5.3 oil usage

Booner

Original poster
Member
Oct 6, 2012
9
I know I have read about this before, but I cant find the thread now. 2006 GMC Envoy Denali, 5.3. The gf said a couple days ago it was ticking. Had her check the oil, bingo. None on the dipstick. I know 5.3s have a history of using oil, and something about the valve covers, but like I say, cant find it again. Can anyone help me out with this, maybe point me in the right TSB direction? Thanks
 

BRomanJr

Member
Dec 9, 2011
371
Booner said:
I know I have read about this before, but I cant find the thread now. 2006 GMC Envoy Denali, 5.3. The gf said a couple days ago it was ticking. Had her check the oil, bingo. None on the dipstick. I know 5.3s have a history of using oil, and something about the valve covers, but like I say, cant find it again. Can anyone help me out with this, maybe point me in the right TSB direction? Thanks

It's best to Google for that TSB, I had this problem with my 2004 Envoy 5.3, my fix was replace the driver side valve cover with new GM part and occasional spirited driving (to clean up the rings).

IMHO using Midgrade or Premium fuel where not required allows the rings to get sticky easier.

You also have AFM (originally called DOD, which I don't have) and that is the focus of one of the TSBs for oil usage problems.
 

Envoydenali

Member
Nov 12, 2013
1
BRomanJr said:
It's best to Google for that TSB, I had this problem with my 2004 Envoy 5.3, my fix was replace the driver side valve cover with new GM part and occasional spirited driving (to clean up the rings).

IMHO using Midgrade or Premium fuel where not required allows the rings to get sticky easier.

You also have AFM (originally called DOD, which I don't have) and that is the focus of one of the TSBs for oil usage problems.

I own a 07 Envoy Denali with the 5.3L and it uses a lot of fricken oil, my wife and do have a heavy foot but holy crap this is a bullshit problem and I just paid 300$ to replace the valve cover and it still eats oil like crazy. I feel like I have been taken by the mechanic who told me about the valve cover issue! He said it was due to the (PCV VALVE) that GM conveniently molded into the valve cover instead of how they used to be separate and at a cost of only 7$ in years past. So broman says we need to drive it to clean the rings ?? So far we put maybe 500 miles and it has consumed another quart! This really sucks I have always been a GM fan but wow! did they shit the bed on this problem. My 99 silverado with the first year of the 5.3L was bulletproof and did not use a DROP of oil!! And I drove that sob like I stole it... So it makes sense that whatever this (Active Fuel Managment) is causing the oil consumption. I might be ok with the trade off if it got better than 15.5 MpG!!
 

jimmyjam

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,634
I'd be pretty pissed if I spent $300 to replace a valve cover, the part is around $100 and the labor can't be more than .5 hr
 

Instrumental

Member
Jan 29, 2012
268
I had the same problem, the valve cover helped but did not eliminate the issue. The Active Fuel Management is the culprit, I take extra care to check the oil when driving highway miles. Towing and highway is ridiculous. The problem has something to do with the cylinders not firing but still using oil, I guess there's a new style wiper or something, but that involves digging pretty deep into the engine, I just keep an extra quart in the back and check it when I need to.
 

strat81

Member
Dec 29, 2011
399
Envoydenali said:
I own a 07 Envoy Denali with the 5.3L and it uses a lot of fricken oil, my wife and do have a heavy foot but holy crap this is a bullshit problem and I just paid 300$ to replace the valve cover and it still eats oil like crazy. I feel like I have been taken by the mechanic who told me about the valve cover issue! He said it was due to the (PCV VALVE) that GM conveniently molded into the valve cover instead of how they used to be separate and at a cost of only 7$ in years past. So broman says we need to drive it to clean the rings ?? So far we put maybe 500 miles and it has consumed another quart! This really sucks I have always been a GM fan but wow! did they shit the bed on this problem. My 99 silverado with the first year of the 5.3L was bulletproof and did not use a DROP of oil!! And I drove that sob like I stole it... So it makes sense that whatever this (Active Fuel Managment) is causing the oil consumption. I might be ok with the trade off if it got better than 15.5 MpG!!

