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front main leaking. LS 1.8L

1198 Views 18 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Cruzing12
Hey guys so i had my first major breakdown. had the low oil message show for a split second and some 3km later the message came on and... from the fender to mid valve cover, from rad up to the hood and down the fire wall are all covered in oil. had to keep going to find a place to stop for the night so it ran dry for roughly 1km. still starts and runs

I had the car towed and dropped at a shop so will be a couple days till they can look at it, but given the design i wanna figure out what could of happened. if the front main broke by itself could it of pushed out a steady amount of oil? or could the oil pump of failed and started leaking out the sides?
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If the oil pump fails. You lose pressure to leak out the sides. The motor also goes bad. Usually.
okay so the oil pump would be more likely to be a self contained leak, blow into the crank case. i filled up three times with various used oils to limp it and the system had no problem self priming/ pumping its guts out.

pulled over and had my dad deliver some "left over" oil, car cooled off in the hour n a half with the -18c weather, that and doing the last leg car never seen operating temps. but leak it did, stopped to top up three times in the 11km trek last 3k were dry going as slow as i could go.

probably took 5years off the motor right there but if I can get away with a front main I'll risk it.
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You can find low mileage used engines at in local junkyards for 500-1500 Canadian. Heck you might be able to start some of the cars to listen to how they run, connect a code reader, etc. I don't think that is a bad option to consider.

If you DIY, it requires a buddy, a lift, and warmer weather IMHO.
that's what i was luaghing about, couple months back i showed up on a whim to a u pull place and found a 2014 1.8l manual. took 6hrs to pull the motor and tranny with hand tools and a yard supplied gantry crane. the kicker, that motor was pristine where i left it, but nope took the tranny.
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You can probably pull another engine in 1/4 the time now that you know how to do it. Great the wrecker lent you a lift.

In high school, we replaced the engine on my cousin's car. Just took one day. After buttoning up everything, the car didn't move. Buddy at the junkyard thought we might have installed the new clutch backwards. So we ended up pulling motors 3 times that weekend. Good times!

We used a sawzall for some of the extraction work; you can rent battery operated ones but the junkyard might frown upon that level of destruction!

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No jacks, and no grinders/ torches, firedepot is your deim. Took it out with a sawzall. They allow battery operated or provide a generator by the hour for your plug in. problem being a u pull lot; say some body needs a valve cover, by the time you get there the cams are beyond repair. that's the main issue cars get pouched for their cats and valve covers. hitting myself I didn't take the motor

Hoping to get at least 2 months out the motor. .. Work is 26km round trip. Just snowy out. the problem is
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You want a wrecked car preferably.

You know it was driving.

A car that isn't wrecked could have a bad trans or motor.

Used to be a time where some actually took the time for compression readings. Wonder if they still do that.
if I get away with a front main seal i'll do a compression test for sure. just going to send it and look for a motor to rebuild, planned work is easy to do. certianly know how to remove a motor from a manual gear box with a single hook and a couple seat belts to rotate the motor, leaving only the upper trans mount attached loosely. lift, rotate make a catch for tranny with second belt and presto she's out.
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So talked with the mechanic, and am going to see about scavenging an engine either whole or a head from here and a block from there. See about giving it a refresh... I went threw my accumulation of parts and should only need a exhaust gasket, flywheel bolts and if I go that far head bolts and a gasket. Just got a rear main, have the front main........ (Hurt to say it) /cam seals.

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So that little itty bitty pin hole is for the vvt? I need to rewatch the oil gally video again.

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Yeah was planning/ amassing parts to rebuild an engine just un planned...
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Wow just wow, 2-1/2 months ago I laid this motor on the ground begining of winter thinking I'll never need a motor. Exhaust manifold cut at the cat and valve cover along with the throttle body/intake were still attached. Minor surface rust on three cam lobes from someone taking the oil cap off. Got everything off no fuss, rolls smooth and compression to boot.

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The kicker? Three hundred dollars. I was expecting the full five hundred, but I think buddy was just happy he got cash out of a manual wreck, and could free up the spot for another Cruze now that the motor is gone.

All not gleaming deal. Motor has roughly same milage ( far far cleaner we're talking no oil varnish in the head) but also has the same leaky wet spots that did the last motor in. And half the exhaust manifold bolts are stripped. So this weekend may be long, but, pull and clean the pan insert new oil pickup screen, pull and replace oil pump/ acc plate blast out the oil gallies, new rear main and maybe a Getto sand n paint.
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Awesome. The back of the car shows a lot of work done.

For the rusting camshaft, factory applies just a thin hard coating on the lobes so you might consider a substitute. I'm sure the pros will have an educated view on this.

Oil pressure switch on these engines is famous for leaking. That switch was moved around a few times over the years; sometimes it is is difficult to access. Always leaky. Replace now.

Hopefully, the exhaust manifold studs just need some heat and wax. Maybe replace all the studs and nuts for when you have to redo the oil cooler gaskets again in 2026. Risk breaking the studs now or later lol.

While apart, clean up the high-current electrical connectors on the starter and alternator. Carefully inspect the harness' ring terminals (and the wires coming out for oxidation). Maybe you can correct and reseal any issues. On our Astra, the ground wire going from the starter was severely oxidized around the crimp (same engine, different car). Maybe GM fixed this design "oversight".

The famous oil check valves! I know of one by the oil pump, camshafts, oil filter. On earlier versions of the engine, these check valves were metal; the Russian sites said these were replaced with plastic and metal has been NLA for a long time.
Unfortunately I don't have the parking spot to work on it like that...sitting at the garage, but do intend on fixing the grounds and stuff as my current battery is dieing and I have a custom big three kit left over from my first Cruze.

The block ground strap goes straight to the starter, while the positive lead connects to the starter then jumps back to the alternator.

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Crystal clean oil pan, oil leak around 4 bolts, 3 on the timing cover and one on the block counter clockwise from the balancer pulley were loose. thinking of loctight those when I reseal.

Oil cooler was spotless, going with new seals there. seeing how good this motor is I'm going to throw on the new timing cover and see to the rear main seal
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Got the new motor all back together.

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Got a clutch masters aluminum flywheel and clutch kit.
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Pic dump out of order
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Motor is back in the car and doing a solid. Compression ranges from 225-230 cold.

I've clocked 130km and am loving the reduced weight fly wheel simpler shifting, more positive engagement. Chatter at idle is there but pends how you let the clutch out in neutral too quick and the springs in the clutch disc start a positive feedback cycle, let out smoothly and dead quiet.
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Looks salvageable.


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Got a cam lock tool kit in
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Man these bolts were on tight. Had to put the head on the floor and stand on it with the breaker bar.

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Pop. Oh...

And the true damage...
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The cam phaser rattling sort of self destructed. Insane amounts of metal shavings all confined to the gear/cam shaft. Even a vent hole of wich strewn it's finer metallicky paste onto the back of the cog ring. The center is no longer on center as twisting the cam gear on the head the gear would shift to the side before rotating.

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The inner ring should be on center.

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Wish I knew the mechanic, so I know not to go to them for this work... All 4 oil returns blocked, even the supply blocked.
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