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Saturn Outlook Transmission Problems



  • marqmanmarqman Posts: 4
    edited August 2013
    I purchased a 2008 Outlook in July 2010. It ran well until January 2013. I have had multiple problems with it since hit 63,000 miles. Luckily most of the repairs have been covered by warranty – both factory and extended one I purchased. Here is my service history for the transmission.

    Jan 31, 2013 – transmission failed on way to work. Had it towed to dealer. Dealer said transmission control module was programmed incorrectly. He reprogrammed the module and sent me on my way.

    February 5, 2013 – transmission failed on way to work. Another tow job to the dealer. This time the dealer replaced 3-5-R wave plate as well as the clutch plate and torque converter. Codes P0717, P0756, P0796, P0842. Also found rack & pinion assembly bad – replaced under extended warranty coverage.

    March 20, 2013 – torque converter shutter when shifting at 1800 RPM. After keeping the car for 12 days, the dealer replaced torque converter with another rebuilt converter.

    July 23, 2013 – once again the torque converter is shuttering when shifting at 1800 RPM. Dealer unwilling to repair because symptom is not throwing any codes.

    Any guess as to how soon I will have the vehicle towed back to the dealer?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hi marqman,

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been inconvenienced by this previous transmission failure and understand your uncertainty concerning the reliability of your Outlook. If you would like us to document your transmission issues in our system for future reference please let us know and we will happily do so. If there is anything we can assist with we are available by email at

    Amber N.
    GM Customer Care
  • marqmanmarqman Posts: 4
    Amber N.

    I am already in your system. Service request 71-1169087763. Both my grandfather and father swore by GM cars. I have done nothing but swear at them. My kids and my friends all know not to trust Government Motors - and this is definitely the last GM vehicle I will ever buy.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hello again,

    Thank you for providing your case number. I've looked over your case and see that you were offered cost assistance with another vehicle repair. I'm sorry that you are still unhappy with your vehicle and apologize for your troubles. If there is anything else I can help with in the future, please don't hesitate to let me know.


    Amber N.
    GM Customer Care
  • Thank you Laura M.
    I'll be in touch.
  • Just today my car engine light came on and would not go over 30mph. I also have a 2008 Outlook that has already had a new transmission dropped in it. How would I know if it is the torque converter?

    This is very frustrating as I have had the same problems.
  • I have a 2008 Outlook Saturn that has already had the transmission replaced and again the engine light is on and will not go over 30 miles an hour. I bought the car new off the lot so I am the original owner.

    It is over 5 years but under 100,000 miles. How long is the warranty on the power train on these vehicles?

    Thank you,
    Laura Hall
  • I could still get up to full speed with my torque converter problem. Sounds as if your transmission is getting ready to drop........again. I would get it in to your dealer.
  • I bought a 2007 outlook a year ago that had 80,000 miles on it. I bought it because I loved the Saturn Reputation of being a sound and reliable vehicle. I have friends that have been driving Saturn for many years and love their vehicles. Low maintenance and very dependable. I got this for my wife and she loved it. Saturday we were on a leisurely drive and all of a sudden the rpms went up and the car wouldn't shift out of 1st gear. I checked all the fluids and they were at the proper levels. The car was driven with a lot of TLC as we can't afford to purchase new vehicles every year. The car now sits in my driveway, does not go in reverse and the dealership won't do anything to help. I now have 100,720 miles on it. Checking the forums here really makes me question the quality of the transmission. Seeing how many people had trouble with their transmissions?!?!?! Why was there not a recall on these? Now I have to find some way to come up with $3000 to have this replaced/repaired??? I used to love GM, my family all bought GM vehicles and my ex's family all used to work for GM.
  • I had the same thing happen to my 2008 a few months back. Sad to say but you might find a cheaper fix somewhere other than your dealer. They do good reliable work, but the costs are high. Private mechanics can do just as good. Good luck! feel your pain!
  • Christina,
    Not sure if you are still with GM but if someone could get back to me I would greatly appreciate it. My father in law has a 2009 Saturn Outlook XR that the transmission has completely failed on him. He has had this thing in the dealership more often than not and has maintained this car meticulously. He has made sure to take it in whenever it is showing signs of problems, does the oil changes and other regular maintenance to it as it should be done. He is now in a bad situation where the transmission is out and has to try to find the funds to replace it. I have seen multiple issues with this car through other owners and sites stating similar problems to his. I have also seen the recalls that have come about as well. He needs some sort of rectification for what he has had to go through with the dealership and with this vehicle. Please get back to me with a possible solution!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hi Christina,

