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Another 5.3 with AFM bites the dust ~ Chevrolet Active Fuel Management Problems

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by hblock72, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. RedDmax

    RedDmax New Member

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    I have never even heard of this problem until the last week. My wife drives a 2008 Yukon XL 5.3 that we've had since new. The last oil change (Mobil 1 since new) I was 2 qts low, don't routinely check it cause never had an issue. I've lost almost 1 qt in just over 2k miles, 1st thousand I drove on interstate and didn't go down any, 2nd thousand wife drove around home, 55mph roads and thats when it dropped, that AFM thing would make sense then. 122k miles on it and wonder should I just keep an eye on it or is it worth doing this diablo tuner I'm reading about. I don't need any more power, just would like to drive it for a while. If turning off the AFM at this point would help I'm interested. I did replace the lost oil with Mobil 1 high mileage to see if that helped any. I did have it in dealer at 92k and told them about occasional ticking noise on startup, they said found nothing. Suggestions?
  2. 09blackz71

    09blackz71 New Member

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    Any form of a "tune" completely voids any possibility of GM replacing an engine for this concern. I'm a tech at a Buick/GMC dealership in MN and have replaced a few of the afm 5.3s for oil consumption concerns. A good majority of the time a warranty adjuster does come and inspect the engine before a new one can be ordered. It is very easy to tell if a vehicle has EVER had any other form of pcm calibrations in it, and the screen displaying the calibration numbers must be printed off and held on file in case GM calls the motor to be sent in for examination. Also, one of the first steps of the GM diagnostic starting point for all powertrain concerns is to check for aftermarket equipment. We had a 2010 crew cab 5.3 come in with 2 burnt intake valves and the owner very upset. Upon checking his pcm calibration it was found he had modified it with a programmer, thus defaulting on any possible warranty. If you were standing behind your product for 5 years or 100,000 miles would you cover it if the consumer was changing the entire operating infrastructure? Just a heads up to everyone.
  3. hblock72

