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Old 02-06-2003, 15:58   #1 (permalink)
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Oil on troubled waters - the press expose LS1 V8 problems

I can't believe this hasn't been posted yet or have I missed it.

Todays Dailytelegraphs (NSW) Auto section has a full page article on Aussie LS1 oil use problems. It has 3 sections;

Oil on troubled waters - Imported engines are causing concern at Holden....

Rattled by the GENIII - What car owners have to say , comments from 8 unhappy owners including rebuilds, new engines, multiple warranty claims etc....

How Ontario's engnes left us cold; ..."...Holden says it could have dealt with the problems affecting the GENIII V8 had it produced it locally. But the alloy engine is produced in Ontario, Canada..."


Seems like a good opportunity for Ford/FPV to pounce......
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Old 02-06-2003, 16:11   #2 (permalink)
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I am amazed the "Drive" hasn't picked this issue up. I am sure Joshua Dowling would write an honest report on the Gen III issues. (sic)
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Old 02-06-2003, 16:12   #3 (permalink)
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This is from the Herald Sun

Quote:

HEART FAILURE
JAMES STANFORD 07-02-2003

The Big Vee that Holden imported is giving the carmaker a pain in the chest. And it's hurting owners, too, because there's a waiting list for corrective surgery, writes JAMES STANFORD THE engine that Holden refers to as its heartbeat is causing continuing problems. The carmaker faces massive repair bills as it rebuilds imported GEN III alloy V8s in its big-car range.

Holden admits about 2000 engines have been fixed and a substantial number of those have been rebuilt.

The GEN III problems relate to oil circulation, excessive oil use and rattling noises when the engines are cold. The problems are most likely to affect engines built from June 1999 to early 2002.

Owners have had to wait up to 10 months for engines to be worked on as dealerships struggle with the workload. Many owners are still waiting.

Each rebuild requires eight pistons and rings, conrod bolts, head bolts, gasket kit and coolant, which, if Holden were not footing the bill, would cost about $3000 for parts.

It takes a mechanic three days to rebuild an engine and that would cost about another $1000 in labour.

The 5.7-litre GEN III was introduced for the VT II Commodore range in June 1999, replacing the reliable 5.0-litre Australian-made V8.

The GEN III is made by General Motors in Ontario, Canada. It was developed at a cost of about $2 billion.

Early on, some manual models of cars fitted with the engine suffered serious damage due to oil starvation when driven hard. That problem was rectified within a few months.

Other problems relating to oil use and rattling when the engines are cold have taken longer to deal with.

Holden says new parts, including tighter-fitting Teflon-coated pistons and a revised piston-ring pack have been fitted to new engines and used in rebuilds since late 2001-early 2002. This has mostly solved the problems.

The rattling noise, which can be heard for a few minutes during start-up on affected engines, is referred to as piston slap.

It is usually caused by too much piston-to-bore clearance and means the piston moves around in the cylinder bore, hitting the cylinder wall. Experts agree piston slap does not cause mechanical damage.

Some other GEN III engines are using more oil than expected for a modern engine.

One owner told Cars Guide he came close to running his engine out of oil as he approached the 10,000km service because of excessive oil use.

"I took the dipstick out and there was no oil on it," the owner says. "I put some oil in and the engine took three litres.

Holden says 67,000 GEN III engines have been sold in Australia and only about 2 per cent of owners are unhappy with them.

But Holden sales and marketing manager Ross McKenzie says the company has appointed a special engine rebuilder at each dealership and admits some customers have had to wait.

"We are basically doing it on a triage basis and say, `OK, we are going to deal with our customers who are the most aggravated or have been waiting the longest and do it case by case by case'," he says.

McKenzie says cases of oil use and piston slap do not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with an engine, despite the fact that Holden has rebuilt so many.

"There isn't a fault there. We are not trying to fix something that is broken. We are just trying to improve (customer) perceptions," he says.

Holden chief engineer Tony Hyde says Australian roads are not littered with parts of GEN III engines.

"There are customer perceptions on how an engine should perform or deliver and I think that has created the situation that we have now.

"There are some customers who think engines shouldn't use any oil or use what they would consider to be large amounts of oil.

"Similarly, the engine has some noise characteristics through certain temperature ranges that the customers pick on and that is probably dependent on the environment that the vehicle is in as well," he says.

