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Engine Flush - GM Technical Service Bulletin

Just today I got snookered (I found out later – I feel so dumb) into getting an Engine Flush on my 2002 Silverado. Good history of oil changes.

The $50 I can chalk up to experience. Not worried about that. What I AM worried about is that apparently I may have permanently damaged my engine and may be looking at a catastrophic failure from oil starvation in the near future (from the horror stories I read).

GM Technical Service Bulletin 04-06-01-029E even addressed this in April 2010.

From that bulletin:

2011 and Prior GM Passenger Cars and Trucks (including Saturn)…

Engine Crankcase Flushing

General Motors Corporation does not endorse or recommend engine crankcase flushing for any of its gasoline engines. Analysis of some of the aftermarket materials used for crankcase flushing indicate incompatibility with GM engine components and the potential for damage to some engine seals and bearings.
Damage to engine components resulting from crankcase flushing IS NOT COVERED under the terms of the New Vehicle Warranty.

Now that is pretty scary.

I just had the flush done today (they used Gumout engine flush). Is there anything I can do now to prevent damage to engine seals and bearings or reduce the possibility of damage? Or is it too late and any damage is already done?

I really feel dumb. I have taken such good care of my truck. Changed the oil regularly and have only 88K miles on a 2002.

But with the release of that TSB from GM almost two years ago now, it seems to me it is downright negligent on the part of the oil change place to push that service, isn’t it?

Anyway, any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

The oil change place is out for $$$$ pure and simple. Your motor fails two days from now, prove it was them they dare you. In any event I highly doubt you did any damage to the truck, the tsb is most likley an extream.

You can’t undo the flush. About all you can do is make sure all the flushing chemicals are now out of the motor to reduce potential damage. To me that means another oil change perhaps in a few days and a few hundred miles. Take that TSB to the oil change place and negotiate for another oil change on them. Or, just drain the oil and refill yourself with a new filter.

Wallet flush…doesn’t help, never seen any damage as a result. Hot mineral oil usually, you could see whats in GUMOUT but probably not harmfull. The TSB I heard was a result of improper procedure in the flushing (they ran the motor)

I’d 1) find a good independent shop to do your oil changes, no chains, then 2) get it changed in a week or two. I would not worry about it.

" find a good independent shop to do your oil changes, no chains"

I’d take a different approach. Find a good shop to do your work in the future, or do it yourself. It doesn’t mater if it is a chain or not, but that it is a good place to get work done. I use a chain place to get oil changes and they do a good job. I check after them every time, and have been doing so for about 10 years. These guys are good. They are unusual among chain oil change stores in that they seem to have only a little turnover, and train their new employees well. All vehicles are checked by a senior employee before they are allowed to leave the work bay. You can find good and bad shops among dealers, indies and chains. If you need a good shop, check with everyone you know and find out who they use and what they think of them. A few will bubble to the top, and you could try them.

Thanks everyone for the answers. I am going to drive it to/from work until about Thursday. That will put around 160 miles on it. Then I will have oil changed again (different place). I have also sent a letter and the TSB to the place that did the flush. I don’t expect much from them. But I did ask whether they 1)ran the engine at any time with the flush chemical in the engine and 2) whether they removed the oil pan and cleaned any sludge out before refilling and putting new filter on, or did they just let the flush residue run out of the oil pan drain hole.

I also asked them why they are recommending a procedure that the manufacturer specifically warned against doing. And, told them that, since their standard warranty is 12 months, that if I had engine problems in the next 12 months relating to engine seals, bearings, or oil starvation that I will expect them to repair or replace my engine immediately to get it to working condition. (I know many of you had a good laugh at that last one). But I will definitely show up on their doorstep should that happen.

Like I said, the $50 snow job I can let go. But when they are saying that a procedure is “recommended” and the manufacturer specifically recommended “don’t do it cause you can harm your engine”, that really chaps my hide.

Thanks again.

“Good history of oil changes.”

I doubt there was any sludge or residue for the flush to remove.

Those oil change places are the “jump off the Empire State Building” of the new Baloneyum. People keep trusting them for some reason. Don’t worry, they probably faked the job anyway. There’s this place that wants me to buy an additive for my synthetic oil change. Unbelievable.

One point not yet made: don;t beat yourself up over this. It’s extremely easy for a shop guy with a company patch on his coveralls to convince the average person to have things done that do not need to be done, and vene to do things that should not be done. Those that do so are experts at it.

I’ll bet money that I can put any 9 year old vehicle on a rack and convince anyone not knowledgable in vehicles that they need at least $2000 worth of work and $200 worth of “preventative maintenance” none of which is actually necessary. That number does not include anything I find that actually does need to be done.

Last year I went to the dealership to get the engine computer replaced on a recall.
I opted to have them do it while I wait. It shouldn’t take long to unplug a little box and plug in another.
Plus, I wanted to be there in case there were any issues.
I was there about 2 hours because the first replacement wouldn’t work.
While I was waiting several people came and picked up cars. Nobody (except me) was getting out of there for less than $300.

While I’m waiting the service writer informs me that my transmission oil is dirty.
I point out I changed it 2000 miles earlier.
“How did you change it?” “I drained and refilled it.” "It needs to be flushed."
I ask in a slightly elevated voice “how do you flush a manual transmission?”
“Um… they power flush it.” “No thanks” “Your power steering fluid is very dirty too” "Okay"
Now, I’ve always drained and refilled the PS reservoir once a year and the car had just 23k miles.

Thanks for the chuckle Circuitsmith. Similar experiences abound.

That Makes me want to record conversations at any maintenance shop I go to!

So maybe as a courtesy to us, if the OP is still alive after 7 YEARS, he/she/it could tell us if the Silverado is still alive or not. The suspense is killing me. And how about a report from @jtsanders on using a chain shop to see if the drain plug or filter have fallen off yet. Sounds like he found a good shop.

But, hey, what happened to the same mountainbike?

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Report: they still do decent work, but I get synthetic oil with my new car. The price is about $30 higher than the indie full service shop I used for everything else, and now I use the full service shop for oil, too.

Mountainbike: I suspect his back doesn’t bother him anymore. Rest In Peace, friend.

Yeah too bad. I think we really need to have a “taps” or obit section here. I remember on a woodworking board, a daughter actually posted the demise of one of the favorite members and it was helpful to both to talk about the circumstances and how much he meant to both.

You are all in luck. OP here. Silverado still running fine. Changed oil 2 weeks after the incident. 144k and going strong.

Nice. Ain’t no engine flush gonna kill an LS motor.

Well will wonders never cease? Thanks for the info. I was kinda kidding, but that’s just great to hear-that both you and the Silverado are still around.