$300 buys a whole lot of oil. My 5.3L consumes some oil, but it's cheaper for me to check it from time to time than to pay someone $300.

At my last oil change, I switched to Mobil 1 0W-40 from Valvoline Maxlife 5W-30 to see if the heavier oil makes a difference with consumption. It's certainly quieted down the noisy lifter and piston slap.

Once the vehicle is warmed up, give it a few runs at WOT up to redline to help free the rings. That may help, especially if your normal driving habits just have you puttering around town at low RPM.
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I have used 2 qts in mine since the last oil change. I am at about 32% on the OLM. I check it about once a month, more often when I do a highway trip. Not sure how normal I am for usage, but that 2 qts is in about 5K miles.
 

strat81

Member
Dec 29, 2011
399
C-ya said:
I have used 2 qts in mine since the last oil change. I am at about 32% on the OLM. I check it about once a month, more often when I do a highway trip. Not sure how normal I am for usage, but that 2 qts is in about 5K miles.

That's close to what mine consumes.
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
Oil usage :crazy: , my original motor, with the new valve cover tsb done sure used a lot of oil after the last oil change it ever had (which was at the dealership). I change every 5000 km (3100 miles) and when the motor let go it only had about a liter left in it, and it wasn't due for another oil change yet either. My replacement motor which was a new crate motor also uses oil, about 3/4 liter every oil change. Since January it's been leaking oil and been nothing but a PITA. Still under warranty they changed the rear main seal first, then the rear engine cover due to porosity and then it even went back again for a new oil pan gasket. I also noticed all the DOD noise I started getting, rattling sound when slowing down. Someone here mentioned that if selector is in 3 then DOD is turned off. So I now drive in 3 all the time except when on the hi-way. Both motors would puff blue smoke occasionally when I would get on it hard from a stop or moving at a slow speed. Since driving it in 3 I have never noticed a puff of blue smoke. I have yet to determine if driving in 3rd reduces oil usage. Due to all the leaks and GM changing the oil when they do the service I haven't been able to monitor properly. It's been about 3 weeks now since oil pan gasket/oil change with no leaks so I'll see how much oil it uses driving in 3rd at the next oil change. I don't mind driving in 3 either because the truck seems to accelerate much better, has no blue smoke and no DOD noise. I know it cost more for fuel driving without DOD and being in 3 but I like my truck a lot more now...

When I do drive on the hi-way using DOD the MPG aren't that bad
 

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C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I'm going to try the 3rd gear thing. A co-worker was driving behind me at lunch one day and said the engine let out a huge blue smoke cloud when leaving from a stop. I do think I hear the DOD rattle a little bit when coasting. Seems to stop when I get under 10 (15?) mph. I never hear it while idling...

I may also try a different weight oil.
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
C-ya said:
I'm going to try the 3rd gear thing. A co-worker was driving behind me at lunch one day and said the engine let out a huge blue smoke cloud when leaving from a stop. I do think I hear the DOD rattle a little bit when coasting. Seems to stop when I get under 10 (15?) mph. I never hear it while idling...

I may also try a different weight oil.

I have an 07 suburban with the 5.3 and AFM.
I bought it in January.
It used about 3 quarts before the first oil change.
When changing the oil I noticed there was some oil on the filter like it was leaking.
I replaced with synthetic but it is still using oil.
No noticeable leaks, no smoke. It has a little "stumble" at idle.
From my research the stumble at idle and oil consumption are both issues that affect a lot of the motors that there doesn't seem to be a solution for. They also still seem to last a really long time.

