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Infamous Chevy Cruze Coolant system issues.

11932 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  mastrbuildr
So I’ve recently been having issues with my Cruze .. in January I got the “AC off Due to high Engine Temp” message … got the code read and it was my thermostat . Replaced that and everything was “fine” … couple months down the road had to replace PCV and MAP sensors ..
About a month ago I noticed the my Valve cover and gasket were bad .. the noises it was making were horrible … replaced that and once again I thought I was fine . Fast forward to Two weeks ago I noticed when I was on the highway I loss acceleration and my car felt like it was about to die .. but no CEL. I quickly decided to turn off of the highway and pull over at that time I noticed white smoke and instantly thought my head gasket was gone . I found it to be the lower radiator hose had a leak and it was under pressure causing coolant to spray on hot parts of the engine hence the white smoke . I fixed that and my mechanic bleed the lines . No issues and this weekend I got the A/C off due to high engine temp message again but my car wasn’t overheating nor did I have a check engine light . But I noticed the temp needle would float between the C and the middle mark .. still no overheat . I decided to change the engine coolant temp sensor (I am aware that there is two in this vehicle im just trying things here lol ) and the needle still floats around but no CEL or A/C message .. any ideas on what I should do now ?
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2014 LT program car, Pull Me Over Red, 1.4T Auto
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So I’ve recently been having issues with my Cruze .. in January I got the “AC off Due to high Engine Temp” message … got the code read and it was my thermostat . Replaced that and everything was “fine” … couple months down the road had to replace PCV and MAP sensors ..
About a month ago I noticed the my Valve cover and gasket were bad .. the noises it was making were horrible … replaced that and once again I thought I was fine . Fast forward to Two weeks ago I noticed when I was on the highway I loss acceleration and my car felt like it was about to die .. but no CEL. I quickly decided to turn off of the highway and pull over at that time I noticed white smoke and instantly thought my head gasket was gone . I found it to be the lower radiator hose had a leak and it was under pressure causing coolant to spray on hot parts of the engine hence the white smoke . I fixed that and my mechanic bleed the lines . No issues and this weekend I got the A/C off due to high engine temp message again but my car wasn’t overheating nor did I have a check engine light . But I noticed the temp needle would float between the C and the middle mark .. still no overheat . I decided to change the engine coolant temp sensor (I am aware that there is two in this vehicle im just trying things here lol ) and the needle still floats around but no CEL or A/C message .. any ideas on what I should do now ?
Welcome Aboard!(y)

2011-2016 Cruze 1.4 PCV Valve Cover/Intake Manifold Issues

Make sure you have properly "burped" the system. This is a brief How-To care of Dhpnet:

Fill Procedure:
1- close the radiator drain plug.
2- lower the vehicle
3- vehicle should be level
4- Loosen the vent screw on the radiator

(vent screw is located at the top, right (passenger) side of the radiator)

NOTE: Close vent screw when coolant begins to flow from the vent screw.

5- Add a mixture of 50/50 DEX-COOL antifreeze and clean drinkable water to the bottom line of the bleed nozzle on the coolant surge tank. When the coolant level stabilizes, add enough coolant to reach the bottom line of the down pipe hole.
6- Start the engine. After the engine starts, verify that the coolant level reaches the bottom line of the down pipe hole.
7- Install the surge tank cap
8- warm up the engine. Run at 2,500 RPM until the engine cooling fan turns ON.

Note: If the heater core has been replaced, let the engine run for 2 minutes at 2,000-2,500 RPM. This ensures complete venting of the cooling system.

9- Turn the engine OFF and allow the engine to cool down.
10- Remove the surge tank cap.
11- Check the coolant level and fill to the COLD mark if necessary.
12- Inspect the concentration of the engine coolant, using GE-26568 tester.
13- Rinse away any excess coolant from the engine and engine compartment.

NOTE: After a test drive let the engine cool down and check the coolant level again. Adjust the coolant level to the COLD mark if necessary.


If it still is giving issues it is time to check the sensors.

AC off Due to high engine temp links
Troubleshooting temp sensors


Don't forget to introduce yourself and your Cruze here.
 

