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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone:

This is my first post here on Cruzetalk. I have a 2013 Cruze LT (1.4L Turbo) with ~45,000 miles, and have read through a variety of the posts on this issue. However, mine seems to be a bit different.

The car has been running perfectly until last weekend when I received the dreaded "Low Oil Pressure - Stop Engine" warning, and immediately pulled over. The oil levels were fine, but the engine was making obvious (and seriously above normal) valve train noise, so I had the car towed home. Here is what I've found so far.

1) A collapsed oil filter (see image). My first "hope" was that the filter was the only issue, and that replacing the filter with a new AC-Delco would solve the problem. Unfortunately not.
2) After changing the filter and firing the engine (only running for a few seconds), the noise continued, and actually sounded worse.
3) Checking the filter again, it was clean and dry??? Obviously, no oil is reaching the filter.
4) Two common VCT piston codes occurred at the same time. P0011 and P0014

How does the oil flow work on this engine? With the pump up front, and the filter in the back, does the oil still go through the filter before it reaches important engine components (crankshaft, rods, atc.)? Is there anything in-between the pump and filter that could bypass all the oil?

Any suggestions on specific items to test, or examine? Note: I have not taken anything apart at this time. I've found through conversations with local dealerships (one of which I seriously do NOT trust, after they were caught intentionally damaging one of my vehicles), that they are clueless as to this issue or how to proceed. Most responses have been, "pay us to inspect and we'll replace suspect parts". When I asked how they planned to prevent further engine damage, the response was vague in that worst case I'd have to buy a new engine?!? That was not a comfort at all. Does this sound like an oil pump issue, the seal between the oil pan and suction galley, or something else?

Thanks in advance for your attention and responses.
 

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Youch!

Too bad, only 45,000 and this. You did not mention if there was any oil on the dipstick or not. When was the last time you had checked the oil? Did you see excess smoke at any time? Did you have a very recent oil change?


Welcome Aboard!:welcome:

Good Luck!
 

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Is this not covered by the powertrain warranty???

In other news you've clearly got an oil supply problem. Someone will have to drop the pan to see if it's the pump or pickup.

Anyway you slice it your engine has already been damaged.
 
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This is not a normal failure mode for the Cruze. We're looking at some serious internal problems, well outside of normal DIY. I'd suggest taking this to a dealer under the powertrain warranty. Start rounding up the receipts for the oil changes in case they ask for them.

You can go to any Chevy dealer. You don't have to go back to the one you bought the car from, or that you had a bad experience with.
 

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I've gone as far as 10K on an oil change and not seen a filter damaged like that! Looks like whoever has been changing the oil for you didn't change the filter! Or mabe used a super cheap one. Oil filters are one thing I wont cheap on, OEM or equivalent only!
 

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Quite honestly, that filter looks ok. My Wix filters have looked slightly less twisted, but they're still not straight when they come out.

What you have sounds like an oil pump or oil pump regulating valve failure. Oil pressure should build up within 3 seconds of starting the engine even after an oil change.
 

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I remember reading a Tech Service Bulletin about pieces of the oil filter getting caught at the bottom of the oil filter housing. Typically one thing to look for was one of the tabs off the oil filter, where it snaps into the cap.

This little piece breaks off when the tech installs a new filter and gets caught at the bottom of the oil filter housing and keeps the bypass check valve from seating, causing low oil pressure.

Typically this is seen right after an oil change. I remember one person commenting about this problem, and after I mentioned it they realized the filter they removed was missing some of the plastic tabs at the top of the filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
First, thank you for all the responses.

As mentioned in the original post, oil level was perfect and by the vehicle's oil change reminder, it claims 15% time remains. I don't remember the mileage at the time of the last change. I will need to find that receipt.

A very good point on the powertrain warranty. That is something that I will investigate tomorrow. By the documentation, it should be covered since it is under 5 years /100k miles. And if covered, what a relief that will be!

My father used to own a shop, and has looked it over also. There wasn't any debris or one of those filter tabs in the oil filter housing area. That was one of his first concerns. He has never taken one of these apart, and why he suggested posting here. Most of his work was racing, street rod, and NHRA Pro Stock engines. He was also concerned (and told me off a bit) that the last oil change was at JL instead of doing it myself---was in a hurry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
**UPDATE**

The oil pump "exploded" --- and hopefully all of the pieces, shavings, shrapnel and flakes ended up in the pan and nowhere else.

The dealership is claiming that just replacing broken components and testing for proper pressure and ensuring VCT screens are clear should be enough. Parts arrive Monday, and then they begin testing. My dad went off on them a bit today, that if the pump blew up and also killed the cover/housing, that they cannot be 100% certain the engine is free of metal that could create a problem in the near future. They claimed the transfer passage was clear (pump to filter), so we should be OK with their conclusion, and all should be perfect after this repair. He wanted them to replace the whole engine, but they cannot make that decision until doing all this other stuff first, due to GM's procedural obstacle course. The dealership then made the comment that I still have powertrain coverage "until November or up to 100,000 miles". Not a lot of comfort in that with only 45k on it now and that I don't put many miles on it anyway.

