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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

2012 Cruze Eco, 6-speed manual with 111K & change miles on it. Bought used with 86,500 miles on it almost 3 years ago...
i've had good luck before with help from the forums so i'm back. i've edited the post after realizing how long it was. It's still pretty long but want to provide enough detail to give a clear idea of what's happening.

i've had 2 episodes recently (mid-September & late October) generating a P0299. Both times the CEL came on were highway driving. One was in very hot weather running the AC & dealing with lots of pretty steep hills. Stopped running the AC except on flats or nearly flat stretches. Had 2 occurrences of very brief hesitation (kind of like an engine starving for fuel which i took to be the underboost condition) several minutes apart. After the second the light came on.

The second in late October was in cool, rainy weather, also highway driving with some hills. Same deal: 2 brief instances of hesitation as above not too far apart followed by the CEL coming on shortly after the second underboost occurrence.

In both cases the car ran fine otherwise, had no other symptoms i've seen described in many of the threads on this code. After the first one i talked to my local shop & they suggested just watching for other symptoms & if the light comes back on, thought it might be a phantom code. After the second, they thought i should replace the turbo. i need to clarify whether they checked the waste gate arm play. They cleared the code & it hasn't reoccurred. It's been 10 days & i've driven as normal, some highway some local, no re-occurrence & no symptoms. CEL has not come on again. From what i've been reading in the forums, i'm guessing it will come back at some point. i checked the oil level after both & it was fine, had been changed recently with full synthetic.

The only other symptoms i've ever had are an oil, almost burnt oil smell in the cabin with the heat on. It's not constant, usually most noticeable shortly after turning the heat on with recirculate OFF. Had this more than a year ago before getting a P0299 in a string of codes from which i ended up having the PCV valve cover repair done at a dealer a year ago last June. That cleared the code & the smell disappeared. i also had the mysterious disappearing coolant issue at that time & they replace the water pump under the TSB on it. That's also come back recently. Only get a coolant or coolant like smell outside the car after i shut if off & get out. Don't think that's related but i'm not sure & want to sort out the turbo issues first before i go back to a dealer.

So here are the questions i have.

If the waste gate is failing, wouldn't the underboost occur with more persistence? Does the fact that it's not suggest it may be something other than the turbo?

What are the best ways to rule out the other possibilities? i don't have a good space or the tools to boost test it or leak test it--i'll have to ask my shop about that. My mechanic is willing to run any reasonable test suggested. He did a fair bit of research & felt it all pointed to the turbo. i can kind of see why but don't want to spend the $$ on a turbo before i'm sure, especially since the car is otherwise running fine.

Finally, do you all recommend any particular after-market turbo units? i know from my reading i need to have all lines replaced too so i wonder if any of these are included in after-market turbo packages.

Thanks, sorry for the lengthy post!

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