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2010+ Buick Lacrosse Engine and Powertrain Problems



  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    On a recent run, 2 tankfuls round trip, I had gotten 28 MPG. Shortly after I got back it seemed my local driving mileage had dropped about 3 MPG. I had mentioned it to dealer and they told me they did not even consider mileage complaints until past 5000 miles. Since then I made a round trip to WI and about half way there I passed the 3000 mark for breakin. Highway mileage was down about 3MPG the entire trip. At the other end I had a dead battery. They sent jump and guy broke part of battery case. After idling for 50 minutes I gently increased idle to assess charging voltage that seemed whacked. At 1500 RPM the vehicle started shaking like it had cylinder unbalance. Good part is no oil consumed but something is definitely awry. Next morning it was slow to turn over so I took to local dealer. A very big dealer handling the complete GM line. I told them about the engine shaking and battery problem. The tested battery and replaced. They dismissed the engine issue claiming it was because of low voltage with bad battery. Subsequently I learned they replaced my 3 mo. old OE battery with a 30 month. Obviously this is wrong also. I now have appointment for Wed. for these issues, other issues, and parts recieved that they ordered prior to this. My mileage chart follows.
    total miles trip miles MPH MPG Miles Gallons actual MPG Notes
    1871 trip start/Chevron
    2196 325.2 48 mph 23.7 mpg 325.2 13.397 24.27 mpg start all Shell
    2670 798.5 57.5 mph 24.3 mpg 473.3 18.9 25.06 mpg
    2878 1006.3 61.9 mph 23.7 mpg 207.8 8.221 25.27 mpg
    3174 1243 40.6 mph 21.2 mpg 296 14.603 20.27 mpg 100 miles local
    3283 1352.9 21.2 mph 18.3 mpg 109.5 5.987 18.29 mpg 1 hr idle charge battery
    3524 1593.9 40.4 mph 25.3 mpg 241 9.015 26.73 mpg 1 1/2 hr traffic jam
    3810 1879.8 67 mph 25.8 mpg 285.9 10.588 27.00 mpg
    4132 2201.4 66.4 mph 24.5 mpg 321.6 13.185 24.38 mpg
    4380 2450.4 59.7 mph 24.0 mpg 248.7 9.485 26.22 mpg trip end
    2508.8 103.381 24.268 MPG Totals
    Oddometer and trip 1 totals agree. Trip 2 was reset at beginning and not touched till end. If using 2450.4 as miles, mileage drops to 23.7 mpg. Could it have something to do with dead battery?
    I don't know that they are connected, but I had the loud clangs at start for a short period of time and it was then that I first noticed drop in MPG. There is no service engine light.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I have noticed that what is in 09 3.8L and 11 3.6L is a pinkish coolant. GM specifies Dexcool. Have they changed their Dexcool formulation? I noticed GM Dexcool on shelf at dealer parts and it said orange on the bottle. They also had the green stuff. We are not supposed to mix colors so it seems I need to ask if pink is available.
  • gberpagberpa Posts: 44
    Not exactly on topic, but coolant was low in our '98 Grand Prix (90+K miles and am now doing only what is needed to keep it going for spouses local shopping). I added name brand new ethylene glycol (and equal amount of water) from daughter's garage to my oveflow tank.

