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  1. #196
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    Default V-8 in ATS - V

    Quote Originally Posted by Hib Halverson View Post
    Welcome to the V-Net, Rob. I'm a former member (1971-1990) of Corvette Limited of Los Angeles. In fact, I belonged to Limited when you joined CL.

    I love the ATS-Vs but hate the way GM does warranty administration and how it ties the hands of dealers who are busting ass to please Cadillac customers.

    SLO Vettes is a great club. I'm in Corvette Club Santa Barbara and we've done some events with those guys.
    I am familiar with you being a member of CL. I also remember you helping me with my 69 427 435 hp. Had problems with exhaust valves wearing. Ended up selling that car but still have the 64. 327 with 4 speed is so sweet and reminds me of my youth.

    Keep up the good work with your writing. Perhaps a caddy is in my future. Read an article recently about why they just did not put the 6.2l V-8 in it That author guessed that that would just make the caddy a 'caddy camaro'. Who would think.
    The "LS Swap" Shouldn't Be Limited to the Aftermarket

  2. #197
    Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unclevito View Post
    Hib: Glad you enjoy your cars so much. Nice to find something you enjoy and exploit it to the max. I am kind of amazed that you bought another ATS-V when you had trouble with the first one and that vibration at 80. I guess that would not have precluded you from buying the blue one since you could have tested it out before purchase.

    Buying any car new is just a path to the poor house. Depreciation is a bitch and with a total of $140k of Cadilliacs with mediocre, at best, resale value, you are spending a lot for your fun.

    I gave up my desire for street racing back when I was 35. Big deal if you humble an M3 driver. There will always be someone faster than you but hopefully with better judgement.

    Robert Price / Vito
    Great questions, Rob!

    In April of last year, when I ordered the second ATS-V, the 2-door we call the "Blue BMW Buster", we were unaware the first one had the oil burn-at-cold-start problem and, at the time, we were working through the 80-mph vibration–which was far less a problem than was the vibration on the 2-door "Triple B". Back then, the real unpleasent part of the process of obtaining warranty coverage from GM was yet-to-come.

    I agree that first year depreciation on virtually all new cars is a bitch, but then, I really didn't consider that issue in an ATS-V purchase. If first-year depreciation was of significant concern, I'd have likely bought a used car. On the other hand, I am at a point in my life where I can afford a few frivilous purchases...such as new cars which depreciate 30% just as you drive out of the dealer's lot. Also, we tend to keep daily drivers a long time so the first year depreciation is less of a hit. My last three daily drivers were in service for at least a dozen years. My Wife's last DD was in service for nine years. I'll probably be driving the Blue BMW Buster when I'm freakin' 80, dude.

    As for the poor judgement which results in street racing...I'm guilty as charged. If I'm 80 and still driving my ATS-V, hopefully I will have grown up by then.

    Your comment about the article which advocating the Gen 5 V8 in the ATS-V is spot on. The reasons the V6tt won out over the V8 were mostly marketing.
    Hib Halverson
    I'net Tech Writer
    2Vs+3Zs

  3. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hib Halverson View Post
    Great questions, Rob!

    In April of last year, when I ordered the second ATS-V, the 2-door we call the "Blue BMW Buster", we were unaware the first one had the oil burn-at-cold-start problem and, at the time, we were working through the 80-mph vibration–which was far less a problem than was the vibration on the 2-door "Triple B". Back then, the real unpleasent part of the process of obtaining warranty coverage from GM was yet-to-come.

    I agree that first year depreciation on virtually all new cars is a bitch, but then, I really didn't consider that issue in an ATS-V purchase. If first-year depreciation was of significant concern, I'd have likely bought a used car. On the other hand, I am at a point in my life where I can afford a few frivilous purchases...such as new cars which depreciate 30% just as you drive out of the dealer's lot. Also, we tend to keep daily drivers a long time so the first year depreciation is less of a hit. My last three daily drivers were in service for at least a dozen years. My Wife's last DD was in service for nine years. I'll probably be driving the Blue BMW Buster when I'm freakin' 80, dude.

    As for the poor judgement which results in street racing...I'm guilty as charged. If I'm 80 and still driving my ATS-V, hopefully I will have grown up by then.

