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pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
10/30/21 8:55 p.m.

In reply to dculberson and obsolete :

After reading another GRM member's lemon law Camaro saga, Tom's anecdote in this thread, and other similar stories, it sure seems like GM is all about leaving owners holding the bag regardless of how good the cars are when they work right.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/30/21 9:06 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to dculberson and obsolete :

After reading another GRM member's lemon law Camaro saga, Tom's anecdote in this thread, and other similar stories, it sure seems like GM is all about leaving owners holding the bag regardless of how good the cars are when they work right.

Now this, I agree with for sure. They seem to have a serious customer service issue.

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/30/21 9:25 p.m.
sevenracer said:

 another tidbit. My wife  Googled the reduced power message and what she found was someone explaining that it was a situation that could happen climbing mountains and that it would never happen on flat land "if the car was being driven by a sane person".  Well there's your problem! 

I have seen the reduced power message only once in the last five years with my first generation Volt.  Apparently highway speed in the hills of West Virginia was more than the little 1.4L generator could handle.  

Sounds like a hell of a night though.  Glad you're getting things sorted out.

sevenracer
sevenracer Reader
10/30/21 10:25 p.m.

I think Pete is likely on the right track. Some internet searching of Volt bad EGR valve yielded a bunch of hits where the EGR valve shorted internally which takes out a fuse and causes the symptoms I experienced. Notably, nearly everyone reporting this over the last 2 yrs said the part was on backorder.

 

Someone posted this explanation, dunno if they really know, but sounds plausible:

The 15A "Non Walk Home" fuse protects the 12V feed circuits to various engine management and emission devices.
Q44 Engine Oil Pressure Control Solenoid Valve, E41 Engine Coolant Thermostat Heater, Q12 Evaporative Emission Purge Solenoid Valve, Q14 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve, B52A Heated Oxygen Sensor 1 are all devices protected by this fuse.

Apparently, if you unplug the EGR and replace the fuse, the engine will run ok. Some also say running on battery only with a bad EGR valve and a new fuse is no problem, which makes sense.

The logistics of dealing with this are definitely annoying. I asked if they would transport the car to a charlotte dealer once fixed t o save me a trip and was told they only transport new cars for sales transfers. The dealer also said loaner car program has been suspended by GM due to low inventory, and that Enterprise didn't really have any cars either. Told me to call a GM corp number that was open on Saturdays and maybe they would do something for me, but that number had a recorded message saying they discontinued that support line and to go to a website. The website gave a different number and indicated open 8-4 on Saturdays but when called at 3pm got a message that it was outside business hours.

 

When GM arranged the tow last night, they would take it to the nearest dealer for free, but wanted $450 to take it up to Charlotte. In hindsight, it may have saved a lot of headaches just to cough up the $450 and have the car at the local dealer.

After we had secured our rental truck to get home (RAM Warlock - Halloween Manager's special!) I briefly discussed leaving the car at the truckstop and coming back on Saturday to fetch it with my trailer, but my wife expressed a strong preference for just doing "what normal people do" and having a tow company take it to the dealer and have it fixed since it's under warranty, lol!

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/30/21 10:36 p.m.

The bad EGR taking out a fuse, knocking out a bunch of sensors reminds me of a thread on here years ago that stuck with me. Someone reported a car that had baffled the techs for a while. Root cause was the wire in the stock stereo that was looking for a vehicle speed off of the VSS to compensate for speed in the stereo brought the car to its knees when an aftermarket radio was installed. I can't remember if that wire was simply disconnected or spliced incorrectly to another line, but it stuck with me that that a luxury, non-essential feature had crippled an otherwise fine car. This seems to be a parallel situation, as a bad EGR shouldn't render a car useless.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
10/30/21 10:54 p.m.

In reply to sevenracer :

I'm OK with the egr position sensor failing and pulling down the 5 volt reference, but that fuse described really doesn't do anything important enough to kill the engine.

Pete is probably right.  I wasn't considering the sensor portion of the egr, which is built into the valve assembly.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/21 4:20 a.m.

I do not know what the neutral position is of the oil pressure control solenoid, but if an electrical fault fails to low oil pressure, I'd want to prevent the engine from running.  Would need to see some literature.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/31/21 6:17 a.m.

In reply to dj06482 (Forum Supporter) :

That reminds me of a bizarre problem I had in an LS400. The factory car phone had been removed before I bought it and at some point I realized the hvac wouldn't go above the lowest fan speed. The display would say it was on high but the fan would just gently puff air out. I reasoned that it might have to do with the phone since a loud fan would interfere with a phone call. I found a wiring diagram and grounded the "phone active" line in the trunk and sure enough full fan came back. A 90s version of a modern problem. 

