30 Oct Cadillac CTS4 Timing Chain Replacement
Is about an hour once every six months to much to ask when it comes to the reliability of your engine? The outcome of not changing your oil every 3,000 to 7,500 miles determines the difference between a $65 charge and a $3,000 engine replacement down the line. Today we look at an example of the later, that by doing regular full synthetic oil changes, could have possibly saved the potential headache associated with a costly Cadillac CTS4 timing chain repair.
In 2008 Cadillac released the updated CTS model a successor to the first generation originally introduced in 2002. The base model was equipped with a 3.6 Liter V6 gasoline engine dubbed the LY7. This engine was used in the Cadillac CTS, STS, SRX, and various other GM vehicles like the GMC Acadia. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent owners, they have regular issues with timing chains, needing replacement. Over time the stress of moving the engines valvetrain and the variable hydraulic camshaft adjusters stretches the metal of the chains. This causes various camshaft position performance problems, including P0008. This stretching is expedited when an owner refuses to do regular maintenance: the added resistance of the sludge varnishing from long intervals without an oil change add to the resistance that eventually stretches the chain.
This 2009 Cadillac CTS4 came in with the customer complaining of the check engine light on. Our auto mechanics performed a series of diagnostic tests which included a scan of the engine’s computer. The codes causing the check engine light included the p0008 code, engine camshaft position performance bank 1. Experiencing problems like this regularly, our trained mechanic began a careful examination. Our inspection revealed the timing chain was stretched and as evident from the amount of sludge and varnishing, that this customer was pushing the mileage between oil changes. This can be caused by the chain skipping position, or more commonly a stretched timing chain.
The timing chain is made up of a series of links in much the same manner of the links in a bicycle chain. These links are driven by the reciprocal movement of the crankshaft and move a toothed gear wheel located inside the front of the motor called the timing case. These gear wheels are linked via this chain and keep the crankshaft and camshaft “timed” in order to precisely open the opening and closing valves in the cylinder. A timing chain can fail in a multitude of ways, but stretching is most common, especially amongst those waiting too long in between oil changes. The timing chain requires oil in order to operate smoothly. If the oil becomes to thin it loses its ability to lubricate the chain properly, which causes the chain to experience higher friction and heat down at an increased level. Most often, a stretched timing chain on the LY7 3.6 V6 engine will result in p0018 and p0008. This will eventually progress into loud noises such as loud clacking or ticking, and possibly catastrophic engine failure. This is why it is critical to take care of the issue before it progresses. Some customers who are aware of the issue even choose to take care of the job proactively, replacing the timing chain at 70k miles, even with no symptoms or faults present.
Changing the oil regularly minimizes the wear and tear, the metallic surfaces inside your engine, and ensures the additives packages are protecting from corrosion and acidic breakdown of vital seals, surfaces and components. Another great thing about being Routine in your vehicle’s oil maintenance is having an experienced Mechanic monitoring the health of your vehicle. Having the car up in the air for our famous $65 oil change and inspection special allows a perfect opportunity to inspect for faulty or failing components and assess the longevity of vehicle parts. The Skilled Mechanics here at Fluid MotorUnion determine what parts need to be replaced now and the ones that can wait. Had this customer been performing routine oil changes with Fluid MotorUnion, our highly trained auto mechanics might have been able to catch the issue before the rough idling began.
This is a job best left to professionals as special Cam holding plate tools and a bit of finesse are required to get the alignment just right. The timing consists of 3 chains, one to each cylinder head and a central chain that connects those two to the crankshaft and has to be set in a two-step process. This can happen at any time from 6000 miles and above but is most common on those cars with neglected oil maintenance.
So if you have put more time than is recommended in between oil changes, if your mechanic says your timing chain needs to be replaced, it is due to small metal shards being in your oil after they have drained it. Waiting longer than the recommended 3,000 and 6,000 miles causes the oil to separate and becomes exposed to natural solvents from the gasoline.
If you have a higher mileage vehicle such as this 2009 Cadillac CTS4 with almost 100,000 miles on it, hopefully, you have been regularly changing your oil. Whether you are dealing with the P0018 or P0008 codes or not, you may want to get ahead of this potentially engine ending issue. Reach out to us to find out more about replacing your timing chain before it has the opportunity to stretch, lose its timing and cause damage that could lead to the replacement of your engine. Call us today to set up an appointment today (630)305-3054 or email Blog@fluidmotorunion.com