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2014 Cruze LTZ 1.4L
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Whenever I have had to replace a temp sensor, I found the pulling power to the battery for at least 10 min (hour is best) after the replacement seems to clear some weird state. Also only use oem temp sensors or in two weeks you will be doing this exact thing again with an oem sensor....
 

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2014 LT program car, Pull Me Over Red, 1.4T Auto
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Whenever I have had to replace a temp sensor, I found the pulling power to the battery for at least 10 min (hour is best) after the replacement seems to clear some weird state. Also only use oem temp sensors or in two weeks you will be doing this exact thing again with an oem sensor....
My replacements are Dorman and they have lasted longer that the original install.
 

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When I had the A/C off message I did diagnose it down to a failed water temp sensor on the drivers side of the engine. My car did have a CEL but I don't remember what it was. Other then the A/C off message it had a temp gauge that was at zero. The water temp sensor is just a variable resistor that varies the voltage reading the ECU sees as the water gets hot. So to test I put a resistor in place of the sensor, it was like 270 ohm I think which is equal to 140 degrees. Doesn't really matter its just within the operating temp. I cleared the CEL and started the car and the temp sensor went up about a 1/3 of the way and the CEL and A/C off message were gone. Let sit for a little while to heat up and no messages or warnings came back.

You can also test the sensor itself with a multimeter set to Ohms. If the car has sat overnight, depends on overnight temps, when read cold the value will be in the thousands, over 2k. As the water gets hot the resistance value goes down. When the car is hot it should be about 200 ohms maybe a little less. If you are reading 0 ohms or a really low value when the car is cold that is an short and this will give you the overheating A/C off message because this is giving max voltage to the ECU so it thinks the car is overheating. If you are reading infinite when cold or the value doesn't change as the car heats up this is a open and the ECU will have miss matched values when it compares to the other water temp sensor. This test can be done on either water temp sensor, engine or radiator.
 

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2013 Chevy Cruze 1.8 no turbo
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Still having issues with this car and im loosing my mind At the end of October 2021 the oil mixed with the coolant inside of the coolant reservoir, didnt have any coolant inside the oil in the engine , the car wasn't running rough at all, and didn't have any leaks whatsoever . I went to a local shop here who looked inside of the coolant res. and at the oil dipstick and immediatley said my head gasket was blown. i took it to the dealership that i got the car from , within a day or two they told me i needed a whole new engine. Took about 3 weeks to get the motor shipped and installed but what ever. I got my car back the Monday November 29 2021 and noticed that i had a leak(it looked like oil coming from the oil pan) , i took the car back to the shop that put the motor in Tuesday November 30 , so that Tuesday and they told me that the oil and coolant was still mixing (MIND YOU THIS WAS AFTER THE ENGINE BEING REPLACED)..they took it back and after numerous phone calls checking on the vehicle and two weeks later, they advised me that i needed a new radiator . I got the car back yesterday December 14 2021 and the car is still leaking fluid, I even looked at the radiator and it doesn't look shiny at all ( i can see rust on the radiator and old dead bugs stuck inside it). So I have to take the car back today December 15 2021 So that's why I'm coming here to see if anyone has suggestions as to what i could do . I'm going to attach pics of the leak that I've noticed twice now...It seems as though its coming from the oil pan , but this morning i looked and it looks like its coming from the front passenger side of the vehicle.The engine before the replacement had just hit 150,000 , now the new engine has 100,000 if anybody is wondering. I appreciate all help.Ive attached everything that was replaced with the motor as well.
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2nd 2012 1.8l mt 147000km
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1.8l.... has anyone checked the darn oil cooler? I performed a head gasket replacement myself and just out of why not I got a skp oil cooler. To my confusion there was no leak in the head, block or, gasket. But more simply the oil cooler seals had been baked hard and fractured allowing oil into the coolant.
 

