— A Chevy Equinox Ecotec engine lawsuit alleges the piston rings, spray jets and PCV systems all contribute to oil consumption and engine damage.
In addition, owners allege the SUVs don't have adequate warning systems to protect the vehicles from negative effects of oil consumption problems.
The proposed class-action lawsuit includes 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox SUVs equipped with 2.4-liter Ecotec engines that allegedly suffer from all sorts of problems.
The plaintiffs claim the Ecotec engine burns too much oil and causes low oil pressure, knocking, fouled spark plugs, damage to the timing chains and complete engine failure.
The plaintiffs further claim the Ecotec engines allegedly burn one quart of oil every 1,000 miles, leaving drivers to spend a lot of money to constantly add oil to the engines.
However, the lawsuit alleges GM recommends that Equinox owners “Check engine oil level and oil life percentage. Change engine oil and filter, if needed” every 7,500 miles.
The lawsuit alleges the oil consumption problems arise from faulty compression and oil piston rings that cannot withstand high compression ratios of the Ecotec engines. According to the plaintiffs, the coating fails and the rings are too thin, causing premature wear to the piston rings.
Additionally, GM allegedly installed low-tension oil rings in the 2.4-liter engines that do not maintain sufficient tension to keep oil in the crankcase as designed, causing the piston rings to fail to maintain a seal in the crankcase.
If those problems weren't enough, the lawsuit alleges spray jets spray oil onto the piston skirt and cylinder wall and overloads the piston rings, allowing oil to pass the rings and go into other places in the engine. The excess oil is allegedly burned off or builds up as carbon on the surface of the combustion chamber.
The Ecotec engines also allegedly have faulty positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) systems that vacuum oil from the valve trains into the intake systems where it is burned in the combustion chambers. According to the lawsuit, this is another problem that contributes to excessive oil consumption.
Then there is the oil pressure warning system that is allegedly also defective. The system is supposed to warn drivers of low oil levels by displaying a text warning and a red image of an oil canister. The system allegedly tells a driver “that oil is not flowing through the engine properly” and warns when the oil level is low.
However, the plaintiffs claim the systems do not provide any indication as to when the oil pressure falls to levels low enough to damage the engines and the oil pressure lights stay lit well past the time damage has already occurred.
General Motors is also accused of equipping the Equinox SUVs with defective oil life monitoring systems that allegedly monitor the engine conditions to estimate the deterioration in oil quality after the oil has been changed.
The plaintiffs say the systems encourage owners to drive with a false sense of security for thousands of miles after their oil levels fall dangerously low.
According to the lawsuit, GM knows about the alleged Ecotec engine problems because the automaker created a campaign in 2013 to reprogram the oil level monitoring systems to reduce the recommended oil service intervals.
The plaintiffs claim this proves the automaker knew about oil consumption issues and created the campaign to save money on warranty repairs. However, this was allegedly done without telling consumers about problems with the engines.
According to the Ecotec engine lawsuit, GM published an article in its GM TechLink about the 2.4-liter engines in July 2012 regarding oil consumption issues. Titled “Excessive Oil Consumption,” the article allegedly says:
“Excessive oil consumption may be noticed on some 2010 Equinox and Terrain models equipped with the 2.4 L engines. [This condition will] not be evident until the vehicle has accumulated 20,000 miles or more. Upon inspection, excessive oil in the fresh air side of the PCV system due to excessive crankcase pressure and blow-by may be noted. In addition, all four spark plugs will have obvious/excessive oil deposits on them.”
The GM TechLink article also indicates that excessive oil consumption can be verified either by oil deposits on all four spark plugs or by an oil consumption test.
The article also allegedly says in cases where the cylinder walls show “zebra stripe” wear patterns associated with excessive oil consumption, the technician is to “replace the engine . . . since this engine does not have serviceable cylinder liners like some of the other Ecotec engines.”
The Chevrolet Equinox Ecotec engine lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida - Ellen Berman and Dayana Guach, et al., v. General Motors LLC.
Read Chevy Equinox oil consumption complaints: