GM 2.2 engine problems

scottygmc4x4scottygmc4x4 Member Posts: 20
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
Has any one out there had any problems with the GM 2.2 engine. Also does this engine use a timing belt or chain. My car runs very nice when the engine is hot but has a noise when cold below 30 F. It sounds to me like piston slap. Any help out there????


  • erkkilaerkkila Member Posts: 22
    That motor is nothing but cheap gm junk. Actually, you could probably call it gm's dream motor-cheap to build, not very durable and unbeleiveably expensive to repair.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    The 2.2 has a timing chain with a tensioner. Could be the tensioner is wore out, but it would be all the time, not just when it is hot.
    You have to determine the location of the noise. If it is rear, lower, check the torque converter bolts.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    The 2.2 has a very bad reputation, both in reliability and performance. I have driven two S-10s equipped with this engine, and it is completely gutless even on a flat road. I believe it can do 0-60 in about 16 seconds, give or take. If you want a reliable GM motor, go for the Chevy 350 V-8. You can't kill those things.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    True, but what do you expect for an OHV single cam engine. Actually in my experience the 2.2 is relatively reliable and trouble-free. I can name worse.
  • jpelderjpelder Member Posts: 235
    I hope this isn't about the GM 2.2 Ecotech engine. I just bought an Alero with one.

    I never heard of an S-10 with a 2.2L. I had a '92 with a 2.5 once. It performed ok. Is it an old S-10?
  • erkkilaerkkila Member Posts: 22
    this is about the POS motor they put in the s-10 and cavalier. I had a 95 Sonoma with that motor. What a nightmare!
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196
    '00 Chevy S10 Xtreme. 5 sp, reg cab. 0-60 in 11 sec. Chain driven. 8 months later i told Chevy to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. To avoid BUY BACK lemon law they exchanged it for a '00 C2500 3/4 ton. It seems the engine computer was at fault. The truck would stall every 8-10 miles on freeway. It began at 20,000 mi. Dlr could not fix stalling. Engine codes revealed the GM anti-theft device to be problem. Finally after 4 visits they gave up. Being the S10 had short throw shifter and close ratio steering with ZQ8 susp pkg. It handled very well, was responsive in traffic, but was gutless off the line. Limiter cut in at 94 mph. I think there is a DOHC version of this motor that does duty in the Saturn. 135 hp. GM powertrain website has the listings of all GM motors.

    Good luck and Happy New Year to all vehicle lovers
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    Best engine i have ever owned,have 2 right now,00 Cavalier and 99 Sonoma.Reliable and parts are cheap and the engine is easy to work on.The basic engine goes back to 1982,millions have been produced.Nobody would produce a bad engine for 20 yrs.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,313
    I think the 2.2 started getting used as the base engine when GM finally phased out the old Pontiac 2.5 "Iron Duke" (more recently known as the Tech-4 or something like that). The 2.5 was always kind of a dog, only putting out around 85-92 hp or so, but it had a bit more torque than the smaller engine back then, the Cavalier 2.0. The 2.0 got bumped to 2.2 liters sometime in the late 80's, and got a pretty big increase in hp, but not torque. It was around this time, I think, that they started using the 2.2 as the base engine in vehicles like the Century, Cutlass Ciera, S-10, etc.

    FWIW, I have a friend who once owned an '85 Cavalier with the 2.0. It was a dog, but that car did run to about 110K or so miles. It was finally done in by electrical problems.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    I'll quote from the GM service manual for the 2.2 engine.

    Knocks cold and continues for 2-3 minutes.

    1) Engine flywheel contacting splash shield - reposition splash shield.

    2) Loose or broken crankshaft balancer or drive pulleys. Tighten or replace as necessary.

    3) Excessive piston to bore clearance - replace piston.

    4)Cold piston knock which disappears in 1.5 minutes should be considered acceptable.

    Well, I've had good service out of my 2.2 engine in my 99 Cavalier with no problems at all. I also like the simplicity of the engine and how easy it is to work on.
  • erkkilaerkkila Member Posts: 22
    This is the best motor you have ever owned? I wonder what kind of junk you have owned in the past.p.s. I wonder how many car salesmen and dealership owners posing as private owners post messages declaring how good cheap garbage is.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,313
    ...I'd like to think that an '00 and a '99 model year car would have been mechanically trouble-free, at least this far in their lives! The only two cars I've ever had with what I'd consider premature engine problems were an '82 Cutlass Supreme 231 and an '89 Gran Fury 318. Both went out, coincidentally enough, at 73,000 miles. The 231 was junk by that time, which prompted me to unload the car. The 318 had a bad camshaft, but the engine had been replaced by an '88 318 just before I bought the car. 116,000 miles and no engine problems (carb problems are another story!)