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Still having issues with this car and im loosing my mind At the end of October 2021 the oil mixed with the coolant inside of the coolant reservoir, didnt have any coolant inside the oil in the engine , the car wasn't running rough at all, and didn't have any leaks whatsoever . I went to a local shop here who looked inside of the coolant res. and at the oil dipstick and immediatley said my head gasket was blown. i took it to the dealership that i got the car from , within a day or two they told me i needed a whole new engine. Took about 3 weeks to get the motor shipped and installed but what ever. I got my car back the Monday November 29 2021 and noticed that i had a leak(it looked like oil coming from the oil pan) , i took the car back to the shop that put the motor in Tuesday November 30 , so that Tuesday and they told me that the oil and coolant was still mixing (MIND YOU THIS WAS AFTER THE ENGINE BEING REPLACED)..they took it back and after numerous phone calls checking on the vehicle and two weeks later, they advised me that i needed a new radiator . I got the car back yesterday December 14 2021 and the car is still leaking fluid, I even looked at the radiator and it doesn't look shiny at all ( i can see rust on the radiator and old dead bugs stuck inside it). So I have to take the car back today December 15 2021 So that's why I'm coming here to see if anyone has suggestions as to what i could do . I'm going to attach pics of the leak that I've noticed twice now...It seems as though its coming from the oil pan , but this morning i looked and it looks like its coming from the front passenger side of the vehicle.The engine before the replacement had just hit 150,000 , now the new engine has 100,000 if anybody is wondering. I appreciate all help.Ive attached everything that was replaced with the motor as well. View attachment 295232 View attachment 295232 View attachment 295233
View attachment 295234
Going through this as we speak, narrowed it down to the oil cooler gasket.. hope that helps
 

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1.8l.... has anyone checked the darn oil cooler? I performed a head gasket replacement myself and just out of why not I got a skp oil cooler. To my confusion there was no leak in the head, block or, gasket. But more simply the oil cooler seals had been baked hard and fractured allowing oil into the coolant.
I just bought a 2014 Cruze base model 1.8, auto with 95k miles. I am losing coolant internally and I surmised a blown head gasket? (I know the car overheated before I purchased). My oils not milky but seems very diluted and I'm getting water droplets and some white smoke from tailpipe.
I've never replaced a head gasket on an overhead cam engine before. Can I remove the head without having to remove or interfere with timing belt? If after removing head and I find the need to get it resurfaced do I have to remove the camshafts first or can the two cams just stay in place? My main concern is just getting timing out of whack. I can turn wrenches and follow manuals but I'm an amatuer with this kind of stuff. (obviously, lol) Thank you for any insight you may offer.
 

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2015 Cruze 1.4L engine 6 speed AT
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You seem like a nice guy so I'll try to be nice. :whistle:
Replacing a head gasket takes time, and it takes careful wrenching. Judging by your statements the job is currently well beyond your knowledge level. However, if you take your time and use the power of the internets you could do it. So I'll help ya. :cautious:

getting water droplets and some white smoke from tailpipe.
Water constantly comes out of car exhaust, its called science. Does it smell sweet? If so, I'd say the blown head gasket is pretty much confirmed.

If after removing head and I find the need
You need to find the need. Have the head magna-fluxed and surfaced.

do I have to remove the camshafts first or can the two cams just stay in place?
From my previous head gaskets jobs, the cams can stay in place. And I assume the same is true for your engine.

My main concern is just getting timing out of whack.
This is very insightful of you.(y) When removing a head the general procedure is it to bring the #1 cylinder to TDC.

I'd buy some kind of reference for this job, like a Chilton's manual. You are going to NEED a step by step, also all the torque settings.
Hopefully someone with experience on our engines can help. Given the small amount of people and considering you have the 1.8L I wouldn't expect much.

I wish you luck.

 

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You seem like a nice guy so I'll try to be nice. :whistle:
Replacing a head gasket takes time, and it takes careful wrenching. Judging by your statements the job is currently well beyond your knowledge level. However, if you take your time and use the power of the internets you could do it. So I'll help ya. :cautious:


Water constantly comes out of car exhaust, its called science. Does it smell sweet? If so, I'd say the blown head gasket is pretty much confirmed.


You need to find the need. Have the head magna-fluxed and surfaced.


From my previous head gaskets jobs, the cams can stay in place. And I assume the same is true for your engine.


This is very insightful of you.(y) When removing a head the general procedure is it to bring the #1 cylinder to TDC.

