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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm trying to help my son and daughter-in-law get their 2011 Equinox (original LAF engine) back on the road - it succumbed to the dreaded "Oil Consumption and Timing Chain" engine failure after a long drive at Christmas. Their Equinox has about 150k miles on it.

I was able to inexpensively source another 2.4L, this time an LEA-code engine, with about 103k miles on it from a 2013 Verano that was totaled after it was hit in the passenger rear door.

I'll post my progress on the engine swap here, but I'd appreciate any BTDT advice. I've been lurking around the forum here trying to gather information on the 2.4L engines and their failure. For now, my goal is just to get their Equinox back on the road. I plan to go through and replace the timing chain and guides before installing the donor motor, and I'll check for the clogged PCV orifice, too.

Here is the donor motor coming out of the Verano. I had to remove the A/C compressor to get enough clearance to angle the engine/trans out the top of the engine bay.



The build date of the Verano is Aug-2012, so from what I've read in other posts this may not actually have the better piston rings and may still have oil consumption issues :( I can only hope that the engine was at least running when the car was hit and totaled.
 

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With all of the apprehension, and ifs, I hope you got the engine cheap !
 
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Your swap should be very straight forward. I believe the throttle body will need to be swapped on to the LEA engine for it to work. Might be a good idea to check which intake cam and intake cam phaser the old LAF engine had, as there are two versions. ( 2011 LAF engine should be the same as a 2013 LEA but it would be wise to check and be sure) . There was a good write up last Sept. - Oct. do a search for " 2010 2.4L LAF to 2016 2.4L LEA Swap "
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
With all of the apprehension, and ifs, I hope you got the engine cheap !
Got it for $130 => $100 + $30 for a 1year warranty :smile:

I did stop in at a Buick dealership on my drive home last night and asked the service manager to look up the history of the donor car's VIN. Other than the initial delivery in November of 2012, and some sort of recall (a SW update on one of the ECUs) at the time of delivery, there was no other GM service history for the car. So, there had been no piston-ring work done, to date - at least not in GM's network.

A friend of mine bought a 2012 Equinox for his son in the last year, before learning about the oil consumption issues, and their 'nox is consuming a lot of oil now. At first, the dealership was saying there was nothing they could do, but then after reviewing the service history he found that the rings had already been replaced once at 60k miles. So, the dealership is seeing if there is anything that can be done as part of a warranty on the previous ring work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Your swap should be very straight forward. I believe the throttle body will need to be swapped on to the LEA engine for it to work. Might be a good idea to check which intake cam and intake cam phaser the old LAF engine had, as there are two versions. ( 2011 LAF engine should be the same as a 2013 LEA but it would be wise to check and be sure) . There was a good write up last Sept. - Oct. do a search for " 2010 2.4L LAF to 2016 2.4L LEA Swap "
For others looking for the link, here it is: https://www.equinoxforum.net/31-engine-drivetrain/28617-2010-2-4l-laf-2016-2-4l-lea-swap.html

That was one of the posts I reviewed before starting down this process for my son and daughter-in-law - thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've got the donor engine on a stand, now, and am ordering the parts to replace the timing chain, tensioner, and guides as preventive measures. It turns over by hand (and I felt resistance/compression), so that's a plus.

Also, looking at the Equinox - I think I'll be pulling the motor out the front, as the bumper reinforcement is just bolted on, and once it & the radiator & AC condenser are out of the way it is a straight shot between the unibody/frame rails out the front. I should get to that removal this weekend, I hope.
 

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Sounds like a fun project. Where do you live ? If you were somewhat close to upstate NY, I would invite myself over to help. That, and doing a fwd clutch are on my bucket list.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
bigb12359 - sorry I didn't see your message earlier...I should have gotten an email notification, but didn't...I'll double-check my settings.

VIN of the donor Verano was 1G4PP5SK9D4113848 . The preventive maintenance parts should have arrived at my son's by now (timing chain and guides, new plugs, etc.), so we can start prepping the donor engine. Also, on the donor engine, there is a plate at the top of the timing chain cover that has a label with some sort of barcode and numbers on it, but they are worn and not readable - is there any value in knowing the information on that label? Is it an engine serial number? Is there another spot on the engine to get that?

I should get the dead engine out of the Equinox this weekend. I think my plan is to remove everything in front of it, unbolt the torque converter from flywheel (through the starter opening...starter removed), and then separate the engine from the transmission and bring out the engine only. If I have my stack-up (or stack-sideways, in the case of the engine and transmission) correct, I should only need to shift the engine about 3/4" to the passenger side to get it to clear the transmission housing and come out the front/top. With the engine mount from that side loose or removed, there should be enough clearance to shift the engine that far to the passenger side. Can anyone chime in with some BTDT experience to back up my analysis/assumptions?