    hblock72 New Member

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    Update to my original post that started this thread: (sorry for the novel)
    Sorry this has taken so long, but I wanted to get everything resolved before posting anything. (Legal action was a possibility and with GM monitoring these forums, I didn’t want to tip my hand) To that extent, I think it’s neat that GM folks, like Evan who contacted me, monitor forums, but I think their only interest is damage control for GM. I can’t really see where they can really do much to help anyone out. Evan did call the dealer to learn that they had replaced the lifter (for the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] time) and completed the repair. He then relayed this info to me, but wasn’t anything I didn’t already know and didn’t really solve any of my issues. If anyone can prove I’m wrong on this, I’ll stand corrected, but that’s my take on it.
    So what prompted this thread and my last visit to the dealer’s service dept. was another P0521 code. As I was actually driving to the dealer, the engine developed a severe misfire and the “service stabilitrak” message came up, just as it had done in the past (lifter failing). Even after explaining the prior history of lifter issues to the service writer, they diagnosed the problem as spark plugs and wires. The service writer called the next day and told me they had replaced the spark plugs/wires and that had fixed my misfire and check engine light, but I had no compression on cylinder 1 and needed a new engine. This was an obvious lie and it was also obvious they had mis-diagnosed the problem. I told them I wanted a new engine and wanted GM to pay for it since this had been an ongoing problem starting at 54k miles. (truck was now 17k miles and a year out of warranty) Dealer told me GM wouldn’t replace engine but may cover 50% of repairing current engine, so I went the repair route. Not until they took apart the engine did they finally find the broken lifter. At this point, after being lied to and thinking they have unqualified technicians, my trust in this dealer’s service dept. is really getting low. They ended up replacing the lifter (at GM's expense), charging me $462 for plugs and wires and sending me on my way. I guess this was better than the$7200 they wanted to charge me for a new engine, but still felt like the problem had never been fixed, and I’d just break another lifter in another 25-30k miles. I should also note that on my last two visits to this service dept. I had complained that my truck seemed to be using excessive amounts of oil. The first time they assured me everything was fine. (this was also before I knew this was such a widespread problem) The second time, they told me they would start an oil consumption survey, but never did and when I got home, I found they had overfilled it by 1 quart.
    At this point I had the truck back and it was running, but still had and oil consumption issue, felt I would continue to fail lifters, and had been lied to and charged for mis-diagnosed repairs. I thought it was time to escalate my issue with dealer management. I first sent an email to the person listed as the dealer president on their website explaining I wanted to meet with him and the service manager about issues I’d had with the service dept. I waited 10 days and got no reply. I called and left a voicemail with the person listed as the general manager on their website, waited 14 days and got no reply. (I also started talking to another dealer during this time, more on this later) Called and left another voicemail with the general manager. A couple days later I got a call from the service manger stating the general manager was busy all week, but he could meet with me. Stopped in that evening and met the service manager for the first time. Explained that my truck had been in his service dept. 4 times starting at 54k miles, had lifters replaced 3 times and they kept failing, explained that I had at least twice voiced concerns about oil consumption and nothing had been done, and that I didn’t like being lied to about the spark plugs and wires. His response to the lifters was that they had replaced lifters on a handful of trucks and none of them had come back, so my tuck should now surely be fixed after 3 replacements. (I didn’t by any of that) As for the oil consumption issue, he brought up an image of my last service write up filled out by the service writer, which stated nothing about oil consumption. So he basically accused me of never mentioning the oil consumption issue. The form he showed me did have my signature on it, but this was explained to me as an agreement to pay a $100 diagnostic fee,if I chose not to have any repairs done. So the lesson here is always make sure all problems are accurately documented when you check in at the service desk as you can be held accountable for what the service writer does or does not include. Finally, the service managers response to charging me for the spark plugs was basically “you’ve had a lot of repairs done for free over the life of your truck, so you shouldn’t complain about having to pay this one ticket.” In the end, I left it that the engine still had problems, had not been fully repaired and I wanted all the problems fixed with a replacement engine. He agreed to call GM and see what he could do. Got an email from him the next day, stating that GM would only be willing to pay half of the cost of a piston/ring replacement to correct the oil consumption issue, which would make my share of the repair $1500 or they would offer $3k trade assistance if I traded for a new GM vehicle. Told him I’d think about it.
    So remember the other dealer I’d started talking to. This was my hometown dealer several hours away, but who my family still does business with and knows the employees well. I talked to this dealer’s service manager and explained my situation and he agreed I had been jerked around by the first dealer and I’d likely be wasting my money with the piston replacement as he had a memo from GM stating that it only fixed about 20% of the engines it was done on. In the meantime my check engine light has now come back on about 1500 miles since it just left the dealer. It was another P0521 code, which is what I had taken to the original dealer for in the first place. So I guess they probably just replaced the plugs and wires, cleared the codes and never actually fixed this problem. So the hometown dealer looks into it with GM and can get me a ½ price engine replacement or $4k trade assistance on a new truck. I decided to take the truck all the way to the hometown dealer and let him do the engine replacement. They installed a new long block and it ended up costing me $2200, which was even less than the 50% they originally quoted me.
    I’ve had the truck back for a week now and it’s running great. I don’t really notice a big difference in power, but the engine noise, or lack thereof, is really noticeable. The new engine is much quieter and smoother than the original engine ever thought about being. The new engine also has a 3 year/36k mile warranty as well. It was a long way toget to this point, but I feel like I’ve finally got this fixed once and for all. It just goes to show that people can make the difference and there’s no substitute for dealing with a service dept. you can trust and that will go to bat for you. I’ve had no further contact with the original dealer and don’t plan to. I don’t visit the dealer often, but when/if I do need to again, I will be finding a new local dealer to work with. If I ever buy another GM vehicle, I’ll get it from the hometown dealer as repayment for the help they’ve given me. After all of this, I’m not as loyal to the GM brand as I once was, so there’s no guarantee my next vehicle will even be a GM, but I hope not to have to worry about that for a few more years now.
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  4. canadiantowman

    canadiantowman New Member

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    Well it sucks that you had to pay for the repairs to your truck, I myself will be getting rid of my truck before it blows up. It's sad that GM can't fix these motors, I will never buy another GM product and when people have asked me about my truck and all of the problems it has had 2 of them went bought Dodge p/u.
  5. tigerwitha88

