Ok, I wanted to share this with everyone incase someone runs into these codes. If you are getting Engine Misfires and Service traction, you should read this in its entirety!!!!
It started after about 105K miles. I would get a check engine light, then it would go away and a month later it would come back for a day or two then go away. With every time, the occurrences more frequent and times getting closer and closer. Then Service Traction would come on, which would go away after you restarted the car. Hmmm, I thought.
Toward the end, noticed it would run slightly rough at idle, only idle, before all this happened, and the check engine light would come on. But with 105 K miles, I didn't really expect a silky smooth running engine. After a 3 hr highway trip, getting off , it would run smooth and the Check Engine light would leave, only to return a few days later. It got me thinking.
Well, A quick reading at the local auto parts store showed Cylinder #1 misfire. Replaced the easy cheap stuff, Coil, plugs and last a fuel injector. Small positive results. But the same issues persisted. A compression check revealed 85 PSI #1 cylinder and 145/150 on the rest. Leaking valves. I dreaded the thought. I'm an aircraft mechanic, last thing I wanted was to get home and pull the head off, especially off a Dual Cam Chain drive I thought!
Let me share this, it was easy. I had the head off in 3 hours, VERY VERY easy. In short, Pull the plastic cover, 8 or so bolts and nuts off the intake manifold, remove the 2 studs off the intake side of the head, 2 bolts for the fuel rail, couple clips on the harness, 3 bolts on the exhaust manifold heat shield, 10 or so bolts and nuts from the exhaust manifold, couple bolts that hold a ground strap and the hoist attach points on the head, 2 water hose clamps, 4 bolts for the coil packs, move harness out of the way, valve cover, 2 cam sprocket bolts, head bolts and that's about it.
I will share some tips.
DO NOT do the tie wrap on the cam gears. AGAIN, DO NOT TIE WRAP the gear set to save some time. The chain can skip 1 tooth at the very bottom of the crank, its NOT worth it. Pulling the cam gear and replacing it was also very easy and only added a few hours.
Pull the head, have it redone, mine cost me $200. Make sure they replace worn valve guides and not SLEEVE them! Get a full gasket kit, $105 from Felpro thru Amazon. Get new Head BOLTS. I'd highly recommend ARP studs, here is why. These torque to yield bolts are so easy to over torque and if you under torque you will get a head leak. If you over torque, a month later and a hundred heat cycles off and on will cause them to stretch and leak, this happened to me. I torqued them to OEM 22 Ft ft, then retorqued them again to 22 ft lbs and that WAS a MISTAKE. If you are doing OEM bolts, torque just once then degrees. One month later, head leaked. With ARP studs, yeah they are expensive but its a one time deal. Its screw down the stud, slide the head gasket and head, 25ft lbs, 50ft lbs and 80ft lbs and your done. Plus they are super strong and reusable. $145 for ARP Studs. The auto Parts wanted $90+ for head bolts, Chevy, $6 each x 10 or order it thru a Chevy dealers website and save more but follow torque to a tee. 22 Ft Lbs once and then the correct degrees. Auto parts sells a degree wheel for this. I went with old school ARP Studs. In Fact, if you really want to save $$, Order new Chevy Head Bolts, Head Gasket $29, front (side) Balance shaft cover gasket $24, go via GM as the nationwide Auto parts wanted a whole lot more than GM on every single part, ?!?!?! You can reuse the Head Valve cover gasket and if it leaks, then replace it later. Unless your intake O rings are shot, wipe them down with Mineral spirits and reuse, says so in the manual. Get a new Exhaust Gasket.
My Felpro kit came with new fuel injector O rings, I applied Dow Corning #4 dielectric grease and reused the same ones. Cut the fingers off a Latex disposable glove and use them as sleeves over the fuel injectors.
Now, get a Cloyes Cam Shaft gear set thru Amazon, $110, $45 less than the auto parts and I got free same day delivery, unreal! You will do the following, when you reinstall the head, you will rest assured that
1) Your timing is set right and you won't run the risk of damaging your new head.
2) You'll be good for another 100K Plus miles, Comes with latest Tensioner, new Oil port, Cam bolts, Cam gears, chain, easy. Cloyes is a maker of OEM Gears and timing sets for GM by the way, first quality all the way.
Youtube Cloyes Ecotec 2.2 and you can see the removal and replacement video of this cam gear kit, really really easy!
Piece of wood under oil pan, jack up engine slightly, remove airbox, a screw and 2 nuts, remove side engine mount 8 points, 2 nuts and 6 bolts. Tensioner 1 bolt, Harmonic Balancer 1 Bolt, 10 or so bolts and the side cover comes off. Remove R/H wheel for easier access so you will need 2 jacks.
To pull the head, easy as heck. 3 hours max. Make sure you scrub that block clean of all carbon! Clean the pistons as well. I left mine spotless. I used degreaser, and even a razor blade to scrap it carefully clean. Wipe it down with Alcohol, and again just before installing the head gasket and head, and wipe the head as well.
So in the end, I replaced all my gaskets, alternator belt, Cam gear set, redid the head. I'm out $500 give or take and 7 hours. VERY EASY. I did not change the water pump because I rather have a GM pump than an aftermarket pump. If you always had clean anti freeze and replaced it every 2 to 3 years, should be still good. Heck, My OEM water pump in my 26 year old Dodge Daytona Shelby VNT was still good and I just replaced it for fear, but I found a OEM Mopar NOS pump. The balance shaft gear and chain was tight and nice. Then again that one gets a lot of oil, I left that alone as well. In fact my Cam gear set was in good shape. I replaced it simple because I had it apart, needed Cam Gear bolts, and the new improved tensioner alone was $40, plus chains tend to stretch a bit, I wanted a new quiet chain and piece of mind.
Started it up. 6 seconds later the tensioner and lifters filled with oil and it went silent and most important SILKY smooth! It was so smooth, that at times it was hard to tell if the engine was running, that's with 105,000 miles. A quick Compression check showed all at or above 190 PSI and the valves hadn't seated yet.
Oh, I drained my radiator till no more came out and there still was water in the system. So expect to get water in the engine when you pull the head, expect an oil change and a gallon of Anti freeze. Make dead sure there is no water in the head bolt threaded cavity as this can cause a hydraulic lock when screwing down the bolts and possible improper torqueing.
Results, Engine runs like new, no codes, great compression, no SERVICE TRACTION. Here is the deal with that. The engine can sense a difference in speed when a cylinder doesn't fire with the same power due a faulty plug, coil, or low compression, thus Cylinder Misfire. Its up to you to find which one. Swap coils, Spark Plugs, Fuel injector, compression check. It seems these heads have a habit of Carbon, leaking valves and other issues. When the engines system sees a misfire, and its bad enough that you can feel a slight roughness only at idle, it deactivates the traction control so if the misfire is really bad, the traction control doesn't override your foot pedal input and stall the engine.
I hope this helps shed some light on these codes and most important, gives confidence to someone thinking Man, what a job I have ahead of me pulling this head! Its really really easy. Taking this to a mechanic or dealer would costs $1500 or more. Last, get a torque wrench, Harbor Freight are cheap and deadly accurate!