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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My mother is 65 y.o. and she recently met a severe problem with her 2013 Chevrolet Trax that is powered by identical 1.4T powertrain than the 1st gen Cruze, this is why I am asking your help here. The car is only 70,000 KM old (4 years) and suddenly the car begin to smoke oil and engine to stall only a 3 KM away from the house after a cold start. We don't have any SES light that comes up, but since the car is burning oil and the engine power was too reduced to drive, we get it towed at Chevy dealership with roadside assistance. Yesterday they called me to discuss about the issue with the Trax and apparently this is a "known issue" and there's apparently a technical bulletin for the Cruze and the Trax who both shares the same 1.4T powertrain, the problem is apparently that during high temperature variation, there's some water/humidity that build up inside the oil and when the temperature drop very cold, the PCV valve diaphragm froze in place and don't vent the engine causing the engine to eventually stall few KM away. But the most amazing part of there's an official GM technical bulletin is there's no fix, except than GM recommend to clean entire air intake to remove any oil deposit, then change oil and that's it! Moreover, it's not covered by warranty (around 200$ labor!). As oil change as been done only a few thousand of KM with full synthetic, we decided to don't do anything. As the outside temperature drastically increased yesterday, the issue completely disappeared and now the engine run smooth when the dealer test drive it later. I have to admit that we have some very nasty weather in Canada this month... for example last week temperature was 15'C and then the next day it's -25'C, yes, this is not a mistake... 40 degrees celsius change in 24 hours! When the Trax failed, it was -25'C outdoor. But in Canada temperature goes under -30'C pretty often, so this is not something new to us, nor to the Trax!

One more thing (now comes the amazing part!)... While they are doing usual diagnostic for the frozen PCV valve yesterday, they also discovered three blown oil gasket and severe oil leaks; oil pan gasket are blown, crankshaft gasket are blown and another oil gasket are blown (I can't remember where). So I asked the technical advisor if this may be related to the frozen PCV valve and they said "don't know", but obviously my opinion is the frozen PCV valve (closed) built a high pressure in the oil and this is what actually exploded all those gaskets, because obviously if the engine have any kind of leak prior to the PCV problem, it would be visible on the pavement in the driveway... so I think this is all bullshit!

Now I try to figure out if her Trax will run fine and I am a bit confused about this PCV valve know issue and I would like to know your opinion. Obviously the temperature outside will become warmer now as it's spring and yes she still have 1 year remaining of powertrain warranty, but I can't risk her to remain stuck somewhere far away because she plan a road trip later this summer...

Thanks for comments and suggestions. :smile:
 

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I haven't heard of this issue where they freeze, but the PCV burst disc (in the valve cover) and check valve in the intake manifold are very common failures on these 1.4 engines. Almost a 100% failure rate.

Unfortunately, they've gone through several design updates for the valve cover, but the root cause seems to be that pesky intake manifold check valve, and THAT was never re-designed.

Usually the car will throw a check engine light with 3 codes - P0171, P1101, and P0106 - well before conditions get worse and you have oil leaking out of everywhere. Left untouched, the crankcase pressure will build up, oil goes through the turbo and everything else and makes a mess/exhaust smoke, the hole in the burst disc will enlarge, and the car begins to run/idle like crap.

There is a TSB out there that calls for replacing the valve cover, which is obviously bad, as well as checking for the check valve in the intake manifold and corrugated PCV hose from turbo to intake manifold, and if found missing, to replace those as well under PT warranty.
 

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This is the first I've heard of a PCV Valve failure due to moisture. I guess it could be, as rubber gets more firm and brittle when exposed to moisture that freezes.

Maybe this dealer is really telling the truth, and has shared some GM info we haven't heard, or it's their postulation. That we'll never know.

Typically the PCV valve fails due to high pressure for other reasons.

I'm going to try to link to a few threads that explains the PCV valve, how it works, how to test if it's blown, and the intake manifold. Anyone can remove the cover and test to see if the PCV valve is blown without tools. If it is blown the dealer is instructed per GM Bulletins to replace the valve cover AND verify that the orange check valve is present in the intake manifold.

