Excessive oil consumption and motor swap
This is a two part post. First thanks to this forum I am learning a great deal about the issues with these vehicles. She purchased a brand new '11 Equinox with the 2.4l motor before we were married. Ever since I have known her the car has used too much oil. I have always owned older vehicles and done my own maintenance so dumping a quart of oil in hers as well wasn't an issue.
The other day her car died in a parking lot an refused to restart. I tried to jump it but no bueno. We got it towed home and I began troubleshooting the issue. It would turn over, but slowly. Left it on the charger over night and same thing in the morning. Tried jumping it again but still nothing. Threw a code checker on it and that's when I learned the car was a canbus system. I have a Saab with the same canbus system and they are notorious for having issues if the battery is not perfect. So I went and got the battery checked. It had a bad cell and was replaced free under warranty. Installed new battery, same slow crank. Got a new starter and installed that. Same slow crank, but popped once like it was going to try to start. Pulled the plugs and checked the gaps and power of the spark. Two had weak spark so replaced all plugs. Same slow crank. Checked fuel pressure at the valve next to intake manifold and it was strong. So to me, it has fuel air and spark so should be running. At this point I assume its in the wrong order and the cams are f'ed or the timing chain is off. Wife doesn't want me to go any deeper into the motor myself so we send it off to a local mechanic who charges us $108 to say the same thing.
So I do some research on the site here and find this is a common issue. I decide to call GM customer support and see if they will help us out with this since it is a known issue. The car has 113k miles and is outside of the power train warranty. GM says that they may be able to help as this is indeed a known issue. The criteria is that the car must be less than 120k miles and under a certain number of years old, which it is. They say that the car has to go to a dealership and the dealership needs to do their own diagnostic on the car and if they confirm the issue then GM will pay for it. We talk for 30 minutes about the fact that the car is not running and I am assured that will not be a problem. We discuss that the current problem was caused by the excess oil consumption and because of that GM should pay to repair it. After discussing with his supervisor, the rep agrees. I ask about what all is involved in their diagnostic to ensure that it can be completed, but the rep is not a tech and doesn't even know what piston rings are. Either way I am assured they will work with us and to take the car to a dealership to get the process started.
Yesterday we take it to a dealership, who says that in order to diagnose this they need to get a look at the rings which will require an engine tear which will cost $1200. I have to approve of this happening. We discuss who will be paying for it eventually and my concerns on getting the shaft with all this. I am reassured that they have never denied one of these claims on the many equinox's they have had come through as they know it is an issue. Only reason a full on recall hasn't been done is because it would cost GM a ton of money so instead they handle it as the cars come in. Today I get the call that the motor has metal shavings top and bottom and that it needs replaced. They say it was indeed caused by low oil as far as they can tell. The next step is to talk to GM again so they can approve the repairs on their bill. This is when I get the news that they will not cover it. I am responsible for the $1200 diagnostic and $7500 motor replacement bill. Reason, they couldn't do the oil consumption test because the vehicle doesn't run. After about an hour of extremely frustrated arguing I feel I am no closer to getting them to repair the car even though they are admitting that the problem is all probably a result of the oil consumption, but the oil consumption can't be proven because the car is not running. I try giving them the metaphor that I cut myself on their knife, the cut gets infected, gangreen sets in and causes the arm to fall off, now they want me to prove that I ever cut myself, which is impossible because the arm has fallen off. They didn't find that amusing.
Right now they gave us an address that we have to snail mail a complaint to and see if that department will help us out. Otherwise maybe the dealership will help us out of the goodness of their hearts. If anyone has any advice on the matter that is better than hoping the dealership has a kind heart I would appreciate it.
For everyone else, if your car is burning oil and has less than 120k miles on it, get an oil consumption test at the dealership while the car is running. If it is burning oil excessively they will replace the piston assemblies free of charge under special coverage (extended warranty) 15285.
Next question. If we end up having to foot the bill for this, there is no way in **** we are giving a dime to a stealership, or GM in general. So, looking at replacement motors, the '12-'15 motors are much more common than the '11. Can I drop one in and fire it up or will I need to be swapping some PCMs and stuff? There is obviously something different because they say they are not interchangeable, but I am really hoping that the difference is internal and was them fixing the piston assemblies at the factory. If I need to swap a bunch of stuff I'll just search longer and get an '11 motor. Thanks for the help.