View Full Version : [SOLVED] 2.2 Ecotec burning oil, help with isolation

10-09-2010, 07:34 PM
Before I corrected the PCV system (which was putting oil into the intake through the breather) I thought blue smoke in my exhaust was coming in through the air intake. After I cleared out the port in the intake manifold itself, the problem was corrected, but I am still burning oil during quick acceleration. I never see smoke unless I am flooring it. I'm going to autozone tomorrow to get a cylinder pressure leak test kit, but I've found more information I'm not sure is helpful or not in diagnosing my problem.
A GM bulletin states if my valve cover doesn't have "heat stakes" I should replace the valve cover with a new one. I've checked my valve cover, while I have the larger indentations the holes with the arrows pointing to them are sitting in, I don't have the actual heat stakes. http://www.chevelles.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=13079&d=1206889899

Does anyone know about these things, and whether they can be causing my problem? And does anyone have any other tests I could do to find out where this oil is coming from?

Blue Smoke and Oil Consumption On
2004-2005 GM 2.2L Ecotec VIN D & F Engines
The AERA Technical Committee offers the following information regarding blue smoke or oil consumption for 2004-2005 GM 2.2L Ecotec VIN D & F engines. Some drivers have commented on excessive oil consumption or blue smoke on acceleration. Reports have been made of a quart of more of oil loss within 2000 (3200 km) span.
The cause of these conditions may be an incorrect sizing of the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) orifice and/or misalignment of the oil baffle in the cam cover. If one of these conditions exists, higher than desired amounts of oil may enter into the combustion chambers.
To determine if these conditions are the possible cause of oil consumption or blue smoke during acceleration inspection of the cam cover and intake manifold is necessary.
Camshaft Cover
Remove the camshaft cover and inspect it for the heat stake marks shown at the arrow locations in Figure 1.
Important Note: The oil fill tube Part #12589431 must be replaced along with the camshaft cover Part #24426069 for the following models: 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac Pursuit and Saturn ION.
Figure 1.
For all other models, if the heat stake marks are not present, replace the camshaft cover with a new one Part #24426069.
If the heat stake marks are present, re-install the cam cover with a new gasket Part #12584084 using the appropriate SI installation procedures.

Intake Manifold
Remove the intake manifold.
Obtain a 5/64" (2.0mm) drill bit and attempt to insert the chuck end into the PCV orifice opening shown by the arrow in Figure 2. The orifice is slightly below the casting surface.
If the drill bit chuck end can be inserted into the opening, replacement of the intake manifold Part #12587202 is necessary.
If the chuck end of the drill bit cannot be inserted, install new intake manifold gaskets Part # 24455112 (4 required) and re-install the manifold using the appropriate SI procedures.
Figure 2.
Parts Listing in Diagram Tab
GM's Bulletin Notice

It ended up being my oil control rings, which were gunked up with carbon deposits from the previous driver. Read the thread for pics etc.
You can use these troubleshooting steps:

1. I had blue smoke out my exhaust when I accelerated hard, and more when the car was shifting while accelerating hard.
2. No smoke on startup.
3. Putting a piece of paper up to the tail pipe, and pressing on the accelerator I found fuel/oil coming out onto the paper.

Run a compression test and a leakdown test. You can have bad oil control rings but still have good compression.

10-10-2010, 12:29 PM
A quick update. I removed my manifold today and took some pictures. It appears that the inner orifice is missing in some places, making it unable to fit a 5/64 bit drive in, but still a bigger space than if it were a complete ring, if that makes sense..








The inside of the air intake, which I had cleaned out 2 weeks ago, is completely covered in oil. When I took the intake off, the gaskets had a lot of oil on them and inside where the gasket would normally seal. Oil was on head of the engine where the gaskets came off.


10-11-2010, 06:19 PM
So, do you think it's just the fact that it doesn't have the heat stakes?

10-30-2010, 02:55 PM
I thought that was it, but it's not. I replaced both the valve cover and the intake manifold, the problem is still present. I drove to from Indianapolis to Dayton to Detroit and back, had only 2.5 quarts of oil left after I started at 5. I did a compression test today, I got 175-180 lb/in squared readings on all of the combustion chambers, which leads me to think the valve guides are worn.. But how can I leak oil that fast and not see any coming out the exhaust?

