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Chevrolet Tracker Rusted Crossmember Subframe

jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
recently took car in because when i applied breaks the front of the car dipped and the car would steer to the left. told me the crossmember or also they said sub frame was badly rusted and needed replaced. i understand this is not supposed to happen...no recalls for this part. was told metal was too thin and possibly welded incorrectly. i want my money back from chevy...any suggestions?
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    what year & model do you have?
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    i have a 4 door/4 wheel drive year 2000
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    i think the corrison warranty on the trackers back then was 3year/36000 miles. but dont quote me. My exhaust at where the manifold meets the Cat is so rusted it could go at anytime. the steel is paper thin, I know chevy isnt going to cover my tracker as it is a 1999 and is pretty old as far as warranty related issues is concerned. you can try and get chevy to do something about it, but i think we all know whats going to happen.
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    Catastrophic failure! 2000 Chevy 2dr 4 WD Control arm mounting boss completely separated from front cross member. Car shook violently just after I turned off of 55 mph highway. This car is in otherwise very good condition with just under 79,000 miles. This is an obvious premature failure of the front cross member. GM Customer Service's reason for not addressing the problem was the lack of vehicle history. This could be because it had been routinely maintained and had no other major repairs. Pictures available on request.
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    thats incredible! i'm on the case still...my dad is a tool salesman and is very familiar with chevy dealerships and has a couple buddies in one so hes doing what he can. i bought mine when it was only a yr old and has taken it in about every 3 or 4 mo. to get oil change and checked. mine is just over 80,000 miles but is a great car otherwise. thanks for responding. picture?
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Your CarSpace page is a good place to park pictures and link to them. Log in with your Edmunds member name/password and then go to Albums.
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    thanks, i added it to carspace album. take a look
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Yikes! You may want to check out the Complaints section at the NHTSA.

    Here's the shortcut to your photo.
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    thank you so much! i submitted a complaint...thanks for your help.
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    Thanks Steve, Being a GM employee of 28+ years you think I would learn. I have went through all the channels with Customer Service with no satisfaction. My next move is to take your suggestion and contact the NHTSA. If nothing else this may prevent someone from being seriously injured. I have posted a picture in my album.">
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Your photo is even more dramatic! Pays to put a car up on a lift for inspection now and then I guess.
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    i didnt realize what the part was until i just seen that photo. and the first thing that came out of my mouth was words i cant even type on here!! that is way worse that the explanations of it all..
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    May as well just post it here too:

    imageSee more Car Pictures at CarSpace.com
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    You have got me there. I will download a couple of more photos so you can see how the rest of the car looks. I did look under the car and on the frame but never would have guessed this would have happened to a 2000 vehicle. I am also relatively confident the dealer was not aware of it either. He has a reputation for having good clean vehicles but I think this one got by him too.
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    thewolfethewolfe Member Posts: 6
    What a coincidence, or is it? I also have a 2000 4DR/4WD Tracker with a rusted crossmember. Just had an estimate done at a local dealer yesterday and it will be $800 plus to repair. They also said that it is not a part that would have been covered under any warranties. I just got finished filing a complaint on the NHTSA web site and upon reading further on that site found where there is an investigation still open on this subject. Per the original investigation GM says that they have data showing that crossmembers that fail in this manner DO NOT cause a loss of vehicle control and is NOT a risk to motor vehicle safety. Well, I am just glad I was not travelling at 65-70 miles per hour on the highway when mine went! I guess at this point we just have to grin and bear it and spend the money to have them fixed, but if the engineering analysis that is still being conducted proves anything I will be going after a full refund of my money.
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    thank you for that. i also filed a complaint with nhtsa a couple of weeks ago. i'm glad to know there is an investigation. i can't believe gm would suggest vehicle safty would not be an issue here. unbelievable! obviously they never drove a car with a rusted crossmember. then had to spend $900 to get it fixed when it wasn't even supposed to happen in the first place! if you find out anything more let me know please. thanks
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    are these problems only with 2000 models? i wonder what changed?

