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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hoping to get help with this issue that made the check engine light come on. I have a 2013 2.4 with about 150k miles.

I always change and check the oil regularly (known terrain issue to burn oil), but this last time after a dealer oil change (been using them for years), I noticed a sludge build up on the dipstick and later in the crankcase as well. I added a few different kinds of "sludge remover" but nothing helped. The whiteish-yellow sludge still remains. The code is P0411.

This come after I clearing up the P0013 code by installing a new muffler and replacing both VVT solenoids. Wondering is it's related to that.

Dealer said it could be two things which may be causing the sludge at the tune of $2k! (with no guarantee it would fix the problem). I did a search here and found something about air intake and water possibly getting into the crankcase.

Does anyone know why I'm getting sludge and how I can remove it? Is there a part replacement or something I can do to take care of it. My buddy used to be a mechanic so he said he's help me out. I just need some directions.
Much appreciated!
 

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White/yellow is cold weather condensation.
Sludge is the result of NOT changing the oil when you are supposed to. Do not waste your money on mechanic in a bottle stuff. The dark stuff on your dipstick is varnish which is normal for a 150k engine.
Check you PCV system for being clear and pick up the vented oil cap.
Tons of postings on this forum for PCV and vented oil cap.
|What are the Possible Causes of the Code P0411 Chevrolet?
  • Vacuum hoses damaged or pinched
  • Faulty Air Pump inoperative
  • Faulty Air Pump harness is open or shorted
  • Faulty Air Pump circuit poor electrical connection
 

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2013 Equinox LT 2.4L Android Auto/Apple Carplay
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The milky oil is most likely the pcv. It clogs. The code may or may not relate to it. Have nothing to do with oil change. Don't need to blame the dealership for the oil change. You can blame it for the $2000 price tag though, for something rather simple potentially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
White/yellow is cold weather condensation.
Sludge is the result of NOT changing the oil when you are supposed to. Do not waste your money on mechanic in a bottle stuff. The dark stuff on your dipstick is varnish which is normal for a 150k engine.
Check you PCV system for being clear and pick up the vented oil cap.
Tons of postings on this forum for PCV and vented oil cap.
|What are the Possible Causes of the Code P0411 Chevrolet?
  • Vacuum hoses damaged or pinched
  • Faulty Air Pump inoperative
  • Faulty Air Pump harness is open or shorted
  • Faulty Air Pump circuit poor electrical connection
Thanks, I will research the PCV and vented oil cap. Is this something I can fix myself?

But I have always done regular oil changes as the Terrain is known for burning oil, think there was a recall at one point too.
 

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The 2.4 is well known for the P0411 code, among other problems. There's a service bulletin because the air injection ports get clogged up with soot and cause the P0411 code. There is no permanent fix, and it's not simple to fix it. I just had to have a shop do the procedure to clear the soot because my wife's 2013 kept getting a P0411, and it was due for emission testing. They were quoting $600 to clear it, but when they got in there they found the exhaust manifold was cracked (another well-known feature of the 2.4), so they had to replace that too. Came to about $1200 to fix it.
 

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2013 Equinox LT 2.4L Android Auto/Apple Carplay
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The 2.4 is well known for the P0411 code, among other problems. There's a service bulletin because the air injection ports get clogged up with soot and cause the P0411 code. There is no permanent fix, and it's not simple to fix it. I just had to have a shop do the procedure to clear the soot because my wife's 2013 kept getting a P0411, and it was due for emission testing. They were quoting $600 to clear it, but when they got in there they found the exhaust manifold was cracked (another well-known feature of the 2.4), so they had to replace that too. Came to about $1200 to fix it.
Is the second air injection only for California cars?
 

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I believe the secondary air is for CA emissions. CA emissions are required in many states not just California. Most of the NE states require it like NJ, NY, MA, etc.
 

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I believe the secondary air is for CA emissions. CA emissions are required in many states not just California. Most of the NE states require it like NJ, NY, MA, etc.
One less thing to worry about for me then. My vented oil cap will be delivered today. Known it for a wrong time but never really thought about buying one until recently, ☺.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
White/yellow is cold weather condensation.
Sludge is the result of NOT changing the oil when you are supposed to. Do not waste your money on mechanic in a bottle stuff. The dark stuff on your dipstick is varnish which is normal for a 150k engine.
Check you PCV system for being clear and pick up the vented oil cap.
Tons of postings on this forum for PCV and vented oil cap.
|What are the Possible Causes of the Code P0411 Chevrolet?
  • Vacuum hoses damaged or pinched
  • Faulty Air Pump inoperative
  • Faulty Air Pump harness is open or shorted
  • Faulty Air Pump circuit poor electrical connection
*** UPDATE - I cleaned the PCV Valve, air box and also put on a vented oil cap and it seems to have fixed the sludge issue! But the engine light is still on with the 0411 code. So I'm wondering if there is something else (relatively) easy I can try. It seems that it's either the PCV orifice that's clogged, which is too difficult for me to do, or the secondary air pump. The air pump seems more reasonable for me to do. Any suggestions? I really want this code cleared!
 

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Use the search box as there have been many posts on carbon clogging of secondary air system in the past.
 

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2013 Equinox LT 2.4L Android Auto/Apple Carplay
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*** UPDATE - I cleaned the PCV Valve, air box and also put on a vented oil cap and it seems to have fixed the sludge issue! But the engine light is still on with the 0411 code. So I'm wondering if there is something else (relatively) easy I can try. It seems that it's either the PCV orifice that's clogged, which is too difficult for me to do, or the secondary air pump. The air pump seems more reasonable for me to do. Any suggestions? I really want this code cleared!
Clogged PCV shouldn't give you p0411. However, you should still clean the orifice even with a vented cap. Clogged orifice is still bad for the engine long term.
 
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