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2012 GMC Terrain in WI

Noticed reduced engine performance, engine noise, burning oil smell, and check engine light on 2 days prior to finding a pool of oil under my car in my garage. Exact date of occurrence 01/08/2018. This is response describes what I went through getting my car diagnosed at a GMC dealership in Greenfield, WI and what resulted during my contact with GM regarding this issue. I will continue to update so others are aware of the problems they may encounter and how they can handle this if this happens to them. I will continue to fight GM to get this is resolved (my case is still open) so we can bring this issue to light ans hold GM accountable. I hope this helps! (FYI this is a very long post but I like to be thorough).

1st day: The GMC dealership refused to give me notice (even though I requested they call me) when my vehicle would be placed on the lift so I can be present in-person during their evaluation in order to 1: fully understand the issue visually and ask questions in the moment so I would not have unanswered questions later 2: Learn how to prevent this problem from occurring 3: make sure I would not be ripped-offed by a misdiagnoses or someone creating a false diagnoses. Being young (22) and being a woman I did not want someone giving me the runaround just to get to me to pay for costly repairs no-questions-asked. So I was contacted that afternoon by a Service Consultant who denied being notified of my request for a callback but instead informed me my car was going to need $3200 in repairs for a Frozen PCV and Rear Main Seal Blow-out replacement and I would be contacted the next day to see if my warranty covered it.
2nd day: I was contacted again by the Service consultant letting me know my warranty would not cover. I questioned why but was told "Your PCV froze, they don't cover that, if you want we can contact GM to get them to lower the cost of repairs". At this point I demanded a full explanation of what the PCV and Rear Main Seal are because (I am not a mechanic nor am I familiar with these parts) I would not pay until I knew how they affect my vehicle. But I was simply given the same response as before " PCV froze over trapping moisture in your engine causing pressure which blew-out the seal". I was told they would contact GM for the "special financing" to cover repairs and was brushed off yet again to be contacted the next day. I spent the rest of that afternoon researching on my own since I knew I would get nowhere with this guy (and happened upon this video
and GM Service Bulletin 14882 in the process https://gm.oemdtc.com/Recall/SB-10057977-8108.pdf along with this that gives explanations on the PCV https://repairpal.com/estimator/pcv-valve-replacement-cost and the Rear Main Seal https://repairpal.com/estimator/rear-main-seal-replacement-cost ).
3rd day: I called the GMC dealership shuttle to speak to the Service Consultant in person. I was transferred over by the operator directly to the same consultant, and to my shock and surprise he denied me shuttle service! I once again questioned the function of these parts and repair costs for the 3rd time (after having knowledge of my own this time, I wanted to see if his explanation changed) and if I could speak to the mechanic in person because it sounded like he himself did not understand what was happening with my vehicle. After I said this he laughed and said "There is no point in coming, there is nothing I can tell you in person that would be different than what I am telling you over the phone". Being so frustrated with this BS response I hung up and found another ride there to speak to a manager in person.
Same day(afternoon): After a long discussion with the manager, the last question I asked him was why his service department being full aware that this is a common issue with the model year of my vehicle did not mention the GM Special Coverage Service Bulletin 14882 or why preventative solutions were not recommended for the PCV (which are easy fixes) before it caused this dangerous outcome? Not surprised, I was told "We are not responsible for recommendations on these issues, that is for the customer to decide, we check the VIN of vehicles for recalls during repairs and that's it, if your VIN does not show we don't even have to contact you, that's GM's job". WOW! So lastly as a last ditch effort to get this clarified and calm my own nerves, I request that this manager ensure that a thorough explanation of the process performed by the mechanic to diagnose my car, be printed on the diagnoses report as evidence/service record for myself, GM, my extended warranty, and Carfax. The manager looked at me dumbfounded and said he did not understand what I was requesting. I explained again, and still, he did not seem to understand that all I wanted was for the step-by-step testing completed by the mechanic be documented on paper so I, or another mechanic would be able to see what steps were taken by them to ensure that this was indeed the correct diagnosis. After much back and forth about this they finally got something added. Though it was not even close to what I expected, here is exactly what was listed WORD-FOR-WORD on my diagnoses report:

CUSTOMER STATED ALL THE OIL HAS LEAKED OUT ADVISE AND CHECK
ENGINE LIGHT IS ON ADVISE AND CHECK
VEHICLE CAME IN WITHOUT ENGINE OIL, WE ADDED 3 QUARTS OF ENGINE OIL AT OUR EXPENSE, THEN WE PUT THE VEHICLE ON A HOIST - WE VISUALLY INSPECTED AND FOUND THE OIL WAS LEAKING AT THE REAR MAIN OIL SEAL, THE OIL WAS LEAKING SO FAST WE COULDN'T EVEN CLEAN THE AREA - POSSIBLE CAUSES OF A MAJOR OIL LEAK LIKE THIS IS A FROZEN PCV SYSTEM WITCH WILL INCREASE OIL PRESSURE CAUSING THE REAR MAIN OIL SEAL TO LEAK
- WE WOULD HAVE TO REMOVE THE INTAKE MANIFOLD TO CLEAN OUT THE PCV SYSTEM AND REPLACE THE REAR MAIN SEAL
VEHICLE WOULD NEED TO HAVE REAR MAIN SEAL REPLACED, INTAKE WOULD HAVE TO BE REMOVED AND PCV SYSTEM CLEANED AS WELL, INFORMED CUSTOMER VEHICLE SHOULD NOT BE DRIVEN
THIS ALSO COULD BE HAPPENING FROM TAKING VERY SHORT TRIPPING AND LACK OF MAINTENANCE


So all in all this is the crap of an excuse I was left with to believe, solely after a VISUAL INSPECTION of the Rear Main Seal (which this part is impossible to view without removal of transmission etc.) and loss of oil they knew it was a seal blowout. "Possible" cause being a frozen PCV which says to me that they never saw ice nor water within the system they just assume. The engine light was never addressed nor was my mention of the Engine Oil Light not alerting me even mentioned. From my encounter with these disrespectful and sketchy people at this dealership I denied all repairs to take place and had my vehicle towed (at my expense) back to my home. I was not convinced nor shown even evidence at all to lead me to believe that this failure actually occurred nor that they properly diagnosed/tested this issue in a manner that I would have approved. Nor did this seem as an acceptable way to test the issue based on the ways that others have done it from what I read online. I left angry, disappointed, lost, and cheated out of my time and money. I have been car-less for a week now due to this disaster.
Since the point I got my vehicle home I have checked the oil levels every day for the past 3 days and it has remained FULL. I have not seen any oil pools or even small drips of oil since then. I have not attempted to turn on my vehicle in order not to cause any other complications but have removed my battery since I will not be driving it for the time being. In regards to GM I have a case open but have not yet gotten a call back. I will update again in a week.
 

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Welcome to the forum, and good luck with your issue, and keep us informed on what finally happens. Sounds like you are caught between a rock and a hard place.
 

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Too much to read.. .

Was the vehicle bought new or used? Going too long between oil changes will also start to plug up the PCV valve. In very cold weather and short drives, water vapor builds up in the crankcase oil. Combine that with dirty oil and the small PCV orifice can get plugged from frozen moisture in the valve cover where the PCV orifice is located. Also, GM is not the only car maker to have this issue.

My fix... . buy a new oil cap, drill a hole into it, and mount a pressure relief valve which will release crankcase pressure if the PCV ever does freeze in cold weather.


 

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JayTee - I think you ought to sell these. Sounds like a great business venture.

It could save a lot of people many headaches! All it takes is an idea and I think you have a great one!
 
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It could save a lot of people many headaches! All it takes is an idea and I think you have a great one!

Well, maybe. It is just an idea. I don't have a 2.4L to experiment with. If I can get a used oil cap for my 3.6L V6 I might try it on there just to make sure that having a pressure relief valve won't set any codes. And only should need something like that for winter use.
 
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To comment to the OP if they do come back to read. It is a very crummy situation you are in, I was there myself twice. First time I had coverage under warranty, they second time I fought tooth and nail to get my money back.


It is a bad design, sadly GM has only taken partial responsibility for this and do tend to blame the owner.I did my oil changes per OLM recommendation, while checking oil in between changes. The only indication I had a problem was when the seal blew and I need costly repairs (a new engine the first time)


I feel your pain. The best recommendation I can make is keep on GM customer care. If they don't satisfy your requests follow the process in the back of your owners manual to move your case to arbitration.
 
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Just as an aside. . .

Many do not understand how much moisture can build up in the crankcase especially in winter months. I have an Oil Catch Can on my 2015 Equinox 3.6L which has an external PCV orifice. So easy to install the catch can.

It is primarily installed to collect oil and combustion vapors and reduce the amount passed through the intake manifold and build up deposits on the back sides of valves. I will collect maybe 3 or 4 ounces of black liquid every 1,500 to 2,000 miles in warm weather (+45F).