    chris
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    thewolfethewolfe Member Posts: 6
    No, per the NHTSA defects investigation report it pertains to 1999 to 2001 Chevy Trackers and the crossmembers were designed and made by Suzuki. It says that there was insufficient corrosion protection, and that in March of 2006 they made design changes to enhance the coverage of paint to the inside of the part.
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    I have also ran across a Mitsubishi owner with a very similar defect. The official reason was the stamping process that forms the cross-member resulted in a thinner cross section in the area of the mounting bracket. It would be interesting to see if they used the same vendor. I think it would be beneficial if everyone who has been affected by this defect to contact the same GM customer service rep. The body of evidence should encourage them to address this issue before someone is injured. I would gladly share the name and number of the rep I contacted but I want to be sure the host for this post deemed it appropriate.
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    march 2006 they made a design change? was the tracker made that year?

    chris
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    thewolfethewolfe Member Posts: 6
    I do think it would be a good idea for all of us to band together and contact the same GM representative. The Chevy dealer I went to told me I should refer to my service manual and get the GM National Service Center number and give them my complaint. I was planning on doing that this week. I do not currently have the number with me ,but will post it later this week. I also went on the NHTSA site again to see if there have been any new complaints and have found a few new ones. I also checked and the investigation is still open.
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    If you would like to contact the GM Customer Service Specialist call 1-800-790-5600 extension 12054. We have been waiting for the front cross-member part for over a week. When I asked the local Chevy Dealership to look-up the part for me he said that it looked like they had a hold on the shipment of that part. Does that raise and red flags?
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    thewolfethewolfe Member Posts: 6
    Hopefully, the parts are not still bad!! That would be a shame if a bunch of people have had their cars repaired and the part is still faulty. Maybe it means that they are going to finally do a recall, but I'll wait until I actually see it to believe it. Did you call this customer service number? I will call it today and see what they have to say....
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    I believe the cross-members that they had were probably by a specific vendor manufactured and stocked a while back. By the time it came to their attention, (which appears to be just recently)there were several in the loop and they have yet to purge the defective ones. I have called the Customer Service Rep and they refused to replace the part. The reason they gave me was the lack of vehicle history. I also contacted the previous owners who live locally and they said that they never had any major repair issues with the Tracker only routine maintenance. Would that account for the lack of vehicle history? I think as of now they (GM) have been in a state of denial. But hopefully that will change.
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    i was just wondering something. does the age of the trackers with this problem cause chevy to not have to replace the parts? is there a legal limit in time that chevy doesnt have to replace these parts if they are past a certain age? is there a limit on recalls? i mean if a car from the 90's was found to have a bad part would they recall it 16-17 years later? or would they just think there wasnt enough out there anymore? the problem was with 99 thur 01 models right?
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    It is my understanding that 1999 - 2001 is the affected models. I have a couple of friends who have the older Geo Tracker and their under-frame is in good shape. I am sure if the car had over 100,000 miles or was 10 years old that might be an issue. I gave Customer Service all the details on my Tracker e.g. 78,000 miles, I am sure if that gave them an out they would have stated so. If the sheet metal was rusting and the bushings were worn that would be another thing. But my Tracker is in otherwise very good condition. You would never guess that the frame was in that bad a shape.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I found this at the NHTSA:

    "Are There Any Limitations on My Right to Have My Vehicle Remedied at No Charge?

    Yes. There is a limitation based on the age of the vehicle. In order to be eligible for free remedy, the vehicle cannot be more than 10 years old on the date the defect or non-compliance is determined. Under the law, the age of the vehicle is calculated from the date of sale to the first purchaser."

