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Kind of a long write up but if it helps someone fix their car... it's worth it.

My Dad passed away December 29, 2019 from a short fight with cancer. His last year of life he owned 2 cars and had a lease car. He had a 2002 Saturn SL1 he bought brand new in 02, my youngest son traded a bunch of work my Dad needed done for the car. He had a leased Hyundai Sonata that went back to the dealer and this 2005 Equinox he bought used several years ago. He used it to tow his small camper, take fishing both locally and to upstate NY and a daily driver before he got the Sonata. I bought it from him Christmas Eve for $1, he wanted to give it to me and I said I'd rather buy it so that was the price.

My Dad was never one to wash a car. This thing was dirty on the outside, like black crap growing on the roof and not the best on the inside. Matter of fact, I didn't remember what color the Saturn was, I thought it was black with bad paint. My kid and I pressure washed the thing and it was actually a forest green (with decent paint!). The Equinox wasn't quite that bad but he never waxed it. He also wasn't a mechanic, a life long English teacher. He had a local garage take care of his cars... more on that later. I knew the car had some issues but he had the trans rebuilt a year ago and barely drove the thing. It's rust free and straight as an arrow except the rear bumper was cracked. It had no heat and you could hear the air gushing through the heater core. It also had a weird noise midway under the car. its AWD.

First order of business, see what I need. I brought it home in real early January and pulled it into the garage to take inventory. I knew it needed head gaskets either way. The rear shocks were both shot. Front rotors were a little warped. No heat. Broken rear bumper. The Radio didn't work. A hellish noise under the car. And this thing was dirty. Here it is after a good $10 at a car wash.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
So I had a day off and decided to see what I could find at a pick a part yard. My oldest son (I have 3 and a girl) and his wife rode along. I managed to pick up a rear bumper (silver but the only one not broken), package shelf (mine was stained from whatever), heater control since mine was worn badly, window switches, and a couple little odds and ends for $60. For some reason I went with the inside first. The window on that side didn't work. Found the wires were all broken in the drivers door. TIP: if a window or speaker does not work... check that. The place Dad took it to spliced them together with quick splices. They don't flex. I lengthened the wires and put the splices inside the door or inside the door jamb. Soldered and used shrink tubing. The window worked. I replaced the switches since well, I had them and these were much nicer.

Next I tackled the nasty interior. Gave the seats a good scrubbing and the carpets as best as I could with a brush and soapy water. They came pretty clean so I was feeling better about that at least. I want to do them again this spring and use a drill brush. I have a before and after pic of the rear seat. Like I said, this thing went fishing, a lot. And hauled grandkids. And used as a truck since he hated driving mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
With that squared away, don't ask why, I wanted to know why the radio didn't work. Pulled it out... it was unplugged. So I plugged it back in and the door chime would not stop. Out it went. I picked up a cheap double DIN USB and Bluetooth compatible radio and a used interface off Ebay so it wouldn't make the electronics angry and would play until the door opened. The interface had it's own chime but was a buzzer. It got stabbed with a screwdriver. I did try hooking it up without the interface but it made my check engine light blink and the gas gauge go to empty.

I hated the silver radio bezel so it got painted body color. TIP: Clean plastic with alcohol, prime it with the same brand paint you intend to use to avoid a reaction.Eventually I'll make the light grey dash center black since I hate it too.

Fitting with my budget, I picked up a set of Ebay shocks. $32 for the pair. That was a straight forward install, except you have to remove the inner fender wells. I cheated and trimmed it around the upper bolt. I'm kind of lazy sometimes.

Until this point, I didn't get under the car. I figured might as well check the rear diff fluid and WTH? The carrier bearing was gone! I mean.... just a steel loop. Here in PA, we have an annual safety inspection. Up until 5 years ago, I still had a license to inspect vehicles, just wasn't working in a shop. I'm a nurse now so I let it drop. This car was inspected in October 2019 last and should never have passed like this. Pulled the shaft out and figured, I have a press, might as well rebuild it. But then I got to looking. I can buy a whole complete driveshaft off Ebay for $200 with all new u joints, the CV joint at the front and a carrier bearing. How long will the Ebay shaft last? Don't know, kind of don't care. Autozone wanted I think $650 for one and parts to rebuild mine was well over 2 bills so... my UPS guy hates me. After I ordered it, it came in an 8 foot box a couple days later. That was the old shaft below. As rusty as it was, I didn't see it coming apart anyway without heat and hammers. I'm too old to be hammering.
 