    A few weeks later, had my coolant checked for temp protection, acidity, etc and they said it was good on those scores but had sediment and recommended a flush/changeout. Returned later to do this and they said it couldn't be done due to excess sediment and I might need a heavy duty flush at a radiator specialist. Manager at the garage and a service writer at current dealer also said I might be better off leaving it alone as a strong flush might dislodge plugged up leaks!
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Seems like a very good place to me, powertrain/coolant.
    I have heard of such things happening and such blocking is usually due to corrosion. Leaks might be attributed to that at a second stage as well as seals failing. And there is also the nemesis of electrolytic corrosion which will produce leaks. A quick check for that can be done by using a cheap volt meter and putting one probe into the radiator mouth and the other to the negative terminal of battery. Also with key on and engine running. It would be in the millivolt range but over time it will eat system up.
    As to dislodging plugged leaks, that is true. But you are then taking a chance with what is basically a failed radiator. It will not cool properly and could show up when temps are hotter and possibly damage engine. Also the metal may be nearly eaten through and it is just waiting for the chance of pressure building to the burst point.
    I would look for a reputable radiator shop that guarantees their work. If capable, you can save a lot of money if you remove and take to shop, but you must also make certain it is properly reinstalled. You also are certain that they have not added some sort of plugging material to the coolant to get you down the street that way. Some shops have the capability of removing end tanks and putting new seals in. Check if they can do it to yours. Sometimes this is the only way to get hard scale out of core, remove end tanks and push a rod through the core channels. If badly corroded it also increase the risk of puncture.
    When you have a price for radiator repair, check with radiator suppliers for price of new one and make sure it is warranted. They sometimes have OE radiator.

    If you decide to proceed, I would run a heavy duty flush through system before dismantling so that it has a chance to clean the inside of engine. It will at least rid any oily films that have occurred which impede heat transfer.
    To do properly is rather lengthy. First you need to flush all coolant from system including heater core and block. Often the easiest way is to remove drains and thermostat. Run water through cold engine before reassembling thermostat housing. If there is a coolant control valve in coolant for heater you will need to have it energized to ensure flushing of heater core. That usually means running engine with air conditioner in heat mode. Then again draining and flushing as much as possible from block and radiator. Since at this point your main aim is cleaning of block and heater core, it would be best to have thermostat installed when adding the super flush to the system. You will otherwise have a hard time reaching operating temperature so the flush does its job.
    And then you need to flush as much of the flushing chemical from the system as possible. If your drinking water has a lot of minerals in it, you might consider pouring some distilled water through block from thermostat housing to get rid of much of that hard or acid water. There is usually so much water left in block that you might have a hard time reaching a 50/50 mix. In such cases you can more easily achieve that mix by pouring some straight coolant into the block with radiator drain open and watch for the color change at the drain plug. You may see a faint color change at first while it is pushing mostly water out.
    Finally close up system except fill point and add straight coolant until you have the calculated percentage you want, of the system capacity. 50/50 is considered factory minimum. Jug of coolant should have chart for higher percentages of mix for boiling and freezing points. It is not useful to go above their highest percentages.
    BTW, definitely check all hoses before installing new coolant. If you smell hot coolant in vehicle in heat mode you likely have a leaking heater core or leak at hose attachment point. You don't need to breathing those quite toxic fumes. If OE hoses are less than 10 years old they should be OK. If replacing, it is best to reuse OE clamps. And best to buy OE hoses or something that lasts as long as OE's do these days. By cheap and you will likely need hose replacement in year or two, far shorter than the 5yr/150K of long life coolants.
    To make it simpler, Ford says to put in what the OE color of coolant was. GM usually says Dexcool and at least one version they sell now is orange, it gets a bit confusing because mine is pinkish and calls for Dexcool.
    Good Luck.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Oops! Just realized you are talking about Gran Prix.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I commented in another post that 3.6L is shaking like misfire when idled up to around 1500 RPM. And a couple of days ago it also did it with cold start idling at 1000 RPM. This is one of specific complaints listed when I dropped off vehicle this morning. It was not ready at closing. They validated complaint and were waiting for sales to bring over a new one quite similar so they could see if it was normal.
    On don't know on what planet that would be normal, but possibly. Can everyone give theirs a quick check to see if you detect the same. Either way it just does not seem normal so maybe many of us have hidden issue.
    Strangely, they commented about no existing TSB for issue. I'm hoping it just means they have to jump through a couple of corporate loops to proceed.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Service just called saying that engine imbalance around 1500 RPM exists in all 3.6L. No explanation as to why.
    What say you?
  • gberpagberpa Posts: 44
    My car was cold and not driven for a day or so. Since we are expecting snow this weekend, I want to be sure the battery is OK. I just started it up in my garage and rpm was initially at about 1300, no vibration. It then drops to about 800-1000 rpm (no vibe). Pulling out on my driveway, and revving and, while hard to hold it exact at 1500, but bracketing this, it seems smooth to me.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Thanks for the reply. I am doing it in neutral revving to around 1500. It is hard to hold exactly as you say and my shaking is about plus or minus a couple of hundred RPM.
    My wife said this afternoon she never noticed shaking and told her I'd show her when I picked it up. She felt it immediately, probably through passenger seat.

