Chevy S10 2.2 Engine Problems

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    Has any one out there had any problems with the GM 2.2 engine. Also does this engine use a timing belt or chain. My car runs very nice when the engine is hot but has a noise when cold below 30 F. It sounds to me like piston slap. Any help out there????


    A few years ago — okay 35 or so — I had a General Motors “X-car,” the automaker’s first real attempt at building vehicles that were not only good basic transportation, but also “foreign car fighters.” Almost to a car, they were powered by 2.2-liter four-cylinder engines that were, one way or another, related to the famed Iron Duke of Pontiac fame.

    To be honest with you, I drove that machine — a coupe with a very notchy four-speed standard — four six years, until we traded it for a Ford mid-sized sedan, powered by their 3.0-liter six. To my thinking, the Pontiac X-car was as reliable as I could find and it probably would still be with us had we not run across a good deal on the Ford.

    I am sorry that you have had problems with your 2.2-liter engine and after looking around and checking with a few sources, I can offer a couple of opinions — this has been hashed all over various internet groups and Chevy forums — that I picked up while reading.

    I know that the engine used a timing chain with a tensioner which can wear out over time. It’s possible that once the tensioner has gone the chain loosens and instead of remaining stretched, it becomes floppy. Once it becomes floppy within the engine, there is nothing to stop it from slapping the side of its housing. That’s why you notice that it sounds something like a slapping piston, but, trust me, if it were a piston slap, you would be looking at a much different scenario.

    It is true that there were some reliability problems reported with the 2.2, but, given the numbers that were cranked out over the years it was used (roughly 25 years), it has really worked out far more reliable than the reports had indicated.

    Now, if there was truly a piston slap in this powerplant, you would be looking at a major teardown and rebuild, using oversized rings to take up the added space between the pistons and sides of the cylinder. Indeed, if you did need this particular fix, you would find the engine much less reliable and far more thirsty because the piston size remains essentially the same with the added space taken up by oversized rings. And, since there is really no good seal between the cylinder wall and the upper area of the piston crown, the engine is really not any good anymore, though, GM did offer this fix.

    As to other noises from this particular powerplant, I can honestly find few other points, though, someone did indicate that the torque converter bolts could be loose. However, again, if this was the case, there would be a major issue with the transmission and the 2.2 as you would have to replace the tranny with a rebuilt. Still, it is possible that bolts could be rattling around, however, I doubt it.

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