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Frederickspark

Intermittent problems finally Pending P0303 cylinder 3 misfire

23 posts in this topic

I am a long time lurker of the Spark forum and first time poster. I also experienced the blinking check engine light and engine miss fire this morning after starting up my 2013 spark and backing out of my drive way. I did not notice the traction controlI blinking but I was not moving at the time I noticed the CEL flashing. I immediately shut the car down and grabbed my trusty Little scan tool. The scanner showed a pending code of P0303. Cylinder #3 misfire. I started the car back up. The CEL was no longer blinking and the idle smoothed out. Much to her displeasure, I told my better half that our breakfast plans were being postponed, and we were now going to the dealership. I felt luckier than many others experiencing these intermittent problems to have the pending code which is not always apparent. Finally I have a solid clue and evidence to work off of. I wanted the dealership to document my particular issues for future proof of a chronic problem if necessary for my benefit and the Spark community.

Upon arriving at the dealership and pulling up to the left hand lane of the bays which is designated for services other than oil changes I plugged my scanner in and confirmed that the pending P0303 code was still active. The service department was recovering from being very busy and there appeared to be only one service advisor and some others filling in. The service advisor was pretty helpful but I don't believe their jobs are to be technicians or mechanics but to perform the duty of documenting and processing the jobs as the business processes, procedures and guidelines dictate. The service advisor informed be that they could not fit me in this Saturday morning and that I could leave it or I could bring it in on Monday. I asked if I could have a loaner if I left it. The reply was not until there was a diagnosis of a warranty issue which was not going to happen today since they could not fit me in. Unfortunately there was a rush for me to move my car from the lane outside the bays so I moved it inside all the way up to the exit door which was closed. There was no service rep or technician interest in looking at the pending P0303 code on my scanner which was hooked up and active. The service advisor was very helpful in letting me look at a TSB for a valve cover leak which a technician gave her and I am very grateful for. I am skeptical of the valve cover being the issue for multiple reasons but choose not to discuss or debate in this comment. At this point another dealership employee asked me to remove my car from the service area. I regretfully removed my car from the bay. No one at the dealership acknowledged my pending P0303 OBDII code which is no longer in the ECU memory after checking when I got home. Thankfully I do have a picture of it which I took this morning.

I would like to highlight an improvement opportunity for the dealership and or GM customer service. Whenever a customer comes in with an intermittent problem an attempt should be made to have a technician perform a cursory inspection of the customers actively occurring intermittent problem. Intermittent problems are the hardest to fix IMHO. I am not suggesting that they actively work on with the intent to immediately fix these problems. I recommend they just take a physical look and collect some data. The importance of doing so is to not waste the chance to see a problem that is not normally active or easily duplicated in order to document and collect data this would be most helpful in solving these complex problems which may still be a mystery and to generate usefull TSBs.

I left the dealership with an appointment to drop the car off on Monday. I am requesting that they perform a compression check, remove and inspect the spark plugs to read. Not just replace a potentially fouled plug that may not be the root cause and make it run a little better for a while until the spark plug fouls out again.

I have had some intermittent quirks in the past which others have reported on in the forum. I did not take the car in for the previous quirks due to intermittency, lack of clues to troubleshoot, and comments in the forum indicating that dealer ship service departments were not able to do anything without OBDII code data.

Quirks have included:

Intermittent smell of engine coolant with cabin air on cold setting with the ac off and on fresh air setting. Mostly noticed after 50 mile leg of one way commute to work after climbing a large hill. significant loss of coolant has not been observed. Summer driving most noticeable.

Intermittent loss of power on starting out from stop with occasional stall on last leg of commute.

Marginally functional air conditioning

Very inaccurate fuel gauge.

Occasional upper end ticking that was a little louder than I would like to hear.

Recent decrease in gas milage.

Intermittent rough idle on start up and first time blinking of CEL this morning 03/08/2014.

Vehicle specifics:

Spark LS manual transmission

24150 miles

Purchased ~1year ago, March 2013

Build date 12/12 as the label in the door says if I am reading it in the correct place.

