Longevity of the 4.2 and 4l60e

02trailblazerLS

Well-Known Member
Hey guys my truck has just hit 66,000 miles on it, before i bought it, it was owned by the sellers grandfather, who didnt drive it very much. They told me It was garaged for alot of its life and that all the services and maintenance were done at the dealership. After looking into that on carfax, thankfully they werernt lieing, theres lots of service records of them bringin it to the dealership every 3-4000 miles and it seemed to be maintained very well. But when i had bought it, about a month later it needed a fan clutch,an outer tie rod end, new gas pedal because it was doing this weird downshifting thing when youd put it at cruise control around 60. Mechanic inspected the pedal, said is fine but we had em replace it anyways n that fixed the weird shifting issue. I had accidentally broke the front diff last December so we had that replaced with a new one and we changed tranny fluid, t-case fluid, diff fluids, engine oil and i believe thats it. its been a great truck so far, but im looking to keep this for as long as possible and im trying to maintain it the best i can. Any recommendations as far as maintenance or things i should do for longevity would be greatly appreciated. Ive read about ppl beefing up the trans with shift kits, mild cams, corvette servos, and pcm tunes, that all sounds interesting to me but i dont know if its worth doing. Ive also read about ppl putting in fuel injector cleaner to help with longevity.
Any feedback would be great! Thanks!
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
The big ones are Tranny, Diffs, and Transfer case (with autotrac fluid only) fluids. Those are due every 50k miles or sooner. Also the cooling fan hub. You had those done, so you should be good for a bit.

There are common problems, but you should only worry about those as they creep up. Ignition Switch, main power feed mega fuse, HVAC blend door motors, front diff outer seal, front diff actuator, guage cluster issues, wheel bearings. Everything else is just routine maintenance as far as the truck goes.

I have close to 200k on my truck (I have a V8 5.3), with only the transmission having been replaced for big "main" parts. Still running on factory calipers, and up until 2 weeks ago, factory rotors. These really can be bullet proof trucks, its why I have been searching for a extreme low mile version to join my stable. Not had much luck yet.

I dont personally care for the 4.2, but they are still good motors. I just dont really care for VVT motors. The 4.2 brings to the table a few more routine maintenance. Cam Phaser, depending on the year SAIS, exhaust manifold, and VVT solenoids. I also dont personally recommend long oil change service intervals on the 4.2 because of the VVT solenoids and cam phaser can get gummed up. Keep it right about 3500 miles or so.

Be mindful of your temp gauge, that should always be pointing straight up, or one tick to the left or right. If its sitting more than that above or below, theres an issue. Dont rely on your oil pressure gauge, Its not real.
 
OP
02trailblazerLS

02trailblazerLS

Well-Known Member
The big ones are Tranny, Diffs, and Transfer case (with autotrac fluid only) fluids. Those are due every 50k miles or sooner. Also the cooling fan hub. You had those done, so you should be good for a bit.

There are common problems, but you should only worry about those as they creep up. Ignition Switch, main power feed mega fuse, HVAC blend door motors, front diff outer seal, front diff actuator, guage cluster issues, wheel bearings. Everything else is just routine maintenance as far as the truck goes.

I have close to 200k on my truck (I have a V8 5.3), with only the transmission having been replaced for big "main" parts. Still running on factory calipers, and up until 2 weeks ago, factory rotors. These really can be bullet proof trucks, its why I have been searching for a extreme low mile version to join my stable. Not had much luck yet.

I dont personally care for the 4.2, but they are still good motors. I just dont really care for VVT motors. The 4.2 brings to the table a few more routine maintenance. Cam Phaser, depending on the year SAIS, exhaust manifold, and VVT solenoids. I also dont personally recommend long oil change service intervals on the 4.2 because of the VVT solenoids and cam phaser can get gummed up. Keep it right about 3500 miles or so.

