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Chevy Traverse Stabilitrak/Traction Control problems

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    They'll still need tires and brakes just like regular cars, so service centers can do that part no problem.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    stever said:

    Robotics - just some zillion lines of code, a bunch of sensors, and some actuators. Big whoop. The John Deeres have been doing that for years now out of traffic.

    http://www.wired.com/2015/02/new-high-tech-farm-equipment-nightmare-farmers/

    Apparently is a really big whoop.

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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited November 2015
    Sure, and we're back the "right to repair" issue.

    "Dave’s sensor problem required fiddling around in the tractor’s highly proprietary computer system".

    Take away the digital rights management so you can use your Harbor Freight scan tool and you're back in business. The Copyright Office is working on that (IP Watchdog).

    The latest secret free trade agreement is trying to hammer that again. (Daily Dot)

    Nothing DRMs like a Deere.

    I think that's part of the Stabilitrak issue. Something goes hooey and the Stablilitrak light goes off. That's not enough info - it shouldn't be that difficult to hook up your code reader and find out exactly what system has gone hooey. Some coding, maybe more or better sensors, and you're there. You shouldn't need a tech with 30 years of training and experience to run a flow chart to narrow down what system is broken. The gizmo should get you to that place so you can verify the issue and know the right part to bang on.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    stever said:

    "Dave’s sensor problem required fiddling around in the tractor’s highly proprietary computer system".

    All that tractor needed was a qualified tech to repair it correctly, not someone attempting to hack around the issue.
    stever said:



    Nothing DRMs like a Deere.

    I think that's part of the Stabilitrak issue. Something goes hooey and the Stablilitrak light goes off. That's not enough info - it shouldn't be that difficult to hook up your code reader and find out exactly what system has gone hooey. Some coding, maybe more or better sensors, and you're there. You shouldn't need a tech with 30 years of training and experience to run a flow chart to narrow down what system is broken. The gizmo should get you to that place so you can verify the issue and know the right part to bang on.

    That's getting closer to reality, any failure in any one (or more) of the sub-systems results in the Stabilitrak system shutting down. The diagnostic for that particular event requires accessing all of the modules to see which ones have a code(s) and what the codes are and then a diagnostic routine can be started. What doesn't happen at that level is the following of some flow chart. If someone has to follow a flow chart or "Trouble Tree" to diagnose a problem that means they don't know how something works. Flow charts all have one fatal flaw, they only work while the problem is occurring. The problem cannot be random or intermittent, it has to be a hard failure or else the flow chart will either mislead the person or end up with the problem not found.

    As far as some machine (software) telling someone what is wrong that is always going to be limited to predictable failures and then only if the failure doesn't result in a loss of communication to the affected system. But even then someone has to manually verify why the computer thinks that it does. (How does it know)

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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited November 2015
    GM needs to narrow down the issue to the system that failed or even better, the discrete component. Seems like GM likes to light up the Service Stabilitrack, Service Brake Assist, Service Traction Control and who knows what other lights whenever there's a glitch. No wonder owners (and techs) are frustrated.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If you had a TV that blanked out right in the middle of your football game, and where you had to lug it down to the TV Techs, and they kept it for two days, then announced it's "fixed" and then you lug it back to your house and it does the same thing, and this happens 3 times in three months after going to 3 different shops, are you REALLY going to say "Well, this isn't Samsung's fault--it's just that there aren't enough qualified TV techs around. I'll just have to keep doing this, or maybe I'll fly to Switzerland where I hear there's a really top notch tech who can fix this"?
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    adam1823adam1823 Member Posts: 1
    Purchased a 2013 Traverse LTZ a little over a month ago with 29,000 miles. Driving tonight with my 3 year old son in the backseat all the warning lights pop up for traction control, stability control, and park assist as I'm pulling out onto a busy 4 lane highway!! The locks started going up in down continuously and I wasn't able to get the car moving because I was going slightly uphill!! Fortunately I didn't make it out to the road where we probably would have been hit from behind by someone going 65+MPH.  We called the dealership and they are covering the tow expense and looking at the car tomorrow... After reading all these complaints it's absolute BS that GM doesn't stand by this issue.  Last thing I want is my wife driving our 3 year old and 5 month around in this piece of junk that could essentially stop at anytime on the highway or at an intersection.  How can this be acceptable in a vehicle that costs over $35,000?  Hopefully we can get rid of this thing and get back to purchasing foreign cars... I have leased volvos and never had issues for over 6-7 years ... I wouldn't put your family at risk with this vehicle
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    If you had a TV that blanked out right in the middle of your football game, and where you had to lug it down to the TV Techs,

