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!