Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.
engine burning from two dealer valve cover gasket repairs
Purchased 2007 DTS in October, of 2014 from dealership. Original owner had traded it in to purchase another vehicle. DTS had 66,559 miles at time of purchase. The dealership (Toyota) went over the car with a fine tooth comb. They advised it had a slight oil pan gasket leak, offered to tear up the sales contract and put me into another car, or would fix the problem. They took the car to a local Cadillac dealer to fix, and it was fixed once. Then, to make a long story short, car was brought back to this same local Cadillac dealer who fixed the oil pan gasket leak AGAIN....Lead tech said he, "....didn't like how the job looked the first time". (So much for co-worker verbalized degradation!) Addition problems ensued from this dealer, but to make a long story short, the oil pan gasket leak was fixed. I believe in Jesus and He is my Number One. I was not charged one penny for the OPG repairs. The excellence of the Toyota dealership who sold me the car, was second to none. I never, ever would have imagined not having to pay for any repair let alone this one!
The DTS had no other leaks. After the unfortunate experience with the Cadillac dealer referred to previously, I needed a repair/maintenance home for the DTS. It had no manufacturer warranty even at the time of my initially purchasing it. A Ford dealer who exclusively works on Ford vehicles only, was a Godsend for my other vehicle, ('06 Ford Freestyle), which I call my "Godmobile1". I asked the owner of the Ford dealership if he could recommend a Cadillac dealer to service/repair my vehicle should it be necessary. He recommended a Buick/Chevrolet/Cadillac dealer in his locale.
My DTS has been checked many times since I purchased it in October, of 2014. At least 13 individuals who have checked the car, from people changing the oil, to Toyota and Cadillac dealership technicians, to experienced non-dealership technicians at individual repair shops. ABSOLUTELY NO VALVE COVER GASKET LEAKS WERE DETECTED BY ANY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS, AND IF THERE WERE ANY LEAKS, THEY ALL WOULD HAVE NOTICED IT. Except for the paint issue, oxidation on the roof and partially elsewhere), (Surely can't drive a car by the paint job!), it WAS in exceptionally fine mechanical condition. (So disappointed and sorry to say "WAS", as of how it is at this time.) The DTS NEVER burned oil, and ran smoothly.
The dash began showing, "OIL PRESSURE LOW". I brought the DTS to the Ford-recommended Buick/Chevrolet/Cadillac dealer to be checked. They said they COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING WRONG with the car. I drove it approximately 100 more miles (Note: My average miles driven of the DTS is 4,500 miles per year since purchace.), and the "OIL PRESSURE LOW" notice came on again and with it this time, was the CHECK ENGINE symbol as well.
I brought the DTS back to the Buick/Chevrolet/Cadillac dealer again to be checked. They discovered it had a leak from the oil pressure switch; that this most likely would get worse over time, and they recommended the switch be replaced. At this time, they advised both valve cover gaskets each had a leak, and asked me if I would want them to replace the VCG and fix that issue at the same time. I replied, "YES." I was notified when the repairs were complete and picked up the vehicle. (Total cost close to $700.00.)
Within a few hours of driving the DTS, it began to emit an awful burning smell, which appeared to me to be coming from both sides of the engine. I contacted the dealership immediately about this. I was advised to drive the car longer, because it could possibly be that some oil could have gotten into the exhaust manifolds from the VCG job, and to see if the smell would burn off and stop. I normally trade off driving both of my vehicles, but I made it a point to drive the DTS steady. THE BURNING SMELL DID NOT STOP. I called the dealership service department back again. They recommended I bring the car back to them to be checked. (Note: Prior to bringing the car back to them, I had done a lot of research through Cadillac forums and reputable car repair/problem entities on the internet, servicing problems with DTS vehicles. I concluded from hours and hours of research, that there was most likely a fuel/computer issue present; the engine was running lean; and there most likely was a vacuum leak. I also discovered that the main, number one issue of oil leaking was faulty sealing from the VCG replacement.