    Your comment about the article which advocating the Gen 5 V8 in the ATS-V is spot on. The reasons the V6tt won out over the V8 were mostly marketing.
    Thanks for your reply. I half way expected to be flamed for my comments. You have mellowed a bit in the last 22 years. Likely being married!

  4. #199
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unclevito View Post
    Thanks for your reply. I half way expected to be flamed for my comments. You have mellowed a bit in the last 22 years. Likely being married!
    Flames?
    Mellow?

    Who...me?
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 03-30-2017 at 08:02 PM.
    Hib Halverson
    I'net Tech Writer
    2Vs+3Zs

  5. #200
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    The Secretive Solution
    (Script for a new action thriller)

    Location: Santa Barbara, California
    Time: zero-dark-thirty.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-58-jpg

    It was cold, windy and pouring rain. A black helicopter dropped out of the low overcast and landed in a field next to the Cadillac dealer. While the pilot readied for immediate departure, the co-pilot, pushed up his night vision goggles, looked back at his passenger and said into his mic, "Get moving! We lifting off, now!"

    The black helo was only on the ground long enough for the secret engineer to throw off his headset, jump out into the rain and drag $250,000 worth of secret equipment out of the chopper. Seconds later, a max effort takeoff and the helo disappeared into the night.

    The secret engineer pounded on the door. It opened and a sleepy security guard asked, "Can I help you?"

    "I'm on a secret mission from GM. Marry Barra sent me. It's strictly need-to-know and you are not cleared for it. Forget you saw me." With that, the engineer pulled out a silver pen, held it in front of the guard's face. There was a bright flash, then the guard turned and walked away. The secret engineer found the blue car listed in his mission orders and began installing his secret equipment.

    When finished, the engineer pulled a sat phone out of his bag, dialed a secret number known only to a few people at General Motors and said, "I'm at the location. Equipment installed. Ready to commence operation "Vibes Termination".

    Ok–I have a vivid imagination. On to the serious stuff…

    Finally, No More Vibes
    Eight months after the V-Net's 2016 ATS-V Coupe. known as the "Blue BMW Buster" was delivered, General Motors finally solved the car's maddening vibration problem. We don't know all the specifics of how GM did it because the diagnosis and repair was done in secrecy, but we're glad the car is fixed.

    My dealer, Bunnin Cadillac in Santa Barbara CA, called in early February and said to bring the car in on the 14th. They told me a General Motors development engineer, later described by Cadillac V-Series Chief Engineer, Tony Roma, as "...the best driveline guy in all of General Motors." was flying in from Detroit–on an airliner not a black helicopter–to instrument the car, assess the problem, supervise repairs then validate the fix.

    This was yet another strange twist in the quest to correct the "3B's" inexplicable vibration. I detected the problem back in mid-July 2016, a day after taking delivery of the car. Since then, the minions at GM's Technical Assistance and Customer Engagement Centers tasked with communicating with dealers and customers about requests for warranty service had gone from: "That vibration is normal", to: "It's the driveshaft" then finally to "It's not the driveshaft and we're not sure what's wrong."

    Sending a development engineer into the field to evaluate a owner's vehicle is an rare and unusual step. In fact, the Fixed Operations Manager at Bunnin Cadillac told me that never, in all his years working on the service side of the car business had he seen GM send an engineer from Detroit to supervise repair of a customer car.

    My thoughts were: thankfully, this customer satisfaction nightmare was finally turned over to folks who seemingly have the will and ability to solve tough problems: the vehicle development organization. Their solution? Send in the "calvary" from the Milford Proving Ground. This "visiting engineer" was going to solve the problem once-and-for-all. That night, I went out for some beers with my Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, to our favorite area microbrewery, "M Special." We toasted
    the true believers on the engineering side at General Motors.

    Mixed Emotion
    When I arrived at Bunnin Cadillac on the 14th, they told me that orders came from, "...the highest levels of GM…" that I could not be present while the the work was being done. I wasn't even allowed to observe from a distance while the work was underway. Because it made my job as a reporter more difficult, I was pretty unhappy about my car getting repaired in secret. Wow, I thought, it's Valentine's Day and I get no love from GM. Nothing new, there.

