Chevrolet Says Journalist's Packed-up Corvette Z06 Had Dirty Oil

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
chevrolet says journalist s packed up corvette z06 had dirty oil

Last time we heard from Fox’s Gary Gastelu, he was reporting that his test Z06 gave up during his track run in a spectacular shower of oil and grease and bits and fun.

Now, he says Chevrolet has told him what went wrong and it’s a familiar story:

After bringing it back to Chevrolet HQ for inspection, the engineers determined that the likely cause was a piston connecting rod bearing that was damaged by debris in the oil that was left behind after tapping the threads for the oil filter. Once a piece gets jammed in there, it starts creating more debris, which keeps making things worse until finally … kablooey. In this case, it took out a few more pistons with it.

Chevrolet says that the number of affected engines are in less than one percent (they all seem to be early engines, with contaminated oil and fewer than 2,000 miles) of all Z06 cars.

Gastelu said the tester Corvette he drove never received the oil change after 500 miles that Chevrolet recommends to keep the engine from catastrophic failure. The cause for the failure may be thread shavings for the oil filter that may have made their way into the engine and circulated through the engine.

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6 of 66 comments
  • Ion Ion on Aug 22, 2015

    One of the things I've been wondering here is why GM shifted back to spin-on filters instead of canisters. I noticed it on the new CTS so it's not a performance issue. Furthermore other makes use cartridge filters in high performance engines without any issues.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ion Ion on Aug 23, 2015

      @SCE to AUX It is indirectly a filter issue. Were GM still using their "environmently friendly" canister filters there would be no spindle and thus no spindle shavings to contaminate the oil. Though to be fair the early Saturn V6 canister housings did have a tendency to become unscrewed from the block.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Aug 22, 2015

    GM messed up, and should stand behind it. So should Porsche. BMW, to its credit, over the years, ate a lot of engines and does more buybacks than the others. Perception is key here. The cars we care about are limited in production, market but not in interest. If the latest and greatest Vette or Cayman is tossing big parts, the internets all "know", mostly repeating the five posts from smart folks who have been bitten. I don't have a Vette, nor am I likely to attain my fantasy Vette collection with my kid's college bills, but I "care" like any car guy.... For years, the only folks who knew a car "had a problem" were the bean counters in Warranty and the engineers who got their mememos, and a smattering of Service Managers who had the same unhappy customers for the same reasons. Now, you don't even have to have the car or know anything to slag it. Also, I've learned trolling BMW boards that a failure of a part is analyzed in a way the typical CamCord owner won't notice. (Pages and pages of how the expansion tank goes, for example) I was so used to detailed posts from BMW when I started reading about the MDX, the level of discussion went from borderline engineering school to "whats that noise ? The dealer says". Rest assured, the typical passerby sees the new Z06, and says WOW, not "whatta POS". Likewise every Porsche, IMS or not.... Porsche said "eat it" with the IMS because they knew they could. On the other side, if a percentage of engines will fail, but not all, or even most, then, you don't want to replace good engines and piss off thousands of folks who really don't have a problem, not to mention the havoc dealer monkeys can cause upsetting a correctly built car with flat rate mentality.

  • 65corvair 65corvair on Aug 22, 2015

    I've opened up filters a couple of times at my new cars first oil change. I've never found anything in them. I couldn't even tell which way the oil flows through them, both sides of the filter paper looked the same.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Aug 23, 2015

    Mah Corvette blew it's engine due to dirty oil; #Thanks Santorum.