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Saturn Outlook Transmission Problems



  • Ok, let me add one incomplete story to the list since this just happened yesterday. We purchased our used Outlook Jan 2011 and have actually rather enjoyed it other than the horrific gas mileage. Yesterday we were on our way to see our son in another state and were about 2 hours into our trip on Interstate 80 when we heard a "thump" and lost all power to the drive system. Thankfully we were able to coast onto an exit ramp and pull over 1 1/2 lanes away from the heavy traffic. We called the dealer back home who was very helpful (no sarcasm) but did let us know it was out of the 5 year warranty. They also helped us with phone #s for rental cars in the area (very few as we were nowhere near a metropolitan are). They also offered to come tow us back to their shop for $400 which I found out later was a very reasonable price. There were no car rental companies that had any vehicles big enough for the 4 adults,1 child, presents and luggage we were hauling to continua our trip. We then called my nephew who has a small repair shop back home and he came and got us right away even bringing my Dad's car on the trailer he hauled our Outlook back home on. He is going to look at it today to see what he can see but my husband says a "thump" and loosing all drive power sure doesn't sound good. By the way, we are just under 80,00 miles on this thing and paid more for this vehicle than we ever did in our 33 years being together. I pray it isn't the 3 - 4 thousand $ bill it looks like a lot of you went through. If there is a class action suite we would like to be kept in the loop. After we get more information on what is actually wrong we will send a message to the link that was provided in this forum. Thanks to all who have posted here as there is strength in numbers. I hope despite any and all problems you may be experiencing you still have a blessed holiday season. Remember, everything here on earth is just temporary!

  • Did the engine stall as well or would the car just not move forward or back?

  • takenbygmtakenbygm Posts: 1

    I own a 2009 Saturn Outlook XR, and will calmly begin by saying that this will be the last ever GM auto that will be sitting in my garage. It, as of this date, has 55,000 miles on it. On June 28th 2013 with 47,000 miles on the vehicle, the transmission went out while traveling in another state with my wife and three kids and a guest..this was under warranty still and was taken care of after my car was towed to another city, lost on the wrong dealership car lot, and offered the wrong sized rental car from GM concierge service to take six people back home...oh yes, and someone forgot to update my rental status, so that meant I had a stolen rental car in my possession for those days. Picked the car back up and immediately started to notice that the trans wasn't shifting correctly..took it to local dealer who said that they couldn't find anything wrong. Maybe that it hadn't "calibrated" itself to our driving style yet????? But this isn't the full issue. In early Oct. 2013 was again out of town, and severe vibration and skip..thought the tranny was going out again. Nope, now was a cylinder coil shorting out under load, also getting a whine from what I thought was transmission. Local dealer said they sure couldn't find the whine, but that the cyl coil was not covered by warranty, and would be paying for that one myself. So now in early Nov. 2013 whine that I was noticing is getting louder, and tranny still hasn't had enough time to "calibrate" itself to our driving style...aka still shifting bad, or at least nothing like it did before it went out. Took car to dealership in new city of residence to set up an appt to have looked at. Had case # from GM customer service..which is a formal way of telling their customers to go screw themselves. On day of appt to look at, the power window main switch went out and the whine ended up being the power steering pump, and they cant seem to find the transmission complaint..780.00 later out of my pocket again..GM cust service said that I had and older car, so problems might be due to that, and that the trans problem is my imagination?? But now it gets fun..Nov 27th 2013 the Stabilitrak shuts down and braking system malfunction lights start dinging on the message center on the dash..pull over shut off car?? Start back up..nothing?? Has happened several times since then. Now the new kicker..The weekend before Christmas 2013, Door locks start locking and unlocking themselves while driving, and car has locked us inside it three times..lock button won't open them. Have to manually pull up lock. Set off alarm, and get out to use key remote to stop it....but according to issues??? Oh well..I have it all documented, and some of it on video..

  • vjlfpmvjlfpm Posts: 2

    I currently have a 2008 Saturn Outlook XR with ONLY 45,000 miles on it. The transmission started slipping a about a week ago. I brought it to the dealer and they told me I had metal shavings in the transmission fluid, and I would need a new wave plate. The estimated cost was around 1500.00 because it's 5 months out of warranty. I'm the original owner with all maintenance being at a gm service center? I'm disgusted with GM, they are aware of this problem (service bulletin # 09-07-30-012A) and are not fixing it. This car is lightly driven by my wife and has never towed anything. This is also my first brand new car ever? I will NEVER buy another GM car again.