I brought the car back to the dealership. They looked at the DTS and advised me they had to order, "more seals", would call me when they came in, and would be needing the car, "for one day". When I picked up the car after the second VCG job was done, the dealer advised me that the first seals were faulty and the job was billed under warranty. I had ordered a new key and fob for the DTS because the key fob at time of purchase, had a crack in it, and also the numbers/symbols were mostly worn off. I paid $186.00.
Within a few hours of driving, I began getting the same awful burning smell from both sides of the engine. I called the dealership. They advised the same as they did from the first VCG job they did; that some oil could have gotten into the exhaust manifold from the job, and to drive it for a while longer to see if the oil burning smell went away --- got burned off. I made it a point to drive the DTS steady. The awful burning smell continues.
I contacted the dealership back again, and spoke with the service manager. It was a mixed-reaction kind of conversation. I stated to him that I NEVER had a burning smell before they did the first VCG job; that of all the individuals who had checked my vehicle, THEY ALL KNEW there was no burning smell of any kind from the engine, and that NO VCG leaks had been detected ---- and they would not have missed it. There NEVER were any VCG leaks detected, until this dealership said there was.
The service manager advised I bring in the car to have the "valve cover gasket leaks" checked. Then he said he was baffled as to the oil level being fine but with the burning going on. I stated to him that the oil, "must be coming from somewhere" from the repairs being made. The service manager asked three times during the conversation, "You never had any oil burning smell until we did the first repair?", and I replied to him each time: "I NEVER experienced ANY burning smell coming from the engine." Then the service manager stated that maybe they, "can't fix" my vehicle. I stated to the service manager, that I have a hard time to believe my car was incapable of being fixed; that I NEVER experienced a car dealership even as much as hinting being unable to fix a car, let alone this one.
I have been in contact with Cadillac in the matter. They contacted the dealership, sent me several e-mails, repeatedly telling me to go back to the dealership. Cadillac advised me my DTS was, "out of warranty".. I l replied to Cadillac that I had known for some time my vehicle was "out of warranty", DUH, because that is why I have paid "out-of-pocket". In one of the Cadillac e-mails, they indicated speaking with the dealership and the dealership referenced discussing with me the possibility of "refund" of the price I paid for the initial repair. I e-mailed Cadillac back and stated that there was NO mention whatsoever of "refund" during any of my conversations with the repair dealership. In the conversation with the service manager of this dealership, while scheduling my car in for the third time, the service manager brought up the subject of, "possibly a refund". I stated to the service manager that this awful burning smell coming from the engine has NEVER occurred before; that it would be counterproductive to my best interests, let alone ridiculously outrageous for me to accept a refund while being, "stuck with a new problem" , that has existed 'TWICE", after each of their VCG repair jobs; that they need to fix this problem.
Here is additionally what I have learned on my own, which is the information I am taking along with me when I return with my DTS to this repair dealership; that Cadillac has even stated, being "for the third time" there.
FACT 1) Automakers keep track of dealer warranty claims and may enforce reimbursement restrictions, especially from repeated repairs coming up too often. This sends up a red flag to me, that possibly the dealership may not want to even risk their credibility in an unsuccessful third repair attempt being known to Cadillac. When the dealership "checks" my DTS during the up and coming appointment, it will be interesting to see if they attempt to offer me a refund, OR, not to repair the car the third time. We will see. I have lots of ammunition.
FACT 2) Between 2007 and 2009, GM recalled 1 Million cars due to them catching fire from oil leaks. In 2016, GM recalled another 1.4 Million cars due to them catching fire from oil leaks. They advised people NOT to park their cars "in their garage", under their carports and near their homes, "due to fires. It has been acknowledge by GM that "1,345 vehicles" had caught fire AFTER the oil leak repairs had already been made by GM.
FACT 3) Even though my 2007 Cadillac DTS is not on their recall lists in reference to FACT 2) above, it becomes apparent by these fires that my car IS AT RISK of catching on fire as well, due to the VCG oil leaking and burning as it continues to do, and I am at risk of injury as well.
FACT 4) As though FACT 3 above weren't or isn't enough (!), I have recently learned that oil leaking as it is from the two VCG jobs, is able to cause damage to spark plug wires; that spark plug wells can fill with oil causing vehicle miss fire; that oil dripping has caused coolant hoses to become soft and eventually burst;
FACT 5) It is recommended that ALL VCG surfaces be CLEANED before installing new valve cover gaskets.
