Owner says Vortec 5.3-liter engines fail from low oil levels unknown to drivers.

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GM Class Action Lawsuit Filed For Excessive Oil Consumption
Owner says Vortec 5.3-liter engines fail from low oil levels unknown to drivers.

— A GM class action lawsuit filed over oil consumption problems includes these vehicles with Generation IV 5.3-liter V8 Vortec 5300 LC9 engines.

  • 2010–2014 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2010–2013 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2010–2014 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2010–2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2010–2013 GMC Sierra
  • 2010–2014 GMC Yukon
  • 2010–2014 GMC Yukon XL

The class action lawsuit alleges General Motors manufactured and sold vehicles that consume abnormally high quantities of oil because of numerous problems with the engines.

The plaintiff claims the primary problem is the piston rings that don't hold enough tension to keep engine oil in the crankcase, resulting in low oil levels and inadequate lubrication of engine components. This eventually causes complete engine failure and a huge expense for repairs or replacements.

According to the oil consumption class action, the engines suffer from numerous problems, including fouled spark plugs, "ring wear, lifter collapse, bent pushrods, camshaft wear, valve wear, rod bearing wear, rod breakage, wristpin wear, wristpin breakage, crankshaft wear and main bearing wear..."

The oil consumption lawsuit also alleges the active fuel management system contributes to the problem. The system includes an oil pressure relief valve that sprays oil at the piston skirts.

But this oil spray allegedly overloads and fouls the defective piston rings and causes engine oil to migrate past the rings, accumulating as carbon buildup on the surfaces of the combustion chambers.

The class action says another problem with the Vortec 5300 engine is the PCV system that vacuums oil from the valvetrain into the intake system to be burned in the combustion chambers. The plaintiff claims the PCV system is defective and contributes to excessive oil consumption.

Even the oil life monitoring system is allegedly defective because it doesn't warn a driver when the engine is dangerously low on oil by monitoring oil levels. The class action says the system monitors engine conditions such as temperature and revolutions to estimate the oil quality, but not the oil levels.

Adding more oil allegedly doesn't prevent fouling of the spark plugs that cause the engines to misfire and shut down, leaving occupants stranded.

Past fixes offered by GM allegedly have done nothing to fix the oil consumption problems, but the automaker overhauled the Vortec engines starting with model year 2014 vehicles. The plaintiff says the redesign was ordered due to oil consumption problems.

The changes included an improved sealing ring package, a shield that deflected oil spray away from the piston skirts and a new valve cover. In addition, the engines included baffled PCV orifices and GM started using an oil level sensor.

According to the class action lawsuit, GM knows about the oil consumption problems because of consumer complaints and technical service bulletins sent to dealerships.

The GM class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division: Martell, et al., v. General Motors LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC, DiCello Levitt Gutzler, and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.


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