2021 GMC Pickups, Chevrolet, Cadillac SUVS Engine Valve Lifter and Lock Pin Failure

2021 GM Pickups, SUVS Engine Valve Lifter and Lock Pin Failure

Owners of various General Motors (GM) pickup trucks and SUVs are complaining about engine misfires leading to hydraulic valve lifter failures on their 2021 GMC vehicles, despite having fairly low mileage.

The lifter problems are present in the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2021 Cadillac Escalade, 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV, 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2021 Chevrolet Suburban, 2021 GMC Yukon and 2021 GMC Yukon XL.

What is a Hydraulic Valve Lifter

A hydraulic valve lifter in GMC vehicles is a cylinder located between a car’s camshaft and the cylinder valves. They are part of the vehicle’s internal combustion engine and work to open the internal valves. Some GM vehicles feature Active Fuel Management (AFM) or Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) to allow for quiet, efficient and smooth-running engines. However, to achieve this, the vehicles are equipped with lifters that collapse after the cylinder is deactivated. This prevents the camshaft from opening when the valve is not in use by stopping some cylinders from using gas as only some engine power is necessary. However, it appears this is leading to broken valve lifter and valve lifter lock pin spring in certain vehicles.

So in December 2021, a group of nine owners filed a class-action lawsuit against General Motors LLC. They say GM knew about the problem, but sold them anyway. They demand that GM recall these vehicles and repair them. This lawsuit covers, however, involves a wide range of model years with defective AFM (2014 – 2019) and DFM (2019 – 2021) systems in GM V8 Engines.

  • Chevrolet Avalanche, Camaro, Corvette, Silverado, Suburban
  • GMC Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL
  • Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, CTS-V

NHTSA Complaints for 2021 Chevrolet Suburban

One owner of a Suburban with just 12,800 miles on it complained to the NHTSA that their vehicle started shuddering and the engine misfired at 80 mph on the freeway. Also, the traction control, adaptive cruise control and check engine warning lights came on. Next, the SUV suddenly downshifted to about 40 mph independently. The motorist brought the vehicle to the dealership and the service department diagnosed there were two bent engine lifters that required replacement. The manufacturer replaced one set of engine lifters under warranty, but the other was paid by the owner.

Another motorist told the NHTSA their SUV automatically shifted into park on its own. The vehicle would not shift out of park and the engine shut off and would not restart. Police and a tow truck both responded, but neither could not get the car to shift into neutral to move it out of the roadway. The SUV was dragged onto a flatbed truck. The dealership confirmed the starter and fuse box both malfunctioned and the lifters went out. The Suburban owner told federal safety regulators that the dealership confirmed they see this a lot with other 2021 Chevrolet Suburban SUVs.

NHTSA Complaints for 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

The owner of a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe with 16,786 miles on it told federal safety regulators they were driving about 35 mph when there was “a loud knocking sound coming from the vehicle and the vehicle was shaking abnormally.” Also, the check engine warning light came on. The service department at the dealership told the owner there was a cylinder #3 misfire that caused the lifters to fail on the driver’s side. The dealer replaced the gaskets, bolts, and rods, but the failure recurred.

2021 GMC Yukon XL

A 2021 GMC Yukon XL was traveling on the highway when the vehicle started to “jolt, sputter and speed acceleration was reduced,” the owner told the NHTSA. The dealership informed the Yukon owner that a lifter would need to be replaced. It came to a surprise to the owner whose vehicle had roughly 8,600 miles on it.

2022 GMC Yukon

It appears that the lift issue is also affecting some 2022 models. The owner of a 2022 Yukon Denali with just 14,400 miles on it, reported engine lifter failure. The motorist heard a strange sound when they started the engine, but it went away. Later, they had no warning lights before the engine just shut off while driving on July 5, 2022. The GM dealer determined the engine failed due to a known lifter problem. The head mechanic was able to get the truck restarted, but it repeated the same issue. However, while the mechanic got approval to replace the entire engine assembly, it was on back order.

GM Service Alert

General Motors has since issued a service bulletin for 2021 full-size pickup trucks and SUVs that may be affected by a collapsed valve lifter after a misfire.

The automaker reports the vehicles could be prone to experiencing a broken valve lifter and valve lifter lock pin spring. However, the issue affects only those vehicles equipped with the “naturally aspirated 5.3L L84 V8 or 6.2L L87 V8 gasoline engines.”

Furthermore, GM states a broken valve lifter long spring may lead to various engine problems. The issue has been a problem for a while in earlier models as far back as 2014. The 2021 affected vehicles may produce a service engine light, along with a misfire, peculiar engine noise and engine damage.

GM dealerships will replace both banks of cylinders in affected vehicles.

Here is a list of the affected 2021 vehicles:

Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac Escalade ESV
Chevrolet Tahoe
Chevy Suburban
Chevrolet SIlverado 1500
GMC Yukon
GMC Yukon XL

So far, GM has not issued a recall for this. However, the lifter problems are being addressed as needed therefore if you own one of these SUVs, you’ll need to wait until the problem presents itself to get your vehicle serviced, according to General Motors.

California Lemon Law Attorney James Johnson

Did you purchase a 2021 General Motors vehicle with a major safety issue? If so, and your vehicle is still under the original factory warranty, you may have a lemon law claim. Also, any vehicle that is in the shop for 30 days or more may have a cause for legal action.

California Lemon Law Attorney James Johnson will review your case and let you know if it qualifies as a lemon.

Also, we recommend that you obtain an invoice for all repairs and recall visits from the dealership. These documents will support your potential case. Should the vehicle experience repeated issues or become a safety risk, these documents support the Lemon Law Claim. Contact us for a free case review at 1-800-235-6801.

James Johnson ESQ