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2007 escalade ext
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My son was driving his car about a month ago an what he said was he was getting on the highway an when he went to give it gas to blend in with traffic it wouldn’t speed up it wouldn’t go over 35mph so he got off next exit went a few blocks to my workplace an when he pulled in it died an wouldn’t turn over. Next day I go out an start it and it starts but runs horribly like it’s out of time so I take it apart reset the timing like I’m putting on new stuff then rotate the crank to make sure there is no interference an when I do the cam rotates a little then the chain loosens and lifts then the cam snaps forward like it’s spring loaded but when it does this the chain raises up an looks like it’s going to jump a tooth. Is this supposed to happen? It only does it on the passenger side. I have a video I can try to post or message someone if needed. Any help would be awesome.
 

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2014 CTS coupe
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26 Posts
This is limp mode. Need to have someone check it out. Limp mode is protection so you won’t your car.
 

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Have you scanned the codes? P0008 should be showing, time for new chains, etc. Lots of info on here on this.
 

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08 CTS DI
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The chain should never do that. Before attempting to replace any timing components, you need to pressurize each cylinder to determine if any valves are bent and check the actuators to see if one is damaged, sounds like a tensioner may have failed also. Check the oil level also to make sure a pressure drop isn't behind this. There's a lot of history leading up to the incident missing that is necessary to put the event in proper perspective.
 

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2007 escalade ext
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Discussion Starter #5
Yes there is information missing lol maybe a week or 2 before this happen he calls me saying it’s making a loud knocking noise so I said have you checked the oil he says dad I just did a oil change 2 months ago i said so what check it anyways so he sends me a picture with no oil on dipstick so he puts oil in it (4 quarts) an the noise is better I guess, I hear nothing until the highway problem
 

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Yes there is information missing lol maybe a week or 2 before this happen he calls me saying it’s making a loud knocking noise so I said have you checked the oil he says dad I just did a oil change 2 months ago i said so what check it anyways so he sends me a picture with no oil on dipstick so he puts oil in it (4 quarts) an the noise is better I guess, I hear nothing until the highway problem
I am stunned frequently how people don't check their oil. My brother in law has had two chain replacements at the dealer due to not checking oil. We've had a couple of nice cars donated to the school with bad engines simply because oil was never checked. A co-worker's car is at the dealership right now for an engine replacement... I'm sure you can guess why.

Most people these days that consider cars to be like a maintenance free appliance they simply use every day until they get rid of it need to get an electric car.
 

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Yes there is information missing lol maybe a week or 2 before this happen he calls me saying it’s making a loud knocking noise so I said have you checked the oil he says dad I just did a oil change 2 months ago i said so what check it anyways so he sends me a picture with no oil on dipstick so he puts oil in it (4 quarts) an the noise is better I guess, I hear nothing until the highway problem
The reason I mentioned checking the oil is because it was a major, if not the most common cause of this kind of sudden onset mechanical problem with the CTS and I have stated previously that when the oil level in these motors drops low enough to cause a driveability symptom, chances are it will fail shortly after as is the case here. There are so many moving parts and oil gaps that a small amount of premature wear over several surfaces adds up quickly to inability to maintain sufficient oil pressure. It's probably best to go ahead and call it a wash at this point and start with a fresh motor. Every bearing race on all four camshafts has probably been wiped a little, and who knows whether or not the knocking noise was from the timing components, connecting rod, or main bearing.
 

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2011 CTS Coupe Premium
Orlando - We take orphans
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Is the oil pressure gauge damped so much that low oil will not cause a flutter ? Back in the day my SBC with dual quads used about a quart every 250 miles (once a week when driving to work) but modern engines rarely use any between changes. Generates complacency particularly since gas attendants do not check your oil anymore.

Guess a timing chain isn't part of a major tune up any more but then suppose most did not grow up with DOHC engines.
 

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2007 escalade ext
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Discussion Starter #9
I do not know I’m guessing it did not say anything about oil. At least I’d hope it didn’t cause if this was a cause of low oil an he just reset the oil light then I don’t know what to say.
 

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I do not know I’m guessing it did not say anything about oil. At least I’d hope it didn’t cause if this was a cause of low oil an he just reset the oil light then I don’t know what to say.
It's the result of a low oil level, and in the incidents I've read, the 2 quart level is about right as the trouble spot. The initial second generation CTS roll out apparently does not have a low oil level warning although I understand some form of warning was added to the LFX version.