10-30-2010, 04:27 PM
How do your plugs look? 02GrandAm had a couple that were nearly fouled if I recall correctly.

Normally if it has something to do with the valve seals/guides the smoke will be more prevalent upon startup due to oil puddling on the back of the valves.

I'm interested to see what the cause of this is because it's sort of an odd occurance and nobody has torn a motor down to figure it out that I know of.

10-30-2010, 05:22 PM
I worked on a fiero once that leaked oil real bad and had compression upon taking the motor apart we found that the only reason it was reading enough compression is due to the amount of oil it had in the cylenders.

10-30-2010, 11:08 PM
The plugs look great. When I bought the car used it had 150k miles on it. The spark plugs were in horrible shape, misfires etc, because they had never been replaced. They did NOT have oil or any signs of oil on them. After I replaced them it ran and still runs great. When I did the compression test today the spark plugs looked fine also.
The _only_ time I get smoke out the exhaust is when I WOT from a dead stop. I'll get some smoke right at the beginning, and when it shifts into second. Other than that I _never_ see smoke out the back, which is why I'm stumped.. I've never gotten smoke on startup that I'm aware of.
I'm looking into a local machine shop that does engine re-work to see if they have any ideas and to get a price estimate on messing with the head.

10-31-2010, 03:10 PM
Around about how much oil are you burning? It could be similar to mine, in the fact that it began to burn a small amount of oil with minimal signs out the exhaust (Over 4K RPM) and just gets worse over time (over 3K RPM, then over 2.5K, then over 2K, ect) and consumes more oil. I started out with a quart per tank of gas (~500KM) and right now I'm at a gallon per tank. I'm still looking for a motor to swap in, and won't be able to perform a tear-down until then to actually see what the hell is causing it.

11-07-2010, 12:22 AM
I'm burning around 2 quarts every 3 tanks of gas I think. I talked to a machine shop owner my friend (a collector/restorer of old mowers, military vehicles, etc) uses, he said 90% of the time doing work to the head will cause more problems than it'll solve in an engine with over 100,000 miles on it. I'm not too sure how much worse the problem can get compared to what I have now though.

AY1 redline
11-08-2010, 04:06 PM
I bet it's your PCV did you replace that with the manifold? How is your PCV even set up? Because when you said the only time you got a lot of oil was at full throttle from a dead stop that threw a flag to me. At the instant you went WOT there was a massive amount of vacuum in your intake manifold and the engine was pulling air from anywhere it could get it, and a place to get it could in this case be your crankcase which contains oil.

11-13-2010, 11:40 PM
I replaced the valve cover and the intake manifold, both ends of the PCV system.

04-11-2011, 11:28 AM
Alright back again. Still burning oil. Can I get suggestions on replacing the head? I was considering taking it to a shop to have the valve guides redone, but there is a shop on eBay selling a re-manufactured head with cams and everything for $375 shipped. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/GM-CHEVY-CAVALIER-COBALT-2-2-ECOTEC-CYLINDER-HEAD-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem255d7f5bceQQitemZ16048 2417614QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccesso ries

EDIT: Head and new head gasket purchased, I'll be taking the head off this weekend. Any suggestions on other parts to replace while I have the head off?

04-11-2011, 11:04 PM
Timing chain tensioner.

04-12-2011, 04:13 AM
Noted.. Apparently the 2.2 has had some design changes, should I knock these out as well? http://www.enginebuildermag.com/Article/79542/revised_timing_chain_and_service_procedures_for_gm _22l_l61_ecotec.aspx
Is the front engine cover accessible without taking the motor out of the car? I was looking it appears if i jack the engine up then remove the mount I might be able to access it..

04-12-2011, 02:46 PM
Yes. Not too tough of a task at all.

