GM 2.4 Ecotec Engine Problems – Is The 2.4 A Good Purchase?

GM 2.4 Ecotec Engine Problems – Is The 2.4 A Good Purchase?

January 9, 2024 0 By CarGuy

Are you interested in buying a GM product with the 2.4 Ecotec engine and want to learn more about the GM 2.4 Ecotec engine problems? Look no further because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover on this engine.

Doing good and thorough research is always a good idea when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. All cars are not the same, some of them are better and some of them are full of problems. This is why you need to do an investigation before you buy. And that’s why we are here to help you out.

First, we will cover the specs and applications of the 2.4 Ecotec. Then, we will cover the GM 2.4 Ecotec engine problems and learn more about the issues that this engine has. We also give a comment on the reliability of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

GM 2.4 Ecotec Engine Specs

Now before we dive into the problems of the 2.4 Ecotec, let’s first learn more about the specs of this engine.

This engine belongs to the Ecotec family by General Motors. This is a family of inline-4 engines with a displacement ranging from 1.4 to 2.5L.

We are specifically interested in the 2.4L engine. This engine belongs to the Gen 2 Ecotec engines and was introduced in 2006 and produced until 2017.

The 2.4L engine implements an aluminum block with an aluminum head, in total there is a displacement of 2.4L.

This engine comes with a dual overhead camshaft layout and variable valve timing both on the intake and on the exhaust. This improves the low-end torque of the engine.

  • Configuration: inline-4
  • Displacement: 2.4L
  • Bore: 88 mm
  • Stroke: 98 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC
  • Compression Ratio: 10.4:1
  • Variable Valve Timing: Dual VVT
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Horsepower: 168 – 182 hp
  • Torque: 160 – 173 lb-ft (225 – 235 N-m)

GM 2.4 Ecotec Applications

Now let’s take a look at the applications of the GM 2.4 engine and see which codes in what models were included.

LE5 2006 – 2009

  • Buick Lacrosse
  • Chevy Cobalt SS
  • Chevy HHR
  • Chevy Malibu
  • Pontiac Solstice
  • Pontiac G5
  • Pontiac G6
  • Saturn Ion
  • Saturn Sky
  • Saturn Aura
  • Saturn Vue

LAT 2007 – 2009 For Hybrids

  • Saturn Aura
  • Saturn Vue
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Chevy Malibu

LE9 2009 – 2019 E85 Version

  • Chevy HHR
  • Chevy Malibu
  • Polaris Slingshot

LAF 2010 – 2014 Direct Injected version

  • Chevy Equinox
  • GMC Terrain
  • Buck Regal
  • Buck LaCrosse
  • Chevy Orlando
  • Chevy Captiva

LEA 2012 – 2017 E85 version of the LAF

  • Buick Regal
  • Buick Verano
  • Chevy Equinox
  • Chevy Captiva Sport
  • Chevy Orlando
  • GMC Terrain

LUK 2012 – 2017 Similar to LAF but for hybrids

  • Buck Regal
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Chevy Impala
  • Chevy Malibu

GM 2.4 Ecotec Engine Problems

Now let’s list the common problems with the GM 2.4 Ecotec engine.

  1. Carbon Buildup
  2. Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
  3. High Oil Consumption
  4. Oil Leaks

So, we covered the most common problems with the 2.4 Ecotec engine, now let’s dive deeper and try to understand these problems better.

We recommend this because you need to learn how these problems occur and how you can possibly prevent them from happening in your GM car. So, let’s get started!

1. Carbon Buildup

One of the most common problems in modern cars is carbon buildup. This is a modern problem that cars have.

The early 2.4 engines used port injection but since the LAF version was introduced, GM switched to direct injection.

And these two are completely different ways of injecting fuel into the cylinders. Port injection uses relatively low-pressure injectors and injects fuel through the intake ports.

While direct injection uses high-pressure fuel injectors and a secondary high-pressure fuel pump.

With the direct injection method, you get more efficiency and better MPGs. But the intake ports are not washed by the fuel like in the case with port-injected engines.

So, oily vapors start to accumulate on the intake valves and create a carbon crust. This crust can become rather thick and prevent valves from opening and closing properly.