I've also noticed that with the AFM, running without the air on really seems to help the gas mileage as well.
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
Yeah, I get that little stumble when idling sometimes. It seems to rear it's head when I first put it into gear and start moving. Almost like not enough power - maybe the DOD isn't turning off fast enough or something.
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
As fellow 5.3 owner who has not experienced any of this stuff.....you guys are making me fricken nervous :eek::eek::eek:
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
Knowledge is power, brother. Don't mean to scare you, just make you aware of what could happen.
 

strat81

Member
Dec 29, 2011
399
northcreek said:
As fellow 5.3 owner who has not experienced any of this stuff.....you guys are making me fricken nervous :eek::eek::eek:

Of all the problems I've had, have, and expect to have with my GMT360, oil consumption is pretty minor. I check it and add some more if I need to. I don't have to get dirty, I don't have to spend much time to do it, I don't have to lay on a cold concrete floor to check it, etc. Takes all of about 60 seconds to do before I drive off. I just keep an eye on it so I'm not down 3 quarts over the course of an oil change interval.

You should be more nervous about your water pump, fuel pump, power steering pump, ignition switch, HVAC actuators, etc. :lipsrsealed:
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
strat81 said:
You should be more nervous about your water pump, fuel pump, power steering pump, ignition switch, HVAC actuators, etc. :lipsrsealed:

:no: I know that I can fix those things but, this 5.3 oil consumption thing seems to be shrouded in mystery.:confused:
 

strat81

Member
Dec 29, 2011
399
northcreek said:
:no: I know that I can fix those things but, this 5.3 oil consumption thing seems to be shrouded in mystery.:confused:

It is, but I'll take checking a dipstick once a week or every other week over dropping a fuel tank any day of the week.

Not a fix, but a simple, inexpensive band-aid that works.
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
Denali n DOO said:
Oil usage :crazy: , my original motor, with the new valve cover tsb done sure used a lot of oil after the last oil change it ever had (which was at the dealership). I change every 5000 km (3100 miles) and when the motor let go it only had about a liter left in it, and it wasn't due for another oil change yet either. My replacement motor which was a new crate motor also uses oil, about 3/4 liter every oil change. Since January it's been leaking oil and been nothing but a PITA. Still under warranty they changed the rear main seal first, then the rear engine cover due to porosity and then it even went back again for a new oil pan gasket. I also noticed all the DOD noise I started getting, rattling sound when slowing down. Someone here mentioned that if selector is in 3 then DOD is turned off. So I now drive in 3 all the time except when on the hi-way. Both motors would puff blue smoke occasionally when I would get on it hard from a stop or moving at a slow speed. Since driving it in 3 I have never noticed a puff of blue smoke. I have yet to determine if driving in 3rd reduces oil usage. Due to all the leaks and GM changing the oil when they do the service I haven't been able to monitor properly. It's been about 3 weeks now since oil pan gasket/oil change with no leaks so I'll see how much oil it uses driving in 3rd at the next oil change. I don't mind driving in 3 either because the truck seems to accelerate much better, has no blue smoke and no DOD noise. I know it cost more for fuel driving without DOD and being in 3 but I like my truck a lot more now...

When I do drive on the hi-way using DOD the MPG aren't that bad

Saw this , don't know if it's legit or snake oil :undecided: v8 – Range Technology | AFM Solutions for GM Cars, Trucks & SUVs
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
northcreek said:

That looks pretty cool, plug it in when you want DOD disabled and unplug it to use DOD again, too bad it's so pricey. Eventually I want a PCM4Less tune and will turn DOD off with that.

Oh and I guess I jinxed myself talking in post above telling about no oil leaks in about 3 weeks, well today I came home to see a 12" stain on the driveway :hissyfit:, thinking my warranty days aren't finished yet if this does turn out to be oil, GM has been fixing oil leaks since January of this year, 175257 kms and still having issues!
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
Denali n DOO said:
That looks pretty cool, plug it in when you want DOD disabled and unplug it to use DOD again, too bad it's so pricey. Eventually I want a PCM4Less tune and will turn DOD off with that.

Oh and I guess I jinxed myself talking in post above telling about no oil leaks in about 3 weeks, well today I came home to see a 12" stain on the driveway :hissyfit:, thinking my warranty days aren't finished yet if this does turn out to be oil, GM has been fixing oil leaks since January of this year, 175257 kms and still having issues!