Be mindful of your temp gauge, that should always be pointing straight up, or one tick to the left or right. If its sitting more than that above or below, theres an issue. Dont rely on your oil pressure gauge, Its not real.
Thanks for the great information @TollKeeper i really appreciate it! Im gonna make the 4.2 last as long as i can and then once its done for im planning to do the 5.3 vortec swap. 🤔 But mines a 2002 swb LS so i think the swap might be tricky but well see when that time comes. How is the 5.3 in a trailblazer? Im thinkin itd be alot more powerful and Maybe more reliable too
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
I have the 5.3 in my Envoy, too, so I'll add my .02...

You just hit 66,000 mi (or is that KM?) on the odo.
How many miles do you realistically drive in a year?

Why do I ask? Because short of neglect / abuse, that 4.2 has a LOT of life left in it. Like about 75% or more (250,000 miles, maybe more).

Forget about swapping a 5.3 into that truck. It's a LOT of work; more than you are ready for (no offense intended; I'm just being pragmatic), and other than bragging rights, the return on investment is just not that great. Your engine is just now 'broken in' -- enjoy it.

As for what you'd gain having the 5.3L ? Some torque, ability to tow a little more. But an inline six, especially a decent sized one... is SUCH a good engine. Inherently balanced, great torque (almost as much as the 5.3L). Fuel economy is probably the worst issue about the 4.2L in your truck. But you've got a lot of truck to pull, too.

Think about why BMW has used that 3.x litre six in so many of their vehicles over the years, if you want an example. Or Chrysler's 'Slant Six', or the Jeep 4.0L inline six (probably the only time you'll ever hear me wax rhapsodically about any of their products). Those things are practically indestructible.

Outside of the VVT stuff which Tollkeeper mentioned, and a different front crank seal (?) on your '02 which Mooseman has talked about a few years back, IIRC... the only thing you should address on that driveline is your transmission, to put a 'corrective' shift kit into, as well as an external trans oil cooler. Other than that, and once that's done -- you'll have a vehicle that will have a long, happy life in front of it; one that can take you to work during the week, and play hard during the weekend (I looked at your profile...lol). There will be maintenance, and parts will wear out. But they'll be easily fixable (for the most part). If you have some extra coin, stock up some of the wear parts that commonly go on these, and you'll be ready. Can't ask for more than that.

One thing I would advise -- to become more knowledgeable about maintaining / repairing the truck on your own. If you rely on mechanics / dealers, you'll easily spend a new car payment every month having them track down everything on yours. That's frustrating, and not how you get ahead of the game. Even if you spent $1000 USD on tools, over time -- you'd save $10,000 over the life of the truck. Probably more, TBH.

I love my two V8 trucks to death, as I know I'll die before they wear out (I'm a little older than you are). But if I had yours -- I wouldn't even *think* about swapping out that 4.2L.
Rather, I'd thank my lucky stars I had such a low mileage vehicle, that also has a stack of maintenance receipts -- and drive the hell out of it.
I'll predict it will either rust away or you will get tired of it, before it wears out.
 
OP
02trailblazerLS

02trailblazerLS

Well-Known Member
I have the 5.3 in my Envoy, too, so I'll add my .02...

You just hit 66,000 mi (or is that KM?) on the odo.
How many miles do you realistically drive in a year?

Why do I ask? Because short of neglect / abuse, that 4.2 has a LOT of life left in it. Like about 75% or more (250,000 miles, maybe more).

Forget about swapping a 5.3 into that truck. It's a LOT of work; more than you are ready for (no offense intended; I'm just being pragmatic), and other than bragging rights, the return on investment is just not that great. Your engine is just now 'broken in' -- enjoy it.

As for what you'd gain having the 5.3L ? Some torque, ability to tow a little more. But an inline six, especially a decent sized one... is SUCH a good engine. Inherently balanced, great torque (almost as much as the 5.3L). Fuel economy is probably the worst issue about the 4.2L in your truck. But you've got a lot of truck to pull, too.