If this check valve is missing the dealer is to replace the intake under the 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

There's a lot to read on the following link, but it will help you understand the problem, how to verify the problem, and give you an understanding of what the dealership service personnel should be doing.

http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/34-g...011-2016-cruze-1-4l-pcv-system-explained.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hi folks, yes I quickly found this specific TSB while googling for my mom's Trax issue, but apparently the PCV valve of her Trax is in good shape according to the dealer (considering they made a good diagnostic) and the problem is apparently just because of frozen PCV diaphragm... but since she don't have any MIL light (yet), nor any bad idle when warm temperature, can we consider the PCV is correct? As apparently the PCV valve failure rating is like 100% on the 1.4T, so is there any chance that the dealer may missed something?

And what about the 3 blown gasket... do you think it can be related to a defective/in-operating PCV valve and too high pressure?
 

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I've heard of PCV systems on other vehicles freezing up, but usually it's the condensation in the tubes from oil/crankcase vapors just freezing up. I suppose it's possible the orange check valve could freeze shut. Some systems I'm familiar with used engine coolant lines along side them to keep them warm.

In any case, a PCV system not operating as intended will cause positive crankcase pressure. That escapes at the first weak point it can find...usually seals, oil dipstick, etc. Think of blowing up a balloon until it pops or a water hose bursting.

When you receive the car back, double-check for the orange check valve in intake manifold. You should see a small orange dot in there. If not, the intake manifold needs to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I've heard of PCV systems on other vehicles freezing up, but usually it's the condensation in the tubes from oil/crankcase vapors just freezing up. I suppose it's possible the orange check valve could freeze shut. Some systems I'm familiar with used engine coolant lines along side them to keep them warm.
You know what? I skipped a short part of my story to get my initial post shorter to read, but the dealer told me that GM recommend (from the TSB) to install an auxiliary heating circuit (12V powered) to heat the PCV valve in northern climate and to permanently prevent this known issue. But as it's not part of a worldwide recall, it's not covered by the powertrain warranty, nor by the full 3y warranty BTW. But how much do you think this auxiliary heater cost? 1300$ (Canadian) + labor!

No need to mention that the technical advisor was highly embarrassed to offer me this heating circuit, but apparently it's clearly indicated to offer the customer this optional product in the technical bulletin from GM!

1300$+labor for an auxiliary PCV valve heater... to fix a known issue because of a design flaw?! :RantExplode::RantExplode::RantExplode:
 

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Clearly they didn't do enough cold-weather testing, as these cars seem to have issues in northern climates (especially making cabin heat).

Or for that matter, testing the PCV system longevity in general...

Unfortunately, not sure what can be done. I would suggest keeping the port in the intake manifold clean every 6 mos/maybe 3 during winter months to keep condensation and crud from building up in there - I have seen some look very dirty. There are foaming solvents that are engine/plastic-safe that can be used for this purpose.

Here is mine, sans check valve, after about 4 years. I've seen a lot more crud in there on others.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just got a call from the dealer 1 minute ago (the Trax is still there) as one oil gasket is back-order. I ask the technical advisor about the PCV valve high failure rating and he told me that my mom's Trax have the second generation PCV valve (introduced somewhere between 2011 and 2013!) that is not affected from high failure rating and he also mentioned that they verified the orange valve in the intake manifold too. He told me that 1.4T PCV valve have two parts numbers, the first have very high failure rating and the second part number is a upgraded version that is already on the vehicle now.

But I do agree they miss some very cold climate test because as we are located in north of Canada, our local GM dealer deal very often with problem related to cold weather with the Cruze and the Trax. Very disappointing...
 

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econd generation PCV valve (introduced in 2013) that is not affected from high failure rating
Haha, they still fail. We see it around here all the time on 13-14s. But it is good news that's still in working order. If you get a check engine light and hear hissing at idle, you'll know where to look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
To be honest, the goal now is to maintain the Trax to run properly for this summer because at the autumn when the 2018 models will be available, my mom will definitely trade it for something way more reliable. Since I suggest her to purchase the Trax LT AWD in 2013, she only have issues with it... no joke this **** car as been towed 10x to the dealer in 4 years because it just died for many reasons (turbo leak, oil leak, MIL light, electrical issues, dead battery (blown cells??!!), etc.). Each time I tried to comfort my mom saying it's gonna be better now, but every 4-5 month, the car failed completely. She love the handling, the size, the fuel economy and the AWD system, but it's always failing.

