A class action lawsuit against GM for an alleged defect in its naturally aspirated 5.3L LC9 V8 gasoline engine – leading to excessive oil consumption and possible engine damage – has been dismissed by a judge in the Western Division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
The case, Dominguez Hurry, et al., v. General Motors LLC, had several of its claims against GM dismissed earlier, but three claims continued to be heard until today’s dismissal, Car Complaints reports.
The case, brought against GM by two individuals, alleged that defective piston rings in the LC9 V8 engine wear out sooner than they should, forcing owners to constantly top up the engine oil. Failure to keep up with the continuous oil loss, the suit asserts, leads to extremely low engine oil levels, poor lubrication, and possible damage to the powerplant during operation.
The plaintiffs also claimed that GM launched an investigation dubbed “Red X” in 2008, demonstrating knowledge of the problem, as did several service bulletins to dealerships. Measures taken by The General to correct the problem, including development of a new positive crankcase ventilation cover and installation of shields on the active fuel management valve failed to stop excessive oil consumption.
The affected Chevrolet and GMC vehicles included 2011 to 2014 model-year units of the Chevy Avalanche, Chevy Silverado, Chevy Suburban, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra, GMC Yukon, and GMC Yukon XL, per the lawsuit.
Judge Emily Marks dismissed the Alabama class action suit based on the statute of limitations rather than GM counterclaims. In her written remarks on the case, she said “the time elapsed between these purchase dates and the date the Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit exceeds the limitations period for all of their claims.”
An identical lawsuit based on the LC9’s alleged tendency to leak oil out of the crankcase was dismissed in Wisconsin back in 2021. In that instance, the judge dismissed based on the plaintiffs failing to complain about the issue during the warranty period, as well as a successful argument by GM that only defects in materials and workmanship are covered by its express warranty, while the oil consumption issue is a design defect.
The 5.3L V8 LC9 engine is now discontinued from GM production, replaced by the naturally aspirated 5.3L V8 L83 gasoline engine, part of the EcoTec3 engine family. The Vortec engine family itself has been completely replaced by the EcoTec3 lineup after nine years of use in GM vehicles.
According to GM Small Block chief engineer Jordan Lee, EcoTec3 engines “have all the power and torque needed to confidently handle the tough jobs, and they seamlessly switch to four-cylinder mode to increase efficiency during light-load driving.”