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Now it was time to tackle the issue with intermittent heat loss and air in the cooling system. Judging by the color of the coolant, someone REALLY stop leaked the snot out of this thing. It was the color of coffee and smelled like it with the consistency of thin oil. I drained it out into a pan using the drain valve. Not much came out so I pulled the lower radiator hose and it was like it was full of rocks! Literally it felt like fish tank gravel! It was stuck to the inside of the hose, when you would compress the hose it would crunch. TIP: Don't use stop leak, ever, really, unless you are broke and don't care. I got it drained and pulled the block drain out. I filled the thing full of water and tried to clean out as much garbage as I could before tearing into it. The water got drained as well, along with more black and brown fish gravel mess.

Pulled the thing into the garage and pulled the hood off. You don't have to take the hood off but it does make life easier. It's 4 bolts. Mark hinge locations with a sharpie, keep said sharpie with you. TIP: If you are a novice and have never taken much apart, take PLENTY of pics and use zip lock baggies to hold bolts. That way, you know where things were located and what bolts were for. I've been DIYing cars and motorcycles for 30+ years and it's worth a Dollar Store box of baggies and a marker. The only thing you need to remove from underneath is the exhaust to the rear manifold. You can get that from up top if you are a contortionist, I'm not. Again, label everything. TIP: When I pull the rockers and pushrods out I take a cardboard box, mark it 1 through whatever number of cylinders ( 6 in this case) and lay it out just like the engine is. On the 3.4, it was 1,3,5 on one side and 2,4,6 on the other. Poke holes to hold the pushrods and keep them in order. Longer ones are exhaust. Same with the rockers. That way it's easy to put back in place.
 

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The 3.4 is fairly easy to tear down. The belt has to go, alternator, upper intake, lower intake, valve covers and then the heads. Loosen the head bolts slowly, like I do a 1/4 turn each in sequence until loose enough they can spin out by hand. Then chuck them in the trash. You'll need new ones as they are torque to yield. Do not lose the head dowels!!!

I did break 1 exhaust manifold to exhaust pipe studs, those are easy because you can drill them out. I had 2 broken manifold to head studs. TIP: Buy a set of left handed drill bits (yes, this is a real thing) and a set of screw extractors. The left handed bits cut the same direction as it would be for a bolt to loosen. Most studs, if they aren't frozen, can back out with just drilling. Make sure you center punch the broken stud in the center. I bought a box of new stainless steel M8 studs, they were marked for a Ford 5.4 V8 but they are the same studs. Any auto parts store will have them, usually in their "Dorman" section. They ain't much to buy but worth it. I cleaned the gasket surfaces with: a plastic scraper, brake cleaner, a brass brush and CAREFULLY used a razor blade. It's aluminum, you can gouge it

I checked the heads for warpage. A good heavy straight edge is expensive! I had a chunk of tool steel I ground when I was a machinist. Any auto machine shop can check them. Mine were good.

I picked up a gasket set on Ebay for $65. It had bolts, head gaskets, the improved style intake gaskets, valve cover gaskets, valve seals, injector O-rings, sealant... everything. Do I advocate using cheap gaskets? No. Use whatever you feel confidant with. These silly things were put together with China gaskets to begin with. And on that note.....
 

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I finished it up in the middle of the night, worked straight through. Did everything according to the book, torqued to spec, used a bolt torque angle gauge so it was spot on 95 degrees. Buy one and use a big 1/2 drive ratchet if you have to do bolts like that. I had it together and running in 6 hours. Filled the coolant system and put the hood on. TIP: You can put it on alone, don't. It's easier to have a second person or just leave it on. I went to bed. The next day I fired it up, I had ok heat. Burped the system and drove it. I had ok heat still but then all of a sudden, gone. System full of air, again, in real short order. Had to be the cheap gaskets!! I parked the car for a bit to do some other projects.

