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Reverend Red Bull
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, encountered the first bit of trouble with the Diesel this morning:

For 9400 miles, everything has been perfect - I'm consistently impressed with the way the car performs, the fuel economy has been great, I've seen reliable, problem-free starts in temperatures as low as -18F, and the funky downshifts even worked their way out as the transmission broke in.

Last night I cleared out my driveway, dug the Cruze out of the snow, and ran it for about 5 minutes as I cleared the windows and moved it up to the garage to be ready for my drive at 6AM to teach an hour away. I remote started the car about 10 minutes before I planned to leave this morning, but upon going out, I found the windows were still frosted and the seat was ice cold. I figured it had just timed out on the remote start and was having a slow time warming up at 1F outside temps.

Then I re-started the car to drive off, and 15 seconds later or so it stalled. I repeated this procedure about 5 times with similar results of 5-30 seconds of run time from each start. When I realized I probably wasn't getting on the road (and why I had come out to a frozen car even after remote-starting it), I re-started enough times to get the car out of the driveway and make way for my Jeep to get out - about a dozen starts in all.

Considering it could be gelled fuel (I filled with untreated #2 on Friday, but had about 5 gallons of 50/50 blend in the tank, so I should have still been good to well below zero), I came back after lunch to see if it would start - same results. Since I was passing by the house to drop off some groceries, I tried it again around 4 (having warmed up to about 12F now) - same results, so I limped it into the garage (on a few re-starts) and pointed 125,000 BTUs at the right-rear corner of the car, just in case of gelled fuel. I had talked to the service department at my nearest dealer while I was in town at lunch time to let them know I might need a tow and service if it didn't "thaw out," and proved to be a malfunction of some sort.

The behavior doesn't seem like gelled fuel to me since it starts cleanly every time and doesn't struggle before stalling, and the temps don't seem right for it, but I suppose I can't completely rule it out. There are no malfunction lights to speak of either (water-in-fuel-filter, CEL, DPF warnings, etc.). The service adviser agreed with me that it would be good to warm it up just in case to save everyone the trouble of the tow, etc. so now I'm going back home to check on it in 15 minutes or so. If it starts, I'll take it down and top off the tank with #1 to hopefully lower the gel point enough to get through the tank (then I'll start using an anti-gel or buying treated fuel from now on). If it doesn't run, then it's time to call up the dealer and get it towed in for diagnosis.

I'm hoping for the best, but I'll update this thread with my progress.
 

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Wow, that's quite the situation.

Hope it get's sorted out soon.

Plus 125,000 British Thermal Units sounds Xtreme! Chez Tomko is heated with less than half that.
 

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The 'starts and dies' thing is consistent with fuel that is not fully gelled but has gotten thick enouph to be flow restricted through the filter.

Rob
 

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Sorry to hear about that. My brain kind of spins on this and I wonder what the results would have been if you had gotten in the car and driven straight off rather than idling. Hopefully there are some GM engineers reading this forum to learn about things like this. I would think that after running for a while, the fuel would have heated up enough that you would not have a problem. I am tending toward blaming the fuel in this case but really curious to hear what you find out.
 

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The 'starts and dies' thing is consistent with fuel that is not fully gelled but has gotten thick enouph to be flow restricted through the filter.

Rob
This could very well be true. Especially if your filter is full of sediment from a bad batch of fuel further restricting flow to begin with. I hope it's just fuel related and not a frozen intercooler issue that plagues all but the newest VW passat TDI's.
 

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Reverend Red Bull
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
125,000 British Thermal Units sounds Xtreme! Chez Tomko is heated with less than half that.
medium sized torpedo heater
It's a lot, but it does the job I bought it for. I have about 600 square feet of garage with no installed heat, insulation, or ceiling, so it takes some beef to warm that place up enough to work comfortably with bare hands. This heater can take that garage from 0 to 55 in about 90 minutes, and after a couple hours, I have to cut the thermostat back to 65 to keep it from sweating me out. You can actually hear the snow outside melting and sliding down the roof when it's on. Depends on fuel too. It seems to perform best running on Diesel but the fumes are worse; The air breathes a little easier with Kerosene, but it doesn't heat quite as well. I haven't tried out heating oil or jet fuel in it, so not sure how those work.

