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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had some Cruze issues that just don't seem right and I wanted to see if anyone else had similar issues.

My better half and I both leased brand new 2017 Cruze base models starting back in November. Both are set up as high mileage leases and both cars are driven quite a bit. On one, most of the mileage is city driving and on the other the mix is closer to 50/50 city and highway driving. Generally, different gas stations are used. Both cars have been maintained by quick lube places, but at different locations, different times, etc.

Right around 28k on each of the cars, a bad misfire developed. It got worse very quickly and in both cases, the dealer diagnosed the issue as piston failure. Different dealerships in different states worked with each car. In both cases, the dealer attempted to replace one piston and in both cases, there was further internal damage and the engines needed to be replaced. Car #1 had the work done and runs fine now. Car #2 is in the shop now and hopefully will be finished by the end of the week. Both are being covered under warranty, but both cars are used for work and without our cars, we cannot work. Between the two of us, this has cost about $3,500-$4,000 in lost income. Needless to say, I am very disappointed. We invested in new cars to be used as a tool. I don't expect engine failures after less than 30k. I am very nervous that we will be dancing this dance again at 60k,90k, etc. when the cars are out of warranty. We both really like our Cruzes, but this could be a big problem.

Has anyone else had piston issues on a Gen 2 Cruze?

I am also a writer and journalist, so I reached out to GM's public relations department to inquire about possible issues. They have not commented.

I also have not been able to find out for sure which cylinder had the piston failure. Both dealerships haven't been able to give me much information and the service writers seem very detached from the actual technicians.

Any thoughts or experience would be appreciated.
 

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Wow that's unlucky. Why didn't they give you rentals if the car is in the shop that long?

Probably cyl #1. Seems to be the common factor.

Try running 89-93 oct instead of 87. Small turbo engines shouldn't really be run on regular - they are constantly battling knock or preignition, which can be a piston failure. Also make sure that you run nothing but full synthetic oil in the engines. Ideally, you want one with as low calcium as an additive as possible.

With it always being cyl #1 though, my thought is that it might be an Ecm tune issue on GMs part - the Malibu 1.5T, which is closely related, was tossing pistons left and right before a tune update was released.
 

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Worth noting, my Cruze with the cracked piston was bought in December. @New Englander do you know the build date of your Cruzes?

A good friend of mine had it happen at 2k miles, mine went around 7k miles, both were 2016 build dates.
 

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Both of those dealers should have given you a new rental car since both vehicles are under warranty.

This is why people hate dealers (GM dealers especially) and switch to other brands; the lack of customer service these days is something else. There has been quite a few people on here that have done just that.

All I can say is hang in there. These are still all new designs, they have to work out the bugs yet. I would definitely not go to both of those dealers again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I should clarify, In both cases, we were given loaner cars but because of insurance requirements, we could not use the loaner cars to work. So we weren't walking but weren't working either. In her case, the dealer was fine with arranging a car through Enterprise. In my case, we really had to fight for it. The dealer where I bought the car wasn't interested in helping out because it was on the Tuesday before Memorial Day. They told me that it would be a busy holiday weekend and basically to try driving it until afterwards. Yes, that gave dealerships a bad name since we recently bought two new cars there. GM had to get involved and helped me arrange service with another dealership where a loaner was available.

Unless we were misled, the oil changes were all done requesting Dexos spec oil at a national chain of quick lube stores - different locations. I don't really have a high opinion of those places, but it seems unlikely that lightning would strike twice by having them both put in the wrong spec oil and having it be an issue.

87 octane is always used. We just use a lot of gas and premium isn't budgeted for it. The turbo heat does make sense. I hate the added expense of using premium or midgrade fuel, but maybe that would keep this from happening again. Asking 100 cubic inches and a turbo to work that hard does seem a lot to me. But I also think in old school ways.

I will have to check the build dates. If I remember, the VINs aren't really close, but they were both bought in November.

Thank you for all of the input so far.
 

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87 octane is always used. We just use a lot of gas and premium isn't budgeted for it. The turbo heat does make sense. I hate the added expense of using premium or midgrade fuel, but maybe that would keep this from happening again. Asking 100 cubic inches and a turbo to work that hard does seem a lot to me. But I also think in old school ways.
I would step it up to at least midgrade. Many of us found that the car runs a little peppier and may return slightly better MPG as well (since it isn't pulling timing to de-tune itself to compensate for knock). A little cheap insurance for what could be an expensive issue.

It seems that other turbo engines that say they can run on 87 run VERY rich to compensate for knock (part of the reason, for example, they're usually known for not getting great MPG under load - like Ford's 4-cyl Ecoboost engines). GM, apparently, doesn't like to do this.