    Several days later, the news blackout lifted a bit when I received an email from Cadillac's ATS-V media spokesperson, Steve Martin. He said, "Good news: there isn’t a design defect as you posted in an earlier post. Your car is an outlier. Engineers love outliers, and (the engineer) is being very thorough in his analysis. Once he’s able to make a full report to Tony, he and I can jump on the phone with you and share more details. It could be as early as next week sometime."

    After reading Martin's email, my feelings were conflicted. On one hand, I was doing a happy dance because GM was finally fixing the car. On the other hand, I was irked with Cadillac Communications for suggesting I had inaccurately reported a design defect.

    The Cadillac V-Net's position has always been that the vibration problems with our ATS-Vs stem from supplier or assembly plant quality snags and not defective designs. Further, we based that position on a belief that the ATS-V development team would have never released a car to production with such noise-and-vibes problems. We stated that in this Blog not once, but four times, in posts 172, 178, 179 and 181. We encourage Steve Martin and other interested parties to read those blog posts.

    What is an "Outlier"?
    Indeed, car company development engineers, especially those working in noise-and-vibration, enjoy fixing "outliers". The Oxford English Dictionary generally defines an "outlier" as, "...a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system." Once the visiting engineer tested the car, he decided it had a level of vibration far outside what was considered "normal', i.e., it was an "outlier".

    A week went by. The development engineer, assisted by Bunnin's top service technician, Tony Espinoza, were still working on the car. Early in the second week, I developed a little more intel. The Engagement Center told me that the car's dual-mass flywheel, clutch, transmission and propeller shaft were all being replaced.

    On Thursday evening of the second week, Bunnin Cadillac called to say the work was finished. I was there the next morning. I was given a copy of the repair order and, sure enough, it said that the engineer had ordered replacement of the DM flywheel, clutch, trans and prop shaft. When I asked for more information about how it was determined that those parts were faulty, the Bunnin folks said that GM told them to not dispense any information about the engineer's work.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-61-jpg
    New clutch and trans.
    Image Author

    I was told the car had been road tested in the speed range where the vibration problem had been the worst and was, now, operating normally. As soon as I left the dealership, I ran the car over the same stretch of highway I had used for the PicoScope diagnostic work discussed in posts 178, 183 and 186. I thought: 80-mph? Heck it better be vibration-free faster than that. As I drove out of the suburbs onto ranch land, I ran the car up to 130-mph and heard no abnormal noise and felt no abnormal vibration. That, fair reader, is how driving a Cadillac ATS-V should be!

    The next day, I validated my subjective test by reinstalling my PicoScope equipment and road testing the car the way I had done before over the same stretch of road I used previously. The fifth-gear, 45-Hz vibration, which, at one time, could be heard–even with the windows down and the radio on–and felt, was reduced to the point that it could only be sensed by PicoScope. I could neither hear nor feel it. That engineer, whoever he is, diagnosed the problem spot-on and ordered exactly the right repairs. It just a crying shame GM couldn't have done that sooner with with a lot less customer dissatisfaction.

    The Tony Roma Interview 2.0
    Regular Little V-Blog readers know that, last November, while writing post 178, I was fortunate to get an interview with V-Series Chief, Tony Roma.

    About a week after work on the Triple-B was complete, Cadillac's Steve Martin was kind enough to set up another conference call between Roma, he and I. The conversation centered around the 80-mph, fifth-gear vibration and how it was caused by an peculiar problem inside the car's TREMEC T6060, six-speed manual transmission. The vibration data the engineer recorded was not disclosed. The equipment he used to measure the vibration was not specified other than Roma saying that it was "...more sophisticated…" than what is used at the field service level.

