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Old 3rd November 2012, 13:55   #1
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Default Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Hi friends... i am from trivandrum. I had been a proud owner of a black optra magnum LT (KL-21-A-402), until recently. I had purchased my car from Deedi Motors, Trivandrum in October 2007. It was my dream come true, and after disposing off my 15-year old Maruti Esteem VX (, now i miss it badly), i blindly went for the optra. Things went smooth for the past 4 years, barring minor repairs. I had done my periodic service schedule, exactly as advised during these years.

Things started changing about 6 months back, when the car experienced poor acceleration all of a sudden. Besides, the car faced some serious starting problems, with the car refusing to be up and ready when needed. It was also associated with a lot of pungent smelling jet black smoke from the exhaust. I reported the problem to Deedi Motors, Trivandrum immediately. I had to leave the car there for about 2-3 weeks, on different occasions, and was diagnosed to have a faulty turbo. It cost me more than 50,000/- for the turbo replacement, and was told all is well now. But, the story continued now, with more and more dark smoke exiting from the exhaust, failure to start promptly, and the acceleration was not of much improvement.

Those were my doom days, and I felt miserable, and thought, why why why in the world did I buy the Optra Magnum, in the first place. The regret still continues. I was assured by the Deedi Motors staff that the car will improve with time, and so I waited for that day, but in despair. One fine morning, I had to go to my hospital for work ( i am a doc ), and the optra failed me, refusing to start a bit. I contacted the 24 hr helpline, and they could not find the problem except that, the engine is DEAD!!!! They towed the car to their service centre at Deedi Motors, Trivandrum, and after a couple of days, they tell me that the engine has to be replaced, and I will have to shell out about 2.75 lakhs for the repair. I was aghast with the news, and my entire family depressed, and started accusing me as to why I bought such an unreliable car, which could not even survive the odd 1,20,000 km for 4 years.

You see, I had given utmost care to my car, and this is what I get in the end. I am in a dilemma, guys, as to what to do now. The staff at the Deedi Motors also agree with me that the car was not misused, as they know the entire history of my car. They contacted the company, and the company says they can give 25,000/- for the repair, and the rest, I will have to bear...hahaha...
Guys, please advise me what to do now... I am known in my friends circle as someone familiar with the automobile field, and they often ask for my advice on a new car. I had vouched the optra and spark on several occasions for my friends, and they bought the cars as advised. Now, I have decided to advise my friends to stay away from the cars of the Chevrolet family, and go for any other car...
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Old 5th November 2012, 08:30   #2
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

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Guys, please advise me what to do now...
The problem you have faced was with low compression (piston / ring issues) resulting in starting problems and black smoke. However, you are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. If you had sought help on the forum when the problem had happened initially there might have been a bit more timely advice but since you have made only 8 posts in 5 years it probably didn't strike you earlier.

As you have already done 120,000 kms and 4 years are over there may not be much in the way of warranty too as the engine has already done a reasonable mileage. If the dealer had correctly identified the weak piston and rings when you had reported the black smoke / starting problem and they had correctly identified the weak piston and rings, you would have still had to pay for it then. Maybe now the damage is a bit more.

Your options are: (1) Take up what the company has offered (2) If you have the patience, time, necessary documentation and the inclination, you could take the matter up with the consumer forum for wrong diagnosis of the problem by the dealer resulting in the engine going dead. Be warned however that this can be a time consuming and frustrating process and the outcome is unsure given that you have already 120,000 kms and 4 years have passed. (3) You could also have an attempt at escalating this within the company too, but it appears that you have already done this. (4) Sell the car.

Last edited by VeyronSuperSprt : 5th November 2012 at 08:31.
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Old 5th November 2012, 08:56   #3
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Thanks for the reply. But, how can I sell the car now, when the car is not in a running condition. Nobody is going to buy a dead horse.
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Old 5th November 2012, 09:38   #4
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Hi Doc,

If I were you, I would pursue with the service guys to find the root cause - for sure. Poor acceleration, starting trouble - all started all of a sudden! I mean all was OK till last night and suddnely you face starting problem, black smoke, etc this morning??? Please try to review the events that happened immediately before the trouble (e.g. someone else drove the car for a short stint/filled diesel from a non-regular petrol pump, service/oil change done differently than before, anything, anything at all)...because if you don't know what happened, it may happen again!