Think about why BMW has used that 3.x litre six in so many of their vehicles over the years, if you want an example. Or Chrysler's 'Slant Six', or the Jeep 4.0L inline six (probably the only time you'll ever hear me wax rhapsodically about any of their products). Those things are practically indestructible.

Outside of the VVT stuff which Tollkeeper mentioned, and a different front crank seal (?) on your '02 which Mooseman has talked about a few years back, IIRC... the only thing you should address on that driveline is your transmission, to put a 'corrective' shift kit into, as well as an external trans oil cooler. Other than that, and once that's done -- you'll have a vehicle that will have a long, happy life in front of it; one that can take you to work during the week, and play hard during the weekend (I looked at your profile...lol). There will be maintenance, and parts will wear out. But they'll be easily fixable (for the most part). If you have some extra coin, stock up some of the wear parts that commonly go on these, and you'll be ready. Can't ask for more than that.

One thing I would advise -- to become more knowledgeable about maintaining / repairing the truck on your own. If you rely on mechanics / dealers, you'll easily spend a new car payment every month having them track down everything on yours. That's frustrating, and not how you get ahead of the game. Even if you spent $1000 USD on tools, over time -- you'd save $10,000 over the life of the truck. Probably more, TBH.

I love my two V8 trucks to death, as I know I'll die before they wear out (I'm a little older than you are). But if I had yours -- I wouldn't even *think* about swapping out that 4.2L.
Rather, I'd thank my lucky stars I had such a low mileage vehicle, that also has a stack of maintenance receipts -- and drive the hell out of it.
I'll predict it will either rust away or you will get tired of it, before it wears out.
Wow what a great response man! Thank you so much! 🙏🏻 And correct its just hit66 thousand in miles and id say i drive anywhere from 8-12,000 miles a year. And im glad you informed me about the difficulty of the 5.3 swap, i definitely wont be doing that. I can see how itd be very difficult and not only that but im pretty sure they never made the 02 SWB Trailblazers with a 5.3 either. As far as the trans cooler and shift kit goes, they sound very worthwhile, i will definitely be getting those in the near future, i just need to find out which ones are best and all that. And yeah i totally agree man, I really need to learn how to maintain/repair it on my own. Ive already spent a decent amount just bringin it to shops to deal with small stuff and i dont wanna do that anymore. I would love to have the knowledge to work on it on my own, ill probably end up goin to UTI to go to there automotive classes, ive thought about trying to do repairs/maintenance on my own but im worried ill screw the truck up or not do things right.
Id like to say thank you once again, if it weremt for you guys on this forum and this forum in general, my truck wouldnt be the way it is and i wouldnt know most of the stuff ive learned. It is all truly a blessing and im so grateful! Im grateful to havethe low mileage as well, its interesting how i came across the TB, i was searchin for Tahoes and suburbans for a while and then i came across just one TB listing that just stood out more than all of the others because of mileage and condition of the truck, i wasnt even interested in TBs till i saw it. it was at 60,300 miles and man it looked clean. I quickly grew a liking for it and just had a gut feeling that it was the one but i wanted to keep looking just to make sure, i searched for 4 more days andcouldnt find anything else that caught my eye. So i ended up calling and meeting up with the seller,on the phone he told us he has two other buyers for the TB and that its whoever gets there first pretty much, so i went right away to go pick it up and 10 minutes after i arrived and was talkin to the dude, one of the buyers show up and ended up just waiting there to see if i bought it. 20 minutes later i was driving the ol TB home 😂😂 this is my first truck ive bought and words truly cannot describe how grateful i am to have it.
 

Sparky

Moderator
Also My 2 cents...

I had an 02 that I had until 215k miles. Got rid of it not because of major mechanical problem but rather rust and lots of it. The engine and transmission both were original. Even the transfer case was despite having been run empty once when the seal blew out on it and I had no idea until I went to change the fluid. Oops...