    "The fifth gear vibration is weird one. We've seen it on a few Camaros, but haven't had many complaints with ATS-Vs," Tony told the Little V-Blog. "It's (caused by) an out-of-round (fifth counter gear). It's not very far out-of-round, but it's just far enough out that you get this 0.69-order vibration because of the way it's transmitting torque back to the (rear drive unit) and its mount.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-60-jpg
    The TREMEC T6060 six-speed manual
    used in the ATS-V and the CTS-V.
    Image: GM Global Propulsion Systems

    Drilling deeper into the specifics, we need to explain that this vibration does not stem from the spinning, out-of-round gear causing an imbalance. Indeed, it's dynamically out-of-balance, but the amount of imbalance is insignificant. The vibration is caused by a fluctuation of the friction in the fifth gear system. Due to the center of the counter gear not being concentric with the center of the countershaft, clearance (or lack there of) between the drive and counter gears changes as they rotate. When the drive gear is meshed with the "high side" of the counter-gear, there is little or no clearance and parasitic torque loss in the transmission is high. When the drive gear meshes with the "low side" of the counter-gear, there is greater clearance and parasitic loss is less. That constant and rapid change in clearance, sets up a transmission output torque fluctuation which, when applied to the rear drive unit, causes the RDU to vibrate axially in its rubber mounting. That vibration is transmitted to the car's structure which radiates noise into the interior.

    "It feels like the prop shaft is out of balance," Roma continued, "but it actually has to do with torque transmission (though the driveline). That's why you felt it during drive torque and overrun, but not in a neutral torque situation or with the clutch in.

    "We're going to go scrub though old TAC cases," Roma added. "We have seen, like–three or four other complaints of this fifth gear vibration, so we're going to chase those down and see of those customers' problems have the same cause."

    Tony, also, told us that the dual-mass flywheel was replaced because of a different vibration measured by his engineerone which we did not detect. Some DM flywheels used in 2016 vehicles may experience their springs binding during coast down from high-rpm. Say you accelerate in second gear to near the rev limit, then lift and coast. In that situation, the dual-mass springs can bind, holding the secondary mass in a position such that the flywheel is temporarily out-of-balance and that sets up a vibration. As soon as you accelerate again or push the clutch, the DM wheel unbinds. Upon discovery of this problem, GM specified a new spring lubrication procedure that LUK, the wheel's supplier, will use to prevent binding. On the basis of the visiting engineer's testing, Bunnin Cadillac's Tony Espinoza installed one of these revised, dual-mass flywheels.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-62-jpg
    The rubber prop shaft coupling, properly known
    as a "Giubo Joint", is common on many GM cars.
    Image: Author

    The propeller shaft was changed because, "...the data, (the visiting engineer) was able to acquire showed that there was a problem caused by the rear coupling, so we replaced it," Roma stated.

    Thanks to Cadillac's Steve Martin for facilitating this interview.

    At this point in time, the V-Net's Blue BMW Buster is performing as Tony Roma and all the ATS-V development team intended, but we have to say: getting to this point left us feeling "bittersweet".

    That it took so long to fix and the lengthy, unpleasant process through which we had to go to get GM to admit the car had a problem was the bitter part. The sweet–and I mean shaa-weeet–part is that maddening vibration is, finally, gone.

    The Little-V Blog appreciated the involvement of V-Series Chief Tony Roma, the testing done by the visiting GM engineer and, especially, the work done by Bunnin Cadillac Service Technician, Tony Espinoza.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 04-03-2017 at 06:50 AM.

  6. #201
    Senior Member Tuna's Avatar
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    '11 V Wagon, ( '13 427 Vette & '14 ATS)

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    Yea Ha!
    Tuna
    New avatar - my latest novel
    Antiques To Die For

  7. #202
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2014 ATS RWD 3.6 Premium Red Obsession/Platinum

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    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811_36-jpg


    Hey Hib, what happens to those press cars after they are done? I sure loved that V Sedan in the red and black color combo.
    Last edited by Pie R Squared; 04-13-2017 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Add Photo

  8. #203
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    No doubt, the red and black was killer, 'specially on a V. They couldn't have loaned me a better body color/wheel combination for a photo shoot.

    Most of the time, they go to auction or are purchased by dealers. Once in a while, they go back to GM in Michigan and are purchased by GM employees.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 10-29-2017 at 12:54 PM.

  9. #204
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

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    Still Lovin' the Look.

    To me, ATS-Vs are just so damn much eye candy. The car's exterior design is one reason I'm hooked on the littlest V.

