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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Merry Christmas to all!

My daughter arrived home from college last night in her 2011 1.4 turbo cruze and calls as she's pulling into the driveway after a 200 mile trip saying "come outside my car is smelling again". Recently she had the overflow reservoir crack, lost a bunch of coolant, and had the car overheat. Dealer fixed all this and claims that a pressure check was good and didn't believe the head gasket was blown or anything like that. They also did an oil change. This was 3 weeks ago. My first thought when she mentioned the smell was that there was probably some leftover coolant that was causing it. Well, I popped the hood and saw this!

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I saw some smoke coming off the manifold and heat shield so I told her to shut it off. First thought was "oh God, it ran itself out of oil" so I pulled the dipstick - and to my surprise the level was completely full. I looked in the oil filter cap (not sure why exactly lol) and everything seemed fine. Then I had her start it again and rev to 2000, then 3000, then 4000... no spray anywhere that I could see. So she shut it off and it has sat since last night. I've done a ton of reading and it sounds like it could be as simple as the oil filler cap not having been seated correctly from the oil change (wish I would have known that so I would have been more conscious when I removed the cap to see if it was fully seated), or it could be a bad PCV component, or a turbo oil line seal, or perhaps other things I haven't come across yet. Given that nobody is open today/tomorrow and she was supposed to go back to school for work the morning of the 26th, I feel massive pressure to get this resolved and know 100% that I have done so. I can't put her back on the highway not knowing if it is fixed and risk her having a car fire or something. But the fact that I saw no spray, when the oil had clearly sprayed very recently, I'm a bit baffled. Any initial thoughts from you gurus on the most likely cause?

Thank you!
 

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Merry Christmas to all!

My daughter arrived home from college last night in her 2011 1.4 turbo cruze and calls as she's pulling into the driveway after a 200 mile trip saying "come outside my car is smelling again". Recently she had the overflow reservoir crack, lost a bunch of coolant, and had the car overheat. Dealer fixed all this and claims that a pressure check was good and didn't believe the head gasket was blown or anything like that. They also did an oil change. This was 3 weeks ago. My first thought when she mentioned the smell was that there was probably some leftover coolant that was causing it. Well, I popped the hood and saw this!

View attachment 250553

I saw some smoke coming off the manifold and heat shield so I told her to shut it off. First thought was "oh God, it ran itself out of oil" so I pulled the dipstick - and to my surprise the level was completely full. I looked in the oil filter cap (not sure why exactly lol) and everything seemed fine. Then I had her start it again and rev to 2000, then 3000, then 4000... no spray anywhere that I could see. So she shut it off and it has sat since last night. I've done a ton of reading and it sounds like it could be as simple as the oil filler cap not having been seated correctly from the oil change (wish I would have known that so I would have been more conscious when I removed the cap to see if it was fully seated), or it could be a bad PCV component, or a turbo oil line seal, or perhaps other things I haven't come across yet. Given that nobody is open today/tomorrow and she was supposed to go back to school for work the morning of the 26th, I feel massive pressure to get this resolved and know 100% that I have done so. I can't put her back on the highway not knowing if it is fixed and risk her having a car fire or something. But the fact that I saw no spray, when the oil had clearly sprayed very recently, I'm a bit baffled. Any initial thoughts from you gurus on the most likely cause?

Thank you!
What a mess!

If you can’t trace down the source of the leak, try carefully cleaning everything, ensure oil is at proper level and then take it for a short drive.

Hopefully you can narrow it down to a specific area and post another pic.

Could have indeed been a loose oil cap. With the holidays and your daughter’s schedule, hopefully it’s not something more serious. Good Luck!
 

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Sure looks to originate from the oil cap area to me. Was it driven much since the work 3 weeks ago?

Best thing to do would be to clean it up with some rags, take it around and get into the turbo, and then look and see if anything else has sprayed out.
 

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Sure looks to originate from the oil cap area to me. Was it driven much since the work 3 weeks ago?

Best thing to do would be to clean it up with some rags, take it around and get into the turbo, and then look and see if anything else has sprayed out.
this -

looks like my toyota corrolla when jiffy lube left my oil cap sitting on the intake manifold and I drove around all day with the oil cap off. luckily the oil cap didn't move where they put it and I still had the oil cap. it sure does look like it spit it out of the oil cap area. you said the oil level was normal I wonder if they overfilled at the factory and something weird happened at the oil cap. but that would be the first I ever heard of something like that.

Looks also like it could of came and spit up from the oil filter area.
 