"Some customers think that is fine and some customers think, `Oh, that's a noise', and think that something major is occurring when that is just a characteristic of the engine. "

S EVERAL Holden service mechanics have told Cars Guide that any GEN III engine using more than 1.5 litres in 10,000km is considered for a rebuild.

But Hyde says a GEN III engine operating properly could use about 2.5 litres of oil in 10,000km and be acceptable.

Experts contacted by Cars Guide say such oil use would mean owners would have to regularly check and top up their oil between services, given that GEN III engines have an oil capacity of about five litres.

Some Holden dealers are offering free oil top-ups between services so the cost of the expensive synthetic oil is not passed on.

Several owners are waiting on new pistons with a revised gudgeon pin to arrive in dealerships before their engines can be stripped and rebuilt because of piston slap or oil use. Holden says the parts have arrived in Australia and should be sent to dealers soon.

Most owners contacted by Cars Guide were happy with their cars in general but upset that a car as expensive as a $50,000 SS Commodore or a Statesman would have to have its engine rebuilt.

Chris Jeffreys, 56, a company director who bought his V8 Statesman at Easter 2000, says it has used a surprising amount of oil since new.

"After the 10,000km service the dealer said to watch my oil level and after another 5000km I had to put another litre in to make sure it would get through to the next service. "

T HE dealer did an oil-consumption test by measuring how much it used over a few thousand kilometres and concluded the oil use was bad enough for the engine to be rebuilt.

"That was eight or nine months before last Christmas, but I had to wait because I was told I was ninth on the list," Jeffreys says.

He says the dealership has confirmed it will fix the car when the new piston and ring kits arrive, but he is not happy.

"It will be three years old at Easter and still nothing has been done. I didn 't expect this from a new engine, especially a V8. "

Many other owners feel angry their new engine has to be rebuilt and that a repaired engine won't ever be

as good.

Holden's Ross McKenzie acknowledges that many people regard the engine rebuilding as "really intrusive surgery and that the car will never be the same again".

"The psychology of it is that I bought a new car and you are going to turn it into a second-hand car.

"The truth is that it is already a second-hand car, but the customers don't see it that way. "

McKenzie says customers are more passionate about the GEN III V8 than other engines in the range.

"It's the whole heritage of Holden. This is the heartbeat of the company and customers have an emotional response to it. "

A mechanic says the engine prob lems are damaging Holden's image.

"It's not good when you get the top-of-the-line Caprice, which is the flagship of the range, and you have got to rebuild it. "


Owners say . . .

SS ute"I'M ABOUT to have it tested again after a rebuild at 9000km for piston slap. It was a big improvement when it was done, but it gradually came back. "

CV8 Monaro"I BOUGHT a new Monaro last June, and when it's cold it sounds like an old L34 (Torana). The car is good, so I'm prepared to put up with a rattle when it's cold. "

Statesman"I HAVE been informed by phone that Holden will be replacing my engine in the 2000 Statesman in mid-April when they get a new shipment of engines with revised pistons. Hopefully, I will get a new engine under warranty without piston problems. "

SS sedan"I COULDN'T be more happy. I've done 98,000km and have not used one drop of oil. "

SS sedan"WE HAVE worked out this Gen III uses 1.2 litres of oil every 2000km and Holden have told me the maximum oil usage for a Gen III is 2.5 litres every 6000km and my engine is a borderline case. The thing sounds like an old London taxi. "

HSV GTS 300"MY wife drives the car to work and I checked the oil just before 10,000km and it needed three litres. Now it's getting worse and they have offered me new pistons. It's not a 1969 Ford Anglia, this is a $90,000 motor car."

VTII HSV GTS"I BOUGHT a VTII HSV GTS with 18,000km on the clock for about $75, 000 and I reckon I would have been back to the dealer about 40 times, three times on the back of a tow truck. It uses a massive amount of oil and the engine has been worked on five times, with two new piston sets, but it still uses heaps. "

SS ute"IT'S a lovely car to drive and if it didn't have this problem I would be thrilled. The engine was rebuilt. It did improve and it's not quite as bad as it was, but it's still there. "

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Old 02-06-2003, 16:15   #4 (permalink)
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more

Quote:

PISTON PROBLEMS
GRAHAM SMITH
07-02-2003

PISTON slap is not necessarily a problem on its own. It usually goes away once the engine is warmed up, the piston has a chance to expand and the clearance to the bore is reduced.