    For the last couple of weeks, my Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, has been driving the Blue BMW Buster while our dealer has had "Pearl", her 8-speed Sedan, trying to figure out why its engine is a wanna-be diesel. More on that in next week's post to the Little-V Blog.
    The other day, her girlfriend went into the hospital for few days. We had to go retrieve the woman's car. On her way to work; the Wife dropped me at the hospital to drive her friend's car back to our place.

    She was driving the Triple-B, headed back to the freeway and I was about 50 yards behind her in the next lane over. That gave me one of my favorite views of an ATS-V: the "7/8ths" rear". I freakin' love the car from that angle. How the wheel wells are filled, the fat 275/35ZR18 Pilot Super Sports on the back, the car's rake, the carbon package's big deck spoiler and the big pipes out the back–all get my juices flowing. And then, there's visual impact of the Vector Blue Metallic paint. The car just looks completely bad-assed.

    Check it out…

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-63-jpg

    Let me know what you think.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 10-29-2017 at 12:54 PM.

  10. #205
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    2017 ATS-V Coupe

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    Ahh! The view Bimmer and Merc drivers see most often.

  11. #206
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    Last week and, again, this week, my Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, is driving my ATS-V Coupe because our other ATS-V, the four-door sedan with the "wanna-be diesel" engine, is back at the local dealer, Bunnin Cadillac, to have both turbos replaced. There's a story to tell about that, but before I write about that. I'll wait until GM can get the car to where it does not expel an oil smoke screen after every cold start.

    For another several days, I'm stuck driving my old hot rod Camaro–I hope you feel my pain going from my cushy Blue BMW Buster back to that 16-year old, retired magazine/Internet project car.

    My 2001 Camaro is a Sport Coupe with the base V6 and a five-speed manual transmission. It was ordered with only two major options, the Y99 "Performance Package" and the "Monsoon" sound system. Y99 added a Torsen limited slip to the rear axle, higher rate springs and stabilizers and dual exhaust. The Monsoon system? Well...if you like your music loud (which I do) the Monsoon stereo was a must-have in a 4th Gen Camaro.

    In 16 years of ownership and 135,000 miles, that Camaro has been a great car and a good platform for modification–oh...did I mention it was a hot rod? The engine began life as a 200-hp 3.8L pushrod V6. It's now a 300-hp 3.8. During that car's tenure as a magazine/Internet project vehicle, I often got the question: "Why a V6 project?" My answer? Anyone can build-up a Camaro with a V8 and lots of people have done it, but a hot rod V6? That's unique and was far more of a challenge, in part, because there is not near as much bolt-on performance parts for the 3.8 V6.

    I gained that 50% more horsepower with engine "top end" work. It has a Comp Cam, ported heads with bigger valves, Katech valve springs, higher ratio rocker arms, extrude-honed intake manifold and plenum, RC Engineering injectors, a low-restriction air filter assembly, tube headers, a high-flow catalytic converter, a Flowmaster exhaust system and my own custom tuning work. The engine makes 300-hp@5750-rpm.

    I also added a lot of aftermarket parts intended to improve the car's handling. To stiffen the car's structure, I had Global West Suspension install a set of subframe connectors.The car has a coil-over-shock conversion in the front with control arm bushings from a 1LE Camaro. It, also, has Z28 stabilizer bars and QA1 double-adjustable shocks all around. From an at-limit handing perspective, the 3-and-4 Gen Camaro's weak spot is how the rear suspension works (or doesn't work) exiting turns. I fixed that with a bunch of parts from Global West–constant rate rear coil springs, tubular steel lower control arms, tubular steel adjustable track bar and Global West's famed Trac-Link system. Even with all those mods to stiffen all the suspension links and optimize the rear roll center and rear suspension geometry, the fact remains, a 4 Gen Camaro still has a live rear axle.

    I finished off the package with Baer drilled-and-grooved brake rotors, Porterfield R4S brake pads and 265/40ZR17 Goodyear F1 Supercar tires on Fikse Profil 5S, 17x9.5-in aluminum wheels.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-750-45-jpg

    If you want all of the nitty-gritty on how to build a hot-rod V6 fourth-generation Camaro, you can go to - Tom Henry RS V6 Camaro Project and read all six parts of the "long" Camaro Homepage version of the project.