    Repair a TV? Seriously? A three year old TV that goes out is simply an excuse to get a newer one with way more features and a sharper picture then the old one and the best part is that it costs less than a set of tires does on most cars. Besides TV repair today is little more than try this card, try that card just like PC repair. Thirty years ago TV repair was a skill that took a lot of education and practice since they would be replacing individual components on the circuit board.

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2015
    Well there you go. Maybe that's where car repair is heading. Let GM fix the damn thing back in Detroit. Swap you into a new one, and pro-rate your use
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    Well there you go. Maybe that's where car repair is heading. Let GM recycle the thing back in Detroit. Swap you into a new one, and charge you for the real cost of the vehicle for the time that you had it

    There fixed it for you......

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    kbfisherkbfisher Member Posts: 9
    We have a 2010 Traverse with 99k miles, purchased new. We also had the issue of the Stabilitrak warning which is mentioned in this forum. I searched YouTube on how to clean the throttle body and the  air sensor. I'm no auto mechanic, I change my oil and rotate my tires that's it. The video was very thorough. I don't have the exact link at this time, but it was very easy to follow and it took me about an hour to complete the process start to finish. It was approximately 14000 miles ago when I performed the service, and I've had no issues since that time. The throttle body was extremely dirty, almost like sludge on the backside of it,  I bought  the cleaner down at the auto parts store that was recommended in the video and everything turned out great.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    Well there you go. Maybe that's where car repair is heading. Let GM recycle the thing back in Detroit. Swap you into a new one, and charge you for the real cost of the vehicle for the time that you had it

    There fixed it for you......

    does that include the time you spent waiting by the side of the road?
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    thanks for sharing that. Hopefully this might solve the issue for some people, although it sounds like it's only one of many possible causes.
    kbfisher said:

    We have a 2010 Traverse with 99k miles, purchased new. We also had the issue of the Stabilitrak warning which is mentioned in this forum. I searched YouTube on how to clean the throttle body and the  air sensor. I'm no auto mechanic, I change my oil and rotate my tires that's it. The video was very thorough. I don't have the exact link at this time, but it was very easy to follow and it took me about an hour to complete the process start to finish. It was approximately 14000 miles ago when I performed the service, and I've had no issues since that time. The throttle body was extremely dirty, almost like sludge on the backside of it,  I bought  the cleaner down at the auto parts store that was recommended in the video and everything turned out great.

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    traversesuckstraversesucks Member Posts: 1
    So to recap the previous 9 pages of the same problem:
    It could be a number of things that are expensive so no one really knows? In order to "fix" the issue that everyone is having with Service stabilitrak, service traction control, loss of power, traction control off etc. we need to 1) drain and clean gas tank, 2) change fuel filters 3) clean injectors 4) reset computer 5) clean the throttle body and 6) replace throttle body. Did I forget anything? I have yet to read a post that has solved the issue permanently.
    GM knows there is a massive problem that has spanned years and has not found a solution to their poorly engineered stabilitrak. I will never buy GM again.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Good summary @traversesucks - if you go out to the wider web, a quick search for Stabilitrak problems on all GM vehicles will flop up a bunch more. This list is just from a two minute browse:

    bad brake positioning sensor
    bad steering wheel sensor
    front wheel speed sensor (wiring short)
    D to L shifter issue
    cam position sensor
    debris in the the magnetic encoder rings
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's kind of a Fail/Unsafe form of engineering. I suppose the goal is to put the fear of god into the owner so that he'll take it to the dealer immediately, rather than ignore just a silly warning light?
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    berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    ...or GM has the same problem with engineering electronics that burdened buyers way back in the eighties???
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Engineers are smart people---I don't know how exactly things go so horribly wrong, Beancounters? Sloppy suppliers? Punishment of whistle-blowers? I just don't know.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    1980's technology. Name a car company that had scan tool usage and serial data available from the computer in the car in 1980.
    Name a car company that had multiple computers on the car that communicated with each other in 1984.
    Name a car company that had touch screen climate and radio control, and actually included the full scan tool right in the infrastructure in 1986.

    I could go on and on but the answer is GM. They weren't behind other manufacturers, they were more than a decade ahead of most of them. There were some other companies getting into fuel injection in the 80's and computer controls but the data and bi-directional support capability was missing. Most didn't use a "Check Engine" light simply because they saw the publics perception of the computer turning on the light as a negative instead of recognizing the implementation of it as ground breaking advancement in technology.

    As has been shown, while everyone who owns these cars complains when the system detects a fault and shuts down, that is really just a representation of the limits of the technology at this point in time. Other manufacturers are not immune from similar failures, it really is more of a numbers game. They don't sell as many cars so right off the top would have fewer repairs. BTW it's important to point out that engine control issues such as the throttle body control failures result in the loss of power reports. Some failures only shut down the ABS and the traction control system with no loss of power. There are lots of people running around under that condition that are ignoring the vehicle condition until a failure of a system that causes the loss of power report occurs and only then do they have the car attended to.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    Engineers are smart people---I don't know how exactly things go so horribly wrong, Beancounters? Sloppy suppliers? Punishment of whistle-blowers? I just don't know.

    Well the "B" word you used is clearly responsible for their share of the blame, but if the engineers didn't have to answer to their cries what would happen to the prices of the cars, and who then could afford them?

    As far as how "horribly wrong" things are going do you realize how few failures really occur today as compared to just ten, twenty, to thirty or more years ago? There is a remarkable reduction in the number of failures all the way across the board, and that's on top of how little maintenance is required today.

    Just a few years ago when Toyota was dealing with the alleged unintended acceleration complaints there were calls for lock-out systems that would prevent run-away acceleration. Most of the reports seen here reflect exactly the results of such technology being added to the system. If the computer isn't certain what it is being commanded to do or capable of outputting a command, then the correct result requires the system to shut down. Can that happen at a very unfortunate time, sadly that of course can happen, but its never going to be the "right time" for any failure to occur now is it?
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's not the number of faults that I'm referring to, it's how faults in complex systems often have more serious consequences than faults in simple systems....think NASA vs. a 1965 Volkswagon. Clearly the VW will have more faults, but you don't have to junk the car because nobody can fix them and you rarely had more than a day's downtime. At worst, you could rebuild your own engine.

    All that is impossible now. When ghosts start appearing in your new car's multiplexed networks, you probably won't see it for a week once it goes in for repairs....IF it ever gets fixed that is. So the new car owner's choice will be....what? in another ten years. "Either you will have 150,000 miles of trouble free driving...OR...something will go wrong and after months of struggle, we recommend you just trade it in".

    A car shouldn't be shut down by the ECM unless it's a dire emergency.

