By on July 30, 2013
taveras

Tavera SUVs at GM India assembly plant

Automotive News is reporting that Sam Winegarden, GM’s vice president for global engine engineering, the company’s highest ranking powertrain executive, was fired this week along with about 10 other GM Powertrain employees in the U.S. and India, over cheating in GM’s emissions testing at its Indian subsidiary.

 

The problems have prompted the company to halt the sale of Chevy’s popular Sail hatchbacks and Tavera SUVs in that country. The local press has reported that GM has admitted to Indian authorities that some of their employees had fudged data on emissions tests in order to meet standards. The news comes at the same time that  GM has announced a recall of 114,000 Taveras to fix what it calls emissions and specifications problems.

In a statement, GM confirmed that it has “dismissed several employees” over “violations of company policy” related to the Indian recall but a company spokesman declined to comment about Winegarden.

“We take these matters very seriously and hold our leaders and employees to high standards,” GM’s statement says. “When those standards are not met, we will take the appropriate action to hold employees accountable.”

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Sam Winegarden, GM’s now apparently former vice president for global engine engineering

Winegarden, apparently one of those held accountable, was GM’s top engine executive since 2004, and he had worked at the company for his entire adult life. He joined the automaker over 40 years ago as a co-op student at the Buick Motor Division while attending the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). His resume included a stint in the 1990s as chief engineer for the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Group where he oversaw the development of the Northstar V-8 and premium V-6 engine lines. He later presided over development of the very successful LS family of V8 engines.

The Indian business newspaper Economic Times reported that GM India admitted to Indian regulators that employees violated testing procedures. In some cases engine swaps were done with set-aside engines measured to have lower emissions so the “ringer” equipped SUVs would pass testing.

In a July 18 letter to Indian regulators, GM wrote: “Over a period of time some employees of the company engaged in the practice of identifying engines with lower emission which were fine-tuned and kept aside to be used for installation on vehicles during inspection,” according to the newspaper.

GM also admitted that the reported weight of several models was “manipulated” so the vehicles would be subject to less stringent emission regulations. The newspaper said that the Indian government has set up an investigative committee. GM could face fines and other penalties.

GM India halted production and sale of the Tavera recently, saying the issues were not safety related and that the company “has since identified a solution to the issues and performed the required engineering validation, and is awaiting regulatory approvals.” Last month, GM also stopped production of diesel versions of the Sail, mentioning unspecified quality-control issues. The company plans to start selling the Sail again by August, but so far no recall for affected vehicles has been announced, unlike with the Tavera.

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81 Comments on “GM Axes Global Powertrain Chief & Several Employees Over India Emissions Testing “Ringer Engines” Scandal...”


  • avatar
    joberg73

    India has emissions standards?

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      If so, they should apply them to sex organs.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Went there in January and would have put a lot of money on “no”. Breathing the air in New Delhi for 1 day was equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes. Fine particulate ppm levels were many multiples of the maximum “allowable” in the USA’s smoggiest cities such as LA and Atlanta.

      In time, I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Sounds like the right people were not being paid off.

    • 0 avatar
      Vipul Singh

      Yes. All passenger vehicles sold on India need to meet Bharat Stage 4 norms, which are closely related to Euro 4. Vehicles sold in non-metros need to meet BS-3. With BS-5 norms coming, more vehicles may be expected to come equipped with technologies like DPF.

      The air is still dirty, largely due to the sheer density of vehicles, older vehicles still plying, industry, and dust.

      • 0 avatar
        Vipul Singh

        Unable to edit, so correcting myself through a new reply: vehicles sold in *metros* need to currently comply with BS4 (an adaptation of Euro 4)

      • 0 avatar
        Vipul Singh

        Yes. All passenger vehicles sold in metropolitan cities in India need to meet Bharat Stage 4 norms, which are closely related to Euro 4. Vehicles sold in non-metros need to meet BS-3. With BS-5 norms coming, more vehicles may be expected to come equipped with technologies like DPF.

        The air is still dirty, largely due to the sheer density of vehicles, older vehicles still plying, industry, and dust.

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      Same question popped up as soon as I read it. Next thing I know they have a National Electrical Code too!

  • avatar
    sirwired

    He managed to keep his job after being the man in charge of the Northstar?

