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

51745 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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Older thread. New here.
But my educated guess is that it is not the oil exactly.
You cannot put a leaned out 4cyl in 1600-1900 RPM with potentially 17psi of boost (highway climbing cruse speed)
And not expect it to eventually get hot and begin acting erratic.

Several other MFGs are also battling this. The tiny boosted engine trend is just its phase.

They want economy and power density at the same time.
Talk to a professional performance engine builder and mention what specs they run with and at and they will say the same things. They are very close to reaching the limit of how economical gasoline can be in a traditional engine.
Next step is either something break-through...or diesel.
I would be willing to bet as the stock tuning is currently on the cars they will all see some failure of this type before 100,000 miles at the MAX.

I mean.. Yeah.. They'll run nice with all that added compression at low speed... But that is tremendous strain and heat being generated.
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My guess would be MUCH stronger piston design.. Cyl walls or sleeving. Etc. Going to much more expensive material.
You can push the limits of things. But if you need 150psi of air and only have a 120psi tank.. You don't just hope it don't explode. You get the bigger tank to achieve the goals. Lots of variables in it.
But this is my opinion. ?
I'm the test pig. Mine is running in a very custom manner. But not with increased power.
91/93 is less likely to pre-det. Plus..just better to run on any charged air engine.

I could see the gumout or fuel additive maybe helping some.

They are saying the issue is due to carbon deposits on the intake valves..due to being a DI engine. (Fuel never passes over the valves, only intake air)
So it can build up. Fall into chamber randomly and cause detonation.
Only way to combat the intake valve buildup is from the throttle body or another vac source.

From my research over the past 9 months I've found equally the amount of stock VS tuned cars with the issue. I spoke with two guys with standards.. Asked BNR for most aggressive tune. Adding 6psi to the 17psi base pressure. And hot rodding will do it even faster. They both had piston failures even sooner.
Although a richer A/F is effective at cooling the cyl walls/piston. That is just tons of boost.

From experience tuning older boosted engines.. Boosted cars tend to appreciate running a little rich. It helps with heat and gives it plenty of fuel to accommodate the compressed air.

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'm also curious how Amsoil has conducted the testing they claim defeats LSPI. Because there are many other factors going into it than just oil combustion. Climbing a hill @ 16psi @ 1800rpm running lean as it can is the exact ingredients for a disaster.
Makes it even worse that the turbo is so small it can easily spool up to those ranges even in lesser RPM bands.
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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 personally think (IMHO) “how the owner drives the vehicle” May play a major role in cracking the pistons. I have 2,300 miles on my 2017 LT and have never “WOT” the engine. At best was 1/2 down to pass a bus or get onto the Parkway. I also followed the engine brake-in instructions in the owners manual. I don’t intend to “WOT” unless I have an emergency or I’m being chased by “Godzilla”. I will be visiting the dealership next month for (my first of 2) free oil changes. I will talk directly with the Service Manager (he did invite me to meet with him on my first visit). Let’s see how honest he is. I will report what I’m told.
Yes. There are many stock vehicles having this issue. Standards are more prone because if the Driver does not upshift in a lug situation (keeps rpms below 2k) than the turbo will boost to maximum (17psi) and struggle to maintain the required torque.
---Creating VERY excessive strain and heat. Add to the equation of a very lean condition (generally good.. But not as much for boosted cars)
And it gets even hotter. And can create umstable combustion.
This is seen in high power levels too. Never ever lug a turbo car.

And..that is exactly what the automatics are doing as well... However the detant upshift will keep the engine mostly out of those ranges. However in 6th gear (cruising speed) it will try to maintain 6th quite irrationally (imo) and will boost to near maximim before upshifting.

So you see more manuals tham autos with the issue.

Yes hot rodding and driving incorrectly will cause that as well. Too much low end boost.
LSPI isn't exactly a "new" thing.
Preformance car tuners know that you can't run high boost in low rpm.
But it's happening because of the conditions that new mfgers are introducing in order to achieve HP, MPG, and drivability.

Dealership guys will almost always deny problems lol
Even now. I mentioned the pre AFM (DoD) engines having issues to my dealer (specifically 07-09) in the 5.3s and they say "Well i never heard that!!" Even though they were replacing many engines before 50k miles due to burning oil and piston carmelization of the rings.