I'd buy some kind of reference for this job, like a Chilton's manual. You are going to NEED a step by step, also all the torque settings.
Hopefully someone with experience on our engines can help. Given the small amount of people and considering you have the 1.8L I wouldn't expect much.

I wish you luck.

Thanks Johnny!
I did buy a Chiltons when I first contemplated my own repairs, unfortunately it's somewhat vague with regards to Head Gasket replacement and all the illustrations are for the 1.4 turbo, not one dang pic of the 1.8! Think I'll try to find the Dealership Service manual. I know I can unbolt parts and pull the head, I know I need to buy special tools to lock in cam gears and such, what I'm still green on is if I can leave Timing Belt in place so as not to disturb Timing but still pull the Head? This is the area of expertise where I def need some learnin....
Also if the head is cracked/warped etc and I need a replacement the thought of transferring cams to replacement head hurts my brain as I believe positioning of Cams is most important and once again the green washes over??
 

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2nd 2012 1.8l mt 147000km
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You just spend a lot of time disassembling fragile plastic connectors, as most the wire loom comes undone, and turning alot of bolts.

Air filter box to intake manifold need to come out, throttle body has pcv venting and coolant plumbing to mess with.

Draining fluids, oil and coolant.

Exhaust manifold.... Dip stick tube, o2 sensor and heat shield need to come off. Then 9 little gremlins called studs.

Valve cover then head bolts.

Took me 4 days of on the fly mechanical inclination.

In my case the head wasn't nessacery to remove as it was the oil cooler. usually when the cooler goes it allows oil te leach into the coolant.
 

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Oh.. yeah the belt definitely needs to come off. Pro tip get a white marker and when the engine is timed mark each piece of the belt at the corasponding time mark, or make one. And boom you'll know for certain if it's aligned.

Also I never locked the cam gears. In the timing position the exhaust cam will rotate 8th of a turn and is easy enough to rotate it back in place when the time comes for it.
 

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View attachment 296947
You just spend a lot of time disassembling fragile plastic connectors, as most the wire loom comes undone, and turning alot of bolts.

Air filter box to intake manifold need to come out, throttle body has pcv venting and coolant plumbing to mess with.

Draining fluids, oil and coolant.

Exhaust manifold.... Dip stick tube, o2 sensor and heat shield need to come off. Then 9 little gremlins called studs.

Valve cover then head bolts.

Took me 4 days of on the fly mechanical inclination.

In my case the head wasn't nessacery to remove as it was the oil cooler. usually when the cooler goes it allows oil te leach into the coolant.
View attachment 296947
You just spend a lot of time disassembling fragile plastic connectors, as most the wire loom comes undone, and turning alot of bolts.

Air filter box to intake manifold need to come out, throttle body has pcv venting and coolant plumbing to mess with.

Draining fluids, oil and coolant.

Exhaust manifold.... Dip stick tube, o2 sensor and heat shield need to come off. Then 9 little gremlins called studs.

Valve cover then head bolts.

Took me 4 days of on the fly mechanical inclination.

In my case the head wasn't nessacery to remove as it was the oil cooler. usually when the cooler goes it allows oil te leach into the coolant.
After reading your original post I thought how nice it would be just to replace oil cooler and/or o-rings.
In my case it seems as though my coolant (just water for now) is leeching into my oil versus oil contaminating coolant...or maybe they're both one in the same, I dunno?
My oil seems very watery and coolant tank def losing fluid but seems internal not external.
Also my coil pack had condensation on the two inner coils. Somewhere I read that was a telltale sign of bad gasket???
In addition to the white smoke and unusual amount of water out the tail pipe....
Wonder if oil cooler could be all it is, I'll certainly check it.
Thanks again for your time and insight.
 

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Oh.. yeah the belt definitely needs to come off. Pro tip get a white marker and when the engine is timed mark each piece of the belt at the corasponding time mark, or make one. And boom you'll know for certain if it's aligned.

Also I never locked the cam gears. In the timing position the exhaust cam will rotate 8th of a turn and is easy enough to rotate it back in place when the time comes for it.
Thanks for the tips!
 
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