Scheduled oil changes have been done by the dealership.

I shall see what happens on Monday and give an update when I have more information.

SparkGirl likes this

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Please do keep us all I formed. That was a very detailed and great write up you did. Thank you for the post. I haven't had the CEL flash like you have explained, but I have expirence the engine coolant smells along with the louder than desired valve clicking. Also started to notice a ruff idle upon start up that only lasts a few seconds...

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I have found the Chevrolet dealerships that also sell/sevice Buicks and/or Caddys have higher standards of customer service.

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I bet they totally discount your picture of the error code, and because your scanner isn't professional they discount it as a problem with your equipment. This goes back to a programming problem where the car clears errors too fast, or doesn't report them at all!

Smikster likes this

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Hey Frederick,

I am sorry to hear you are having these quirks with your Spark. I would like to document them in our system so we can have the apporpriate team look into this for you and other owners. I look forward to hearing your update from you dealerhsip visit today. Please send me a private message with your name, VIN, phone number, and dealership name. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Erica Tiffany

Chevrolet Customer Care

Edited by Chevrolet Customer Care

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Hello Erica, I appreciate the interest in my situation. Apparently I must make a total of 5 posts before being able to pm.

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Update:

Monday, 03/10/2104

I took the car In for the warranty appointment. Had a discussion with the Service department manager. I told him that I would like to have the spark plugs pulled and read for condition. I also requested that a compression test be done. He did not want to do a compression test which I don't agree with. The reason being that no one gets paid for it in the GM world of flat rate auto repair due to GM not necessarily seeing it needed. I was again told about a non-published TSB for P0300 cylinder miss fire recommending the replacement of the valve cover some how causing the PCV to suck oil and resulting in fouled spark plug.

I can agree with the aforementioned hypothesis but I asked if the PVC system was sucking oil why would the issue only manifest it self on one cylinder. He had a very good answer which was that the PVC may be acquiring vacuum from a single intake runner for the cylinder with the fouled plug and in my case cylinder number 3. I don't think that either of us know for certain at this point but rest assured I will follow up if the PCV is fed into the intake upstream of all the cylinders or just the number 3 cylinder.

I am not very pleased to be in this situation with a car only having 24k miles in the first place. I also don't have a lot of confidence in the valve cover fix. One of the code p0300 and high oil consumption TSBs I have seen for GM SUVs mind you not the chevy spark highlighted a valve cover leak which I don't see how that would cause the PCV system system to suck oil ultimately causing spark plug carbon fouling. If anything a valve cover leak would add unmetered air to the intake causing a lean condition, high cylinder head temperatures, leading to burnt valves, piston melting, and ring seizing which is often detected by a compression test or cylinder leak down test. So if the issue was caused by the valve cover leaking and a lean condition significant damage could have already been done. if Spark plug carbon fouling is really being cased by oil being sucked up into the PCV system it is most probably an indication of higher than normal crank gas pressures which is an indication of excessive piston blow by. neither of the aforementioned is a good thing. Not to mention if oil is being dumped into the intake how bad it is for components like mass air flow sensors which is something that is probably not covered by the 100k power train warranty.

Any how I agreed to having the car taken in to have the spark plugs pulled/read and the the valve cover inspected for whatever condition I do not know. I Simply requested that I be permitted to look at the plugs once they were pulled as I was directed to waiting area. After sitting in the waiting area for a while the service advisor came out to inform me that they would not be able to fit me in soon and that I was being given a loaner car. I figured why not. I had already missed enough time from work and I think I might be starting to get on everyone's nerves so I took the loaner and left.

Tuesday, 03/11/2104

I was told over the phone that my #3 spark plug was carbon fouled and that I was getting all four new spark plugs and a new valve cover. They were waiting for parts scheduled to come in on Thursday but possibly Wednesday and I can keep the loaner until Friday morning and pickup my car. I once again requested that they hold my old parts for me so I can inspect them. I Stopped by the dealership after work to see the parts. The service manager told me that the old parts were installed back into the car since they did not have the new ones yet. He also said that they must box up all warranty parts and hold them for a minimum of 15 days before disposing of or return to GM for core or analysis at their request including the Spark plugs. He has given me his word that I will have an opportunity to see the parts.

