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Cadillac CTS Engine Problems

I have a friend with a 2004 CTS 3.6 Sedan with under 30K on it. The car recently started making a lot of engine knocking and shacking a good bit. At first I thought it was maybe some bad gas, so I added some fuel system treatment along with some fuel stabilizer, that did not seem to work. Then, since it is usually driven in the city, I took it on the highway to clear it out. That seemed to do the trick, but only temporarely. Yesterday my friend started up the car in the morning and the front end and motor just shook horribly, so he shut it down and had it towed to a local Cadillac dealership. When it got to the dealership it would not start. Upon further analysis they determined that there was not any oil in the engine, they said they checked the dipstick and cylinders, nothing. Now, in all fairness, my friend did tell me that there is a possibility he has not changed the oil in the car in about 2 years, but I am not sure if the car just ran out of oil and it burned it up over 2 years or what. So, long story, the engine seized up, the codes that came up were errors concerning the camshaft and such. The only time the engine light came on or any warning for that matter was right when it was started the last time, when it was towed. In short he is looking at a new engine for about $8,000.00. Cadillac stated this is not under warranty because my friend did not maintain the car as he should have. The claim is in dispute with GM right now. Any ideas please post.
thanks,
jfdcustom
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Comments

  • Bump...
    I would really like any feedback please.
    Thank You
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,262
    Sounds like you're the designated "car expert" in this little drama.

    Did you check the oil when you were first asked about this? Was there any? If not, taking it out to "clear it out" at highway speeds probably finished off what was left of the engine.

    Many automotive scenarios have an exponential piece to them. The car may have only used a half a quart of oil over 3000 miles, but toward the end of a 30,000 mile situation, when the oil gets really low, the rate of consumption is going to go up in a big way.

    Did this moron, sorry, person have the vehicle serviced at any point in those 30K miles? Were records retained?

    I think I know the answer to both, but thought it best to ask anyway.
  • Besides new tires and state inspections the car has not been serviced. I think the highway trip certainly did not help and the oil consumption did speed up during the last 10K or so miles. Also, I just recently learned that due to GMs great wisdom, Cadillac uses an oil weight that represents almost nothing at all, ie 0w30. This is what GM puts in the car and this is also what Pennzoil put in the car about 2yrs ago. So, all this suggests that it burned up the paper thin oil, then it was toast. However, in the center of the dash there is an lcd information screen. I am very confident that the owners would have seen and taken action had their of been a LOW OIL indicator, or OIL life info displayed. I just think two bad things happened here, now we will just wait to see if GM is nice to people who have owned 4 Cadillacs or do they feel like being jerks! Any additional responses are appreciated.
    thanks.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,262
    As you may or may not be aware, BMW has recently begun using an oil level sensor, to the extent that they've eliminated the dipstick.

    Many BMW fans are beyond upset -- they check their oil weekly/monthly. Many of the enthusiasts among them change their own oil.

    So. . .we have a car with the feature you're looking for driven by people who generally check their oil regularly vs. a car without it that comes with a perfectly good dipstick.

    Everything is not idiotproof. . .yet.

    Merry Christmas.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    whatever my initial impressions were on your story, as soon as I read that your "friend" had not changed his oil in TWO YEARS, made me lose any and all sympathy for him. If this is true, then he should pay all the costs. Complete disregard and ignorance of the manufacturers recommendations for maintenance are not an excuse. If accurate, this is on him.
  • I understand where you are coming from. However, it is my opinion that the car should have displayed some type of low oil life or low oil indication prior to causing damage.
    thanks for the reply though
  • richw5richw5 Posts: 152
    My 2003 CTS, built in Feb of 2002, has an oil life indicator(OLI) that sends a message to the DIC (Driver Information Center) when the oil life or oil level is low. It also uses 10W30 oil, not 0W30 (which I don't believe exists).

    Since your "friends" CTS is a 2004, it has the same sensor, which is extremely reliable. Apparently, your friend did not pay attention when the message came up.

    While GM should be held responsible if the engine were defective, owners are responsible for routine maintenance and should accept the consequences for their negligence.
  • Have you located a website or dealer who specializes in selling cars with blown or failed engines? Many hobbyists are looking for a "project car" and I would like to start converting these to series hybrid electric cars and see how successful an Electric Used Car Lot (mark-at-serieshybrid.com) might be. For now I can only consider manual transmission vehicles, so probably the CTS doesn't fit my need. But in general, especially in the Internet age, there must be enough of these cases to make a business out of selling cars with major engine failure.

    Thanks, Mark (mark@serieshybrid.com).
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Mobil makes a synthetic (Mobil 1) which comes as a 0W30. I use the 5W30 in my SLS.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I think that the question here is:
    Did the car display a low oil warning? or was this feature malfunctioning?
    Did the car display a warning to change the oil? or was this feature malfunctioning?