    Either every 3.6L should be doing it or it is not normal and I'm not satisfied with their answer that it is normal. I know some vehicles have built in protections via various limiters. My daughters truck is one. It will not rev past about 2500 RPM unless it is in gear. That is certainly not the case here because it revs up farther and smooths out.
    I will accept reasonable explanations and normal is not an explanation. There seems to be a 3 point connection. Maybe related. That is the gas mileage dropped suddenly about the same time as I had a few days of the loud metallic clank others have complained about. About 1300 miles later I discovered the rough idle at 1500 RPM.
    Whatever the cause it doesn't seem it would be good for longevity of engine. It could be something in the combustion chamber, perhaps related to clanging which some say is exhaust related, maybe a restriction, the ignition system, fuel injection, or even the computer.
    BTW, computer is not considered part of powertrain warranty.
    Thanks again.
  • gberpagberpa Posts: 44
    Your welcome, no problem given how much you offer here.

    BTW, its been a week since I had my 2011 CXS at about 2700 miles in for punch list items including the replacing the long exhaust pipe from the preconverter to the muffler. No 'clang' noises since in about 10-20 starts. I told the service manager before the replacement that from the time he ordered the part to the scheduled appointment, that the frequency of 'clangs' had decreased and was actually at zero for about 8 starts prior to the appointment. But, they thought replacement was the best bet from prior cases.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Thanks for the update on the clang.
    I'm only trying to share hoping we all have the best outcome. I've found other forums I've been in very useful that way. Sometimes it helped locate a difficult problem via other owner experience and has saved my family thousands of dollars.
    I never expected to be so active in a new car forums. If I had bought at Walmart they'd just have you exchange and it now seems I would have had to do that several times already.
    This automobile has some nice features and overall I'd say it is a keeper for me if they get the punch list of complaints fixed. If not, owner loyalty goes out with the vehicle.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Update on rough running. It also does it with cold engine, that is before it goes into closed loop where the sensors take full control including the O2 sensors.
    We just made a run to Gatlinburg & Ashville area, about 5 1/2 hours according to NAV. It was much longer because of traffic problems. And terribly hard to get a good MPG figure because of such, except on the way home.
    I did notice that the roughness seems to be worse and covering a wider range of RPM. Also it seemed to show up with the hilly terrain as less power going up and sometimes it seemed I could feel it. If it decided to downshift a gear it would go away at that point.
    We filled just outside Ashville for trip home and saw about 28MPG as we descended but that rapidly dropped to about 25MPG as we got to flatter terrain. At home we are near five feet above sea level. Such mileage for this vehicle is not right. 3.6L engine.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    I must say, I tried mine out a few days ago. Lo and behold, at 1500 rpm there was a slight shudder in the engine. What I did notice though was it was almost non existant when warm or in gear. 25 mpg is way to low for this car. Could there be a broken baffle in the muffler?? I'd almost want to say a clogged cat, but it sounds as if there is some restriction in the exhaust.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Something along that line is certainly on my suspect list since the mileage drop was noticed about or right after I had several starts with the loud clang. It then stopped doing it, except I noticed in the colder climate it did make a sound that seemed to be in exhaust when starting a few times, but not near as loud as previous. Dealer said they checked fuel trim and was OK. But how far off does it have to be to make that change in mileage?