    My aftermarket-enhanced Camaro and an ATS-V are worlds apart. With 164 more horsepower, Cadillac's littlest V as a lot more fun to drive in a straight line. With independent rear suspension, modern suspension tuning, MagnaRide and stability enhancement and ATS-V is a lot easer to drive at the limit than is my Camaro. There really are only two advantages to that Camaro: 1) it gets better gas mileage and 2) it's cheaper to insure.

    I'll be glad when I can be back driving the Blue BMW Buster. As for the decreased fuel economy and higher insurance premium? Time to work some O.T.

  12. #207
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    It's been two months since I've blogged about the eight-speed ATS-V four-door my Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, drives. We named it "Pearl" for its Crystal White Tincoat exterior. Regulars here at A Little V-Blog know Pearl has the engine that was expelling clouds of oil smoke after cold starts, a unpleasant customer satisfaction problem which plagued the car for almost a year.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-27-jpg
    This is what we lived with for almost a year.
    Image: Author.

    To get a warranty fix for this, General Motors' Technical Assistance Center (TAC) made my dealer, Bunnin Cadillac in Santa Barbara, California, jump though a bunch of hoops–some of which just wasted time and made painfully obvious the mere lip service General Motors pays to customer satisfaction.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-11-jpg
    It didn't matter what oil was in the engine.
    On cold starts, it would smoke, but the
    smoke was a little worse with Dexos.
    Image: Author.

    First, in spite of having been given video footage which clearly showed numerous instances of clouds of oil smoke after cold starts, GM required a 2000-mile oil consumption test. After it learned I was using Joe Gibbs Driven LS30 5W30 synthetic engine oil, it demanded a second 2000-mile oil use test with the engine full of GM's Dexos 1 5W30 semi-synthetic and that was in-spite of my giving GM still more video footage of the smoking cold starts. This took months–every single day a smoky cold start–and was a huge a waste of my time. In fact, with the engine on Dexos, smoke after cold starts was incrementally worse–no surprise there. In the end, both oil use tests were inconclusive because the engine's overall oil consumption was well within limits. Only for a few seconds after cold starts would the engine put out a smoke screen that could fill a garage and put an old worn out diesel to shame. The guy up the street who owns two 3-Series BMWs would drive by our house in the morning laughing his ass off.

    After 4000 miles of oil consumption tests, next, TAC instructed Bunnin Cadillac to pull the spark plugs for inspection–no easy task on an LF4. Getting them out requires removal of most of the turbocharger compressor plumbing. A couple plugs showed some evidence of oil use, so TAC, next, ordered Tony Espinoza, Bunnin's Lead Service Technician, to borescope the engine.

    The first borescope session showed a couple of pistons and some combustion chamber walls with a modest amount of burnt oil residue. I did not expect a lot of oil residue on pistons or walls because the engine's overall oil use was low. Bunnin's ace service tech, Mr. Espinoza, did a second borescope session with a different end on the 'scope which allowed him to view intake valves once the engine was manually turned until the intake valves on the cylinder in question were open. What he saw was alarming: some intake valves with significant coke deposits. Tony's boss, Bunnin Fixed Operations Manager, Chris Williams, told A Little V-Blog that he'd never seen valves with that much coke on them after only 26,000 miles.

    Williams and Espinoza sent TAC digital images from the bore scope and suggested that the heads be replaced. Technical Assistance decided there might be a valve stem sealing problem and agreed (perhaps reluctantly?) to the head change.
    Once Tony had the heads off, we had a better view of the problem. Puzzling all of us was that not all the intakes were equally coked–some were heavily deposited, but others were fairly clean.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-66-jpg
    Some intake valves were badly coked.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-67-jpg

    Others were not.
    Images: Author

    Additionally, some piston tops showed modest indications of oil use. It was clear the engine was ingesting some oil and and, at the time, we all figured there was a valve stem sealing problem, but regardless of the source of the oil ingestion, currently, at the field service level, a method of "de-coking" intake valves in LF4 engines does not exist; so the heads had to be replaced.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-68-jpg
    Piston tops had modest oil residue
    Image: Author.