04-12-2011, 03:41 PM
its easy access you dont even need to lower the car to get to all timing cover bolts. just pull the pulley and tensioner. When pulling the head.
0. Drain coolant and oil, pull off any hoses that connect to the head.
1.obviously unbolt the valve cover.
2.pull intake and exhaust manifold...easy
3. pull fuel rail and power steering pump...everything easily lays around the motor.
4. un bolt timing chain tensioner.
5. unbolt cam gears.... (these are TTY i would get new ones if possible)
6. unbolt head studs.(these are TTY i would get new ones if possible)
7.now there are 4 little bolts on the timing side they are inverted torx i think E12 is the size, 3 are easy to get to but the 4th is under a chain guide. You have to jack the motor, unbolt the mount, and use an allen to pop off a cover, inside is a 10 mm bolt that holds on the chain guide down. Once unbolted then you can lift the chain guide out of the way to unbolt the inverted torx.
8.now you should be able to pop the head off.
9.pull of old head gasket. make sure all surface areas are clean.

And just go the opposite. of steps shown and put the car in time line up cams at 10 and 2....then your crank should be at 5 the first piston is at the top. pull plug one and check. line up the blue mark on the intake cam and the closest red mark on the exhaust the farthest away of the marks is the crank mark it is red as well.

putting in the timing chain tensioner, you have to re compress it if its the old style the new style you have to do nothing with. but if you have the old style compress it back. take a socket extension and in between the 2 cam gears from the top you have to hit the chain that rest on the tensioner guide to decompress it. its hard to tell if it decompresses so double check down by the crank if its a bit tight. It will not be tight all the way yet. make sure your cams are tightened down, also the cams only go in a certain way the cam gear notch is not centered so they only go on a certain way. Once everything is on and a bit tight, turn over the crank a few, rotate the crank and the cams should rotate as well, not to fast or it could jump time. now while rotating you may see a bit of a valley between the cams. This is because oil pressure takes over the rest of the tension on the timing chain tensioner. So before starting pull off icm and fuel pump relay, crank the car over for 20 sec to build oil pressure. plug it all up and give it hell.

This is how I did it so hope it help.

NOTE: I will not be responsible if you blow up your car, Just trying to help :)
Cam gear bolts and head studs torque specs are 65 ft lbs. 15 degrees...........just torque to 70 :)

When seating the new head on make sure its flush with the block there are 2 guides on each side of the head where the 2 front end head studs go.

Make sure it doesn't jump time you will not know if you rotate the crank. It takes over 200 times to get the marks lined back up. Be careful.

If mods or other people want to throw things in please feel free you all no im a moron ;)

04-12-2011, 04:13 PM
WOW! Thanks a lot L61Turbo. I'm not sure if I have the new or old style tensioner presently in my car. I will be picking up some new head studs. If I purchase my tensioner from AutoZone will it be the new style or not? Also is it worth while to replace the timing chain itself? I realize it's metal and isn't prone to breaking. Anything else I should pay particular attention to for wear? I've got the factory service manual but it says to check everything :P

04-12-2011, 04:39 PM
you are welcome hit the thanks button ^ :) btw heres a pics of the of the different style tensioners.

from Travis (blackbirdracing)
old is left new style is right...yours is probably old style.
Im pretty sure its new style from autozone......also not sure if they will sell you may have to go to rockauto.com or GM directly.

04-12-2011, 04:54 PM
Autozone says they do carry the tensioner, I'll go over there this week and take a look see if it's the new or the old. You've been a wealth of information L61turbo, this whole forum is great!

04-12-2011, 05:10 PM
Thank you for the feedback yes this forum has been very helpful to me as well. Glad to know they have it. Let us know if there is anything else you need.

04-14-2011, 04:10 PM
Replaced the timing chain tensioner today with AC Delco # 12608580 (new style tensioner), car was noticeably quieter on startup and idle. Waiting on the head to arrive then tear down will commence.

04-14-2011, 07:05 PM
sounds good keep us posted

04-15-2011, 10:03 PM
Alright I replaced the timing chain tensioner yesterday, noticed a substantial less noisy startup with the chain being tensioned properly. Other than that the ride is the same (expected).

The replacement head will be in on Tuesday, I current have the coolant and oil drained, the intake and exhaust manifolds removed, power steering and fuel rail removed, valve cover removed. Tomorrow I'll start working on getting the timing chain cover off.

04-16-2011, 08:20 PM
I can't seem to get the head bolts out. I was using a breaker bar with a pipe on the end, I trimmed some of the corners off of the points on one of the bolts.. Help? I am also having trouble with the chain guide "plug", I can't seem to get to it, and all of my allen keys are hardened, try to cut them got me nowhere. If I jack up the motor and take the motor mount off, can I raise the cam gear side of the engine enough to be able to take out the bolts going into the block?

