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  1. #1
    CavMan MY FYN 79's Avatar
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    Any one wrench on Ecotec engines?

    Looking for some advice.

    Picked up a fairly clean red 2004 Cavalier LS sport with 85,000 miles.

    Car ran horrible and sounded even worse... had an obvious timing chain problem. Had another Cavalier project going so this car sat here for around a month.

    Last night I pulled it apart and the timing chain upper guide was in a couple pieces and the chain had a ton of slack between the cam sprockets. Everything else for the timing chain looked normal. I was able to pull 6 rockers out without removing anything so I knew that was bad news. The top of the engine is very scuzzy looking.

    One weird observation was that the cam lobes are pitted really bad. Pulled the intake manifold off and the EGR hole was crusted completely shut on the intake. All the intake valves are bent which wasn't a surprise.

    I know this isn't a ton of info, and I can get pictures if any one would like... but would you trust putting this engine back together and trying it out? I have a fresh head ready to go and a new timing set/head set to finish the project. I don't have a ton of experience with Ecotecs so its hard to make a good decision whether or not they survive something like this or if they will have an ailment like massive oil consumption afterwards. Its tough when its already broke and you cant run diagnostics.

    Thanks much for any help.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    JLP
    79 Monte
    406/2004R/Phord 9"

  2. #2
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    Is it a sludge engine? If yes then get an engine.
    With the valves being bent you also have to think of what the valves did to the tops of the pistons. Imo I wouldn't use that engine. You might just dig a hole the entire car could fit in. Plus they used the Eco engines for many years and in many vehicles, so finding one shouldn't be a problem. Of course this would be determined by the condition of the car and if it's even worth installing a engine.

  3. #3
    CavMan MY FYN 79's Avatar
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    Got the head off tonight and the cylinder walls look nice and the piston tops are fairly clean, so it couldn't have been burning massive amounts of oil I'd say. Minor rings in piston tops from intake valves, but the damage happened at idle and wasn't taken much above idle since.

    Probably throw a new oil pump in it also just to be safe.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    JLP
    79 Monte
    406/2004R/Phord 9"

  4. #4
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    What about the bearings did you check those out yet? Since your already going ahead with the repairs it would be worth the effort to pull a rod cap and have a look. I'm just going by the info you provided. If you got pics post them, I'm down for seeing some carnage. Lol.


    I don't remember but if it has an engine oil cooler clean it as well.
    Last edited by spooln30; 05-13-2014 at 05:05 AM.

  5. #5
    RIP Dad 4-29-08 brotherbenn83's Avatar
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    I've wrenched on tons of ecotecs. The timing chains were probably stretched and then skipped a tooth or two. The bottom end should be pretty solid, and fully assembled gm reman'd cylinder heads are readily available and pretty cheap. We have had oil consumption issues on them, but moreso on the newer 2.4's in Equinox/Terrain etc.
    GM World Class Certified Technician

  6. #6
    CavMan MY FYN 79's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input.

    Got it all back together but having a bizzare problem.. maybe I'm missing something obvious here.

    I replaced the head, timing set and oil pump. The timing set went together perfectly. I know the tensioner released because I could get some slack in the chain by the crank sprocket and after I whacked the timing chain/guide it made a crack and the slack was gone. Turned it over a couple revolutions like I saw mentioned online and everything looked good.

    I started the car and it fired right up, but was clattering bad. Engine has good compression now, 155,155,160,165. Pulled the cam cover back off fully expecting to see something screwy, but everything still looks perfect. Heres where it gets weird-

    I turned the engine over a bunch (fuel pump relay out) to listen and watch, and its pumping up horrible looking oil into the head. Oil smells fine, it almost looks like the oil is being aerated? I suspect that because the oil on the dipstick looks and smells 100% normal. Knowing I did replace the oil pump, is it possible I have an air pocket somewhere or something else I've missed?
    -----------------------------------------------------
    JLP
    79 Monte
    406/2004R/Phord 9"

  7. #7
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    That's weird.

  8. #8
    CavMan MY FYN 79's Avatar
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    A visual in case people think I lost my marbles.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL4l...ature=youtu.be
    -----------------------------------------------------
    JLP
    79 Monte
    406/2004R/Phord 9"

  9. #9
    Ol' School BAD LS1's Avatar
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    Coolant
    2012 Cruze ECO M6 - Crystal Red- Just a little more boost than stock!
    2001 Camaro SS - Rallye Red - In process.

  10. #10
    CavMan MY FYN 79's Avatar
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    Any thoughts where it could be coming from? I had the cooling system pumped up to 15 psi all day and it didn't leak a bit.

    Obviously I had the oil drained before working on it, but I suppose coolant could have gotten down into the oil pan while everything was apart. Still odd how it doesn't show on the dipstick.

    Might button it back up and try changing the oil again.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    JLP
    79 Monte
    406/2004R/Phord 9"

  11. #11
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    That's for sure coolant mixed with oil getting pumped from the pan into the cylinder head. Either cracked block, possibly the block or maybe even the new head isn't flat and the HG is leaking. If you ran it with coolant in the pan you most likely washed the bearings out. So that would probably be the knocking noise coming from the rod bearings. Did you drain the oil and is it milky? Told ya you should have just bought a used engine.
    Just because there wasn't coolant on your dipstick doesn't mean anything. Oil always floats on top of water because water is more dense, so the coolant is at the very bottom of the pan. You won't get a reading at the very bottom of the pan on the dipstick. Even when your dipstick reads zero there's still 2-3 qts of oil depending on the capacity of the pan.
    Last edited by spooln30; 05-23-2014 at 04:41 AM.

  12. #12
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    If you think about it 15psi is nothing compared to the cylinder pressures of 150+psi.
    When ever I do headgaskets or even GM 3.1/3.4 lower intake gaskets I always leave the oil in the pan till I'm done with the repair. I then drain the oil and will even dump another quart down through the engine to try to get everything out. That way the coolant will drop down to the bottom in the time it takes to complete the repair.

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