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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2014 Cruse, 1.8, auto, 70K

It all started with a gurgle sound that would happen all the time when accelerating around 1200-1500rpm coming somewhere from the front engine area, checked the plugs all clean, replaced the plugs, a week later I find small amount of oil around one plugs, wiped the oil off. Couple of weeks later the rpm scale started acting up accompanying with small engine tremors / stutters in idle and also when driving. Checked the plugs and found small amount of oil again, cleaned the oil off and stuttering went away for a few days but then it returned again but this time jerking / stuttering didn't stop after cleaning the oil off and also all three lights came on stabilitrak, traction, and flashing check engine for the first time, barely made it home because of engine stutters and barely being able to accelerate. Few days later tried starting the car but only started momentarily before it shut off. I then found my coolant tank almost fully empty, puddle on the ground, puddle right below the thermostat housing. No oil around spark plug, it seems to leak only during when car is operational. There is black oil residue around the oil pan, black stain trail possibly going all the way up to the valve cover, small oil residue mark at left bottom corner of the valve gasket cover, can't tell for sure if that's where the main leak is coming from. Now the car won't start. I did try to test PCV valve a weekwith the car running and the valve outlet above the coil pack wasn't sucking air when I put my finger on the hole but when I would pull the oil dip stick out a hissing noise would come on from it and disappear when I put the dipstick back in. I am hoping it's all valve cover, PCV valve, and failed thermostat related but then I don't know if a failed PCV valve would cause the engine to die and not start. I drained some of the engine oil to inspect it and it looks normal, no metal shedding, nothing unusual. The first time I replaced the plugs the coil pack cylinders were clean but 2nd time later one of them had brown residue stains all over it as well inside two cylinder well walls. Another possible symptom was I noticed water dripping out of rear muffler pipe almost constantly which I haven't noticed in the past, haven't seen any white or black smoke. I did notice burnt oil odor sometimes when I turn the heat on inside the cabin for last couple of weeks and then it would disappear after a few minutes. I took a video of spark plug wells, under oil cap look inside the engine, moments when the car started and died on me and the noises it made, and a couple of videos of the oil leak around oil pan, serpentine belt, alternator area. I'm trying to share as many details as I can hoping someone had this type of issue and maybe knows what I'm dealing with here. Any thoughts will be appreciated

[Last time when started and died, the sound of crank and engine running just didn't sound right]

[Next day sound of crank no start]

[Three videos of all the tight spots where I spotted oil residue (oil pan, serpentine belt, alternator)]

[Spark plug cylinder wells]
Spark plugs

[Under oil cap inside the engine light sludge residue]
Under oil cap


10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok Vinny. Take a deep breath.
Only because you really tried to document your issues I'll be as kind as I can.

Stop with the obsession over the oil leaks. They have obviously been there for years and now your dozen or so little oil leaks are causing misfires? And you wiping up (or not) a couple drops of oil does something? Dude!

I'll start with the good news. From what I can tell your car is very fixable. The two main issues are the engine is misfiring and you have a coolant leak.
Having a list of codes would really help. Also, one last little jab on the sludge build video. I'll bet you a pizza you take your car in somewhere for oil changes.馃槬

1) You need to fix the coolant system. Replace the thermostat/water housing assembly. And at the same time change the coolant.
2) The misfiring. Replace the coil pack, and if you have time replace the valve cover along with it. The valve cover does need replacing but it isn't a must do at the moment. The spark plugs should still be fine unless you got them off Ebay.
3) Change your engine oil and filter ASAP. Overheating an engine destroys the oil chemistry. Use a Dexos 1 Gen 2 rated oil.
Johnny thank you for your thoughts,

Since you responded I've been able to breathe easier and stay positive for sure, thank you man. You're right about oil change, to save some money and this being my first car I've been taking it for cheap oil changes for the last 50k miles and just recently started doing my own synthetic. That is actually one reason I was freaking out because I keep thinking what If I messed up something and I caused the oil leak, and on top of that the internet scared the hell out of me with some horror stories of cracked pistons and bad bearing rods that result in complete engine replacement.

I am going to follow what you said and I will bet you a pizza if the car starts after all said and done I am sending you a free pizza voucher I promise! Because you will have saved me money on towing to the mechanic & diagnostics. You sound like you know your $hit so I fully trust you dude

Also just wondering how do you know the coil pack is bad? Can you tell by the crank sound or by the brown residue on one of the coil tubes?

10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks dude (y)

Well, mainly just experience. I'll explain.
1) There are really only a few causes of misfires
2) You replaced the spark plugs. Those are the #1 cause of misfires.
3) You car has 70K miles and that is about how long a coil pack lasts. And is the #2 cause for misfires.

Again the pictures you took were a very nice effort, but the inside of the coil pack tubes is were you might be able to see something. The outside looks fine.
What would also be a very good idea to do is use a bottle of Techron fuel system cleaner. Because a misfire could be caused from a clogged fuel injector creating a lean mixture in one of your cylinders.
If those three items don't fix the issue, it gets much harder and expensive to fix.

LOL..I knew it. Not only can I tell the oil was cheap, but also the filter. That said, you should be ok. It could be much worse. I suggest using Pennzoil Platinum and an OEM oil filter in the future, and changing both every 5K miles. Also, the cracked pistons were on the 2nd Gen 1.4 engines. Yours should be fine if you run good oil.

Anyway, if you still have issues after doing this stuff you are going to want to pick up an OBD2 scanner. They are very useful and you can get one for about $15.
Johnny my dude,
Wanted to update you on my car if you're still around,
Replaced the valve cover and it seems to be the cause for the leak, pcv area had brown residue all around it under the cover, oil drops inside the the hose and on both end holes of valve cover and intake manifold, tried to look inside the intake with a flashlight for a oil puddle but its too dark to see anything. The old coil pack didn't seem to have any signs of wear but I replaced it anyway. Anyway after almost three months I tried to start it for the first time today and notta.
I did get the code reader and got one code p0300.
Do you still think it could be clogged fuel injector? The battery is just a few months old, I don't know if the cold weather drained it the last three months. Any thoughts?

I took couple of snaps from head engine and sound of crank no start


10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, first things first that battery is nearly dead. The engine is barely turning over. You need to charge the battery. In the past, I have seen engines that crank (much better than yours) but still not have enough voltage to run the ignition system. Because I can tell you this for a fact, your engine isn't even close to starting. Most likely it has no fuel or spark.

Just a list of generic stuff it "could" be.

P0300 GMC code possible causes
  • Faulty spark plug (s)
  • Faulty ignition coil (s)
  • Clogged or faulty fuel injector (s)
  • Intake air leak
  • Fuel injectors harness is open or shorted
  • Fuel Injectors circuit poor electrical connection
  • Ignition coils harness is open or shorted
  • Ignition coils circuit poor electrical connection
  • Insufficient cylinders compression
  • Incorrect fuel pressure
I found some new symptoms and info that will help solve this, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel Johnny I just hope its not the light of heaven for my poor engine that I neglected.
So I put in new spark plugs like 3 months ago, less than a thousand miles on em for sure. I checked them today and all don't look the same, carbon residue on couple. and now also two holes inside combustion there's carbon buildup that I haven't seen before. Can it be intake manifold that's bad and is causing this, is it the bad valve cover and pcv valve that contaminated the intake and then intake clogging the engine. I also found the sound that my car was making on youtube if you have a sec to check it out, it took me forever to find this sound that only a few people had experience with.


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