04-17-2011, 01:36 PM
Alright, just stuck with it and got everything disassembled this morning. I removed the motor mount, and then raised the engine with my floor jack to the point where I could get the two bolts going into the engine with a ratchet. After I removed that I was able to freely get at the plug cover with my allen key. Still took two people and a pipe to get it off. Holy cow it was on tight.

I've taken some pictures for your viewing pleasure.







The water jacket was all intact and there was no visible scoring on the cylinder walls or block head.
I have a couple studs on the exhaust manifold side I can't get to come out.. Do I need to remove the carbon build-up on the piston heads or is that not a big deal?
There was also some play in the valves that were in the open position. Is this normal? Could this show valve guide wear?

04-20-2011, 10:03 PM
Finished replacing the head today. Fired it up, had a check engine light and smoked for a while as it burned off all the chemicals we used. Check engine light went away after ~15 minutes idling, took it for a short cruise, nice and smooth ride. Topped off all the fluids, will check daily for changes and see how my car is consuming oil now. FYI I got my head through this shop http://myworld.ebay.com/ebaymotors/odessa*cylinderhead


Two questions:

Do I need to break in a new head? I drive 50 miles total in work commute each day on the interstate.
I have ONE extra bolt, and I have NO idea where it came from. It is the same size as the one that goes in the timing chain cover hole for the water pump, and the one that goes in the driver side middle of the oil pan. Can anyone assist?

04-21-2011, 01:53 AM
The bottom end of that motor is not good looking, LOTS of carbon build up.
Hope the head fixes the oil consumption, other wise I would be looking to the oil control rings.

04-21-2011, 10:14 AM
ok well i have had this same issue, i had a spare head to put on the car thinking it was a bad valve seal on the current head. i put my spare on and it still burns oil. The car does not leak a drop. Therefore it must be blow by on the oil rings. That is all

04-21-2011, 03:34 PM
If it were blow by on the rings, wouldn't my spark plugs be oil fouled? The old ones I took out yesterday had the standard "white smoke/snow" look to them, as if they were aging normally.. I'm contemplating pull a piston out and looking at the oil ring. Is it possible to take them out through the bottom, without pulling the head off?

EDIT: I'm reading if your oil rings are failing you will constantly get smoke out the exhaust. I took the car for a spin today, and upon quick acceleration, a cloud of smoke came out only when it was shifting to the next gear... :(

L61 did you experience a problem similar to this, a plume (enough to be embarrassed if someone was behind you) only when shifting gears. If you did, did replacing the oil rings solve the issue? I REALLY want to get this problem solved, the old "just put oil in it til it dies" line I keep reading on google is getting old. It HAS to be going SOMEWHERE!?

04-21-2011, 11:59 PM
Plug reading is a good diagnostic tool but it will not always point out the problem loud and clear.
You have to take the piston out through the top and install it that way too.

04-22-2011, 04:59 PM
Is it possible to take them out through the bottom, without pulling the head off?

Yes its possible but it would be way more worth it from the top. you dont want to pull that girdle and crank down unless you absolutely have to ...pull the head off.

04-22-2011, 05:56 PM
Alright L61. There was no cross-hatching on the cylinder walls. If I replace the rings, should I get a honing tool? http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Tools-Garage-and-Equipment/Engine-Cylinder-Hone/_/N-25qi

04-23-2011, 06:42 PM
I put a piece of paper behind the exhaust today in the garage. I had someone press the gas while I held the paper in place, turns out I am also running very rich now too with all the black smoke / liquid coming out of the exhaust..

04-26-2011, 05:04 PM
Yes, rehone for sure. Not too much; not too little.

Lots of buildup everywhere in that unit. Have you inspected the cat/muffler?

04-26-2011, 05:06 PM
L61 did you experience a problem similar to this, a plume (enough to be embarrassed if someone was behind you) only when shifting gears. If you did, did replacing the oil rings solve the issue? I REALLY want to get this problem solved, the old "just put oil in it til it dies" line I keep reading on google is getting old. It HAS to be going SOMEWHERE!?