    I doubt that both features malfunctioned. In any case, the owners manual should have stated that the oil needed changed on an annual basis, which I think is the case. Failure to maintain the car properly is not GM's fault.
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    Assuming this is not a joke, your "friend" is paying his rightful penalty for being an idiot. Most of what is wrong with this country and the world for that matter is people that cannot and/ or will not take care of themselves, or take personal responsibility for their actions and expect the rest of us to do so. If Cadillac was to generously pay $8000 to fix this idiot's motor, that just means I'll have to pay incrementally more to buy my next one. Your friend needs a nanny. Most of the rest of us have grown out of them. Buck up and be an honest person. Quit trying to weasel a new motor.

    By the way, synthetic oil is wonderful stuff, but it burns just as well as dino oil. My CTS burns about a quart in 3000 miles. At that rate I whould have junk in about 15,000 miles assuming it was not changed or topped off. I cannot imagine ignoring the change oil reminder for 2 years. Unbelievable. A good candidate for the 12 month lease.
  • breaga01breaga01 Posts: 6
    There is no excuse for ignorance for going two years without an oil change but to his defense there may be more to it with this vehicle/engine. I have the same engine in my 2005 CTS with 30500 miles. At 26K I had an engine noise (a rattle just after starting for about 2-3 seconds) that started just after a LOF. I was told it was a bad starter (which I thought was weird at the time) but the dealer replaced it under warranty. The noise came back at 29K and I check the oil and it was not even on the stick. I added 3 quarts and immediately took it to the dealer for a LOF and checkup. It had about 3500 miles since the last LOF. I was shocked and somewhat naive that a 2005 Cadillac using Mobil 1 (BTW, Oil/filter change $65.00) would be burning oil at that rate with 29K on it. Now at 30500, 1500 miles since last change I am low almost 2 Qts again and I hear the noise again. I have never seen any warning lights or messages and I see no signs of leaks. My oil life is about 55-60% and between 3000-3600 miles between oil/filter changes. Seventy-five percent of my driving is highway with the rest is city getting on and off the highway. I am very fussy about my cars and watch and listen for anything abnormal. I bought the car new and for the first 8-12K I checked the oil on a regular basis because I did not have a history about this car/engine. I noticed that the oil does get dirty faster than my Chevy engines ever have and at 3000miles it was less than 1/2 qt low each time and I wrote that off as still engine break in time. After the first 12K miles I stopped checking it, the dealer never said it was low when it was in for service. So something happened between 12K and 26K that it is now using over a quart per 1000 miles. Something abnormal is going on with this engine. Definitely not acceptable in my book. It was my first Cadillac and I enjoy driving the car but I will not buy another. My 87 Monte Carlo SS 305 has 110000 miles on in and don’t burn 1 quart in over 3000 miles. That’s acceptable! Oil/filter change $18.00.
  • I loved my '03 CTS when I first bought it a little over a year ago. I bought it from a certified dealer and it still had a warranty, for about 2,000 miles, but I'll take what I can get. This past weekend I had gone away with a rental and on Monday when I went to take my car to work the engine was making a strange clicking sound and idling higher than normal. I had to take my more reliable 1993 Ford Explorer to work that morning. I had my mechanic come over and look at it, since I did not want to move it and he is saying the it is in the top of the engine. Now, I drive my car less than 12,000 miles per year, to work 15 minutes away 3 days a week and store it in the winter. I have done all my oil changes on time, get tune ups and have the entire vehicle checked over every few months. I cannot believe that there is an engine problem. Now I have to worry about whether this is even covered under the 8 yr warranty that is still on the car. Anyone else ever have this problem? You'd think when you pay so much for a vehicle, it would last a little longer than 40,000 miles....needless to say, after it is fixed, it will be gone. Cadillac is no longer on my list of reliable vehicles.
  • I loved my '03 CTS when I first bought it a little over a year ago. I bought it from a certified dealer and it still had a warranty, only for about 2,000 miles, but I'll take what I can get.
    This past weekend I had gone away with a rental and on Monday when I went to take my car to work the engine was making a strange clicking sound and idling higher than normal. I had to take my more reliable 1993 Ford Explorer to work that morning. I had my mechanic come over and look at it, since I did not want to move it and he is saying the it is in the top of the engine. Now, I drive my car less than 12,000 miles per year, to work 15 minutes away 3 days a week and store it in the winter (it was to go in storage this weekend). I have done all my oil changes on time, get tune ups and have the entire vehicle checked over every few months. I cannot believe that there is an engine problem. Now I have to worry about whether this is even covered under the 8 yr powertrain warranty that is still on the car. Anyone else ever have this problem? You'd think when you pay so much for a vehicle, it would last a little longer than 40,000 miles....needless to say, after it is fixed, it will be gone. Cadillac is no longer on my list of reliable vehicles.
  • irv65irv65 Posts: 2
    My Mother has a 02-03? CTS and when you turn the key over all you get is a small clicking sound....no starter clicking, dimming lights or anything. All of the electical seems to still work. I just want to save my Mom some cash and time if it is something I could take care of myself...any help would be great.
  • A dealer told me, that using synthetic oil in my 04 cts is the cause of my oil consumption. They recommended I switch to conventional. Is this crazy?

