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Saturn Outlook Transmission Problems



  • Can you let us know what the fix is (or what the diagnosis is?) My 2007 Outlook has the same issue now (traction control off indicator comes on, and stabitrak message). I had the transmission rebuilt at 5000 miles. Got a free oil change from GM for my problems too! Just trying to decide if it's a lot of $$$ to fix this on my own. I really hope they have a recall for this car for the transmission and drive train issues.
  • just went through this stabilitrak reduce engine power took it in they cleaned the throttle body and put new air filter in not sure if that is exactly what yours is but mine did the same thing
  • Had the SAME thing happen to me last year. Took it to the shop and the history codes all showed the same ones you've posted. Bought a throttle body online and my dad replaced it pretty quickly. This fixed the problem immediately. GM isn't doing anything about it that I know of because I researched the crap out of it when it started with mine.

    It's a sensor on the throttle body but you have to replace the whole thing. It's only a $200 part but if you are getting it done at a repair shop you have to factor in labor.

    Hope you get it fixed soon!
  • heatherd3c04heatherd3c04 Posts: 2
    edited January 2013
    08 Saturn Outlook, purchased used in 2010 with 63,000 miles on it. Never again will I buy a car with that many miles already on it!! Had the transmission go out completely today. I now have 109,000 miles on it so of course my powertrain ran out at 100,000 which was only a few months ago.

    Problem started with some hesitation when shifting. Then yesterday it started getting stuck in 2nd gear when in overdrive. Tried manual shifting today just to get it to the dealership to have it looked at and it worked for a while but not for long. Once I drove for 4 to 5 miles it started malfunctioning when trying to manual shift too. Just barely made it to the dealership after having to turn the car off several times and let it sit for a minute before trying again. Such a pain!! Researched it all yesterday and found all the "waveplate" problems and saw that a ton of people have had the same problem happen with theirs and usually have to have the tranny rebuilt or replaced. WISH I had found this forum BEFORE I bought the thing back in 2010!!

    Having transmission replaced at a GM service center. $2400 for the parts and $800 labor (they charge $100 an hour!!). SO FRUSTRATED!! I was right at the point of trading it in, actually started discussing it with my husband last week just a few days before the trouble started. Now I'm stuck with the thing for a while because that $3200 would have been an good down payment on a new vehicle....

    Wish there was a class action lawsuit on these things. It's well documented that the transmissions in these cars are too small for the vehicle and they all end up failing near or right after the powertrain runs out. It's rediculous. I'm totally done with GM that's for sure!!

    Oh, and if you are the 2nd owner on a GM vehicle, they will do NOTHING for you. The repairman at the dealership actually filled me in on this. He said if I had been the first owner, they would have probably helped me on it since they have a "Goodwill" policy. But that policy does not hold for subsequent owners. GM doesn't care, especially about the Saturns because Saturn is no longer in existance. So why would they care to help out all of us left with their crap??
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251

    We're sorry that you've run into these transmission problems. It looks like you're going to work with the dealership to have this taken care of - keep us posted on the progress of the repairs! If you want for us to check into anything, we can be reached via email at (include your contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN, and a summary of the situation).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • There are three methods you can use to contact the NHTSA if you suspect a safety-related defect in your vehicle. You can take any (or all) of the following actions:

    Call the U.S. Department of Transportation's Vehicle Safety Hotline: (888) 327-4236 or (800) 424-9153, toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
    Report the issue online at the NHTSA's vehicle safety Web site:
    Send a letter via U.S. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210) 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590
  • frs929frs929 Posts: 51
    They dont do anything for original owners either. We have a 07 Outlook that had the transmission go out at 87000 and 2 months past the warranty. They didnt do anything for us. We had it fixed at AAMCO for $3700. We recently bought a new car and it wasnt a GM. They lost a sale of a $25000 car over $3700. No wonder they had to be bailed out. GM SUCKS
  • I've decided to pick up where I left off in the fall and maybe get somewhere this time. The time I spent on this issue was really adding up and I needed a break. I decided to go ahead sue GM through Small Claims Court, or hire an attorney to try and get a return on my incredible fuel expense in excess of $5500.