FACT 6) I have learned as of late from research, that oil spraying over exhaust shields can cause a build up of internal pressure that causes leak. THAT THE CRANKCASE BREATHER BOX should be checked; that the BREATHER BOX relieves the pressure. The "first place" oil leaking takes place and can occur is FROM THE VALVE COVER GASKETS, and can easily happen after the VCG job is done. ALSO, coincidental to this, the BREATHER PIPE COMING RIGHT OFF THE ENGINE AROUND THE OIL FILTER needs to be checked.
FACT 7) I have also learned as of late from research, that PROBLEMS with the PCV and VACUUM SYSTEM (particularly the one-way chck valves) can even cause a new VCG to start pushing and leaking oil in a hurry.. "If you build up enough pressure in the crankcase, the valve cover becomes the weakest link."
FACT 8) They need to check the OIL HOUSING GASKET.
FACT 9) In the very beginning after the first VCG job, the car had a vacuum leak.
The above are some of the issues I plan on discussing with the "chain of command" at the dealership. I am going to let them know these facts above. The service manager while scheduling my car in to check it again, as of late, stated that, "Maybe WE should send the car to a place that can fix it." I am going to remind him of what he stated. Without question, they have put my car in HARMS WAY, and myself at risk of injury and financial loss. I am going to lay the facts out, and then suggest to them, how it probably would be in their best interests to BUY ME OUT of the problems they have caused with my vehicle.
I have more than enough ammunition to "Gripe, rant, yell, tell the world about your (my) auto beef." BUT, I'd prefer to try as strongly as possible, to remain cool, calm and collective with the dealership, because it is my belief that MUTUAL RESPECT must take place, in the best possible manner, in order for a workable solution to be attained. I am not a vulgar person, am a retired management professional with decades of experience, a people-person, who cares about a positive end result. I will not accept being stuck with ANY damage, for the sake of a refund, and the service manager knows this! WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT THE SERVICE MANAGER HAS STATED TO ME, AS OF LATE, THAT THEY, "TYPICALLY DON'T WORK ON CADILLACS". I REPLIED WITH A QUESTION: "WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE, ANYONE THERE, TELL ME THIS BEFORE THE FIRST VCG JOB WAS DONE?"
I appreciate your enabling this forum. Just because a dealership is recommended; advertises SELLING and SERVICING CADILLACS, doesn't make it true. How on earth under these circumstances, how can anyone rely on repair work being done with any degree of confidence, facing a repair service mess and outcome such as mine?
I began with a vehicle that was in very nice condition, destined to last me probably the rest of my life. I would expect there to be some things that I would be paying for involving the DTS because, after all, nothing is perfect. Experts have acknowledged that the "Northstar engine", is "the best" engine that ever was and probably ever would be", as well as it being the "most complicated" to repair. When a dealership advertises being a, "BUICK CHEVROLET CADILLAC" dealer, automatically presenting let alone making the claim that they SERVICE what they sell, and fails to deliver repeatedly in the SERVICE, even to the extent of admitting they typically, "DON'T WORK ON CADILLACS", without even saying a word about it to me, the customer, until after two failed attempts on their part, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE.
I will be returning to the dealership for my DTS to be checked on Tuesday, March 28th. I am going to easily convince them of all that has happened since first going to their dealership to have the oil pressure switch and valve cover gaskets replaced, and just exactly where things stand involving my car.
BEWARE! Anyone's situation has the potential to end up like mine. My car is such a nice vehicle in every way, and I would never willingly sacrifice it leg alone my well being, to the inept negligence of anyone. Cadillac hasn't done me any favors, only to leave me in the lurch at my own risk.
I appreciate having the opportunity to submit these issues involving my vehicle and myself, in this forum. Can you please send this submission back to me so I may make a copy of the issues for my records?
Update from Mar 29, 2017: 3/28/17 - Took my 2007 DTS back to the Buick/Chevrolet/Cadillac repair service department to be checked. They confirmed that the valve cover gaskets are "leaking". They have my car and are doing this repair for the third time. I did an extensive amount of independent research into this matter because, 1) I want to know what is going on with my car., and, 2) They had only advised me of VCG "leaking" each time.