    I do think it’s admirable that now GM upper management knows whats going on, they don’t appear to be messing around. Killing the global powertrain head seems to me to be decent evidence they aren’t sweeping anything under the rug.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I was thinking the same thing. Whether he was a martyr or not in this case doesn’t matter to me. If he was responsible for the Nothstar, he should have been gone a while ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Jean-Pierre Sarti

        Just to pile on some more, the fact that he seemed to have gotten promoted even after the North Star says volumes of good ole GM.

        As far as the pollution goes in India: there is a very big price to pay to try to pull 1 billion people up the quality of life ladder. I for one can’t blame them but I do hope that they can learn from our mistakes to minimize the pain.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        To be fair, the Northstar looks awesome on CAD; its problems didn’t manifest themselves until years after the design was in the can.

        To me, a much bigger engine fail was the plastic upper plenum on the otherwise-bulletproof 3800 V6 that they used for over ten years before switching back to aluminum (right before they killed it, a la typical GM – finally get it right, and then discontinue it).

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          redmon, a lot of engines have looked good on paper (or in 3D design renderings), yet have gone on to fail the test of the real world.

          I can’t prove it definitively, but I I do not believe that GM ever truly resolved the headgasket bolt thread issue with the Northstar, even though some claim that it was redesigned and effectively fixed in model year 2006 (and again in 2010).

          It just seems to me that those motors, given that they were relatively newer and had fewer miles accumulated on them than older N*s, had yet to start coughing up their bolts.

          As far as the 3800 goes, plastic plenum or not, it was arguably one of the most bulletproof V6s ever produced, foreign or domestic, and the biggest threat to its longevity was probably people mixing non Dexcool coolant in their radiators, whether to top things off, or while doing a coolant fill per the scheduled maintenance (unless they completely flushed all remnants of the factory fill Dexcool before using a non-Dexcool product).

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “As far as the 3800 goes, plastic plenum or not, it was arguably one of the most bulletproof V6s ever produced, foreign or domestic,”

            I agree with this. As far as engine issues go, that problem is minor.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Someone please enlighten me. Why is the Northstar such a bad engine?

      Yes, I know that all the ones made before about 2001 develop head gasket issues around the 150k mile mark and perhaps a few components are, shall we say, delicate, but overall they were powerful, smooth running, modern, reasonably efficient V8s, especially in the 90s.

      I would really like to know why everyone thinks they are so bad. Just fyi, I have never owned a Northstar, only driven them in rentals and such a few times.

      Perhaps because people buy them as beaters, subject them to Japanese four cylinder levels of abuse and neglect, and are then shocked to find out that it will take several thousand dollars to keep them on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Its a popular punching bag for people.

        The Northstar was a good engine. There were headgasket issues pre 01. Many engines have head gasket issues but they aren’t brought up as often as Northstar. I think the problem is really blown out of proportion because every Cadillac made at one time had a Northstar, so it was easy to label them as junk. I’ve owned 3 and all 3 have/were trouble free.

        They are certainly better than Porsche Boxter engines…but that isn’t brought up as often is it :)

        • 0 avatar
          ihatetrees

          Cadillac does not compete with Porsche.
          Cadillac competes (or at least used to compete) with Lexus.

          When was the last time Lexus had an engine issue?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I honestly can’t think of any automotive brand right now who had a semi-serious engine issue for nearly a decade or more.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            the sludge issue with the Toyota/Lexus V6 is pretty well known.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Cadillac does not compete with Porsche. Porsche is in a much higher price braket, so I would assume a customer paying 2 to 3 times as much for a car would expect its engine to stay together for more than 60K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Ford’s 6.0 diesel was so bad it broke a 30 year partnership with Navistar.

            Their 2v 5.4 V8 spat plugs until the 2004 3v update which fixed that with a new design that invariably broke the plugs when you changed them making it a $5-600 dealer job.

            Turbo BMWs around 2008-2010 could be counted on to eat the direct injection fuel pump.

            Subaru’s H4 head gaskets still consistently developed leaks until at least 2006.

            There aren’t a lot of truly bad motors out there but they’ve existed in recent memory.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Ford’s 6.0 diesel was so bad it broke a 30 year partnership with Navistar.

            Their 2v 5.4 V8 spat plugs until the 2004 3v update which fixed that with a new design that invariably broke the plugs when you changed them making it a $5-600 dealer job.”

            Ford added threads to the 2V heads in ’03 and that issue stopped. The 3V has so many other problems aside from the spark plugs that I avoided it completely and got an ’03 FX4 crew when I last bought a truck.