I saw a Chevy pu truck the other day with a personal plate that said "LAST GM" ....wished I could have talked to the guy to get his story, Mike.
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
northcreek said:
I saw a Chevy pu truck the other day with a personal plate that said "LAST GM" ....wished I could have talked to the guy to get his story, Mike.

Ha, "LAST GM" that's what I was thinking when I was looking for a car earlier this year. All the problems I had with the Envoy made me look elsewhere for a car. I bought a 2010 Maxima and love it. However after signing up on a forum, which I will say is nothing like this site, I did do some reading and I found this thread that makes me very unhappy Buyer Beware, 2009 - 2013 Factory Bearing Problems - Maxima Forums

possibly another nightmare, I just can't win with vehicles...
 

Playsinsnow

Member
Nov 17, 2012
9,727
Knock on wood the tables turned. I've had a fraction of the problems others have, on every vehicle. I don't think Nissan has produced a v6 that hasn't had some sort of issue with the motor, especially if you go flying around all the time in it.
 

strat81

Member
Dec 29, 2011
399
northcreek said:
I saw a Chevy pu truck the other day with a personal plate that said "LAST GM" ....wished I could have talked to the guy to get his story, Mike.

You've gotta really hate a company to spend money on vanity plates lambasting them.

If my Buick was wrecked today, I'd buy a Toyota Highlander tomorrow to replace it. If gas was cheaper, I'd get a Sequoia.

Apparently GM took a page from Honda's V6 playbook when building the Traverse/Acadia/Enclave and decided to put disposable transmissions in them.
 

Jtyler77

Member
Aug 10, 2013
44
Playsinsnow said:
Knock on wood the tables turned. I've had a fraction of the problems others have, on every vehicle. I don't think Nissan has produced a v6 that hasn't had some sort of issue with the motor, especially if you go flying around all the time in it.

I just sold a 2010 frontier 4x4 crew cab with 20k on it. Gorgeous vehicle but everytime it started it had timing chain noise and it knocked for the first 10 minutes of driving. No matter what oil I used it just did it. The trans was extremely sloppy too. Took it to 2 dealers and both said it was normal. I was pissed, that truck wasnt cheap. But I sold it and that will be the first an last nissan.
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
Denali n DOO said:
Ha, "LAST GM" that's what I was thinking when I was looking for a car earlier this year. All the problems I had with the Envoy made me look elsewhere for a car. I bought a 2010 Maxima and love it. However after signing up on a forum, which I will say is nothing like this site, I did do some reading and I found this thread that makes me very unhappy Buyer Beware, 2009 - 2013 Factory Bearing Problems - Maxima Forums

possibly another nightmare, I just can't win with vehicles...

Doo...We previously owned three Maximas, first a 5 speed(trans failure) next an automatic(trans failure) last one was an automatic too(no trans failure) but, the engine had all kinds of drivability issues, traded it in on a 08 Malibu(new generation) and it has been my best car ever....Mike
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
Jtyler77 said:
I just sold a 2010 frontier 4x4 crew cab with 20k on it. Gorgeous vehicle but everytime it started it had timing chain noise and it knocked for the first 10 minutes of driving. No matter what oil I used it just did it. The trans was extremely sloppy too. Took it to 2 dealers and both said it was normal. I was pissed, that truck wasnt cheap. But I sold it and that will be the first an last nissan.

I hear ya...the worst part for me was dealing with the Nissan service people, who all seemed to be factory trained in being dicks. :redface:
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
This has probably been posted before but, I found it interesting..



#PIP4574M: Excessive Oil Consumption And/Or Blue Exhaust Smoke - Investigation Update

Subject: Excessive Oil Consumption And/Or Blue Exhaust Smoke - Investigation Update

Models: 2007 Buick Rainier

2007-2008 Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Trail Blazer
2007-2008 GMC Envoy, Sierra, Yukon
2008 Pontiac G8
2007-2008 Saab 97x
with a 5.3L or 6.0L Aluminum Block V8 Engine
and AFM (Active Fuel Management)
RPOs LC9, LH6, L76, or LFA


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This PI was superseded to include revise the affected RPO codes, specify that this is for Aluminum Block Engines only, update models and provide a general update on the status of this investigation in step 5. Please discard PIP4574M.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.

