Go Big? Common Problems With the Chevy Silverado 6.2L EcoTec3 V8
The most popular engine in Chevy Silverado trucks is General Motors’ 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8. Introduced in 2014, it continues in production today. Large SUVs, Camaro SS models, and Corvettes have a version of this engine. However, the 6.2-liter has three common problems and a few lesser issues. We’ll examine them.
The 6.2L EcoTec3 came in six variations. Various versions have more problems than others, while some are common throughout. They are the L86 V8 versions used in the 2014 to 2018 Silverado and Sierra, the 2014 to 2018 Yukon and Escalade, and the L87 in 2014 to the latest Suburban and Yukon XL.
The L8T is a revised version of this engine, found in 2020 to current Silverado and Sierra HD trucks and 2021 to current full-size vans. And the Corvette and Camaro had LT1, LT2, LT4, and LT5 variations.
Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra EcoTec3 V8 carbon buildup
One of the main design features of the EcoTec3 V8 is direct fuel injection rather than port injection. With port injection, pressurized fuel is rammed into the cylinders, acting as a carbon flusher, so to speak. With direct injection, there is no pressurization of the fuel. That eliminates this aid.
This causes carbon deposits to collect in the intake ports. As the carbon builds, the air volume in the cylinders goes down. That results in poor idling, inferior acceleration, engine misfiring, richer fuel charges, and other issues.
All direct-injection engine designs have this problem. But it typically develops around 75,000 miles. One way to lessen this problem is to use an oil catch can system. It sloughs off the excess oil and deposits it into the can in the engine compartment. Less carbon buildup occurs because there is less unburned oil.
EcoTec3 V8 lifter collapse
Many engines have active fuel management systems. They shut off certain cylinders during specific conditions to improve mileage and decrease emissions. If you remember GM’s 4-6-8 cylinder deactivation in the 1980s, that was a crude version of today’s AFM. Unfortunately, after all these years, it works only marginally better than that old, infamously bad system.
How it works is that “smart lifters” deactivate the camshaft from the cylinders. Unfortunately, these lifters can poop out and collapse. When that happens, pushrods bend, which can begin a series of issues. At best, driveability is impaired.
Direct injection pump and injector failures
The good news is that an extended warranty usually covers the damage. We should also note that some owners disable the deactivation system for the above reasons. In this way, the lifters work as regular lifters without the potential to collapse or bend pushrods.
While direct fuel injection has benefits, one of the downsides is the potential for injection pump and injector failures. The problem comes from dirty fuel. Even minute foreign particles can cause the high-tolerance pump to fail. Replacement of the injectors and/or pump can mean a costly repair bill.
A8 automatic transmission problems
Almost all 6.2-liter EcoTec3 engines are hooked to the A8 eight-speed automatic transmission. So, this problem transcends trucks and SUVs. The issue becomes immediately apparent within the first 20,000 miles. You’ll notice engine vibrations, shuddering, and poor performance.
Rough gear changes from first to second and when shifting down from second to first are instantly noticeable. A technical service bulletin that GM filed with the NHTSA places the blame on moisture in the transmission fluid used in assembly. It advises technicians to flush the system and replace the filter. If the problem persists, GM will replace the torque converter, too.
Brittle intake manifold gaskets are another problem for engines with some miles on them. The check engine light will illuminate when breaks in the manifold gaskets cause air to enter during combustion, leaning out fuel mixtures. Smaller problems occasionally include splitting engine mounts, broken manifold bolts, and failing lower intake manifold gaskets.