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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a 14 Cruze LT 1.4T/6MT with 15k miles I bought new, I drove it for a while and eventually gave it to my wife because of the miles/wear and tear I put on a car (70 miles a day). Other than the stupid hesitation in hot weather/AC on it's been a pretty painless car. It came with free maintenance so the dealer changes the oil every 5k, gives it a physical, and I get it back. No oil or coolant usage, no drama whatsoever. I have some Iridium plugs on the shelf for the hesitation issue but since my wife took the car, I never put them in.

My wife and I took a few road trips recently and I found myself enjoying driving the Cruze so I started half looking around for another one. The internet lets you find anything you are even remotely looking for so I found a 2011 Eco 1.4T/6MT with 46k miles at CarMax, it's being transferred in and I'm supposed to test drive it in a day or two. It has a clean AutoCheck report and the Carfax preview lists 24 service records so I may get that to verify what has been done if I don't hear anything really bad here.

I did some research online and found a lot of water pump and clutch issues reported, I've seen some intake/PCV issues reported here, what else should I be worried about? I don't know if any factory warranty stays with the car at this point so I'm thinking whatever goes wrong will be on my dime. It's a little concerning that so many things seem to be Eco specific, AC compressor for example, that usually means a smaller donor pool and more expense. Is this proven to be the case?

I'd really appreciate any comments and insight you guys with more miles can throw my way.

Thanks
 

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At 46K miles the car is already past the premature clutch death that some of the 2011s had. The water pumps have been problematic for all LT, ECO, and LTZ Cruze from 2011 to 2014 - so much so that GM extended the warranty on these to 10 years/150,000 miles and is on the third design. The other thing I would do when test driving it is turn the heater on and get the cabin nice and toasty. If it stinks don't buy it - you won't be able to get GM to replace the HVAC box for free as the car is out of the B2B warranty.

Also, a note about the ECO gearing. It took me about a month to get used to the gearing. Part of the ECO MT's highway performance is based on wider gaps between gears, which effectively gives you two overdrive gears. GM claims 4th, 5th, and 6th are overdrive gears and while technically 4th gear is an overdrive gear as well but it doesn't behave as such.

Also, get the VIN off the car and put it into GM's recall database at https://recalls.gm.com. This will let you know if there are any uncompleted recalls on the car.

If you do purchase this car you should immediately order three quarts of AMSOil Synchromesh and have your local dealership do a transmission fluid swap, clutch/break fluid swap, and oil change. It will take 2.5 Qts of Synchromesh for transmission oil change. These are routine maintenance items for the car that don't show up until the 2014 owners manual. If fact, use your 2014 LT's owner's manual for your maintenance schedule for the 2011 as well.
 

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If it was in the batch of cars with bad clutches, that would have gone already.

Water pumps and PCV covers are common across all model years of the 1.4T - so something to look out for. 2011's also run the remote possibility of cracked piston ringlands - however, most have been failing well within powertrain warranty.

Eco-specific things are restricted to weight saving and aerodynamic things (no spare tire, no trunk mat, aero underbody panels, flaps in the front bumper). The AC compressor and all that are the same parts as on other Cruzes. The transmission is the only real difference.

As far as the hesitation in hot weather - the 2011 will be worse (14's have updated programming). Running 89-93 octane and swapping the spark plugs for these mentioned will do wonders for summer responsiveness.
http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/34-1-4l-turbo/21850-hesitation-gone.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks very much for the replies and advice.

I remember the Hesitation thread, I discovered that AFTER I decided not to wait on the diesel manual transmission option and get the gas car, haha. Not very heartening to hear that the 2011's are worse than the 2014 in that regard. That by itself might be a deal killer. Around here, there is a 20 cent/gallon difference between grades of gasoline so moving up there gets expensive quickly.

I did read about the different gearing in the ECO so I did have some concerns about the hesitation coupled with the lower gearing and planned on testing that out. I saw somewhere that the AC unit was different to reduce parasitic losses but I've looked at so many sites, I do not recall where I read it.

I did a recall search via the CarMax utility for that purpose, I can do it via the GM website as well.

Here is the car, not sure if the link will work or not. It's not public inventory since it's in the CarMax transfer process right now.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Pictures and Photo Gallery at CarMax.com

 

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The first Cruze I drove was exactly like that one! I lived in a hilly area and did not like the gearing, but it seems that most Eco owners quickly grew accustomed to it.

