As if the stars had aligned, I received a friendly “time for you next maintenance” reminder email from our local Chevy dealer’s service department. They were right. With the odometer at 14,356 miles and the self-reported engine oil-life indicator reading at 2 percent, it had been five months and nearly 7,500 miles since the last one. And you might recall in the second update that I mentioned that the car’s limited-slip differential began groaning during slow-speed parking lot maneuvering, especially after sitting outside all day. It’s grown more noticeable over time. In the interim, I was contacted by concerned reader, David Z., who pointed me to a forum in the Camaro6 community where owners had been discussing their moaning and groaning sixth-gen Camaro differentials. (Apparently some fourth-gens did this, too.) This yielded a service document ID# 2866369, which recommends draining and replacing the gear oil. With the Camaro’s odometer quickly approaching 15,000 miles and a service bulletin in hand, I made a 7 a.m. service appointment.
When I arrived and described the problem, the service writer found the document in his system and added it to the work order. In addition to a complimentary general inspection, 8-quart oil change, and a filter change, they indeed drained the offending pumpkin juice and replaced it with 2 quarts of Dexron LS Gear Oil 75W-90 (GM part number 88862624), also at no charge because it is a warrantied item. Some folks in the forums reported that after the differential oil replacement and several walking-speed figure eights with steering at full lock (which sounds like a reasonable idea to help circulate the new oil), this was a permanent fix, some said it didn’t change a thing, and still others reported that the groan came back after a period of time and so repeated the process with various degrees of success. It seems odd that it’s so hit or miss, which might explain why some forum contributors are having difficulty convincing their local Chevrolet service writers to look up the service document and perform the oil replacement. Our source within Chevrolet said this on the matter: “On early 2016 [Camaro] builds that have limited-slip differentials, this was a known issue. The ring and pinion gears had too much gear-marking compound [used to evaluate/adjust pinion depth] applied by the diff supplier, which [in turn] contaminated the fluid. Doing a fluid flush fixes the issue.”
It’s only been a week, and our differential remains smooth and silent after the service and slow-speed figure eight. If this changes, naturally, we’ll let you know in the next update. You should also know that because we don’t technically own this year-loan car, we don’t enjoy the two-year/24,000-mile free scheduled maintenance that actual owners do; we had to pay $58.76 for the oil, filter, and disposal fee.
Since the last update, we’ve added 2,842 otherwise in-service miles to our Camaro 2SS, and the running average fuel economy is still hanging at 16 mpg, or precisely the EPA’s city estimate. Short-shifting every gear, trying to maintain a steady pace, and using cruise control as much as possible, I’ve managed to eke out a self-reported 21 mpg in the instrument panel over my 33-mile commute (22 of which—66 percent—are on the highway). That does slightly surpass the EPA’s 19 mpg combined. That makes sense because the government’s calculation is based on 45 percent highway driving. Still, it’s not uncommon to get in the car after it’s been out of my sight for a few days to find an 11-mpg reported average on the instrument panel. That might be the result of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, standing on the go pedal too often, or the first one causing a desire for the second. I dunno. I wasn’t there, but I guess this 16-mpg average in Los Angeles is the best we can hope for without another long road trip or a perpetual tailwind.
And oh hey, Mustang drivers! I don’t want to race you. And not you Challenger dudes, STI/Evo club, or modded Civic/Genesis Coupe kids, either. I know I’m driving a bright-red Camaro SS with black wheels, and it’s likely got the exhaust baffles openish in Sport mode (I blip my own downshift, thank you, despite having the option to let the car do it for itself), but I’m not interested in the glory of beating you, the infamy of trending on social media, and certainly not the inconvenience and cost of getting a ticket. This pushrod V-8-powered Camaro SS certainly is an attention magnet, but not the kind I’d like, if you know what I mean.