I changed my oil when the light told me to, which could have been 10k miles or more. I used Mobil 1. Ok, maybe I was being dumb, but I never had a cam phaser issue or any other such issues. Did replace the CPAS once but I don't think that's avoidable.

Over all was a solid vehicle and I think the engine/trans had a lot of life left in them yet.
 
OP
02trailblazerLS

02trailblazerLS

Well-Known Member
Also My 2 cents...

I had an 02 that I had until 215k miles. Got rid of it not because of major mechanical problem but rather rust and lots of it. The engine and transmission both were original. Even the transfer case was despite having been run empty once when the seal blew out on it and I had no idea until I went to change the fluid. Oops...

I changed my oil when the light told me to, which could have been 10k miles or more. I used Mobil 1. Ok, maybe I was being dumb, but I never had a cam phaser issue or any other such issues. Did replace the CPAS once but I don't think that's avoidable.

Over all was a solid vehicle and I think the engine/trans had a lot of life left in them yet.
Wow thats amazing! Seems like these trucks are super reliable when well maintained! I have no worries about the longevity of mine anymore, thanks for all the help guys!
 

Grinder 13

New Member
Hey guys my truck has just hit 66,000 miles on it, before i bought it, it was owned by the sellers grandfather, who didnt drive it very much. They told me It was garaged for alot of its life and that all the services and maintenance were done at the dealership. After looking into that on carfax, thankfully they werernt lieing, theres lots of service records of them bringin it to the dealership every 3-4000 miles and it seemed to be maintained very well. But when i had bought it, about a month later it needed a fan clutch,an outer tie rod end, new gas pedal because it was doing this weird downshifting thing when youd put it at cruise control around 60. Mechanic inspected the pedal, said is fine but we had em replace it anyways n that fixed the weird shifting issue. I had accidentally broke the front diff last December so we had that replaced with a new one and we changed tranny fluid, t-case fluid, diff fluids, engine oil and i believe thats it. its been a great truck so far, but im looking to keep this for as long as possible and im trying to maintain it the best i can. Any recommendations as far as maintenance or things i should do for longevity would be greatly appreciated. Ive read about ppl beefing up the trans with shift kits, mild cams, corvette servos, and pcm tunes, that all sounds interesting to me but i dont know if its worth doing. Ive also read about ppl putting in fuel injector cleaner to help with longevity.
Any feedback would be great! Thanks!
when replacing parts use A C Delco when possible. Usually available from Rock Auto if your local vendor doesn't have them
 

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
I know this is an old thread, but if it helps any. During my searches for a secondary TB/Envoy, I've been finding A LOT of 4.2's that have 300k+ on the odometer. Only difference is, some have had the tranny rebuilt. Realistically, if you live in the rustbelt that will kill it before the engine/tranny crap out.
 

vipergg

Well-Known Member
I know this is an old thread, but if it helps any. During my searches for a secondary TB/Envoy, I've been finding A LOT of 4.2's that have 300k+ on the odometer. Only difference is, some have had the tranny rebuilt. Realistically, if you live in the rustbelt that will kill it before the engine/tranny crap out.
Yeah if you live in the rust belt you can count on the transmission cooler lines and the power steering cooler lines and cooler to start leaking and having to be replaced .
 

TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
My 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada is at over 260,000 miles. I've had to replace both transmission lines and power steering lines. In the past year, I've replaced the transmission filter and switched to Dex VI fluid. I've also replaced ALL of the break fluid in the past year by flushing the system completely. This past summer I replaced the exhaust manifold, upstream O2 sensor, and CPAS as well as replaced the gaskets on the intake, valve cover, and exhaust manifold.
I would hop in that car and drive anywhere in the country this afternoon without hesitation - well, aside from the places I don't want to go.
 
