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GM 2.2 engine problems

scottygmc4x4scottygmc4x4 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????


  • 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 Oregon CoastPosts: 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 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 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 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?
  • 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 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 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 Posts: 23,490
    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 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.
  • 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 Posts: 23,490
    ...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.
  • 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 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 Posts: 390
    A glimmer of rememberance - I used to call my Morris/Austin Smokey Joe...........
  • 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 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 Posts: 759
    Have been produced for 20 yrs,started out as the 2.0 same basic engine.
  • 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 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 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 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 Posts: 1,521
    Is easily accessible from the top. Probably the easiest I have ever changed. I even use the oversize pf-52.
  • newcar31newcar31 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
This discussion has been closed.