    But back to the subject at hand...while the 2.2 isn't exactly a poster-child for quality or innovation, I'm sure if it was really truly horrible, GM would've been burned by it years ago and I'd hope they would've been intelligent enough to revise it or replace it.
  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399
    Anyone found the oil filter yet? - dealer wants $16-22 for the canister filter. I've called everyone in the phone book - no joy.

    This is in a 2002 Grand Am. 3000+ miles and no oil service light - just waiting for it to come on.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Yah well, the 2.2 might be junk but I've certainly had bigger junk then. All this raving about European car design is all very well and good but when you come down to the Opel and Renault and Fiat etc. type of car then just give me my Cavalier thank you very much. I've had the sorry experience of owning all of those wretched things and they were all a pain in the butt. Oops, forgot to mention those wretched British things. Morris.. shucks, my memory mercifully fails me.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    A glimmer of rememberance - I used to call my Morris/Austin Smokey Joe...........
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    Bob, when you get the oil filter for your Grand Am, ask for the current price. Friend owns an auto parts store and daughter has a 2002 Grand Am also. When GM first shipped the filters they were up there in price, but shortly after they revised the price down into the normal range. Also she got a note from the dealer about the oil capacity in the manual being wrong. I think the manual says around 6 but it should be 5.
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    You are entitled to your opinion,i owned or own 5 since 1987,have 2 now.Its a cheap engine to repair.BTW they have been produced since 1982,started out as the 2.0,same basic engine.If it is junk as you say and GM produced them for twenty years hats off to GM for fooling everyone.I love GM i know where they are coming from.I bet you have never had greasy hands,i think thats your problem.
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    Have been produced for 20 yrs,started out as the 2.0 same basic engine.
  • erkkilaerkkila Member Posts: 22
    For your information, I would like to tell you that I do get my hands greasy every day working as a tool and die maker building stamping dies ,mainly for GM, Ford and Chrysler. I also have lots of experience messing around with cars from having owned various GM POSs. The 95 Sonoma with the 2.2 was far and away the worst one. Problems included a blown head gasket and cracked head( a common problem and definitely not inexpensive), chronic stalling and hard starting problems caused by the awesome distributorless ignition system that GM's rocket scientist engineers put in it, valve clatter like you wouldn't believe with the engine either hot or cold, plus lots and lots more.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Well, I don't really want to get between you and joe3891's little lovers tiff here but, that same awesome GM distributorless ignition system has been around for some time now. It drove my brother-in-law's Buick Skylark with the 2.4 engine for nearly 200,000 miles with no problem. One important change has been made in the positioning of it in the 99 upwards Cavalier. It sits on the side of the engine in a cooler spot instead of at the back of the engine. Also, valve clatter is gone because the 2.2 engine has hydraulic lifters now.

    Blown head gaskets were usually caused by corrosion brought on by incorrect coolant. Using DexCool orange colored coolant seems to have helped in stopping blown head gaskets. So you see, even in these primitive engines there are some advances.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    I'm not a flag waving GM man and I've gotten screwed plenty. The 3.1 engines I used to think were pretty good have a fatal manifold leak flaw. But as far as the distributerless ignition system: they are extremely reliable except for the ignition wires. These Packard wires have been problems since the 40's. As far as 2.2 engine bashing-reminds me of my dad bashing Briggs engines. The two he owned outlived him.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Face it, by today's standards, these engines are crap. They excel at nothing. It's been around for 20 years huh? What does that tell you about GM? Not that 4 cyl cars in general sound good, but the 2.2L sounds horrible. Easy to work on? You shouldn't have to work on it. When that engine is in a current generation Cavalier/Sunfire with an automatic like most of them are, getting the oil filter is a real pain....and that's an understatement. If anything should be easy, it should be changing the oil filter. Easy to work on my butt. Just about every other small car out there is easier to the change oil on (which is about the extent of work most people would perform themselves). I don't care if Joe Schmo drove a cavalier to 200,000 miles with one of these engines. If anything, I feel bad for anyone who would have to drive a lump like that for 200,000 miles.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    Is easily accessible from the top. Probably the easiest I have ever changed. I even use the oversize pf-52.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Is your car an automatic current generation Cavalier/Sunfire 2.2L? If so, then B.S. It is not easy unless your arm is the diameter of a broomstick and you have an extra elbow. I've changed oil on *thousands* of cars and these things suck. Period. "Easily accessible" Funny. I used to cringe every time I saw one waiting for an oil change. They are so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if the filter gets skipped every once in a while by quicky lubes and dealerships.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Cool down sirs, the oil filter is indeed very easy to change on the current 2.2 engine with the 4sp automatic. It's done from the top. The secret is to have the right oil filter wrench and no, my arm is not as thin as a broomstick.

