Consumer Reports cites GM for lack of reliability in some trucks

These are sustainability complaints about Silverado and Sierra

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The crew at Consumer Reports is not happy about the durability of some General Motors products – pickups in particular. In a post from last week, CR identified that some Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 suffer from “major” engine problems, which prompted the group to report a problem rate of four percent.

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For those who do not know, the group compiles its data from reliability statistics collected from its members through large-scale surveys. Seventeen problem areas are specifically identified, including engines, which are further subdivided (pun intended) into “major” and “minor” issues. The former can include problems with the cylinder head gasket or the head itself, clutter with parts related to engine timing, or turbocharging hiccups. If a problem requires rebuilding or changing the engine, it falls into this category.

Now it is worth noting that the message from CR does not state the exact engine problem that members report – or even if the problem with four percent is due to a factor or several different. There is also no confirmation whether these reports are about the 2.7L mill, the venerable 5.3L engine or the divine 6.2L engine. Confidential sources close to this publication suggest that there are problems with lifters in the latter due to challenges with the fuel management system which is designed to deactivate a number of cylinders in certain situations in order to save petrol and improve fuel economy. Gear tips will tell you that lifting problems can lead to curved push rods and potentially grenades to an engine.

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Absent official details from the manufacturer or CR, we have to speculate. Consumer Reports states that their members “submitted several reports of engines being replaced along with cylinder head-related issues.” There is an active class action lawsuit against GM that focuses on engine failure, thanks to the lifter and fuel management. It was filed about a month ago and is currently on its way through the US legal system. The plaintiffs claim that the engine lifts in some mills equipped with fuel management systems were defective in design, workmanship and / or material. Specified in the 243-sided suit are 5.3L and 6.2L engines with a production date dating back to 2014.

Cylinder deactivation is a common way for car companies to tighten fuel economy. It is about programming that senses when certain driving conditions prevail (for example low engine load) and shuts off a certain number of cylinders to save fuel. Some systems of this type close half the engine cylinders, while others can turn on the switch as many as you like. Some may, for example, let a V8 car drive on only two cylinders if they think the conditions are right for doing so, and light the fire again when the driver requires more power.

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