oldsmobile cutlass ciera timing chain

dan1975dan1975 Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Oldsmobile
I have a 1989 Olds cutlass ciera with 96000 miles on it. It has the 2.5 L, 4-cylinder engine. My brother keeps telling me that I should get the timing chain replaced because he believes it will break soon based on the car's age. I'd like to find out what experiences other Olds owners have had with their timing chains, and at what milage it broke at, if at all.


  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    He's getting it confused with a timing belt which is made of rubber which is used in Overhead cam engines which usually DOES need to be changed on a regular basis.
    Your engine is an overhead valve engine. We've had 3 GM vehicles with that identical engine. They do NOT have to have their chain replaced at 96,000 miles and you'll find no recommendation to do so anywhere in your owner's manual.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    The 2.5 was in the 84 Ciera my parents owned, the 84 Citation I had and the 86 Olds Calais I gave to my folks two years ago when I got a 99 Cavalier 2.2[which ALSO has a timing chain that doesn't need replacement at 60,000 miles like a rubber timing belt does.The GM 2.4 OHC engine uses a chain as well; as does the Saturn SOCH and DOHC].I don't know of any OHV engine that has ever used a rubber timing belt. In any event, don't let him make you paranoid, he's probably playing a practical joke on you.
  • dan1975dan1975 Member Posts: 5
    That makes sense, I was wondering why the manual says nothing about changing the thing. My brother drove a 1988 plymouth sundance with a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, and his timing belt broke, which has no doubt fueled his paranoia. I guess not all engines are created equal.
  • bwiabwia Member Posts: 2,913
    I have a 1988 Cutlass Ciera with the 2.8 liter V6 MFI engine. I have driven it 113,000 miles so far, but lately I am having all sorts of problems.

    The engine stalls when I either slow down or stop at red lights. Curiously, it does not hesitate or sputter before stalling. I replaced the starter and alternator so I have ruled these out as problems. My question is, how does the brakes affect the transmission?

    The transmission did not shift properly (it would remain in a low gear for a long time) but after my novice mechanic changed the transmission fluid the transmission started working the way it should.

    Should I replace the transmission? (I like the car otherwise) or give it to one of those charities and get get a $1,500 tax writeoff?
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    The torque Converter switch goes out or gets corroded on these cars. The experience is much like pulling up to a stop light in a manually shifted car without putting it in the proper gear.
    Doesn't let the lockup in the trans disengage, so you're not shifted down into a lower gear.
    My 84 Citation,got the trans changed when all it was doing was exactly what I've described above. You can also disconnect it as my folks did with the 86 Calais I gave them.It was doing the same thing. Costs a little in mileage, but seems to give it more "pep".No more problem. It's located somewhere on the outside. Would have cost about 500 for a new one at the dealer for the olds, but it really depends on where it's located.It works as a sort of electronically guided semi over drive. It kicks in when you are going at steady speeds and kicks out when you accelerate. Hope this helps.But it's not your brakes.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    The 2.5L inline 4 cyl. does NOT even have a chain!!!! It uses a set of timing gears, look it up in the Chilton's manual, under engine overhaul. I had a '82 skylark with the same engine.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    The 2.5 uses a gear drive.
    The cam gear is a fibre gear with a steel hub, that is pressed onto the cam.
    Usually the cam gear comes apart around 100-120K miles. It is a major bear to replace.
    If it is attempted to replace the cam gear without pulling the cam (usually have to pull the engine), most times when the new cam gear is driven on, it pushes the rear cam cap gasket and causes a leak. Not good.

    bwia, your problem is the Torque Converter Control (TCC) solenoid.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    In my area, Detroit, MI it run around $150-$200 to get replaced. They usually include a new filter gasket and fluid with the service. Good Luck, enjoy the ride and let us know how it works out.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    THX for the info as well. I always assumed the 2.5 was chain driven. The Calais I drove then gave to my folks had the torque converter switch disconnected and I have heard others doing this as well with no problems.I didn't do it, but the deler wanted something on the order of 500.It's got better pick up now, but the mileage isn't as good as it was on the freeway.As you can tell, I love thse cars: they're inexpensive, comfortable transportation, though I believe the A body is more trouble free than the N.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    The $150-$200is for a tranny shop, not the dealer. In my expreience, if the car was maintained it will run good for well over 250K miles, and the 2.5 is a "never die" engine, no matter what kind of strange noises that thing makes it will always run. It's the ONLY 4 pooper that I would ever trust from GM.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    I love em.They sound similar,but they all seem to develop an individual sound. They never sound exactly alike from car to car.
  • bwiabwia Member Posts: 2,913
    Just as you correctly diagnosed, the problem was the TCC switch or defective lockup solenoid. It was replaced by Batco of Norwood, Massachusetts, a small transmission shop at a total cost of $197.61. The bill looked like this:
    125C solenoid with converter $64.95
    3 quarts transmission fluid 9.00
    2 hours labor.............. 120.00

    I got estimates as high as $1,500 from AMMO, but the most common estimate was $500.
    According to Batco and some Internet sites, this is a very common problem with GM automatic transmission engines, but once the TCC solenoid converter is replaced the car should run just fine.

    Thanks guys all for your help. Now I have a dependable second car that I can use for dirty and unpleasant tasks.

  • dan1975dan1975 Member Posts: 5
    Oh great, a gear drive that comes apart at 100-120,000 miles. I have 97,500 on my car now. That sounds worse than a belt or a chain, less practical to fix at any rate.

    Thanks for the info anyways.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    I have only heard of one car that the gears went out on it. It had 195,000 miles on it, the guy just drove it to death, never changed the oil at proper time intervals, dogged the hell out of it. He had a local shop repair it for an extremely low price of $200, and then drove it another 6 months before selling it. I still see the car putting around town from time to time. Don't worry about it too much, just do the car a favor and change the oil regularly, and make sure it is topped off when it needs it. Happy motoring!
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