    I will post a copy of my original post here - and I'm looking for guidance on how to proceed. Hyundai recently lost a similar case in court and had to pay out...but I havent researched the details.

    I created a spreadsheet with every single fix or maintenance performed on my 2008 Outlook, with mileage, date, service notes and grouped by category to I can quickly see the repeat issues that arise. I tracked my fuel consumption for 8 months accurately, I was going broke filling the tank up 2x a week.

    The following list is in date order of everything that has been replaced in my car, most covered under warranty or recall, but extensive: Sensor Camshaft, Cylinder Head Gasket,Dead Battery, Windshield Wiper Motor, Transmission Software Update (after multiple complaints),Airbag Wire Harness, Power Steering Rack & Gear, Front Pads and Rotors (1st time), Gasket for Intake Manifold, Gasket for Rear Valve Cover, Right Front Strut, Both Strut Mounts, Engine Mounts,Front Pads and Rotors (2nd time), Left Front Stabilizer Link, Front Pads and Rotors (3rd Time), Headlight Harness, Airbag Connector Kit, Engine Front Cover Crank Seal, Timing Cover Seal, Broken Bolts in Cylinder Head & Valve Cover, Exhaust Stud Broken Bolts, Power Steering Pump, Hose & Clamp.

    I have accurately documented the fuel economy, resulting in the finding out I get an estimated average of 11.85 MPG combined City/HWY AFTER the Transmission Software and Calibration Update was made in 2009 (orig.released on May 2008). For tracking data, I used a 6 month period from January - June 2012. (For those who don't know, the original transmission software had a hesitation when accelerating (providing a flat spot b/w 35-50 mpg). GM will not advertise this update, you must ask for it and be firm. However, the negative impact will be the fuel economy, which obviously GM did not research properly.
    A GM (outsourced company) service rep... told me that the software is an "option" and I should be glad to hear they offer that "option", and my sales person should have review all of my options such as engine size, etc. It is a trade off between performance and fuel economy and if I wanted performance I should have bough a sports car. I responded, and quickly corrected him to say, no this is not an option, it is a manufacturers defect and I want it fixed. Here are the results of my findings...believe me, this took time to pull it all together, but it is accurate: Average MPG is 11.85 Combined City/Hwy from Jan - June 2012

    Lowest MPG Recorded was 8.90, Highest MPG Recorded was 14.80
    Total Miles from Jan - June 2012 is 6330 miles, using 587 gallons at $2170.
    Total Cost of Excess Fuel Consumption Since Software Update in 2009: $5069.00

