The 4 Common Chevrolet and GM LFX Engine Issues. GM’s LFX engine was introduced in 2012 as a successor for the LLT engine. The LFX is powered by a direct-injected 3.6L V6 engine with 301-323hp and 262-278lb-ft of torque.
Its predecessor, the LLT, was introduced in several GM vehicles in 2006. The LFX made its debut in the Chevy Camaro LS, where it received a redesigned cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold, new fuel injectors, intake valves, fuel pump, and an intake manifold. The LFX engine weighs 20 pounds less than the LLT and produces 11 horsepower and 5 pound-feet of torque more than the LLT. Also E85 compatible, with a compression ratio of 11.5:1.
The LFX was mostly phased out by 2017, while it was still available in the Chevy Impala until 2020. The LFX was replaced by the LGX, which debuted in 2016 and is still in use today and was also a direct-injected engine, was slightly larger in size with larger bores and intake and exhaust valves. It also got a new cylinder head and higher RPMs, which increased power to 335hp and torque to 285lb-ft.
Vehicles powered by the GM LFX engine
In addition to the models listed below, the LFX was utilized in other Holden models in Australia, including the Caprice and Commodore.
- From 2012 through 2016, LaCrosse
- 2013-2015 ATS
- 2012-2015 CTS
- 2012-2016 SRX
- 2013-2019 XTS
- Camaro (2012-2015)
- Caprice from 2012 until 2017.
- Colorado’s 2015-2016 school year
- Equinox from 2013 to 2017
- Impala (2012-2020)
- Canyon (2015-2016)
- Terrain from 2013 to 2017
- Common LFX Engine Issues
Among the most prevalent GM LFX engine issues are:
- High consumption of oil
- Failure of a Water Pump
- Front Cover Oil Spills (Timing Chain Cover)
- Failure of the Timing Chain (mostly LLT engines)
The rest of this post delves into these four LFX issues in depth. These aren’t all common problems in the sense that they affect a substantial proportion of engines.
1. GM LFX Excessive Oil Consumption Issues
The LFX engine has been reported to use up to 1 quart of oil per 2,000 kilometers. While GM states that this is normal consumption, the issue is caused by the engine’s oil change intervals. The LFX’s “change engine oil” light is computer-calculated and appears every 8,000-12,000 miles.
The problem is that at 1 quart per 2,000 miles, the engine runs out of oil before the change engine oil light displays. While the low engine oil sign may still illuminate prior to this, it is fairly normal for drivers to run out of oil between oil changes.
When the oil in these engines runs low, the cam phasers are the first to go dry. When the phasers are not correctly maintained, the engine timing suffers, resulting in cylinder misfires and codes for the camshaft sensor.
Also, the timing chain is the second component to run out of oil. As previously stated, excessive oil consumption resulting in low oil levels is a common cause of timing chain failure.
Signs of LFX Oil Consumption
- Low engine oil warning light
- 1 quart of oil lost per 2,000 miles or more
- Engine camshaft sensor code
- Failure of the timing chain
- How to Reduce or Eliminate Oil Usage
Regrettably, engine oil consumption in these engines is considered normal. Nonetheless, excessive oil use is a minor issue. The issue is that many do not check their oil levels and continue to drive on low oil levels. If you follow GM’s recommended oil change intervals and wait 8,000 miles or more between changes, make sure you top off the oil in between.
GM did recall this item for automobiles equipped with OLM (oil life monitoring) to recalibrate the system to propose earlier oil changes. If you haven’t had this done yet, we recommend that you do it to avoid low oil levels.
While we still recommend changing the oil every 5,000 miles, you can keep an extra quart or two of oil in your trunk and top it off every few thousand miles.
GM does sell an oil supply package that will keep the cam phasers and timing chain lubricated, but it will take roughly 15 hours to install. If you still have some warranty left, this may be an option, but the cost of installing the oil supply equipment is not worth the advantage. Just make sure you maintain your oil levels full.
2. LFX Water Pump Issues
Coolant is circulated throughout the engine via water pumps. They are the major system in charge of keeping engine temperatures within acceptable limits. High pressures are applied to the interior components of a water pump. Internal pressure inevitably wears out the internal components of the water pump, as well as the gasket and seals.
As internal components deteriorate, the pump must work harder to maintain enough coolant flow. Furthermore, gasket or seal leaks produce pressure drops inside the system, causing the water pump to overwork itself.
The water pump on the LFX engine is reported to fail between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. Fortunately, there are warning signals of a failing water pump, and you can detect them before the pump entirely fails and causes the engine to overheat. The LFX water pump has a small drain hole called a “weep” hole. As the water pump begins to leak inside, coolant will trickle out of the weep hole, indicating that the water pump is failing.
Symptoms of LFX Water Pump Failure
- Coolant seeps onto the engine’s underside
- Overheating of the engine (water pump has already failed)
- Whining from the engine
If you are overheating, it is likely that the water pump has failed. If you notice little amounts of coolant leaking around the engine, the water pump is probably on its way out, but not totally.
