GM a chance to fix it. There is always something else going on. I can see why it took GM so long; because they get reports in from people saying "we smell antifreeze" and many people smell absolutely no antifreeze! What they smell is something similar to antifreeze, but who would have thought that it's the grease inside the HVAC box creating the smell?

There's a difference between toxic antifreeze vapors and an uncomfortable odor coming off of grease. Not saying that some people didn't have any issues with the antifreeze smell, but as you pointed out, many people were most likely just smelling the grease. They thought GM was failing it up left and right because they couldn't find an antifreeze problem when there was no antifreeze problem. Need to learn to give it some time guys.
 

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The above is why I insisted so many times in these threads that people just calm down and give GM a chance to fix it. There is always something else going on. I can see why it took GM so long; because they get reports in from people saying "we smell antifreeze" and many people smell absolutely no antifreeze! What they smell is something similar to antifreeze, but who would have thought that it's the grease inside the HVAC box creating the smell?

There's a difference between toxic antifreeze vapors and an uncomfortable odor coming off of grease. Not saying that some people didn't have any issues with the antifreeze smell, but as you pointed out, many people were most likely just smelling the grease. They thought GM was failing it up left and right because they couldn't find an antifreeze problem when there was no antifreeze problem. Need to learn to give it some time guys.
I had bad smells from the heater when I first bought the car, but I just attributed it to new plastics, etc. I bought the car in the spring, and I just ran it with the heater on full hot with the windows down for ~30 minutes.

It still occasionally smells like hot plastic once it gets good and hot, and that's because it is just hot plastic. The vents and ducts get HOT - consider that a typical home gas forced air system puts out air roughly around 160-170F; the Cruze is putting it out well over 200F. That little metal thing on the vent hurts if you touch it.

I still think many are experiencing a smell from the expansion tank/cap itself, as it definitely smells like coolant OUTSIDE the car, and that vapor is drawn straight into the air intake.

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.
 

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Well, I am now a member of "club stinky"... This past week I noticed a strong coolant smell in my garage. I looked at the coolant level this am (car was cold) and it was one "line" from the bottom. I have had the car just over 2 mos and it rolled 7k today. I stopped by my local Chevy dealer (never been there- this is my first GM) and asked the service guy about it. He stated it was a well known problem and that a "good fix" is in the works... whatever that might mean.

I asked about an appt to have it checked, but need a loaner. They do not offer loaners there, so I will check other Chevy dealers in the area to see who wants to help me. Anybody in the Denver area have a recommendation?

I absolutely love this car, and am sure that this issue (the only one I have) will be resolved soon.


milehigh,
I would like to apologize for the issues that you are experiencing with your Cruze. I do understand your concerns with this. I would be happy to get you a service request open for you with GM. In order for me to do this I will need to gather some additional information from you. Can you please send me a PM with your name, address, phone number, VIN, current mileage and the name of your dealer? I look forward to hearing back from you.
Thank you,
Stacy Chevrolet Customer Service
 

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Discussion Starter · #149 ·
I had bad smells from the heater when I first bought the car, but I just attributed it to new plastics, etc. I bought the car in the spring, and I just ran it with the heater on full hot with the windows down for ~30 minutes.

It still occasionally smells like hot plastic once it gets good and hot, and that's because it is just hot plastic. The vents and ducts get HOT - consider that a typical home gas forced air system puts out air roughly around 160-170F; the Cruze is putting it out well over 200F. That little metal thing on the vent hurts if you touch it.

I still think many are experiencing a smell from the expansion tank/cap itself, as it definitely smells like coolant OUTSIDE the car, and that vapor is drawn straight into the air intake.

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.
Well, here's the thing. I never smelled it in the summer. Never smelled it in the fall, or the spring. I only smelled it during the winter, and I only smelled it strongly enough to note on this forum that I'm finally smelling what other people when I blasted the heat on the maximum setting. It should have clicked to me that the cause of this was running more heat through the HVAC system. I can get out of my car, open the hood, and it still smells like antifreeze, but I never smell it inside the car unless the heat is on a very high setting.

It does explain it perfectly well if they bought their car last year, when temperatures in the midwest were clear into the mid 40s for most of the winter, thus not requiring the use of high heat. It was a VERY mild winter for us. If they bought it January or February of last year, they would have gone an entire year (or 10,000-18,000 miles) before they had to blast the heat this winter, and if the grease requires heat in order to emit its odor, it wouldn't have happened until now.
 

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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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I had bad smells from the heater when I first bought the car, but I just attributed it to new plastics, etc. I bought the car in the spring, and I just ran it with the heater on full hot with the windows down for ~30 minutes.