            The 6.0L was a terrible motor, but it was really the 6.4L that ended the partnership with Navistar and launched the lawsuit that I’m sure will never be settled. The 6.0L had a few really annoying problems that were expensive to fix, but generally they could be fixed. The 6.4L is a time bomb waiting to explode and leave you with a bill for a 15k complete engine.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            The crazy part about the ford/navistar deal, it wasn’t a design flaw, it was a process flaw, related to the injectors (I have intimate knowledge of this one), so a tier 1 supplier to Navistar way over estimated the take on that particular engine (and therefore required number of injectors), as part of the contract awarded to the tier 2 suppliers they all had to make significant investments to be able to handle said est. volume plus(+), the volume never materialized, let alone the plus (+), so thier (the tier 1) solution was to goto the tier 2’s and tell them to cut cost any way they could (and to be nice they could keep all of the savings to themselves), so you had 7-8 tier 2 suppliers all change thier processes, none of which were ever re-PPAPed, let alone the finished product of these 7-8 parts and processes combined, the changes each supplier made on thier own were just fine (some even improved the specifications required), its was the combined changes that led to the ejecting injectors, man its crazy when you have more Ford people in your facility then actual employees.

            *There is a harvard case study on the Saab Griffen, when developing the engine for it, they broke the engine development into say 6 or 7 parts and told each group to make thier part the best it could be and they did, however when the parts were put together the engine just sucked, actually had to go back to scratch and design as a whole to make it work as should. Same lesson applies to what happeded to Navistar.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I’ve worked on many of them in their heyday and owned one (’01 STS). They are a nice engine, when they aren’t melting down, which is likely in one way or another.

          They actually don’t have head gasket problems at all, the gasket isn’t what fails. The head bolts pull right out of their threads in the block which causes the leak. This is a terminally expensive repair for anyone that has to do it, and resulted in many a “TS” being titled over to the shop I worked for. The dealers were charging $5000 to do the repair, we did them for 3-3500.

          The also have block porosity issues if the sealant pucks were ever neglected, and many of them leak oil perpetually from expensive places like the block bed plate. They tend to consume a lot of oil due to excessive carbon jamming up the rings too. GM was calling consumption of a quart per 1000 miles completely normal.

          While one owner may personally not have had problems, a huge amount of people did. I’ve witnessed the head bolt problem all the way up to 2003 MY. Resale values of these turds respond accordingly at auction. The point isn’t that there are some other engines with issues, it’s that there are engines out there that DON’T have major, persistent, crippling problems.

      • 0 avatar
        StephenT

        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=northstar+engine+problems

      • 0 avatar
        Bill

        Case halve seals. Imagine taking your car to the shop for an oil leak, and finding out you’ll be paying about $3000-3500 to fix an oil leak.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Oh there are lots of reasons to hate Northstar :)

        Well as you and PonchoIndian point out, supposedly a “fix” came out at some point but I’ve heard anywhere from 2000, 2002, 2004, and never for the timing (apparently it was a big secret). Personally I think GM should have been so proud of itself it should have skywritten “We fixed the Northstar!!!” over Florida in triumph, but I digress.

        Even if the engine was fixed in 2001, it debuted in late 1992 (a model year late) as a ’93 so it took them *nine* years to redesign the engine of the flagship brand long after it replaced everything else in said flagship brand. Fail. There’s just no excuse to let it go that long, I wouldn’t even accept the bankruptcy as an excuse for nine years of a known design flaw. I also recall the 90s Cadillacs having the head gasket issue much earlier than 150K and in some cases new gaskets having to be reapplied more than once (usually by diff owners) in the car’s life.

        Another neat fact about Northstar from what I have read is that they cannot be rebuilt by design. So when anything other than water pumps or head gaskets go, you have to junk it and replace the whole engine with something from LKQ. This suggests to me in the mind of GM, Cadillacs are simply disposable not meant to be rebuilt or kept going beyond a certain period of use. So in essence Ford of the period will sell you at least one Lincoln (albeit with an ancient design) which can do 200-400K from the factory with basic maint, but your Cadillac from the factory is intended to maybe run 100-175K prior to something grenading? Big fail, especially since I have personally seen C-body 4.9 Cadillacs used up with north of 250K.

