Should I have my timing chain replaced?


Asked by Nov 19, 2015 at 04:52 PM about the 2002 Pontiac Grand Am SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2002 pontiac grand am se with a 2.2 ecotec and it has 118,000
miles on it. Great car, never had a single problem with it. I've recently fallen
into a decent job and would like to start to customize the car and get some
performance out of it. I just purchased a cold air intake for it but haven't put
it on yet, because while on the phone with my dad I told him I purchased a
cold air intake and he asked me why I would do that for a car that probably
needs it's timing chain replaced. I have only owned the car 2 years and for
all I know it was replaced a year before I got it, but I don't know. I've never
even thought about the timing chain. Would it be wise to replace it before
getting the car up to 200 hp? And is there some kind of way I could know if
it has been replaced since the car was new? I'd hate to put a bunch of
money into my car in the way of an exhaust and interior upgrades, a
stereo, and things like that just to blow it up. Another 2.2 to put in it new is
going to be 3 grand. This car is in great shape and the engine is clean as
could be, but for all I know the factory timing chain is still in there...
Looming... Waiting to fail. I could use some professional advice. I always do
regular maintenance on my car myself, but I know nothing about tearing an
engine apart. Please assist...

12 Answers


You are way past due to have the chain changed and have been very lucky to date...


Have you asked a GM rep or checked the recommended maintenance schedule? 100k on a timing chain is not unusual and it will probably last another 100K unless it is made of non-metal material as some imports are. I would go ahead with your upgrades after getting someone who knows this car to verify what I said. GM cars do not typically require timing chain replacements during their normal life. I currently own 2 with over 150K and I am not concerned about the timing chain in them.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Chains are not like belts. Unless the chain is noisy I would not replace it. I have had chains go over 300k.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Full of Regrets is correct. No need to replace the timing chain at 118,000 miles. They'll usually go for upwards of 200,000 miles. As for the cold air intake. I always advise against those. The oil used to charge the air filter contaminates the mass airflow sensor. HTH. -Jim

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Jim - I have been using a K&N filter on my F-150 for years without problems. I have noticed that my engine oil seems to stay cleaner longer though!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

What year is your F-150? Some vehicles don't use a MAF? Just trying to error on the side of caution. HTH. -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks for all your help guys. I talked to my mother's husband who has worked at the Lordstown Ohio GM plant for over 20 years. That's the one that made most of the cavilers and the cruze for Europe and Asia before it was available in America. They didn't make the Ecotec there, but had them shipped in by the truckload. He said he's never even heard of somebody replacing the timing chain on one. He said those cars rusted out before any major problems ever occurred with the engine. Also my uncle had a 2003 cavalier that he bought new and put 260,000 miles on it in 8 years and it was heavily modified and he beat the heck out of that car, plus the guy ways over 320 pounds, and he said he never had a single problem with the engine. He sold it so somebody that lives nearby and it is still on the road. So I now know that the timing chain is the least of my concerns. My stepdad said that the most probable reason for the timing chain going bad would be for someone driving the car very hard all the time while going extended periods of time without changing the oil. I do neither of those things, so I am no longer worried

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Glad to hear that! Thanks for letting us know. My Sister bought a '93 Cavalier new and drove it for 20 years. She sold it to a guy who I work with and he loves the car. To date, there have been no issues with the engine! -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I agree. MeandMe you, all due respect, are mistaken

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

C15425 as long as you are not in Calif, I don't know about other States but a CAI is considered 'tampering' and you will never pass smog inspection. Best of luck with your project

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Wow, Fordnut, that's interesting. I never even thought about that. But it's true. Especially if the vehicle is equipped with a thermostatically controlled air cleaner. Those were called CCS (Controlled Combustion System) air cleaners. Designed to speed up engine warm up and reduce hydrocarbon emissions. Good point! HTH. -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I once had a car for a short time, I can't even remember the Make. Or Model or year.. I only had it about a month. But it had a flex hose, a big one, maybe 2 inches diameter that was attached to the exhaust manifold and went up to the intake stream. I never did figure out what it was there for. But I think I just learned.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

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