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2006 Chevy Malibu 2.2 Engine trouble

I have a 2006 Chevy Malibu 125,000 miles that was running sluggish, noisy like needed oil (checked didn’t) and check engine light was on. Took it to a repair shop and told needed an oil change, car still ran sluggish, told to drive it a day or so. Two days later, car wouldn’t go over 50 mph, took it back and told needed air filter and mass air flow cleaned. After they did that, they told me the Catalytic converter needed replaced however they don’t do that work. Within a week car would not run so had the cat replaced. Car ran better but still not great. Took it to another place, spark plugs replaced, throttle body cleaned and fuel injector cleaner added to gas.
Still the car ran sluggish and was making noise and check engine light was on. Took it to parts store to have code checked on check engine and said error in bank one of oxygen sensor. I replaced that, reset the light and am sure you know, it still runs bad and noisy and check engine light came back on.
I am losing power on hills and big hills the engine rattles. I am at my wits end as I’ve now had three different mechanics look at this with the same original issue.
Any ideas?


Has anyone checked the valve timing? Sounds like it may be off by a tooth.

If the noise is louder when accelerating, it could be an exhaust manifold leak. That could affect the O2 sensors.

Supposedly theres a tsb for this.

Do you have a warm up cat? It will be a canister integrated into the exhaust manifold. If you do have one, and I suspect that you do, it would be the one that is clogged up, not the downstream 3 way cat.

I’m more inclined to think you have a vacuum leak though.

Thanks for the suggestions. None of these have been looked into so I will have to pick a mechanic and have them check it.
The 2.2 engine only has the one cat which is made into the manifold (which I had replaced) and I replaced the upstream sensor.