My 07' Avalanche burned 5 quarts every 3000 miles. It ran great. Didnt smoke that i could tell. But it **** sure did something with it lol
Even the newest AFMs still having some issues. Hence why the "delete kit" is so popular. All for 5% mpg increase ?
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I had a custom tune written after i studied the topic and talked to many of my car builder buddies.
My warranty will be out in less than a year from how many miles i drive. I didn't care as much about their warranty because in such a short time frame... My luck i would have the issue at 60,001 anyway.
And at that point if it isn't updated or figured out.. Its on you anyway. Lol
What i did;
Lowered maximum boost from 17psi to 12psi.
Richened A:F slightly.
Hardened shifts and raised the shift point threshold. (It drives like a car of the 2000s.)
Locked out 6th gear (automatic) until 73mph.

There is zero shutter. Mpg still averages 38mpg.
And with the other tweaks i cannot really feel a power difference.
Time will tell ?

I'm certainly not saying this will fix everything lol
Or to do it. But just sharing what i had done to mine.
But hey. I guess ill be able to see.
After speaking to a few ppl who have had a engine replaced (being stock) they was very worried about a repeating event later on.
I rolled the dice to see if i can prevent it from ever happening anyway. ?
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Well they are under the gun from not only their dealership employment. But GM. They wont ever openly admit a issue.. Because if they did it could trigger alot of things later.
Other MFGs are also having the issue. It's just the trend right now. The engine will give nice torque and MPGs. But it can't be sustained while trying to use the bare minimum engine components. Trying to get more power density out of a economy engine.
If they found the components capable of running in those parameters than it would work. But it wouldn't be cheap.

Most boosted car tuning enthusiasts wont even wanna run over 15psi on engines producing 300hp.
You run into "heat soak" and knock fairly fast if you dont have matching hardware to provide what the engine needs.

I couldn't believe ppl be squeezing 23psi on the smallest turbo ive ever seen lol (Cruzes..when tuned)
Idk what or how they are rating their efficiency maps.. But it just blows my mind. An example, a T25 Garret is 2x the size of the turbo on the 1.4.. And runs out of map over 17psi.
Any more and seals blow. Bearings come apart. And it turns into a hair dryer..

But in the world of advancements and more MPG.. It seems like the manufactures are just getting ahead of themselves.
When they stand tested the 1.4l for (x) hours at loaded or unloaded ranges.. I very much doubt they tested it @ say 1800rpm -15-17psi boost (Maximum torque) for extended periods.
The idea of what would actually occur in the real world.
But ehh. Im sure they will figure it out eventually.

Good luck man. Hopefully these cruzes end up fixed and not popping pistons every 40k ?
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Interesting reads.

The LSPI events you guys are speaking of. Did it feel like an immediate "cutout" in power?
I felt that a few times before tuned down.
It occured around 2800rpm going uphill with cruise control set.

I had the handheld connected after the first one to see if it detected knock or misfires. Nothing came up on the KR or Misfire log.
(I hadn't uploaded the tune yet)

Another good thing to help prevent this is to clean the intake valves periodically using some of the spray-in-intake method when following instructions. (Assuming the current theory is also correct about the buildup) The valves get very nasty on just about all DI engines.
Couldn't hurt either way.
Im still near certain it is from too much pressure/power density/heat from the lean boosting conditions. Add some debris on the valves to get nice and ?

Hopefully this gets totally resolved in the coming years. However it may.

I'd hate to think of the gen2s as an avoided vehicle. GM (Opel) may just have to use some internals of higher strength and/or fine tune everything. Who knows.
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I just did a intake valve clean treatment from Seafoam. The spray. My car idles WAYY SMOOTHER after. Like how it should. Dealer kept saying the slight miss was normal. But i bet anything a intake valve was nasty.
It helps alot. I would totally say to do it. But don't lose the 2 plastic things on the side of the intake horn clip.
I lost both of mine ?
Ill have to order new ones.

Luckily i took a pic when i lost ONE and lost both trying to ask a Tech if i could buy them. And pic has part number.
(HSR23393) lol

I don't think they are critical but it keeps pin centered that holds the horn on.

Anyway.. Yes!!! Do the intake cleaning every 20k. I KNOW the engine will sound better. I ran mine for 15 mins at idle and noticed BIG TIME how much smoother ot purred.
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.
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