I discussed my findings with the service and general manager of the business, and asked many questions.
NUMBER 1: I asked if they had checked the PCV, vacuum system, and the crankcase breather box. I asked if there were any issues regarding these, that may be causing any pressure building up in the engine. When pressure builds up in the engine, the weakest link for oil leak is through the valve cover gaskets. This pressure buildup can cause leaking from even a new VCG replacement/repair. Their reply to NUMBER 1: "There are no pressure issues regarding your (my) vehicle's) engine. Your engine pressure is fine."
NUMBER 2: I asked about the breather pipe off the engine above the oil filter. Their reply to NUMBER 2: "There are no issues, it is fine."
NUMBER 3: I asked if there was any oil affecting the spark plugs, wires and coolant hoses. Their reply to NUMBER 3: "No oil issues at all involved with these."
NUMBER 4: I asked if, prior to their first VCG repair, if there was, "leaking" or "seeping". Their reply to NUMBER 4: There is no difference, it is all considered "leaking". I stated to them there NEVER was any presence of oil on my concrete area where the car is parked, prior to their first VCG repair., and NEVER any burning smells being emitted from the engine. Not only this, I had the oil checked regularly and each time the oil levels were fine. But I explained to them that after their first VCG repair, I began to see on my concrete area where oil had been leaking. I also explained to them that after their second VCG repair, I began to see additional leaking as well. Then, I told them about my 11-year-old SUV which I had bought new, that now has 115,000 original miles on the odometer. Four years ago, my SUV was diagnosed having a "slight seep" of oil from the valve cover gaskets. I have had the oil level checked in that vehicle on a regular basis and it has always been fine. There NEVER has been any burning odor from that engine. I stated that due to these facts, it clearly appears to me that the DTS probably had a "seep", and NOT "a leak.
NUMBER 5: I asked them if there is anything involving my engine, (i.e., oil blow back, blockages, etc.,, causing internal oil pressure to build up, that would cause the VCG "leaking" after their first and second repairs. Their answer to NUMBER 5: "There is nothing wrong with your engine. Everything is fine."
My conclusion so far is that the problems that have happened with my car from their first and second VCG repairs; the awful oil burning smell from the engine and VCG leaking being the result each time, are directly related to the VCG repairs, and the gaskets not sealing. Their own words and answers have convinced me that there are no issues involving my engine causing this leaking and burning.
My 2007 DTS is presently at the Buick/Chevrolet/Cadillac business, in the service department, with the third VCG repair. I did ask if after the VCG removal each time, the area was cleaned with solvent, then thoroughly wiped, prior to putting on the new VCGs. I also asked about the pressure and manor involving the torquing of the bolts, etc. The service and general managers made no comments to me in response to these matters. Now that they are into the vehicle engine for the third VCG repair, maybe they will be certain these issues of technique are addressed and supervised. I can't help but think of the service manager's words this third time around: "The front part of the VCG is leaking." I can only assume that if the application and sealing is correctly done, no part of the VCG should be leaking.
If goes beyond a horrific nightmare, to research and discover anything and everything that can happen with a 2007 DTS, let alone any car engine. I have read about customer vehicles having leaks that fiscally and most tragically require removal of the entire engine in order to repair them; also about recommendations being given that the engines be replaced. As for me and despite the present situation involving my 2007 Cadillac DTS, I couldn't be more blessed that everything involving the engine, "is fine" with "nothing wrong", except for the problems from the first two VCG replacements/repairs. I have read it being recommended that VCG replacement/repair, "...should be performed as an integral part of regular maintenance on a vehicle". When it comes to the situation involving my car, I can do without such, "out-of-their-mind" advice. The awful, putrid smelling burning from the engine; and "leaking" after the first two jobs is more than enough for me. With my 2007 DTS now in for the third time for VCG replacement/repair, I only want to experience the "fixed stage".
We'll see if this third fix attempt will be the final solution.
Update from Apr 28, 2017: UPDATE - April 28, 2017
Correction: Pardon my typo. My 2007 DTS has a 4.6L V8 engine, not "4.8L.
