2011 Chevy Equinox Engine Light Recall

Lately at the shop we’ve seen quite a few newer Chevrolet Equinox’s having some cold start up noise, which is usually accompanied by a hesitation upon acceleration. The new style 4-cylinder engine has two camshaft actuator solenoids that have been having problems.

These solenoids are located in the valve cover and go down the intake and exhaust camshafts. They help control timing and phasing of the cams for different driving situations. The problem they seem to be having is that the screens that control the oil flow have been becoming clogged with debris, or in worse case scenarios actually breaking off. Also, a trouble code will usually set for either the intake or exhaust cam actuator solenoid and could even set for both.

When even the smallest amount of debris gets into the screens of the solenoid, there is a restriction of flow and this is where the noise is coming from. Usually on a cold start up, there will be a loud rattle or clanking sound for a few seconds until the oil pressure builds up. This usually goes away quickly and does not return once the engine is warm. Also, when the solenoids can’t fully function, whether from being clogged or broken, that will affect the timing and cause the vehicle to be sluggish or hesitate. These two problems seem to go hand in hand lately.

It isn’t quite clear where any debris is coming from, but there have been a couple technical bulletins concerning this issue. The latest fix, while replacing the solenoids, also includes a new program for the vehicle’s computer. This ‘reflash’ has an updated calibration to take care of some of the common issues with these solenoids.

At least one oil change is recommended to help get any excess debris out of the oiling system, and sometimes multiple oil changes are required.

Chevy Equinox Runs Bad

When i go to take off or when i try to pass someone it hesitates?

By running bad do you mean that it sputters or hesitates when you try to give it gas?

Yes, it wants to fall on its face.

What year Equinox do you have?

It is a 2008 Chevy Equinox.

OK this sounds like a familiar problem. Usually what happens is that one or more of the spark plugs get what’s called ‘carbon tracking’ on them. This is due to a small fracture of the porcelain on the spark plug where it will start to arc out the side of it and end up burning the spark plug and ignition wire.

Ok how do i fix this?

Usually you will need to find out which spark plug or plugs has this problem and replace them, along with the ignition wire or wires the affected cylinders. Luckily, I believe there is a special policy through General Motors where this is a known problem and a dealership should fix this free of charge for you. You would need to check with your local Chevy dealer to make sure, but I believe this is the case. If it is a covered problem, what will be repaired would be replacement of any fouled or carbon tracked spark plugs along with replacement of all six ignition wires. This repair takes about an hour, but once it is fixed you will no longer have that sputtering or hesitation when you go to accelerate.

Oh WOW, i didn’t know that…… thank you very much for your help. I’ll get that checked out as soon as i can.

That will take care of the problem as of late, but more than likely GM will issue another fix or a redesigned part. That’s just the name of the game with things like this! There is now a specail policy to replace these under warranty. It is just like a recall.

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