    Other suspects would be something in ignition such as a coil, wire, or spark plug weak on one cylinder and I don't know if they scoped that. Also something in fuel delivery such as defective injector. And since each is individually controlled by computer that individual output could have a problem. And then of course we get into major mechanical issues such as weak compression on one cyclinder or a flawed casting that could restrict proper flow.
    I'm now at about 5500 miles with oil life at 25%. A few minutes ago I pulled stick and put some oil on my finger. It looks like oil I would definitely dump if in older V8 because of brown appearance like it has tiny bits of varness in it. But more alarming was rubbing it between fingers. It did not feel like it had good lubricity. I'll be dumping as soon as I get proper filter and keeping a sample of it because of this issue. BTW, the oil is definitely worse than Malibu I4 with 10K and only 20% life left.
    I will also be putting in synthetic to eliminate the browning/varnishing of conventional oil by heat/hot spots in engine.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Battery update.
    The invoice said 30 months, but it is actually the same battery, 6 year.
    The 30 months is free replacement, the rest pro-rata. But not so for new car warranty per this site.
    For Buicks it is the 4 year/50K that you'd get a new free battery. I'm printing a copy of that since the manual warranty is rather vague.
  • crankeeecrankeee Posts: 298
    We have a 98 Bonneville and HAD a 01 Grand Prix both with the same coolant loss issues. GM engines of that time had a known intake manifold gasket problem that resulted in coolant leak or total loss. We had a 96 GMC power flushed and then the problem became major - total intake gasket failure. The 98 & 01 both had upper and lower gaskets R&R to stop coolant loss and failure. 98 failed again after 40M miles and we bailed out of 01 before it had a chance to go at 74M. You had a good shop advising no power flush due to more leaks resulting. We were told NEVER to flush the 98 & 01 due to the gasket problem.
  • crankeeecrankeee Posts: 298
    Rider: Misfire at low speed problem occurred in one of our other cars, gradually got worse and even had "blue" exhaust at startup. Idle misfire or loping was diagnosed as a bad injector. Also the problem was not noticeable at higher RPM due to other cylinders or injector being more open.
    Our shop guy knew the car cold and found it right off. Another car had a blocked cat converter and that affected idle but not higher speeds.
    Just some thoughts to lead your dealer. I feel injector problems on new cars is rare but who knows??? Good luck
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Now is that not a real fine solution, no flushing. So, all that crud that lowers the ability to cool the engine is now to be left in place. That way you don't discover the reason for other major issues such as overheating or hot spots in engine leading to other types of failure.
    Good thinking GM.
    A radiator flush could and should be done if it is not cooling as it should. Don't let a plugged radiator ruin the engine.
    Remove it and have it done at a radiator shop if necessary, or replace with new one if beyond repairs.
    A plugged radiator can occur if it circulates big stuff from engine or the radiator itself is corroding. Normal flushing is just a very good detergent for removing oilly residue. Oil acts as an insulator reducing the ability of moving heat from engine to coolant or coolant to radiator fins.
    There must be a better answer to this flawed design and hopefully we are starting to see it.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Thanks for thoughts. Blue is usually from oil, black from rich. It is possible the defective injector was leaking down into the cylinder and rinsing the oil film into solution producing a bit of blue puff. This typically would come from a bad valve guide seal leaking down into the cylinder when shut off.

