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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been Cruze owner since 2011 and saw this forum back than but didn't pay much attention. Yesterday, I've went to dealer for oil change and to check why my engine check light is on. Turns out my coolant has been leaking... idiot that I am, I've thought that unpleasant smell I've been noticing in my Chevy's cabin for last few years was normal.

Well - after browsing this forum, I've found out that smell is not normal, and that there have been numerous recalls regarding it (water pump one included). And then transmission problems that I've complained to my dealer like 5 times - there is thread here that talks about spark plug gaps.

You guys are such wealth of information. Should've read all this and knew what exactly to ask my dealer to take a look at, instead of going to them and hoping they will be kind enough to help. Probably would've saved $600 instead of paying it out of pocket now that car is out of warranty. Well... lesson learned - and I'm now here to stay.

If you have any advice about coolant leak / transmission problems - let me know, I'm in dire need of helpful and knowledgeable people ;)
 

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You can have dye added to coolant if you can not see the actual leak around the pump itself. The dye will allow you to see the leak better, especially if it is a small leak and drying up quickly on a hot engine. Just remember, your car has a 10yr/150k mile warranty on the water pump. This was due to GM having such an issue with them on the 1.4T engine in these cars. GM sent out a letter a couple or so years ago about the extended warranty to registered owners. Seems as if the earlier build cars are worse than the later build 1st gen cars, or this has been my experience, but they all still had some issues.
 

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Bogging, hesistation, throttle lag... especially between first and second gear. Reading FAQ here it says it's likely related to spark plug gaps - may take time to check that out.
Yep, not a transmission issue. Also, if you're running 87 octane, stepping up to midgrade or premium (89-93) will help throttle response immensely in the 1.4T in summer heat.

Be careful with the coil pack when going in to look @ the spark plugs, but they are probably due for a change anyway. Grab both left and right ends with your fingers and lift - slowly - straight up. Do not wiggle it front/back or the boots will likely break.

On the subject of the transmission though, if you are over 45000 miles, the fluid should be changed to prevent future problems from happening and keep it shifting smoothly. Have the transmission cooler lines looked at as well - they often leak.
 

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Yep, not a transmission issue. Also, if you're running 87 octane, stepping up to midgrade or premium (89-93) will help throttle response immensely in the 1.4T in summer heat.

Be careful with the coil pack when going in to look @ the spark plugs, but they are probably due for a change anyway. Grab both left and right ends with your fingers and lift - slowly - straight up. Do not wiggle it front/back or the boots will likely break.
Then when replacing the plugs, or removing coil pack, always use some dielectric grease on those boots, and add a little anti sieze compound to the threads. You will be glad you did for next time you need to remove or change plugs.
 

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all great idea ^^^ & another good idea buy a repair manual I did. haynes 24044 book number, shout out to who ever posted that link last yr for the repair manual as it just came out last yr. I am very mechanically incline but still ripped the dam boots, thus bought a new coil pack kept the boots sold the coil pack (only ripped 2 boots). yes I silicone the boots 2x every time I check my plugs

PS great site & groupof people here
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
:( I'm really sad that I need to resort to bothering you guys over the internet instead of getting answers from dealer that sold me car and that I paid to. But it's crazy they know about all these problems and they are playing dumb. Like I smelled coolant for last few years and whenever I mention that at service they are like - yeah, checked, nothing out of ordinary. Now they tell me that coolant leaked for 2 years and they charge me $600 to fix it.

I also have these small pools of water forming even if I stop for like 5 minutes? Is that normal in the hood area? Like - here is the picture so you can see relative to where my hood is - is that are where water pump is? Or engine? Here is picture with my sorry attempt to illustrate hood position ;)

Thanks in advance for any help!

Asphalt Road surface Tar Tree Road
Insect Organism Asphalt Pest Macro photography
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will try 93 just for heck of it. As for spark plugs - I'm actually only 17000 miles on the car after 6 years - don't do much driving. Is there anything you recommend to be done that's based on age? I know that transmission fluid should go on 40000+. But should I look into changing spark plugs even though I only did 17000 miles?

Do you recommend any specific spark plugs brand that I should buy? Or just adjust gap on the ones that are already in? 0.035 gap? Or 0.027?
 