    After an inspection, the first pair of heads from GM's parts network was rejected because one had been damaged during shipping or packing. It had a large "dent" on an intake port flange such that the intake manifold would not seal. A second set was shipped direct to Bunnin's Parts Department from the LF4 engine assembly plant at Silao, Mexico.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-64-jpg
    Oopsee!

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-05-jpg
    The drive-side head from the second set of heads.
    Images: Author

    After tearing down Pearl's LF4 in preparation for the head swap, we got another big surprise. Tony Espinoza observed liquid oil on the left-side turbocharger's turbine wheel hub and blades whereas the turbine wheel in the right turbo was dry.

    Uh-oh.


    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-06-jpg
    The two turbos off Pearl's LF4.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-07-jpg
    The turbine wheel in the driver-side turbo was wet with oil.
    Images: Author.

    Espinoza suggested a turbo change. Bunnin Cadillac's Chris Williams advised the Technical Assistance Center of his top tech's findings and recommended the turbos be replaced. The Technical Assistance Center rejected Bunnin's recommendations and told them to only replace the heads.

    Big mistake. One of many TAC makes in sacrificing customer satisfaction on the alter of warranty cost reduction.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-08-jpg
    Bunnin's top tech, Tony Espinoza
    lowers the right-side head into place.
    Image: Author.

    Heavy engine work on the LF4 in an ATS-V is time consuming because of the tight packaging in the car's underhood, so It took a week to change the heads. Once we had the car back, It only took a day or so for me to determine the oil smoke on cold start problem had not been solved and, if anything, was getting worse. My Wife was pissed that GM could not fix her car. Click here to see video footage of the problem after installation of new heads.

    A week or so later, we took the car back to Bunnin Cadillac. They let it sit overnight then started the engine and filled the service drive full of oil smoke. TAC changed its "tune" and authorized replacement of both turbochargers. I, also, asked Chris Williams to request replacement of both catalytic converters because excessive oil burning–in my opinion, 10 months of oil smoke on cold starts qualifies as "excessive"–can decrease cat life. Expectedly, TAC told my Bunnin, "Watch our lips: no new cats". Ok–just kidding on the "Watch our lips..." part. I admit, asking for new cats was a "hail Mary" play, but It will not surprise me if, sometime soon, the driver side cat prematurely fails an emissions test, and then, I'll get to fight with General Motors over a new warranty claim.

    The turbo change took two weeks because of 1) the complexity of working on an LF4 and 2) a parts shortage which delayed arrival of some key gaskets and o-ring seals. Once those seals arrived, Tony Espinoza had the car back on the road.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-09-jpg
    Tony lifts the right-side turbo into place.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-10-jpg

    The space around the turbos is is so restricted a borescope must
    be used to verify the turbo oil return gasket is installed properly.
    Images: Author.

    Since we got the car back on Monday, so far, we have a week's worth of cold starts in the books with no oil smoke whatsoever.

    Wait–what!? Finally...after all these months, no smoke? Be still, my heart.

    I'd like to thank Bunnin Cadillac for their hard work on solving the smoke problem and taking in-stride all the frustration caused by GM Technical Assistance Center. Special thanks to my new BFF, Bunnin's Lead Tech, Tony Espinoza. He's one best service techs I've worked with in a long time and one of the few techs in the western U.S. who has experience with heavy engine work on an LF4.

    As for GM's Technical Assistance Center? No love for those people. They make the warranty claim process, once it progresses above the dealer level, unpleasant at best. I spent about 140,000 bucks on two ATS-Vs, both of which had quality problems that required my dealer to fight with TAC over warranty claims. That has made the ATS-V ownership experience really suck sometimes.

    Nevertheless, at this point, all is good with our two ATS-Vs. The Coupe is no longer plagued with driveline vibration and the Sedan is oil smoke free.
    So...I'm havin' a beer
    and and the Fairest Sandra the Red is doing her happy dance.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 05-19-2017 at 04:30 PM.

  13. #208
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    V-Series Cadillac(s)

    2017 ATS-V Coupe

    Cool

    Thanx again, Hib, for an excellent report

  14. #209
    Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAROKE View Post
    Thanx again, Hib, for an excellent report
    You're welcome. Glad to be of service.

    Please, tell your Cadillac V-Series pals about this Blog.