    Strange thing too, I normally do my own oil change but once I had to do it while away from home and took my car to the local quick lube joint. Well, the guy whipped out that oil filter so quickly that I had to double check to see if he had indeed changed it - he had.

    Yep, the car is easy to work on and ideal for shadetree mechanics like myself. Sparkplugs, alternator, starter, ignition system etc. are all easy to get at. Parts are cheap. I normally keep my cars for many years so that's what I'm looking for.

    Who cares what the car sounds like as long as it goes?
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    maybe they changed them. I remember scraping the heck out of my arm every time I did one of those. We had every possible kind of oil filter wrench you could have. I used the band wrench on it, while my arm was resting nicely between the hot intake manifold and the fire wall. If it was a factory filter, watch out. Your arm is not as thin as a broomstick, but do you have a third elbow? I'm curious, what kind of filter wrench do you use that makes it so easy? Cavalier/Sunfire auto 2.2Ls were always on my top 10 list as far as pain in the butt oil filters.

    Who cares about how a car sounds as long as it goes? I do.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    I use a Ritefit filter wrench. It fits over the end of the filter and for a driver I have ground the short end of a large allen wrench to fit snugly into the 3/8" drive hole. The whole assembly is then threaded down between the flexible power steering hoses and fitted over the end of the filter. I can't recall having to touch a hot intake manifold which in any case is made of composite material on the 99 and I presume models upwards.

    The secret is to make the removal tool as short as possible. When refitting the filter I also use the wrench to tighten it to specifications.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    If you don't have this filter wrench you don't have a filter wrench. It's spring loaded and the jaws expand when you slip it on. Has a 3/6" drive-very sturdy/rugged tool. The filter will usually jump off due to fright before you turn it!! You can't use it to tighten filter. K&N makes a band tool with a 3/8" drive which is also very good, but not as good as this one. I'm sure newcar is familiar with this one. They are available in non-chain auto stores, but you have to look. I guarantee you will be happy with it.

    Its tool#63600- Wait for the picture to load it may take a minute or so if you have a modum.

    Its also available here: for $3 less

  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    There you go! If you look at the illustrations 54700 - 54800 end cap filter wrenches, you'll see the filter wrench I use. I just put a large modified allen wrench in the drive hole.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    started out as a 1.8 in 1982, then went to 2.0 with fuel injection in 83. There were many initial complaints as to it's lack of power and this was increased to meet those complaints.
    Why such bloody hateful and rabid responses to other posters anyway? Their experience is different than what you have had so you flame them, erkila? Grow up.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Those are great filter wrenches and a must on some cars. We called those "claws". They still didn't do me any good with the Cav/Sunfires though. Obviously I didn't master the correct technique for removing those oil fitlers. I still don't like them. It's a shame too because with a couple of exceptions (older FWD full size 3.8L cars, older 3.8L regals, 2.8L 4x4 S10 trucks) GMs are easy to change oil on. Who cares about the 2.2L anyways, it's on it's way out finally. Even fans of the 2.2L (are there any?) won't miss it because there are better engines on their way from GM for the small cars.
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    I read all the oil filter replacement posts,it is easy if you use the right tools and go from the top.
    I didn't know about the pf52, a longer filter fitting that would work better.I wonder where its listed for the 2.2.
    I must be just lucky i have had very few problems with a 2.2 or the 2.0 but of course i keep my cars up.
    Every 30K i change the transmission oil & filter,fuel filter,air filter,coolant.
    I never met a 2.2 i didn't like.
    The 2.2 is just like the Corvette engine,pushrods.
    The 2.2 is going to remain as the base engine,the 2.2 ET will be an option
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    Full sized 3.8L hard to get to the filter?? About every other month I'm changing one on my 87 LeSabre. Just cut the wheel hard right, pull the splash shield out of the way and remove the filter. No wrench needed, I can remove and replce with hands only.

    I can even get my body under there to remove the drain plug without lifting the car.

    Granted, it's not as easy as my '79 Fairmont which could be done totally without getting under the car. Both filter and drain plug were accessible from above. But it's a pretty close second.

  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    I'm talking older than that. 85's stink. Yes, they are different than 87's. They aren't the hardest filter around, but they aren't easy either. On some FWD regal 3.8Ls, you can't even see the filter. You can only locate it by touch. OTOH, the new full size FWD GM 3.8L cars are about as easy as you can get, easier than your 87'.
  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399
    Arthur, thanks for the info and errata on the capacity! I understand from your post that the filter is shipping, but I still have not been able to locate one at Trak, Autozone, Pep Boys, NAPA, Carquest, or a local shop nearby. Any idea how long these things take to get in the pipeline, and/or an online vendor?
  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399
    In regards to the more salient discussion on this thread, I have a 97 cav and side somewhat with the agrieved that changing the filter on this car is not pleasant.