OP
02trailblazerLS

02trailblazerLS

Well-Known Member
My 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada is at over 260,000 miles. I've had to replace both transmission lines and power steering lines. In the past year, I've replaced the transmission filter and switched to Dex VI fluid. I've also replaced ALL of the break fluid in the past year by flushing the system completely. This past summer I replaced the exhaust manifold, upstream O2 sensor, and CPAS as well as replaced the gaskets on the intake, valve cover, and exhaust manifold.
I would hop in that car and drive anywhere in the country this afternoon without hesitation - well, aside from the places I don't want to go.
Well this has been great feedback from you guys! I feel very comfortable in the longevity of my trailblazer now, im at 65k, i plan on having this truck for the next 5-10 years, keepin it in tip top shape and potentially passing it down once i have kids.👍
 

DocBrown

Well-Known Member
Well this has been great feedback from you guys! I feel very comfortable in the longevity of my trailblazer now, im at 65k, i plan on having this truck for the next 5-10 years, keepin it in tip top shape and potentially passing it down once i have kids.👍
I will say this. In 5-10 more years the issue becomes weakening spots of frames and other structural components. The other thing that happens is parts start to become scarce. I had a '95 Suburban that I bought with 107k miles. I think it was 8 yo when I bought it. I drove it until it had about 160k. Then I gave it to my dad. He drove it for years, and during that time the rear frame rusted apart on one side. He had a shop make a patch for it, but now my brother has the truck. I have no idea how many miles, but from the day he got it he's been having trouble tracking down parts.
 

TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
I will say this. In 5-10 more years the issue becomes weakening spots of frames and other structural components. The other thing that happens is parts start to become scarce. I had a '95 Suburban that I bought with 107k miles. I think it was 8 yo when I bought it. I drove it until it had about 160k. Then I gave it to my dad. He drove it for years, and during that time the rear frame rusted apart on one side. He had a shop make a patch for it, but now my brother has the truck. I have no idea how many miles, but from the day he got it he's been having trouble tracking down parts.
I have a local scrap yard that also takes vehicles. Vehicles are NOT their primary focus however. They are not a pull-a-part yard, either. Consequently, if you find something on a vehicle and want to buy it they typically charge only slightly more than scrap value. I've walked out of there with armfuls of plastic parts for no charge, rear glass struts for a couple bucks... the list goes on. They don't even track what they have so asking them if they have a Bravada/Trailblazer/Envoy is pointless - so after I've sold my scrap I let them know where I'll be and I go walking. They don't always have what I'm looking for, but they often do. If you can locate such a place, they are a veritable gold mine for hard to find parts, especially structural parts - if you can remove them yourself.
 

DocBrown

Well-Known Member
I have a local scrap yard that also takes vehicles. Vehicles are NOT their primary focus however. They are not a pull-a-part yard, either. Consequently, if you find something on a vehicle and want to buy it they typically charge only slightly more than scrap value. I've walked out of there with armfuls of plastic parts for no charge, rear glass struts for a couple bucks... the list goes on. They don't even track what they have so asking them if they have a Bravada/Trailblazer/Envoy is pointless - so after I've sold my scrap I let them know where I'll be and I go walking. They don't always have what I'm looking for, but they often do. If you can locate such a place, they are a veritable gold mine for hard to find parts, especially structural parts - if you can remove them yourself.

That's awesome if you have the time to do all of that.
 

KEEBZ489

Well-Known Member
The big ones are Tranny, Diffs, and Transfer case (with autotrac fluid only) fluids. Those are due every 50k miles or sooner. Also the cooling fan hub. You had those done, so you should be good for a bit.

There are common problems, but you should only worry about those as they creep up. Ignition Switch, main power feed mega fuse, HVAC blend door motors, front diff outer seal, front diff actuator, guage cluster issues, wheel bearings. Everything else is just routine maintenance as far as the truck goes.

I have close to 200k on my truck (I have a V8 5.3), with only the transmission having been replaced for big "main" parts. Still running on factory calipers, and up until 2 weeks ago, factory rotors. These really can be bullet proof trucks, its why I have been searching for a extreme low mile version to join my stable. Not had much luck yet.