Try putting some diesel 911 in it if you can find some. A lot of places are sold out.
I put about 8 oz of 911 in the tank right away in the morning, but it didn't seem to get me anywhere until I applied heat.

In the end, I went back after about 75 minutes of the heater being pointed at the right-rear of the car. It started up and kept running, so I took it out for about a 20 mile drive and topped off with 3 gallons of straight #1 while i was out. We'll see how it starts when I head out for church tomorow morning at -5F. If it's good, then it was probably fuel. If the trouble returns (8 oz of 911 and 3 gallons of #1 should be enough to keep it flowing at -5F), then it will be time to start looking into other problems. However, since there were no codes and the heater was pointed at the fuel filter, not the motor, it seems fuel is the most likely cause. Next tank, I'm definitely going to be a little more aggressive with the blend (I was pushing the envelope with this fill to try to keep the cost per gallon down and the fuel economy up - maybe not the best choice, since I spent the day driving around at 12-15mpg in my Jeep) or start putting in some additive to prevent future problems.
 

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Well, encountered the first bit of trouble with the Diesel this morning:


Considering it could be gelled fuel (I filled with untreated #2 on Friday, but had about 5 gallons of 50/50 blend in the tank, so I should have still been good to well below zero),
I think this is your problem. I had something similar happen with my son's TDI last tuesday. He called me and said his car had sputtered, quit and wouldn't restart after driving 15 miles from work towards our house. It was blocking a driveway out in the country about 5 miles away. I went out there and to make a long story short, it sounded like a no fuel situation. I know the sound too well from the time my pump drained down during a timing belt change and I had to vacuum prime the whole circuit. He cranked while I listened a little and after maybe 20 seconds of cranking on 2 cycles it sputtered and fired up. We drove it 5 miles home but it wouldn't start the next morning. Cranked and no start, no fuel.

I didn't think it was jelled fuel because the car had done well in much colder weather and he uses PS winter additive with every tank. However, he told me he got fuel at BP by the mall instead of the truck stop uptown where it turns over regularly so I suspect the station didn't go through much diesel and it wasn't winterized. I thought the PS winter additive would protect it but.....

I ended up installing a new fuel filter filled with 50/50 Diesel 911 and winterized diesel and that didn't do it. I had to crack open the injector lines at the injector to bleed out whatever was in the lines to get it started and it's started every other time I've tried it since (he's driving my TDI now).

I don't how the Cruze is laid out, the filter on a TDI is 6" from the injection pump so whatever is in the filter gets to the pump and injectors fairly quickly. The TDI also has an arrangement to return excess fuel to the filter assembly to warm it up. I think someone posted the fuel filter is under the car somewhere? If so, and you have gelled fuel in the lines, I'm not sure how long it will take to get it out or how you get the 911 where it will do some immediate good at the injectors.

Point of the story is that I had no idea how quickly non winterized diesel would shut a TDI down even with PS winter additive. That's the only thing I can think of that caused what happened to our TDI and it might be what is behind your problems.
 

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Hopefully you are all set. Otherwise I would throw a fuel filter at it just to rule it out. Its just seems like one of those things you have to do in this situation. Its a real shame that the fuel filters are so pricey on this car.
 

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Hey revjpeterson,

Keep us posted and please contact us by PM is you need our assistance or have any questions for Chevrolet Customer Care.

Jackie
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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Reverend Red Bull
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
40 miles yesterday at around zero and 100 today starting out after a low of -8, and no problems so far. Appears it must have been fuel-related, but should be corrected now.
 

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Glad it appears to be just the fuel.

This past week, I left my car parked outside at the airport (an open lot, not a garage) for about 52 hours. The daytime temps at the airport during that time were never higher than 8 degrees F, and at for the two nights there dropped down to -12 and -17 F. When I returned to the car it was midday and about 6 degrees F. The tank was full of straight #2 with a double-dose of PS white bottle.

The car cranked a bit to get started, but then took off and ran like a champ with no issues.
 
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