BTW, as the issue came up after 4 years and 1,20,000 KM, and that too all of a sudden, I wouldn't say it's a manufacturing/design fault. Something happened!!!
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Old 5th November 2012, 09:54   #5
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

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Thanks for the reply. But, how can I sell the car now, when the car is not in a running condition. Nobody is going to buy a dead horse.
There will be buyers who will buy it and repair the engine (by spending 2.75 lakhs or whatever or repairing it themselves if they can) and then use the car. Of course the price will be reduced accordingly as they have to do the work.
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Old 5th November 2012, 10:34   #6
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

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Originally Posted by sibu View Post
and they could not find the problem except that, the engine is DEAD!!!! They towed the car to their service centre at Deedi Motors, Trivandrum, and after a couple of days, they tell me that the engine has to be replaced, and I will have to shell out about 2.75 lakhs for the repair. I was aghast with the news, and my entire family depressed, and started accusing me as to why I bought such an unreliable car, which could not even survive the odd 1,20,000 km for 4 years.

...
Did you try an FNG - 4 cylinder engines can be reconditioned easily < 30k. Please do a pressure test on all 4 cylinders with wet and dry tests. I am pretty sure this is a problem with the FIP or plumbing and even bad wiring. Also did you check for any error codes. An engine cannot just die like that.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 6th November 2012 at 00:13. Reason: fixed quote tags :)
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Old 5th November 2012, 10:57   #7
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Normally an engine wouldn't fail like this and wouldn't go dead, until something happened. The most likely cause for this to happen was the engine overheated by oversight. In all probability there was a problem with the radiator and the fan which failed to cool your engine and the engine seized. Did you keep a watch on the temperature gauge/overheating sign? Belching out dark black smokes is often an indication that the piston rings in your engine have gone weak. Even petrol engines will let out black smoke in such a situation.

Now the cost of repair. I fail to understand what Chevvy workshop said.
Your quote on this:

"They towed the car to their service centre at Deedi Motors, Trivandrum, and after a couple of days, they tell me that the engine has to be replaced, and I will have to shell out about 2.75 lakhs for the repair."

I don't understand this. Why are they asking for replacing the engine? They need to overhaul the engine for sure, but replacing the engine is madness. All I suppose you need to do is: change the four pistons and the five (or four maybe -- I don't know how many rings are there in each piston of an Optra) rings in each piston. Your engine should be running fine for another couple of lakh km provided the work is done properly.

You also get to check your fuel injection system and very importantly the radiator-fan system so that you don't run into this kind of trouble again.

The engine overhauling bill cannot come to Rs 2.75 lakh, that sounds absurd.

If Chevvy workshop still insists on an engine replacement, get the pistons and the rings from them as spares (I doubt whether you'll be able to get them outside) and get the job done outside from a reliable independent workshop/mechanic.

Last edited by subratasenn : 5th November 2012 at 11:00.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:00   #8
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibu View Post
Guys, please advise me what to do now... I am known in my friends circle as someone familiar with the automobile field, and they often ask for my advice on a new car. I had vouched the optra and spark on several occasions for my friends, and they bought the cars as advised. Now, I have decided to advise my friends to stay away from the cars of the Chevrolet family, and go for any other car...
Replacing the engine is the easy (and the more profitable) way out for the dealer. As you might already know the engines can be fixed. Ask them if they have diagnosed the issue and ask them to explain the problem in detail, identify the component(s) is causing the problem and fix it.

If they can't do it take the car to a reputed local garage and get their opinion and fix it. You don't have anything to lose since the car is out of warranty.