Please don't blame her, she's 65 y.o., she lives alone (dad's died 7 years ago) and she totally lost confidence with the Trax or any other GM compact vehicle... I personally drive a 2010 Chevy Cobalt (with the 2.2L Ecotec) with no real issues in 7 years, but its my second car.

Now my mom is completely set on buying a more reliable Japanese SUV like Honda or Toyota and nothing else, and I think nothing will ever change her mind... she was to anxious driving the Trax now.
 

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Some of them have turned out to be really troublesome. Some have turned out to be pretty good.

My sister was looking for a replacement crossover lately after her Escape was totaled. She asked about the Trax, and I said that I could in no way recommend one based on the trouble I had with my 1.4L Cruze.

It came down to the new Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Ford Escape for us. CX-5 won. I think the 2018 (maybe 19) Equinox/Terrain will be a very strong competitor in the field. GM has been working on their reliability in the past few years, and with the new 1.4L/1.5L engines behind much of their revamped lineup, they're banking big on their new small gasoline engine family (reliability is about all that the current 2.4/2.5 Ecotecs have going for them - they're noisy and gutless).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well for the moment she hesitates between the Honda CRV, the Toyota RAV4 and the Hyundai Tucson. I wouldn't personally recommend Korean first, but obviously for the past few years (3-4 years) Kia and Hyundai get a better reliability rating than Honda and Toyota so maybe?...

As for the CX5, she like it a lot, but my uncle (mom's younger brother) own a 2015 CX5 and he already have several nasty rush issues after 1.5 years of own... just like all Mazda vehicle for the past few decades. My cousin also own a CX5 (a 2015 or a 2014) and he also experiment several rust issues and he want to trade it already... So Mazda are removed from the list.

Maybe Subaru also must me considered, like the Forester or even maybe the all-new (launched THIS morning) 2018 XV Crosstrek if she want a small compact of the same size as the Trax.

I cross my finger than the Trax last a few more months without any issues. By chance she still have 1 year of powertrain warranty, but I don't want her to be stuck somewhere with the car because of another major issue.
 

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I haven't heard of this issue where they freeze, but the PCV burst disc (in the valve cover) and check valve in the intake manifold are very common failures on these 1.4 engines. Almost a 100% failure rate.

Unfortunately, they've gone through several design updates for the valve cover, but the root cause seems to be that pesky intake manifold check valve, and THAT was never re-designed.

Usually the car will throw a check engine light with 3 codes - P0171, P1101, and P0106 - well before conditions get worse and you have oil leaking out of everywhere. Left untouched, the crankcase pressure will build up, oil goes through the turbo and everything else and makes a mess/exhaust smoke, the hole in the burst disc will enlarge, and the car begins to run/idle like crap.

There is a TSB out there that calls for replacing the valve cover, which is obviously bad, as well as checking for the check valve in the intake manifold and corrugated PCV hose from turbo to intake manifold, and if found missing, to replace those as well under PT warranty.
Is there a thread related to a change or diagnosing this issue, I've noticed the smoke and bad idle, no codes on the car and as of now runs well with no smoke, but runs very rarely ! I'd like to view the thread and get this revised part before the failure lol

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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"Clearly they didn't do enough cold-weather testing, as these cars seem to have issues in northern climates (especially making cabin heat)."

Didn't they do 4 million miles testing and drive through siberia or something like that lol :)
 

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Well for the moment she hesitates between the Honda CRV, the Toyota RAV4 and the Hyundai Tucson. I wouldn't personally recommend Korean first, but obviously for the past few years (3-4 years) Kia and Hyundai get a better reliability rating than Honda and Toyota so maybe?...

As for the CX5, she like it a lot, but my uncle (mom's younger brother) own a 2015 CX5 and he already have several nasty rush issues after 1.5 years of own... just like all Mazda vehicle for the past few decades. My cousin also own a CX5 (a 2015 or a 2014) and he also experiment several rust issues and he want to trade it already... So Mazda are removed from the list.

Maybe Subaru also must me considered, like the Forester or even maybe the all-new (launched THIS morning) 2018 XV Crosstrek if she want a small compact of the same size as the Trax.

I cross my finger than the Trax last a few more months without any issues. By chance she still have 1 year of powertrain warranty, but I don't want her to be stuck somewhere with the car because of another major issue.

