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

51744 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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Is the piston issue still happening with #1 cylinder? Has a cause been officially determined. I read somewhere that the auto stop feature stops the cylinder at the top of the stroke on piston #1. If that is true, could that be related to the cause?
Just speculating, and concerned about whether this will happen to me.

2017 with 1K miles LT 1.4 turbo
Yes, happens on the forums and FB page every few weeks or so.

Much more likely tuning or LSPI issues than anything to do with auto-stop.
Is the piston issue something that shows up by a certain mileage? Like for example do most failures happen prior to say, 40K miles, 50, 60? Or have their been many incidents past 60K?
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....

I wish the bolded part was true where I live. Here the 87 octane is currently averaging 2.559 a gallon, and 91 at most stations is almost a dollar higher per gallon.
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.

If it can't reliably run on 87 without engine damage then Chevrolet is guilty of something, not sure what to call it (false advertising?)
legal reasons my ---, the real reason is if they were truthful with people and said 91 octane was required they wouldn't sell as many economy cars in a market where cost savings is a factor. So it's either spend 4 grand more in gas costs over 100k miles or have to do an engine rebuild? What kind of nonsense is this?
There are plenty of stock cars having the issues. Seems mostly dependent on being auto or standard. As auto will upshift when it gets under too much load.. And also how the owner drives the vehicle. What loads it stays at.. Etc.
I want to make sure I'm reading this correctly. Are you saying most of the stock unmodified Cruzes having the piston cracking issues are standard shift?
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Sorry, I forgot to add that if I crack a piston like “Pegasus” I will scream holy **** at Chevy!
I guess I need to clarify something. I never said I had a cracked piston. (yet) My wife and I are new Cruze owners, a new 2017, currently with 4K miles. We didn't know about the cracked piston issue before we bought the car. Now my wife and I both have some concerns about whether we made the right decision. Now maybe using 91 octane might prevent this or not (don't know that was just a theory some people on here are saying) but if we had been told that we needed to use 91 octane to prevent piston cracking, we neve would've bought the car. It's stupid to make an economy compact car and require it to have the most expensive gas. People buy economy cars to save fuel costs, not to have to spend an extra dollar a gallon to avoid engine damage.

Now perhaps higher octane isn't the answer, but who knows. It's not like anyone at Chevrolet has come out and said what the problem is or was with the cracked pistons. If they have can someone link me to it, because I haven't read it yet.

I asked my local dealers service dept. and they claim they don't know the official reason either. All they could tell me was they haven't seen any piston problems yet with the gen 2's but they aren't in a high volume market anyway, so they don't know if the problem is fixed or not. They are like my wife and I, keeping their fingers crossed and hoping it won't be an issue in the future.
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Today’s prices in New Jersey $2.539 for 87 and $2.899 for 93 octane. COSTCO has (hands down) the lowest gas prices in the state. I’ve run some actual numbers based on my first 5 months of ownership: (Remember I’m retired so not too many miles driven)

2,356 miles, total of 89 gallons used. Had I used premium gas I would have spent $32 more
Now let’s go further (using a 28 MPG average)
25k miles = 892 gallons or $321 more using premium over regular
50k miles = 1784 gallons or $642 more
75k miles = 2676 gallons or $963 more
100k miles = 3568 gallons or $1,284 more

That’s not too bad of an extra expense (to possibly avoid a “possible” major engine failure) but here in NJ the difference is only 36 cents a gallon more. Some CT members have said premium gas is a $1.00 or more per gallon higher! I’m not considering $$ for oil because you should always use the best oil regardless of the make/model of the car.

I can’t wait to get that first free oil change at the dealership. Perhaps I can make the Service Managers head spin TOO. LOL 
I wish they had those prices where I live. The station nearest to me was 2.599 for 87 octane and 3.499 for premium, a ninety cent difference. This is actually an improvement, at times I've seen the difference a full dollar. Another station had regular for 2.899 but premium for 3.699, only an 80 cent difference. There are no Costco's near where I live, or it would be worth it to get a membership.
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For me.. Premium (91) gas WITHOUT ethanol is little over 3$.
87 WITH is like 2.40
I never put anything but real gas in any of my gasoline motors. Designed to handle it or not. The MPG difference of 1 or 2 mpg makes up for at least half the loss.

Ill eat the other 25cents anyday.
In the area where I live, none of the regular stations sell 100% gas, not even the 93. To get 100 % gas around here you have to go to a marina. I don't know the price, but just for example, the 87 that is 10% ethanol today is 3.159, 93 octane is 3.999, and not 100% gas. I shutter to think what the price is for 100% gasoline at the marina. :(
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