--

A coincidence (or, maybe instead, not surprisingly): I had my in-laws' car at a local shop for some other work to be evaluated/diagnosed - and sitting in their parking lot was a snow-covered Equinox. When I inquired, it was there because of a dead engine - a 2.4L that blew the rear main seal. Ugh.
 

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--

A coincidence (or, maybe instead, not surprisingly): I had my in-laws' car at a local shop for some other work to be evaluated/diagnosed - and sitting in their parking lot was a snow-covered Equinox. When I inquired, it was there because of a dead engine - a 2.4L that blew the rear main seal. Ugh.

Let me guess - their VIN was not in the "magic list" either !


It is crap like this that makes me second guess my loyalty to GM.



I am certainly happy in my decision to unload my '10 4-cyl. before I was faced with any huge expenses. Thank You forum members for opening my eyes !
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like a fun project. Where do you live ? If you were somewhat close to upstate NY, I would invite myself over to help. That, and doing a fwd clutch are on my bucket list.
RIT333: Sorry, I only saw your earlier reply now, too.

I have done a FWD clutch - on an '81 VW Diesel Rabbit pickup that I once owned. It was part of a 4spd to 5spd upgrade project. And, I wound up having to do it twice, as the first 5spd I put in there rattled like it had marbles rolling around in it. The second time, I got the transmission swapped in under 2 hours :) I used a large aluminum pipe across the engine bay and a cinch strap hung over that to lower and raise the transmission out and back in :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
LEA to LEA Conversion - VIN decode shows the Equinox as a 2012

I was able to remove the dead engine from the Equinox over the weekend - it was an 8 hour marathon session Saturday night, but by 4am it was out. I stripped down the dead engine and returned the core on Sunday. The only thing I wasn't able to remove from the dead engine was the fuel rail and injectors (any tips for that?).

I finally found the build sticker on the Equinox - I missed it in earlier searches because the sticker is clear or the same color as the body. I checked a VIN decoder, and confirmed that this Equinox is actually a 2012, so it already has the LEA engine. So, at least that should make the installation of the donor Verano's LEA engine simpler. [BTW, is there a moderator who could update/edit the title of the thread to help those who search in the future? I could use to make some clarification edits to my first posts, too.] I also removed the AC compressor from the engine block before removing the engine, and strapped it out of the way to the radiator assembly. This left all the AC connections intact and should help by my kids not having to pay for an AC recharge once the new motor is in. None of the suspension mounting points were disturbed, either, so an alignment won't be necessary post-install.

A couple of questions...I did hit a snag (literally) removing the engine, as there was a stub on the engine-side of the torque converter for the Equinox that is not there on the torque converter for the Verano (see picture). I checked RockAuto as a cross reference, and they indicate that the same torque converter is used for both vehicles, so I may just use the one for the Verano when re-installing the engine, as it will give me that little bit of additional clearance. Any thoughts on that? On why that stub may be there? The actual physical connection from the torque converter to the engine is the 3 bolts to the flywheel; there isn't a splined stub that is being matched up (unlike at the transmission input shaft, for example).

Some differences I've noted between the two engines:
  • I'll have to use the Equinox's exhaust manifold, as the upper O2 sensor comes out the top of the manifold on the Equinox, whereas it is out the back of the manifold on the Verano.
  • There is a bracket at the back of the engine that holds part of the air intake or engine cover...that needs to be moved over, too.
  • The engine harness will be moved over, as well, as the routing is slightly different between the two.
  • The right (US Passenger) side engine mount is different, too, so I removed that from the dead Equinox engine, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
rednox301: Thanks for that detail! Where could I look on the transmission or on a build-sheet or label in the vehicle to try and identify which transmission is in this Equinox?

I'm not swapping the transmission, just installing the donor engine from the Verano.
 

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rednox301: Thanks for that detail! Where could I look on the transmission or on a build-sheet or label in the vehicle to try and identify which transmission is in this Equinox?

I'm not swapping the transmission, just installing the donor engine from the Verano.
I added the ID plate info to the link in my original post #13 scroll down in link.

For the Equinox check the RPO tag in the glovebox.
Gen II RPO's are either MHC or MH7 (one is FWD and one is AWD)
 
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I'm trying to help my son and daughter-in-law get their 2011 Equinox (original LAF engine) back on the road - it succumbed to the dreaded "Oil Consumption and Timing Chain" engine failure after a long drive at Christmas. Their Equinox has about 150k miles on it.