    A blocked exhaust would typically act the opposite, if it is not so bad that you have trouble starting. The electronic sensors and computer may have changed the effect some.
    I had issue with blocked exhaust on a small no computer engine a couple of years ago. Darned mud daubers had totally blocked exhaust. It was hard starting and idled erratically. It would not accelerate at all. I was about to tear into it but something made me check exhaust and sure enough, plugged completely.
    You are likely right about injector failures, rather rare. But moving back up stream, the computer and other sensors, the chances of an electronic issue increase. All the way back to the exhaust, cat being plugged, or even forward of that to the intake temp sensors, MAF, idle air, etc.
    I don't know how well they can diagnose the strange even if they push it into open loop. Opening loop is the best way to troubleshoot a normally closed loop system.
    This might all bring us back to the loud clang upon start and the exhaust system. And intermittant symptoms are always hard to work with.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    gb, along with the clang disappearing, did you notice any other changes? Specifically power or MPG?
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Hey guys (& gals),
    Check this out. 1.aspx?pg=2#More Makes and Models
    I would never have guess it. Is this for real?
    I would not have guessed because of the condition of my oil at 5500 miles. I have used Mobil 1 in the past and one vehicle specifically, 86 Pontiac Parisienne with Olds 307, the oil looked like new at 6000 miles.
    My oil now looks to have some black in it, like maybe carbon? And it does not feel as slippery as the Mobil 1 I had before.
    I think I started this search looking for oil filters, the PF63, then started looking at other brands from information I garnered in other forums.
    There is belief, I say belief because I have not personally been able to verify any or little of it, that in addition to the PF63 being bigger than PF48, it also has a higher bypass valve pressure. Such data may have come from comparing info shown for the Purolator equivalents since those were the only ones that gave relief pressure, moving the range 9-12 psi to 9-15psi for the newer PL22500. The Mobil that is shown for our vehicle and crosses from PF63 is M1-212. How well that crosses is uncertain, but it is larger yet by almost 1/2" at 4.45 inches height.
    Also Mobil now has more than one type of synthetic. Mobil 1,
    Which hype is the truth?
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    That is the type of oil GM now requies, dexos. The big word is it will cost more for oil change.
    It turns out the additive package to meet dexos standard is owned and licensed by GM. Oil makers have to pay GM a licensing and per gallon fee. Thus they don't like it and some major ones such as Valvoline, Pennzoil, & Castrol say they won't do it.
    Quick change places don't like it because they will have to stock another oil, more expensive.
    And the normal industry standards such as API are about to release a new standard, such as GL5. It might meet dexos so there is a bit of wait and see.
    Meantime many are arming themselves to fight GM, some saying it breaks Magnusson-Moss.
    GM requires it, GM owns it, and as such they have to give it to owners. Some disagree because they sell it to oil makers, so you can buy it from them.
    Of those that sell it under their brand, so far they have dexos only in their cheapest synthetic. Mobil example, only the Mobil 1 meets dexos, not the energy efficient or extra strength versions, yet they are listed for our vehicle at Mobil.
    Possibly waitning on GL5 spec as mentioned or those premium versions already meet dexos standard and Mobil is avoiding paying GM.

    Pick your oil just got more confusing at least.
    And if dealers don't have the new filter, what are the chances they have the new oil which only started this year. The filter goes back to 2008 for some GM models.
  • crankeeecrankeee Posts: 298
    The point was no "power flushing". Remember the old days with the "drano" type engine/radiator flush. Ran the engine with the cleaner and kept flushing it with clean water till clear. Seemed to work did it not?
    The new power flush scam is where the rub is. It is faster but to what negative results on older tired gaskets? We keep the ole antifreeze clean with changes regardless of color. New aluminum engines seem more clean (as we say down south) than old iron jobs if they can only keep the seals and gaskets in place!
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I'm not sure what a power flush would be. Possibly higher pressure than cap specification? Harsher chemicals?
    I remember the days you are mentioning, the time with radiator cores were copper. Lye eats aluminum.
    There is no doubt aluminum engines have been a challenge, especially for GM. Prior to the Vette aluminum high output, GM attempts at aluminum were failures. Sealing leaks and wear were terrible.
    GM knew it and that is why they contracted to have that Vette engine built by those that were experienced with building aluminum engines. Mercury Marine.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I went on a hunt for dexos yesterday, no luck. One parts store told me they had recieved a bulletin from corporate concerning dexos but they had none in stock either. I would like to have seen that bulletin.
    In my wide search I found one brand in a specific blend and weight that was labelled for the new SN & GL5. Pure synthetic.

    I found in my research that some oils labelled SM, GL4 may already meet the new requirements. Oct 2010 was the official release for the new labelling. The companies had to apply for being able to use that labelling.