    tigerwitha88 New Member

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    I had a 09 Silverado and the oil consumption started being noticable around 25,000. Had to go through 3 oil consumption tests before they instaled the oil pan baffle and new driver side valve cover(has new style PCV vent) and soaked/cleaned cylinders. When it went in for this treatment it was at 43,000 and using a quart of oil every 800-1000 miles. When I was told I was getting the upgraded baffle/valve cover and cleaning the writer brought out a service tech and explained to me that that this would NOT fix the oil consumption problem and I would be getting new pistons and rings when I brought it back after another 1500 miles. They explained they could not just do this now as per GM directives the baffle/cover/cleaning had to be done first, even though it wouldnt work(it may, but not after the rings have already failed). The VERY next day after getting the upgrades I noticed a few drops of oil under my truck. Poped the hood and noticed a considerable amount of oil gathered around the bottom of the radiator. This was a Sat. and took it back to the dealership Mon. Oil cooler lines had a leak, they fixed them under warranty. Was a little sucpicious and wondered if they had to be removed when they installed the baffle in the oil pan. But I went on. Then next week while driving home from work (I'm about 1.5 miles from said dealership) on a busy highway I hear a boom and chimes sounding off, oil immediately starts gushing from the front of my hood. Its spewing out all over the top and down the side of the truck, its all over my windshield it so thick I can hardly see out. Oil pressure drops to around 5-6psi. Cars behind me on the highway had to be getting sprayed as well. I'm so mad I drive it straight to the dealership having to look outside the center of the windshield. When I pull in it's ticking and looks like a race car that has blown a engine pulling in the pits. It draws everyone out from the service dept. and they can't believe what they see.
    The culprit, oil cooler line came undone from the radiator, hmmm..
    They get the service director as I'm livid. I stongly suggest that the oil cooler line problem was no coincidence and that I'm not happy that this truck I'm still paying on with only 43k is sitting in the check bay covered in oil and about to have the engine tore apart and bacicly receive a lower end rebuild.
    It is then even after searching online through my whole oil consumption issue he tells me something I hear for the first time.
    Its the oil rings they used on 2007-2010 5.3 vortecs with AFM. They are not the same as the ones used in the 5.3 years prior. They are softer and not as strong, spring/tension wise. Carbon build up would easily make these rings stick and once they stick it's over. Oil will now slide past the rings. There's no other fix other that replace rings and pistons with ones like in the older 5.3's before AFM. He told me these new rings(based on the older type) are very strong spring/tension wise. This was the cause of all of it, a new type of ring was used on the pistons starting with the 07 model year. He told me automotive techknowledgy was always 5 years behind from design to sale and that years 07-10 will likely have this problem and the only fix is new pistons and rings. So sadly anyone with a 2007-2010 5.3 with AFM(which is all 5.3 I would think)will at some point need this repair. Starting sometime early in the 2011 models the engines left the factory with the new type rings.
    Also those years will also have a dash faluire which is another story.
    With my engine completely coated in oil the cleaning striped alot of my undercoating away and it had to be replaced.

    After all this I decided that I just couldn't bear to keep making payments on a truck with low miles that had a lower end rebuild, replaced dash, replaced undercoating. They kept it a month to do all this and I never fired it up after that. I traded it in for a 2013 Silverado with my 09 still in the dealers boby shop getting undercoated.
  6. Grizzly Guy

    Grizzly Guy New Member

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    what dash problems are You talking about tigerwitha88!!!
  7. tigerwitha88

    tigerwitha88 New Member

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    From 07 untill ?(I don't know when the improved dashes started being installed at the factory)has a high chance you will develop a stress crack in the dash. Right on the drivers side, top behind the instrument "hood" where it meets the flat area of the dash and/or around the passenger side air bag area. The one that was put in mine in 2012 had reinforced areas at these locations. When they started to leave the factory like this I have no idea.
    It will take a full day for dash replacement.
  8. Red Rado

    Red Rado New Member

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    I think I'm just going to dump my 08. The oil consumption is getting worse with each check and from the sound of it they may take forever fixing it. I might think differently if it wasn't my daily driver or if my commute wasn't 120 miles daily. I might look at a newer model then again it might be time to look elsewhere.
  9. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 New Member

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    I think i might be joining the club guys. last few times I've checked my oil its been down some, and once in a while the oil pressure drops WAY off.

    not sure what I will do if its the oil consumption like I think it is.