  • vjlfpmvjlfpm Posts: 2

    Sorry, I meant to say fixing it under warranty!!!

  • jswigjswig Posts: 3

    I own a 2008 outlook XR front wheel drive. It currently has 73,800 miles. My list of problems is similar to everyone else. I bought the vehicle in May 2013 and the first signs of trouble started after just a couple months. The first problem was the stabili trac and service brake light. Both warning lights were on at the same time. Found a bad wheel bearing in drivers front side and rear brake rotors completely worn. Also all brake pads needed replaced. Spent $800 for these repairs, and it fixed the problems. The next problem I am currently faced with is; the car won't move at all in any gear. Acts like its in neutral all the time. If I shut it off, wait a little while, then restart; the car will run fine for a couple minutes before acting up again. I have it at the dealership now but have to wait a few more days for them to perform the diagnostic. The check engine light is the only light on right now. I will keep everyone updated when I get the diagnostic report. I have also contacted GM customer service and filed a complaint. Hoping it's not a bad transmission.

  • jswigjswig Posts: 3

    Well its official,just received a call from the dealership and my Outlook needs a new transmission. They said it was due to a broken 3,5,Reverse wave plate. How can there be no recall? Can anyone from GM answer that? GM knows there is a problem with these. It affects Acadia's, Enclaves, and several other GM models as well.

  • ski1310ski1310 Posts: 1

    So add me to list of everyone else on hear. While driving down the road car will all of sudden rev up and not shift back down. If I pull over turn the car off and start it back it up it fine for awhile then I have to pull over and do it again. Took it to a parts store and got the codes, said the tcc converter was bad. Took it to a mechanic and was told that the cheapest fix might be to have the program updated. Made an appointment with a dealer and when I got there was told that they could not update the program with the check engine light on I had to have the car serviced before they could update the program. Was also told at the dealer that the codes from the part store were there (the parts store) codes so that they could sell parts. I bought the car from a Saturn dealership in 2012 that has since went out of business. I was having all the oil changes etc. done there so that if I had major problems they were to cover them under the warranty that came with the car. Frustrating that GM is doing nothing about this.

  • slccoslcco Posts: 1

    We own a 2008 Saturn Outlook. We bought it new in 2007 and have had nothing but problems. First the Stabilitrack light kept coming on, beginning THE DAY AFTER WE DROVE IT OFF THE LOT. Our now-defunct Saturn dealership could never find anything wrong. Their competence, or lack thereof, is for another post. Tire sensors have gone out, the headlamp connecter got recalled (we are still trying to get reimbursed after having paid for the repair ourselves) the stabilitrack light keeps going on (no one can ever tell us why). The reason for this post, however, is that we have just over 93K miles on our car and now THE TRANSMISSION HAS GONE OUT. Who has $3000 lying around for that repair? Why is it OK that GM puts out such a crappy vehicle and then turns their back on Saturn owners? I will NEVER, EVER buy another GM product or even take one if it were given to me. I can't afford the various repairs it will invariably need. What a disappointing experience.

  • hugolinhvhugolinhv Posts: 2
    edited January 19

    Hello everybody. Has anybody received any help from GM? My transmission in my 08 saturn outlook just went bad two days ago and the worst is that it just reached 100k !!

  • I guess I feel better knowing I am not the only sucker in this position. I have had my '09 Outlook at the dealer three times in the last 6 weeks for what seemed like the same thing, but the first time they did some goofy "cleaning" thing and charged $350, then two weeks ago the check engine light came back on and they replaced an ignition coil for $450 and then this morning it died on the side of the road. Engine still purring but no go on the transmission. Dealer now saying "3 grand plus tax" for a transmission rebuild. Won't know the exact problem until they get it apart. Really? Its dead so I cannot drive elsewhere. And we complained every time we took it in for an oil change that the transmission "skipped" occasionally or that the engine would overrev on occasion as it shifted into certain gears. No one seemed to believe there was anything wrong with the transmission then, and since we never argued and just assumed it was us, now that it has 70k miles and is out of warranty AHA! Must be something wrong with the transmission. No choice but to go ahead with it but based on these boards, as well as others, it does seem like a problem that should have been addressed by GM. Not sure of its the mothership or the antiquated dealerships and their service departments who still thinks that is where they make the most money. Sell a car that has a life just beyond the warranty and then engineer everything to start falling apart. I'll think twice before buying a GM again despite my dad's 40 years of service to the company.

