Dirty engine oil in a 2015 2.4 Ecotec with 40k miles - TerrainForum.net: GMC Terrain Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2019, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Dirty engine oil in a 2015 2.4 Ecotec with 40k miles

Hello! I recently replaced my Cobalt 04 with a 2015 Chevy Equinox with the 2.4 Ecotec and AWD - huge difference!

The Equinox has a little over 40k miles on it and everything looks like new. The only issue is that when I did the oil change ( second day after purchase ) the oil was black and thick, all 5 quarts of it...

I replaced the oil with 5w30 Valvoline synthetic dexos and a high quality oil filter.

I know the ecotec is known to have some issues with the timing chain tensioner when the engine is run with dirty oil.

The only way to tell if the timing chain is loose from my understanding (without taking the engine apart) is to listen the engine while starting when cold - it does make a bunch of noise when is starting cold but I can't tell if it's normal or if it's an issue...

The car doesn't have any OBD codes or pending codes for that matter.

My question is, should I be worried about the timing chain ? Are there going to be some signs if it's on it's way out? Should I do anything else than keeping an eye on the fluids and change the oil sooner?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 08:44 AM
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Yes, engine oil does get black with use. No indication if it is bad. The oil is just doing it;s job containing combustion by products.
Questions other readers. might have: - -
Did you buy it from a GM dealer or private party?
Do you have a CarFax on it?
Did it come with any copies of maintenance records?


The 2.4L had a few issues - -

High Pressure Fuel Pump which diluted the engine oil. Check your oil every week of even every few days since you just bought it to tell if oil is being consumed.
The Timing Chain and guides will wear if the oil is diluted by the above.
Weak piston rings that wear prematurely.

If you live in a very cold winter climate with temps in single or minus digits, you may want to get or make a pressure relief oil filler cap. Threads here on those caps.
That is the biggest issue for any 2.4L as a frozen PCV valve may cause the pressure to blow out the crankshaft main seal and seize the engine.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 12:43 PM
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op. the chevy cobalt and your new 2.4 suv were both HORRIBLE vehicle purchase decisions. I would suggest you really start researching vehicles before you buy them. I am going to predict you just purchased someone elses problems with the 2015 2.4, and i m sorry for your expensive mistake if my prediction holds true. If the oil was "thick" as you claim i would guess that the dealer or previous owner added a thickening product (lucas or something) to try and mask the amount of oil the engine is burning. the oil may then have turned black because its flow properties have been changed and the oil got dirty and or got "worn" out faster than normal. 5w-30 oil is never "thick" in my expereince, normally rather watery.

good luck with the vehicle, i would of personally never bought it, being an owner of one myself.

make sure you drain and fill your transmission soon and if you live in a climate that gets below 40 degrees or so in the winter, buy the cfm oil breather cap to protect your engine. good luck, read through these forums

also if you are approaching 40k miles soon i d recommend changing out the rear and front differential fluids. i personally use amsoil severe gear and it has beening working wonderfully.

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Last edited by adidas6804444; 02-26-2019 at 12:49 PM.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 01:31 PM
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the key word here is 'thick'.


my definition of thick- may not be your definition.


not having video of it--- the best we can do is tell you to change the oil again soon.
The oil you just changed, Id change again in maybe 1000 miles. To allow it to mix with what was leftover and do a little detergent cleaning.


If you still have that oil-- maybe you want to send it to get analyzed? $35 or so.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys! I appreciate the input. I still have the old oil in a container so I could take a video of it and share it with you - maybe one of this days. The car was purchased from a local independent used cars dealer and no maintenance records. Carfax mentioned an accident to but the price was decent, and the car looked clean - I hoped the low miles would mean that I don't have to worry to much about the engine.

My main concern was / is the thickness of the oil - I always changed my own oil and I never seen it so thick. I do plan to change it again in 1k mile. I will note that I got 5 quarts of black thick oil out of it so it was not burning through that...

The good news so far; it doesn't seem to burn through any oil and the coolant is clean, and no OBD codes. It starts really smooth to! I guess the battery was low and that's why the engine was a bit loud while starting.

I see the venting oil cap goes for $80 ? That's an expensive cap...

Last edited by chips90; 02-26-2019 at 11:21 PM.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 07:28 AM
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Personally speaking, I don't agree that the cobalt and equinox were horrible purchases. I had both as well (mine was a Terrain 4 Cylinder) and they ran perfectly fine for me for MANY miles. In fact, I just traded in my 2012 FWD SLE Terrain with 102k miles on a 2015 SLT AWD. No major issues on my 2012. Between those 2 vehicle I had only 220k miles of no major issues.

One suggestion I highly recommend is do NOT follow the oil life monitor. In my opinion, the key to lowering risk of any 2.4L Ecotec failure is to maintain fresh oil. I think the oil life monitor allows around 7500 miles per change. I would suggest 4000 mile intervals. This will reduce moisture in the oil that contributes to the rear main seal leaks and keeps the timing chains / VVT solenoids functioning correctly. That is just my opinion. I followed this type of oil change interval and didn't have any issues.

I am not saying you won't have issues as every purchase has its risks. However, I do think more frequent oil changes will reduce those risks of failure.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 01:52 PM
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I have a 2015 Equinox LT with the 2.4 in it. It has 80000 miles on it. It is in the shop right now for jumping time. Bad tensioner. It is costing me 18;000 to repair. I purchased this car new.i have changed the oil every 3000 miles at the Chevy dealership using the blended oil GM demands. Thatís 2000 less miles than is recommenced oil change. This should never happen. I will never buy another car with this engine
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 02:18 PM
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The repair should be free.

Powertrain warranty is 5 years / 100k miles

If your dealer is charging you for this repair, I would try another.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Ok you guys! I just realised that the engine was cold when I did the oil change. I never warm it up before and the car was not driven that day... Most likely the oil seemed so thick because was so cold... Everything is good so far. How about that rear and front differential? Should I really replace it at 40k miles? I thought the time for that will be around 60k.

BTW I to was very happy with the Cobalt (2.0 ecotec)! Bought it in 2012 with 60k, and this year it had a bit over 100k. I managed to do all service work and repairs by myself for cheap and the car was great on gas. Sadly, I got into an accident with a semi truck this year and the car got totaled - me and my kid got out of it without a scratch though.

Hopefully with some extra care the Equinox will have a good life to...

Last edited by chips90; 02-28-2019 at 10:30 PM.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 07:17 AM
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Sounds like you are good with tools.

It's up to you if you want to swap the rear diff fluid. I just picked up a used 2015 SLT AWD terrain. It only has 38k miles on it, but I don't know its driving history (was it used for towing, etc.). I am going to swap out the rear diff fluid this spring to be on the safe side when I am around 42k miles. From what I can tell the process if very simple and materials are less than $50. Seems cheap insurance for me.

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