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Author Topic: The Dreaded Check Engine light  (Read 14637 times, 33 Replies)
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« on: May 19, 2009, 03:44:10 PM »

Sooo.. last Saturday May 16th, 2009 the check engine light came on while we were on the fwy.  Oh No The drive was okay untill we exited. As soon as we exited and the light turned green off the exit the Acadia had some hesitation but eventually pulled away. I also noticed that when I made left turns there was some clunking noise coming out of the engine bay. That happened all day Saturday and Sunday. Monday comes around and now check engine light is gone but the noise is has gotten worst. Now each time I pull away, the Acadia hesitates and it also makes the clucking noise. Any ideas?  Huh? my best guess is tranny. I took it to the dealership today and waited for 3 hrs for them to diagnose it and they could not find anything. It's now sitting at the dealership for who knows how long.

This is my first Domestic car purchased. I've always had, Honda's, Toyota's, Nissan, Acura's, Mercedes, & Lexus. I knew there was a reason why I never bought Domestics. At 10,283 miles i can't beleive i have such an issue. Never have i experienced this at 10k miles. With my nissan Titan I had an issue at 5k miles with the rotors warping but that was it.

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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 04:06:09 PM »

Well, I'm sorry that you're having this issue.  I wouldn't imagine that many of us could actually tell you the cause of these symptoms.  Hopefully the dealership can replicate the issue and take appropriate action to make a repair.  I've owned both foreigh & domestic cars, and they've all had their share of misc issues.  I don't think it would be an accurate assumption to make suggesting that because this is a domestic vehichle, you're having this problem.  There are 10's of thousands of Acadias and other Lambdas on the road, and I would speculate that most are not having this issue.  Unfortunately, you're the one dealing with this particular problem.  I hope it gets properly diagnosed, and that you'll once again enjoy a very nice domestic vehicle.

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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 04:32:11 PM »

Just speculation here. Some of the larger problems people have had in the engine bay, have been bad cams, power steering pump, and transmission repalcement.

do some searching and see if your symptoms are similar.

Now the question I have is, if this happened on Saturday, and again on Sunday, why were you still driving it on Monday? You probably would have been best to park it, and have the dealership send someone out to pick it up?
Do you still have onstar service?
Onstar can give you a diagnostic code over the cars communication system to tell you what the problem is when the check engine light comes on. They will send the trouble code to your dealer also(that is nice because most of the time the check engine light will go away and the dealer will say they couldn't find anything).
 They will even call a tow for you, if it is consider a take it to the dealer now issue.

Let us know what the dealership says
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 08:40:08 PM »

...I took it to the dealership today and waited for 3 hrs for them to diagnose it and they could not find anything. It's now sitting at the dealership for who knows how long.

Get a second opinion if possible. SES (service engine soon light) codes are stored, it used to be for at least 50 ignition key cycles. With the tools at the dealer, they can easily pull up any stored trouble codes.

As for the problem, the clunking sounds mechanical. Did it do this on right turns also? By itself, I'd guess an axle or something similar in the driveline. The lack of power sounds engine related, but it could be resistance in the transaxle. I had this happen in a Toyota Corolla automatic transmission once.
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 08:53:52 PM »

Get a second opinion if possible. SES (service engine soon light) codes are stored, it used to be for at least 50 ignition key cycles. With the tools at the dealer, they can easily pull up any stored trouble codes.

As for the problem, the clunking sounds mechanical. Did it do this on right turns also? By itself, I'd guess an axle or something similar in the driveline. The lack of power sounds engine related, but it could be resistance in the transaxle. I had this happen in a Toyota Corolla automatic transmission once.

Huh  Huh?
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2009, 07:46:14 PM »

Just speculation here. Some of the larger problems people have had in the engine bay, have been bad cams, power steering pump, and transmission repalcement.

do some searching and see if your symptoms are similar.

Now the question I have is, if this happened on Saturday, and again on Sunday, why were you still driving it on Monday? You probably would have been best to park it, and have the dealership send someone out to pick it up?
Do you still have onstar service?
Onstar can give you a diagnostic code over the cars communication system to tell you what the problem is when the check engine light comes on. They will send the trouble code to your dealer also(that is nice because most of the time the check engine light will go away and the dealer will say they couldn't find anything).
 They will even call a tow for you, if it is consider a take it to the dealer now issue.