I was torqueing a bolt on an unrelated project, it was a pretty heavy duty bolt. The torque wrench clicked WAYYYY sooner than I felt it should have. There's a million videos on how check and calibrate a torque wrench using a pull type scale. Sure enough at 44 lb/ft mine was clicking over at like 20. This is a Craftsman torque wrench. So... TIP: Check your torque wrench like Wilford Brimley tells people with diabeetus to check their blood sugar, check it often. So, it wasn't the cheap gaskets. This goes to show no matter how careful you are, things can go wrong.

However my new coolant was almost as black as the old stuff. Something was up.

So I ordered another set of gaskets, tore it apart. I dropped the heads off at a local race shop, had them pressure checked (good) and they milled them even though they were within spec. Bought another gasket kit and bolts. Used a new torque wrench and checked it then adjusted it until it was dead on. This time I also pulled the water pump. Someone had replaced it with one from a 3.1. Wrong pump. Replaced that. This time I filled it up with the old coolant, 2 bottles of Prestone radiator flush and drove it for a week solid. Drained the coolant again... more crap!! Filled with straight water... more crap. Flushed the radiator through the top hose until it came out clean.
 

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That's one reason I don't like the clicker torque wrenches. I use the old rod type, I can tell by how much I'm straining that it's still right on. Did that machine have DexCool antifreeze in it? It has been known to turn into a stiff mud for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's one reason I don't like the clicker torque wrenches. I use the old rod type, I can tell by how much I'm straining that it's still right on. Did that machine have DexCool antifreeze in it? It has been known to turn into a stiff mud for some reason.
It did. And who knows how much stop leak and other assorted trash.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
This is like a good murder mystery novel. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment to see what the outcome is!!!
Thanks!! it's tough for me to post all the stuff I've done to this car in a day. I've been working on and driving this thing since January. I'm into the car total: less than $1200 including paperwork and tags. I'm on a budget like many of us. I source new parts generally from Ebay or a big chain parts store. All my chemicals come from Walmart. All used stuff comes from a local pick a part yard. I figure if this thread helps 1 person out, great. That's why I include my mistakes. I couldn't imagine how much I would have spent paying people to do this work, it wouldn't have been worth it. Maybe it'll inspire a person to work on their Equinox and keep it going.

Little background... I'm pretty much self taught, I did go to school briefly for auto mechanics but that was in 1991. Mostly I learned from older friends and trial and error. I spent a lot of years in a factory and ended up learning how to do machining. Now I'm a nurse after a layoff and schooling. I work with drug addicts. Actually have got some tips from them. if you look in the pics, there's usually some part of a motorcycle. I'm an avid motorcyclist and do all my own work on those as well.


The next part includes some chemistry and some reusable engineering!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The coolant I drained out of the car that time was very brownish green and smelled like, I'm not joking, nasty feet, cheese, antifreeze and burnt plastic. Gross.

After all that, I had heat with just plain water in the system. it was ok heat and would die off some when you cranked the blower up on full blast, but not completely like before. That's still much more than I had before because anything past the 2nd setting on the fan it would chill fast. The other thing that happened was no more air pockets after it had run awhile and you could take the surge tank cap off with it hot and it wouldn't bubble over into the tank and bubble out of the tank like it did right after I did the head gaskets the 2nd time. I vacuum filled it both times so that wasn't it. One thing I noted was the car took a little longer to get up to temp and the temp was more consistent with the thermostat open and close cycles. It didn't vary much at all, you'd see it rise up to 195 to 196 then the thermostat would open and it would drop to like 188 to 190 according to the live data on my scan tool. Before it would get to 195 rather fast and when the thermostat opened, the temp would drop to below 180 even with it running, inside, for quite some time. Why?

