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Old 05-07-2019, 06:22 PM   #1
Channeler1
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Cool 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

Hey Guys!
I posted back in the Fall about my 2005 Saturn Vue 5-Spd that was burning oil but just needed to make it through the winter (Which it did just fine! )

So now it's Spring and i have to deal with this issue!

I have a very high mileage Saturn Vue (250,000) ~ Was running pretty much original everything except Alternator before the timing chain went late last summer taking out a bunch of things with it...
In my top end overhaul I replaced the Cylinder Head(used), Timing Chains and guides(new), Water pump(new) and thermostat, Head gasket and all top end gaskets(new). So top end mechanical is great now.

Piston rings are totally shot! I'm burning a QUART of oil just about every 100 miles. So need to deal with it for sure!

Had two different Shops look at it doing my usual due diligence before any major repair. Both recommended pretty much the same thing with minor differences... Either Swapping it out for a lower mileage used engine or replacing the piston rings...

So wanted to see what the opinions are on those options from you guys.
Considering i just replaced the head and installed new timing chains and most the upper end components seems it would be more economical to just replace a set of piston rings...
Has anyone done this job? Anything out the ordinary to it? I've done piston rings on cars in the past so its not out of my wheelhouse.

Or would it just be better to swap it out for a lower mileage engine? Then i have to deal with the whole ECM reprogramming mess and all that jazz...

One more thing. If i do Pistons do i need oversized rings? One mechanic said a set of new standard rings will more then make up for the worn down rings in the car just fine, while the other thought it would need a set of oversized rings considering the high mileage and high oil burning... Any thoughts on that???

As Always, Thank for all your Help and Input!

Rich

Last edited by Channeler1; 05-07-2019 at 06:35 PM..

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Old 05-09-2019, 09:11 AM   #2
Vue6
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Default Re: 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

... I would swap it out with a low mileage motor , just my.02, dc.

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Old 05-09-2019, 03:34 PM   #3
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2004 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
2004 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Re: 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Channeler1 View Post
Piston rings are totally shot! I'm burning a QUART of oil just about every 100 miles. So need to deal with it for sure!
Rich
^^ How sure are you that all that oil is getting past the rings? That is an awful lot of oil due to worn rings even with that mileage.

Possible that your valve seals were not installed correctly or failed already when the head was rebuilt.

OR

Damage was done to the piston bores or pistons when the chain broke.

Regardless of your answer, my vote would be for a low mileage JY engine.

...
2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 3.0

Last edited by rb6667; 05-09-2019 at 03:41 PM..

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Old 05-09-2019, 07:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

Channeler1, when you replaced the cylinder head (presuming you did the repairs) did you examine the cylinder walls for factory honing marks, scoring? Did you perform a compression test before or after engine rebuild? Can you perform one now (dry and wet)? If a wet compression test shows higher compression, rings may be well worn. Examining cylinder walls for wear can determine if a low cost re-ring will work without boring the cylinder and replacing pistons. At best, cutting the ridge off the top of each cylinder, light honing, reusing pistons with new rings may restore engine power and reduce or eliminate oil consumption. A lot of what-ifs to consider for the lowest cost repair if not replacing the engine altogether.

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Old 05-10-2019, 10:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

Is it smoking badly too? If so, I'd guess broken not just worn rings. You already know how to remove the head. No brainer to replace the rings with the engine in the car than hassle will pulling the whole thing out and replacing with an unknown used one.

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Old 05-10-2019, 11:43 AM   #6
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

Hey Guys.
Engine was compression tested after the timing chain went to comfirm that there was indeed valve damage.
I did not have it pressure tested again after those repairs.

Car was burning oil heavily even before the timing chain went. So i'd assume that if it was top end mainly causing the excessive oil burn i would have noticed SOME difference at least from swapping out the heads (Replacement head came from a much lower mileage engine) And i did replace seals on the used head.

Also of note... This is a 2005 Saturn Vue with 250,000 miles... COST of repairs is Very relevant! Part of the reason i choose these two options "used replacement engine vs piston rings intall" - Is because having the engine shipped out to rebore and all that is WAY more time, hassle, and money then this car is worth! This Ain't no Cadillac! LOL - So the repairs have to be practical! A set of Pistons are fairly cheap compared to a used engine, but if its a pain in the Ass to get at them then i can certainly just pull out the engine and put another in over a weekend... But then there's still programming for the ECM

I've had all the top end parts off but never removed the oil pain for anything.
Is it a pain to get to these parts if i decide to swap out the rings? I'm assuming this can all be done with the engine in the car ? Can it be done in a weekend? lol

I've read here also that the piston rings on these Ecotec engines are notorious for seizing up on the pistons... So i'm assuming thats the main issue i'm having...

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Old 05-10-2019, 12:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2005 Saturn Vue 2.2L Burning Oil - Piston rings vs engine replacement?

1- never assume anything. Some aircraft crashes are the direct result of two pilots going thru their checklists and assuming the other actually checked flight controls when they take off only to crash. One event was found where flaps weren't set and assumed, causing the crash from too little lift at low speed during take off. Even with two heads, assumptions killed everyone on board..... In some situations, sometimes it's better to assume the worst and hope for the best. When anticipating the worst and hoping for the best, you (no one else here in Saturnfans) have to remove the cylinder head to examine for damage. No one can tell you, sight unseen, what you should do. You are in the only position to see what's damaged or not.

Perform another compression test before moving on. Assess as much as you can as this may the necessary steps to determine which way to proceed.

2- removing the cylinder head gives you top end access to look down cylinder walls for wear before moving on for more assessment.

3- access to replacing pistons and/or rings may be as simple as looking under your Vue for obstructions to removing the oil plan. If the oil pan is removable, that's one step closer to determining what to do.

I'm not in your position but can imagine the steps needed to assess which way to go. Time spent in certain steps can help you figure out if its worth a low cost re-ring or better to replace the engine. I'm not suggesting an engine bore as much as pointing to the possibility of it. Until you can see cylinder bores, this phase is all discussion like a flow chart with questions to ask in certain steps on the way to deciding on a lower cost repair that can escalate or not the more you examine compared to engine replacement. The flow chart description is you performing partial disassembly to determine lowest cost of repairs compared to engine replacement.

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