GM named in class action lawsuit over excessive oil consumption in Chevrolet Equinox vehicles

 

This class action pertains to Model Year 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles with 2.4-liter engines. These engines were denominated within GM as the “LAF” and “LEA” engines (also referred to herein as the “EcoTech 2.4L” engine).

 

As alleged, GM knew that these vehicles contained one or more design and/or manufacturing defects that cause them to be unable to properly utilize the engine oil and, in fact, to improperly burn off and/or consume abnormally high amounts of oil (the “Oil Consumption Defect”).

The primary cause of the Oil Consumption Defect was the composition and construction of faulty piston rings, including both “compression” and “oil” rings. In particular, the composition of compression rings did not permit these rings to withstand the higher compression ratios of the LAF and LEA engines, in that the coating would fail and cause premature ring wear, and that these rings were too thin. Additionally, GM installed low-tension oil rings in these engines that do not maintain sufficient tension to keep oil in the crank case within design specifications.

Included in the EcoTec 2.4L engines, which further contributes to the Oil Consumption Defect, are spray jets that spray oil onto the piston skirt and cylinder wall. This was not common on other engines with adequate piston rings. This oil spray overloads and fouls the defective piston rings, triggering oil to migrate past the piston rings into other places in the engine. This excess oil either burns off or accumulates as a carbon buildup on the combustion chamber’s surfaces.

The complaint also alleges that the EcoTec 2.4L engine includes a flawed Positive Crankcase Ventilation system that vacuums oil from the valve train into the intake system, where it is ultimately burned in the combustion chambers.

The engine oil defect can cause a myriad of issues creating a safety issue including:

  • Sudden engine shutoff, resulting in loss of power, loss of braking, and inability to adequately maneuver in high-speed or congested driving situations;
  • Driver distraction due to sudden and unexpected engine shutoff, caused by sudden loss of power, illumination of warning lights and sounds, and loss or diminution of power brake assist;
  • Loss of maneuverability in high-speed or congested driving conditions due to unexpected loss of engine power—even when the engine does not shut off;

COMPLAINT