To avoid overheating, we recommend repairing the water pump once you find coolant leaks. Overheating can cause head gaskets, internals, and other problems if not addressed swiftly. A water pump replacement on the LFX will most likely cost you around $1,000 at a dealership. Nonetheless, the pieces should cost under $100 and can be completed in a few hours.
3. Leaks in the LFX Timing Chain Cover
The timing chain cover, often known as the “front cover,” shields and lubricates the timing chain. The cover bolts directly to the front of the engine block, protecting the timing chain from road dirt and debris and preventing it from falling loose from its gears. The most crucial function of the cover, however, is to assist lubricate the timing chain with engine oil.
Because the LFX employs a timing chain rather than a timing belt, it has a metal front cover. The lid is bolted to the block, with a gasket in between. Because the gasket is so close to the engine block, it gets a lot of heat. This heat wears down the gasket and causes oil to leak out of the front cover over time.
The gasket also acts as a seal for the engine pressure or vacuum. A failing gasket will not only leak oil, but will also leak air and engine pressure, causing a variety of performance difficulties.
LFX Timing Cover Gasket Failure Symptoms
The following symptoms may indicate a problem with the timing cover gasket on a Chevrolet LFX:
- Einsteinerupload of.
- Excessive oil consumption or a low engine oil light
- Engine runs poorly and performs poorly.
- Engine knocking noises
- Engine code for vacuum leaks, AFR problems, and so forth.
- P0016, P0017, P0018, P0019 (typically related with chain failure) (usually associated with chain failure)
While it is possible to shatter a timing chain cover, most LFX problems are caused by gasket failure. When the gasket fails, it is critical to replace it as soon as possible since it can cause performance concerns as well as low oil levels, which can further damage the timing chain and engine internals.
Failure of the LLT and LFX Timing Chains
Low oil levels are the most common cause of timing chain problems. Low oil levels are typically caused by the oil change monitoring system advising oil changes too seldom, as noted with the excessive oil consumption problem. When oil levels drop, one of the first components to go dry is the timing chain. When this occurs, the timing chains do not receive adequate lubrication, and the temperature of the chain metal rises due to increasing friction. Timing chain metal temperatures rise, causing the chains to extend and jump teeth on the gears.
Furthermore, the timing chain tensioner exacerbates the problem. The tensioner is in charge of keeping the chain tensioned so that it does not get loose and jump gears. The tensioner is hydraulically actuated, which means it is powered by oil pressure. When the engine’s oil level is low, the tensioner does not receive enough oil pressure to maintain the chain taut, leading it to become slack.
A lack of lubrication might cause the timing chain guides to wear out and need to be replaced as well.
Is timing chain failure an issue with LFX?
From 2007 through 2011, these timing chain issues were largely related with the LLT engine. They did, however, affect the 2012 SRX, Camaro, and Impala models. The timing chains were upgraded in April 2012, which reduced future difficulties.
Having stated that, timing chains are maintenance items and can fail over time. While they have been reported to fail as early as 30,000 miles on afflicted 2007-2012 cars, newer model years should last closer to 150,000 miles without these difficulties.
GM did recall and recalibrate the OLM monitoring devices in cars with oil life monitoring to prevent the exceptionally long oil change services and lower the probability of running short on oil.
Symptoms of LLT and LFX Timing Chain Failure
The following are symptoms of LLT and LFX timing chain issues:
- Many engine codes
- P0008, P0009, P0016, P0017, P0018, and P0019 are all numbers.
- Engine timing issues
- Engine runs poorly, idles poorly, and so on.
- Misfires in the cylinders
When a timing chain malfunctions, the engine’s timing is thrown off. It is critical not to start the engine if your timing chain entirely falls off or jumps too many teeth. When the engine is run with exceptionally bad timing, the valves can contact with the pistons, causing serious internal engine damage.
Reliability of the LFX Engine
The LLT engine has a dismal reputation for reliability, owing to the frequency of timing chain failure. Luckily, most LFX engines were rectified, and cars with OLM were recalibrated to prevent low oil levels.
Because to the previous timing chain difficulties, the 2012 LFX models will be less reliable than the 2013+ ones. However, this is only a concern if you let your oil levels to fall too low. While the LFX is known to eat 1 quart of oil every 2,000 miles or so, we recommend either topping off or changing your oil more frequently.
While GM recommends service intervals of 8,000-12,000 miles, we recommend changing the oil more frequently, especially if you don’t drive that many miles each year.
Except from problems caused by running low on oil, the LFX has no catastrophic engine problems and has shown to be reliable. If you own or plan to buy an LFX, be aware of the oil consumption difficulties and check your oil levels periodically to ensure they do not become too low.
The LFX engine should be able to reach the 200k mile milestone if oil levels are properly maintained. Just keep in mind that by the time you reach certain mileage levels, a number of maintenance equipment such as water pumps, hoses, timing chains, sensors, and so on will most likely have failed.