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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It came as no surprise when my 130K mile 2009 LLT-engined CTS turned on the check engine light with timing chain (P0008) and bank 1 catalyst low efficiency (P0420) codes. I have been hearing slight timing chain rattles now and again, which are more noticeable when I rev the engine over 5K. The engine only uses about 1 quart oil between changes every 7K miles (oil life monitor with revised calibration), and I'm pretty sure both the former owner and I did not run it low on oil.

I don't think I'm going to do this maintenance myself, I would rather find a local mechanic in the San Francisco bay area (San Jose) who has done it a couple times before and already has the cam and flywhool fixture tools. Currently I am talking to the local Buick/GMC dealer and an independent in Morgan Hill, but haven't made any decisions yet as to who to hire.

Is there a GM "kit" containing chains, sprockets, phasers, solenoids, etc? Any part number? Is it appropriate to change the oil pump as well (I have read this a couple times on this board) but am unsure how necessary it is. Obviously the water pump, accessory belts and tensioners and crankshaft seal will be replaced given the mileage. Last time I changed the oil I noticed some oil near the front of the oil pan. Not much, but there could be a small leak up there somewhere. Is this likely to be addressed with the timing chain replacement, or is there anything else I should request while the engine is being serviced? Of course I'll mention this oil leak to the mechanic.

Edit: looks like the oil pump has a chain guide as part of the assembly, so it will get replaced.
 

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08 CTS DI
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Cloyes 90753s 2008 CADILLAC CTS 3.6L V6 Timing Set | RockAuto

Replace the water pump also. The oil stain at the bottom of the timing cover is probably from a leak between the timing cover and the front of the motor and will be taken care of on reassembly, like wise if it's the front main seal.

The oil pump is often left alone since it has to be carefully centered in place to avoid damage. If you don't have an oil pressure problem there's no need to bother any of the bolts that attach it and instead just take the friction guide off the old mount and install the new one onto it. The pump is flush fit, there is no seal and I have read one story of it being tampered with during a timing chain replacement that had to be opened up afterwards following a noise and the pump being changed during that time and low oil pressure resulting for some unknown reason afterwards. The problem was never the pump until after the tech went back in and changed it.

For the actuators which are purchased separately, AC Delco, or Standard Motor Products, a standard rep informed me their actuators are reboxed OE. There are two different types of actuators; 5 and 4 assembly bolts. The importance is for the nylon shims that should go behind the actuators. It was a later fix due to camshaft irregularities so you may or may not have them, or may need to change them. I didn't have them and my replacement actuators were 4 bolt instead of the original 5 bolt as they had been changed/redesigned. The dealers should know, I can't find the TSB that gives the part numbers for them.

Make sure they use there fingers to make sure the tensioners are fully extended and tell them to perform a "Clear flood crank", pedal held to the floor while attempting to start the car. This will keep the motor from running and allow oil pressure to build up so the motor does not start dry after reassembly.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for clearing up the oil pump concerns, I would not expect the pump itself needs replacing during a normal engine lifetime. Is it possible to buy the chain guide wear strip separately from the pump? Cloyes is a respected name many of us have used, myself included. Are they the OEM supplier as well, or is there a reason to prefer Cloyes to OEM?
 

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2013 CTS Sportwagon 3.6
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@Lifespeed - Keep up comprised of what you find out, costs, etc. I am down in Monterey Bay, and I'm sitting at 111k, so I am sure I won't be too far behind in needing mine done.
 

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Thanks for clearing up the oil pump concerns, I would not expect the pump itself needs replacing during a normal engine lifetime. Is it possible to buy the chain guide wear strip separately from the pump? Cloyes is a respected name many of us have used, myself included. Are they the OEM supplier as well, or is there a reason to prefer Cloyes to OEM?
In the thick of the timing chain debacle, OE was the last thing you wanted to put back on the car considering some repeat failures. Cloyes has a good name in performance and they offer a kit that I have read nothing but good about, although the idler pulleys are GM originals. The Cloyes kit comes with that guide, you simply swap it across the brackets so the new bracket goes back in the box with the old parts wearing the old nylon guide.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for posting the service bulletin, I see mention of different cam phasers, cam bearing caps and teflon spacers @Joseph Upson mentioned. And the light is out now, guess it fixed itself. The local dealership is slammed, can't get in for a month. The dealer wants a $150 "diagnosis fee", not so sure about that. I think this is one of those cases where the code pretty much is the diagnosis, which is usually not the case. Haven't heard back from the independent mechanic yet, we'll see how it goes.
'
 

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The code will probably wax and wane a bit before it sets and stays. You're at the mileage range that replacement is recommended. Usually the diagnostic fee goes into the repair if they're allowed to perform it, although I'd certainly question the need for if if you tell them out right you want the service performed. Interestingly refunding the diagnostic fee is not an option when they misdiagnose. I'd find out what they charge for the standard procedure before committing. I wonder how much of their back log is warranty related. It's a time consuming repair, but the easiest vehicle to perform it on, because the motor faces the proper direction under the hood. I replaced my own and never had to get on the ground in order to do it. The fwd cars are probably a real headache without a lift.
 