  • Has anybody has actually received any help from GM.? I have an open case with them... Amber is the one handling my case. I have been thinking in probably getting a lawyer? Im not sure.... I will keep you guys posted.

  • lnlharperlnlharper Posts: 1
    edited February 10

    I am the used-to-be-proud (sole) owner of a 2008 Saturn Outlook XR. 6 months after I made the final payment, with 68K miles on it, the transmission blew. No warning, halfway to school with my son (thanks neighbors who saw me with my hazard lights on yet still felt the need to honk at me) on a super-rainy day. No warning, no engine light (in fact I had just had the car in the week before for a vent selenoid replacement--how lucky am I?), just no forward movement, no reverse... nothing. I have learned from the mechanic that the transmission is shot. $4185. On research, I have found that this is a known issue, yet the only recalls GM issues are for the wiring on a headlamp? I bought the car as a young widow with children, feeling I could be safe in the knowledge that I had bought a secure car that, with the routine maintenance I gave it, would run without issue for 10 years. Now, I have put almost $5,000 (See above selenoid issue and new brakes which ran $770) into a car (and a company) I no longer trust. This is what I have gotten for putting 10 thousand dollars cash down. I cannot afford this repair, yet I have no other car with school-aged children. I am sick about this, and wish I had never traded in our Yukon because I didn't "trust" it (that had given me no major issues) to last much longer. When I saw the sheer number of posts here and other forums outlining the same issues (engine light, stabilitrak, brake light), I was shocked. What has happened with this company?

  • Reading all of these posts it makes me sick that I didn't check more reviews when I bought my 2009 Outlook AWD. I have had the car 2 years now, the 100k warranty ran out a couple months ago and I am now at 116k. This also was the most expensive car I have purchased to date ($27k when I bought it) and has been the worst car I have ever owned. Where to start. After buying the vehicle within weeks the car started having a lot of electrical issues. Air conditioning wouldn't come on, rear electronics would shut down, etc... I went to the dealer and they said they would fix it for me which they did. Said it was a bad board or something and that it was covered under the warranty. So all was well and about 4 months into owning the car, the transmission completely goes out (this is at 60k miles maybe) and they tell me that I got metal shavings into the tranny and it has to be fully replaced. Warranty paid, so again, I was ok but already worried about the large problems. Got the tranny fixed and the car ran great other than it still seemed to shift sluggishly, I asked the dealership if it was normal and I was told yes.... I didn't have my vehicle back for more than a few weeks when I was driving down the road and my car shut down. Everything turned off and the temp gauge shot through the roof. Called a tow truck and took it back to dealership. Come to find out that the water pump had failed causing the serpentine belt to break which ended up damaging the radiator fan. So again I had to have it all fixed but this time only a small portion of the fix was under warranty so it was a quick $500 bill from the dealer. So several months have went by and in that time I have had to replace the rear hatch lift rods, front rotors, break pads, and front struts, and headlamps TWICE and the warranty has now just expired. I noticed just yesterday as well that the rear breaks are grinding really bad so I can only imagine I need to replace the rotors and pads on the rear now. The tranny is back to shifting like a bear at highway speeds as well. Every time I drive the car after a couple minutes I feel a lunge in the car and the service stabilitrack warning is issued, immediately following that the traction control is off warning comes on, then following that the brake system light comes on. This is crazy!!! But its not done!! in the last couple weeks there has been a loud whining when I run the car. then last week I went out to take kids to school (very cold here) and I had lost all power steering. I bled the lines and put new fluid in and that brought the steering back but the whining is still there in all its glory. To top it off yesterday it started throwing the service engine light. I bought a code scanner and hooked it up. It is throwing this code which sounds like a common occurrence on this car. "Camshaft Position - Actuator A Bank 1 - Timing Over-Advanced." When this happens the car idles really low and really rough. I owe too much to trade or sell the car, and I have put enough into this car in the last year to buy a really decent car that would run great. I don't have the money to keep this up. If GM doesn't start doing something for the owners of these cars I will never buy a GM again and that is all I have ever bought. makes me sick to my stomach to think what could be wrong this time. So much for being able to put my tax return into some home renovation projects.