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A good place to start is the maintenance schedule in your owners manual. It will tell you how often you should do certain maintenance items, and whether there is a time limit as well as a mileage limit. For example, you should change the oil at least once a year even if you don't drive very many miles. Coolant is every 5 years. The schedule does not give a time limit for transmission fluid, so I am not sure if you should worry about that yet.

Spark plugs don't go bad over time. Personally, I wouldn't worry about those at 17K miles, but I would check the gap. If you decide to change them anyway, the original plugs are very good and will last a long time. If you want to try different plugs, search the forum for the thread on "Hesitation Gone." I believe the current recommendation is the NGK BKR8E plugs. Just remember that those don't last as long and will need to be checked and regapped or replaced about every 10K-15K miles.

I also cover the entire outside area of the spark plug boot with dielectric grease. Makes it easier to remove the coils later. NGK does not recommend using an anti-sieze compound on the spark plug threads. They say their spark plugs already have an anti-sieze coating on the threads, and that using a compound can cause you to over-torque the spark plugs. Be sure to properly torque the spark plugs when you put them back in.

There are also threads that talk about these cars loosing coolant over time without a leak. Mine does this, and there are no leaks. Some people believe this may also be the cause of the coolant smell. GM knows about this and put out a recall to check the coolant level and refill if necessary. I also got a letter that said I can have my coolant level checked and refilled any time for no charge.
 

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Leak is in the spot where it could be the A/C drain or could be seepage from the water pump itself depending on how far the car was pulled forward. Dip your finger or a paper towel in the water and see if it's orange. If it is indeed orange, you're covered on the water pump at no cost to you.

Checking the gap on the plugs would be advisable. Since you drive so little, you could also throw in a set of BKR7E-4644 plugs as advised in the thread referenced above if you are still experiencing sluggish acceleration or hesitation...they would just about last you another couple years without even messing with them. My 2012's gaps were all over the place from the factory and the darn thing was almost undrivable in the summer from a dead stop. I managed to stall it a few times so much power was pulled and it looked like I couldn't drive a manual.
 

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Welcome, sorry about your issues.

*I also recommend the BKR7E-4644 plugs and a 0.027 gap
*Looks like A/C drainage. Is A/C, Defrost, or floor only vent on when you drive/park there?
*When was the last time you had the trans fluid out of the car and swapped? Original from factory, drain/filled over the years, or random Quic Change shop sucked it out and replaced it from the big tank of mystery red stuff that when you ask is(same as power steering) w/o really giving you a type or viscosity?
*Also echoing the anti seize on shiny spark plug threads. The NGK BKR plugs have a non crust washer so the specs may differ from the oem 1 time washer when you keep puling thiem for gap checks when the coil pack is acting up.
*You also want to use the latest 1st gen maintenance schedule as the 2011 one info has changed a few times to include those spark plugs.
 

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Like I smelled coolant for last few years and whenever I mention that at service they are like - yeah, checked, nothing out of ordinary. Now they tell me that coolant leaked for 2 years and they charge me $600 to fix it.
Since you complained about it while it was under warranty, it should be covered. But they may have to hassle with GM to have that done. It's not the dealer that covers this but GM.



I also have these small pools of water forming even if I stop for like 5 minutes? Is that normal in the hood area? Like - here is the picture so you can see relative to where my hood is - is that are where water pump is? Or engine? Here is picture with my sorry attempt to illustrate hood position ;)
If it's clear water, then it's probably from the A/C. The A/C may run even if you don't turn it on. If the leak is from anything else, that's not normal.
 
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If I am not paranoid enough really got paranoid with heater core leaks, coolant fumes cause kidney failure. Put a black mark on the reservoir tank back by the firewall, and checked that coolant fluid practically everyday. Has a nice sweet odor to it, but deadly.

Increasing the operating temperature to 221*F doesn't help either, but does help engine efficiency, but also increases the coolant pressure from a long standing 15 psi up to 25 psi, neoprene coolant hoses were replaced with plastic. Also O'rings are used with quick couplers, but not quick when that O'ring is baked on.

Dye? Dexcool already has dye, its red, but if you engine is coated with oil and grease, need a UV dye and a blacklight. Use to be just three radiator caps, small, medium, and large. For the reservoir cap, all are different, what happened to standards.

Rather than paying a couple of hundred bucks for a kit, purchased a spare cap, tapped in a 1/4" male quick coupler. Have a short length of hose, male quick coupler, shut valve, regulator with a gauge on it, than the female. Hooked to that modified cap in series with my air compressor, set that regulator to 30 psi, then close that valve. Expect it to hold 30 psi indefinitely, if it does leak down, have a leak someplace.

