• Mar 10th 2008 at 4:58PM
  • 31
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received around 40 complaints from owners of the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Redline regarding the vehicle's braking performance. According to the owners, too much pedal effort is required to slow the vehicle down when the engine is cold. This may correlate with a TSB issued by General Motors back in December that advised dealers to recalibrate the braking control computer on both models. The system uses the stability control module's pump to increase hydraulic pressure when engine vacuum is low.

The investigation is in its preliminary stages, so no recall is in effect yet. However, NHTSA has one case of a crash involving one of the two models that could be attributed to the problem.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM is back to his old ways, it was only a matter of time ,i gave AUTOBLOG these tips but maybe they didnot get them ,MAYBE!....Ice formation in engine can cause problems

      February 19, 2008
      • More automotive news ...

      Federal safety regulators are stepping up an investigation of the vehicle speed control system in 2004 and 2005 Chevrolet Aveos.

      The Office of Defect Investigations (ODI) which is part of the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has upgraded its evaluation of complaints which began October 19, 2007 about stuck throttles in the Aveo because of “ice formation within the engine air intact tract.”

      The change, according to ODI, follows a safety recall by General Motors “involving substantially similar vehicles manufactured for sale in Canada.”

      GM, according to the federal safety group twice revised the Canadian recall “to include more substantial changes to the throttle body, intake manifold, positive crankcase ventilation and engine cooling systems to further reduce air intake tract.”

      After receiving 28 complaints of a stuck throttle in vehicles in the U.S. along with 46 warranty claims affecting 63 vehicles,” investigators suspect the defect occurs in the winter when the temperature is below freezing.

      Information provided to ODI by GM does not include events involving stuck throttles during the “most recent winter months” so the investigation will be intensified to “further study the frequency of the alleged defect,” according to ODI.

      An engineering analysis is often the last step before a NHTSA-mandated recall.....

      Consumers complain recall wasn't effective

      March 3, 2008
      • More automotive news ...

      Federal safety regulators are investigating a 2001 General Motors recall of 506,377 following consumer complaints that the repair was ineffective.

      On November 30, 2001, General Motors notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it would conduct a safety recall of 506,377 'ST' vehicles produced from November 1999 to August 2001. to correct a defect that could cause loss of stop lamp and rear hazard lamp function,” the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) reported on its web site.

      “The recalled vehicles are model year 2000 to 2002 Chevrolet Blazer, GMC Jimmy and Envoy, and Oldsmobile Bravada,” according to ODI.

      Safety investigators have received 44 complaints “stating that either their vehicles were not in the original scope of the recall or that they had the recall repairs completed on their vehicles but the brake and hazard lamps are still inoperative,” ODI said.

      ODI has opened an investigation of the 2001 GM recall “to further examine the issue.”

        • 7 Years Ago
        You conclude that they're back to their old ways because the Daewoo integration was painful (04 models were problematic as hell, 05 better, 06 and later are perfectly fine) and because they had issues with their older vehicles (wow no really)?

        The reliability turnaround started in 05 and Kappa vehicles were misengineered.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Give it up alex-please!GM is, and always will be CRAP,how many recalls have GM had since the start of the year?i pity the fool who thinks the big ship have turned the corner,more like the titanic just hit the iceburg!from trucks burning down houses to brakes failing,crappy silverado with bad tranny and thin paint,(source edmunds)......I was so happy to have a reason to need a full-size truck and was all ready to write a post about the trip (it was an uneventful success), but then, as I was walking along the outside of the truck, the light of the setting sun hit the fuel filler door just right, and I noticed the unsightly chipped paint you see in the photos. The chips, near as I can tell, are due to normal fuel fill-ups. And so I post this question to you: Are our editors extremely uncoordinated, or is it unreasonable to expect a factory paint job to maintain its integrity in Southern California for 25,000 miles?

      I also noticed that we haven’t given you an update on the truck’s fuel economy since June 2007. Eesh. Sorry about that. Let’s catch you up on the Silverado’s progress: Our lifetime average is 13.35 mpg. Our worst tanks have been in the high single digits; best tanks have reached into the high 16s.

      Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 25,062 miles

      .........Ok, I know what I'm going to talk about isn't the news flash of the hour but it's been a while since I've been in the Silverado:

      The tranny is down right awful. It ain't fixed, it's worse. I know for many of you this is the ump-teenth post you've read about this, but last I heard was this thing was fixed and it's been a while since I've driven it so it's news to me.

      The "whump" shifts are so bad that it snaps your neck. After driving it around for a while I started tense up at the point of shifts to minimize the mini whiplash.

      Not only is it uncomfortable, the sounds and jolts coming from those hard shifts are very unsettling. That kind of racket can't be good.

      I'm officially swearing off the Chevy until it's fixed. Fixed for reals this time. I don't get into the cars that often, but even if I get handed the keys for this guy I'll pass. I love trucks so this is kinda sad.

      Sorry, Silverado. I know in the past we've been pals and all, but you've got issues. It's time for an intervention.

      Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

      ....need more proof that chevy is still crap? go to edmunds (silverado forums) all kind of ish, and i'm talking from true owners, not chevy fangirls.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really wish GM had baked the SKY/Solstice completely before releasing it. This car has gotten a bad rap--not entirely undeserved--for sloppy detail engineering. The top and 5MT gearing (and NVH, in a few examples I drove) at introduction really were inexcusably half-baked.

      Too bad there's no easy running fix for the nonexistent trunk and contortionist secondary controls.

      I don't think this particular bit of news is unusually significant, but it does add to a tall heap of detail complaints that lead me to suspect history will remember this car as Fiero 2.0.
        • 7 Years Ago
        PS, the Fiero was really a great, sorted little car by the end of its production run, just as the Solstice likely will be in a couple years/as soon as the coupe comes out. I just hope the image damage hasn't already been done by that point, as it was with the '80s car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, no - not the number of gears. The *gearing.*

        The gap between 2nd and 3rd was wide enough to fly a 747 through.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A sub-$20,000 car doesn't have 6 forward gears? Oh, boo-hoo...
      • 7 Years Ago
      alexp@ misengineered! good one! LMAO! i think you are MIS-INFORMED my friend.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wah-wah 9/11 was done by our government wah-wah-wah.

        Shut it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Even though I'll never drive one (because I can't fit in it, and not for lack of trying) the Sky is still a gorgeous car. Much nicer (and far less tacky) than the Solstice. While they get the shape right, GM usually has trouble with detailing (Honda has the same issue). In this case, they nailed both.

      Anyways, it looks like they're dealing with it. Hopefully (crosses fingers) this doesn't turn into a gripefest. Recalls do not equal reliability, and the number of vehicles recalled don't speak at all to the quality of the model or the make.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I totally agree, the Sky is gorgeous. I just hope its next iteration will get a higher level of engineering treatment than it did (so it can compete with the likes of the Miata, without looking as, well, non-masculine as it does).
        • 7 Years Ago

        I'm 6'9" and 250. I tried--real hard--to fit in this and I can if I leave the top down and don't need to work the pedals.

        The Miata is worse. The S2000 is a no-go zone if I value by kneecaps.
        • 7 Years Ago
        While I agree the car looks good, upon further inspection I was sorely disappointed. Great engine, but handling apparently has much to be desired, and when you're driving a roadster...well, handling should be high on the list.

        Then there's the horrible soft-top design. Full manual, requiring you to get out, and it consumes all trunk space while down. It's a great first roadster for Saturn, though, and I expect lots of improvements down the road.
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you're 6-9 you are an exception and most cars are not meant to be optimized for you, you know that so stop griping.
        There are Cadillac Escalades etc aplenty...
        • 7 Years Ago

        You'd actually be suprised what does and doesn't fit.

        What does:
        Most microcars fit well (I've drive a Smart fortwo as a rental in Europe and my Honda Fit is a company car). Most European cars fit well, too (my Saab is pretty good; the MkV Rabbit I borrowed when it was in the shop for two weeks worked well, too). Sports cars are tougher, but the Corvette, 350Z and Mustang are easy fits; the RX-8 is tight and the roadsters (excepting the higher-end models) are impossible.

        Needless to say, the Honda Element rocks my world.