Which will result in the need to refurbish the cylinder head. This is why in order to avoid this problem, it is recommended that you do a method known as walnut blasting every 60,000 miles to remove the carbon crust from the intake ports.

2. Timing Chain Tensioner & Upper Guide Bolt Failure

Another very common GM 2.4 Ecotec engine problem is the timing chain tensioner failure. So, what is a timing chain tensioner and why does it fail?

Well, the timing chain tensioner is a component that is installed on the timing mechanism. This tensioner has the simple task of keeping tension on the chain.

The timing chain should have zero slack in order to function properly. If it has some slack, you will experience problems.

The engine will be out of sync and there will be engine misfires and check engine codes concerning the engine timing.

In the worst case, the chain could jump a few teeth and you will end up with a problem that will cost you thousands of dollars to fix because valves and pistons will come into contact, and engine damage will occur.

The second common failure in the timing mechanism is the upper guide bolt. This is a bolt that holds the guide in place.

This guide simply guides the timing chain and if this bolt fails the chain will develop slack and could jump a few teeth.

Usually the same scenario as with the timing chain tensioner failure that occurs on this engine. Expensive repair.

Now let’s continue with the next GM 2.4 Ecotec engine problems.

3. High Oil Consumption

High oil consumption was also noted on the 2.4 Ecotec engine. So, what is bad oil consumption and why does it occur?

Well, engines consume certain amounts of oil, especially at higher miles. This is the case because piston rings do not seal particularly well and allow oil to get into the combustion chamber.

But what is bad is that on these engines this oil consumption is too excessive when compared to other engines from different manufacturers.

So, we are talking here about 1 quart per 1,000 miles or more. Something that is not normal. Normal oil consumption is a quart or two every 10,000 miles.

But if the engine consumes too much oil, you will have a difficult time because you need to constantly top off the engine oil.

This can be expensive since oil is not cheap and also if you do not top off the engine oil regularly, the engine bearings could simply seize.

This would happen because of oil starvation. So, be really careful if you are buying one of these engines. Make sure that it doesn’t release too much black smoke from the exhaust.

And also a compression test will be a good idea to do in order to make sure that you avoid a problematic engine. Since an engine rebuild could easily cost a few grand.

Another common cause of oil consumption is a blocked PCV valve. So, it is worth checking this valve and making sure that the PCV system is functioning properly.

4. Oil Leaks

Another very common problem with these engines is oil leaks. And oil leaks can occur to any engine but they most likely will happen on these GM engines from this era.

There can be oil leaks from the valve cover, the oil cap can not seal properly, and there can be leaks from the timing cover, oil pan gasket, and front or rear main seals.

Overall, these engines can leak from various places. That’s why inspecting the undercarriage before you buy is a good idea.

Since some of these leaks can be expensive to fix. Especially if it’s a rear main seal where the transmission has to come off.

So, beware of oil leaks before you buy!

GM 2.4 Ecotec Engine Reliability

The reliability of these engines is pretty average. They are not the worst but definitely not some of the best engines around.

Especially the direct injection versions that have issues with the timing chain tensioner and issues with oil consumption.

Not to mention that the newer engines also have direct injection and can have serious amounts of carbon deposits.

This is why we advise that you find a good sample when buying a car with this engine. Stay away from engines that are poorly maintained if you don’t want to deal with problems.


In this article, we covered the GM 2.4 Ecotec engine. First, we learned more about the specs of this engine and the applications in which you can find it.

In the second part, we discussed the common GM 2.4 Ecotec engine problems. These problems include issues with the timing chain, oil leaks, and oil consumption.


What are the common problems of the GM 2.4 engine?

Common problems with this engine include carbon buildup on the engines with direct injection, timing chain tensioner failure, timing chain upper guide bolt failure, oil consumption, and oil leaks.

Is the GM 2.4 engine reliable?

The reliability of the 2.4 engine is average overall. Not one of the greatest and also not one of the worst around. So, if you can find a good sample with low miles that is well maintained, you will not make a wrong move.

If you want to learn more about other GM engines, you can check our article on the GM 3.6L V6 engine and its problems.