  15. #210
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    My Dirty Little Secret

    When I was younger, I'd never admit to my Mom having taught me to drive in a '61 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty-Special. Actually, even today, I haven't revealed that dirty little secret to many.

    Back then, had I a choice, I wouldn't have been caught dead in a Cadillac. Holly crap, what if my friends had seen me driving that humungous four-door, Fleetwood with it's formal roofline and black exterior? It would have been a like a teenager today having an image posted on Instagram of him or her driving Mom's minivan. Nevertheless, it was the only car Mom had, so that big old Fleetwood was my driver training car.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-11-jpg
    I learned to drive in a car like this one.

    My first few, hesitant miles behind the wheel came on roads in "Brookside Park" which surrounds the famed "Rose Bowl" in Pasadena, California. On weekday afternoons after school, roads in the park are pretty deserted and it was a common place for parents to take teens to learn driving basics. Fortunately–for my Mom, mainly–I was a quick learner. She soon had me driving all over town.

    Back then, Cadillac claimed it was the "Standard of the World, but I wondered: exactly what world was that? The ponderous bodywork, the sloth-like acceleration, steering response you could time with a sundial and a suspension allowing the body to heel over so far in turns you'd have thought stabilizer bars hadn't been invented yet, all made for a driving experience no one but my matronly Grandmother, who sold my Mom and Dad her used Caddys, would appreciate because, she had a driver and sat in the back seat.

    But, there was one feature of that Fleetwood 60 Special that I liked: its big fins. I loved the fins. How they extended from about the C-pillar, all the way back with tail lamps inset in their trailing edges gave the back of the car a futuristic look which I found alluring.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-12-jpg
    A '61 Fleetwood's fintastic rear view.

    Cadillacs were big, ugly (except the fins) and uncool. They were the epitimy of low-performance and uncool. Oh, did I mention they were uncool? But, my parents loved them. They owned a series of big Caddy sedans and, later, my Dad owned a '75 Eldorado Convertible. I remember riding around with him in that Eldo with its baroque exterior and thinking: that hood is so long, there could have been two engines under it and, when closed, be used as a helipad. Thankfully a short circuit induced fire sent that massive Caddy to the scrap yard.

    Those '60s and '70s Cadillacs left me with long-term negativity about the brand, so how is it someone who suffered from Caddy acute avoidance syndrome (CADASS) ended up with not just one, but two ATS-Vs?

    When the first-generation CTS-V was introduced, it was like somebody from the Star Wars universe stopped by Earth and dropped off a Pod Racer. Amongst Cadillac's vinyl-roofed, white-wall-tired, front-wheel drive luxo-barges, here was a diamond-in-the-rough–GM's rear-drive Sigma architecture with a Corvette LS6, the only transmission a six-speed manual and a suspension which allowed corner entry speeds so fast typical Caddy owners would wet their Depends. I have a friend over in Oklahoma–"Tuna" here on the V-net–who owned a 1G CTS-Vs. I stopped to visit him back in '07 and he let me drive it. I was astonished at its performance. From then on, I decided Cadillac had a fighting chance against some the German performance models and, if it stayed the course, could have benchmark performance in the luxury performance sedan segment.

    Fast forward a decade. The CTS-V was an unquestioned success in establishing Cadillac as a company capable of developing mid-sized, high-performance sports sedans which matched the best of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. In late 2014, GM announced a V-Series interpretation of the compact, ATS. As an automotive nationalist who looks at BMW M3s with revulsion, an ATS-V was so appealing, that I–one who formerly wouldn't have touched a Cadillac with a ten-foot poll–considered buying one.

    The rest is history. My Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, now own two ATS-Vs. While we've been disappointed with how GM administrated warranty problems we've had with the two cars, the rest of the ATS-V ownership experience, especially the cars' performance, has been positive.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-832-13-jpg
    Image: Author

    I think back to the Fleetwood Sixty Special of my youth, then consider the ATS-V of today and can't help but to think: whoa, baby...how times have changed. But then, I stare at the rear quarter and tail lamps of the littlest-V and note the abstract,, fin-like styling. They kept the coolest part.




    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 06-08-2017 at 12:00 AM.

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