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    matysek46matysek46 Member Posts: 1
    I bought at 2012 Chevy Traverse in December 2011. What a piece of crap!!!! Within 3 days of driving this verhicle off the lot, the CHECK ENGINE GOES ON. Back to the dealer and had to have one of the oxygen sensors replaced and it has been downhill with all the recalls. The AC broke at 60,000 and now at 76,000 I get the SERVICE TRACTION CONTROL/STABILITRAK AND ENGINE POWER REDUCED messages flashing on the dash going 45 MPH with 6 children in the car. We were all scared when this happened and did not know what was going on. This happened 2 more time before I brought the car into the dealer on 11/23/2015. Received a call on 11/24/2015 that the THROTTLE BODY needed to be replaced. I have owned a Chevy Conversion Van (transmission went out at 37,000. a bolt broke off in the transmission and completely destroyed the transmission. after fighting with GM for 2 weeks they agreed to pay 1/2 of the $5000 repair bill), after the conversion van died, I bought a Chevy Suburban and other than routine maintenance, it did not start having major problems until 99,000 miles and that is when I traded it in for a 2012 Chevy Traverse. Based on this forum, the throttle body replacement seems to be a known problem with the Chevy Traverse and GM still has not issued a recall???? The GM quality has gone down hill and I am dreading having to buy a new car in the next 2 years. GM you need to recall the cars for this problem or at least pay for 1/2 of the repair bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    From what we are seeing, this Stabiltrak issue does not come from any one failed component, which makes the idea of a recall pretty difficult to implement.
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    berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    That's scary and not a good omen for GM quality and engineering.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The only way to attack this issue is for a technician to pour over all the data from all the interacting computer modules. It might require in some cases a full day's labor charge to track down and replace a $25 part.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    The only way to attack this issue is for a technician to pour over all the data from all the interacting computer modules. It might require in some cases a full day's labor charge to track down and replace a $25 part.

    If the business actually did charge for the time, they would be slandered for it on every consumer forum on the net, so they don't. If a tech spent all day trying to diagnose a failure like that, the tech would be paid nothing for the time that got invested. That's what happens when the shop doesn't charge for the diagnostics, the tech doesn't get paid no matter how hard he/she is working and there isn't more difficult work that a tech is ever assigned than what a lot of diagnostics can be. BTDT.

    Meanwhile:
    Take a job that starts out customer pay. Lets imagine they allow for one hour of diagnostic time. The car is diagnosed and the repair sold at regular customer pay time. Lets allow two hours for the repair for a total of three hours. If any part of the repair then get's "good-willed" for any reason the tech then gets paid .3 for the diagnostics and usually about half for the repair, so the job that should have paid the tech three hours, now pays about 1.3 hours. It only takes a few times of that happening and people get trained to NOT do the work correctly and that's the real reason for the majority of the recurring complaints. Docking someone's pay is a punishment only in the techs case they are essentially getting punished for nothing of their own doing even when they did the job correctly.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited December 2015
    The issue here is that GM is using a one-size-fits-all error message instead of giving the consumer or the tech meaningful information to begin the diagnostics with.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    My daughter called me this morning, her Check Engine light just came on. She has a 2004 Toyota Rav4 which has 198,000 miles on it. She also told me that the VSC lamp came on at the same time. VSC is the Vehicle Stability Control system, otherwise the technical equivalent of GM's Stabilitrak.

    GM isn't alone with shutting down AWD and traction control systems with certain failures. Ford, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, and many of the Europeans all have their own variations to this same theme.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited December 2015
    Yeah well, GM seems to have the Harbor Freight version of multiplexing.

    As for labor rates, it costs what it costs. If it takes a shop 8 hours of diligent work to fix a car they have to charge 8 hours. Sure, they can "discount" for time say reading up on technical matters related to the issue (the point being they shouldn't be paid to study on the customer's dime), and they shouldn't charge for a part that didn't solve the problem, but if it takes $800 in labor to fix this dreadful nuisance, then so be it. The complaint is with GM, not the poor repair shop who did the job right.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    As for labor rates, it costs what it costs. If it takes a shop 8 hours of diligent work to fix a car they have to charge 8 hours.

    But they don't. Show me where anyone has ever posted about diagnostic charges near that kind of time. Then even if you did find one, lets see how the "consumers" reacted to the charge.