        The irony for GM was you could walk right down the street to your Buick dealer and get effectively the same Deville for less money, enjoy better reliability, gas mileage, platform longevity, and have a much better overall ownership experience. Cadillac and its customers would have been much better served by at least taking heed of the Northstar fiasco early on and keeping production of the 4.9 going at least for the bread and butter Deville until a replacement could have been found (maybe have made Northstar Seville/Eldo only?). The fact if you type “cadillac northstar” into Google and get as the 3rd result “Did Cadillac ever “fix” the head gasket issue on the Northstar…” speaks volumes about what the head gasket problem did to the brand, perceived or real.

        Given the direction they later went with Catera, a decade of “blown up” Cadillacs is irrelevant in the grand scheme as the people who bought those would die off, retire, or switch brands anyway due to the radical design and style changes.

        Here’s a quick 0-60 vid of a Northstar and a 4.9 Deville with 257K.

        http://www.youtube DOT com/watch?v=vdBVQ3waezI

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          Other brands with engine issues:
          Nissan 2.5 eating butterfly valves and head gaskets

          BMW high pressure fuel pump issues/plastic water pump issues

          VW all plastic engine parts issues.

          Toyota and Chrysler with sludge issues (V6)

          Porsche with IMS issues

          Chrysler 3.8 with cracking heads

          Ford ecoboost (now a lawsuit).

          I could go on but what is the point. The internet is THE place to look for real or perceived information. The Northstar got a bum rap.

          FWIW. The Northstar got larger head bolts in 2001 (as well as head inprovements for emissions) and that was the “fix”.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good list, thx for the info. Also the 98-04 Chrysler 2.7 (which spawned http://www.oilsludge.com) and I believe the Ford 3.8 was also issue prone but I can’t recall how long it was offered.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            I’m probably coming across as an ass…not trying to.

            My point is, the internet is a great place to spread misinformation. Was the Northstar perfect? Hell No!

            Was the head gasket issue blown out of proportion? I think so, but who am I? I could be wrong!

            Cadillac (and GM) get alot of bad press and hatred (some of it well deserved, I’ll never forgive them for getting rid of Pontiac), so its even easier to get the ball rolling on the shit storm for something like a engine problem that may or may not be as bad as rumored.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The interesting part about the Chrysler 2.7L (as well as the VW 1.8T and Toyota engines that are prone to sludge), if the owner is religious about oil maintenance, they don’t have problems.

            While the 2.7L DID have issues with oil drainback and coking, well maintained ones do last. I still wouldn’t recommend one, but the reason Chrysler denied many of these claims is because the owners couldn’t show they maintained it.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            “as well as the VW 1.8T and Toyota engines that are prone to sludge), if the owner is religious about oil maintenance, they don’t have problems.”

            Nope, 2,500 to 3,000 intervals (brother owns large shop, free changes makes keeping fresh oil/filters a no-brainer, damn thing didn’t even make to 100k before main drive bearing desentigrated. (was told it was my fault, by dealer, despite documentation, I must admit spending alot of nights at the strip, but its a 4 cyl. camry, could you resist that temptation, could you?)

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            “as well as the VW 1.8T and Toyota engines that are prone to sludge), if the owner is religious about oil maintenance, they don’t have problems.”

            2001 Camry

            Nope, 2,500 to 3,000 intervals (brother owns large shop, at cost changes makes keeping fresh oil/filters a no-brainer, damn thing didn’t even make to 100k before a main drive bearing desentigrated. (was told it was my fault, by dealer, despite documentation, I must admit spending alot of nights at the strip, but its a 4 cyl. camry, could you resist that temptation, could you?)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @PonchoIndian

            Nah you’re cool man, sometimes people blow things out of proportion and the internet magnifies it, it’s a valid point.

            Personally Cadillac is pretty much dead to me anyway, I might pickup a 4.9 eventually but even those are getting up in age.

            I to will never forgive RenCen or the current administration for the Ponti-axe… unless car guys eventually seize power in the tubes and bring it back as a single model brand/special edition etc (paging Mr. Reuss).

            @Danio

            The trouble with any “grey area” claim such as sludge is how do the owners prove they maintained it? Typically I’ve heard you have to produce receipts which makes sense, but then you as the mfg could say “Jiffy Lube oil doesn’t meet our spec” and dismiss those owners who used them, or “dealer only oil change receipts accepted” which then prob eliminates 80% of the claims. You as mfg would also have to consider owners who actually buy and change their own oil, easy to produce receipts for oil/filters but no way to prove when they were changed or at what interval.