TIP: Bubbles in the surge tank MIGHT NOT be a head gasket issue. This took me a little bit to figure out. I feel what was going on right after the 2nd time around and before/during the flush solution running through the engine for 4 days worth of 60 miles round trip to work was all the crud had built up in the block and was creating hot spots. The coolant couldn't cool it so it would make steam which would create air pockets which would go to the highest point, the heater core, and stop circulation. Until the cap is removed though. Once the cap is removed, the steam would try and rush out of that opening, taking coolant with it. Along with all the assorted rust, dirt and scale that came out during flushes, I noticed that the real black grime that came out was gritty but kind of oily as well, like Bar's Leak feels. I got to thinking, that oil and water don't mix so a bunch of this stuck to the block in the water jackets COULD create a hot area and the coolant wouldn't be able to shed heat from it due to less surface tension (from the oil like stuff) to let the coolant scrub away the heat, which would create steam, which would create air pockets that would heat and cool rapidly. Without that stuff in there, the coolant would have sufficient surface tension to scrub heat away and without the air pockets/steam the temp would be more consistent. I could be really wrong and off base but this seems logical.

BTW, a vacuum fill system is great. You can use it to check for leaks by seeing if your system is holding vacuum, if it does in X amount of time, no leaks. If it bleeds off fast, you have a leak. You do need a decent air compressor with good volume. My HF compressor is 125PSI max and has 4,7 CFM at 90 PSI and it'll pull 24 inches of vacuum on my filler. It's enough to suck the top and bottom radiator hoses flat as a pancake. Once up to vacuum, I go with 22 inches, you shut the gate valvefor the venturi, unhook the air supply, unhook the quick connect and put the fill hose in it. I use a bucket filled with 3-4 gallons of 50/50 mix with the hose at the bottom so it can't draw air. I clamp off the small surge tank hose and open the gate valve. It'll fill the entire system in 2-3 minutes with no air pockets. I paid $40 on Ebay for it.
 

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Now I feel like I was getting somewhere. I drained out the water, more garbage came out. I unhooked the heater hoses and both the top and bottom radiator hoses. I went to a local hardware store and bought a bunch of 5/8 clear tubing, hose barbs, clamps and 2 female brass hose repair ends. More on this later.... I still felt like the heater core was at the very least, partly plugged or occluded with whatever. I've done heater cores, none of them are any fun to do with the Equinox being a special PITA. I've heard of a short cut by removing the gas and brake pedals, removing a side cover, cutting the inlet/outlet tubes where they are straight and you can pull it out that way the cut the new core inlet and outlet tubes the same way, slide it in and splice the tubes together. Not that I'm above doing that, I don't like the idea of 200 degree coolant gushing over my feet if it were to fail badly. I felt if I could get my heater core clean enough to flow good, I'll be ok.

The next day it got over 40 degrees outside so I could use a garden hose. I ran water though the radiator for a good 5 minutes. Ran it through the engine using the heater hose. I ran plain water through the heater core in both directions for a couple minutes each way. I had a muddy mess. I used compressed air to blow the water out of the heater core and engine as much as I could. I had the block drain out as well.

DISCLAIMER: DON'T DO THIS AND BLAME ME IF SOMETHING GOES SIDEWAYS You are on your own. You are an adult. Wear gloves and eye protection if you venture further.....

Days before this I watched a man on YouTube running a Harbor Freight transfer pump with tubing through a heater core in a Jeep. I don't have a transfer pump but I do have a drill pump that I've had for years. It's exactly how it sounds. A small plastic pump with a male hose fitting on either end. It's powered by a drill. if you Google Wayne Drill Pump, that's it. It doesn't produce much pressure but it can produce enough volume to move fluid through a heater core. The man in the video used 50% CLR (Calcium, Lime Rust) cleaner and 50% water if I recall correctly.

CLR is very caustic. Wear gloves and eye protection. It contains 4 different acids and a bunch of other chemicals. It can and will etch and eat aluminum. What are most modern heater cores made from? Aluminum. Wear Gloves and eye protection. However, what is most of the contaminates in a cooling system (besides stop leak)? Calcium, Lime and Rust. I felt 50/50 was awful strong and I also felt I didn't have anything to lose (except a heater core and time but I'd lose that if it didn't work) and at least heat to gain. I mixed 1 quart of CLR to 2.5 gallons of the hottest tap water I could get. Wear gloves and eye protection, last time for this warning. I had my heater core circulation rigged up mess made up ahead of time. 1 short piece of tubing in the bucket off the bottom a couple inches. A female hose end. Drill pump with an electric corded 1/2 inch drill. Tubing to the inlet side of the heater core with a barb and clamps. A return tube on the outlet side of the heater core with the surge tank supply plugged off (using a brass spigot lol) and the small surge tank line clamped shut. I threw the surge tank in to soak to hopefully get the stains out of it.

