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    Thread: Chevrolet 5.3 engine failure? Bad oil pump?

    1. Member 1320-20V's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 01:27 AM #1
      So the 5.3L V-8 in the Saab 9-7x ( trailblazer ) went BOOM today.
      Actually it went squeak, then silent.
      We were in gridlock traffic leaving a baseball game. Truck was fine for a 3 hour ride there.
      Next thing you know, the oil temp gauge falls off to nothing, and I get low oil pressure light on the dash. I'm stuck in gridlock traffic, moving zero mph.
      Next thing you know, a few squeals and screeches later, the engine is totally seized.
      Push truck off to the side of the road, lights out.
      Truck has less than 50 K miles on it. Its totally old man owned and driven. He takes it to the dealership for oil changes. He may not be a car nut like we are, but the truck is NOT neglected and not driven hard ever. He changes the oil pretty regularly they put a 3000 mile interval on the sticker, he prob changes it every 4000 when he notices the sticker. The manual says 7500!!
      So AFAIK the vortec 5.3 should be like bulletproof at this point right? I searched the interwebs, and I see nothing of sudden oil pump failures?
      Is this common??
      Tomorrow I start the warranty claims process, something I have not really done before on this scale. To be honest I was riding dads ass about the poor shift quality, I wanted him to get the tranny looked at before the warranty expired, but the engine failure is a complete surprise.
      The entire reason I recommended this truck is because I thought it would be bulletproof and quite to my surprise, nothing could be further from the truth.



    2. Member nm+'s Avatar
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      07-27-2009 01:33 AM #2
      Should have bought a european car
      .
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      .
      Quote Originally Posted by Ducky TSX
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    3. Member A_Dirty_Cupcake's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 01:41 AM #3
      Wow that sucks big nut sack.
      Never heard of it before.. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthdown.gif[/IMG]

    4. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 02:15 AM #4
      "The entire reason I recommended this truck is because I thought it would be bulletproof and quite to my surprise, nothing could be further from the truth. "
      I am really really tired of the "bullet proof" description of anything. Heck- even bullet proof material is at best bullet resistant since there is always a caliber that can penetrate- especially if the material is already compromised by previous impacts.
      And every model has major engine failures under warranty- Toyotas, Hondas, GMs...
      You're just lucky to have gotten one.
      “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

    5. Senior Member J-Tim's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 02:19 AM #5
      Quote, originally posted by BRealistic »
      "The entire reason I recommended this truck is because I thought it would be bulletproof and quite to my surprise, nothing could be further from the truth. "
      I am really really tired of the "bullet proof" description of anything. Heck- even bullet proof material is at best bullet resistant since there is always a caliber that can penetrate- especially if the material is already compromised by previous impacts.
      And every model has major engine failures under warranty- Toyotas, Hondas, GMs...
      You're just lucky to have gotten one.


      Yup. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      “I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime” - Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    6. Moderator Gary C's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 02:45 AM #6
      It's a freak occurrence. It can and has happened to *all* manufacturers.
      My father has a 5.3L Vortec in a Silverado with 190,000 miles on it - still going strong. Never been opened up. Rear end has been rebuilt twice (plow truck...they get abused) but the motor & transmission are original, save for throwing a shift kit into the transmission early on.
      Take it to the dealer. They should definitely take care of it for you. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      make shiny.
      If crazy paid the bills.. I'd be freaking rich.

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      07-27-2009 08:34 AM #7
      as soon as i saw this thread, i thought of you and the transmission issues i read about the truck having. Very interesting that this happened, thank God for a warranty.

    8. Member classicjetta's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 08:47 AM #8
      Were these the piston slap engines?

    9. Senior Member JustinCSVT's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 09:23 AM #9
      Quote, originally posted by classicjetta »
      Were these the piston slap engines?

      No. And the piston slap engines worked fine. People just didn't like the loud noise. My mom's '07 Denali still does when cold.

