Now that you mention it, I can't think of any series of 4 cylinder they ever
made that was very good.
The Nova silicon aluminum one was terrible, the Iron Duke was faulty and
the Quad Four had problems, etc...
Did they EVER make a really good, strong 4 cylinder??
Bob, to answer your original question YES, the LD9 engine is a
re-engineered version of the Oldsmobile Quad-4. It is not a bad engine
- still a bit on the noisy side for my tastes and its low end torque
is kinda lame (they work SOOOOOO much better with a 4-speed automatic
or a manual VS the 3-speed automatic), but if properly maintained I've
seen them last 150K plus. The two biggest pains in the butt on the
older ones is DIS ignition problems, water pumps and the front engine
Now onto Steve's assertion that all GM 4-cylinder engines are crap - I
beg to disagree and as an example I'll site one GM 4-cylinder that I
think is a good one - the 1.8/2.0/2.2L Tonawanda engine, which was
used primarily in the "J" body cars and some "S" and "T" series
smaller trucks. Not a fancy engine (basic pushrod motor with no
balance shaft or turbocharger or any other "hi tech" stuff) but a
reliable workhorse. Back in the '80s GM even offered a good amount of
hot rod parts for this engine.
Considering the number of those engine produced, their failure rate is
quite low and the only chronic problem they have is with water pumps.
However, on the Gen I version changing the water pump is an easy job.
Many of you might disagree, but I prefer the 1st Generation of this
engine, produced from 1981-1986 (iron block and iron heads). The Gen
II version with the aluminum head made more horsepower but is not
quite as forgiving about overheating. On the other hand, the later Gen
II engines have DIS ignition and sequential port fuel injection, a
much better setup than the first year with the computer-controlled
2-barrel carb (those where lame).
I owned one car with the Gen I engine (a 1983 Cadillac Cimarron) and
had zero problems with the engine other than a water pump replacement
at 73K. My downstairs neighbor owns a 1989 Buick Skyhawk with a Gen II
2.0L with over 240K on the odometer - her only engine problem was
again a couple of water pump replacements.
I've done a lot of maintenance work on cars with these engines over
the years but VERY seldom did I have to tackle major issues. When it
comes to "J" cars I'd take one with the Tonawanda engine over one with
the Brazilian OHC engine any day.
I'll totally agree with you on the old Vega engine from the 70s - nice
concept but it wasn't quite ready for the real world. The UAW strike
in the fall of 1970 saved me from owning on (I'd ordered a loaded Vega
GT - after waiting for awhile I cancelled the order and bought a used
1967 Buick Skylark from the same dealer. That Buick turned out to be
one really GREAT car)!!
I believe that Ian has said that they are pretty good little engines.
Father-in-law has one in his little GMC pickup truck.. It is gutless and
sucks gas, but have had no real engine problems at 30,000 miles.
Gets 17-18 mpg.
It has had two alternators go out, body noise will drive you nuts, and a few
other things, but at least no head gaskets, manifold gaskets, etc yet.
I had a Saturn Vue with the 2.2L Ecotech. After my son ran it through
the mud (and I mean deep through the mud), we lost a coil pack, but
otherwise the engine was trouble free. I wish I could have said the
same about the transmission. When the car had around 40K miles I
traded it in because I didn't want to worry about needing another new
Well, the question I have is good for which application.
It's certainly good enough for the cars it is found in. I'm not sure
which "issues" you are talking about but the LD9 really represents the
final stage of evolution for the quad 4 engine.
I can only guess as to why you are asking. If you are looking for a
car with a really good and unbelievably smooth 4 cylinder engine then
look at late model Toyota.
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