    Also quite confusing is the owners manual. If dexos is not available, substitute any oil having the API Starburst and weight 5W-30 or if below (minus 20 F) 0W-30. Nothing about meeting the earlier GM specifications or any other standard. By that wording, you could dump non-detergent oil in, but that would be seriously bad.
    A link for the new standards. 10_120210.pdf
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Finding a PF63 has become quite a task. According to ACDelco online catalog the PF63 has 37 applications, but those older than 2011 apply to Ford, Chrysler, etc. To buy a filter for one of those vehicles might be unwise since I suspect and have seen where the cross reference often does not work in both directions. Likely some slight difference in the filter.

    Only one place I know of that actually has the PF63 is RockAuto. I was set to order 6 but delayed hitting the purchase button for a day while I researched the CAF. The next day it dropped to 2 available and shipping has a meager difference between ordering one or six. The remaining 2 disappeared which meant getting a dozen with delayed shipping. I waited for a week for them to get more in house for individual purchase.
    Yesterday I bought substitute.
    Today they have 11 in stock so if you want the PF63 I suggest you order soon.

    Cross referencing just about everyway I could and looking toward local stock, the only filter that was available was the Purolator. They showed the pressure differences between old number cross, PF48, and the new cross, PF63. Their new number is L22500, or if you want the premium filter, Purolator Pure One PL22500. I opted for the PL22500 which is not a cheap filter at $10. If ordering 6 of the PF63, they are less than $7 each and they will send you discount codes if you've done business with them before.

    I was certain ACDelco used to have premium level filters but can't find them anymore. That makes it hard to compare it to say a Mobil 1 or Purolator Premium filter.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    edited January 2011
    The substitute I chose was Valvoline, in part because I've seen those 300K warranties they claim. I just read through it. Like most warranties they have a ton of exclusions. And the oil has to be changed with less than 4K. A couple of things not covered are ring wear and piston slap. No mention of seal failures. This oil is going back and I will get either Mobil 1 or the one that meets the newest spec, SN.
    I have not seen any Shell synthetic which now claims to be one of the OE fills for GM, along with Mobil claiming it at their site.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,945
    edited January 2011
    I was watching TV last night on the green movement and one story that caught my eye was used or reprocessed oil. At Valvoline repair centers the old oil was drained and recycled into "new" oil. They claim that the reprocessed oil worked much better than than traditional oil, not to mention much cheaper too.

    So my question, would reprocessed oil invalidate your new car warranty? And is it really better than original factory oil? This weekend I am going to check out and report back.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Once upon a time reprocessed oil had to be labelled as such. They likely did away with that because of conservation. Besides filtering there are likely other processes they can use besides redistillation to come up with base stock. I'm not sure how they would remove additives or maybe they test it and then add just enough to bring back to new standard.
    I wonder if they can separate the synthetic from crude?
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    oil changed.
    Relatively easy on this vehicle. I was able to reach drain plug by just reaching underneath. 15MM socket.
    An adjustable or small strap wrench for filter is great.

    Now what I've learned. The old filter, PF48, has a read sticker saying "replace with PF48". We know that is wrong by owner's manual.
    Also looking at the old filter, it has no anti-drain back valve. That helped in not making a mess when pulling filter since there was very little there. But that might not be so good for the engine. It seems no one has laid eyes on a PF63 yet and wonder if it has the anti-drainback valve?

    I mentioned I chose the premium Purolator PL22500, it has the valve. And it quite a bit longer than the PF48. I'll likely have a bit of a mess the next time, but there is a metal shield formed into the block to direct any oil away from engine when filter is removed.
    I filled according to owner's manual capacity, 5.5qts on the 3.6L. I was quite precise, but fear that may have been a little too much. I'll check again in a couple of days. Also my dipstick does not look like the one in the manual.
    My suspicion is somebody at GM messed up again. Supposed to be a bit of a world car? Can you imagine having a SAE drain plug and the Chinaman trying to find a 15.5MM wrench.
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