    I am very sorry to hear that your father is experiencing problems with his Saturn transmission. I would definitely like to look more into his situation and try to help. Could you please send me your father's full name, contact information, VIN, mileage, and primary dealership? I can be reached through email at [attn Amber]. Please also site that we spoke here as well. I look forward to working with you.

    Amber N.
    GM Customer Care
  • My 2009 Saturn Outlooks transmission just went (so the dealer says), dealer is telling me that it is going to cost between $3400 and $2900 to fix. I had a 100,000 mile warranty on the car, I now have 101234 miles. Unlike others I am not going to trash GM or Saturn I am only looking for something fair.

    So what if anything can GM do to help, does the 100,000 mile warranty stop at 100k, or is there leeway?

    Yours Truly.
  • Amber,

    Luckily my cousin is an auto mechanic so instead of paying $1450 to replace my torque converter at the dealership I only had to pay $890. Considering I had recently saved $1k for a vacation for my family it came out of that fund. So no vacation for my family this year, I guess it'll have to wait til next year.
  • Speaking from a failed transmission on my 07 Saturn GM will do nothing. That's their customer service policy
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hi clay,

    I understand your decision to have your cousin repair your vehicle instead. I'm sorry that this repair affected your family travels this season. If there's anything else we can help with in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out.

    Amber N.
    GM Customer Care
  • Good morning Amber,
    I passed on the information to my father in law. Either he or I will be emailing you the information requested. Thank you for your quick response to my inquiry. I am hopeful that this situation can be resolved sufficiently for both parties. Have a wonderful day.

    Emily Higgins
  • apowapow Posts: 6
    I had the same issues you had with your transmission and I got the same response from GM, which was, "We are sorry you are having trouble with your car." But, they won't fix the transmission problem with their cars. Even the Aamco manager I spoke with said he has serviced many of these cars and it's always the same problem. It's a defective part (the 3-5-R thing) but GM won't issue a recall. I also will never buy another GM car and I've been telling everyone I know to stay away from GM. In the Whole Foods parking lot I parked next to an Acadia (same car as the Outlook) and as the driver was getting into her car I asked her if she had trouble with her transmission. She rolled her eyes and said to not get her started. So, it's a KNOWN PROBLEM that GM will not address. I, too, wish they had been allowed to go bankrupt! Tax dollars saved them and now they won't do right by the tax payers.
  • apowapow Posts: 6
    This is what you will hear from GM:

    Thank you for contacting me with your vehicle concerns. I am very sorry that you are having these vehicle issues and understand your apprehension towards getting a repair. We trust that our dealers will take the proper steps towards correcting any vehicle issues. If you choose to have your vehicle repaired, we would like to stay involved throughout the process to ensure that every issue is addressed to your satisfaction. If there is any assistance we can provide to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

    Thank you

    Amber N.

