Wednesday, June 27, 2007
A "Sheronda" called from the Saturn Customer Assistance Center in Tennessee, from 931-486-0012, although she would not identify any number other than the main queue number. Saturn acknowledged the open NHTSA investigation (ODI # EA06009). She claimed that the type of response given is unlike Saturn, and maintained that Saturn was on the forefront of taking care of issues or recall campaigns when the need arises. Obviously not, or else there would not be hundreds, if not thousands, of other2001 L-series owners facing the same problem.
I was told a new review of the case would begin, and promised an answer by 5pm Central Standard Time tomorrow, June 28, 2007. I was asked what I thought was "fair" - my reply was quite simply that Saturn needs to pay 100% of the cost, and issue a recall. Saturn knew about the timing chain problems in the 2001 L series before we purchased our vehicle on June 23, 2001. They most assuredly knew about the problems during the entire warranty and extended warranty periods. The 2003 service bulletin acknowledging the change in design was during that period, yet at no time while the vehicle was Serviced by a Saturn retailer (both Saturn of Fairfax and Saturn of Manassas, for the entire vehicle life) was the timing chain ever inspected or the design change implemented.
The Timing chain should have lasted well beyond 200,000 miles, well beyond the scheduled maintenance to replace it at 90,000 miles. It failed at 84,700. Entirely unacceptable.
We are 10 weeks and a day without the use of the L200. The loss use by the amount of the prior loan payment for that time would be $1000. ($400 per month x 2.5 months)
She did "apologize for the delay", and took pains to note that the car was outside of all warranties - true but irrelevant in light of Saturn's negligence in the matter. Had Saturn done due diligence from the start on the timing chain problem, it would have been fixed under warranty for myself and most others. The only reasonable course of action is for Saturn to issue a recall for the timing chain problems, and make it right for every Saturn owner who was forced to pay out of their own pocket for such repairs.
So the question looms - will Saturn and GM do the right thing? Or will they force the hand to further action?
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
The clock is still ticking - will GM answer the call?
NHTSA Action Number:
GENERAL MOTORS CORP.
Year : 2001
Component : ENGINE AND ENGINE
Date Investigation Opened : June 6, 2006
Closed : Open
Summary: ON DECEMBER 12, 2005, ODI RECEIVED A DEFECT PETITION (DP05-008) REQUESTING THE INVESTIGATION OF TIMING CHAIN FAILURES THAT COULD CAUSE STALLING IN SATURN VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH THE 2.2L (L61) ENGINE. ODI OPENED PE06-006 ON JANUARY 24, 2006, WITH 24 VEHICLE OWNER COMPLAINTS THAT ALLEGED A BROKEN TIMING CHAIN CAUSED THE VEHICLE TO STOP OPERATING. ON APRIL 12, 2006, ODI RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM GENERAL MOTORS (GM) CONCERNING TIMING CHAIN FAILURES IN APPROXIMATELY 412,000 MODEL YEAR (MY) 2000 THROUGH 2003 SATURN L-SERIES AND ION VEHICLES WITH 2.2L ENGINES. GM'S RESPONSE INCLUDED 1,020 OWNER COMPLAINTS AND FIELD REPORTS CONCERNING TIMING CHAIN FAILURE, INCLUDING 228 THAT ALLEGED THE FAILURE CAUSED THE VEHICLE TO STALL WHILE DRIVING. GM ALSO PROVIDED WARRANTY CLAIM DATA THAT SHOWED 1,902 SUBJECT VEHICLES RECEIVING TIMING CHAIN REPAIRS, INCLUDING 261 WHICH INDICATED THAT A STALL WHILE DRIVING