Let us know what the dealership says


This did happen Saturday and again on Sunday. Come monday I drove it about 4 miles just to drop off my kid to school and it pretty much sat all day untill Tuesday when I dropped it off at the dealership (6 miles)
On Sunday I decided to call OnStar to run a diagnostic test and they came back with nothing. My fault, I should have called the time when the check eng light was on.

Anyhow, Dealership called me today and they said it was low on OIL. I said WTH??? The Acadia has no oil leak what so ever. So does that mean the Acadia is burning oil??? As I mentioned on one of the post I have here. (Smoke In my tail pipes) I assumed that it was burning oil. I have 10XXX miles and low on oil??
I have not done an oil change since I was following my DIC. It said I still have 30% of oil life left. About 25% is when I was going to change the oil. Is that something you all follow? Or do you guys change oil at every 3k to 5k miles??

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2009, 07:51:16 PM »

I follow the DIC readings, but I also physically check the oil level at least once every two weeks; the DIC is just telling you when it recommends you change the oil based on driving conditions
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2009, 08:01:51 PM »

We have several people here that have had an oil analysis performed on the oil from their Acadia. I'll link the threads:
Oil analysis #1
#2
#3

In my opinion, 10K miles seems like too long for an oil change, especially if the oil has never been changed. I did ours at around 500 miles, then again at 7500 w/ synthetic. Time is another factor, vehicles that sit can have oil problems as well as those getting miles put on them. I'm guilty of that one since I don't drive my vehicles very much.

I don't put much faith in the oil life monitor.
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2009, 08:05:41 PM »

I'm guessing that's 10K on conventional oil; even if the OLM said I was still good I think I would change the oil anyway
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2009, 09:04:40 PM »

We have several people here that have had an oil analysis performed on the oil from their Acadia. I'll link the threads:
Oil analysis #1
#2
#3

In my opinion, 10K miles seems like too long for an oil change, especially if the oil has never been changed. I did ours at around 500 miles, then again at 7500 w/ synthetic. Time is another factor, vehicles that sit can have oil problems as well as those getting miles put on them. I'm guilty of that one since I don't drive my vehicles very much.

I don't put much faith in the oil life monitor.


Okay.. lesson learned.. DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIC. going back to the rule of thumb. Oil change every 3-5k miles using conventional oil -OR- 7-8k on Synthetic.


BUT..... is "low oil" a valid reason for the clunking noise and hesitation?

Blue, where do you suggest I get a second opinion.
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2009, 09:15:05 PM »

I think the mindset behind the DIC and OLM is to give the owner a reference point; not an exact measurement.  My tire pressure sensors tell me a psi, but when I check them manually I may get a 1-2 psi difference either way, but then again the tire sensors have been on track with manual readings.  I think the same goes for the OLM; it gives you an approximate idea of when to change the oil and I think conventional is safe up to 7500 miles and down to 3000 miles. 
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2009, 10:04:02 PM »

Being I hate computers and they hate me, I check everything manually. Oil gets changed every 3K no matter what. I have done this with every car I have owned.
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2009, 01:16:40 AM »

Okay.. lesson learned.. DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIC. going back to the rule of thumb. Oil change every 3-5k miles using conventional oil -OR- 7-8k on Synthetic.


BUT..... is "low oil" a valid reason for the clunking noise and hesitation?

Blue, where do you suggest I get a second opinion.


The question is, did the clunking noise and hesitation go away after the oil change.  If so - problem (kinda solved).  If the noise is still there. Then the dealer needs to deal with that.  By the way, I noticed that when my power steering fluid was low, it did get some weird noises, that instantly went away once I added a bit more.
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 01:28:21 AM »

MyBlackAcadia,
I read a multi-page thread here about noise while turning. The gist of it was apparently a bearing in the steering system, and it looked like mainly 2007 models, so I don't think that is your cause.

Your oil level shouldn't be causing the stated problems.

I would try another GM dealer, and ASAP so the code is not lost if it hasn't already been deleted (the first place may have done so). You can also get a code scanner that plugs into the port under the dash and can read codes in the event something like this happens again. The one I have is an Actron brand. Just make sure it can read OBD2 vehicles and it has a data cord so you can plug it in and read it comfortably. Most auto parts places sell these.
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 05:27:10 PM »

BUT..... is "low oil" a valid reason for the clunking noise and hesitation?

Blue, where do you suggest I get a second opinion.


