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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Replace chains at 120k? I haven't seen anything on the owner's manual. My friend's Camry has like a belt and its gone over 120k without issues. So shouldn't a chain last longer?
Again, what is your definition of "last"?
 

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2018 PremLux CTS LGX RWD
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89 Posts
I highly recommend using a DEXOS rated oil (I use Castrol Edge) and changing the oil/filter every 3,500 Miles. Use a high end filter like WIX.

Change the Dexcool every 5 years - just dump old and add new - no flush necessary if doing this every 5 years.


M....
 

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Black/Black 2013 CTS Sedan 3.0L RWD (102k miles)
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1,299 Posts
Here's what I've done so far:

Oil change - OLM or a year, whatever is sooner
ATF, rear differential, power steering, and Spark Plugs - every 100k
Brake fluid - every time the brakes are changed (this is generally sooner than the 150k/10 year in the manual)
Coolant - every 5 years (this is sooner than 150k)
Cabin air filter - every 25k
Engine air filter - every 50k

That's all that's covered in the manual. I haven't seen anything around belts, chains, or other fuilds.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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1,368 Posts
Here's what I've done so far:

Oil change - OLM or a year, whatever is sooner
ATF, rear differential, power steering, and Spark Plugs - every 100k
Brake fluid - every time the brakes are changed (this is generally sooner than the 150k/10 year in the manual)
Coolant - every 5 years (this is sooner than 150k)
Cabin air filter - every 25k
Engine air filter - every 50k

That's all that's covered in the manual. I haven't seen anything around belts, chains, or other fuilds.
Nor have you seen any service scheduled in the owner's manual beyond 100K. When is the transmission fluid supposed to be changed? Differential clutches, we all know those wear? Shocks, control arms?

The owner's manual isn't the be-all end-all of maintenance intervals requiring hard part replacement.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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676 Posts
A lot of this info shared is great. And aside from the regular maintenance as suggested by the owners manual really you don't have to do anything else if it's not causing a problem. Change timing chain now if it's not causing issues?? ok... I guess. $$ for what though. I've owned every gen of CTS and Gen 2 was the worst for timing chain issues, they even issued an extended warranty for all owners on the timing chain. Well I changed my oil every time on schedule and used a quality synthetic and after 11 years of owning my 2008 CTS I never had a timing chain issues that so many had. Take care of your car and if it's behaving good, let her be. Keep in mind, how many times have you brought your car for a repair and something else goes wrong after it's fixed. It happens. So sure, good advise about some preventative items here, but at the same time you might be changing out something that has many many miles left on it or may never cause you an issue. I'd say the main thing is to make sure ALL fluids are up to date in terms of changing. That is the number one thing that will help avoid mechanical issues. Congrats on your new to you CTS, have fun and stick around here.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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1,368 Posts
A lot of this info shared is great. And aside from the regular maintenance as suggested by the owners manual really you don't have to do anything else if it's not causing a problem. Change timing chain now if it's not causing issues?? ok... I guess. $$ for what though. I've owned every gen of CTS and Gen 2 was the worst for timing chain issues, they even issued an extended warranty for all owners on the timing chain. Well I changed my oil every time on schedule and used a quality synthetic and after 11 years of owning my 2008 CTS I never had a timing chain issues that so many had. Take care of your car and if it's behaving good, let her be.
If you think 120K to 150K mile timing chains "don't cause issues" you don't understand the problem. Like a few parts on a car (shocks are a good example, control arms and other suspension parts are another) the degradation is slow, over a long period of time. Yet when you replace the worn part, the sudden improvement back to factory-designed performance is startling, revealing to the owner maintenance was needed and $$ was well-spent.

I'm assuming you already know the behavior of worn shocks and suspension. Worn timing chains cause slow response to VVT commands as slack is taken up, or even prevent the designed timing from being accomplished. This is indicated by hesitation at throttle tip-in and otherwise poor response. Fuel economy and power are diminished, and the loose chains are audibly heard through a faint rattle at high RPM, at start up, or even the extreme knocking indicated by a cam phaser that fails to lock in place at shutdown, whipping back and forth until oil pressure builds.

Like so many wear items on cars, the vast majority of drivers simply aren't perceptive enough to notice the slow deterioration. While it might be more obvious if it happened overnight, the slow progression makes it more difficult to identify. There is plenty of experience in the community with this engine. Even when well-maintained, timing chains eventually wear. The CEL light has been reprogrammed through a service update to software to minimize warranty claims by postponing the indication until wear is near-catastrophic, it is not to configured to indicate when wear has reached a level that is degrading performance.

All engines wear their timing chains, but it is particularly impactful to DOHC V engines with VVT. It is a common fallacy that timing belts need replacing and timing chains last "forever". Obviously this is impossible, and a large collective body of experience agrees.

If you have a high-mileage 3.6L V6 with the original timing chain and the CEL light has not lit (yet), I can assure you it is not "fine". All DOHC engines expected to run past 200K miles need a timing set replacement once in their lifetime.

If your Gen II CTS had 120K to 150K miles when you sold it, you can be sure it had timing chain issues. You just didn't address them.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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If your Gen II CTS had 120K to 150K miles when you sold it, you can be sure it had timing chain issues. You just didn't address them.
Ya.... ok.... take that for what it's worth. lol I'm not mechanic, but I do repair what I can myself, if not then straight to the dealer. I also own several classic cars that I do all the work on myself. I'm not one to neglect something that is wrong with a car, as you insinuate that I just don't address them.