I do experience this i could sit stopped in neutral and rev to like 4500 and huge cloud rolls out. dont see a cloud much at 3000 and doing 80 lol. I agree about oil having to go somewhere my plan is to sell the car. For now i will keep putting oil in it and Lucas oil treatment every so often.

04-26-2011, 05:12 PM
and if i have to go spend 400 on a decent motor i will.

04-26-2011, 10:36 PM
Took the pistons out today, had some shocking surprises.

The connecting rod bearing was scored and out of round, like it had been run dry on oil. Somehow it doesn't appear to have affected the crank bearing journal?


What would anyone say for these pistons? There was quite a bit of oil carbon gunk built up in the control rings. What causes a control ring to stop working?

04-29-2011, 10:24 PM
Took the pistons through a parts cleaner, nice and semi-shiny now. Everything was in spec, so I reused the pistons. New rings and new connecting rod bearings. Timing is complete the rest tomorrow.

04-30-2011, 08:50 PM
I replaced the piston rings, connecting rod bearings, cleaned out the fuel injectors with some pressurized carb cleaner and a 12 volt momentary switch. I put everything back together but now the car won't start. The fuel rail is getting pressue, the sparks are occuring, and i double checked my timing marks before i put everything back together.. Can someone help? :)

04-30-2011, 09:10 PM
did you gap the rings. does it turn over but no fire?

04-30-2011, 09:22 PM
The rings came gapped within spec. It's turning over with no fire. I took the plugs out, covered in fuel, put 3 droppers full of oil in each piston and checked compression, only getting 90 pounds.. It should still be firing through, right? Just burning oil until the rings seat?

04-30-2011, 11:10 PM
Figured it out. If you do timing with someone, make sure they know what they are doing >.>

lined up my crankshaft at 5 o'clock and got two pretty INT markers on the camshafts, SIGHHHHHHHHHH I'll put it together tomorrow morning and post back :)

05-01-2011, 12:08 AM
rings dont come pregapped...not that i know of. But ya make sure timing is right......INT at 2 and EXH at 10 crank at 5.. if you pull the plug on cyl 1 if its at top then it should be close to 5.

05-01-2011, 01:12 PM
Got the timing corrected and it fired right up. Took it for a quick drive to return some parts to Autozone, no smoke out the exhaust! I'll keep an eye on the oil and post my results in a few days.

05-02-2011, 12:51 AM
Good to see you got it conquered.

05-04-2011, 10:15 PM
About 150 miles in, still full on my dipstick, and no smoke out my exhaust :).

I am having an issue with my coolant though. I've been running hot yesterday and today. I drained the coolant by pulling the rad plug out, then filled it up and let it run for a few minutes. I've jacked it up, let it run, cool down, ran back up to temp again, no bubbles or changes in coolant level. I am getting hot air out of my heater, but it's still running hot. It will get up to the next large mark past 195.. Ever since I've owned the car it runs one small notch below 195.. :( any ideas?

05-04-2011, 10:45 PM
im just curious why you didnt have to gap your rings lol

05-04-2011, 11:00 PM
I placed them in the cylinders, pushed them down with a piston to a few different depths, and all of the gaps with my feeler gauge were in spec with the service manual.

05-05-2011, 12:50 AM
Jarrod, I'm guessing he bought GM rings as opposed to aftermarket.

Thermostadt in backwards? Not even sure if that's possible......

05-05-2011, 10:02 PM
After a few times jacking the front end up, running it, squeezing the coolant lines, and driving it around I've managed to get it to stay between 195 and the notch directly below it on the gauge. Checked again today still full on the dipstick. me = happy camper.

now onto the NEXT project, swapping out the 4 speed automatic for a 5 speed manual! (not sure this is even possible though).

05-05-2011, 10:30 PM
Good to see the fix was simple.

F23 swap has been done, and from what I recall isn't that tough.

05-06-2011, 08:23 AM
Jarrod, I'm guessing he bought GM rings as opposed to aftermarket.

that would explain it lol.

05-07-2011, 02:09 PM
Over 400 miles since the work was done, still 4 marks on my dip stick, and 30.3 MPG, including a lot of acceleration (get so excited to not seeing smoke in my exhaust :)).