When the oil level drops too low, the timing chain tensioners can't do their job (they are extended by oil pressure) and depending on the condition of the chains, they may "walk" over the actuator sprockets to a new position as you have demonstrated in the picture. The tensioners have a ratchet action to help prevent complete compression back into their housings, but that mechanism may have been damaged allowing far more slack than would normally be present.

Accelerating onto the interstate increased oil pump speed to the extent of emptying the pan of the two quarts that were in it faster than it could return.
 

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...but modern engines rarely use any between changes.
...I'd disagree, at least to add a 'many/most modern engines rarely use' qualifier. You can google 'excessive oil consumption', finding plenty of info like...

For example, BMW tells owners it's normal for some of its engines to burn a quart of oil in fewer than a thousand miles. In a tip sheet to fleet-vehicle operators, GM says normal consumption "can be in the range of one quart within 2,000 miles on a properly driven and maintained vehicle."

...many reports on this forum of some (not all) CTSs that consume more oil than one might expect. Ditto stories along the same line as yours, often in same post as P0008/timing chain issue ex: 'Oil Life said 10% left but pulled the dipstick and it was dry.'
 

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...and...unlike some/many older vehicles, the CTS oil pressure gauge does not seem very useful in detecting a low oil condition. And as for the 'Low Oil Pressure' light, it just never seems to come on.
 

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...and...unlike some/many older vehicles, the CTS oil pressure gauge does not seem very useful in detecting a low oil condition. And as for the 'Low Oil Pressure' light, it just never seems to come on.
I don't believe it was designed to do that. It just delivers a pressure reading. I'm not aware of an oil light showing up on the dash at any time and if I recall correctly, that was one of the complaints from many owners who made the mistake of treating the oil life monitor as if it was the oil level monitor, upon finding themselves in this situation.

To their credit, most are not car people as far as maintenance goes, so when you automate the oil change interval by introducing & advertising a computer that tells you when to change the oil and fail to shout in an even louder voice, "YOU STILL NEED TO CHECK THE LEVEL", they wait for the prompt from the computer, or the timing chains, which ever comes first. Enter the initial extended oil change interval to reveal that error. Running extremely low on oil was not a problem that I'm aware of prior to the CTS and the extended oil change interval.
 

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2007 escalade ext
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Discussion Starter #14
I do not know I’m guessing it did not say anything about oil. At least I’d hope it didn’t cause if this was a cause of low oil an he just reset the oil light then I don’t know what to say.
It's the result of a low oil level, and in the incidents I've read, the 2 quart level is about right as the trouble spot. The initial second generation CTS roll out apparently does not have a low oil level warning although I understand some form of warning was added to the LFX version.

When the oil level drops too low, the timing chain tensioners can't do their job (they are extended by oil pressure) and depending on the condition of the chains, they may "walk" over the actuator sprockets to a new position as you have demonstrated in the picture. The tensioners have a ratchet action to help prevent complete compression back into their housings, but that mechanism may have been damaged allowing far more slack than would normally be present.

Accelerating onto the interstate increased oil pump speed to the extent of emptying the pan of the two quarts that were in it faster than it could return.
Would it be right to tell him it’s just gonna need a new engine. I’d hate to have him put out the $400+ for a timing kit if other stuff is probably wrong. All this happened within a couple weeks
 

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Err my 1978 Sunbird had a low oil level sensor in the pan.
Also 1984 Pontiac Fiero - when introduced the Iron Duke had a 3 qt oil capacity. If two quarts down (common with Americans) a rod often came though the side of the block and sprayed oil on the catalytic converter. The burning oil ignited the plastic body which produced toxic gases when burning (just like the Trabant). This happened often enough to force a recall which added a bigger oil filter and a remarked dipstick to carry four quarts. Also a page for the owner's manual to announce the fact.
Only new thing is my CTS has an oil pressure gauge (unusual in GM outside of Pontiac).