    I contacted the National Highway Safety Admin, Better Business Bureau, and next steps are CT Attorney General, Possible EPA and perhaps small claims court for the $5000 refunded to me from gas. GM was no help - they went around in circles leading me on week after week month after month. Our tax dollars bail them out, and they are still rude and incompetent. The Saturn Customer Service number doesnt even bring you to a GM operated customer service department. GM Outsources that first level of calls...all you need to do is look on Linked in to confirm it. It was an outsourced service rep that was rude and told me the transmission issue was an "option". Could we find an attorney that could represent all of us - with the goal of having GM reimburse us for our hard earned money that was unecessarily lost on their product? We did bail them out with our tax money...and they still choose to steamroll consumers.
  • I've also hoped for a class action lawsuit. GM wasted weeks of my life and cost me thousands of dollars. I had a transmission issue too, and the"fix" was to update the software...which had a dramatic loss in fuel economy. This is another topic documented well...I just dont know which angle to take with small claims court...a faulty transmission - with safety concerns for not accelerating fast enough....or the software update for the faulty transmission - costing over $5500 excess in fuel expenses...I want that money back - I had to make $6500 to spend $5500 on gas.
    GM sucks...we bail them out and look how they repay the favor.
    My problems with them are too long to list, from rude customer service, blatant lies and consumed my life for months. Thats why I decided to take a break from it.
  • my husband is/was playing phone tag all day with customer service- but so far we went with:
    THROTTLE BODY) $445.16
    we will not know the true total till we go in later today- the dealership had LOTS of other recommendations that were suggestions but not needed- including their warning that we needed new tires (and they supplied us with a quote of course) even though we got new tires in September. He was not sure how that recomendation was still on our file from 1 year ago when we went in for an oil change...but of course they were "nice" enough to add that into the suggested total.
  • Thanks for that info outlookdriver. I already contacted the NHTSA via email a couple of days ago, which is posted on their website and will be following that up with a letter to their Washington, DC location. I urge EVERYONE including owners of GMC Acadia's and the like with this issue to do the same! Individually we aren't heard nearly as loud as a force of many!
  • You're right - they won't do anything. Just received a call from GM customer service (haha).
  • I received a call from the GM dealership (1/30/13) with a secondary option - to rebuild the transmission $2800 on my dime. Got a call later in the afternoon from a new GM CS Rep saying they were checking into things. Received another call (1/31/13) from said GM CS Rep saying that he and the dealership had been playing phone tag and that he would call as soon as my vehicle situation had been discussed but that I probably won't hear back from him until Monday (2/5/13). The call from the GM CS rep came earleir than expected - today actually. I was hoping for good news - didn't happen. No assistance from GM - is their answer on the matter. I will be looking into small claims action as suggested by previous posts and if anyone is interested in starting a class action suit - add me to the list. This defect issue is not only with the Outlook but several of the other GMC vehicles as well, after viewing posts in some of the other vehicle forums - like the Acadia (just for an example). This issue with the defective transmissions is a FATAL accident waiting to happen. And GM knows it!
  • I'm really disappointed to have a transmission fail at 70,000 miles inmy 2009 Outlook. I first took it to a local trans shop and they diagnosed wave plate failure but advised me the repair should be under warranty so we flatbedded car to lung hammer Gmc in Waterford, MI, where it's been since noon feb.8th. They tell me 3 more hours before they have a "diagnosis". Hopefully GM does right by me as I bought this car to help out U.S. auto industry and wanted a vehicle made in my home state. 3 prior vehicles wre Hondas and of course I was very happy with their products. I will keep posting my outcome with this car, hoping to be able to say something good about Gen Motors products.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Glad you'll be keeping us posted, moundhouse! Let us know if we can check into anything further for you in the meantime - we can be reached via email at (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and a summary of the situation).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • How did your situation finally turn out and what all ened up needing to be fixed on your Outlook?
  • I am please to report that Lunghammer GMC, Waterford, MI. is repairing my transmission in 09 Saturn Outlook under warranty. We have a loaner until car is finished. After reading several posts about other's trans problem I feared being in for a hassle but I'm very happy with how this giant repair is being handled. One observation- Edmunds reviews of used Outlooks makes no mention of this prevalent transmission problem. Used Outlook and other models buyers Beware.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Great to hear, moundhouse! Let us know how everything goes!
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Our transmission problem is still not fixed, and Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake has had our Outlook for almost three weeks. Glad I insisted on a loaner car before I left it! First they replaced a clutch that had disintegrated, then said they were still "having challenges."
    I need to compliment GM Customer Service, though. Donae is our rep and we have heard from her nearly every day during these three weeks. I can't be a believer until I see some financial assistance, though. Our service advisor seems to think that GM is going to help out, maybe go 50-50. At the rate that they're spending money trying to fix my Saturn, that'll still be a huge bill for something that shouldn't all, nonetheless at <100K.
  • frs929frs929 Posts: 51
    I live in Va Beach and had my Outlook fixed at AAMCO. I offered to split the cost with GM and they declined. I guess they dont stand behind their products
  • Problems with my Outlook SUV:

    On Feb 12th as I was driving the car in the morning around town the front dash would display 4 messages. The first was 1. Service Traction Control 2. Service Stability Track 3. Traction Stability Off and then 4. Engine Power Reduced. Then the car would start to lose power and shut down while at the same time I&#146;m trying to safely pull over to the side and turn the car off. After waiting 5 to 10 minutes I start the car again and drive off.