But. .. in winter months, the can will fill (8 ounces) in as little as 2 months or 1,500 to 2,000 miles. But the contents are mostly a yellowish water/oil emmulison. This is the result of cold starts and short drives. If you notice, in winter, the exhaust coming out the tail pipe is steamy most of the time. Well, much of that also gets passed into the crankcase as well and never gets heated enough to burn off.

Below is a picture of just some of the collection in winter 2015 and the second. . . . summer after some 3,000 miles or so.




Summer Oil Can Collection - - - -


 
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Yhashele,

First of all, just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce your first name? Is it "Ya-Shell" ... kind of like a take-off on "Michele"?

I read your *entire* post, and JayTee's right ... it *looked* like too much to read, but it turned out to be very easy to read because you wrote it so well, and I don't think there was a single typo (which is a rarity on automotive boards).

But anyway, you say you've put oil back in the engine, but it's not leaking? That's probably because you're not running the engine. If you're not convinced, I suppose you could throw one of those big underbed plastic storage containers underneath, and idle the engine until you see it leaking out, but that's kind of risky because your oil level will be dropping and your transmission fluid level might actually be *increasing* (as the oil and tranny fluid mix).

I wouldn't do that. I'd accept the diagnosis, but then hammer GM for a free (or heavily subsidized) repair. Here's how I'd argue it:

1.) Tell them it's clearly a design flaw: No way in H*** should a lousy PCV system (frozen or otherwise) cause the rear main seal to blow out! That's just piss-poor engineering. How about a high-pressure oil switch (with alarm on the DIC)? How about a secondary/sacrificial seal blowing out *before* the rear main seal does? How about *something*??? No. Just let the rear main seal blow out. Absolutely pathetic design!

2.) Tell them you've serviced the engine properly. Hopefully you have some kind of records to back this up, but really - it shouldn't matter very much. You'd just be doing this to bolster your case, not to prove it wasn't the reason for the failure ... because it wasn't. And if they try to tell you it's because you took a lot of short trips, or that you live in a cold-weather climate where "these things happen", tell them to show you where in the Owner's Manual these warnings are documented.

3.) Tell them you don't care that "other manufacturers have had the same problem" - it's irrelevant! You don't own those vehicles. You own THIS one. And you need it working ASAP!

And I wouldn't discount the power of the Internet. It's the best tool we consumers have nowadays to communicate and share information. You've got a start here. Now you may have to take it to the next level if you don't get any satisfaction (ie: litigation).
 

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Yhashele:

You have documented a very well written assessment of what has happened to your vehicle. I think by submitting this to GM , it will point out a dealership that has done you a disservice . They did not put the case of the problem in your interest to GM.

This is a definite GM documented problem and should have been covered. I am glad you have it fixed and going again, but I feel for the crap you had to go through. Especially the dealer pulling the shuttle service for you. That is really a crime.

Keep on GM and don't give up...
 

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2013 Terrain with 68,000 miles.. POOF there goes seal.

I guess I am next in line to complain about this issue. My wife's 2013 Terrain with a 2.4L 2 weeks ago blew the crank seal out with no signs of any issues prior. I have it towed to the same dealer we purchased it from and after sitting a week, they call me letting me know the issue is the rear main. Of course I was 2 months to the day past the 5 year 100,000 mile warranty so they make it sound better by saying with policy they can offer 347.00 towards the repair and I would be responsible for 800.00. When I then show up my potion was 1189.00 cause he explained they needed to remove the intake and clean this PVC port and that added a few hours. Next he said, we were too busy to call and let you know it would be more, sorry!! So being as though I work for another major engine supplier, I came home and did some research and found this bulletin.. I can not believe they didn't take care of this no questions asked as it is the exact problem. I will take the advice here and beat on GM cause this is just not far.:sad::sad::sad:
 

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so does the 2014-2017 terrain have a fix for this? or are all of them just waiting to have their rear mains blown
Well, not *all* of them - just the 2.4L engines being operated in the snowbelt states, and maybe only the subset of those that make a lot of short trips? So ... maybe only a few hundred thousand vehicles??? Just guessing...

But seriously - this makes me sad because, as an engineer myself, I know how much work goes into building something this complex: lots of people, lots of hours, lots of back-and-forth design and testing. And the last thing you want to see is an embarrassing failure like this one that makes everyone look bad!

I just find it very hard to believe that this was overlooked by the design engineers. More likely, some higher-level bean-counter group cut out the protections the design engineers had put in place in order to "earn" their cost-cutting bonus. Whatever it was, I hope whomever's responsible (individual or group) loses their job(s).