            I’m not intimately familiar with the Chrysler 2.7 issue but from what I read it sounded like a design flaw that went on for years and Teutonic Chrysler stonewalled everyone. Evidently the 3.2 or 3.5 engines were immune to the sludge problem (and vastly superior), in hindsight DaimlerChrysler would have been wise to have offered a detuned/crippled version of one of those motors where available and not offer a V6 at all in transverse models where 3.x didn’t work (i.e. the Cloud cars).

            Much like Cadillac and their decade long Northstar issues, better troubleshooting and “hot-fixing” after the first 1-3MY goes a long way for me personally (at least pretend you care). Everyone makes mistakes but simply not acknowledging a problem [for a decade] or simply denying it for years irks me.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    When I read this, I had this strange sense of deja vu.

    http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2013/05/15/ranbaxy-fraud-lipitor/

    Same story, different industry. Creepy

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Checked out the Tavera on the Indian website… what a neat little rural scoot it would be. Bring an LHD version here, please.

    When will we get tough little cars with good ride height for our decrepit roads?

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Was he also in charge of the MPG testing for the Equinox?

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    So GM axed those responsible after they came up with a solution for the problem?

    1. How long did this go on before the problem was recognized?
    2. How high up the chain is this guy (or better how far down)?

    What did GM’s CEO know,and when did he know it?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The buck usually stops just below the CEO in any company lacking a Board with a backbone. Akerson is quick to fire people, so I’m reserving judgement of Winegarden until I see more details ferreted out – it’s a cinch GM won’t be forthcoming. You usually don’t see guys at RenCen get the axe over problems in overseas operations, unless an angry CEO claims they should have known every little thing going on everywhere in their domain, and Winegarden’s domain was global.

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        Yeah, I was trying to be funny with the Watergate language. If a CEO is doing his job, he’s letting his executive do theirs. I don’t suppose Windegarden, or Akerson, or whoever is directing a diabolical shell game from the RenCen.

        What I’m most curious about is the timing. “We’ve stopped production, but we have a fix for it here in our pocket just waiting for regulatory approval.” Seems odd to me. The timing of when they had a fix and when they shuffled the last ringer engine would be interesting to know. As would when the decision to axe all these people was made.

        Perhaps (wishfully thinking) someone inside will let this info out.

        After reading Vipul Singh comments (above) since: How can it be that GM didn’t have the knowledge to conform to Euro3 or Euro4 standards right out of the box?

  • avatar
    cc92oct

    Does this affect the production of the Isuzu Panther? Or do they use different engines?

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The SUV looks like it might be sourced/co-developed with Isuzu?

    • 0 avatar

      From the front, looks like a rebadged 1st gen Rodeo.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      It’s the Isuzu Panther. It’s a five-door variant of the 98′ Isuzu Fuego pick-up, which was the basis for the Rodeo.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      It’s the Isuzu Panther. Related to the old Fuego/Rodeo pick-up line, but the engines are completely different.

      They’ve been using the same chassis since the turn of the century. Popular because they’re simple, robust and the ancient diesels last a long time with minimal maintenance.

      The 4JA1 is a simpler motor than the 4JB1 diesel that came with the old pick-up, built for economy rather than hauling power. 2.5 liters and just 80-ish ponies, timing gear, mechanical injection pump and six rocking psi of turbo boost (we tried measuring it once). Yeah. Not surprised it’s not passing emissions…

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Stickin’ it to the man over smog tests?

    THAT’S…..

    FUCKING…..

    AWESOME!!!

    Go GM!

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    I graduated with Sam. He is a good engineer and leader. I was sorry to hear this news. It seems unlikely that such a distant regional activity would have been in his awareness as VP, based on my own experience with such interactions with government emissions agencies through the years here in America.

    It is possible he was martyred. On the other hand, Powertrain’s global HR executive got the axe too, so it may be an involved story.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Any relation to Marsha Winegarden – Global director at New Models Quality at FoMoCo?

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      The whole story may never be known, along with those ‘responsible’. The chaos of the Indian regulatory state vrs the historic GM management ineptitude makes this a tough call.

      That said, in today’s corporate environment, heads are needed. Hopefully GM managed this properly (with $$$) so the execs involved keep their mouths shut. If not, down the road we’ll here from the execs’ high end attorneys…

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        Notice that the head that rolled was someone high up but also probably ready to start collecting his pension anyways, being a sacrifical lamb on your way to retirement is taking one for the team, he just retires a year or two early (I’m sure he’ll receive a nice option award as a parting gift for his troubles)

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Holy crap that SUV looks straight out of the late 80s early 90s.
    Was this the same guy responsible for the cyclinder deactivation crap?

