GM 2.4 Twin Cam Oil Consumption

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Sep 10, 2005
My wife drives a '99 Malibu with the 4 Cylinder 2.4 Twin Cam (Quad-4 Derived) engine. It has 50k on the odometer and has had 3K OCIs with conventional oil. It's used in-town almost exclusively, and it does seem hard on the oil, turning it black within a few hundred miles. I have noticed that lately it is starting to use oil . . . maybe a quart every 1000 miles. Anybody out there have any experience with this engine? I know that it isn't one of GM's best efforts, but I figured as lightly as it's used the engine would outlast the car anyway. The car has had no other issues in the 7 years we've owned it. I plan to just keep topping it off and run it. It will be 15 years old by the time it hits 100K and be a rustbucket by then anyway. Any help or other's experiences would be appreciated.
My mother's '99 Sunfire has that engine. She got the car with 35K miles and it has 100K on it now. It hasn't had any engine problems and has more than adequate power. I've done changes at between 4K to 8K miles, but usually it's more dependent on season and time than miles. It gets synthetic 0W-30 in the winter, and conventional 5W-30 in summer; usually Tech2000 (Canadian Supertech). Filters have been AC Delco and Supertech. It sees some highway use, and is a daily driver around the city too. The oil stays a nice clear to amber color the whole time, and has only consumed more than a quart per OCI once, during a 4K mile round-trip that went through the rockies. Sounds like something isn't right with your engine. Maybe a problem with a sticking ring? You could do a compression test to check into that a little more. I'd check that the PCV system is working properly and maybe go to 15W-40 to try to reduce consumption, weather permitting. [ May 31, 2006, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: rpn453 ]
No PCV system on this engine. I didn't do a compression check, but when I pulled the plugs they looked clean. Generally I have had to add a half a quart 1000 miles into the oil change, and then it held pretty well until the next one. It has just been in the last 2500 miles that the oil consumption has increased. A few minutes ago I remembered something about the last change . . . about 5 months back. I decided to use up some odd quarts and did a fill with a mix of Citgo, Havoline, and Pennzoil, all 5W-30. Since then I topped off with Citgo and Pennzoil. Maybe the mix is not performing so well. My next change is coming up soon, so it will be interesting to see what happens with all one brand again.
My brother has a 98 Cavalier Z24 with the 2.4 TwinCam. 183000 miles on the clock and it still runs pretty good. When he bought the car, he changed the old oil out, and there were a bunch a metal shavings stuck on the end of the drainplug! Hope they weren't from the bearings. Keep an eye on waterpump, I hear they were a common failure on the TwinCam, and the timing chain and other stuff has to come out in order to change it.
C'mon Al, all you have to do is remove the intake manifold to check the air/oil separator on the ventilation system! [Big Grin] I didn't know that detail on my first post. [Embarrassed] Is the oil blackening a recent occurence too? I'm going to have to check the plugs on this 2.4 soon too. They looked perfect at 50K miles, but they're due for another check.
At 3,000 miles the oil in my Korean (GM-Daewoo built) Suzuki's Australian (GM-Holden made) engine is still fairly transparent. How's that for a pedigree? The Malibu is a lot darker, but maybe not out of the range of normal . . . but it seems that way by comparison. It's been that way for a long time, maybe from day one. Back around 2000, I ran a couple of cases of SL Pennzoil through it that started out very dark . . . lot's of moly I believe. The area inside the oil filler cap turned brown and at least since then all the oil seems dark early. It may be a coincidence. The oil pan drain plug does have a magnetic tip. When the engine was fairly new, there would be some very fine metal slivers stuck to it. But now there is only a tiny amount of fines at each change. BTW: The engine runs smoothly with plenty of power and is quiet with no start up rattle or anything to indicate other engine issues..
My 2000 Cavalier has the 2.4L engine in it. At 120k it runs great, still has the oem water pump. I’ve been using Mobil 1 for the last 30,000 miles. Before that I was using Advance Auto branded 10w-30 and changing it every 3k miles. It's a great engine, I don't know who gave you the impression it's not.
My best friend drives a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire convertible with this engine. He says his engine uses about half a litre between changes, and these are usually done every 6-8,000 kms. Similar to your Malibu, Al, he says his motor turns the oil black very quickly. For him, it is a number of things - he drives his cars very, very hard, and even though they see a lot of highway use, it is almost always at 140 - 150 km/h. Also, his engine seems to run fairly hot; temp guage is almost always near the yellow part of the guage. He's not sure if it needs a thermostat. But besides the way the car is driven, I suspect it turns the oil black and gets hot b/c of its design - a higher-reving engine, with a large cylinder head, with more parts and chains(?) in it that chews up oil faster. Even if the car is driven 'gently', it may not mean the engine is being gentle with the oil...... BTW, his car has about 153,000 kms (90,000 miles) on it.
Originally posted by Oldwolf: My 2000 Cavalier has the 2.4L engine in it. At 120k it runs great, still has the oem water pump. I’ve been using Mobil 1 for the last 30,000 miles. Before that I was using Advance Auto branded 10w-30 and changing it every 3k miles. It's a great engine, I don't know who gave you the impression it's not.
Well . . . it's basically a de-tuned Quad-4, which had a rather poor reputation for durability. GM even changed the name from Quad-4 to Twin-Cam to disguise its heritage. Looking at the repair manual, I am also not impressed. Lots of things are hard to work on. Replacing the water pump involves tearing into the timing chain. If the water pump seal goes out, it can dump coolant right into the crankcase. The thermostat is hidden behind the exhaust manifold. Like rpn453 said, you have to remove the intake manifold to check the crankcase ventilation system, and the manifold is plastic. When I had to replace the alternator, the bolt behind the intake was almost impossible to reach without taking the manifold off. GM abandoned this design for the EcoTec 4. Early indications point to a big improvement. I didn't say it was a bad engine per se, but I certainly wouldn't count it among their best. It's been a good runner, with plenty of scoot for a modest sized 4 cylinder. At least I didn't buy a Malibu with the 3.1 and its leaky intake issues . . . [ June 01, 2006, 04:12 PM: Message edited by: BigAl ]
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