It still occasionally smells like hot plastic once it gets good and hot, and that's because it is just hot plastic. The vents and ducts get HOT - consider that a typical home gas forced air system puts out air roughly around 160-170F; the Cruze is putting it out well over 200F. That little metal thing on the vent hurts if you touch it.

I still think many are experiencing a smell from the expansion tank/cap itself, as it definitely smells like coolant OUTSIDE the car, and that vapor is drawn straight into the air intake.

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.
Excessive glycol based grease can explain why it's taking so long for some cars to start stinking. The excess grease is overheating and breaking down, releasing fumes as it does so. It takes time for this to occur.
 

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my car smells like coolant but then again i do believe its leaking somewhere and my engine light is on. I better add some coolant for my drive to the dealership on monday.


unitednations161,
I would like you to keep me posted on the progress with your dealer. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me anytime.
Thank you,
Stacy Chevrolet Customer Service
 

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We've heard of many people saying "GM is aware of the issue" but no actual fix yet. I spoke with my GM district Rep and she has no idea about any of this. I've had the heater core changed out, and the PI done for the vent tube and it is still doing it.So I've got the general manager of my dealership calling Chevy to get the ball rolling on a buy-back, I've had enough of this issue.
Please see my thread on coolant smell resolution as my issue was resolved. It was not the heater core, but excessive glycol based lubricant, hence the coolant type smell. The lubricant is on the vent and components in the dash and when heated and cooled it breaksdown and gives off the odor. I was ready to bail also, but the dealer was persistent and found the problem, then resolved.
 

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Please see my thread on coolant smell resolution as my issue was resolved. It was not the heater core, but excessive glycol based lubricant, hence the coolant type smell. The lubricant is on the vent and components in the dash and when heated and cooled it breaksdown and gives off the odor. I was ready to bail also, but the dealer was persistent and found the problem, then resolved.
I've read that thread already, I'm fairly skeptical that "Grease" is the culprit of this problem. Sounds like a really easy fix, that took 3 years to figure out? Sounds too good to be true.
 

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
I've read that thread already, I'm fairly skeptical that "Grease" is the culprit of this problem. Sounds like a really easy fix, that took 3 years to figure out? Sounds too good to be true.
So take it in and mention it to your dealership, then report back. So far, it's 2 out of 2 members with no smells after getting that specific grease issue resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #157 ·
Who else other then Commutertg has reported success? Also maybe some diagrams or pictures of where this excess "Grease" is, would help too. Don't really want some tech just tearing apart my entire dash if its not a pin pointed area.
If you read the thread more carefully, you'll notice that GM has actually contacted dealerships across the nation specifically instructing what to do and where to do it. This isn't just a "word of mouth" type of thing where one dealer told another dealer and so forth. GM sent out this notice to all dealerships to perform this service on their vehicles. If you walk into a dealership and tell them you know about it, they'll say "yeah, GM told us about it recently."

I haven't taken my car in yet, but it sure sounds like they're on to something.
 

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For all those thinking it can't be it, consider this. In 1998 there was a bulletin that finally came out for a oil smell coming from the engine area of the U-vans (Venture, Transport) especially after an oil change. This was the 3.4 engine. NO oil leaks. No problems with the evap or pcv systems. Not coming front wheel bearings or ball joints.
The rear main seal was the cause. It was the material it was made of that caused the issue.
 

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I've read that thread already, I'm fairly skeptical that "Grease" is the culprit of this problem. Sounds like a really easy fix, that took 3 years to figure out? Sounds too good to be true.
Glycol based grease in the ducting would easily explain the smells I get. First, I only get them when I'm using the heater - I can run my fan on 4 with the A/C on or with just outside air and I get no smell other than from the feed lot I'm currently driving by or the diesel exhaust from the diesel SUV that just blew by me or vice versa, so I know I'm getting outside air. Second, the smell is only really bad when I use my windshield defroster. Any other position for the vents when running the heater is tolerable even though I do get some smell. This tells me the smell source must be either the heater core or in the ducting with the bulk of the duct based smell being in the duct that is opened when using the defroster.

As an engineer I can understand why it took so long to figure this out. If you look at all the reports of anti-freeze mysteriously dissappearing from the car, combined with a small percentage of faulty water pumps and water pump seals, combined with the fact that this grease and anti-freeze are both glycol based so they have very similar odors, you get a really strange set of circumstances that make troubleshooting extremely hard. Having a dealership technician find out about this grease was literally a stroke of luck and now allows GM to focus on not one large hard problem, but two smaller and separate problems - one (maybe two) in the engine bay and one in the passenger cabin. Having that same dealership's management feed this information back to GM corporate was priceless as GM is now passing this information along to all their dealerships.
 

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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.
 
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