        What doesn't:
        I had a tough time in the Mazda5 because of limited seat-track travel, terrible trouble with the Toyota 4Runner (intrustive dash), the Pontiac Grand Prix (low roof) and with the Mercury Grand Marquis (massive steering wheel). The aforementioned Escalade isn't great, either. A lot of big cars are sized for small people.

        Hey, I'm allowed to gripe. If I could get an extra inch of seat track travel and 5-10 degrees of recline, I could have had a Sky.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm 6'2" 210lbs and had no issue fitting in this car. It amazes me when people say "I could never fit into that tiny thing". I've owned two tiny cars NX2000, Firefly, and never hand an issue. The only car I've ever had any issue with was a Porsche Boxer with the roof closed, I found it odd that I fit just fine in the smaller Miata. So unless your taller then me by a fair bit, its time to loose that spare tire.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not typically one to point out the idiots in a room, but with about 2 minutes of internet searching, anyone could have found a somewhat detailed description of the problem based on [Solstice/Sky] owner feedback...

      from Bogie at: http://www.skyroadster.com/forums/f2/big-safety-concern-brakes-car-19190/

      "Based on all that I've read, here's a quick summary:

      The standard braking system needs vacuum to work at peak efficiency. This vacuum is built by the engine. If the engine has just started, the vacuum supplied by the engine will not have built to a sufficient level to work the brakes properly.

      One approach, apparently used in the 2007 Sky, is to have an auxiliary vacuum pump that builds the vacuum immediately on start up, before the engine has a chance to do its job. With this setup, you should get near instant and consistent response from the brakes because the vacuum is immediately available.

      I guess the GM engineers figured they could use the ABS system and Stabilitrak to work the brakes for periods where the vacuum created by the engine is not sufficient (e.g., during cold start). This design would eliminate the need for the auxiliary pump, saving on cost, space, and weight. It's called Optimized Hydraulic Braking (OHB)

      The problem, based on feedback here, is OHB provides a different braking response from the vacuum assisted braking. Different, as in less responsive or less effective, leading to dangerous braking situations.

      So, everyone with a 2008 Sky Red Line Turbo, here's the deal: If you need the vacuum response braking, you gotta let the vehicle idle for 20 or so seconds before driving off. If you REALLY need good brakes, I would wait 30 seconds to be sure. This should allow the vacuum to build up."

      This isn't an issue of poor quality control in parts vendors or shoddy workmanship on the manufacturing line, this was an engineering update for the 2008 model year cars. There have literally been tens of complaints, not hundreds, not thousands, not tens of thousands... tens of complaints.

      I don't mind people bitchin when there they have their facts straight - some might even consider it healthy - but at least get a clue before you hop on the internet and express your ignorance.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Tens is a lot on such a low volume vehicle. It's not even just the regular sky, it's the Sky Redline. If there were hundreds that'd be like every 2008 Redline owner, lol.

        It's also still winter, so convertible sales haven't even hit their season yet.

        Anyways, at least they'll hopefully get this fixed before people really start ubying them.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Even more info, this time from GM via a Pontiac Solstice owners forum: http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f59/2008-solstice-gxps-optimized-hydraulic-boost-ohb-feature-information-34000/

        True, it would be grossly irresponsible of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ignore owner complaints of brake failures, but get all the facts and put it in perspective people.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Probably some Libero-Japanese conspiracy, no way can GM have any problems, they have turned the corner. They are now making quality vehicles, Malibu is the bestest family sedan ever, Volt is the most enviro friendly transportation after the horse, no way can the NEW GM have vehicle issues…………….only Toyota has those.

      Ohhh how beautiful is Rick Wagoner….Lutz for president…tra lalalalala….

      GM turned the corner.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Bahahaha, if this wasn't posted in jest, I would have assumed it was something from Mr. Oak.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It is not an issue of driver responsibility or quality, but the problem is the intermittent occurring of the loss of braking power. My 2008 GXP purchased in September of 2007 now has 3100 miles on the odometer. I have had the failure on four occasions, three times in the past three days, and was planning to pull out into a very busy street as I do several times daily, when this issue occurred. It was terrifying. I have owned countless evhicles through the years and never anything like this. The car is a death trap!! The dealer also had to install a new folding top as the driver's sidelite was restroying the original. This is unacceptable for a new car!!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        40 complaints about:
        "According to the owners, too much pedal effort is required to slow the vehicle down when the engine is cold"

        so they need to push a little harder and farther on the peddle to stop. Whoopdyfricken doo... It's not even brake failure, it's pushing a little more...