    On Feb 13th the same thing happen twice to me driving home from Modesto, CA to Stockton, CA. As I drove home the car instructed the same number of steps while I was on the freeway at the Manteca exit on 99. Again I waited and then pulled off to go home to Stockton where the car repeated the same steps when I got into Stockton on Hammer Lane exit. This day it did it twice.

    On Feb 14th the same thing happen again driving home from Modesto, CA to Stockton, CA. Again on the freeway around the Manteca / Lathrop exit the car displayed the 4 messages and then shut down. After 5 to 10 min started again and then the car shut down when I reached Stockton 8 mile exit off 99.

    The car is very unsafe and this is the 3rd time in last 4 months I had to take the car in to be looked at. Every time its assumed the car is fixed and there were no more problems but this isn&#146;t the case because the car always engages with an issue or problem that makes it unsafe to drive. It&#146;s unsafe to be on the freeway or on a busy intersection in town when the car decides to shut it self off.

    Again the dashboard will give instructions in these steps before shutting down.

    1. Service Traction Control
    2. Service Stability Track
    3. Traction Stability Off
    4. Engine Power Reduced

    This has been the worse experience with a new car that I ever had, mechanics can't even fix the issue. They think they have then the car still poses more issue after a short time after getting it back. GMC should take these cars back and make customers not feel like they got ripped off buying a car that with major problems that they know about but don't tell you when you buy the car. There has already been about 7 to 8k in money invested into fixing the car. The warranty has been saving me but I wont have the warranty for long so that worries me.
  • So on the national highway safety website it says anyone can send a petition to investigate so u was thinking if we,all signed for the wave plate issue with the transmissions with all tge acadia and enclave iwners maybe it would be enough to get them to investigate since GM doesnt want to stand behind their product sometimez,power comes in numbers,let me know
  • 3-5-R Waveplate went out at about 65k... 5 weeks out of 5yr/100k warranty. After multiple calls and complaining to GM they covered it with a $100 deductible. The delaership wasn't very helpful... GM Customer service was very helpful. The regional rep first was going to cover 1/3 of the cost.... after some discussion they covered all but $100. If you have this problem go straight to GM Customer Service!
  • Many on this forum, owners of the Outlook, Acadia, Enclave, Traverse, and other GM vehicles with the same troubled transmission, have done so already. Please follow through with adding to the body of this complaint to the agency that can do something about it, namely the NHTSA. As it was said, "... power comes in numbers".

    There are three methods you can use to contact the NHTSA if you suspect a safety-related defect in your vehicle. You can take any (or all) of the following actions:

    Call the U.S. Department of Transportation's Vehicle Safety Hotline: (888) 327-4236 or (800) 424-9153, toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
    Report the issue online at the NHTSA's vehicle safety Web site:
    Send a letter via U.S. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210) 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590

    Ther website option takes just a few minutes.
  • As outlookdriver stated - many of us have reported to the NHTSA already we just need to encourage new posts here in this forum to do the same. There is Power in numbers as I've said before. Personally, I am taking action to the next level because the thought of a fatality occurring that is not connected to this transmission defectis not something I could live with knowing I didn't do my part.
  • There are three methods you can use to contact the NHTSA if you suspect a safety-related defect in your vehicle. You can take any (or all) of the following actions:
    I would urge Outlook, Acadia, Enclave, Traverse & some Ford model vehicle with this troubled transmission to contact the NHTSA and file a complaint online (takes 3mins), call the 1-800/888 # to report or send a letter via US Mail as soon as possible.