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 Dork
11/1/21 10:37 a.m.

I know it seems crazy that an EGR fault could take out an engine, but honestly, it wouldn't be the first time I've heard something like that. Working in the industry, there are a LOT of people who don't understand the implications of their designs, and design reviews don't always catch this stuff because half the room is zoning out or multitasking. This seems to be especially true with diagnostics of emissions-sensitive devices. I've never seen a shutdown inducement for EGR valves, but I have seen idle lock inducements. The conversation explaining why suddenly incapacitating a vehicle for a non-critical reason might be extremely dangerous is always interesting. At least in this case, there was a warning/primary inducement and you had battery backup power.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
11/1/21 12:15 p.m.
sevenracer said:

Heard back from dealer. Saying it's a bad egr valve. Part is on backorder, they need to check Monday if they can find one to get from another dealer. 

I hope they found you one , 

there are a lot of cars sitting at dealerships or with a recall notice  with a back ordered part missing !

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/1/21 12:23 p.m.

In reply to gearheadE30 :

An EGR fault would not take out any engine in the sense that the computer sees EGR fault and prevents the engine from running.  Heck, you can drive with a catalyst-melting misfire, priority is given to keeping the driver mobile. 

If it blows a fuse, however, it might, if engine-critical components are on the same circuit. Have seen this on Mercedes when an ignition coil dies and takes out half the sensors the engine needs.

If it shorts internally and takes out reference voltage, that would also kill the engine because now the MAP/TPS(s)/CPS/CKS are dead.  Have seen this a few times on older GMs, usually the EGR valve killing 5vref.

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 Dork
11/1/21 10:29 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I completely agree that that's the way it should be...but the company I work for, depending on how it fails, the EGR valve can trigger the tampering fault, which will get you a derate followed by either an idle lock or an engine shutdown depending on how the vehicle manufacturer trimmed the calibration. But that is also kind of a cherry picked case I guess, since people like removing EGR valves and have come up with various creative ways to do so. That's not true for most other sensors on the engine, just ones that are emissions-sensitive and that people like to remove.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
11/2/21 6:39 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

If it blows a fuse, however, it might, if engine-critical components are on the same circuit. Have seen this on Mercedes when an ignition coil dies and takes out half the sensors the engine needs.

If it shorts internally and takes out reference voltage, that would also kill the engine because now the MAP/TPS(s)/CPS/CKS are dead.  Have seen this a few times on older GMs, usually the EGR valve killing 5vref.

Agreed.  I've seen stuff like that as well.  At some point in its life, basically every 1st gen Grand Cherokee dies on the side of the road from a failed plastic clip.  When the clip eventually breaks, the rear O2 sensor wires fall onto the driveshaft.  And back then, Chrysler hadn't learned to put in a separate O2 heater circuit, so when this happens, the wires chafe through, short, and blow the PCM fuse, leaving you dead in the water.  Of course, if you know what happened, you can get it running again in 2 minutes, but...

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
11/2/21 6:03 p.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

This is exactly the failure mode that happened to my neon race car and about drove me mad. Car would blow a fuse labeled 'fuel pump' repeatedly. I'd replace the fuse, it would start and run perfectly fine but any time I started moving it would die within a few feet. 

Spent a good part of the afternoon franticly searching for wiring issues and finally found a chafed O2 sensor harness that was lightly contacting an axle. Never heard of anyone having that problem before but guess it's an old Chrysler thing!

sevenracer
sevenracer Reader
11/3/21 9:09 a.m.

So nothing exciting to report on the car. There apparently are other dealers with EGR valves on their shelves, but none have answered the call to give one up. Also, apparently a new batch of EGR valves have been produced and are in transit to a GM distribution center, but no estimated date yet of when the dealer could acquire one.

While I wait, I've been pondering whether it's possible to mitigate the impact if this failure happens again. Is it plausible that unplugging the EGR connector (thus removing the short from the main circuit) and replacing the popped fuse will restore gas engine function enough to get the car home? I read a posting online that unplugging the connector lets the engine run again, but don't know if that is immediate or if codes need to be cleared. Someone else posted that the engine overheats when the EGR valve fails - but that did not appear to happen in our situation - coolant temps were less than 200 deg when I scrolled through the cars menu's.