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2014 ELR
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If I wasn't doing it myself, I would definitely have the dealer do it. Correct parts, experienced tech that will have done this job a few times, the correct J tools, a warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll check on their policy regarding the diagnostic fee applying to the repair. When I had the dealer replace the motor mounts they wanted to charge me a diagnostic fee for that too, but I laughed and told them no way. Clueless service writer, his superior corrected him on that one.

I agree, I'm more comfortable with the dealer who has worked on this exact car/engine combination before. And my guess is the independent would charge as much as the dealer.
 

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2013 Black Diamond CTS4 Premium Coupe (sold-09 CTS4 DI Black Raven/Ebony)
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In my dealings with the dealer, they always applied the diagnostic fee to the work performed when the diagnostic fee revealed a problem that needed fixed. If they say it won't apply to the repair cost, ask why not. Expect to be without the car for a month if the dealer is that busy.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Discussion Starter #12
Are the cam phasers normally replaced in this service? I noticed the technical service bulletin tries to skimp on parts replacement, even the guides! Which may be the approach GM likes when they're footing the bill, but given the cost of labor this seems like false economy. And the phasers have teeth that wear to the chain.
 

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You can ask the dealer what all is being replaced. If those are not on the list and you want them done, tell them to replace them. It's your $$ this time around, so you get to make the call on having them replaced. Don't forget to ask for all the old parts. When it's a warranty job, they keep the old parts, but since it's your $$, you have the right to request the old parts. And it's a way to ensure they did replace all the parts you said need replaced. The "he'll ever know because it's an internal part" mindset can't be used if they have to show their work.

Sorry to see you have to go through this. I got lucky that mine was under warranty.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Discussion Starter #14
Car maintenance is part of owning a car. I knew it was an older car, and unlike some folks I am well aware that my fondness for DOHC 4-valve V-engines means a timing chain replacement (hopefully only one!) during the engine's lifespan. While the LLT engine had particularly bad problems with the timing chain, I don't think any 4V DOHC V-configuration engine runs well to 200K on the original timing chain. Runs, perhaps, but not well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Talked to the dealer and cancelled the $219 diagnostic appointment, the price of which isn't applied to the repair. I take it in for a timing chain job the 18th of February. I'm going to take a photo of the Tech 2 error codes as they'll probably be gone from memory by then.
 

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$219 to tell you that you have a P0008 code on the car, then not apply it to the repair. That's just not right.
 

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$219 to tell you that you have a P0008 code on the car, then not apply it to the repair. That's just not right.
Insane, especially since the chances they'll actually perform an in depth diagnostic on a question they already have the answer to is "NOT!".

Are the cam phasers normally replaced in this service? I noticed the technical service bulletin tries to skimp on parts replacement, even the guides! Which may be the approach GM likes when they're footing the bill, but given the cost of labor this seems like false economy. And the phasers have teeth that wear to the chain.
The diagnostic savings goes toward the actuators, which in my opinion should be replaced because the teeth most definitely have witness marks that the new chains would have to wear into. If you are providing your own parts, you can get the complete set from Rockauto for right at the cost of that diagnostic fee they were trying to hit you over the head with.
 

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I agree that the diag fee is steep... but... time is money, and, that diagnostic tool is really expensive. The low end SnapOn Solus we have was a few thousand. Of COURSE, if the work gets done at the place that scans it, there should be N/C for the scan.

I tell everyone I work with to buy a bluetooth OBD2 dongle to pair with their phone so they can easily see what's going on.
 

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I agree that the diag fee is steep... but... time is money, and, that diagnostic tool is really expensive. The low end SnapOn Solus we have was a few thousand. Of COURSE, if the work gets done at the place that scans it, there should be N/C for the scan.

I tell everyone I work with to buy a bluetooth OBD2 dongle to pair with their phone so they can easily see what's going on.
Just how many diagnostic fees need to be collected to pay for a good scan tool that doesn't need to be changed annually. When it's paid for the diagnostic fee doesn't go away so I'm not buying that one. In the 20 yrs that I spent in the automotive service industry, the fees were more industry standards than necessity and the number of scan tools in possession of the shops was proof of that and most mechanics own their own tools and only receive a tiny portion of that diagnostic fee.

I've been on both sides and my experience past and present has assured me that when you're at the mercy of a shop/mechanic, you need all the mercy you can get. No matter how much the tool costs, it's only as good as the person using it and we get new members here on a regular basis following an unsuccessful visit to the dealer/shop after paying full price for that "time" if that's any indication as to the extent of legitimacy and dependability of the "diagnostic fee".
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I agree that the diag fee is steep... but... time is money, and, that diagnostic tool is really expensive. The low end SnapOn Solus we have was a few thousand.
If there was diagnosis involved I would gladly pay the fee. In the case of a worn timing chain I don't believe there is, beyond reading the code. The dealership is just imposing a one-size-fits-all fee, which I haven't agreed to pay. Instead I scheduled the repair work based on the P0008 code and 130K miles without a timing chain replacement, at least according to GM records when I bought the car in 2018.
 
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