There are reputed diesel engine re builders like Popular/Kuttukaran and getting their opinion might also help. Kuttukaran is at Cochin and i don't know if they have a base in Trivandrum, and afaik Popular has a base in Trivandrm.
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Old 5th November 2012, 23:33   #9
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibu View Post

Things started changing about 6 months back, when the car experienced poor acceleration all of a sudden. Besides, the car faced some serious starting problems, with the car refusing to be up and ready when needed. It was also associated with a lot of pungent smelling jet black smoke from the exhaust. I reported the problem to Deedi Motors, Trivandrum immediately. I had to leave the car there for about 2-3 weeks, on different occasions, and was diagnosed to have a faulty turbo. It cost me more than 50,000/- for the turbo replacement, and was told all is well now. But, the story continued now, with more and more dark smoke exiting from the exhaust, failure to start promptly, and the acceleration was not of much improvement.

I contacted the 24 hr helpline, and they could not find the problem except that, the engine is DEAD!!!! They towed the car to their service centre at Deedi Motors, Trivandrum, and after a couple of days, they tell me that the engine has to be replaced, and I will have to shell out about 2.75 lakhs for the repair.
Doctor Saab,

2.75L sounds high for an overhaul, and a bit low for a new engine block. Did they give you an estimate? If yes, can you scan and post that here?

As mentioned by VeyronSuperSprt, black smoke was a huge signal. Full credit to you for getting it checked up after that, but you've probably lost a part of your engine because the car was still driven after that. I understand that you were told by the dealer that all is well, but am just pointing out that once its driven with a red flag like black smoke and / or poor acceleration for a while (about 6 months), the repair bill is bound to be high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibu View Post

why I bought such an unreliable car, which could not even survive the odd 1,20,000 km for 4 years.
With all due respect, in today's day and age, when people are facing failures of their cars at way lower kilometerage, 120 is actually a respectable number! Still, Optras are known to last way more than 120, so I can understand your frustration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibu View Post
The staff at the Deedi Motors also agree with me that the car was not misused, as they know the entire history of my car. They contacted the company, and the company says they can give 25,000/- for the repair, and the rest, I will have to bear...hahaha...
Guys, please advise me what to do now... I am known in my friends circle as someone familiar with the automobile field, and they often ask for my advice on a new car. I had vouched the optra and spark on several occasions for my friends, and they bought the cars as advised. Now, I have decided to advise my friends to stay away from the cars of the Chevrolet family, and go for any other car...
If you are happy with your car, and you like the way it as aged (hopefully gracefully), and there are no major repairs coming up, I would say repair it, and keep using it. If they are giving you a new (!) engine, then you can expect your car to last much longer. But before you make this decision, PLEASE check if there are any major overhaul / replacement expenses coming up. I would ask you to check the following: Steering rack, suspension, integrity of the axle assembly (particularly front). Others on the forum may advise you to check more things. As long as there are no major repairs coming up, repair it.

Have you written to the customer care team at GM? They are supposedly quite responsive, but you have to get past the call center and actually talk to the actual senior managers at GM who are responsible for customer care. Call their Gurgaon office and ask for the person who heads customer satisfaction. Although if they have already promised you 25K, and the car is out of warranty, I am not sure if this will be fruitful.

Good luck with your repairs, and wish you many more pleasant miles on your Optra, like you had in the rest of your 3.5 years of ownership.
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Old 6th November 2012, 00:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
The problem you have faced was with low compression (piston / ring issues) resulting in starting problems and black smoke.
Yes VeyronSuperSprt, you are right about the low compression. That was what the Deedi technicians said.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
Hi Doc,

If I were you, I would pursue with the service guys to find the root cause - for sure. Poor acceleration, starting trouble - all started all of a sudden! I mean all was OK till last night and suddnely you face starting problem, black smoke, etc this morning??? Please try to review the events that happened immediately before the trouble (e.g. someone else drove the car for a short stint/filled diesel from a non-regular petrol pump, service/oil change done differently than before, anything, anything at all)...because if you don't know what happened, it may happen again!
No, nothing out of the way was done to the car. Just the routine drive to my hospital and back. Yeah, something happened, but why?

Note from Team-BHP Support: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another on the same thread.

Please also avoid quoting an entire post as it inconveniences our mobile and small screen users.