This is my wife's car, and she fairly frequently drives up in the NC mountains where cell service and taxi's/uber aren't present. If I could make a kit with a spare fuse and instructions of what to do and mark the connector and fuse location, maybe could avoid getting stranded again.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/21 9:22 a.m.

If the problem is a fuse being taken out, replacing the fuse with the EGR valve unplugged should get you mobile.

 

no EGR means higher combustion temps, which causes high NOx, but it shouldn't cause engine overheating.  Combustion temps would have to be insanely high for that to happen at highway cruise, battery-charging levels of power.

sevenracer
sevenracer Reader
11/17/21 7:26 p.m.

Update: Got the car back this evening. Wife is out running a couple of errands, we'll see if she makes it back!

It took a week and a half to get the new EGR valve, the car was actually repaired last Wed. However, I had requested and GM agreed to transport the car back to Charlotte, but they didn't initiate that process until after the car was fixed, and it took several days for the approval and the towing company to respond with a transit date (actually this morning I was told the towing company had to cancel, and that they would need to re-start their scheduling process again. I insisted that they try harder and call some other companies beyond their preferred vendor since I had already been waiting for transit for 7 days, which they then did and had it on a flatbed within an hour).

The whole process of dealing with the dealer and mostly GM was honestly infuriating. It took 8 days before a case manager was assigned and I had a contact with a name and extension number to deal with.  And she had no insight into the three other departments responsible for getting the transfer done - the roadside assistance group, the vehicle re-unification group, and then the escalation team of that group. I have no idea if it would have been any better with another manufacturer, but calling them every day and getting the run around sure got old.

And PSA for anyone unlucky enough to be in a similar situation, GM has a program to re-unite a vehicle with its owner if it is under warranty and breaks down more than 100 miles from home, even if the dealership swears to you there is no possible way that could happen and you're crazy to even suggest such a thing and the GM call center seems to never have heard of anything like that.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/17/21 8:44 p.m.
sevenracer said:

And PSA for anyone unlucky enough to be in a similar situation, GM has a program to re-unite a vehicle with its owner if it is under warranty and breaks down more than 100 miles from home, even if the dealership swears to you there is no possible way that could happen and you're crazy to even suggest such a thing and the GM call center seems to never have heard of anything like that.

What's the secret phrase? If the dealer and call center are telling you there's no such thing, how do you get that going? Did you have to just wait until you actually got a case manager to get that?

I'm sorry you've had such a hassle. Trying to find the overlap in the Venn diagram of manufacturers who are reasonably well-behaved and those who make vehicles we actually want to own is getting harder and harder...

sevenracer
sevenracer Reader
11/18/21 1:13 a.m.

No secret phrase, just frequent repetition of what I was asking for and why I thought it was reasonable, plus a lot of signaling that I was very dug in on this issue.

Basic sequence that played out over many conversations and many days was:

Me to 1-800-GM:"Car's busted, can you tow it to my dealer where I live?"

->Roadside assistance:" We can tow it to the nearest dealer for free, but if you want it towed to a Charlotte dealer you have to pay $450"

Me to service advisor at SC dealer:"Since no loaner car or rental car is available, it seems like a very reasonable goodwill accommodation to transport the car back to Charlotte for me once it's fixed"

-> Service advisor:"We'd never transfer a vehicle , that's crazy talk"

Me to service manager:"Dealerships transfer cars to other dealers all the time"

Service manager:"Ok, sure we could do it, but we're not gonna pay for it"

Me to case manager:"GM can't get parts to fix my car, and you can't supply me a car to drive which is a benefit I prepaid for as part of the CPO program, so how about you do a simple, common thing and transfer the car whenever you do finally fix it."

Case manager:"There might be something we can do for that, let me check"

-> Roadside assistance:"Good news! Since your car broke down more than 100 miles from home, you qualify for vehicle re-unification, I'll connect you to the re-unification department" (yes, there's actually a department that takes care of this)

When I was feeling snarky, I would tell them it really doesn't matter when they fix it, it's just going to sit at that dealership forever because I have no transportation and 130 miles is too far for me to walk.

Anyway, I'm not anti-GM, and really think it would likely have been a similar experience with other car companies, but it seems like such an unforced error to further piss off customers by not being transparent about what they can offer and generally not appearing to give a crap how long it takes or how it impacts their customers.

 

I'll stop whining now - I am very aware how fortunate I am that this is just an annoyance for me (we have other cars to drive) and realize this could be a real crisis for a lot of folks to suddenly lose their sole source of transportation.

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