Not gonna argue with you about when to change things that aren't broke. Changing out struts too before signs they need to.... ok... Most people aren't doing these types of things. But again, your opinion is valid, and for others to decide how much money they want to spend on not broken stuff. When my cars behave well, and I like the car I keep them for a long time. Never had an issue with something not broken. Make sense? lol
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Just because you chose not to maintain a worn part on your vehicle, does not prove it was "fine". I would think that is clear enough, and is often the state a used car buyer finds their new-to-them acquisition in.

However, I strongly disagree with your "not broken" characterization. If you're one of those who runs the wear life out of a car and sells it fine, your decision. But you weren't selling a "not broken" car. And your choice to unload the car rather than perform needed maintenance is certainly not proof that your car didn't need maintenance.

Shocks with little damping left are broken. Timing chains that are slack enough to degrade performance and driveability are broken. Control arms that clunk when you enter a driveway and can't hold the wheel true to the road are broken.

The problem I have is when people come on here and claim their 150K mile car was "working fine and needed no maintenance" before they sold it. Poppycock. It was run out and need thousands of $$ of maintenance.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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Oh dude give it a break. You're acting as if you know how I maintain my cars. You gave your opinion I gave mine, enough of your mudslinging online. Your arguments have so many generalizations it makes them invalid. You have a problem with people on here claiming their high mileage cars are in good shape. Ya ok bud, everyone is drive'n them into the ground but you. I would suggest the opposite, those in these forums are enthusiasts who probably take better care of their cars than most who don't care about going online and sharing info. The op can decide how he wants to maintain his car based on everyone's advise. Take it easy bro. sheesh.
 

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SRX,ATS,CTS(2), CT6
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162 Posts
Replace chains at 120k? I haven't seen anything on the owner's manual. My friend's Camry has like a belt and its gone over 120k without issues. So shouldn't a chain last longer?
If he truly has gone 120 on the original belt he's tempting fate. If he's religious about maintenance there's a good chance he had it replaced once and didn't mention it.
A belt is the wear item itself. Run long enough it may actually snap. If serviced prior to that catastrophe, chances are the sprockets (pulleys if you want) will be fine and the tensioner may be too.

A chain system has more wear items. The chain itself will stretch due to wear at every pivot but breakage is unlikely. The chain guides are definitely consumable. Left alone once stretch sets in and tensioner/guides are chewed up then sprockets wear due to mismatched pitch with the stretched chain. Slack chain beats up alot of things in the valve train and eventually will jump a sprocket or snag a guide. Yes, chains blow right thru 75000 miles with no replacement (belts commonly are replaced around 75k) but when you close in on 150k they make it up with the need for a more expensive chain service. No free lunch.
 

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SRX,ATS,CTS(2), CT6
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162 Posts
Here's what I've done so far:

Oil change - OLM or a year, whatever is sooner
ATF, rear differential, power steering, and Spark Plugs - every 100k
Brake fluid - every time the brakes are changed (this is generally sooner than the 150k/10 year in the manual)
Coolant - every 5 years (this is sooner than 150k)
Cabin air filter - every 25k
Engine air filter - every 50k

That's all that's covered in the manual. I haven't seen anything around belts, chains, or other fuilds.
A small aside....I don't know that I would trust the OLM after 100k miles. These earlier systems didn't necessarily use an algorithm that allowed for the fact that oil life is consumed faster in a high mileage engine with increased ring leakage, carbon accumulation, sludgy oil galleries etc. Basically they look at temperature, rpm, number of start cycles, and primarily miles driven. When you get up in miles and see the beginning of mechanical wear, oil life is reduced. I would begin to treat 40% as the new 0% if I wanted to prolong the life of a higher mileage engine. On the other hand if the rest of the car is on a path to be consumed by 200k miles then no sense arriving the scrap yard with a pristine long block....
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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All valid points Ornery. But from my experience with my last three Cadillac's, 03 CTS, 08 CTS, and 08 SRX V8 I did everything by the book and OLM and all three vehicles lasted 11 years and never did I have a timing chain issue. The ONLY reason every one of those cars were replaced is because in Norther Ontario the road salt pretty much claims your car after 11 years. Something major rusts out. And when my cars are 11 years old and something major underneath rusts out I don't bother spending money to repair when the resale value is pretty much nil. I'm not saying you're wrong, just saying that this isn't always the case if you take care of your vehicle. And I'm not saying you won't have a timing chain issue even well before 11 years, but it doesn't have to be the case either. I've never had a major engine issue every on any car I've owned. So in my opinion only, I would never bother changing a timing chain until there were indications I needed to. Old belts are a to totally different story and those wore much quicker.
 

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Black/Black 2013 CTS Sedan 3.0L RWD (102k miles)
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When you guys say belt, are you referring to the serpentine belt? are there any other engine belts we need to be aware of?

I'm going with the wait and see approach, I've been checking my serpentine belt for cracks each time I check the oil level. So far it seems okay so have been holding off replacing it. The timing chain requires more work to look at so I have just been waiting for the CEL light as its a pricier fix (for us common folk who can't DIY major repairs)
 

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2014 CTS Coupe 3.6 RWD Perfomance Pkg, TriCoat White Diamond
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