PSA: Cruze Diesel Oil Pickup Seal Failure

Around 150k miles the 1st generation Chevrolet Cruze diesel can experience sudden turbocharger or engine failure due to this under $20 part.

Turbocharger and Engine Failure Symptoms

Turbocharger failure on this engine typically follows the same pattern – during acceleration a loud squeal or screech is heard coming from the engine bay, accompanied by a sudden loss in power. Depending on your emissions set up, you may also see heavy smoke coming out of the exhaust. Power loss and smoke are an indication that air is no longer getting into the engine because the turbocharger has failed.

Engine failure typically happens after turbocharger failure if the driver continued to try and drive the vehicle even after the turbo has failed. Eventually oil starvation will cause the engine to lock up and the vehicle will come to a sudden stop. Lack of oil will increase the engine tempeartures, so the engine bay may start smoking as well.

Both turbocharger and engine failures will be due to oil starvation, or, lack of oil pressure and supply to the engine. You may see the red oil lamp icon illluminate in your dashboard, you may hear beeping or get an oil pressure warning on the in-cluster screen.

Oil Starvation Causes

In the 2014-2015 Chevy Cruze 2.0L diesel oil starvation occurs because the tube that picks up oil from the oil pan is no longer sealing propertly. This engine uses a rubber seal between the oil pump located on the engine block and the plastic pick up tube that goes down to the oil pan. Over time and use this seal hardens, losing its pliability and ability to seal. Eventually the seal allows air to be sucked by the seal, entering the oil stream going to the oil pump. The oil pump can compensate for some air, but eventually the air content is beyond what the oil pump can compensate for and the amount of oil that is pumped into the engine is below what is required.

Oil Pickup Tube Seal Image
Replacemet Oil Pickup Tube Seal

Oil Pickup Tube Seal Fix

A new Cruze diesel oil pickup tube seal is inexpensive but the replacement is complicated because the oil pan must be removed to access the pickup tube and seal. This requires draining the oil, removing the oil pan, replacing the seal, reinstalling the oil pan with new RTV gasket, and filling with new engine oil. You’ll want to put in a new oil filter, too, since you’ll be doing an oil change.

Preventing Failure

There is no advanced warning of the failure and by the time it fails it is often to late to save the turbo or engine on the vehicle, so we recommend planning to replace this seal before 150,000 miles. The seal also seems to fail more quickly on engines that experience cold starts often, so we recommend replacing the seal earlier if your vehicle is stored outside during the winter. Moreover, use the built-in oil-pan heater whenever possible to warm up the oil before a cold start.

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