    I consuming about 1/2 quart every 3200mi
    2004 cts with 84.345 miles.
  • vic10vic10 Posts: 188
    If the CTS owners manual reads like the DTS, it says to follow the oil life monitor but REGARDLESS of what it says, change the oil once year. Sounds like negligence plain and simple.
  • Just a blurb to watch your oil consumption. I have a 1 month old 2008 CTS DI with 2300 miles. Bought it November 19th, 2008. I've been watching the oil consumption.

    The first two weeks it was exactly where it should be on the stick from the factory. Never moved.....I checked it several times in my garage in early December it was still very much on the stick in the center. I haven't checked it again until last night (almost 30 days later) and found the stick to be dry. It took almost 2 quarts to bring it back onto the stick in the center of the stick.

    I'll attribute that to "breaking in"...but for those of you who choose to wait to check your oil until the change oil light comes on..........I wouldn't do that!!

    One characteristic of the 2008 Oil gauge is that it always seems to peg out on 80 PSI when under load....it still did that even being 2 quarts low....kinda misleading. You would think pressure would go down as oil level went down. It didn't. I'd recommend you watch the oil in this new car as it breaks in.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I find two quart consumption unacceptable in a modern engine.......any th oughts of taking it to the dealer and having them check it out?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I find two quart consumption unacceptable in a modern engine.......any th oughts of taking it to the dealer and having them check it out?
  • Hi, I am planning on buying a 2008 CTS, can you give me an update on your oil issue?
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    You may have a leak on the engine. It happened to my 3.5 liter, they put a flourescent dye into the oil and after 900 km later pinpointed the leak.
    If the worst happens ,the engine expires while under warranty , you will get a new ,latest version of DI 3.6. Don't worry just keep an eye on the oil level and keep GM notified.
  • Why must the 2004 Cadillac cts use only synthetic oil as mandated by GM4718M? I have an oil consumption issue 1 qt now every 5-6000 miles. I can’t find an answer to this question.

    Thanks in advance
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    Mobil 1(recommended) is a superior oil compared to any conventionly oil. Better on extreme temperature and pressure, the molecule will not break apart from the shearing action in the engine. If you don't use synethic oil and have engine problems under warranty GM will not fix it.

    My 3.5 liter uses 600ml every 6-7000 km a little less in summer normal. Yours sounds a little high ,you might have a small leak....
  • No visible leaks don’t see anything on the ground. Also had the engine coolant checked no oil, and no signs of burning oil. I am still curious why the Cadillac must only use synthetic.
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    Probably because the Oil Life Monitor is calibrated for synthetic and its typically longer change interval. There is probably no functional reason why you couldnt use dino oil, but it would be pound foolish to do so while the warrantee is in effect. Synthetic oil is technically a better lubricant, but dino is probably good enough if you change it often enough.

    On the consumption issue, a quart in 5-6000 miles is nothing to worry about on any engine. I know some motors dont use any oil in 5000 miles, but that's not necessarily normal. I'd start wondering at about a quart in 3000 miles, and worrying at 1 qt in 1000 miles. If you boot the gas pedal alot, oil consumption goes up. High engine revs or load creates more heat and increases consumption of gas and oil. Long, high speed highway trips seem to burn more oil than puttering around town for a couple of months. Maybe you're old enough to remember 1968, when GTO meant gas, tires and oil. Because of lessons learned in those days, I have the habit of checking each car I own every week or two.

    The oil life monitor on my son's BMW doesnt come on until about every 15,000 miles, so they have pretty good confidence in synthetic oil.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    If you can get under the car while on ramp blocks or jack stands and visually look at the engine block with a brite light. Check head area of the block and around the exhaust manifold. If it's leaking you will see the oil on the engine making it's way down to the transmission and the oil pan and blowing back down under the car.
    Like was said before by others, a double overhead cam engine does have more moving parts and produces more heat . If synethic oil isn't used carbon build up and varnish will deposit it self on the valve stem and mechanically valve train components reducing the effiency of the engine and leading to engine sludge. Plus these type of engines are engineered to superior and tighter tolerance than previous generations, thus requiring a synethic oil just like the Corvette and others.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    I hope your son's oil filter on that Beamer can filter between 9-18 microns. If not, the particles in the oil while damage the engine if your going 15,000 miles between oil changes. The oil life is only as good as the quailty of filter you use.
  • My 2008 CTS, 1850 miles in the shop, they think cracked head or blown head gasket, GM unwilling to do anything except tear apart and patch engine back together. No kind of satisfaction from their customer service dept. GM's quality and satisfaction is a joke. I have the 3.6VVT, so it isn't like this is a new engine or anything. I think it is a load of crap that I will now have a 40K car with a screwed up engine. GM is a joke, next time a foreign car for me, no wonder they are losing their asses and falling behind Toyota faster all the time.
  • What idiot does not change oil for 2 years? No car company would take care of this under warranty.
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