    10. Member 1320-20V's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 02:24 PM #10
      From what I understand the 5.3 IS one of the piston slap motors, but this is caused not by metallurgy. Rumor has it it is the cylinder deactivation that causes the piston slap issue.
      Said dead Saab is now on its way to the dealer.
      I'm hoping for a no questions asked replacement engine. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emgift.gif[/IMG]

    11. Member TigerinColorado's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 04:50 PM #11
      Year?

    12. Member BostonB6's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 04:58 PM #12
      I can't imagine you would not have heard the piston slap is it was present. It's not subtle.
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    13. Banned WhistlerYOW's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 05:05 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by JustinCSVT »
      No. And the piston slap engines worked fine. People just didn't like the loud noise. My mom's '07 Denali still does when cold.

      x2
      One of the reasons the engines are so durable (well, in cases outside of this thread) is that they are built with high tolerances which also make them vulnerable to piston slap. Its an entirely cosmetic "problem" that does absolutely nothing to effect the drive ability or reliability of the engine.
      It only become a problem when soccer moms/dads and concrete cowboys buy a full size truck/SUV with a truck engine and expect it to be as refined as the VTEC Honda that they SHOULD be driving .

    14. 07-27-2009 05:07 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by WhistlerYOW »
      x2
      One of the reasons the engines are so durable (well, in cases outside of this thread) is that they are built with high tolerances which also make them vulnerable to piston slap. Its an entirely cosmetic "problem" that does absolutely nothing to effect the drive ability or reliability of the engine.
      It only become a problem when soccer moms/dads and concrete cowboys buy a full size truck/SUV with a truck engine and expect it to be as refined as the VTEC Honda that they SHOULD be driving .

      Or Corvette and Camaro owners expect a refined sports car...

    15. Banned WhistlerYOW's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 05:11 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by Corbic »
      Or Corvette and Camaro owners expect a refined sports car...

      Never heard of the 5.3 in those applications having the same noises as the truck motors... on the other hand piston slap happens in cold weather more than any other and nobody drives those cars in cold weather.

    16. Member redsoxreturns's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 05:21 PM #16
      we've never seen engine failures at my dealer - the drive line complaints are through the roof, but never an engine failure. are you sure the motor is seized? is there a leak? if it's under 50k and you have the records (or the dealer does), you should be ok. even if it was over 50k, i'd bet that a phone call w/ the right attitude would get it covered on GM's dime.
      Big Bopper to March Hare..We're still in the game okay? Understand this, that scag, and his floozy....They're gonna die!

    17. Member 1320-20V's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 09:35 PM #17
      Oh Im not sure it is totally seized, but its in BIG trouble. Apparently the dealership had it running for a minute but there is NO oil pressure. NONE.
      It makes VERY VERY unhappy noises.
      When it stopped on me I turned the key but it would not start up again. I'm not sure but it it may prevent itself from starting with low oil pressure??? I'm not sure how the dealership got it going, but I should know a lot more by tomorrow at noon.

    18. Member blue70beetle's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 10:11 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by 1320-20V »
      When it stopped on me I turned the key but it would not start up again. I'm not sure but it it may prevent itself from starting with low oil pressure??? I'm not sure how the dealership got it going, but I should know a lot more by tomorrow at noon.

      That's not uncommon for an engine that has just shut itself off. My Beetle did that after the oil cooler broke off on the interstate (and I unknowingly drove it another 10 miles or so, after which the engine stalled at a stop sign). The difference is the next day, I was able to pull the cooling fan off the top of my Beetle engine and get the oil cooler repaired, and then I drove it 6 hours home at 70+ mph. It has nothing to do with oil pressure, because the ECU couldn't possibly read any oil pressure until the engine is cranking, because at rest, there is none. The dealership was able to start it because all the components had time to cool down.
      I'm surprised you didn't find lots of reasons to stay far, far away from that platform. I know there are a lot of them on the road, but I don't recall ever hearing a single good thing about reliability (I'm talking about the whole vehicle - not specifically the engine), and LOTS of bad. From what I have heard, every time you turn around, something else is broken.

    19. Member redsoxreturns's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 10:25 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by blue70beetle »

      I'm surprised you didn't find lots of reasons to stay far, far away from that platform.

      they really are gigantic piles of garbage.
      Big Bopper to March Hare..We're still in the game okay? Understand this, that scag, and his floozy....They're gonna die!

    20. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 10:32 PM #20
      It's my understanding that piston slap is due to the short piston skirts used on modern engines. As far as the slap not being anything other than a cosmetic issue- I don't buy that. Metal on machined metal loud enough to hear simply must be causing some added uneven wear.