    Alex
  10. GuyGene

    GuyGene New Member

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    Oh no! Just when I was thinking I could come back to GM! Looks like I'll be keeping my '02 Ford a good while longer! Then, maybe Ram, Tundra, or whatever. And, I've been studying those forums a lot too. All are having some problems, just trying to find the lesser of the truck evils! With this oil usage problem, GM has gone way down in my search list! And the fact that they are not helping people much! So far, Toyota seems to be helping buyers the most, the Tundra air induction pump issue, etc., Toyota has stepped up fairly well with that. Ford kind of sucks for customer care, Ram a bit better, blah, blah, blah. We're screwed boys, we're screwed! Maybe it's the crazy EPA that has really messed us up!!
  11. tigerwitha88

    tigerwitha88 New Member

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    Imo if your going to trade it in somewhere besides the dealership where you bought it is best to do it before its rebuilt. The rebuild will be on the carfax and will hurt the trade-in value some.
  12. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis New Member

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    Yikes!!
    I have been thinking about upgrading my 1998 Suburban-223,000 miles-runs great-and getting a 2004 or so
    fewer miles better brakes etc
    But this gives me pause??
    Any oil consumption on the 2002-2006 5.3?? before the AFM??
    My 98 runs great-brakes are my only really dislike about it
    Thanks
    Charlie
  13. CKNSLS

    CKNSLS New Member

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    GM sells approximately 50,000 units (Silverado/Sierra) combined EACH AND EVERY MONTH. Tundra takes six months to sell that amount. There IS NOT A WIDESREAD OIL USAGE PROBLEM. How many guys come on the forums you are watching and post HOW HAPPY THEY ARE? Not too many because it's not why people come to forums. You either come on a forum to get advice or to Bit**.

    Even if they have an issue, you have a 100K powertrain warranty to take care of it. And those who have posted have stated after a few oil consumption tests GM has stepped up to the plate and installed new baffles and/or new top end of the engine.

    Not sure where your concern is. The proof is in the sales numbers....not what's posted on the Internet.
  14. GuyGene

    GuyGene New Member

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    Yep, ck, right about that. I've been on internet since old Al invented it and surely understand and have considered all those facts you mentioned. Even if it's not widespread, it sure is a problem. I am one who is not at all brand loyal, hey, I'll switch in a NYC second. Well, I won't buy in a NYC second, but I'll surely change brands based on what I can learn and determine to be most reliable. Having said that, I do like GM.
  15. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis New Member

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    The oil consumption problem-such as it is
    is more or less confined to the AFMs-meaning 2007 on??
    Is that correct??
    Sorry to be so focused on this-but I wasn't planning to upgrade any more than 2006-
    because that is my price range-$10,000 or less for Suburbans 2004-2006

    Good point-forums are more or less for complaints.
    You get a biased view if you think FORUMS are the norm.
    Crude guess but I doubt even 1% 1 per 100 -of the AFMs have the oil consumption problem-
    we'll never know-GM Ford Dodge Toyota Nissan keep that sort of info in house
    In 2004-bought a Titan-nice truck great motor
    but on that forum we started keeping records of how many rear differentials were dying at very low miles-
    it was over 100 when I sold my Titan in 2007-and bought the 98 Suburban(because we were broke-(16,000-$2950=$13,050 we needed)
    Yeah the Modified Dana 40 had some "bad parts" "powdered metal etc" but the heat treatment probably wasn't done right-cheapo chinese or Indian parts I bet)-Nissan was dragging their feet-blaming owners etc
    fun truck but the Suburban TURNED OUT TO BE much more useful,MORE comfortable, better FE and UNDOUBTEDLY more reliable- heel of a lot cheaper too!!
    Yeah you can do much worse than a GM truck.
    I owned several Toyota trucks-very reliable too-and a 1980 D100 LONGBED 318- drivetrain was reliable-trim stuff was junk- crank windows froze shut-yeah rusted shut in just 3 years!!
    But I'm happy to see Dodge coming back-loved 1971 my 383 Cuda' so soft spot for Mopar
    Ford makes pretty decent stuff now-but i DON'T HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR FORD.
    This Suburban has been so good-doubt I would leave GM-and only they make Suburbans (and Yukon XLs and Escalade ESVs)


    In the 50's-60's 1 qt per 1000 miles would have been considered "normal"
    and you checked your oil EVERY TIME you filled up-the gas jockey checked for you-cleaned your windshield-checked coolant too.
    Charlie
  16. Red Rado

    Red Rado New Member

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    The oil consumption issue is confined to the 2007-2010 5.3L motors as far I can tell. I've heard they made all the changes to the motors starting with the 2011 models and haven't heard of anyone with that model year complaining of this problem. If it was just oil consumption that would be one thing but the collapsed lifters, fouled plugs, sensors, and increasingly poor mpgs are things you have to worry about with these motors that were never an issue decades ago and none are cheap or easy to replace. Compound that with the many trips to the dealer just to prove that you do indeed have this issue while you do more damage to the motor and more miles get used up on your warranty. These are all things that go into the decision to be a little less loyal to the GM badge.
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis New Member