Look, if you haven't figured out by now I'm not the most safety conscience person alive, this should tell you something. I've surprisingly made it 46 almost 47 years without major injury from doing dumb stuff like a corded drill on top a bucket of caustic water. My wife keeps a good life insurance policy on me, but I digress..

Fired up the drill and locked the trigger down. You have to have the pump close to the source since it can't pull much height. It can push it though. The solution went up into the inlet and down the outlet in a nice steady stream. I ran the drill for a good 20 minutes then stopped and let the solution soak for about and hour. Started running it again and I could see in the bottom of the bucket there was a decent amount of debris. Ran it for another 15-20 minutes and let it soak for maybe 30 minutes. Ran it some more. Stopped and drained the tubing and reversed the lines. Ran it again 10-15 minutes. Let it soak a bit and ran it some more. Now I feel like I have the heater core clean. See the pics below of the circulation mess and what came out of just the heater core. This was AFTER flushing it with water, running radiator flush through it and God knows what else I did to this poor thing.

I did save the solution in jugs, maybe to use again but I didn't want to just chuck it on the ground. Filled the bucket with more hot tap water and circulated that to rinse out the CLR and flush it some more. Not much else came out. I did run plain hose water through the core to make sure nothing caustic was left.
 

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Unhooked all that mess and saved it in case 1) this worked and 2) I needed to do another one. Pulled the car in the garage, put the block drain back in, lower hose, poured an entire gallon of straight concentrate, all compatible bright greenish yellow Mt. Dew colored antifreeze down the top radiator hose and into the radiator to kind of help jump start the fill process. Poured the other gallon in the bucket with a gallon and a half of distilled water. TIP: You can buy 50/50 antifreeze if you need a top off. For a refill of a system, you're money ahead to buy concentrated antifreeze by the gallon and buy distilled water, NOT tap water or drinking water, they have minerals in them. De-ionized is best but it's tough to find where I'm at. Distilled water is at most grocery stores and any drug store. I paid less than a buck a gallon. Hooked up the vacuum fill, drew it down to 22 inches and let it sit a good 2 minutes. No loss, no leaks. Hooked up the fill hose and let 'er rip, tater chip. A vacuum filler will fill it near to the perfect level cold.

Crossed myself and started the old Nox up, surge tank cap off just to see if anything would happen. Let it run a couple minutes and shut it off and watched the tank. Nothing. Put the cap on and cranked it up. Within a few minutes I had heat. I had my scan tool set to live data on the coolant temp so I could watch it. It hit 180 after a few minutes and kind of went slow from there. This is new. It creeped up to 185. At this point I only idled it. I was getting strong heat out of the vents on high. Both hoses for the heater core were hot and felt equal. I'm thinking this thing will idle all day and not get real hot so I held it at 2k RPMs and would rev it to 3k a few times. The temp went up, 192, 193, 195, 196... thermostat opened... 195 then down to 186. Then back up and down, pretty much the same range. At this point the heat coming out of the vents on high was very hot, not quite like my Silverado which has a ridiculous heater in it, but more than enough. I let it run through several heat cycles then shut it down and let it cool overnight.

The next day I drove to work, warmed up in an acceptable amount of time, good heat while driving or stopped, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day. So far I put a couple hundred miles on and it's still throwing consistent heat and the coolant is still Mt. Dew colored and doesn't smell like feet, cheese and plastic. Soon I won't need heat!

At this point my Equinox still has some issues. The sway bar end link in the front is clunky. The rotors are trash. It's noisy inside under a load, I suspect clapped out engine mounts although these cars aren't the quietest things. The key falls out of the switch and you can start it with a screwdriver, any key, anything you can stick in the switch really. The steering doesn't lock. I do have to get my replacement bumper cover painted.

