Ecotec

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My mom has a 2004 Malibu Classic, purchased with 15,800 miles. It currently has 28,000 miles. It has the Ecotec engine. It's been a great car. So far the only problem has been noisy strut mounts (for which a TSB was issued) and the selling dealer fixed (under warranty) not only the side that was making noise, but both sides. The Ecotec has a cartridge filter, but I prefer it over a spin-on filter. It is accessible from the top, meaning that I can change the oil in this car without jacking it up. (Reaching the drain plug in any car, without jacking it up, is no problem for me). I drove this car about 1500 miles last November (from DC to Chicago and back again), and it really is a smooth, comfortable car. Power-wise, passing was no problem, even on two-lane highways.
 
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had one of those as a rental in december, liked the engine too, lots of power for hauling 4 adults and a child up the pacheco pass at 90mph....
 

brianl703

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I kept getting stuck behind slowpokes on I68. Look, if your Hyundai Excel can't maintain speed up the hills on that highway, please stay out of the left lane. Needless to say, the Classic had no problem maintaining speed, though it did have to downshift as might be expected. One other nice thing I like about the Classic is that it will allow the engine load (as reported by my Scangauge) to get pretty high (90% or so) before downshifting (and of course you can force the downshift by giving it more throttle). This is better for fuel economy.
 
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I have to agree. One of the few things G.M. got right in it's small car production over the last few years has been the Ecotec engine. It's a strong design with decent economy and pep. The cartridge makes oil changes easy (although the filter was a bit pricey compared to other filters at the time I owned our Saturn).
 
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I didn't realize the 2.2 L Ecotec was available in the Malibus. What kind of gas mileage does that combination get, with an automatic transmission? Is it availble with a manual trans?
 

brianl703

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The current Epsilon-body Malibu gets 24/34 city/highway, as I recall. The EPA estimates seem to vary from year to year, as I've also seen 32 and 33 for the highway fuel economy. (The EPA test involves a chassis dyno and I've read that the margin of error for a chassis dyno is about 5% which probably accounts for the variance). No manual trans, unfortunately. The 2.2L Ecotec was only ever available (in a midsize car) with a manual trans in the last few years of the Pontiac Grand Am, and they didn't sell that many of them since I couldn't find a used one for sale. The Malibu Classic which is the subject of this thread is the old N-body Malibu and is no longer in production. (The Pontiac Grand Am, also no longer in production, is also an N-body car). The current Malibu uses the Epsilon body, and is, from the reviews I've read, a better car. Even so, I'm pretty happy with the N-body Malibu.
 
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Brian, thanks for the info. Out of curiousity- what kind of gas mileage did you get in your real-world trips between DC & Chicago? And how well does it pull the air conditioner? Some years ago I drove a rental Malibu for a few days, maybe back in 00. It had the small V6(3.1 L?), drove well, I liked it just fine- *except* that the front doors were too short from back to front, it seemed kind of difficult to enter/exit. I'm sure in another week or so I'd have gotten over it. I believe they all had the same bodywork up until the recent change, yes? Hmm...the Neon's gettin' on in years & miles, and an 04 or 05 Malibu w/4 cyl might go pretty cheap in another year or two. But- has anyone else noticed that 4-cyl's of any kind seem to bring a premium right now? [Big Grin]
 
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It's a shame this engine wasn't available years ago in a nice size economy car. GM might have been able to hang with Honda/Toyota. They are now in serious trouble as we all know. A little too late? I think so.
 
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I'll have to buck the trend here and disagree with some of you. The ecotec is a good engine and so are the inline atlas engines, but they aren't the best GM has. About all they are good at is quieting the OHC zombies. If you look at the numbers they are not so impresive. A V6 Malibu gets only 1 mpg worse then an ecotec one, despite having 50 hp more. A V8 Trailblazer EXT with a V8 gets BETTER mileage then the I6 again with much more usable power. The I4 and I5 engines fall in as too big and too small to be competitive with their rivals. The new DOHC V6s are in the same boat. A Regal GS with the supercharged 3800 is faster and gets better mileage then the 3.6DOHC Lacrosse, despite all the DOHC nonsense. Sorry guys but the best engine's GM has are it's modernized OHV engines like the 3800, the 3500 and the 5300. -T
 

brianl703

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I was getting about 32MPG, this driving about 75MPH with a bit of passing. I haven't really driven it on the highway with the A/C on. I did this trip in November, so no need for it. One nice thing about the Ecotec..an intake manifold gasket failure will not result in coolant getting into places it shouldn't.
 
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Who else besides American auto manufacturers (discounting the possible exception of the Russians) still beats the half-century old OHV drum for automotive use. The saddest part are the number of otherwise knowledgeable people who willingly buy into the "romance" of float-prone overhead valves actuated by long, high inertia shafts tamed by wear-inducing high tension valve springs. This decrepit old horse is dead - bury it and let it rest in peace.
 
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Honda 2.2 liter DOHC I4 <-- 100 year old "technology" 237 horsepower 162 ft. lbs. of torque EPA estimate - 26mpg *up from 25mpg in 2005 model year* GM 7.0 liter pushrod V8: 505 horsepower 475 ft. lbs of torque EPA estimate - 26 mpg Both cars are 6 speed manuals with the more powerful car weighing 300 pounds more. It isn't hard to see which one is technically superior, except the pushrod engine only revs to 7,000rpm so you can't impress your friends with talk of double overhead cams and a 8,500rpm redline.
 
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A couple of weeks ago, I had a weekend with the ubiquitous rental car, a 2005 Chevy Classic (Malibu). It was comfortable, smooth, plenty of power, and did everything I needed. I popped the hood (something I do with every rental car) and discovered that it was equipped with a 2.2 Ecotec motor. This thing had a four-cylinder?!? I was surprised at how well it performed. These engines have come a long way. Any comments?
 

JTK

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No doubt about it. GM did something right with the ecotec and the inline 4,5,6cyl vortecs. All very nice engines. Joel
 
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After decades of not-so-great four cylinder engines, GM did what it took to get the Ecotec right: "...the production engine was developed by an international team that included engineers from Opel's International Technical Development Center in Russelsheim, Germany; GM Powertrain in Pontiac, MI; and Saab in Trollhaten, Sweden." SAE Tech Brief-Ecotec [Smile]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Ray H: This decrepit old horse is dead - bury it and let it rest in peace.
I'd love to own one of these decrepit old horses [Wink] :  -
 
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quote:
Originally posted by LTVibe: After decades of not-so-great four cylinder engines, GM did what it took to get the Ecotec right: "...the production engine was developed by an international team that included engineers from Opel's International Technical Development Center in Russelsheim, Germany; GM Powertrain in Pontiac, MI; and Saab in Trollhaten, Sweden." [Smile]
Opel and Saab has always made good 4 cyl. inline engines. Happy to see GM using "know how" in Europe..
 
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