    Full text can be found at the Motor Vehicle Defects and Recall Campaigns page.
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    Excellent piece of research! I was contacted by the GM Customer Service Rep today. She just wanted to acknowledge that she had received my e-mail. I gave her some of the info that we had gathered and informed her of the complaints that have been filed. My part (cross-member) finally arrived today. The mechanic that found the part for me said that the local dealership told him they still could not get the part. The new part has drain holes to relieve any moisture that may settle in the recesses. I am going to keep a very close eye on it to be sure.
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    guitjoeguitjoe Member Posts: 9
    I found this very interesting. For those who have not seen the official defect summary per GM submission to NHTSA
    I take issue with the statement, "GM provided vehicle test data showing that crossmembers that fail in this manner do not cause a loss of vehicle control and, therefore do not represent an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety".
    To NHTSA's credit they have upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis. Just moments before my control arm separated I was on a very crooked highway (Indiana 446) at 55 mph. I am convinced.
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    thewolfethewolfe Member Posts: 6
    Well, I just had my crossmember replaced last week by my personal mechanic instead of a local dealership and at least saved some money. I actually drove it the couple of miles to my mechanics (with my boyfriend following) and if I got over 35 mph the car shook violently (I can only imagine what it would have been like if I had been going 65 mph when it went)! I kept my receipts for the part, installation and alignment and kept the part for proof if a recall is ever issued. My mechanic was just utterly amazed at the rust and what other parts could be affected along with the crossmember and cannot believe this could not be a driving hazard. I just hope that no lives are harmed due to this defect before GM decides to do something about the problem!
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    after getting your post i submitted a follow up complaint to nhtsa. has anyone heard of any updates?
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    adicleadicle Member Posts: 6
    After reading these posts, I went under my 2000 Tracker to check out the crossmember. Expecting the worst, I was surprised that the crossmember was fine. After a closer look, I noticed that there were 4 drill holes in the member that allowed the moisture to escape. The rusted pictures posted on previous messages do not have the same drill holes as mine did. Looks like someone on the assembly line walked away for a smoke break and neglected to drill in the proper holes. Why else would Trackers from the same year have different crossmembers?
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    michiganguy421michiganguy421 Member Posts: 3
    06/04/2007 Just dropped my 99 tracker off at the frame shop to be fixed, Guy says he will call in the am with price. Will let you guys know what problems I run into. We can all also go to ripoffreport.com to voice your complaints
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    michiganguy421michiganguy421 Member Posts: 3
    25 bucks from the junkyard, dealer wanted $350. Frame guy will install for $350
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    ksannerksanner Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 4dr/4wd Chevy Tracker. I purchased it in November of 2006 from a Chevy dealer. I also purchased the Value Guard protection plan. I was told that the Tracker had just had new rotors installed and that it was a solid car. In June of this year, I took it to a GM certified garage (not the dealer that I purchased from though) for a steering issue...it was tight...very hard to turn the steering wheel. They told me it was the rack, which was covered by the extended warranty. They ordered the part and repaired it, said it was in excellent working condition. The second I got in the car to drive it, I was convinced that nothing was done to it. Took it back to the garage, and was told it was the intermediate steering shaft. Not covered. But, I'm a single mom of three and needed the vehicle, so I paid for the repair. Yesterday I took the car to a local Ford Garage for the inspection. Imagine my surprise when they told me it would never pass inspection because the sub frame was rusted through! Apparently, I have been driving my kids around in an unsafe vehicle! Now...my inspection runs out in two weeks, I can't afford the repair, have to continue making the payments on the Tracker, and thus can't afford another vehicle. And...on a side note, the rotors that I was told were brand new turned out to be one used rotor replacement, and the brakes on the front were two different sizes! I feel totally ripped off by the dealer that sold me the car less than a year ago and again ripped off by the repair garage who HAD to have seen that subframe when replacing the rack and steering shaft and didn't have the decency to tell me! That would have at least given me more time to figure out what I'm going to drive! What the heck is up with Chevy!! :mad:
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    tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    Unbelievable! Have you mentioned the rotor issue to the dealer?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
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    ksannerksanner Member Posts: 2
    I intend to. This all just came up on Saturday. I feel so cheated by these people cause apparently I am a stupid woman! I just am figuring I'm not gonna get anything but personal satisfaction by telling them off.
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    Make sure you write a complaint on the NHTSA website. be very detailed with names and everything. mention your childrens safety. you can go back and check the status of the complaint. several people including myself have made this same complaint with no avail. but hopefully someday it will matter. i'm sorry for your situation...
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    vtfarmboyvtfarmboy Member Posts: 10
    This entire conversation is interesting. I have a 2000 chevy tracker that i purchased used 5 years ago with only about 20,000 miles on it. I have just been down to Georgia after driving from my home in Vermont to drop my daughter off at college. While in the local Wal Mart parking lot I was taking a sharp turn when i noticed the wheel was rubbing on somthing. I looked under the front end and the cross member where the steering aframe was attatched was rusted completely off. Overall this has been a very reliable vehicle. This will be the first major repair other than just regular maintainance.