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Reminds me of an event in the mid 1970s regarding GM and the emissions certification of the K Blazer. They called us one day at the gov’t test lab and asked if they could please put a top on the vehicle so that they could accumulate durability miles in the rain. That piqued our interest, so we went back over the emissions application and discovered that they were improperly testing a Blazer without the hard top. It was promoted by GM to be a “low volume model” that had an optional canvas top. The lack of a hard top put them in a different weight and emissions category. At least until they asked us about the top :)

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Pontiac 455 V8 – Pontiac was caught cheating during EPA testing on that engine in the 70s. There was some special emissions plumbing that only operated for a finite amount of time after the engine was started, just enough to get through the EPA measurement. Then the engine picked up some HP and went to polluting as much as it did pre-Clean Air Act.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I love these stories, ones I had no idea about, do you know where I can find more info on that?

      • 0 avatar
        dastanley

        I read somewhere that the Pontiac ’73 455 SD had the EGR valve set up to work for the first few minutes after engine start and then stop working. Possibly the ’74 as well.

        As I understand it, the older EGR valves (vacuum operated) only opened and recirculated exhaust on part throttle in order to lower peak combustion temperatures and reduce NOx gasses.

        If the valve is stuck closed, the engine will idle well and run great at wide open throttle, but will ping and run hot at part throttle – such as during normal driving. If the valve is stuck open, the engine won’t even idle – it will stall, but if you keep part throttle, it will run then. So with that in mind, I’m not sure how Pontiac manipulated the EGR valve to maintain decent drivability.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          They actually got caught by the EPA. I don’t know if they were forced to recall all the engines already sold, but they were forced to reengineer the egr setup so it didn’t stop working after 30 seconds (or whatever it was). I think only engines not installed in a vehicle yet got recalled to be fixed.

          There is a distinct cutoff in engine production when this happened. They actually started painting the “fixed” or legal engines a different shade of blue to show that they were the “compliant” engines.

          Once again, I’m not 100%, but I think the Pontiac 350’s, 400’s and 455 all had the time delayed egr setup until the feds figured it out.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good ol Pontiac, trying to stick it to the man.

      • 0 avatar
        Omnifan

        Pontiac wasn’t the only one caught cheating. Many manufacturers didn’t want to invest in emissions technology, since the catalytic converter was coming at the end of the 70s. Many “fixes” were applied to make the cars driveable. Fixes that the average mechanic could disable in ten minutes (EGR valve on Chryslers).

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        We’re hearing the same things about stop/start systems nowadays. Battery degredation supposedly mitigates any gains in fuel economy pretty early in the vehicle’s life, but still plenty of time to make it through cert.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          when did the EPA nazi’s start taking the stop/start systems into account?

          I don’t believe the do for economy yet do they?

          Does it have to have a different emissions certification with stop/start?

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @PonchoIndian & danio- in 1988, just dropping the idle speed 100 RPM on the Q4 was good for a bump in EPA estimated economy- I think it may have been as much as 1 mpg, though that seems awfully high now.
            In fact, there is significant engine idle time in the EPA Federal Test Procedure” (FTP),a chassis dynamometer test, so stop-start will have a significant impact on the results.
            Obviously, a vehicle that spends little time with the engine at idle in real world operation would see little or no benefit.

            On a related tangent, one of the learnings of our Q4 powered Toyota Cavalier program was that many Japanese drivers would shut their engines off at stops and then restart them manually. This was apparently done to improve fuel economy.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            @doc I would think that the extra start fuel upon re-igniting the the engine would mitigate the fuel economy gains from shutting it down in many instances. Especially on cars of that era. This would depend on how long the engine would have been idling of course.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @danio3834- I don’t think there is any need for addition enrichment on a hot restart, only on a cold start. I am positive the results of stop-start are real, otherwise why would the makers spend the money on starters capable of so many more starts?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        An acquaintance once managed VW’s emission test lab at their Pennsylvania assembly plant. I worked with him later in a similar capacity at GM.

        He talked of a time when a German VW employee actually tweaked the dials to fudge a test in process, right in the presence of an EPA regulator!