    Call the U.S. Department of Transportation's Vehicle Safety Hotline: (888) 327-4236 or (800) 424-9153, toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
    Report the issue online at the NHTSA's vehicle safety Web site:
    Send a letter via U.S. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210) 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590
  • I picked up my 2008 Saturn Outlook after the 3-5-R wave plate was replaced Wednesday afternoon 2/6/13. The Outlook ran great; actually like never before which in itself was puzzling to me in hindsight. When we first purchased this vehicle I didn't realize that the hesitation I was expereincing when trying to pass on the highway, in traffic & on two-lane roads (I live in a semi-rural area of CO) might be a transmission in the beginning stages of failure. I attributed this hesitation to the fact (in my mind) that I was coming from always having had a V-8 engine vehicle going to this new V-6 engine and that this was normal performance. Had I known then what I know now I would have had this car in alot sooner for a transmission inspection. This is all insight that I've gained from reading posts here in this forum & info online.
    Anyway, while at the dealership that day it was noted under the 'multi-point owner's inspection section' of my invoice that my tires were in great shape, the front brakes might need to be replaced (which we knew when we purchased the car), the oil was needing to be changed in the near future and there was a sign of a water pump leak but 'nothing to worry about we'll just need to keep an eye on it'. The vehicle sat in the garage for most of the weekend with only a few errands here & there. Monday 2/11/13 - I went to pick up my child from school as usual when my husband calls me in a panic 'You have leaking fluid marks on the garage floor and you should probably head over to the dealership again'. So that's what I did thinking all the while that it had something to do with the transmission repair from 4 days prior. A short time later we had the diagnosis: nope - now you need a new water pump. What happened to 'we'll just keep an eye on it'?
    Saturn Outlook folks, feel free to research this item too as it appears to be a part that apparently fails quite often as well from what I've seen in this forum & online. I'm not sure if the water pump issue applies to the Acadia, Enclave, Traverse, etc. like the transmission issue clearly does or not, but it would be worth checking into. Perhaps the water pump should be on a recall list for GMC as well?!
  • Well it appears this is the place to discuss our issues. In the last month, my 2008 Saturn Outlook has been in the shop for both a leaking sunroof - which probably belongs on a different forum, and now the transmission failed this past Saturday.

    My Outlook has 55,000 miles on it (I purchased it 15 months ago with 34,000 miles). Was in a city 220 miles from my home to visit family and the car shuddered at a stoplight and decided not to move from there. None of the gear would allow for any movement. This of course was during the lunch rush in front of one of the busiest intersections in town. My pregnant wife attempted to steer while I pushed it to the nearest parking lot 150 yards away. Luckily some good samaritans jumped out and helped me to help mitigate my embarrasment and get this P.O.S off the road.

    My Outlook is now sitting in the city where it broke down and I am driving a rental car in the meantime. Luckily I have an extended warranty which SHOULD cover the repairs. I have not yet heard from the dealer that i brought it to regarding the damage. Honestly this is ridiculous. In the last month this vehicle has been in the shop more than on the road. 55,000 miles on a transmission is a joke. How can this be considered a family vehicle when i put my family at risk everytime I drive it?

    Now its a waiting game and I have the added inconvenience of wasting 8 hours of my time driving back and forth to pick it up and return the rental car. I would never buy a GM again.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    We're sorry to hear about the inconveniences you've experienced with your Outlook, fixtheproblems. If we can check into this further with the involved dealership (only if they're GM, however), please contact us via email at (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and a summary of the situation).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I started getting messages on my dash, service stabiltrak, service airbags, service traction contol, oil pressure low stop engine, now both stabiltrak and traction control are shutting off. Hopefully I wont need the airbags at any point. Not sure what works any more. Now engine light is constantly on and car wont run that well. We need help and now. I have also put $2,000 or more into fixing this car at Rally Chev and still I have a car that does not work with the same problem I took it in for the first time. Now they tell me that they can't help me. I would even settle at this point on a new car trade in. I am paying for a car that doesnt work at all now.
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