2.4 liter Ecotec engine: detailed analysis of design and reliability (2023)

2.4 liter Ecotec engine: detailed analysis of design and reliability (1)

GM 2.4 Ecotec overview

The 2.4 Ecotec is a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder gasoline engine that debuted in 2006. General Motors produced this 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder for a variety of compact and mid-size vehicles such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Equinox, HHR, Saturn Ion, Aura, Vue, Pontiac G5, G6, Buick Regal and more. The 2.4 Ecotec was on the market until 2019. During its almost 13 years of production, the engine has undergone a series of updates, identified by a unique engine code: LE5, LE9, LAF, LEA, LAT and LUK. Let's take a detailed look at the GM/Chevy 2.4L Ecotec engine design, its common issues, reliability and durability.

Motor Ecotec 2.4 LE5/LE9

The basis of the 2.4 LE5 is the 2.2L Ecotec, which proved to be an excellent engine and was one of GM's highest volume engines at the time. The 2.4 liter Ecotec LE5 not only has a larger displacement, but also some new technologies that significantly improve it in terms of performance and efficiency. Like the original 2.2L I-4, the 2.4 Ecotec is an all aluminum engine. It has a cast aluminum cylinder block with a very rigid tiny case (a reinforced "Gen II" block). The engine block also features direct mount hardware. The first engines were equipped with GKN forged connecting rods. In July 2007, GM switched to forged C70 connecting rods. Engineers introduced piston cooling oil jets into the block design. Oil jets or oil sprays continuously spray the crown of each piston and increase durability by lowering engine operating temperatures. The new engine has two counter-rotating balancer shafts. They spin twice as fast as the engine's crankshaft to eliminate second order vibrations.

At the top is a cast aluminum cylinder head with four valves per cylinder. The engine features a chain-driven design with dual overhead camshafts. Unlike the original 2.2 Ecotec, the 2.4l LE5 version features variable valve technology. Electronically controlled variable valve timing is applied to the intake and exhaust camshafts. The valve train is equipped with hydraulic roller finger followers. The ignition system features centrally located spark plugs and a coil-in-plug design. The 2.4 Ecotec uses traditional sequential fuel injection controlled by the ECM (an all-new engine control module). The throttle body is also electronically controlled (ETC - Electronic Throttle Control), with no physical connection between the throttle pedal and the engine's throttle body. While the cylinder head cover is still aluminum, the intake manifold is plastic, which saves weight and costs.

The LE9 2.4L engine appeared in 2009. This version is basically the same as the LE5 Ecotec. The main difference is that the LE9 is a flexible fuel compatible E85 engine. E85 is a clean burning alternative fuel made from corn and other crops that is 85% ethanol alcohol and 15% gasoline. Due to the corrosive effects of ethanol, the 2.4 liter LE9 engine has special valves and valve seats that resist wear. In addition, this engine is equipped with exclusive stainless steel injectors with higher maximum fuel flow.

Motores LEA by LAF

The 2.4 liter LAF and LEA versions use direct injection technology. The 2.4 LEA is also FlexFuel compatible. These engines retain the original 2.4-cylinder LE5/LE9 in-line four-cylinder architecture. They have the same bore and stroke sizes, cast iron crankshafts and forged steel connecting rods. Direct injection engines are equipped with slightly rounded pistons, which increases combustion efficiency. The compression ratio is also higher: 11.2:1 instead of 10.4:1.

Of course, these engines use new cylinder heads specifically designed for direct fuel injection into each combustion chamber. The cylinder heads use high quality valve seats, valve guides and valve materials designed to withstand the increased heat and pressure in the combustion chamber. There is also a cam driven high pressure fuel pump that provides the necessary fuel pressure for direct injection. The direct injection system combined with the variable valve timing system allows the 2.4 liter Ecotec engine to deliver good torque even at low revs, produce more power with less fuel and produce less emissions.

Motoren 2.4L LAT/LUK

The LAT and LUK are Ecotec 2.4 I-4 direct injection engines designed to use GM's mild hybrid drivetrain (eAssist) with belt alternator starter (BAS). A conventional alternator is replaced by a 15 kW liquid-cooled engine-generator (MGU) equipped with additional air-cooled power electronics and a 115 V Li-Ion battery. The eAssist system works as an electrical boost and improves consumption of fuel by an estimated 25%. Like the LEA, the LAT version is compatible with FlexFuel.

engine specs


Spring Hill Manufacturing Facility, Spring Hill, Tennessee, EUA

years of production


(Video) Why GM Ecotec Engines FAIL

cylinder block material


type of fuel


fuel system

Sequential fuel injection;
direct fuel injection



number of cylinders


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valves per cylinder


Valve train layout


diameter, mm

88,0 mm (3,5 pol.)