But there are many things going right for it. It has heat. It doesn't leak. it doesn't smell like dead fish and who knows what anymore. The windows and speakers all work. The AC works (always did). It has fresh oil and coolant in it. it's clean inside. The outside got clay barred and waxed. It has new spark plugs and wires. I did have a defective plug from the factory (see pic below) where after 50 miles the electrode fell out, yes fell out, into the cylinder and presumably went out the exhaust valve after it got smashed to bits. Still had good compression! I have a manual for it so I have a ton of information. As long as I can remember him owning it, Dad had a check engine light on. I figured it out (EVAP Purge solenoid needed cleaned) so for the first time in forever.. no check engine light!!

Like I said, if this thread helps 1 person keep their old Equinox on the road, great! There is a TON of great information in this forum too! If it inspires someone to pick up a wrench and try, great! I'll keep it up too, unless told otherwise, the good and bad. What I did right and what I did wrong. I work with addicts, I tell them to write, it helps. Honestly, this has helped me.

My Dad didn't clean a car, but he was funny about seat covers on the front seats. He had Mossy Oak camo ones on this one. He wasn't a hunter nor did he wear camo. The ones in it were falling apart so I tossed them. Wandering through a discount store, not long after he passed and I was starting to work on the 'Nox, they had a bunch of seat covers. In that section, right out front, they had 2 front Mossy Oak covers with a matching rear seat cover for a midsize truck (perfect size for the rear seat). Kind of fitting I think 0:).
 

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This was one of the easier things I had to do. My sway bar links were bad, and when you'd hit a bump they would bang around. The driver's side was worst. Straightforward install, unbolt them and bolt new ones in. I did have to use Vise-Grips to keep the stud part from turning on the old ones. You can see how worn they were from the picture. The pair was I think $14 on Ebay. How long will they last? Dunno.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The front rotors were pretty well shot and I'm about 99% sure they were originals. You could feel them pulse when you pushed on the brake, so they were warped. The one had very deep grooves worn in it and was worn to the point it was below the service limit thickness. The other was grooved but not as badly. Sad thing was, the pads were almost new. The passenger side one was rusted fast to the hub. I literally had to smack it with a hammer several times to get it off. TIP: If the pins even look worn, rusty, pitted, replace them. I paid $9 for 1 side and $3 for the rubbers, just buy the rubbers anyway, The one pin has a rubber bushing on the end and it's likely worn. If they are just dirty, clean them really good. I did have a sticky caliper and that is what was wrong, worn pin and a worn rubber bushing. Replaced those and it was fine. EDIT: The caliper stuck 1 time today, not full on locked like it did before but did stick. This is close to a week later.

Don't use antisieze on the pins either. It dries out and turns to cement. There is proper lubrication for the pins, Permatex calls it Disc Brake Caliper Lube. If the antirattle clips look bad, replace them. Mine were like new. Make sure your pads slide back and forth ok in the bracket. I do antisieze the bolts, wheel studs, and around the hub so the rotor doesn't get stuck on there again.

Next up.... engine/trans mounts.
 

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This thread, write ups, and pictures deserve the Equinox/Terrain member of the year award.
I'll pass this along to my sister who has an older theta version.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
This thread, write ups, and pictures deserve the Equinox/Terrain member of the year award.
I'll pass this along to my sister who has an older theta version.
Thanks!! I don't know about member of the year, I'm just trying to get this stupid thing in good enough shape to be a daily and looking nice without spending more than it's worth. Ebay parts have been helpful because if I went with name brand stuff, I would have blew past what it was worth. I was hoping for much better gas mileage than my 04 Silverado Z71 but it's not a whole lot better.

The caliper started sticking again today 1 time so I'm not sure what is going on there. I suspect the 15 year old brake fluid and rubber lines may have something to do with it.

Sometimes it gets mad and wants to hang in a lower gear much too long. Back off the throttle and it upshifts. Haven't looked into that much yet. The trans isn't that old and doesn't have many miles on it. Rebuilt by a reputable person too. If something major goes wrong, I'm likely done with it since I can't pull a trans in my garage, ceiling is too low.

