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Oil Cooler/filter housing issue

3218 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  ChevyGuy
New to the site, so hopefully I am doing this right!

I have a 2012 1.4 Turbo with just over 104,xxx miles that is currently at the dealership getting the oil cooler and filter housing replaced for approximately $1500.

The issue I am having is how I got here. Here is the basic story...

I purchased the car new from a dealership in southern RI. I had it serviced there, including oil changes, until I moved to Massachusetts. Since the move I have actually brought it back over 60 miles one way to the original dealership for some oil changes and any major repairs (the water pump was replaced twice under warranty).

My wife bought a pre-owned Terrain a few years back from a dealership in our area. It is a GMC/Buick dealership and I have started to have oil changes and tire rotations there when they have good coupons.

I had my oil changed there on Friday 11/1/2019. They also rotated my tires and performed a "multi-point" inspection. The car sat for the next two days, but AAA came and replaced the battery on Saturday and the installer took a while to do it. He said he "had a tough time" with removing the original battery. Then I drove it round trip to work Monday-Friday the following week (135 miles total). There was no visible oil leak in my garage, but I did never look under the hood. Then it sat again for three days. When I started it and drove to work on Tuesday 11/12 I could smell some slight oil burn, but I was behind an old Dodge pickup almost the entire way and assumed that was the source of the smell. No sensors flashed and the temperature gauge was in the typical range. When I arrived at work smoke was spilling out of my hood. I opened the hood and saw fresh oil around the oil filter housing. I also noticed a trail of oil where I had backed my car into the spot. I got under the car and could see that there was still leaking oil from what I believed was the oil filter. I checked the dip stick after about 1.5 hours and it was almost completely dry. More oil had also leaked during that time.

I called the dealership where I had the oil change and they recommended I have it towed there immediately. I was convinced that the oil filter housing was cross threaded or they accidentally put an extra seal in there and that would explain the leak. They called that afternoon and said they cleaned up the engine, but couldn't evaluate it until the morning. I called the following morning and their service manager said...

The oil cooler "failed" while I was driving and that it would need to be replaced for approximately $900. They said that was the source of the leak and there was nothing wrong with the filter housing. They also said there may be "catastrophic engine damage" as the engine was "run dry." It might need a total rebuild for approximately $4500, but they wouldn't be able to tell me until they did the oil cooler.

I was floored and asked if I could call them back. That is when I called the original dealer I used to deal with and their service manager said it didn't sound right. He recommended I ship it to them. I had AAA tow it the 60 miles to them and the dealer that did the oil change charged me $130 for the diagnostics, but released the vehicle to me with no problems.

Now at the second dealer where I bought it, they said the oil filter housing WAS leaking and needed to be replaced. Additionally the oil cooler was damaged and didn't necessarily need a total replacement, but they did recommend it. Their service manager said the problems actually could be from negligent work from the other dealership or the battery install, but there was no way to prove it.

I may be paranoid, but I just can't shake how within 150 miles of an oil change AND a "multi-point inspection" I had such a serious issue with my oil circulation system.

My main questions are...
1. Am I, in fact, being paranoid? Has anyone else seen something like this happen around the time they changed their oil?
2. Any recommendations about how to see if GM corporate might help mitigate the issue? Or should I just wear it and move on?
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· Premium Member
7,545 Posts
I doubt if GM would help. It's not the fault of the car, but rather the work done on it. You could try taking the one dealer to small claims court, but sounds like this would be a case of he said/she said between dealers. That doesn't sound like good odds.

I notice that the oil filter cap has a very large "nut" but has very low torque specs. It's just enough to seat the cap all the way and nothing more. I'd imagine it would be easy for it to be over tightened. Especially when you consider that most oil changes at a dealer is done by "the new guy" who may or may not work out. Exactly what happens when it's over tightened, I don't know, but given that it's all plastic, a broken housing is certainly possible.
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