Also check that it has Bluetooth/Auxilary/USB inputs if that is important to you - that was an option on 2011 models. Looks like it has the aux input from Carmax's listing. 13+ will come with the MyLink touchscreen option, if you like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The first Cruze I drove was exactly like that one! I lived in a hilly area and did not like the gearing, but it seems that most Eco owners quickly grew accustomed to it.

Also check that it has Bluetooth/Auxilary/USB inputs if that is important to you - that was an option on 2011 models. Looks like it has the aux input from Carmax's listing. 13+ will come with the MyLink touchscreen option, if you like that.
My 14 has the touchscreen, it's okay but I can live without it. I was thinking that the steering wheel controls got me some additional stuff via the "connectivity" package but I'm not 100% sure. I saw on one of the sites that came up when I Googled the VIN that it has a 1XF description? No luck yet on figuring out what that means.

I like the color combo, at least in the photos. We'll see what she looks like in person. CarMax has the no haggle pricing and this seems a little high for a 5 year old car but I will have a trade in and will see what I can squeeze out of that. I inherited an 08 HHR with 15k miles from my mom which is a nice car and gets 30+ mpg but it's an automatic and I can't stand automatics. I know what it's worth in cash to the local Chevy dealer, we'll see what it's worth to CarMax.

That assumes the hesitation and gearing isn't an issue, one thing at a time I guess.

Thanks
 

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I run my ECO MT on premium year round. Last Thursday I filled the tank for less than $20. I've driven mine in hilly areas and the only gear transition I dislike is the 1->2 transition. I have also discovered that this manual transmission requires you shift back down to 1st sometimes where other standards will allow you to stay in 2nd. 2nd gear will stall in a heartbeat and there is no recovery once the ECU decides to shutdown the engine in 2nd gear.

If you have the VIN send a PM to Patsy (Chevy Customer Care) and ask her for the option sheet.

The Bluetooth in the 2011 Cruze is for calling only. To get Bluetooth stereo you need the connectivity package and then swap out the PDIM with the Camaro Bluetooth PDIM. The connectivity package includes steering wheel controls for the radio and a USB and 3.5 mm jack ports in the center console. The link for the PDIM replacement is in my signature block. The spare tire stack is also linked in my signature block. The reality is the extra weight for the spare tire doesn't impact your fuel economy.

Hesitation pretty much goes away with 89 or better octane and correctly setting the spark plug gap. The 2011s and 2012s had spark plug gaps all over the map when they shipped from the factory. Although at 46K miles you're roughly half way through the OEM plug life of ~100K miles.
 

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If no remaining factory warranty on the 2011 concerns you, why not look for a newer 2012-2015 used ECO manual that still has some warranty remaining? The are all cheap used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If no remaining factory warranty on the 2011 concerns you, why not look for a newer 2012-2015 used ECO manual that still has some warranty remaining? The are all cheap used.
I see very few used around here with the 6MT which is why I ended up going Carmax.
 

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My 2011 cracked a piston in cylinder #1 at 58k miles & then again in cylinder #3 at 65k miles. Now they are giving me a brand new engine under warranty. I would say this affects a small percentage of 2011s, but it is a known issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My 2011 cracked a piston in cylinder #1 at 58k miles & then again in cylinder #3 at 65k miles. Now they are giving me a brand new engine under warranty. I would say this affects a small percentage of 2011s, but it is a known issue.
This makes me wonder if the drive train warranty stays with the car. I'll need to check the web and see what was offered back then, I'll also add that to my unanswered question PM'd to Chevy Customer Care yesterday.

Thanks
 

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This makes me wonder if the drive train warranty stays with the car. I'll need to check the web and see what was offered back then, I'll also add that to my unanswered question PM'd to Chevy Customer Care yesterday.

Thanks
Yes, the 5/100 powertrain warranty and all extended warranty coverages (eg water pump) carry over to every owner.
 

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Yes, the 5/100 powertrain warranty and all extended warranty coverages (eg water pump) carry over to every owner.
Yes, I bought mine used with 36k miles and haven't had any warranty issues. The water pump has been replaced three times too. Once because I noticed it leaking at 41k miles. The second time was during the first piston failure. The third comes with the new engine lol! Although GM has stood behind their warranty and both dealerships I've worked with have been great, I think I would have waited and gotten a 2012+ Cruze Eco or settled for a Saturn SL or Prizm.
 

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My 2011 cracked a piston in cylinder #1 at 58k miles & then again in cylinder #3 at 65k miles. Now they are giving me a brand new engine under warranty. I would say this affects a small percentage of 2011s, but it is a known issue.
All 4 of my pistons and rings were replaced under warranty at 54k miles. Mines a 2012 1.4L Automatic
 
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