Again, if this thread helps someone out... awesome!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I was getting a clunk when putting the car into reverse and drive. And some vibration when the car is running. That's usually an engine mount problem. The older Equinox us 4 engine/trans mounts. We'll do the top mount as it's usually the one that takes a beating.

The engine mount is located on the passenger side of the car, right under the intake hose/air box and connects right on to the timing cover. You'll need to remove the airbox and hose, the belt is kind of in the way but you can get around it. Put a jack under the engine with a block of wood. I jacked it up until I could see the weight come off the mount. DO NOT remove them without support!!. Block the wheels or lock on the parking brake so the car doesn't drift front or back. If it does while the mount is off it may make it tougher to realign everything. There's 3 15mm headed bolts that secure it to the engine and 2 18mm nuts that secure it to the body. Go slow as you may have to raise the jack or lower it. Once off put the new one in it's place. See if you have to raise the engine up. Over time the rubber settles and crushes flatter so you may need to raise the engine up. Bolt it in and torque to spec. Replacing this mount made a difference in cabin noise since the rubber isolates the engine. Because it is held better, less clunking going into gear. The engine now looks more level, as it did droop to the passenger side.

Again, this is an Ebay China made mount. How long it lasts is anyone's guess. They are like $40 alone on Ebay. The Duralast one from AutoZone looks identical to the one I bought, probably made in the same place. It lists for $132. I bought 3 out of 4 mounts for $68.

Coincidentally, My youngest son's Saturn SL1 had a worn top engine mount that is the same design as this one. His car the steering wheel shook so bad at idle it looked like a blur. No kidding it was that bad. Plus it was loud inside the car. My other son's Mazda 3 has a mount kind of like this one but it had a hydraulic bladder in it. It ruptured and there was oil everywhere. It sounded like it had no exhaust on the car from vibration. We replaced it and the upper trans mount and i'll bet the engine sat a good 3 inches higher in the engine bay.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Next, front engine/trans mount. It is located under the car, right in front where the trans and engine mate. Again support the engine and trans but I supported the trans more. 3 15mm bolts hold it to the engine and a 18mm through bolt secure it to the body. Removal is tricky and once you figure out how it comes out, remember it as it has to go back in the same way. You kind of have to push it up, turn it sideways and it'll come out. There's a video on youtube. It's a HHR but same type of mount.

TIP: Now would be a great time to check trans fluid the way it says to do it in the manual (warm, running and so forth). With the mount out of the way, getting the dipstick unbolted is easier and accessible. I didn't and wished I would have. Whoever designed this, should be shot. Or beaten. Would it have killed them to put a dipstick tube in? The place to bolt it was right there!

Put the new one in. Adjust the jack if needed. Torque bolts to spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
last is the rear engine/trans mount. It's located at the back of the engine/trans, drivers side. You'll have to get under the car. There are 3 15mm bolts that go up through the subframe and 1 18mm through bolt that you can access via the driver's side wheel well right near the tie rod end. You'll need a long extension. Support the trans like before, unbolt the through bolt, go underneath, remove the 3 15mm bolts. The mount should slide out the rear.

One would think the new one should go back in the same way.... not for me no. The new mount must have been a tiny bit taller than the original. It wouldn't fit under the sway bar no matter how I tried. I had the end links for the sway bar off at the same time so I loosened the sway bar bushing strap some until the mount slid in. Replaced the 3 15mm bolts loosely , put the 18mm bolt through the mount and threaded it in. Tightened the sway bar bushing strap bolts back down. Torque everything down to spec.

The car will be smoother if the mounts were bad to begin with. No clunking into gear. I work very slow and it took me about 2 hours to do all 3, with the sway bar end links. You could do all 3 mounts in less than an hour really.

There is 1 more mount. It goes from the top of the transmission to the body. It's located directly below the fusebox/battery mess. I didn't replace it, mostly because I didn't buy one.

I'm kind of done with working on my Equinox for awhile. It does run well now, quiet (as quiet as it can possibly be, these things have a ridiculous amount of wind noise) and has heat that has not gone away (knock on wood). I may flush the brake system before I spend money on a caliper.

And figure out why the trans doesn't want to upshift normally all the time. Low fluid? Sticky solenoid? Wrong fluid? It doesn't do it all the time.
 

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