I don't have any "clunking/clucking noises" (not sure if your original post was a typo  wink ) in my Acadia and mine is a 2007, but it was experiencing a weird hesitation.  Almost like the engine wanted to sputter out.  I guess it did make a kind of noise when this would happen, but I don't think it was a "clunk/cluck".  Hard to describe in words.  Anyway, yesterday my check engine light finally came on and the verdict today was that it's a bad Exhaust Camshaft Actuator Solenoid which is covered by the powertrain warranty.  The service adviser did say that the bad solenoid would have caused the hesitation that I was experiencing.
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2009, 07:39:34 PM »

I don't have any "clunking/clucking noises" (not sure if your original post was a typo  wink ) in my Acadia and mine is a 2007, but it was experiencing a weird hesitation.  Almost like the engine wanted to sputter out.  I guess it did make a kind of noise when this would happen, but I don't think it was a "clunk/cluck".  Hard to describe in words.  Anyway, yesterday my check engine light finally came on and the verdict today was that it's a bad Exhaust Camshaft Actuator Solenoid which is covered by the powertrain warranty.  The service adviser did say that the bad solenoid would have caused the hesitation that I was experiencing.

Can I get an assist on this one; I think this is what the part looks like; anyone know what it does?
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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2009, 08:49:18 PM »

I don't know but I would guess it goes something like this...

Seems like if it is a solenoid it is some sort of switch.  The exhaust camshaft would be opening the valve to let the exhaust out of the cylinder, I would think.  So, I also think that this is a VVT type engine so the solenoid would be operating the valves to the exhaust.  Thoughts?
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2009, 01:57:40 AM »

So I got the Acaida back from the dealer today. They said all they did was change oil and that the timing chain actuator was starving for oil?? i'm no mechanic but does this make sense? Clunking noise when turning left and hesitation? I haven't taken the Acadia for a long drive since I got it. It went form dealership and back home (6 miles).

So back to my question.. Is this Acadia really burning up oil??
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2009, 01:59:13 AM »

MyBlackAcadia,
I read a multi-page thread here about noise while turning. The gist of it was apparently a bearing in the steering system, and it looked like mainly 2007 models, so I don't think that is your cause.

Your oil level shouldn't be causing the stated problems.

I would try another GM dealer, and ASAP so the code is not lost if it hasn't already been deleted (the first place may have done so). You can also get a code scanner that plugs into the port under the dash and can read codes in the event something like this happens again. The one I have is an Actron brand. Just make sure it can read OBD2 vehicles and it has a data cord so you can plug it in and read it comfortably. Most auto parts places sell these.

Is it too late to get a 2nd opinion since i've gotten the Acadia back from Fladeboe GMC? Do they delete these codes after they're done with the cars?
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2009, 02:34:07 AM »

As for the posts in the order read:

1) Are you sure it was an actuator and not a tensioner (probably the same thing in GM speak)? Some tensioners are hydraulic and use fluid (engine oil) to keep tension on the chain. I suspect if it lost all tension, you'd be hearing a crunch in short order from the valves hitting the pistons after the chain jumped a tooth or two. I'm a lot more familiar w/ overhead valve motors vs. the overhead cam of the Acadia, so I hope someone else can weigh in on this as needed.

I did some Googling and found this PDF from GM Powertrain:
LLT Motor Summary

Relevant part:
A sophisticated cam-chain tensioner, high-quality cam phasing components and hydraulic lash adjusters are designed to ensure optimal valvetrain performance for the life of the engine with no adjustment.

It sounds like it may well be hydraulic, as this is more "sophisticated" than the older style of tensioner.

I don't see how an oil change (unless it was several quarts low, and for the tensioner to fail you'd have other oil pressure issues as well) would make any difference here.

2) Any competent mechanic would clear the codes as part of the repair process.

Your vehicle could well be using more oil than normal, but if this is the case, you'd see a lot of gray or white smoke from the tailpipes, especially when starting off from a stop. I saw this in high mileage police cars before I retired.

I'd suggest keeping a weekly check on the oil level when it is cold (engine off for several hours). Use a ruler or small measuring device to tell how far from full it is on the stick. Be consistent when you check it, as the level will vary from cold to hot (when there is oil still in the upper parts of the motor). Write the info down and keep a running log for at least a month. This will show if in fact the vehicle is using oil.

The above of course figures there are no leaks resulting in oil puddles on your floor.

Keep us posted.
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