Thought we did have an oil pressure light '11 OM page 5-11.

oillight.jpg
 

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Would it be right to tell him it’s just gonna need a new engine. I’d hate to have him put out the $400+ for a timing kit if other stuff is probably wrong. All this happened within a couple weeks
If you can confirm there are no bent valves it's worth a try, but they generally don't fare well after a case like this. I have an LY7 core that I disassembled and noticed all of the rotating assembly bearings are wiped a good bit short of having spun. There was a brand new timing chain set including new tensioners on it and it appears the person I purchased it from removed it from the car it was in and replaced it at some point after the chains were installed, because the motor was sealed as if it had been in use.

I checked and there is an oil light indicator, but I doubt you would see it given its position on the gauge.
 

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OIL usage; For the past three years I have been inspecting lease return cars for VW, Honda, Acura, Mazda, Audi, Bentley, Jaguar, Chrysler, Jeep Dodge. These cars are mostly three years old with 25,000 to 40,000 miles. I check the oil level on every car I can. (Audi cars do not have dipsticks) Not that I care about the level, I am looking for Sludge.


That is about 4,000 cars in three years.
This is not scientific just what I can recall; Most of the Chrysler products have the 3.6 engine, I can't remember any having low oil levels.
And I have found a about 400 cars with low oil levels 1/4 to 1/2 a quart. about 100 of those down more than 1 quart, some that just had an oil change down a quart, about 3 that had NO reading on the dipstick at all and seven for sure 7 that had sludge on the dipstick or under the oil filler cap.

I have to make a special report when I find sludge. Those that had sludge did not have the oil changed enough or not at all.
 

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OIL usage; For the past three years I have been inspecting lease return cars for VW, Honda, Acura, Mazda, Audi, Bentley, Jaguar, Chrysler, Jeep Dodge. These cars are mostly three years old with 25,000 to 40,000 miles. I check the oil level on every car I can. (Audi cars do not have dipsticks) Not that I care about the level, I am looking for Sludge.


That is about 4,000 cars in three years.
This is not scientific just what I can recall; Most of the Chrysler products have the 3.6 engine, I can't remember any having low oil levels.
And I have found a about 400 cars with low oil levels 1/4 to 1/2 a quart. about 100 of those down more than 1 quart, some that just had an oil change down a quart, about 3 that had NO reading on the dipstick at all and seven for sure 7 that had sludge on the dipstick or under the oil filler cap.

I have to make a special report when I find sludge. Those that had sludge did not have the oil changed enough or not at all.
That's a pretty unbalanced assumption on the sludge finding, given the process has been reported in cars that are not only well cared for, but also as a tendency no matter what you do in terms of maintenance in some of the brands you mentioned that I have read about in the past few years.

I've found sludge upon emptying waste oil from jugs that I let sit outside a few weeks before disposing, although there was no sludge present at the time it was drained and no sludge problem in the car it was removed from that received early change intervals. That suggests a condensation component which all cars have at cold start up, just remove the oil cap and take a look. Location, usage and usage conditions along with the engine design play a big part. Some of these cars have developed small internal coolant leaks from the multi layer steel head gaskets that may have been brief and gone undetected and there have been documented complaints of direct injected motors saturating the oil with fuel as a design side effect.

The Chrysler 3.6L is similar to the GM 3.6L build but, at the same time very different design wise. The sudden low oil levels in the GM 3.6L, is partly a function of the PCV system design where oil can be sucked into the intake from both valve covers depending on throttle input and some motors having the side effect as a result of build quality likely the result of cutting tool wear. There is also the effect of VVT which depending on driving conditions maybe delivering a higher average vacuum on the crankcase and drawing in more oil. I read a large number of complaints before buying my car and came across several that had a sudden drop in oil level in a very short time, short enough to be unacceptable even in the absence of having been checked since it was changed.

There will always be the occasional bad apple.
 

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with the 3.0 and 3.6 DI VVT engines being from the same Family in GM (High Feature Engine) I wonder why the 3.0 owners do not report or seem to have similar issues with their engines...

Bill
 

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Err my 1978 Sunbird had a low oil level sensor in the pan.
...

Thought we did have an oil pressure light '11 OM page 5-11.

View attachment 546360
Low oil LEVEL light is not the same as low PRESSURE light. By the time we see low PRESSURE, it's too late. Many GM cars had low oil level lights. 91-96 B/D cars (Caprice, Roadmaster, Fleetwood, etc) included.
 
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