    I just happened across this site while looking for parts to repair this problem. Right now my tracker is in Georgia while i am headed back home to be at work on Wednesday. I am certainly glad i noticed this while in a parking lot rather than driving down the road at 65 mph!!
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    vtfarmboyvtfarmboy Member Posts: 10
    as a follow up to my response.... I just got the bill for repair of my tracker. While replacing the subframe which really isnt that big a job they had problems getting the lower control arm off. Subsiquently they had to replace that along with the sway bar links (I knew this was an issue already) give it all an alighnment total bill comes to $1548.23 I am keeping the parts and bill hopefully the NTSB will realize this is really a hazard and make GM recall.
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    fiji1fiji1 Member Posts: 2
    I actually had my 1999 Tracker Crossmember replaced for free by GM last week. There is a resolution pending.
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    How did you get GM to fix it? How did you know about a pending resolution?
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    fiji1fiji1 Member Posts: 2
    I complained to GM, got an estimate from a dealer just like they wanted me to only to get a denial from someone in Detroit who said I had nowhere else to appeal it to. I looked at the paperwork for the Engineering investigation posted on the NHTSA site and searched for email addresses, they got right back to me and were pretty interested in my situation.
    They usually won't let any investigation go beyond a year without a resolution, the year is almost up.
    I got a call from GM a couple of weeks ago saying they reconsidered and would like to fix my Tracker. They replaced the crossmember and all of the bolts that tie it to the frame, aligned the vehicle and got it back to me in one day. I have a 1999 that is in pretty good shape except for the crossmember.
    The service manager couldn't believe they covered it, I took it to the same dealer that did my original estimate that got denied.
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    cheesedoffcheesedoff Member Posts: 5
    GM Canada is refusing to pay for my part because there is no recall on it YET, but they said hold onto the bill just in case we get enough calls.
    We have a 2001 Chev Tracker, was driving the other day, heard a clunk in the front right, lost steering, could have been KILLED if on the hwy! took it to the closest shop.. surprise surprise, no recall on the front subframe ..ended up costing me $640 bucks. The shop was shocked because underneath it is in excellent condition, still paint etc, the ONLY rusted out part is right around the weld on this subframe.
    I have no problem paying for parts that wear out, rust out etc, but DEFECTIVE parts and a Dangerous one at that, should MOST DEFINITELY be covered by GM!!!!!!!
    completely cheesed off, is my fourth GM, might be my last if this doesn't fix itself :mad: ..
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    adicleadicle Member Posts: 6
    Just received a letter from Chevrolet stating the problems with the Crossmember and to bring it to your nearest dealer for inspection and possible replacement. Looks like all the reports finally made them do something proactive. Congratulations everyone.
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    I got the letter also, even though i no longer own 1999 TRACKER. i now have a 2004 tracker zr-2. But anyways they didnt label it a recall in my letter. They titled it a Special cover 06186. Inspection and replacement at NO cost. I just got rid of my 99 tracker this year it had 91,000 miles on it and had NO rust there at all. In my letter that claimed this is an issue from 1999-2004. I dont remember hearing anything about later model trackers having this issue? like 02-04 models. I guess i should wait for a letter to arrive for my other tracker too then... lol
    I hope everyone that spent hard earned money having this fixed gets every penny back!
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    jredderjredder Member Posts: 11
    Did those who got the letter get it by contacting GM or by submitting a complaint through NHTSA?
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    cheesedoffcheesedoff Member Posts: 5
    yes folks, we are getting our money back!! I contacted Transport Canada recalls and defects (excellent service!) who dealt with it very quickly and efficiently.. they came, took the part/tagged it, took pictures underneath, etc and sent it to Ottawa... he said you just never know, this might be the one that tips the scales, and sure enough, I guess it was. Got a call a week ago, he said take your receipts and go to GM :)

    One government service that actually works (unlike a few others we won't mention) :)
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    arkainzeyearkainzeye Member Posts: 473
    I got the letter and i never had the problem and never contacted anyone. Hell i think i was even the 3rd or 4th owner of that 1999 i sold this jan. They must have tracked the VIN number and just started mailing out letters.
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    ledger517ledger517 Member Posts: 1
    i have read alot about the same problem i am having in frustration. i called GM they told me i was over the mileage for this so called safety notice. i don't understand why they won't except responsibility for this and just pay fro the repairs for their mistake.
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