    Sure, they can "discount" for time say reading up on technical matters related to the issue (the point being they shouldn't be paid to study on the customer's dime), and they shouldn't charge for a part that didn't solve the problem, but if it takes $800 in labor to fix this dreadful nuisance, then so be it. The complaint is with GM, not the poor repair shop who did the job right.

    The majority of diagnostics is 75% research and preparation and 25% actual testing. The whole idea of "We can't pay you to learn how to work on someone's car" is simply another way that someone moves the finish line to somewhere that is convenient for their own perspective. Even then when the dust settles and the answer is in hand, everyone tends to respond with something that comes across as "That was so simple, you should have found it much faster". Just like that crank sensor issue on that Jeep, they aren't all as simple as what some dare to believe.

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well this is a moral issue which I can't really address. If you did the work, honestly and competently, you charge the fee. Presumably you have previously cautioned the customer as to "best case, worst case". Also if a technician doesn't know diddley about a particular problem, he shouldn't take on the job.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    edited December 2015
    It's a trade and consumer relations issue and it's one of the reasons that people who are genuinely capable of dealing with the most difficult work, don't stay in the trade.

    Just picture yourself trying to run a shop with the approach you just suggested and Steve was your prospective customer who has never met you and has no idea if you really know how to change a light bulb. So Steve calls around and finds someone else who really doesn't know how to change a lamp and that person quotes a low price (or free) for what appears to be the same thing to Steve. Now in order to get a car into your shop you have to find ways to cut your pricing even if it is below what it cost you to even try to open the doors. Do this for decades and lets see where you stand.

    And then we have this. "Also if a technician doesn't know diddley about a particular problem, he shouldn't take on the job."

    Do you realize that this really applies to people who read a description of a symptom and try to guess what is wrong? They shouldn't be doing it.

    Three out of five things that I do today are something I have never seen before. It's been that way for more than twenty years. Even when a problem appears to be something that someone has seen before, it should never be assumed that it is. With a solid diagnostic routine, experience, and a disciplined professional approach even the most mind numbing problems can be solved. To draw a line in the sand as the above quote suggests, nobody would ever learn anything new and the techniques such as that CKP diagnostic on that Jeep would have never been created.

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You don't have to cut your prices to match Midas mufflers however. You just specialize on what you do so much better than they do it. You don't even WANT most of the business, or the customers, that Midas gets. Why do you insist on selling a gourmet meal to people who really enjoy eating at Taco Bell or Olive Garden?

    Some of the most successfully shops I know are quite expensive. They would charge double what Midas charges. But they get the job done right the first time, and you get the best parts, prompt personal service, a clean car.
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    afoor85afoor85 Member Posts: 3
    I own a 2011 Traverse and have been having issues with Stabilitrak/traction control and power loss. Of course the power loss occurs on the freeway at a high rate of speed in heavy traffic. Thanks for almost causing a major wreck and it quickly slowed from 75 MPh to 25mph over 3 lanes of traffic. I shut it off and waited for 15 seconds. Started it back in and was able to get back on. Luckiky, I was almost home. Stabilitrak error came back on just as I was exiting the freeway. Rough idling between 0 and 1 rpm. Made it home using hazards. Tried to start it this morning and the same issue...horrible idling and Stabilitrak error. This morning I purchased throttle body cleaner and cleaned the throttle body out. I noticed some oily gunk back up into my air outflow hose. Cleaned that out also. With the results from these postings, I'm not convinced that did anything. It is drivable now, but will keep the forum updated on the condition. Also checked power steering fluid which was low. I'm not happy with the response from GM on handling this issue. It has been a recurring issue with several Chevy's.
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    robinhood10robinhood10 Member Posts: 1
    2 days ago I had the exact same problem, Service traction control light came on, service stabilitrack light came on and Reduced engine power. It then cut me down to about 60kph. Oh the horror with my whole family in our 2011 traverse. Nothing worked and I quick look online indicated it wouldn't have to be towed.