I also need to follow up on the new valve cover to determine if is a redesign or same old design just a new part. I could not get the answer at the dealership today. My concerns are that if it is the old design new part it gives less credence to the oil being sucked up into PCV system. If the valve cover is a new design it will mask the problem of the higher than normal crank case gases and more or less just be a bandaid fix. Either way just putting in new spark plugs will make the car run a little better for a while and possibly push the car out of the bumper to bumper warranty period. Needless to say I am not happy with the situation and have not determined exactly how I am going to solve the problem.

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All these new engine speople are getting along with parts for their engine doesnt make any sense unless they are new and improved to solve the fix. If these are not new designed parts the same problem is going to happen again..... Its a waste of our time and money as well of that from GM.



I am very curious to see what your old parts look like. IF and thats a big IF (i have a feeling they wont show you the parts just how they have danced around not already showing you) you see the old parts please do snap a few pictures and post them to this thread. I really want to see what the plugs and valve cover looks like.



Again, Thank You for the very well written write up.


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I think you hit the key point, get it running well enough to get past the 36,000 miles for the prorated engine warranty. I can't see how a valve cover gasket could possibly cause the pcv to blow oil, the pcv is supposed to stop the oil but still allow the gases through. Unless the valve cover has a new piece to shield oil from spraying directly into the pcv valve.

In the end, I bet I get the same run around on my car.

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I sure am glad i'll have my 72 620 going this weekend. If my motor shows any signs of wear besides what I think is computer farting every now and then I'll just go full time cap and rotor.

1779106_10203477363315162_1370208186_n.j

And FYI That's a 72 3 Speed AUTO with the 1 ton springs! Very Rare!...not worth a whole bunch but Rare!...and runs and drives

Bet my life there are less then 10 with stock motor and auto tranny still on the road in the USA

Edited by Smikster

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Called GM to make a case today and remaining positive that we can come to an agreeable solution to this issue.

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This makes want to put a catch can of wifeys car soon.

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This makes want to put a catch can of wifeys car soon.

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I was thinking about a catch can too, mostly so I could monitor the volume coming out.

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I was thinking about a catch can too, mostly so I could monitor the volume coming out.

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Fredrickspark, any updates.?? Did you get to look at the old parts?

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I just took moms 2013 in with the P0303 flashing CEL on track control.

This car has had no start condition multiple times, fuel sending unit fails 2 times the ignition will bring up all the power but won't turn the engine over at least 40 times and sometimes it will go into limp mode 2nd gear for no reason.

I am a Sr. Process-Product Quality Engineer I have worked in the automotive industry for 25 years with GM, Ford, Chrysler Toyota at the OEM as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2. Currently I work as a technical engineer writing the Service Manuals, Troubleshooting Manuals, Operators Manuals and Service bulletins for a large automotive company so I KNOW what is going on.

This is a HUGE issue and GM is NOT dealing with it, the engines are having issues with Valves, Head cracks, Head Gaskets and Oil blow into the engines just another one of the sweep it under the table.

Got ignition troubles?

Come on GM Official member go and push for us!!!! We want official acknowledgment and resolution.

Ian and Gail

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Contacted GM have a claim number engine is the only option.....

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My dealer told me there is a flash reprogram for rough running when I went in for my freebe oil change...

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I have a 2013 Chevy Spark automatic with a lot of the same issues mentioned. This car is a piece of crap. You would think when you buy a car brand new it would run well for at least five years. This car did not. It ran like shit, and still does. I took it to two different dealerships and all they did was keep doing band-aid repairs until the warranty expired. I will never buy another Chevy again. It misfires, sticks in a low gear and won't shift and the radio is in a permanent blank screen.

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