But now we all know that these oil pumps can actually hand grenade with no apparent explanation.
:blowup:
 

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**UPDATE**

The oil pump "exploded" --- and hopefully all of the pieces, shavings, shrapnel and flakes ended up in the pan and nowhere else.

The dealership is claiming that just replacing broken components and testing for proper pressure and ensuring VCT screens are clear should be enough. Parts arrive Monday, and then they begin testing. My dad went off on them a bit today, that if the pump blew up and also killed the cover/housing, that they cannot be 100% certain the engine is free of metal that could create a problem in the near future. They claimed the transfer passage was clear (pump to filter), so we should be OK with their conclusion, and all should be perfect after this repair. He wanted them to replace the whole engine, but they cannot make that decision until doing all this other stuff first, due to GM's procedural obstacle course. The dealership then made the comment that I still have powertrain coverage "until November or up to 100,000 miles". Not a lot of comfort in that with only 45k on it now and that I don't put many miles on it anyway.

But now we all know that these oil pumps can actually hand grenade with no apparent explanation.
:blowup:
Thanks for the update. Keep us posted.
 

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I think this is the first time we've had a report of an oil pump disintegrating in a Cruze.
 

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The dealership is claiming that just replacing broken components and testing for proper pressure and ensuring VCT screens are clear should be enough. Parts arrive Monday, and then they begin testing. My dad went off on them a bit today, that if the pump blew up and also killed the cover/housing, that they cannot be 100% certain the engine is free of metal that could create a problem in the near future. They claimed the transfer passage was clear (pump to filter), so we should be OK with their conclusion, and all should be perfect after this repair.
My biggest concern would be engine damage due to running with no oil pressure. What kind of testing are they going to do? I'd hope for at least a compression test.
 

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Rings will tolerate almost no oil.....a bit of mist is all they need.

Since this engine was run with no oil pressure for a minute or two I'd be looking for rod or main bearing damage as well as the crank itself.
Also, the camshafts run directly in the aluminum head and will score the bejesus out of the journals in short order.

Anyways, a real mechanic would pull the caps and look for damage before buttoning this thing up.....hope you found one.

Rob
 

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Hi Guys:

I'm Bsolace's father. I decided to register here in the forum and post on this as well, since I've been following the thread and obviously involved in what is going on. I greatly appreciate your responses, and especially in directing him to the powertrain warranty. I just took it for granted that it had probably expired.

When I spoke to the dealership yesterday, I too was concerned about a variety of secondary issues that could come from this. From my experience, when something like this occurs, it is rarely instantaneous. There is often a lead-up, or a combination of events that build into the more serious damage. For example (Noting that I have never personally taken one of these engines apart), did a bushing start to fail, creating excess clearance; or, did the pressure spring fail or bind, causing harmonics in the pump components and violent pump vibrations led to the failure. They had NO answers to any of these questions, and had no idea how this failure occurred.

If I had more knowledge or experience with this particular engine I could probably develop a theory or two to the actual cause. And believe me when I say that it frustrates me that I have not received a conclusive causal response from the dealer. I almost went over there today to inspect the components and take pictures myself.

I too am concerned about running time without oil pressure, but not so much "after" this event occurred. In that respect, I know my son shut the engine down almost immediately---as soon as he could make a safe stop. And between that and testing before we hauled it off to the dealer it only had a few seconds of operation. I'm more concerned with what happened prior. Even though the dealership claims the transfer passage is clear, and the only metal is large pieces in the pan, my experience forces me to question that statement. As most of us probably know, it only takes a very small piece of debris (metal, babbitt, rubber, plastic, or virtually anything) to stick to a bearing, or wait hidden somewhere to clog an oil passage. If either occur, it is only a matter of time before the engine is just a bucket of broken parts. I'd like to be assured that the bearings and other critical components are still pristine in this engine.

An example I can provide here regarding after-effects is that a family member was once involved in a traffic accident where their vehicle was hit quite hard by someone who ran a red light, launching their vehicle across an intersection. The vehicle was repaired (body and chassis work), but a few months later the engine seized at freeway speed. When I pulled the engine apart I found that a very small piece of engine block casting had wedged itself in an oil passage. The vehicle was a few years old, beyond any warranty, and had 40 or 50k miles on it without ever having an issue. I was able to use various tools at my disposal to find where the casting came from, and found that this piece was able to avoid ever reaching the filter. It was just the right shape that it took an exact position to block the passage. With my analysis and reputation, this person was able to bring the insurance company back into the picture and add a new engine to the accident claim. They were lucky in this example.

The dealership working on my son's Cruze told me that they will be testing pressure and flow somehow. (I'd really like to see how they plan on doing this, considering the design of the pump, pickup, filter, etc). I suspect they could have a tool or device that attaches to the suction passage while also spinning the engine as a way to prime the system. However, I do not see how that is possible without adding wear to critical components, using the engine as its own spintron. On engines that I've built, I always have a way to prime the lubrication system, measure pressure, etc., without spinning the engine, yet turn the engine by hand during this process to move oil through all passages. I do not see how this is possible in this particular engine---but I could be wrong.