      And an engine failure at 50k miles on a properly maintained engine is very rare. Engine defects usually show up within 20k miles. But then again- if the vehicle hadn't been babies so well, it may have failed at 20k miles. That's the logic I use to drive new vehicles hard when under warranty. You need to make sure everything will hold up somehow.
      “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

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      07-27-2009 10:56 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by BRealistic »
      "The entire reason I recommended this truck is because I thought it would be bulletproof and quite to my surprise, nothing could be further from the truth. "
      I am really really tired of the "bullet proof" description of anything. Heck- even bullet proof material is at best bullet resistant since there is always a caliber that can penetrate- especially if the material is already compromised by previous impacts.
      And every model has major engine failures under warranty- Toyotas, Hondas, GMs...
      You're just lucky to have gotten one.


      Ummmmm

    22. Member compy222's Avatar
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      07-27-2009 11:56 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by JustinCSVT »
      No. And the piston slap engines worked fine. People just didn't like the loud noise. My mom's '07 Denali still does when cold.

      i had a 97 tahoe that had piston slap. ran flawlessly with no problems and the guy who bought it off me has nearly 200k on it with no issues.
      engine failures happen. cars have gotten far more reliable, but once and awhile, something still can go boom. you might find something fell off somewhere else in the motor and hit the oil pump causing it to fail. it only takes one, very small, and i mean microscopic crack, to end the life of a motor.
      good news is that it will likely be fixed under warranty.
      best of luck!
      Quote Originally Posted by capsaicin View Post
      AP1 S2000? I can not in good conscience talk you out of that. May your slip angle be great and your bed not be the couch!

    23. Member 1320-20V's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 10:06 PM #23
      UPDATE:
      GM is trying to deny the warranty claim. I'm starting to get PISSED.
      1. Without contacting me the looked up the dealership service records and are claiming a 20k mile gap in oil changes. Which is hilarious because who the F gets the oil changed at the dealership?!!!
      2. The dealer told me I SHOULD PAY to have it towed 350 miles back to its home dealer because the mass dealers regional rep says the car has no service history in mass. And he does not want to pay a warranty claim out of his funds for a non mass car. ?!
      3. I can come up with several jiffy lube type oil recipts for the car, most likely 75% of them because my dad recalls going to a few different places, and the company has records of THEM changing it a few times.
      4. How do I dispute their neglect claims? They didn't even ASK if we had changed the oil ourselves they just assumed since they had no records of it that it was not done. What kind of bull**** is that?
      5. I have contacted the NY regional service manager but have not actually verbally talked to him yet. I will do so tomorrow. I will also be going to all the jiffy lube places and will acquire printouts of all the many oil changes the truck has had that did not occur at the dealer.
      6. what if I had changed the oil myself? how would I prove that?

    24. Member adrew's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 10:14 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by 1320-20V »
      Which is hilarious because who the F gets the oil changed at the dealership?!!!

      Me. It's $30 and I trust them more than Jiffy Lube.
      Quote, originally posted by 1320-20V »
      2. The dealer told me I SHOULD PAY to have it towed 350 miles back to its home dealer because the mass dealers regional rep says the car has no service history in mass. And he does not want to pay a warranty claim out of his funds for a non mass car. ?!

      Is this what happens when a company is in its death throes? Who cares if it is inconvenient for the regional rep? The car is under warranty and could be repaired at any dealership in the whole country.
      Quote »
      3. I can come up with several jiffy lube type oil recipts for the car, most likely 75% of them because my dad recalls going to a few different places, and the company has records of THEM changing it a few times.

      Give these to them and you should be fine.
      Quote »
      6. what if I had changed the oil myself? how would I prove that?

      You just give them the receipts from when you bought the oil and filters at AutoZone or whatever. They're probably just trying to see if you guys'll cave.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    25. 07-28-2009 10:17 PM #25
      I take my car to the dealership for all services, no matter how retardedly simple they are just because of B.S. like this. VW tried to blame my no start condition on my garage door remote control so I wouldnt put anything past any manufacturer.
      Get all of your receipts together to prove that the maintenance was done. I hope pops was really getting it done and you can find the receipts.
      As for towing back to its home dealership, talk to customer service and complain.

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