Unless we were misled, the oil changes were all done requesting Dexos spec oil at a national chain of quick lube stores - different locations. I don't really have a high opinion of those places, but it seems unlikely that lightning would strike twice by having them both put in the wrong spec oil and having it be an issue.
If you are able to find out what they use, that could be a factor. GM changed the whole Dexos-1 specification - and their own dealer blend of oil - recently to better formulate it for TGDI engines based on low-speed preignition studies.
 

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Not sure about other states, main problem around here with ethanol is getting a good mix, start off with 80 octane and attempt to boost that to 87 with E10. Also ethanol is heavier than gas and will settle to the bottom of the tank where the input to the fuel pump is.

Read nothing about lifting your car and shaking it first to mix it up. Cruze only got top tier 91 octane fuel, yes, it more expensive, but with improved performance and economy and saving your engine, far cheaper in the long run.

Detonation is the key problem, on the compression stroke, piston is going up, creates heat that ignites low octane fuel. Crank inertia moves that piston up, detonation makes the piston go down, result, piston breaks.

Quick lube? Are they putting dexos in these things? Four bucks more for dexos for a five quart bottle than conventional oil, yet my dealers around here want 40 bucks more! Heck with you, will change it myself. Conventional can't take the heat, congeals and blocks your turbo oil flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not sure about other states, main problem around here with ethanol is getting a good mix, start off with 80 octane and attempt to boost that to 87 with E10. Also ethanol is heavier than gas and will settle to the bottom of the tank where the input to the fuel pump is.

Read nothing about lifting your car and shaking it first to mix it up. Cruze only got top tier 91 octane fuel, yes, it more expensive, but with improved performance and economy and saving your engine, far cheaper in the long run.

Detonation is the key problem, on the compression stroke, piston is going up, creates heat that ignites low octane fuel. Crank inertia moves that piston up, detonation makes the piston go down, result, piston breaks.

Quick lube? Are they putting dexos in these things? Four bucks more for dexos for a five quart bottle than conventional oil, yet my dealers around here want 40 bucks more! Heck with you, will change it myself. Conventional can't take the heat, congeals and blocks your turbo oil flow.

Jiffy Lube will do a Dexos oil change, but they charge extra for it. The way that our leases are structured, the oil changes using factory spec oil are included in the lease if a fleet provider such as Jiffy Lube, Valvoline, Firestone etc. is used. I believe the fleet provider gets billed $96 for a Jiffy Lube Dexos oil change and tire rotation.
 

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Dexos should not be anymore expensive especially if its fully synthetic like Mobil 1. Mobil 1 and the other brands that are dexos approved are the same price they were before they were dexos approved. This why i hate these quick lube places. They make it sound like synthetic is like double the price of regular oil and its not anymore. Even if regular oil for 5quarts is 15 and synthetic is 25, the quick lube places double the price of the change which is just weird to me.
 

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So the question is what is causing this? Bad piston?
That's a theory. Tune or something inherent in the engine/intake design causing that particular cylinder to run leaner or hotter than others is another theory. Seems odd that it's #1 in particular, when the Gen 1 1.4T would seemingly break pistons at random when it happened.
 

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Not knowing much about the new Gen piston failure, but would seriously use 93 octane and stay away from tunes. As J said sounds like the piston is running lean and or too hot or the knock sensor is not picking up on the detonation. I have gone through the Gen 1 piston failure issue. I moved on.
 
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I would step it up to at least midgrade. Many of us found that the car runs a little peppier and may return slightly better MPG as well (since it isn't pulling timing to de-tune itself to compensate for knock). A little cheap insurance for what could be an expensive issue.
So I am considering midgrade or higher, but something to consider.

If this is going to happen, will it happen at relatively low mileage? Has there been a modification done to newer builds that will avoid this? Should I just use 87 and see if I can make it past the warranty and then assume my vehicle is not likely to have this issue? I would hate to buy midgrade now just to extend the engine long enough past warranty, then a failure.
 

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I'm not sure but it seems we are seeing more defects and failures in the new next gen CRUZE? I know Chevrolet products have won all sorts of initial quality awards in the last 3 years but the CRUZE is not included, makes one wonder?
 

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So I am considering midgrade or higher, but something to consider.

If this is going to happen, will it happen at relatively low mileage? Has there been a modification done to newer builds that will avoid this? Should I just use 87 and see if I can make it past the warranty and then assume my vehicle is not likely to have this issue? I would hate to buy midgrade now just to extend the engine long enough past warranty, then a failure.
Honestly, they are so new that we don't really know how the long-term reliability for this particular powertrain will pan out - the new small engine family (1.0/1.4T/1.5T) is a clean-sheet redesign. You probably have some of the higher-mileage 2016.5/2017s out there. It's an all-new engine design, and GM seems to be still investigating the cause of the failures. I have heard rumors that there may be a service bulletin or recall for the LE2 engines in the works similar to the Malibu, along with redesigned pistons, but nothing confirmed yet.
 
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