600 hundred bucks is nothing to a dealer, friend just took his Toyota SUV to dealer with front end noise, for 600 bucks, just put on a new clamp on his old CV joint boots. Still has that noise, now they want 900 bucks. Solution? Trade if off for a new one.
 

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As for spark plugs - I'm actually only 17000 miles on the car after 6 years - don't do much driving. Is there anything you recommend to be done that's based on age? I know that transmission fluid should go on 40000+. But should I look into changing spark plugs even though I only did 17000 miles?

Do you recommend any specific spark plugs brand that I should buy? Or just adjust gap on the ones that are already in? 0.035 gap? Or 0.027?
Thing we noted with spark plugs esp in the 2011 was not that they were bad, The problem was more that the gaps on the 4 plugs were all over the place. One 035 another at .026 etc. They should all be set at .030. Check them and be sure all the gaps are .030 and it will make a significant difference in performance. That along with using the higher octane fuel. If you don't use 93 at least use 89 or what ever is a bump up from 87. Unless your car is tuned for 93. I have been using 89 octane in my 2014 LT and it runs quite well for the driving I do and I know it is not tuned unlike my 2011 and 2012s. Also coming up on the warmer weather the higher octane helps.
 

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I've been Cruze owner since 2011 and saw this forum back than but didn't pay much attention. Yesterday, I've went to dealer for oil change and to check why my engine check light is on. Turns out my coolant has been leaking... idiot that I am, I've thought that unpleasant smell I've been noticing in my Chevy's cabin for last few years was normal.

Well - after browsing this forum, I've found out that smell is not normal, and that there have been numerous recalls regarding it (water pump one included). And then transmission problems that I've complained to my dealer like 5 times - there is thread here that talks about spark plug gaps.

You guys are such wealth of information. Should've read all this and knew what exactly to ask my dealer to take a look at, instead of going to them and hoping they will be kind enough to help. Probably would've saved $600 instead of paying it out of pocket now that car is out of warranty. Well... lesson learned - and I'm now here to stay.

If you have any advice about coolant leak / transmission problems - let me know, I'm in dire need of helpful and knowledgeable people ;)

These are good links to start with.
#PI0762: Coolant Leak at Water Pump - (Jul 11, 2012)
LOW ENGINE COOLANT LEVEL WITHOUT AN EXTERNAL LEAK - N140417.

In the following thread, skip to post #7, then to read from #21 on.
Water Outlet Replacement
Link to post #7 - Powertrain Coverage
Link to post #21 - does anyone know what the torque specs are for water outlet bolts

#PI0721: Coolant Leak at Thermostat Housing to Cylinder Head - (Apr 17, 2012)
#PI0762D: Coolant Leak at Water Pump - (Aug 1, 2013)

I only did a cursory look at the following thread, but there at least some good tidbits here.
LOW ENGINE COOLANT LEVEL WITHOUT AN EXTERNAL LEAK - N140417

FIX: Coolant Odors/Coolant Loss From Reservoir
 

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This is a good thread. I installed a viton o-ring, as mentioned in this post, and I haven't seen my level change yet. However, the viton o-rings are not rated for low temperatures, so they might not be a good idea for people who live in areas where the temps drop below 5* F. The alternative mentioned in this post is to use a slightly larger buna o-ring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So basically if it is A/C drain = normal...
But if it's little bit orange = water pump = not normal, should be replaced per that recall...

Correct?

I'll update regarding spark plugs, got the tools today!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thing we noted with spark plugs esp in the 2011 was not that they were bad, The problem was more that the gaps on the 4 plugs were all over the place. One 035 another at .026 etc. They should all be set at .030. Check them and be sure all the gaps are .030 and it will make a significant difference in performance. That along with using the higher octane fuel. If you don't use 93 at least use 89 or what ever is a bump up from 87. Unless your car is tuned for 93. I have been using 89 octane in my 2014 LT and it runs quite well for the driving I do and I know it is not tuned unlike my 2011 and 2012s. Also coming up on the warmer weather the higher octane helps.
I've seen recommendations here ranging from 0.027 - 0.035... I'll probably go with 0.030 and update you guys back. Thanks for all the advice!
 
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