Cubo, mm

98,0 mm (3,9 pol.)

offset, CC

2384 cc (145 cubic inches)

Internal combustion engine type

Four stroke, naturally aspirated

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compression ratio


horse power

164-182 PS (122-136 kW)/ 6200-6700

torque, lb bolo

159-172 lb-ft (216-233 Nm)/4800-5000

engine weight


Order to open fire


engine oil weight

SAE 5W-30

(Video) General Motors Engineer gives us the lowdown on Ecotec 2.4

Engine oil capacity, liters

4.7 L (5.0 qt) - with oil filter

Oil change interval, km

10,000 (15,000 km) / 12 fun


Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Chevrolet Cobalt Sport, Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet Malibu /Hybrid /ECO, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Captiva, Chevrolet Orlando, GMC Terrain, Pontiac G5/Pursuit, Pontiac G6, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Saturn Ion, Saturn Aura/linea verde híbrida, Saturn Vue/linea verde híbrida, Buick LaCrosse, Buick GL8, Polaris Slingshot, Buick Regal, Buick Verano

GM/Chevy 2.4L Ecotec Issues and Reliability

So is the 2.4 Ecotec a good engine? Now that we have learned all the differences between the 2.4 Ecotec versions, let us discuss some of the most common issues that affect them more than others. Quick note: this does not mean that these common faults will necessarily affect every 2.4 Ecotec engine that rolls off the assembly line. Also, most 2.4 liter engines these days are found in 10-15 year old cars with high mileage, so they are prone to failure due to wear and tear, no matter how good they are.

2.4 Common problems of Ecotec

The most common problems with GM 2.4L Ecotec engines are:

  • Timing chain failure
  • high oil consumption
  • carbon accumulations

Timing chain issues

Supply chain related failures are one of the most reported and discussed issues with the 2.4 Ecotec Inline Four. The timing chain can skip a few teeth due to faulty tensioners and the top bolt. Since the 2.4 Ecotec is an interference engine, the valves will contact the pistons and destroy each other if the timing is wrong. The result is bent or broken valves, damaged pistons and expensive repairs. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the timing chain and check it for any scratches, marks or looseness, especially above the 100,000 mile mark. When the chain starts to slack, idle vibration becomes one of the first symptoms. When the timing chain skips something, you may experience misfires, malfunctions, and loss of power with engine trouble codes.

oil consumption

Ecotec GM 2.4 liter engines tend to have high oil consumption, usually due to piston oil ring wear. Due to the additional cooling of the piston with oil sprays from the nozzles / oil nozzles, a certain amount of oil can enter the combustion chamber through the defective rings and be burned there. Fortunately, the manufacturer is aware of this problem. General Motors has offered extended warranties and you can work with them to resolve the issue.

carbon buildup problem

Carbon deposits are a unique problem with the 2.4 Ecotec with direct fuel injection (LEA, LAF, LAT and LUK engines). Carbon deposits on valves and intake ports are a result of oil leaking from the intake pipe. The traditional fuel injection system sprays fuel in front of the intake valves and helps eliminate oil and carbon deposits. But the listed direct injection engines do not have gasoline in the intake ports. Usually this problem does not affect anything. And indeed, as the manufacturer claims, most 2.4 Ecotec engines will last a lifetime without having to clean the intake valves. However, in some of the worst cases, carbon buildup can cause loss of power, rough idling, stuttering and even misfires. Large deposits restrict airflow to the engine, reducing engine performance and fuel efficiency. They can also fall into the cylinders and cause increased wear.

GM 2.4 Ecotec Reliability Summary

In summary, we can say that the Ecotec 2.4L is a reliable and durable engine. While earlier models had some design flaws, the later 2.4-liter GM/Chevy engines offer a good balance of durability, performance and efficiency. Sure, the 2.4 Ecotec engines aren't the best, but with proper maintenance they last up to 200,000 miles.

← More GM engines

(Video) Why GM 1.4L Ecotec engine intake manifold and valve covers repairs are often related


Is the 2.4 Ecotec reliable? ›

The 2.4L Ecotec 4 cylinder engine has a flaw that is especially problematic in the 2010 to 2015 model years. This is a popular engine and is used in many Chevy and GM vehicles. The problem is particularly bad in the Equinox and Terrain vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive.

What are common Ecotec problems? ›

Watch Out for These Common Ecotec Engine Problems

Common issues with this type of engine include high oil usage, failure with the timing chain, and extreme carbon build-up. Take your car to a mechanic if something doesn't feel right.

Is the 2.4 engine a good engine? ›

Is a 2.4 engine good? The 2.4 is usually considered a dependable engine without any major issues: head gaskets are designed well while the oil sealing is adequate as well.

Why do Ecotec engines fail? ›

The consolidated claim alleges that the Ecotec engines have defective piston rings that wear down prematurely and cause excessive oil consumption as high as one quart for every 1,000 miles. As a result, some owners and lessees drive their vehicles without sufficient oil, causing engine damage.

How long does a 2.4 L 4 cylinder engine last? ›

With proper oil changes and maintenance, a 2.4L TigerShark engine should last between 130,000 and 200,000 miles.

What is the difference between Ecotec and EcoBoost? ›

The first thing we noticed when looking at the two groups of engines was that the EcoBoost engines are able to create higher levels of horsepower and torque while remaining more efficient than the Ecotec engines. Ford's 3.5L EcoBoost V6 produces 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft.


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