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My Family Has Two 2017 Cruzes with Two Engine Failures...thoughts?

51734 Views 132 Replies 52 Participants Last post by  aircom
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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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.
Cruze only has a 13 gal tank. Even on dead empty, the difference between 87 and 91/93 is only going to be about 5-6 bucks if that and on an empty tank. I only use Shell gas, which is usually also the most expensive around and it's about 5-6 bucks more to fill up with premium. My 2017 Cruze is the first car that I ever noticed an actual difference in performance/feel using Premium gas. It's definitely more responsive/peppy, more fun to drive. This is also my first turbocharged car, so maybe it's a turbo thing with the premium gas feeling. The only downside is I definitely lose about 2-4 MPG on average with 91 octane vs 87. I'm at 17k miles and keeping my fingers crossed I dodge the piston issue. I baby mine and rarely if ever get on it and the few times I have it wasn't for long. Though my transmission has been wonky as **** since I rolled her off the lot. That's another topic altogether....
Was talking to a GM Tech the other day and we got on the subject of the LE2 engine in the 2nd gen Cruzes. Said he's seeing an alarming amount of issues with piston cracking, just at his dealership alone. Went on to say the common denominator seemed to be people who ran 87 octane gasoline or modded the engine for more output i.e BNR/Trifecta tunes etc.

Curiously I touched on the 87 octane part since the owner's manual states 87 as "recommended". Said it's mainly there for legal reasons, but the small 1.4 Ecotec struggles with pre-detonation on 87, which is resulting in higher chances of piston failures. Makes sense, octane is the resistance gasoline has to detonation, higher octane, higher resistance. He also went on to say that the LE2 suffers from a lack of upper cylinder lubrication by design. Recommended running a group IV full synthetic oil, adding a can of PEA additive for the lubrication and premium gas to mitigate the piston issues as much as possible. Went on to say he's yet to see a failed LE2 who's met most of those.

Since then I immediately started only using 91 octane shell gas and adding gumout multi-system tuneup every few tanks (only 6 bucks on amazon) as it PEA based, unlike Seafoam etc. I'm good on the oil as I've run Amsoil Signature Series in her since I rolled her off the lot, which is surprisingly a Group IV synth and exceeds Dexros across the board. Castrol Edge, Mobil 1 etc are only Group III's. I'm at 17k miles and runs like a top *knocks on wood*. Transmission though, that's another topic entirely.

Hope this helps.
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It may be important to use 'Top Tier' fuels also. These have more detergents.
Not unfamiliar with Top Tier, but the local Shell station where I always get gas, I've noticed does not have the green 'top tier' sticker on any of the pumps. I know Shell sells top tier and I've seen them on other Shell station pumps. The gas station in question also doubles as a Spinx store and I know Spinx does NOT offer top tier. Also, one night on way home from work (work 2nd) there was a tanker refilling gas at the Shell station I go to, it was unmarked. Just has me curious if the station, despite being a "shell" station, is not actually selling Shell gas and instead selling whatever gas Spinx sources which is not top tier. Or maybe the Owner(s) just didn't put the top tier stickers on the pump and it was just coincidence the tanker was unmarked?
Hello everyone. Using 87 octane I can not avoid engine problems with cruze 2017?
There is no official word on the fact. The LE2 can run just fine on 87, it's just not widely recommended outside 'official' sources. Octane is the measurement of resistance to detonation, higher octane, more resistance. The caveat to small turbo engines, is pre-det susceptibility. Right off the bat a higher octane fuel will help here. On top of that, higher grade fuel will burn cleaner and more efficient. You spend a little more at the pump, but you gain back more down the road if you plan on keeping the car for any length of time outside the warranty.

But to answer your question more directly, There just isn't enough data if running just 87 will directly lead to issues with the LE2.
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