        Emissions testing is an area where tricks and loopholes exist, though every manufacturer’s Emissions Certification Engineer must sign a statement asserting that no “defeat devices” exist. That would be any provision in hardware or software that would work only on an emissions test to reduce emissions, but wouldn’t typically operate in normal usage.

        The Pontiac 455, if it did as you wrote, would have been in violation of that certification.

  • avatar
    SteelyMoose

    “His resume included a stint in the 1990s as chief engineer for the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Group where he oversaw the development of the Northstar V-8 and premium V-6 engine lines.”

    So HE’s the one responsible for the jacked-up cartridge oil filter in the 3.5L “Shortstar” in my Olds Intrigue!

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @SteelyMoose- The cartridge oil filter was a good idea, but there were too few of the engines out there for shops to stock them.

      I recall taking my 2001 Intrigue to a Walmart for an LOF once. I asked if they had a filter for it, right up front. The guy said, “sure, it has a 3800.” I emphasized to him it had the 3.5L NOT the 3800, to which he replied, “no problem.” After waiting a considerable time, I checked on the car to find they really did not have a filter after all! I still remember my amazement, my car on the hoist with the oil drained, and the tech said, “we can put the filter on if you go and get one!” It was miles to the nearest NAPA store so I politely pointed out he would have to put oil back in my crankcase and let it down for me go anywhere!

      I hated that cartridge filter simply because most oil change shops didn’t have them. I think the 3.5L also had a larger oil capacity, adding to the expense of an oil change. Loved the car otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I like cartridge filters, and now that more volume cars are using them, generally they’re being stocked more and prices are lower. The Ecotec engines use them, as do the Chrysler Pentastar among others. Less mess to change, and you can get a better idea of whats going on in your lubrication system if that interests you.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          Glad to read that, danio! throwing the ‘can’ away along with the element just seems wasteful.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Danio,

          You and I seem to share a mutual interest in ECOTEC motors, and yeah, the cartridge is awesome. Makes it very easy to do a quick and clean oil change.

          Also, if one is running synthetic on a longer interval but wants to swap the filter more often, it is both simple and feasible to change the filter on an engine full of oil with a top located cartridge oil filter.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Reading between the lines on this I going to say that Winegarden was close to retirement and they sweetened his pension plan, the engine plant was useless in QC and consistency and they either are replacing that plant or have gutted it and redid the production line to get back consistency. More robots!

  • avatar
    mikey

    As a now retired low life GM, UAW&CAW hourly worker, I have witnessed many costly management blunders. For the most part,they were swept under the rug. The incompetent were shuffled around,and, or promoted.

    Lousy workmanship was always blamed on the workers. Never on the engineering. When the crappy parts,from the lowest cost supplier broke, or didn’t fit? It was the assemblers fault. Never, ever, was the over promoted,overpaid ,kick back taking. purchaser blamed.

    Nice to see that in the “new and improved” GM, we now have some accountability. It was a long time coming.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @mikey- I concur with your observations, particularly in the GM of years ago. My wife came from NY and still reminds me of when I told her “no one ever gets fired from GM” back in the ’70’s. Another New Yorker who moved from Queens recently called the attitude “that Michigan heroin.”

      GM has not been so gentle with Salaried staff as you may remember from the past. In 2008, 495 engineering staff were walked out of the GM tech center in one day. Others were “tapped on the shoulder” across the company and walked out. There were more at the Tech Center, most chosen based on job performance with a handful of volunteers sprinkled in, but 500 or more dismissals from the site would have required prior public announcement! (That last was rumor.)

      In my direct experience inside Product Engineering starting in 1988, we didn’t have the luxury of scapegoating, nor tolerance for efforts to obfuscate responsibility, and thus opportunity for improvement when quality problems surfaced. In fact, if workers had difficulty doing their jobs, we viewed engineering as the responsible party to fix the problem. The concept was to design processes and systems such that a worker couldn’t make a mistake and produce bad product.

      I will also point out that union shop work rules were far, far more concerned about protecting jobs than about improving quality.

      As with any complex human system, there is plenty of blame to go around. It is a big change for GM to announce dismissals rather than statements such as “leaving to pursue other interests” of the past.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @dr dlds..Thanks for the reply. I agree with you on all points. As far as the UAW/CAW work rules go? That to, has seen much needed change in the last few years.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Anyone notice the Tavera looks a lot like the old LaForza from the early 90s?

    http://image.trucktrend.com/f/roadtests/suv/9906348+pheader/163_0005_01l+laforza+front_view.jpg


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