Of course, it is something that you would not expect in a car costing about $ 50,000.

Most likely General Motors has run the pistons a little loose to minimise friction in the engine, to maximise fuel economy and to boost performance.

If the engine is using oil at a high rate then the consequences could be catastrophic.

With oil consumption so variable in the GEN III -- and reportedly as high as 2.5 to 3 litres each 10,000km -- it is essential that owners check the oil level at least every 1000km, to make sure it doesn't run low to the point where damage can be done.

Owners of cars with Gen III engines shouldn't panic, but they should keep a watchful eye on the oil level.

Keep a record of any oil you add and talk to your dealer if you're concerned about it.


Response delay

HOLDEN says it could have dealt with the problems affecting the GEN III V8 had it produced it locally. But the alloy engine is produced in Ontario, Canada.

"We are on the receiving end, if you like," Holden sales and marketing manager Ross McKenzie says.

"Where we might be able to quickly deal with a quality-perception issue locally on something we have control of . . . this has been quite a protracted issue in trying to get a response out of St Catherines (Ontario), out of the powertrain group.

"They essentially said to us for quite a long time, this isn't a product fault issue and we said, we know that, we are trying to improve customers' quality perceptions of the engine. "

The Ontario plant came to the party and started producing revised pistons from late 2001-early 2002 and also a different ring kit.

But why did the GM powertrain group have to be convinced there was a problem ? Didn't North American drivers notice the piston slap or excessive oil use that affected a percentage of the cars ?

It seems most American drivers didn't notice or care.

Holden chief engineer Tony Hyde says the fact the GEN III is used in cars such as the Corvette means owners might be prepared to put up with any such problems and are used to engines using more oil.
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Old 02-06-2003, 16:25   #5 (permalink)
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Remember the good old days when you used to go to the servo with dad and fill up the old Ford/Holden/Val. You would raise the bonnet and check the dipstick for dad, then he would go over to the trolley and pick up the glass bottle with a quart of oil and you would put it in for him.

Looks like those days are returning. Everything old is new again!
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Old 02-06-2003, 16:48   #6 (permalink)
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woooooohooooo great to see some negative press Finally !!!!!!
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Old 02-06-2003, 17:26   #7 (permalink)
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I think someone said in another thread that they were admitting fault. I dont think so, Ross Mckenzie must be kidding himself.


Quote:
One owner told Cars Guide he came close to running his engine out of oil as he approached the 10,000km service because of excessive oil use. "I took the dipstick out and there was no oil on it," the owner says. "I put some oil in and the engine took three litres.
and then this from Ross

Quote:
"There isn't a fault there. We are not trying to fix something that is broken. We are just trying to improve (customer) perceptions," he says.
Cmon Ross.
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Old 02-06-2003, 17:42   #8 (permalink)
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Ross needs to get his head out of his ass and admit there are problems with this motor. Good to see that the press are finally picking on the motor and not praising it!
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Old 02-06-2003, 17:42   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
"We are on the receiving end, if you like," Holden sales and marketing manager Ross McKenzie says.

"Where we might be able to quickly deal with a quality-perception issue locally on something we have control of . . . this has been quite a protracted issue in trying to get a response out of St Catherines (Ontario), out of the powertrain group.

"They essentially said to us for quite a long time, this isn't a product fault issue and we said, we know that, we are trying to improve customers' quality perceptions of the engine."
Quote:
McKenzie says cases of oil use and piston slap do not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with an engine, despite the fact that Holden has rebuilt so many.

"There isn't a fault there. We are not trying to fix something that is broken. We are just trying to improve (customer) perceptions," he says.
So it's not a product fault, it's a customer quality perception fault!!!

How could we have all been so wrong!


Man, Saddam Hussein should consider hiring Ross Mackenzie as his new propaganda minister - this guy spins shit better than a UN security council delegate trying to convince the public that Iraq HAS destroyed all its chemical weapons.

Holden can spin it however they like - it doesn't change the fact that they have a big problem on their hands, and now that the press are FINALLY latching onto it, they're in trouble.


My 2c.

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Old 02-06-2003, 18:20   #10 (permalink)
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Maybe so but I bet the jugular will not be sought as much as it would if the problem was with Ford, Toyota or Mitsubishi.

All that love affair stuff Holden have been laying on the media has to be paid back some time.
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