The third valve cover gasket repair/replacement took place. It was discovered that when the cover was put on, it had moved the gasket and part of it broke, which was the reason for the leaking. I admired their honesty about the gasket moving and part of it breaking. The repair dealership manager said this is something that occurs that they can't tell is happening after putting the cover back on, and have no control over. I disagreed. My reasoning: I have used adhesives and glues for decades, especially involving jewelry repair. I have achieved the best results from cleaning the surfaces, allowing them to dry, applying adhesive, and then applying pressure for a few minutes to aid in the surfaces bonding together. I believe that applying adhesive to the gasket (and not just in the corners); and allowing a few minutes for it to at least begin bonding, then putting on the cover, would at least lessen the chances of the gasket moving and causing it to break. But then, again, were talking about the third valve cover gasket repair, and of course I'm not (and don't profess to be) the mechanic!
Shortly after I began driving away from the repair dealership, I detected a slight burning coming from the engine, but not at all severe as it was from the two previous VCG repairs. After driving the car on and off steady for a week, the burning odor completely disappeared and has not returned. There is no leaking or seeping any longer. It looks as though I have enough evidence by this to conclude that the VCG issue is fixed. Time will tell. I have had the oil checked many times and everything has been fine.
They advised me that they detected some seeping from the water pump, although this wasn't something that needed immediate attention. I disagreed. I did not want to experience the "seeping" worstening, let alone experiencing paying a higher repair cost to replace the water pump in the future. I scheduled in the DTS to have the water pump replaced. While doing this, the service manager remarked: "Oh no, not again." (Perhaps thinking of the three VCG repairs they had done, almost as though he were to say, "Here we go again.") The water pump has been replaced, fresh coolant put in, including all gaskets and parts related to the job. I have been keeping an eye on the temperature gauge while accelerating heavier than normal, and the needle has consistently remained in the center of the gauge. The only drastic move it has made is when I shut off the engine! How much closer to normal can it get than that? !! (Cost $475.00, but I'm not complaining, better to pay it now than later.)
The "third brake light" along the upper edge of the trunk is burned out, and I need to have it replaced. There may potentially be a liability issue should I be rear-ended, and it not working could be held against me. But more importantly, the state has now added the required functionability of this light on the annual vehicle inspections. If I don't have this fixed, my vehicle will not pass inspection. GM/Cadillac must have been thinking about their after-market purse, because this isn't a matter of just replacing a light strip: The entire outer lens, lights and fixture will need to be. (Cost: $475.00) I have the car scheduled to have the new "third brake light" installed in two weeks.
I noticed many months ago, that one of the small yellow bulbs in the driver's front headlight, was not working and presumably burned out. I drove into a Cadillac Dealership and asked about having it replaced. I was advised it would cost, "$300.00". What a shock, when I was advised the bulb cost, "$5.00", but the labor cost was "up there" because they would have to, "remove the entire front bumper", in order to get to the bulb replacement area. They must have noticed I was in shock over the cost. I was advised, "Wait until the other one burns out then come back and see us." Since that time I have incurred another shock.....Within a few days after they told me of the "$300.00" fee, THE LIGHT WENT BACK ON AND HAS STAYED ON SINCE! WOW!
They did give me an estimate to repaint the hood, roof (oxidation), and trunk lid of, "$3,700.00". I stated to them their price was enough to cause me to change my mind, and: "You can't drive a car by the paint job!" I have been working on the finish gradually., which has been very slow-going and labor intensive. It is looking great!
My 2007 Cadillac DTS has gotten more than its share of attention. Due to the extent of upkeep, maintenance and repair, it probably could be stated that I am out of my mind for hanging in there with it. There is a lack of people who are into repairing it. But when it comes to driving it, I have a fixation of enjoyment that I have not had in any other car. The riding comfort and maneuverability is second to none. With this car around me I feel secure.
I am in an interlude phase with this car....amazingly having no complaints at this time. I am grateful for the opportunity to share -- and vent -- my frustrations with this car, in your forum. This car has taken me into such an extent of inquisitive, ongoing learning, beyond what I never previously thought I'd ever be interested in. To me, this car is well worth the effort.
Thank you very kindly.