Said this before - really wish we had a verified GM engineer on this board who could answer our questions - even a retired one who wouldn't be afraid to tell the truth. Maybe there's a good explanation for this. Good or bad, I'd love to hear it.
 

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Well, not *all* of them - just the 2.4L engines being operated in the snowbelt states, and maybe only the subset of those that make a lot of short trips? So ... maybe only a few hundred thousand vehicles??? Just guessing...

But seriously - this makes me sad because, as an engineer myself, I know how much work goes into building something this complex: lots of people, lots of hours, lots of back-and-forth design and testing. And the last thing you want to see is an embarrassing failure like this one that makes everyone look bad!

I just find it very hard to believe that this was overlooked by the design engineers. More likely, some higher-level bean-counter group cut out the protections the design engineers had put in place in order to "earn" their cost-cutting bonus. Whatever it was, I hope whomever's responsible (individual or group) loses their job(s).

Said this before - really wish we had a verified GM engineer on this board who could answer our questions - even a retired one who wouldn't be afraid to tell the truth. Maybe there's a good explanation for this. Good or bad, I'd love to hear it.

The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine used in the 2010+ Equinox and Terrain models has been VERY troublesome. I can't recall a GM engine so widely used with so many problems; enqines requiring rebuild or replacement due to oil burning issues, high pressure fuel pumps failing and damaging engines, and the poorly designed (and complicated) PCV design. The cost to repair the engines are very high and has resulted in significant customer frustration and downtime.

I do not think this was the result of a high-level bean counter group. It was the result of poor design and manufacturing.
 

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The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine used in the 2010+ Equinox and Terrain models has been VERY troublesome. I can't recall a GM engine so widely used with so many problems; enqines requiring rebuild or replacement due to oil burning issues, high pressure fuel pumps failing and damaging engines, and the poorly designed (and complicated) PCV design. The cost to repair the engines are very high and has resulted in significant customer frustration and downtime.

I do not think this was the result of a high-level bean counter group. It was the result of poor design and manufacturing.
It *can* be more than one thing, and bean counters always manage to claim their part of the blame pie.
 

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I do not think this was the result of a high-level bean counter group. It was the result of poor design and manufacturing.
I do not think the blame should be on the manufacturing - more the design/engineering.
 
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Interesting that there has been no chronic PCV issues reported on the 3.6L LFX engine. There was also a change on that engines PCV orifice, though, for a similar issue. The holes were a bit undersized in the orifice so the 2014/15(?) onward had larger sized openings.

In the new 3.6L LGX/LGZ engines, the PCV is again, all internal. However, it uses larger diameter tubing and most all sits well inside the engine valley where temperatures are much higher with little or no chance of moisture collecting and freezing.

You can all thank the EPA for this since they mandated no venting of crankcase vapors.

My 2 cent view on this is that it's all stop gap measures to try and make up for the gross damage to air quality and the ozone layer caused by the "City In The Air". . .. continuous 24/7 air traffic at high altitudes. After all, GE, Intel, Microsoft, TI, Samsung, World Bank/Financial Guru personnel, etc all have to have their imported engineering/professional staffs flown in and out from the mid east and Asia constantly.

Big Business created this issue and it always falls on the general public and consumers to pay the price. The price shows up in many different ways even in something such as this PCV issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yhashele,

First of all, just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce your first name? Is it "Ya-Shell" ... kind of like a take-off on "Michele"?

I read your *entire* post, and JayTee's right ... it *looked* like too much to read, but it turned out to be very easy to read because you wrote it so well, and I don't think there was a single typo (which is a rarity on automotive boards).

But anyway, you say you've put oil back in the engine, but it's not leaking? That's probably because you're not running the engine. If you're not convinced, I suppose you could throw one of those big underbed plastic storage containers underneath, and idle the engine until you see it leaking out, but that's kind of risky because your oil level will be dropping and your transmission fluid level might actually be *increasing* (as the oil and tranny fluid mix).

I wouldn't do that. I'd accept the diagnosis, but then hammer GM for a free (or heavily subsidized) repair. Here's how I'd argue it:

1.) Tell them it's clearly a design flaw: No way in H*** should a lousy PCV system (frozen or otherwise) cause the rear main seal to blow out! That's just piss-poor engineering. How about a high-pressure oil switch (with alarm on the DIC)? How about a secondary/sacrificial seal blowing out *before* the rear main seal does? How about *something*??? No. Just let the rear main seal blow out. Absolutely pathetic design!