  • dayalexdayalex Posts: 1

    I have had the same issues with my 2008 Outlook as the rest of you. It has disengaged the transmission while trying to accelerate up a hill. I turn it off, wait, and it works until I can get home. Recently my Outlook has stepped it up a notch. I pulled into my parents' driveway and there was a sound of different computer tones. I got inside their house and they asked what that sound was. It was obviously audible through their brick veneer walls. It hasn't done it since then (about a week ago). I don't feel taking it to the dealer will be helpful since it hasn't repeated this concert, but my dealer has seen this car before as I took it in almost 2 years ago (4 months after I bought it there) and their fix was to redo the timing belt (didn't work) and to replace the head (worked for a while). GM maintenance program gave them these two fixes for a transmission problem.

    I work in IT and it can help solve many problems, but can we just stop putting so much IT into cars? It just increases their purchase costs, life-cycle costs, and the frustration. I would like to buy a car that does not "drive by wire" and actually uses a cable to connect my foot to the air intake. Just saying.

    If anyone feels the initative to start up a class-action lawsuit in order to force GM to address the Outlook transmission issue before someone gets pancaked on the interstate, please post it here.

  • johnnyc192johnnyc192 Posts: 1

    My 2009 Outlook has 51000 miles. the transmission went out just recently without warning. It was the wave plate. It cost $4100 to repair. It took a week to do and I was not a happy camper. Within a week it is back at the same dealer for a similar issue. My wife was almost hit the first time the transmission went out, Chevy really needs to address the issue with the transmission. I am now even more upset because it has happened again. Its a safety issue. I am worried about the car now. I am looking into a Toyota. I have bought my last GM product ever. (Second GM product I have owned, second transmission replaced) The dealership was wrong a month prior about another issue, that issue cost me $800. I hope they get it right the third time around. Time to find a place that I can trust.

  • doublea55doublea55 Posts: 2

    It seems that my 2008 Saturn Outlook has been blessed with every single issue raised in these forums. I am a loyal GM customer and have always bragged about my vehicles, I am on my 10th GM vehicle to date, everything from Cadillac to Astro van. This Saturn is EXTREMELY DISSAPOINTING! Most issues were covered under warrenty but now with only 88K we are 10 months out of warrenty and it is in the dealers shop waiting tranmission diagnostics, it will not shift into reverse, just the latest of issues. Here is the landry list.

    -Squeaking from under steering wheel -Water Pump failure -Heated wiper fluid disabled and several other recalls -Brake master cylinder and booster failure (stabillitrack/ABS warning lights)- After warranty period =$500 -Now the transmission problems

    Very frustrating! I really hope GM steps up, times are already tough, extensive and expensive car repairs do not make it any easier. I have a family of 5 on the road and this Outlook keeps me up at night!

  • rshontzrshontz Posts: 2
    I bought my 2008 outlook awd new in 2008 and I have 62k miles and you can add me to this long list of people that have the same transmission problem. I'm told it's not covered and it's going to cost $3400 I've always owned GM vehicles and after reading this thread it will be my last.
  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 837

    I bought my 2008 Outlook XR in August 2008. In late July 2009 with 8000 miles on the odometer, I purchased a 6 year, 90,000 mile GMPP ($100 deductible) plan for $1175. March 6th my wife experienced a failure that ended up being diagnosed as throttle body failure. (57,000 miles) Towing and replacement out of pocket $100.

    Service writer noted there might be a problem with power steering. They added fluid which cut the whine way down, but now it is very difficult to turn when stationary, but ok when moving. Set appointment for March 9th. Dealer replaced steering rack then power steering pump, aligned front end, etc. Repairs took two days. Rental car, repairs, etc. out of pocket cost $100.

    I like the vehicle, but will replace it before the GMPP expires in August 2015. I feel like I am ahead on this one already. If the tranny blows in the next 15 months or so, I will be way ahead.

    Sorry for all your problems, but with the way a lot of vehicles are these days, I plan to purchase an extended warranty or replace when the original factory warranty expires.

    Good day,


  • rshontzrshontz Posts: 2
    I'm going to add to my post above I called GM they gave me a case number yesterday and today the same dealer with help from GM reduced the repair cost from $3600 to $750 and I'm thankful I don't have to come up with all that money and GM is helping. Granted I still have to pay but I'm very thankful they are helping when I'm still 3 months over the warranty period. I'll stick with GM
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