RESULTED FROM THE FAILURE. THE GM COMPLAINTS, FIELD REPORTS AND WARRANTY CLAIMS THAT DID NOT CONTAIN SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DETERMINE THAT A STALL WHILE DRIVING OCCURRED WERE CATEGORIZED AS "OTHER" INCIDENTS. GM STATED THAT THE MAJORITY OF THESE INCIDENTS PROBABLY OCCURRED WHILE THE VEHICLES WERE PARKED "SINCE THE TIMING CHAIN IS MORE LIKELY TO BREAK DURING HIGH CHAIN LOAD SITUATIONS, SUCH AS ENGINE STARTUP." GM'S DATA SHOWED ELEVATED FAILURE RATES IN APPROXIMATELY 20,500 MY 2001 L-SERIES VEHICLES PRODUCED DURING A FOUR MONTH PERIOD FROM NOVEMBER 2000 THROUGH FEBRUARY 2001. THE TIMING CHAIN FAILURE RATE IN THE VEHICLES BUILT DURING THIS RANGE IS OVER 10 TIMES GREATER THAN THE REMAINING SUBJECT VEHICLE POPULATION. OVER ONE-THIRD OF GM'S TOTAL COMPLAINTS AND FIELD REPORTS (34.3%) AND WARRANTY CLAIMS (38.2%) INVOLVED L-SERIES VEHICLES BUILT DURING THE 4-MONTH PERIOD, WHICH ARE ONLY ABOUT 5% OF SUBJECT VEHICLE PRODUCTION. FOR THE MY 2001 L-SERIES VEHICLES BUILT DURING THE 4-MONTH PERIOD, THE 36-MONTH FAILURE RATE FOR REPAIRS INVOLVING STALL WHILE DRIVING IS SLIGHTLY UNDER ONE PERCENT. HOWEVER, IF THE INCIDENTS CODED AS "OTHER" ARE ADDED, THE 36-MONTH FAILURE RATE RISES TO NEARLY FIVE PERCENT FOR THOSE VEHICLES. ODI AND GM ARE CONTINUING TO ASSESS THE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS AND WARRANTY CLAIMS CODED BY GM AS "OTHER" THAT INVOLVE INCIDENTS OF STALL WHILE DRIVING. GM'S STATISTICAL MODELING OF THE FAILURE DATA INITIALLY CONCLUDED THAT THE FAILURE RATES WERE DECLINING WITH AGE AND MILEAGE FOR ANY SET OF WARRANTY DATA ANALYZED (E.G., STALL WHILE DRIVING, OTHER OR
COMBINED). HOWEVER, SUBSEQUENT ANALYSIS SHOWED THAT THE FAILURE RATES ARE INCREASING. BASED ON THE HIGH COMPLAINT AND WARRANTY RATES FOR TIMING CHAIN FAILURE IN THE 4-MONTH PRODUCTION PERIOD FOR THE MY 2001 L-SERIES VEHICLES, AN ENGINEERING ANALYSIS HAS BEEN OPENED TO FURTHER ASSESS THE FREQUENCY OF STALL INCIDENTS DUE TO TIMING CHAIN FAILURES IN THOSE VEHICLES.
3rd Mar 2007, 15:00
I want to encourage
everyone that had a timing chain issue with his or her Saturn to write to the NHTSA. When my chain broke last December (on a 50 MPH 2-lane highway), I wrote to the NHTSA to complain. Just this week (March 2 2007), the NHTSA responded for a request for additional information. They stated that the case has been re-opened do to the growing number of reported chain failures. They are especially interested in chains that broke while the car was on the road. (GM maintains it is not a safety issue as the chain usually breaks at start up.) While it cost ~$2500 to fix our car, I am more concern with the safety aspect. We came close on being hit when our chain broke. We need to give the NHTSA enough information to force GM to fix this
problem before someone gets hurt or worse. The NHTSA web site is
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Today marks four weeks since Jill Lajdziak, General Manager of Saturn Corporation, received a four-page letter by Fedex, along with a nine-page email thread, and several pages from NHTSA's ODI website, including my own complaint. Today, I sent a followup letter directly to Mr. LaNeve, also by Fedex, along with a copy of the complete prior letter and all attachments. Mr. LaNeve had received a copy of the prior letter on Tuesday, May 29th by certified mail, as had Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Clarke.
We shall see if Mr. LaNeve will respond - it will be delivered tomorrow, Friday, June 22, 2007.