2.) Tell them you've serviced the engine properly. Hopefully you have some kind of records to back this up, but really - it shouldn't matter very much. You'd just be doing this to bolster your case, not to prove it wasn't the reason for the failure ... because it wasn't. And if they try to tell you it's because you took a lot of short trips, or that you live in a cold-weather climate where "these things happen", tell them to show you where in the Owner's Manual these warnings are documented.

3.) Tell them you don't care that "other manufacturers have had the same problem" - it's irrelevant! You don't own those vehicles. You own THIS one. And you need it working ASAP!

And I wouldn't discount the power of the Internet. It's the best tool we consumers have nowadays to communicate and share information. You've got a start here. Now you may have to take it to the next level if you don't get any satisfaction (ie: litigation).
Thanks for your response, and yes you were correct with the pronunciation the first time "Ya-Shell". I also thank you for reading the entire post I did mention in the first paragraph it would be REALLY LONG.

So, to answer your question, I myself did not put oil into the engine, that was the oil left over from what the dealership put into it for their diagnoses. My assumption was the same as yours in regards to turning on my car and possibly causing further damage, so I haven't messed with it. But no I have not seen any leakage whatsoever which I assumed, as you said, would be from not running the engine. Though that still makes me wonder. My car has been sitting in my apt. parking lot since it's been towed from the dealership, I still would like to get a second opinion from another mechanic shop before I go on with any repairs.

But I really, really appreciate those points you made to bring up to GM, I will definitely be adding those to my list of grievances with this issue!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Too much to read.. .

Was the vehicle bought new or used? Going too long between oil changes will also start to plug up the PCV valve. In very cold weather and short drives, water vapor builds up in the crankcase oil. Combine that with dirty oil and the small PCV orifice can get plugged from frozen moisture in the valve cover where the PCV orifice is located. Also, GM is not the only car maker to have this issue.

My fix... . buy a new oil cap, drill a hole into it, and mount a pressure relief valve which will release crankcase pressure if the PCV ever does freeze in cold weather.


Thanks for your reply, I did mention within the first paragraph that my post would be very long.

This post is to make owners of vehicle with the same issue aware of how even dealerships that sell and service these vehicles on a daily basis, treat their loyal customers. Which in my opinion, is to just to get them so frustrated to the point to pay for repairs that may not either - exist, or are further exaggerated just to get payment for unnecessary repairs.

I will take a note down of the adjustment to the oil cap you mentioned! Thanks again!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I guess I am next in line to complain about this issue. My wife's 2013 Terrain with a 2.4L 2 weeks ago blew the crank seal out with no signs of any issues prior. I have it towed to the same dealer we purchased it from and after sitting a week, they call me letting me know the issue is the rear main. Of course I was 2 months to the day past the 5 year 100,000 mile warranty so they make it sound better by saying with policy they can offer 347.00 towards the repair and I would be responsible for 800.00. When I then show up my potion was 1189.00 cause he explained they needed to remove the intake and clean this PVC port and that added a few hours. Next he said, we were too busy to call and let you know it would be more, sorry!! So being as though I work for another major engine supplier, I came home and did some research and found this bulletin.. I can not believe they didn't take care of this no questions asked as it is the exact problem. I will take the advice here and beat on GM cause this is just not far.:sad::sad::sad:
Totally agree on that, you would think as they are sellers of these vehicles they would want to fight GM themselves to keep their dealership reputable as well by getting these common discrepancy covered. A customer goes to the dealership hoping that they would be the best option for repairs since they see those vehicles most often. They're adamant to recommend repairs that are always costly but fail to mention that such a small piece like the PCV (which is simple to service on most vehicles) be replaced, or the PCV system cleaned during your normal scheduled oil changes. In my opinion, any good mechanic would love the opportunity to educate their customers on how to properly care for their vehicle especially if it's to avoid major damage and costly repairs. It wouldn't take more than seconds out of his/her time to mention, "Hey, we've known this piece to cause major problems in this type of engine if not maintenance regularly or if short tripping during the cold weather months" and it would save a lot of customers grief and loss of time/money, and would help dealerships keep their customers longer!

I would definitely get a hold of GM yourself. Don't give up! I am currently fighting my open case and am getting all of the information possible through research and other people's posts on forums like this one to prove my case, and get repairs covered. The more people we can get to grill GM on this, the more likely we are to get this issue resolved completely. Good luck to you and I would love updates from you on your issue and the steps you take to resolve it.
 
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