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2009 Malibu 2.4L
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so I understand that all the ecos have the “eco tick” but my car just started doing this about a year ago. And it gets louder the more I drive it. I have a brand new belt on. A brand new tensioner because mwas split. (Idk how in the hell I split an aluminum tensioner but it happened) The A/C compressor is only about 2 years old. It seems to run and drive fine but that noise is just getting worse and worse. And I’m out of ideas. Anyone have a clue as to what this is? I got both sides of the motor in the video so you could hear and compare. And that was only after running in my driveway for like 8-10 minutes.

here’s the link to the video:

here’s a picture of the split tensioner for proof that it happened 😂
Wood Automotive tire Hardwood Rim Engineering
 

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My guess is thats your timing chain. They get stretched out over time and develop slack, and the plastic tensioners and guides break and cause the engine to skip timing. Because this is an interference engine, the pistons will collide with the open intake valves and bend them. You will then have to perform what essentially amounts to a top end engine rebuild. Stop driving it before this happens. Replace your timing chain, along with its tensioners, guides, and sprockets. To avoid this happening in the future, use only fully synthetic oil that is dexos approved and dont go more than 5000 miles between oil changes. If you pay someone to do it its gonna be anywhere from $800 to $1500, easily twice that if you get it done at the stealership. If this is something you have the wherewithall to take on yourself then get yourself a timing chain and tensioner kit for a 2.4 ecotec, Rockauto.com is your best bet. Make sure you get a kit that comes with all the tensioners, guides, and cam phaser sprockets. The fact that it started a year ago and is getting progresively worse tells me that you dont have a lot of time left driving it like it is. If you want to punt it, now is the time. If youre going to fix it, park it and dont drive it unless absolutely necessary until it is fixed.
 

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2009 Malibu 2.4L
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My guess is thats your timing chain. They get stretched out over time and develop slack, and the plastic tensioners and guides break and cause the engine to skip timing. Because this is an interference engine, the pistons will collide with the open intake valves and bend them. You will then have to perform what essentially amounts to a top end engine rebuild. Stop driving it before this happens. Replace your timing chain, along with its tensioners, guides, and sprockets. To avoid this happening in the future, use only fully synthetic oil that is dexos approved and dont go more than 5000 miles between oil changes. If you pay someone to do it its gonna be anywhere from $800 to $1500, easily twice that if you get it done at the stealership. If this is something you have the wherewithall to take on yourself then get yourself a timing chain and tensioner kit for a 2.4 ecotec, Rockauto.com is your best bet. Make sure you get a kit that comes with all the tensioners, guides, and cam phaser sprockets. The fact that it started a year ago and is getting progresively worse tells me that you dont have a lot of time left driving it like it is. If you want to punt it, now is the time. If youre going to fix it, park it and dont drive it unless absolutely necessary until it is fixed.
Well that wasn’t at all what I wanted to hear 🙄 okay so how big of a job am I taking on doing this? I’m not a professional by any means. But I’m very intelligent and mechanically inclined. I do all my own work, usually teaching myself as I go. So, knowing me, I won’t take it to a shop, I’ll attempt this myself. Maybe. Just need an idea of what I’m getting myself into and if it’s worth the time and money
 

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2009 Malibu 2.4L
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My guess is thats your timing chain. They get stretched out over time and develop slack, and the plastic tensioners and guides break and cause the engine to skip timing. Because this is an interference engine, the pistons will collide with the open intake valves and bend them. You will then have to perform what essentially amounts to a top end engine rebuild. Stop driving it before this happens. Replace your timing chain, along with its tensioners, guides, and sprockets. To avoid this happening in the future, use only fully synthetic oil that is dexos approved and dont go more than 5000 miles between oil changes. If you pay someone to do it its gonna be anywhere from $800 to $1500, easily twice that if you get it done at the stealership. If this is something you have the wherewithall to take on yourself then get yourself a timing chain and tensioner kit for a 2.4 ecotec, Rockauto.com is your best bet. Make sure you get a kit that comes with all the tensioners, guides, and cam phaser sprockets. The fact that it started a year ago and is getting progresively worse tells me that you dont have a lot of time left driving it like it is. If you want to punt it, now is the time. If youre going to fix it, park it and dont drive it unless absolutely necessary until it is fixed.
Also, would I need to replace the cam, crank, and idler sprockets as well when I do this?
 

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2009 Malibu 2.4L
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And this is what really throws me for a loop; I have no other issues. It has never overheated. My check engine light isn’t on. It’s only came on once when my throttle posit my sensor was bad. I replaced the throttle body and it went away. It always starts. Wouldn’t I have some other sign if it was the timing chain? I’m not being argumentative. I’m genuinely asking for the knowledge
 

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Cam actuator solenoids are a known issue. Possibly one is on the verge of failing or sluggish or partially plugged up but not bad enough to trip a code yet.
They control oil flow to the cam actuators. Easy to change and not too expensive. Use only Genuine GM ones, there are 2, intake and exhaust.
That would be my first step before diving into a timing chain.
 
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Im trying to figure out how to post the video of my parts car running, it sounds like a washing machine full of gravel. Theres no question that theres catastrophic engine failure. It started with a sound like you had. It dont throw any codes or overheat either, it idles, but youre lucky if you make it to the end of the driveway. It is a 11 car with same engine. The fact that you replaced tps sensor and it only temporarily fixed it kind of matches too. As previously stated, you might get lucky and its just the cam actuator solenoids. Its a fairly big job with some precision work. If you take it on at home do it with a friend who has experience with working on valvetrains and timing on modern interference engines, if its a timing chain that is.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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Im trying to figure out how to post the video of my parts car running,

... snip ...
Upload it to YT and then post the link here. It should show as a video thumbnail that can be played from the post or by selecting to play on YT.
 
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