    I also found that after putting the car up on ramps, when DIY, as I am, you have to put the car in reverse, release the brakes and let the engine mounts settle or else the distance between the firewall and the power steering fill _is_ insufficient to remove the filter. Once or twice I actually had to 'toss' the filter through the space between the steering assembly and the firewall. This adds significantly to environmental unfriendliness of the process to say the least!

    That said, I also have a 92 cav with a 2.2, with 125K miles - and it's been good for us. Besides typical wear items, the alternator is the only component that has been replaced. On both the 92 and 97, the valve cover gaskets leak just enough oil to fill the well above the right-most spark plug. The 97 started doing this much earlier in life than the 92. I would be interested in anyone having experience/tips on replacing the valve cover gasket.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    The PF-47 is just a shorter version used on most GM vehicles. The PF-52 will work anywhere the PF-47 works. Just make sure there is clearance and allow for engine movement on the mounts.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    It's possible that on the 97 Cav it might be more difficult to change the oil filter. Looking at my Chilton's I see that the intake manifold is much larger on models of that era. On my 99 Cav the intake manifold has been drastically modified and is made out of a composite material. It also appears to be more compact than earlier models. Maybe this is where the salient difference lies? There IS more room to work in on newer models. Anyway, changing the oil filter on my model is no problem. I could easily fit a PF-52.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,313
    That number sounds familiar. Is that the filter that the Olds 307 uses, too?
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    Usee on all (as far as I know) passenger cars in GM vehicles since the early 80's. I know for sure late 80's Buicks, Olds of the 90's, Son's 2001 GrandAm. All 3.1's,3.4's, Cavalier 2.2's.,'82 Pontiac. -like I said the equal of PF-47/52. I've used both on each of the above with no ill effects. These filters do not have bypass valves GM uses a bypass valve at oil pump discharge. The filters do however have antidrainback valves. They are however not needed except for the 2.2 engine-horizontal mount.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    with the composite intake manifold???
    As to "who cares" about the 2.2? Well; with 4 million Cavaliers out there and additional S10s and Jimmys,Corsicas,Berettas,Centurys,Cieras and Sunfires, and since this IS the "Maintenance and Repair" forum and one or two people out there might have a question about that engine [or it's earlier incarnations as the original 1.8 and subsequent 2.0]the answer ought to be obvious.
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196
    Could not fit the PF52 on my '00 Xtreme S10 2.2. Too long. Was able to install on wife's
    3.4L Aztek GT. Dealer refused to install PF-52 after replacing oil pan gasket due to liability. WHAT LIABILITY?? As soon as i got it home, i dumped the DINO oil and put in M1 with PF-52.
    You get extra oil filtering capacity and 1/2 qt more oil to better lubricate engine.

    Would have kept Xtreme if it wasn't for faulty engine computer.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    I've been going for 3 years now with the composite intake manifold and I can report no problems. A search through AllData also reveals no problems with the new manifold.
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    Try to find the part number and locate local retailers and call them, if they do not have it, they maybe able to order. They do not come in a case, so should be able to order. Good Luck.
  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399
    After going to the AC Delco web site, I was able to look up the part number that was in the owner's manual- apparently it's not an e-commerce site because I couldn't find the check out button.

    Anyway, I then called the nearest autozone and pep boys based upon the zipcode lookup on the web site. Nobody had it and said they COULD NOT even order it, and I think Pep Boys still doesn't have the car in the database yet.

    I then called the 800 number for AC Delco. They were able to refer me to an engine repair shop that is much closer to me than the national stores returned by the lookup engine on the web site.

    I called there, he checked around and called me back in 5 minutes to say he could have it later today. I offered to pick it up in the AM - $11.75. The Pontiac dealer 13 mi away had the same story 3 weeks ago, but the cost was at least $16. So, there must be a wholesale warehouse around here somewhere.

    Anyway, quite an ordeal for something so simple, but thanks for the idea to go back to AC Delco! The gentleman I spoke with by calling the 800# was helpful, diligent and empathetic.
  • scottygmc4x4scottygmc4x4 Member Posts: 20
    Again thanks for the info on the 2.2.
  • mrysuemrysue Member Posts: 1
    We have a 1996 Corsica. This is the third time that we have had to replace a water pump and/or head gasket in the car. We know that GM fixes these problems on the Cavaliers but has refused to help us. Anyone else with the same problems and any advice (Besides getting rid of it ASAP??) Thanks...
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    ...but something made me take a look at this thread. Maybe I will just not let the $2002 rebate on the Olds Alero pull me in. I was attracted to the "base" model with the 2.2L 4 cylinder engine. My skepticism is elevated by what I have read here-- thanks to all of you that have contributed! My experience with the dealership 48 hours ago was almost unbearable, anyway. (:oÞ
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    The 2.2 in the Alero is not related to the engines that the posts have complained about.
This discussion has been closed.