        I'd say the guy that crashed was probably following too close and tried to cover it up by saying he didnt realize he had to push the pedal in 5 cm farther, during the first 30 seconds the car is on....
        come on...

        Think about it:
        During the first 30 seconds after you turn on the car, you need to push a little harder on the peddle, and this requires a recall?

        • 7 Years Ago
        The Kappa cars have never been without problems (engineering and etc.), at least that's what I've been able to witness since their introduction. I guess it's the bureaucratic aspect of GM that's responsible for this, because Hyundai turned around on the quality side (I'm excluding Kia here) rather quickly.

        Anyway I doubt the newer mainstream cars will have that many issues, when you consider that Buick's 2004 lineup (we're talking about the old U-Body, W-Body and the Trailblazer's platform (don't remember what it is) equaled Lexus in terms of reliability.

        I mean, the Malibu after its first model year (unexpected plug: the Maxx is awesome and the updated gearing and such in the 06 made the car feel much better than it felt in its first year, the only problem I had with it was the super-plasticy steering wheel that felt AWFULLY light in the hands) was fine (my mom's got the steering column issue, it's not a biggie (it's an issue that needs to be fixed but if it's not it won't break anything down) but it's annoying, along with a turn signal that's already done with... And aside from that, the poor fit (primarily the doors), I don't see how they could possibly go wrong with the update. The only thing they've really had to iron out since 2006-7 was some fit and finish issues with certain vehicles (Escalade's chrome door handles, Aura's trim, etc).
      • 7 Years Ago
      The main problem with these cars is not that the brakes don't work, it's that they handle like CRAP. Compared to a Miata, it's just a joke.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Thank you psarhjinian, some level headed comments, becoming endangered on this site as of late.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yep, keep at it lads! Keep telling yourself the General has turned the corner! Keep blowing sunshine up each others you know what. Let me tell you something in no uncertain terms. NO CAR especially one preporting to be a performance car should be released for sale with dangerous breaks, period. The issue must be and is serious enough if the NHTSA are involved. The fact that GM advised dealers to re-calibrate the vacuum system proves they knew about it. It is obvious that GM did nothing about it. Rarely will someone complain to the feds if their complaint was dealt with correctly by the GM dealer. That the NHTSA are now investigating it means that there are a lot of unhappy owners out there who quite possibly are fed up with inaction by GM and it's dealers and went to the Feds instead. This lads, is classic GM and what we have come to expect from them. So, if you think GM has turned the quality/reliability corner, think again cos' they haven't. GM is once again playing fast and loose with it's customers. This is why an increasing number of people will not even consider a GM car. The Solstice/Sky is yet another 'almost there' product that proves that GM have never really left their old ways. Heavens knows what will show up on the Malibobo, the look-out (sorry Outlook) and the (re)volt if it ever does materialize.

      "Anyways, it looks like they're dealing with it. Hopefully (crosses fingers) this doesn't turn into a gripefest. Recalls do not equal reliability, and the number of vehicles recalled don't speak at all to the quality of the model or the make."

      Maybe this is true on Planet ZZZ but not on this planet. When you say "it looks like they're dealing with it", do you mean GM or the NHTSA? Ask yourself this question, why are the Feds even involved? Is it because GM did or did not rise to the occasion? Is it because it is or is not a minor insignificant issue?
      The answer is painfully obvious.
      It's the same old GM
        • 7 Years Ago
        ITP: Toyotards circle jerking over what isn't even a reliability issue.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Don't fool yourself, other car companies have their own issues. Just look at Honda or Toyota and you'll find as many problems as GM has to deal with. In the end it doesn't matter what car you buy, yours might be the one that gets recalled next.
        • 7 Years Ago

        It is brakes, not breaks.
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