2011-2012 model 3.6L engine/drivetrain issues


Well-Known Member
Considering purchasing a 2011-2012 model year Acadia or Enclave and have started to research whether there are any significant issues with the 3.6L VVT Direct Inject engines or trans axles. I didn't do my homework a few years back on the GM 2.4L DI engines used in the Equinox and Terrain models. LOTS of problems with the earlier years. Particularly interested in longevity, oil consumption, timing or balance chain, and direct inject issues. I have a 2003 Envoy I6 with 218K miles so I'm what you call a buy and hold owner. Thanks for any insight you can offer.


Well-Known Member
Might be in the wrong forum (thought I selected Acadia..Enclave platform) or just no interest in this topic. Seems there is a fair amount of discussion concerning timing chain problems with the DI 3.6 LLT and the 3.6 LY7 (not direct inject) if I have this correct. There's a lot of them out there on the Lamda and other platforms. This was one of the problems with the DI 2.4 used extensively in the Terrain and Equinox early models. GM extended certain aspects of the drivetrain warranty because of this to 110 or 120k miles. REALLY hard to believe GM is having a similar problem with the 3.6 some years later....but it seems they are. Hopefully not as widespread.


It's in the right place. Don't fault the members as there aren't a lot here that own this platform, maybe one.

All I know is that when my son was doing a co-op at a GM dealer couple years ago, they replaced a bunch of trannys in these vehicles. He didn't know the reason but he helped a lot to replace them. He basically told me "don't buy one".

smt 59

Well-Known Member
My friend at work had one, he was a GM man all his life until he bought the Acadia, biggest piece of s€|% he ever owned. He now owns a Toyota Tundra, hope this helps in your decision.


i like our Traverse. It however is an 09 and had the Wave Plate issue. We just got it fixed. I still like the vehicle overall.


Well-Known Member
My mom used to have a '10 Traverse. Worst GM vehicle my all-GM family has ever owned.

The engine locked up at around 60,000 miles. The dealer crated up the engine and sent it to GM "for analysis" but they never did say what truthfully went wrong.

Shortly after, the front-end developed a violent vibration. The dealer found the right front tire was almost completely worn to the bands on the inside (after just being in the shop at 60k mi.). They price-matched Costco for 4 new tires and paid for an alignment.

By 20,000 miles on the brand-new engine, the power steering pump died (was not recalled at the time, but was a common problem with the platform).
The dealer quoted $1,200 for a new rack & pinion and power steering pump.
She got the work done at a trusted independent shop for $900.
GM later issued a recall for the steering issues, so GM paid for that too.

All of our (running) GM vehicles in the family are an average of 21 years old.
If you're a buy-and-hold owner, you probably do your own maintenance, so I can tell you from experience, a midget in China would have a hard time working under the hood (unless something has changed since 2010).
IIRC, the headlight bulbs were an SOB to replace. I've seen videos where they take off the front tires to change a bulb.

Just from doing preventative research back then, I have heard "spun rod bearing" mentioned more than once in regard to the 3.6L.
I heard "oil related" thrown around a lot too, even in our case.

Call it an inept dealer, or a lemon, but that was my experience with the Lambda platform and the 3.6L
I constantly harassed my mother about being able to get four GMT360/370s for the same price as the Traverse. (That would have been what I did).

I would stay away from any 3.6's from around 2010.

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