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Username Post: 2.2 Ecotec 4 cyl fix.        (Topic#219345)
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2707
Loc: Michigan
Reg: 11-04-04
06-16-09 07:20 PM - Post#1718377    

Just finished up putting a junkyard 2.2 Ecotec in a 2002 Grand AM that belongs to a friends son. The timing chain broke on the original at 107,000. Since this is a zero clearance motor, it was trash. Did a little research on the motor and found a lot of references to the problem on the web. Saturns and Grand Ams and what ever else they put it in. Seems most were having the timing chain break at around 100,000. Some as early as 30,000. Apparently the problem has been traced to a lack of oil pressure at idle on the timing chain tensioner. GM came out with a new style tensioner that is suppose to aleviate the problem. It's the one on the right.

As you can see it's a lot different. The insert is kept in by a ring where as the old one can pull right out.

Oil pressure keeps the insert pushed up against the timing chain idler arm. The old one is suppose to have o-rings on the insert(I didn't see any). The new one does not. It's machined with closer tolerances.
This is just an assumption on my part but I believe the oil was leaking past the o-rings causing the tensioner to back away from the idler arm resulting in the chain flopping around and eventually breaking.
The new tensioner is around $75. A new engine.... a lot more. Here is where it is at on the motor.

It's easy to get to while in the car. Takes about 20 minutes to change with a breaker bar and 1 1/4" socket. You must fill the new tensioner with oil before you put it in. I put mine in oil and pumped the insert up and down until it was full.
GM to my knowledge is not standing behind any repair past the warranty period. This was a problem on the 2002 to 2004 models however the junkyard motor was (supposedly) a 2005 and it still had the old style tensioner.
Now I know that you can blast GM for not admitting a problem but in the meantime it's probably worth the $75 and time to fix this before your motor goes bye bye.


I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

Edited by Chevelle on 12-21-14 05:10 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


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06-16-09 07:31 PM - Post#1718391    
    In response to ljfen

Thanks for that info, should save a few motors now that we know!


DON'T mess with Old Men, we didn't get old by being, STUPID!!!

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06-16-09 08:49 PM - Post#1718447    
    In response to ljfen

This should probably get re-posted in the vehicle-specific forums it applies to so it doesn't get wiped - once a topic is 30 days old with no replies in here, it's history!

Great info, and thanks for posting.


06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

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Loc: Michigan
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06-16-09 10:09 PM - Post#1718474    
    In response to someotherguy

No problem. Good idea. Waddaya think Red?


I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

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Age: 59
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06-17-09 06:47 AM - Post#1718593    
    In response to ljfen

Done and stickied.

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06-17-09 04:38 PM - Post#1718905    
    In response to ljfen


PREVIOUS VETTE'S 58,68,70,76,78,85,90

Auto Tech 
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Age: 51
Loc: midwest
Reg: 01-18-10
01-18-10 07:38 PM - Post#1844865    
    In response to TAT_2

I have one in the shop right now. I have the GM timing kit but it doesnt have the updated design. Do you have part numbers?

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01-24-10 07:05 PM - Post#1848802    
    In response to Auto Tech

Yeah we've had to replace a few cylinder heads in the 02 ecotecs for the same problem. The 03's and up have the new style tensioner in them. The only internal thing I've ever had to do to a newer ecotec was replace a crankshaft due to a spun rod bearing. This was in a 2007 HHR.

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Ed ke6bnl 
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Ed ke6bnl
Loc: Agua Dulce, Ca usa 70 mil...
Reg: 01-08-03
12-20-10 02:43 PM - Post#2020685    
    In response to Shaun_300

How can you tell if you have a bad tensioner. I have 2005 ecotec with the old style tensioner and lots of loud ticking from the chain area.

Ed ke6bnl Agua Dulce, 70 Miles N.E. Los Angeles 1970 chevy shortbed c10 1963 Ford Econoline 5 window pu

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Posts: 1

Reg: 10-29-11
10-29-11 09:35 PM - Post#2152515    
    In response to ljfen

I have a 2005 Chevy Malibu with the Ecotec 2.2 engine and I have a timing chain problem. I tried a timing chain kit but it didnt work, but it had the old style tensioner with it. I almost bought one that had the new tensioner with it that you showed in your post, but i thought it was the wrong one, so thanks for posting that, going to try the new one hope it works. Do you happen to know what causes the low oil pressure with this engine? Thanks.

Forum Newbie
Posts: 1

Reg: 08-27-15
08-31-15 04:09 PM - Post#2572345    
    In response to ljfen

I just installed the updated tensioner how do i know if it is lined up with bevel thing on the guide? I just filled will oil and screwed it in? Would i know if it wasnt line up perfect ir not fully extended into guide?

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Loc: South Central USA
Reg: 09-20-15
10-05-15 12:52 PM - Post#2580356    
    In response to mrhappypantz

Does the 1.8 L engine have this issue ? Mine has a belt , not a chain .

Thanks ,
God bless

God bless

Edited by WyrTwister on 10-05-15 12:52 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


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