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    Red Rado
    Thanks.
    Maybe I should just upgrade my 1998 brakes-and stick with it.
    It has a slow leak-some from valve cover grommets-and maybe a bit from where the oil pan meets the plastic timing chain cover-and might be losing a tiny bit of coolant
    but not much-
    It runs great gets good-21 mpg hy on long trips-AC is cold- comfortable
    yeah maybe I'll put $600 into dual piston caliper brakes-SSBC-
    and just maintain it-forget about the 5.3.
    In any case certainly will steer clear of the 2007-2011!

    Besides I can get a NEW GOODWRENCH 5.7- new not rebuilt-for $2300 dropped curbside-or a GM PERFORMANCE 383 DROP IN STROKER- for $4800 curbside
    Yeah maybe I better just stick with the 98!
    Charlie
  18. hcapts

    hcapts New Member

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    I have a 2011 Chevy Avalanche, I bought it new Love the truck, hate the engine, many issues in the past year with misfiring and check engine light comming on.
    Issues with Burning oil, Check engine light on. Dealer found a misfire in cylinder #1 and 7. Started with 39167 miles, I've been to the dealer 3 times they have done the following repairs:
    first visit 11/19/12 replaced spark plugs due to being fouled and dirty, cleared DTC's and replaced oil.
    Second visit - 3/8/13 miles 50639-- Check engine light on, running rough / Misfire - Dealer install SOP, verified - DOC 10-06-01-008I installed AFM oil defector and updated valve cover. Performed upper engine cleaning as outlined in document # 10-06-01-008I
    On 4/12/13 - Engine misfire check engine light on Miles 54699 - Dealer received fault codes -P0301, P0305, P0307. removed spark plugs, oil fouled , disassembled found excessive carbon on piston tops, ring lands and combustion chambers.
    installed new pistons, rings, bearings and all necessary gaskets. cleaned carbon off cylinder heads. replaced spark plugs. cleared fault codes.
    on 6/7/13 check engine light come on again, engine misfiring, pulled into service center, engine low on oil, filled oil. Engine making noise and still misfiring.

    Is there anyone that has the same issue with this same issues and what is next for the dealer to replace. New Engine!!!

    Any help would be appreciated in what to do next!
  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis New Member

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    You folks are convincing me to upgrade the brakes
    keep my 1998 5.7-which runs great-and seems owner proof
    In a couple of years-when we get a few $1000 ahead-maybe upgrade to a 2004
    but definitely steer clear of the 2007 AFM

    My 1998 brakes are pitiful-just checked the drums-shoes-plenty of wear left-
    Maybe I'll pay $148-get the EBC YELLOWSTUFF pads-probably a waste of $$ but worth a shot
    Charlie
  20. bearanddawn

    bearanddawn New Member

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    VERY UNHAPPY WITH MY CHEVY Z71 4X4. Bought new 2008 bites the dust at 108k miles.

    This is the 3rd chevy pick up I have bought brand new and may never buy another one, if I do not get some help from Chevy for a new motor $15,000.00. Its ridiculous to pay $38,00.00 in 2008 for a brand:grrrrrr: new pick up, that I have taken great care of, used synthetic oil (Mobil 1, which is recommended) and had it changed a lot of times at 3000 miles, to be on the safe side. A lifter went out, then they want:grrrrrr: to replace all the lifters, and cam, after the engine was tore down, mechanic found that cam bearing is grooved and two pistons do not look they have been fired on. I am not a mechanic and liked :grrrrrr::grrrrrr:Chevy, it never even crossed my mind to buy another brand of vehicle. My husband called many dealerships and its a major problem, loosing an engine. WHY ISNT CHEVROLET DOING SOMETHING ABOUT :grrrrrr:IT? I work hard for my money and do not have $15,000.00 for a new motor. The service manager told me it maybe due to low oil pressure. Two years ago, the oil pressure gauge quit working, took it in to get :grrrrrr:fixed and it wasn't right, I took it back and was told not to worry about it, I didn't. So now what to do, it would be my word against the service mgr. at the dealership and he is not going to remember that conversation after two years. I am just sick over this, I had planned on keeping this vehicle for many more years. :grrrrrr: I really like the pickup.

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