    Today I brought it into my dealer and they looked and see that there is a throttle body replacement covered by GM based on the problem occurring. This is 100% covered including the inspection (since they confirmed it was covered). Unfortunately I need to get my struts done so that is 800 bucks. Next the tires. Always something on this beast.

    under my extended warranty they replaced a bunch of power steering components.
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    laling70laling70 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2014 Traverse. I had this problem in January of 2015. Had is fixed then one week later was stranded and had to have the car towed into the dealership because this time it was the other side. Now one year later the light is coming on again, the car is chugging and losing power. The car is out of warranty at 44,000 and they may not cover it. Are you kidding me??? To top it off, they cannot find anything wrong with it, no codes were found and now i must drive this ticking timebomb with my 5 children in it everyday until it does it again and i can get it to the dealership with the light still on!!! Very frustrating
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    kbfisherkbfisher Member Posts: 9
    We received a recall letter about this last week. Did anyone else? I have discussed this issue in this thread and was curious if anyone else had received a letter from GM.
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    cecharbocecharbo Member Posts: 2
    I just had the same issue today with my 2011 Traverse. Dinged 4 times, traction lights came on, 3 different messages showed up, and I couldn't accelerate. It is currently at the dealership finding out what is wrong with it. I have young children and NOT happy about what I'm reading. I would like to get in touch with the appropriate channels to get this resolved. If this is an ongoing issue, GM ought to be informing others of this issue and make a recall.
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    xxmandyxx1xxmandyxx1 Member Posts: 2
    I have a question I have a 2005 pontiac g6 I have had it now for 2 years and still paying on it. I'll be driving down the road and my t/c light, check engine light, and my service light will come on and I lose all power to my car. I have had it to many dealerships and no one can figure out what's wrong. I have had my throttle body replaced gas pedal replaced and they also did some rewiring and nothing seem to fix this problem. Can anyone help me I feel like I'm driving a death trap. 
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    How frequently does this occur? What codes have set in the past and are setting now? How far/long do you have to drive the car for this to happen when it does? Does shutting it off and restarting it make the problem go away, or does it have to sit for a while?
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    xxmandyxx1xxmandyxx1 Member Posts: 2
    I'm not sure about the codes I know it always shows up something different. And this happens all the time some times once a day sometimes it last all day where I can't even drive it. Ill sit on the side of the road for hours till it wants to work again. I shut it off and start it again and it usually works for awhile and other times it will start and I will put it in drive to go and when I press on the gas all the lights come on( T/C, check engine, and my service light) and my car just shuts off.
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    jwhittickjwhittick Member Posts: 4
    Same issue as many have posted on here. My 2011 Traverse has the stabiltrak/traction control message pop up. Lucky for me I was going 60mph in heavey traffic but did not drop down to a slower speed. Can a Chevy rep please contact me via email at phillysportsfan69@comcast.net to discuss as I see GM customer service has been following this board and is aware of the issue. 
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    I'm not sure about the codes I know it always shows up something different. And this happens all the time some times once a day sometimes it last all day where I can't even drive it. Ill sit on the side of the road for hours till it wants to work again. I shut it off and start it again and it usually works for awhile and other times it will start and I will put it in drive to go and when I press on the gas all the lights come on( T/C, check engine, and my service light) and my car just shuts off.

    What you have described amounts to some problems that generate a similar set of symptoms have been diagnosed and repaired and there is now another. This one by your description here "I will put it in drive to go and when I press on the gas all the lights come on( T/C, check engine, and my service light) and my car just shuts off" isn't the typical failure that is caused by the throttle body, its control or wiring issues. Your description suggests a loss or weak supply of fuel or ignition. Now whether we are talking about a fuel pump or circuit issue, or if it has to do with the injector circuits needs to be investigated.