Last edited by n_aditya : 6th November 2012 at 10:25. Reason: Posts merged.
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Old 6th November 2012, 00:33   #11
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

My friend's 1 year old Chevy Cruze automatic is a workshop for a similar problem. All of a sudden, the car refused to start. The workshop mentioned turbo failure, failure of 5 sensors along with engine failure. Since the car is under warranty, they are waiting for approval from GM to change the engine, the turbo and 5 sensors.
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Old 6th November 2012, 00:35   #12
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Originally Posted by Catalyst_delhi View Post
Did you try an FNG - 4 cylinder engines can be reconditioned easily < 30k. Please do a pressure test on all 4 cylinders with wet and dry tests. I am pretty sure this is a problem with the FIP or plumbing and even bad wiring. Also did you check for any error codes. An engine cannot just die like that.
The guys at the service centre did everything in the books to find out the cause, and that's when they were suggesting that I should get the half-engine changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Normally an engine wouldn't fail like this and wouldn't go dead, until something happened. The most likely cause for this to happen was the engine overheated by oversight. In all probability there was a problem with the radiator and the fan which failed to cool your engine and the engine seized. Did you keep a watch on the temperature gauge/overheating sign? Belching out dark black smokes is often an indication that the piston rings in your engine have gone weak. Even petrol engines will let out black smoke in such a situation.

You also get to check your fuel injection system and very importantly the radiator-fan system so that you don't run into this kind of trouble again.
No, there was no over-heating. Thanks for the advice subratasenn. I will try talking to the guys at the service centre about your suggestion, and let me see what they come up with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
Replacing the engine is the easy (and the more profitable) way out for the dealer. As you might already know the engines can be fixed. Ask them if they have diagnosed the issue and ask them to explain the problem in detail, identify the component(s) is causing the problem and fix it.
Regarding this workshop(Popular), I think, they are tied up with Maruti cars. Will they take up the work on an optra.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torquing_points View Post
Doctor Saab,

With all due respect, in today's day and age, when people are facing failures of their cars at way lower kilometerage, 120 is actually a respectable number! Still, Optras are known to last way more than 120, so I can understand your frustration.
Thanks ... Let me have another try at negotiating with these guys at the service centre. Shall keep all these useful inputs in mind. Shall inform you of the progress soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sridhar K View Post
My friend's 1 year old Chevy Cruze automatic is a workshop for a similar problem. All of a sudden, the car refused to start. The workshop mentioned turbo failure, failure of 5 sensors along with engine failure. Since the car is under warranty, they are waiting for approval from GM to change the engine, the turbo and 5 sensors.
Thank God, your car was covered under warranty. But, my question is that, how can such a reputed (?) company sell cars of this calibre. Surely, it's going to affect them.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 6th November 2012 at 10:25. Reason: merging consecutive posts. Please use the multiquote option when replying to multiple posts in the same thread.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:02   #13
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

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Regarding this workshop(Popular), I think, they are tied up with Maruti cars. Will they take up the work on an optra.
I was not referring to Popular Maruti, I was referring to Popular Engine Rebuilders.
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Old 9th November 2012, 14:22   #14
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

Did the negotiation happen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
I was not referring to Popular Maruti, I was referring to Popular Engine Rebuilders.
@sibu : its' Kuttukaran Engine Rebuilders;part of Popular group (I guess). You may at least call for a quote/ further details.
For me 2.75 looks bit on the higher side, hence suggesting alternatives.
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Old 9th November 2012, 16:01   #15
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Default Re: Engine & Turbo Woes - Chevrolet Optra Magnum

For once, forget the Authorised service centre folks and get the car checked by an independent garage worth their salt. Fortunately, they are plenty in there.

For all those electronics, sensors and gizmos, can I suggest any of those Bosch service centres around TVM? Bosch service centres generally have a good reputation.
I strongly feel, you need to get second opinion from a competent diesel mechanic before opening up or replacing the engine, for Deedi Motor's Turbo replacement procedure and the explanation they gave you after it, is'nt really convincing.

http://www.boschindia.com/content/la...html/17941.htm
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