    That is all. They will not issue a recall or a discount on repair. They do not stand behind their vehicles.
  • apowapow Posts: 6
    How did you get reimbursed for the issues your car has had? All I get from GM is "Oh, we're sorry you're having trouble. We'd like to be with you through this and make sure your dealer does a good job....blah blah blah". This is obviously a known issue that GM won't address.
  • apowapow Posts: 6
    What can you do for us? We all have the SAME issues. I just shelled out almost $4,000 for a new transmission. And yes, it was the 3-5-R wave plate!!! WOW! Just like everyone else. So, stop posting here saying you want to help us if you can't help us. We are all very upset with GM.
  • I passed on the information to my father in law so hopefully he can get some resolution from GM. I am willing to give them a chance to show some sort of customer support before saying anything negative. It can be very frustrating, especially in this economy, to constantly have to spend money to fix a car, and I totally understand the anger from these situations, I am just choosing to be hopeful. I believe persistence is key to getting resolution. You can't be willing to take No for an answer and you have to keep your cool in situations rather than get angry and yell. GM needs to stand behind their cars, and if there is a consistent problem they need to recall the car, I however don't know exactly what the issue is with my father in laws car, just that the transmission went completely out. I am hoping, since he has only had the car a couple of years, that they will take care of him the way they would want their own parents taken care of, and rectify the situation. I will also point out my father in law is kn his 70's and just like everyone else does not have the extra money yo pay for a mew transmission that shouldnt have gone out in the first place. Anyway here's to being hopeful.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hello everyone,

    I understand that you are unhappy with your vehicle, and apologize that you're experiencing these various issues. If you would like our assistance in getting your vehicle concerns resolved we would be glad to help. I cannot guarantee what amount of cost assistance will be offered, but will work to find the best option in addressing your concerns. Please feel free to email me personally at

    Thank you

    Amber N.
    GM Customer Care
  • I have been through all this before. Our 07 Outlook transmission broke at 87000 and two months past the warranty . GM did nothing. That's their customer service policy. Afterall they no longer make Saturns, they don't care
  • apowapow Posts: 6
    I was hopeful, too, as were the others on this site. No one is yelling as far as I can tell, but we are all angry and frustrated because GM will not do right by their customers. You'll get the same response we all got, which is, "Gee, sorry about your car". Good luck to you. I do hope you get a better response than everyone else did.
  • I have read alot of posts about this transmission issue, but noine seem to be the same as the problem we are having. Has anyone had an issue with the transmission not shifting at all? My wife for 2 days in a row now, has jumped in to go to work, and the tranny doesnt shift out of first. I reset the computer the first time, backed up 20 feet and once I put it in drive again, it seemed to be fine. This morning that didnt work as well. After resetting the computer, we had to drive in reverse at high speed before it started shifting in drive. Looking for any input we can find
  • I had this issue, would not shift out of first gear. I do not remember the part exactly, but it was a quick fix, about $500 and a day at the dealership. Happened out of the blue one day at about 120k miles.
  • My 2008 Saturn Outlook has all the well known transmission problems like sluggishness when passing or going uphill. Recently I had to stop suddenly to avoid an accident and the next time I drove the car on the highway as I was about to pass a car the transmission downshifted and I could not go faster than 40 mpg, and the car was shaking. I was able to get to my destination and the next time I went out the car was fine but the check engine light turned on and eventually went off a few hour later. A day later I took the car to the dealer and they supposedly run a diagnostics and told me that the problem was that the transmission was not getting a good signal from the electrical system and they are asking for $1500 to fix the problem even though they admit that they are not exactly sure which electrical component is failing. Could be the circuit board or a cable. The car is running just fine so I asked what is the worst than can happen if I do not get it fix and they said that one day the car will stop shifting. Has anyone experience this issue?
  • 2008 Saturn Outlook

    Well, just got off the phone with the dealership. The rep said the transmission needs to be rebuilt due to a defective waveplate. $2800 to tear it down and replace parts.

    I do have a case open with GM customer service so I haven't authorized work to be performed on the car yet. I'm really hoping GM covers as much as possible. Warranty is out by 6 months but only 76k miles on car. I'm astonished at how many of these SUV's across the Lambda platform have transmission problems at such low miles.

    I will update with what transpires.
  • 2007 Saturn Outlook with 87000 miles and 2 months out of the 5 yr warranty. GM did nothing. I would think they would at least stand behind their shoddy workmanship.
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