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    Thread: Chevrolet 5.3 engine failure? Bad oil pump?

    1. Member 1320-20V's Avatar
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      03 Lagrangian Loveseat 1.8t
      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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      07-27-2009 01:41 AM #3
      Wow that sucks big nut sack.
      Never heard of it before..

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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.

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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.

      The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
      What you on about ?

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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.

      make shiny.
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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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      03 Lagrangian Loveseat 1.8t
      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.


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      07-27-2009 04:50 PM #11
      Year?
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    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. 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. 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.
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    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.

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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


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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!

      Regarding DD'ing a tuned Evo:
      Quote Originally Posted by SchrickVR6 View Post
      It's composed at all speeds and at all times...it just feels like you're holding the leash on a 150lb pit bull and praying you don't see a squirrel.

    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?


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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.
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    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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      07-28-2009 10:41 PM #26
      I took my warrantied car to get oil changes at the dealer for this exact purpose. In and out in and hour and costs the same as a local shop. I've already sued a dealer and had them settle. More confident they will show up and settle than a small local shop.
      Saab got one of my family members on this crap. After that they never went back.

    27. Member caj1's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 10:47 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by redsoxreturns »
      i'd bet that a phone call w/ the right attitude would get it covered on GM's dime.

      You mean your dime?


    28. Member redsoxreturns's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 10:48 PM #28
      IM sent
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    29. Member 1320-20V's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 10:55 PM #29
      I would understand if they called and asked "hey have you ever had your oil changed anywhere else?" But they didn't. They assumed that because during certain periods the car WAS getting its oil changed there, that those were the only times the oil was changed. Which is a completely asinine assumption.

      Tomorrow I will be going down to the jiffy lube place my father frequents and having them produce all the receipts for oil changes he has had there.

      Unfortunately he says he just goes where-ever he feels like, has the oil changed and pays cash. So i wont be able to produce EVERY receipt.

      I hope SAAB does not successfully screw us because I cant produce every damn oil change receipt for the entire life of the vehicle.


    30. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 10:59 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by 1320-20V »
      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?!!!


      Not to be mean- but lack of oil change maintenance ruined engines are quite common. They have reason to be suspicious, and it is ultimately the owner's responsibility to show proof of service.


      Quote »

      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. ?!

      That's a big wtf there.


      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.

      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?


      Again- it is the owner's responsibility to prove service. I'd assume oil and oil filter receipts with some other personal record of the oil change (miles/date) would be enough to prove it. Then it would be their responsibility to prove otherwise- which would mean oil examination.. I guess.

      Good luck with it.


      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


      On a related note- this brings up something has has bothered me regarding long term follows the vehicle drivetrain warranties. What if you bought the vehicle with 45k miles and then it went out at 50k miles with just your one possible service record and none were in the dealership computer database record for previous service?

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    31. Member adrew's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 11:16 PM #31
      The GM Oil Life System can recommend intervals up to 12 months/12,000 miles, so you just need to show them that it's had 5 oil changes over the years.

      This is from a Trailblazer manual, but it is the same for your Saab:

      Quote, originally posted by GM »

      Engine Oil Scheduled Maintenance
      Change engine oil and filter as indicated by the GM Oil Life System (or every 12 months, whichever occurs first). Reset the system. The system will show you when to change the oil -- usually between 3,000 miles (5 000 km) and 12,000 miles (20 000 km) since your last oil change. Under severe conditions, the indicator may come on before 3,000 miles (5 000 km). Never drive your vehicle more than 12,000 miles (20 000 km) or 12 months without an oil and filter change.
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    32. Member BUJonathan's Avatar
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      07-28-2009 11:19 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by 1320-20V »
      I would understand if they called and asked "hey have you ever had your oil changed anywhere else?" But they didn't. They assumed that because during certain periods the car WAS getting its oil changed there, that those were the only times the oil was changed. Which is a completely asinine assumption.

      Tomorrow I will be going down to the jiffy lube place my father frequents and having them produce all the receipts for oil changes he has had there.

      Unfortunately he says he just goes where-ever he feels like, has the oil changed and pays cash. So i wont be able to produce EVERY receipt.

      I hope SAAB does not successfully screw us because I cant produce every damn oil change receipt for the entire life of the vehicle.

      I would get all your receipts, have your dad comb his credit card statements, contact every place he took it to for proof of service etc. Then, put it in a binder, chronological order, go to the dealer, and say "here is your proof of service."

      Ultimately if the car is under warranty, i really think it's best to take it to the dealership, and also keep the records. If you are going to take it elsewhere, you have to be extra cautious, make sure you neatly file all your receipts, and make sure they're noting the correct oil viscosity on the receipts.


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      07-28-2009 11:30 PM #33
      Didn't the 9-7X have no-charge scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles?


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      07-28-2009 11:56 PM #34
      ^

      Yes but this is limited to three service visits per year so i was told today.

      It is also neither here nor there. People have busy lives, important things to do. Everyone has the right to get there oil changed anywhere they want. Even to do it themselves if they want.

      I change my own oil because I don't like anyone else working on my car. If I'm busy I take it to an oil change place. If i have the time I do it myself.

      My father takes it to wherever he wants, gets the oil changed and leaves. He pays cash, does not save the receipt and drives away. This should not void his warranty.

      I could probably tell you every place I ever had my oil changed for every car I had in the last 5 years. However my dad is not a car guy and oil changes are not even a blip on his radar.

      Tomorrow I'm going to drive around and get printouts of every receipt I can find. Hopefully they track it by VIN and not name. Sometimes other people service the car.


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      06 GTI
      07-29-2009 01:32 AM #35
      This is exactly why I literally keep a file on my car with every receipt for everything I ever buy for it, including store receipts for oil and filters when I change the oil.

      When I traded my Touareg I offered to give the salesman my receipts, thinking that the new owner might appreciate having a complete service history. He looked at the stack of papers and said it would scare away potential buyers.

      Quote Originally Posted by Taipei_E92 View Post
      If you generalize...you are always going to get it wrong.

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