I was able to inexpensively source another 2.4L, this time an LEA-code engine, with about 103k miles on it from a 2013 Verano that was totaled after it was hit in the passenger rear door.

I'll post my progress on the engine swap here, but I'd appreciate any BTDT advice. I've been lurking around the forum here trying to gather information on the 2.4L engines and their failure. For now, my goal is just to get their Equinox back on the road. I plan to go through and replace the timing chain and guides before installing the donor motor, and I'll check for the clogged PCV orifice, too.

Here is the donor motor coming out of the Verano. I had to remove the A/C compressor to get enough clearance to angle the engine/trans out the top of the engine bay.



The build date of the Verano is Aug-2012, so from what I've read in other posts this may not actually have the better piston rings and may still have oil consumption issues :( I can only hope that the engine was at least running when the car was hit and totaled.
Went back to your first post to read the whole thread.
What's all that white stuff in your first pic, I'm from AZ so I never see that.
BTW you are in the running for Father of the Year.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
What's all that white stuff in your first pic, I'm from AZ so I never see that.
Yeah, the worst part of the engine removal was rolling that overhead gantry lift from 2/3 across the salvage yard to the car through the snow/slush/mud/car-parts :eek:

BTW you are in the running for Father of the Year.
Thanks for that :smile: Their Equinox broke down at my daughter-in-laws parents' house when they went from MI back to IL to visit for Christmas. The dealer in IL that they bought the Equinox (used) from wanted $5800 to replace the engine ($4k of that was for a used engine with 90k miles), and wouldn't honor the extended warranty because my kids didn't keep the records of their oil changes. I just couldn't see them shelling out that kind of money for a repair on this vehicle - I wonder if it may even be worth $5800 once its repaired, given the history with these engines. So we had it transported back to me here in MI to work on it.

BTW, this is my first engine swap. I've done engine removals, before, but never had to re-install one and have it actually run when done :smile_big:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
For the Equinox check the RPO tag in the glovebox.
Gen II RPO's are either MHC or MH7 (one is FWD and one is AWD)
I did this tonight - checked the RPO tag in the glovebox and it is an MH7 transmission (FWD) and the dead engine was an LEA engine.

Also, re-looking at the torque converter from the Verano, it also has the same nub in the middle on the flywheel side. As they are the same PN, I'll probably use the torque converter from the donor Verano, as it has 50k fewer miles on it and was hauling around less weight with the Verano when compared to the Equinox.
 

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I'd throw a new converter shaft seal into the trans while motors out, a lesson learned years ago. Especially if your swapping converters. Two different wear patterns and a leak isn't worth the price of a seal.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I'd throw a new converter shaft seal into the trans while motors out, a lesson learned years ago. Especially if your swapping converters. Two different wear patterns and a leak isn't worth the price of a seal.
Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely do this. Would this be the right procedure for the seal you are talking about?
http://http://www.cequinox.com/torque_converter_fluid_seal_replacement_automatic_transmission_unit-725.html

Also, I'm thinking I might as well replace the rear main seal on the engine, since I'll have access to it. Also from what I've read, once everything is reinstalled and back together, I'll fit a GM FC219 venting oil cap, too, to protect against the PCV system freezing and increasing the crankcase pressure where the rear main seal blows out.

Are there recommended tools to install the converter shaft seal and rear main seal? I know that you don't want to damage the seating surfaces of the seal during removal. I've ordered some basic seal pullers from AMZ, just in case.

And another item - I'll think I'll drain and refill the transmission fluid, too. When I removed the torque converter from the transmission last night, the fluid that spilled was definitely reddish-brown - but it didn't have a burnt smell. After 150k miles, I could expect the fluid to not look like new ;)

I'm most familiar with manual transmissions, as I haven't had or worked on many automatic transmission vehicles over the years. From what I gather, the transmission pumps ATF into the torque converter. So part of the reason why you won't get a complete refresh of ATF from a trans drain and refill is that there is still old fluid in the torque converter. Running the engine will force the fluid to move through and eventually exchange the old ATF in the torque converter...but it's not ever really 100%.

However, if my thinking is right, since I have the torque converter out, I can try and drain as much old ATF from that as possible, then drain the transmission. Then, when I reinstall the torque converter, I can pre-fill it with new ATF, and then fill the transmission with new ATF as well. Let it run and determine that the level is correct, and I should be all set, right? And yes, I plan to use the recommended Dexron VI.
 
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