Condition/Concern:
Some customers may complain that their vehicle has been using approximately 1 quart of oil every 500-1,000 miles. In most cases, the customer will advise that this did not start until the engine accumulated approximately 30,000 miles or more. In some cases, the customer may note that this is more apparent when driving at highway speed. In rare instances, a SES light and engine misfire may be encountered with a P0300 DTC.

Upon inspection, an oil fouled spark plug(s) may be noted. In most cases, static compression and cylinder leakage testing will appear normal. Excessive oil may or may not be found in the intake manifold.

In most cases, this is the result of stuck oil control rings. Generally, the stuck oil control rings are the result of excessive oil on the cylinder walls. The excessive oil can come from the PCV system and/or the AFM pressure relief valve in the oil pan.

Recommendation/Instructions:
If this concern is encountered, follow the steps below:

Visually inspect the entire engine and the underside of the vehicle for any evidence of oil leaks and repair them as necessary.
Inspect the fresh air hose/pipe that is attached to the RF (passenger side) valve cover and all related connections for restrictions, such as plastic casting flash or a pinched hose, and repair as necessary. A restriction in this area may cause excessive crankcase vacuum and oil consumption through the PCV vacuum tube.
If the truck has an engine misfire and a spark plug that is obviously oil fouled, skip to step 4 since this proves that it has an obvious oil consumption concern. If not, perform an oil consumption test as outlined in the latest version of oil consumption of 01-06-01-011 to verify the concern before proceeding to step 4. Allow the vehicle to sit on a level surface with the engine off for at least 10 minutes to allow the entire engine to drain back to the oil pan before checking the engine oil level and adding oil. Compare the oil consumption test results to one of the scenarios below to determine further direction:
• If oil consumption is Less than 1 quart of oil every 2,000 miles and no low oil light has been experienced, no repairs should be performed as this should be considered acceptable oil consumption as outlined in the latest version of 01-06-01-011.

• If oil consumption is Less than 1 quart of oil every 2,000 miles but the customer has experienced a low oil light, refer to the latest version of PIP3959 for a potential low oil light sensor concern.

• If the dealership verifies that oil consumption is More than 1 quart every 2,000 miles, perform the steps below as necessary:

Determine if the engine has been ingesting oil through the PCV system by removing the intake manifold and measuring how much oil can be poured out of the throttle body opening with the throttle body removed. It is normal to get a couple of teaspoons of oil out of the intake. If the engine has been ingesting oil through the PCV system, several ounces of oil will be measured, many times as much as a 1/4-1/2 quart.
• If the engine HAS NOT been ingesting oil through the PCV system, go to step 5.

• If the engine HAS been ingesting oil through the PCV system, inspect the PCV baffle as outlined in the rest of Step 4 below:

4a. Remove the LH (driver's side) valve cover and inspect the PCV baffle drain holes shown below to see if they are plugged with hardened oil deposits. If they are plugged, replace the valve cover, ensure that the customer is changing their oil according to the maintenance schedule in their owner's manual, and re-evaluate the concern. Generally, this would not be a concern until several thousand miles have accumulated.

4b. With the LH (driver's side) valve cover removed, inspect the PCV baffle to ensure that it is properly sealed to the valve cover by flipping it over and adding a little oil to the corner of the valve cover as shown below. The oil should stay in place as shown on the 2 outer valve covers below. If the oil drains into the PCV baffle as pointed out on the middle valve cover below, replace the valve cover. Generally, if this is the cause of the concern, it would have been present early in the life of the vehicle or shortly after valve cover replacement.


Important: If Step 4a or 4b led to valve cover replacement, perform Step 4b again on the replacement valve cover before installing it.