I dont personally care for the 4.2, but they are still good motors. I just dont really care for VVT motors. The 4.2 brings to the table a few more routine maintenance. Cam Phaser, depending on the year SAIS, exhaust manifold, and VVT solenoids. I also dont personally recommend long oil change service intervals on the 4.2 because of the VVT solenoids and cam phaser can get gummed up. Keep it right about 3500 miles or so.

Be mindful of your temp gauge, that should always be pointing straight up, or one tick to the left or right. If its sitting more than that above or below, theres an issue. Dont rely on your oil pressure gauge, Its not real.
dont know what your budget is @TollKeeper , but found this here in ny. this guy lists high prices , but his cars are top notch. he finds low milage cars only

 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
I dont buy anything east of Kansas City normally.. Rust, and everything else.

Still looking out for a SWB Denali, or Rainer V8, or a 9-7x. Maybe a TB if the right one popped up.
 

Gunner

Member
Well this has been great feedback from you guys! I feel very comfortable in the longevity of my trailblazer now, im at 65k, i plan on having this truck for the next 5-10 years, keepin it in tip top shape and potentially passing it down once i have kids.👍
Just another note: my 2005 TB (short wheelbase, LS, 4.2) is currently at 288,000 miles. Previous answers have covered a lot of common issues, lots of good advice. My 4.2 has been rock solid....plugs, coils, VVT, cam position sensor, fan clutch, water pump once. Regular maintenance should include the oil and filter, air filter, VVT cleaning and throttle body cleaning! Electrical issues seem to be common on this platform and can be a pain in troubleshooting! Keep this forum handy, it helps a LOT with that. I've replaced the rack & pinion steering gear twice. Quite a few stabilizer bar end links, wheel hub/bearings, CV axles, brakes of course. On my first rack & pinion replacement, I replaced virtually all front suspension parts -- not that they had failed, but they had 200,000 miles and opening up the entire front end makes rack &* pinion replacement SO much easier! With your low miles, I would start and stay on top of some regular transmission maintenance! My personal opinion: I would drop the pan, inspect the magnet, clean it all up, replace the filter, and add back the 4-1/2 quarts of Dexron VI. It's relatively cheap insurance, and that 4L60 will dump on you eventually.
 

TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
...My personal opinion: I would drop the pan, inspect the magnet, clean it all up, replace the filter, and add back the 4-1/2 quarts of Dexron VI. It's relatively cheap insurance, and that 4L60 will dump on you eventually.
I took a little effort for me to get the nerve up but ~I~ did replace all of the fluid with Dex VI by pulling the transmission cooler line to collect the output and fill with Dex VI. There's a video available on here that illustrates how to do this.

From this @Mooseman post: https://gmtnation.com/forums/threads/transmission-fluid-quantity.13486/post-442191
 
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Mooseman

Moderator
But did you change the filter?
 

TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
But did you change the filter?
Of course... and the dipstick seal/bushing... eventually... (I have a whole thread on THAT ordeal)...

Oh, and I washed the pan in the kitchen sink... for some reason I feel compelled to wash car parts in the sink... it really ticks off my wife but it comes out soooo clean. If I replace my dishwasher I'll put the current one in the garage just for car parts.... lol...
But, anyway, new filter, new gasket, VERY clean pan, and I wrote the mileage and date on the pan with gold sharpie (it only comes off with alcohol or solvent for next time). I write mileages and dates on replaced filters with sharpie (usually gold, it works well) like on oil filters.

Also, when I install a pan gasket or a filter gasket I lightly coat that gasket with the appropriate fluid. Oil filters get a thin application of fresh clean motor oil, tranny pan gasket gets fresh clean Dex VI, then I use the tranny pan bolts to hold the gasket in place. I've done that for 25+ years in an attempt to keep the gaskets from sticking. About the only gaskets I've not done this too are headgaskets and water pump / cooling parts gaskets and the few times I was forced to use cork gaskets (which I abhor to this day).
 
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