When I asked why they were not just replacing the engine, I receive multiple explanations (or excuses). 1) This is the procedure required by GM; 2) They need to replace these components and test first. Then, if "something" is not right they proceed to the next level of replacement (whatever that is); and 3) They don't see metal anywhere else or floating/suspended in the oil. The first sarcastic thought I had with this, is that my son should have just drove the car home, and if it launched a connecting rod along the way, so be it ---it would clearly need a new engine. However, he is much more responsible than that! How then, would the dealer be able to prove oil system (exploding pump) was the cause and not a dysfunctional driver? Sounds like an easy way to blame operator error if different decisions were made. Makes for an interesting discussion...

Again, thanks for your feedback. If we can get pictures or other information on this failure I will make sure that one of us post the details. Have a great weekend!

Regards,
 

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OP & Dad-

A member over on the sonic forums bought an engine several years ago, and did a full dissection on it. Seeing how it's constructed with the oil pump being part of the front cover, might help you have a little edge with discussions with the shop.

Anyway these pictures are cool, unless you have a 1.4L to just pull apart, most of us won't see all these internals.

1.4L Teardown/Modification - Chevy Sonic Owners Forum
 
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Thanks carbon02:

I really appreciate that link, especially that one of the posts included a video showing the oil pump operation. Although his images don't show many of the explicit details, it does give me pause in accepting the dealership claim that metal is only in the oil pan, and could not have gone anywhere else. By their own description, pieces were in the suction passage and the pan itself---but not in the transfer passage to the filter?!? The transfer passage seems to have the larger initial opening size, and is in the direction (flow) of what would have been pressurized with oil before the pump's failure. One would expect to find metal in this passage.

One thing I noticed in the video, is that even when that pump is turned by hand (even though it is dry) it seems loud. This suggests a considerable fluid balancing requirement, where if suction was lost---for example, if the gasket between the pan and housing did not seal perfectly---the pump could disintegrate rapidly if oil flow to the pump was lost. While the design is efficient and looks very light, durability and tolerance for minor errors (low oil, lost sealing at suction passage, or something else) may not bode well for this pump.

In my experience, I've only seen three oil pump failures (in common V8 engines). None of which were from engines I built. One was due to modifications to the pump that made clearances too tight. The unit heated up from friction and seized, shearing the drive shaft and doing considerable damage to other internal engine components. Another was where clearances were too great, causing chatter that turned into harmonics and a pressure imbalance that bound the gears. The third was a dry sump system on a very expensive engine where the installer was (what is a politically correct term?) a pig that did not practice thorough cleaning of components. His assembled braided lines and fittings were not properly flushed, and some rubber plus a piece of steel wire braid wedged in a chamber and seized the pump. Yes, it takes quite an effort to seize a quality dry sump pump, but he succeed. A testament to how sloppy the guy was.

I'm hoping to inspect the components from my son's Cruze to see if I might be correct in my assumptions.
 

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Exactly why you should of just kept driving it until the motor blew up...You stopped and what do you get now? an engine with metal shavings everywhere and lower compression...
 

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CenturyPerf,

I understand your concern and questions.....one wrench to another.

Problem is, dealer mechanics generally don't get involved with failure analysis.....the mission is to get the car (and customer) back on the road with an eye towards minimal customer inconvenience.

The dealer has to fill in three sections, known as the three 'C's.....customer Complaint.........Cause (of failure)......Correction (of the failure).
In this case, the three 'C's are: customer Complaint: Oil pressure/stop engine lamp on......Cause: catastrophic oil pump failure....cannot make pressure......and finally, Correction: replace pump assy as required.
There should be a section for 'OLH' or, Other Labor Hours.
This is a variable time charged to warranty to inspect for consequential damage and as I said earlier, I cannot imagine a repairman not performing these inspections prior to reassembly.

This is a rather simple oiling system with one exception......the oil pump output is variable.....I wouldn't be surprised if, for some reason, this one hung up in a full pressure mode, causing a hydrolock situation and fracturing anything in its way.
As you can see, though, the routing is: pickup to pump, pump to filter housing, filter housing to lube points.
Other than the main run, pump to filter housing, I don't, or can't identify, any debris catching points......it would be wise to pull the filter housing to be certain there is no obstruction in the run, but, if it gets through it'll get trapped in the filter anyways.

Since the failure was catastrophic, or instantanious, the pressure/volume loss was instant as well, so the odds of debris being ejected into the run are remote.

For now, let the dealer do their thing. They have to follow corporate guidlines since the corporation is footing the bill.
If something hidden pops up you have documentation of the incident.

Regards,
Rob
 

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That is one beacon of hope; because the dealership is replacing this for you, you've got documentation of the failure for the future. I know it's not a glimmering rainbow from the mechanical heavens, but it's something.
 
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