• 4c. If the engine HAS been ingesting oil through the PCV system but the valve cover passed the tests outlined above, the engine may have an over-aggressive lifter that is causing the oil ingestion through the PCV system. Sometimes the lifter may be doing this intermittently so it is not always possible to isolate one by inspecting the lifter flow with the driver's valve cover removed. As a result, it is suggested to replace all 8 of the left/driver bank lifters due to the oil in the intake and re-evaluate the oil consumption concern. The right/passenger side lifters should not cause oil in the intake so there is no need to replace them. If the vehicle returns with excessive oil consumption but is no longer ingesting oil through the PCV system, it most likely has stuck oil control rings as outlined in Step 5.

If the engine HAS NOT been ingesting oil through the PCV system and there are no obvious valve seal concerns, this is most likely the result of the AFM pressure relief valve in the oil pan spraying oil on the bottom of the cylinders when active fuel management is on. This may eventually cause the oil control rings to stick and increase the rate of oil consumption. As outlined in the July 2010 GM STC Service Know-How Emerging Issues Seminar (10210.07D), a related bulletin is going to be released to repair this by cleaning the oil control rings and installing a shield over the AFM pressure relief valve. This bulletin was scheduled for a July 2010 release but the bulletin is still going through the final stages of the release process. At this time, it is on track for a mid-August release date. Once released, you will be able to find the new bulletin in the New Bulletins Section of Service Information and this PI will be updated to include the bulletin number as well.
If you would like to view the July 2010 GM STC Service Know-How Emerging Issues Seminar (10210.07D) mentioned above, you can find it by following this path:

• Go to the GM Training Website. (If necessary, there is a link to this website at GM Global Connect "Dealerworld")

• Enter your Training Person ID and Password.

• Click the "Service Know-How/TECHAssist" Link

• Click the "Emerging Issues" Link

• Click the "Searchable Streaming Video" Link

• Click the "10210.07D - July 2010 Emerging Issues" Link

• Click the 9th Link down for High Oil Consumption

Notice: Piston and Ring sets should no longer be replaced for this concern unless it is absolutely necessary. If stuck oil control rings are found and you decide to replace all 8 pistons and all 8 piston ring sets, we DO NOT recommend honing or deglazing the cylinder walls due to the great variation between equipment, machine shops, and technicians performing these repairs. This is because it is generally unnecessary and can induce unnecessary cylinder wall and/or piston ring damage if it is done incorrectly or not cleaned thoroughly. The cylinder walls just need to be cleaned thoroughly with brake cleaner before the new piston and ring sets are installed. At this time, you may also experience a back order situation if you order new pistons and rings.
 

strat81

Member
Dec 29, 2011
399
I wonder how well a high-detergent heavy duty engine oil (i.e., "diesel" oil) would work to clean out some of the buildup that allegedly causes the oil consumption.

Rotella T6, Delvac 1, or Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck would all be viable candidates. All carry API gasoline ratings. Even dino sauce HDEO should work, such as plain Rotella.

I actually have some M1 TDT on the shelf that I use in my generator, maybe I'll try that at my next oil change (which won't be until late spring or summer of 2014).
 

northcreek

Member
Jan 15, 2012
3,319
WNY
strat81 said:
I wonder how well a high-detergent heavy duty engine oil (i.e., "diesel" oil) would work to clean out some of the buildup that allegedly causes the oil consumption.

Rotella T6, Delvac 1, or Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck would all be viable candidates. All carry API gasoline ratings. Even dino sauce HDEO should work, such as plain Rotella.

I actually have some M1 TDT on the shelf that I use in my generator, maybe I'll try that at my next oil change (which won't be until late spring or summer of 2014).

Might work..... doesn't it suck that in 2013 we have to worry about oil rings gumming up, I thought that went out with non-detergent oil. The 5.3 has gone from piston slap issues to this and GM has pussy footed around both issues. They better get on the ball or they will be giving the truck market to the Japs too. :mad:
 

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