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Based on the photo, I agree with the majority......incorrectly seated fill cap.

Clean up the mess and go for a short run to verify.

Rob
 

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Merry Christmas to all!

..so I pulled the dipstick - and to my surprise the level was completely full..
IF... if the dipstick was not properly inserted...? Did you observe something wrong with it, or you didn't pay attention when took it out initially?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the replies everyone! I'm definitely going to clean it up as a first step. Of course it's 15 degrees here so that brings up a whole other can of worms in terms of how/where to do the cleaning, etc...

IF... if the dipstick was not properly inserted...? Did you observe something wrong with it, or you didn't pay attention when took it out initially?
Unfortunately I did not pay attention to the dipstick or filler cap when I removed them. I know they weren't completely off/loose, but I didn't try, for example, tightening the filler cap first to see if it would go any farther. I just took it off. Same with the dipstick.

I will clean up everything and keep you guys posted on what I find. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I did a pretty thorough cleaning with hot water and a lot of dawn and a bottle brush. Then turned on the engine and let it warm-up/dry. All looked pretty good, no signs of leaks so I went for a drive around the neighborhood. Stopped down the street to check again and I found a small amount of oil on the seam of the cam cover and the head. Though maybe it was just a bit that I missed that had flowed out now that things were hotter. Wiped it dry and jumped on the interstate. After 10 minutes of some spirited driving the entire seam was quite wet with oil. And more smoke was coming off the manifold. As well I see a few more splash/drips on the black hood liner pad thingy. I don't see oil immediately around the filler cap so at this point I'm thinking this all points to the cam cover gasket. I removed the manifold heat shield and the runners of the manifold are bone dry but the flange that connects to the head is pretty soaked. Doesn't look to be the turbo feed line at this point anyway...

I'm not sure if the cam cover gasket it available by itself, but even if it is perhaps I should replace the whole thing given all the other reported problems with the PCV?
 

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This cover gasket is actually a 'O' ring that goes around the perimeter and seats in a channel cast into the cover.

1. Has this cover been replaced/removed for any reason?
I ask because this is not known to fail but oil will be forced out if the crankcase pressurizes.
The only time I have seen this 'O' ring leak is, during replacement the ring gets bumped and falls out of the channel in one corner. It stays inside the cover so you only see the leak, not the out of position ring.

If the cover has not been disturbed, you may be looking at the results of a failed check valve (in the intake manifold) and the burst disc in the cover hasn't blown apart.....yet.

Then again, the head may have gotten so hot (the overheat) that the ring got cooked and split......that would be the best scenario.

Yeah, get a new ring and some brake clean. You must flush out every cam cover bolt hole with brake clean and blow out each hole (no compressor? no problem.....use a length of vacuum line and blow out the holes using lung pressure.)

I mention this because if there is any oil in the holes, when you install the bolts and tighten, a hydrolock will occur and the threads will pull out of the head......bad ju ju.

Keep in touch,

Rob
 

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Just a warning if you do the change. Pay attention when you place the new cover and make sure the new seal stays in place! Check 10 times! :) My new cover didn't hold the seal properly and it got caught into the spinning parts after I replaced the cover. I had to use the one from the old cover (I could buy a new seal), but amazing it was much better, it didn't move at all! Then of course the top cover with "ECOTEC" is not a perfect fit and it's rattling, I have to see what I can do to make it more stable. The plastic clamps are too loose now... the new cover is made in Poland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the tips guys. To my knowledge the cover has never been removed. With this car having 81k miles on it, and the amount of reports I'm reading about PCV issues, I'm starting to suspect an issue in that area. My biggest heartburn with this car is that it's typically 200 miles away and so little things become big problems for her at school. I'd rather do as much as possible while it's here to avoid another tow and/or dealer fiasco there.

I'll check out the two check valves and report back. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The intake manifold valve is still present and seems to be functioning. The turbo inlet valve is good as well. The corrugated tubing collapsed in my hand when removing so I replaced that with a rubber hose. The diaphragm in the valve cover seemed to have been burst (noise could be heard coming from the port). So I replaced the valve cover (which came with a new gasket and new bolts and this is the latest revision with the different looking diaphragm) and also replaced the oil filler cap. We put dye in the oil before all this and couldn't really find a heavy leak site, but it did appear that there was some oil pushing up past the filler cap o-ring. In the end I feel pretty confident in the system and it seems to be staying dry for now. Off she goes! Obligatory internals photo :)

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