    On the bright side, it is a repeatable condition and that makes it much easier to find. It does have to be diagnosed while it is acting up.

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    kbfisherkbfisher Member Posts: 9
    Just had the stabiltrac issue for the second time this past weekend. The last time was 14000 miles ago. I once again cleaned the MAF air sensor and everything is ok. The throttle body was not nearly as dirty as it was the original time.
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    cmoore307cmoore307 Member Posts: 1
    After reading this forum I was scared to take my 2011 to the shop. I didn't want to sink a ton of money into this car and still have the stabilitrak/traction control problem! Fortunately, my dealer started with the throttle body. He said that my 2011 had a special policy recall and the throttle body was covered...good news!!! Now that I am reading more posts, I am concerned that this isn't going to solve the problem! He also said that my car has a cold start misfire due to carbon build up. Has anyone been told this before? He did say that it is drive-able without cleaning the carbon build up, I might notice my check engine light on, but it shouldn't cause my engine to reduce its power. Needless to say I am a bit skeptical. With all of our SAME problems and with all of the DIFFERENT fixes we have mentioned from our dealership, I feel like GM is simply throwing us a bone to keep us happy that they are "fixing" the problem!
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    " He also said that my car has a cold start misfire due to carbon build up. "...

    I'm not even sure what that MEANS...where is this "carbon" and where is it building up, and what does that have to do with ignition misfire when cold and not when warm?

    (scratching head....)

    I bet you spoke to a service writer and not a tech.
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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754
    edited January 2016
    Being that this is a GDI (gasoline direct injection) a buildup of carbon on the intake valves is quite common. Older designs (port fuel injection) placed the injectors above the intake valves so detergents and solvents in the fuel were able to prevent build-up of carbon deposits. With GDI, the injector is in the cylinder so now anything that can contact the intake valve has an opportunity to stick to it, and therefore usually does. Just about every manufacturer out there with GDI is seeing issues with some notable exceptions like Toyota's D-4S engines which have two sets of injectors. Toyota designed their engine with a set of injectors in the traditional location in the intake, as well as one in each cylinder.

    Now for the fun part, why can this cause a misfire. The MAF sensor measures all of the air entering the engine (hopefully, VBG). The computer takes that measurement and calculates the injector on time and commands the injector to pulse and deliver the fuel. Remember, the injector is in the cylinder, so the fuel is definitely going to get into the cylinder. Meanwhile, if you have a cylinder that has a restricted intake valve and port due to carbon build-up that can potentially reduce how much air gets into that cylinder. What you end up with is a cylinder that can be too rich to burn correctly and that results a misfire.

    BTW, reference the KIA oil change thread. That is why the fuel and induction system cleaning services are recommended at specific intervals, or at the very least if Top Tier fuel isn't being used Hyundai/Kia both require the addition of extra fuel cleaner additive when performing an oil change.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That still doesn't explain my objection to the diagnosis---that this "misfire" suddenly clears up when the engine is warm. My bogus-meter is going off here. Is it even a real "misfire"?

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    thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,754

    Is it even a real "misfire"?

    This is as good as anywhere to start this discussion. Exactly what is a misfire, from the PCM's point of view?

    It really doesn't matter if you can feel one or not, if the criteria are met by what the PCM interprets as a misfire it will log the event(s) and then depending on what percentage of events occur in the 200 rpm counters, and the 1000 rpm counters one might or might not generate a misfire code and a check engine light.

    So the question stands, from the PCM's point of view exactly what is a misfire? Keep in mind that in order to make the customer happy with their car (which means keep the check engine light out) you have to make the PCM happy.

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, from the PCM's point of view, as opposed to that of a rational human being, I would say, just as one example, a very lean mixture on a cold start might make the PCM think that there is an incomplete combustion event...say, a malfunctioning cold start valve for instance.

    I suppose excess carbon could inspire some pre-ignition, also possibly interpreted by the PCM as a mis-fire, but this would require a hot engine, not a cold one.
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