My wife drives a 2015 Rav 4 we bought new for pretty reasonable price. It rides kind of bumpy but its an SUV. Otherwise we have had ZERO issues, ZERO recalls. Just tire rotations and oil changes of course with Amsoil lol :)
 

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OMG this is crazy to see!
I think the dealer cant figure it out so they are making some BS up about PCV freezing!? Not a chance..

It would freeze shut, and after 60 seconds or some boost it will open up at idle to pull vacuum in the crank case. So if it did freeze it would fail safe, no effect to operations. The fix involves permanently sealing this passage, so the turbo cannot continue to pressurize the crank case.


Now i bet your missing that orange check valve, all the symptoms are there, excessive crank pressure, blown seals. I went through all the same stuff twice! Lost a turbo due to the stupid orange.........

Find a dealer that will replace the intake manifold and it should cure this Trax

Rant on how stupid your dealer is, their are two check valves and it appears they have failed to distinguish the two, the service manager mixed them up and thats scary when he gets confused. They replaced my valve cover with the 'gen 2' valve but it was the intake PCV one that was missing so it just kept doing the same crap. I would lose a quart of oil every 60 miles when that orange valve went missing, and it was coming out of everywhere!!! And it forged a new PCV path threw a brand new turbo... oil pan seal was f***ed from the excessive crank pressure, my bad math i came to the conclusion that its around 20 psi of crank pressure when accelerating without the orange check valve. That is 4X what they were expecting as max crank case pressure...

XtremeRevolution's fix would work perfectly, its the one sticky'ed
2011-2016 Cruze 1.4L Turbo Intake Manifold PCV Check Valve Fix
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OMG this is crazy to see!
I think the dealer cant figure it out so they are making some BS up about PCV freezing!? Not a chance..

It would freeze shut, and after 60 seconds or some boost it will open up at idle to pull vacuum in the crank case. So if it did freeze it would fail safe, no effect to operations. The fix involves permanently sealing this passage, so the turbo cannot continue to pressurize the crank case.

This was exactly my point!! How something that is frozen can be still frozen after few miles of run and then engine temperature increase... just a non-sense.

But apparently the orange check valve is the first thing that they verified, so as the PCV valve itself... so? You think the dealer lie and just didn't verified it for real?
 

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This was exactly my point!! How something that is frozen can be still frozen after few miles of run and then engine temperature increase... just a non-sense.

But apparently the orange check valve is the first thing that they verified, so as the PCV valve itself... so? You think the dealer lie and just didn't verified it for real?
I would want to double-check with my own eyes for sure. Doesn't make sense to me, as the air coming off the turbo into the intake manifold should be relatively warm. The only thing I can think of that would freeze would be the plastic tube that wraps around, but it is kept close to the engine as well.

My dealer said they verified PCV operation and it was fine, and I had to print out the TSB and walk them through what needed to actually be repalced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
*news*

Finally my mom get her Trax back yesterday afternoon and it appears that they made a wrong diagnostic about the frozen PCV valve because yesterday it was 8'C outside (46'F) and while returning from dealership to her home (20 KM travel), the Trax engine almost stalled (low power and hesitating for 10 seconds, then return to normal operation) TWICE during normal driving on the main road... so the Trax is back to the dealership this morning for a proper (I hope) diagnostic this time, but since no MIL light ever shows up, I fear the worst!

While taking a new appointment to the dealer this morning, I ask the technical advisor few more information regarding the technical bulletin where the PCV valve return line can freeze and prevent proper engine operation, because I still thought it's total bullshit... I don't know if it's legit, but he left me a copy of the TSB! Obviously this is probably not the right problem that affect my mom's Trax after all, but this TSB is fresh from January 23th 2017, this probably explain why none of you ever heard of it. Here's the cover page of the TSB, but it's 11 pages long and it precisely indicate what I reported (in my own words) earlier from my discussion with the dealer. BTW this specific TSB is for the Trax/Buick Encore, but there's an identical TSB for the Cruze, but they put it on a different TSB number for no reason...

Text Font Line

No need to say this TSB is completely outrageous for any vehicle owner... because considering -18'C (0'F) as "Extreme Cold Condition"... jezzz!!! Is this TSB written in Mexico or what????!!!!
 
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