Last post on Jan 08, 2011 at 1:18 PM
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Buick LaCrosse, Towing, Safe Driving, Electrical, Sedan
#13 of 19 Re: 2010 LaCrosse CXL Electrical Problems - My car is dead. [cooterbfd]
Mar 11, 2010 (6:04 pm)
Will GM ever change? Reading this thread brought back memories of my 1990 Pontiac STE so I looked back in an old Word Perfect file and found my letter to GM CEO. I must be a glutton for punishment because I've continued to buy GM cars and trucks for many years (before and after this 1990 Pontiac) and I've had electrical problems with almost every one of them. They must put all the emphasis on price and no emphasis on quality from their suppliers of electrical components. They've had this reputation for decades. I'm now more than weary of their problems.
August 24, 1993
Mr. J. F. Smith Jr. - President & CEO
General Motors Corp.
3044 West Grand Boulevard
Detroit, Michigan 48202
Dear Mr. Smith,
It defies my imagination as an electrical engineer how any manufacturing company with the resources of GM can continue to design and manufacture electronics with such consistently poor reliability.
My 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix STE purchased new in April '90 now with 31,000 miles has been plagued with electrical problems, since it was new. The first bad omen occurred when it was only 2 days old and the electronic control module failed leaving my wife and I stranded. One only has to read the Consumer Reports annual auto issue to know these electrical problems are typical with the Pontiac and other GM cars. I had hoped when purchasing this car that the electrical woes of my previous '83 6000 STE would be corrected.
Some of these problems which I've listed below, I consider quite serious and are a threat to safety:
1) Four Electronic Control Modules (ECM) replaced ...the first left me stranded with 217 miles on car, the last at about
2) Electronic compass and driver information center replaced
3) Instrument cluster replaced
4) Interior lights have on several occasions stayed on after
door was closed and discharged battery leaving my family
stranded. If I noticed the problem I would remove the fuse
to extinguish the lights. The dealer could never find
problem as it was intermittent and usually occurred in
bitter cold weather.
5) Have "lost" low beam headlights when switching from high
beam to low beam. Another intermittent problem but a very
serious safety problem that dealer could not duplicate or
correct. As car was out of warranty (38mos.) the diagnostic
charge was over $50.
6) Electronic compass indicates "recalibration required" once a
7) Cruise control is now starting to act erratically.
Sometimes it works fine, other times it will not engage, and
other times the car surges when engaged.
The service department of xxxxxxx in xxxxx, PA. has generally been satisfactory and has always been able to squeeze me in and where a problem exists fix it. The intermittent problems though have been more elusive.
The intent of this letter is not to address repair problems though ... it is to make you aware of what I (and many others) see as a serious deficiency in your design and manufacturing process. These kinds of problems should never reach the customer.
Like most other Americans I hope GM and the other U.S. car manufacturers can successfully compete head to head with the imports especially on quality and reliability. But I believe you've got a ways to go. My wife's 87 Subaru with 76,000 miles just runs and runs with only routine maintenance ... luckily as we need it to get to and from the Pontiac dealership.
#14 of 19 Re: 2010 LaCrosse CXL Electrical Problems - My car is dead. [surrfurtom]
Mar 12, 2010 (7:42 am)
I hear you about electrical problems man!! My 1990 Buick Skylark went through 5 alternators during the 10 years I had her! every time they put an alternator on, the good old Goodwrench techs couldn't figure out why I barely got 2 years out of an alternator! finally, after the fourth one went they told me oh it was due to an electrical problem and that they had fixed it! so the fifth alternator went on and I sold the car when it was 10 years old to a guy I worked with and he kept it for another 3 years! he himself went through two more alternators before junking the car for scrap metal! so much for GM finding the problem!
I never got reimbursed anything for all the thousands of dollars I spent in towing bills, parts/labor, etc from GM even after begging them to at least pay me just half of what I put out! what really is the kicker, GM only guarneted, during the 1990s at least, I'm not sure about now, the replacement parts and labor for 1 year; the replacement alternators always lasted to just over 1 year until it went so that I would be out of the part/labor warranty and would have to pay everything again and again and again; almost as if the parts were designed just to last over a year so you'd be back to get more money out of you
then my 1994 Chevy Lumina, that was on its 3rd alternator when I got rid of it at 7 years old!
it took me a while but I finally broke, the vicious throwing money down the toilet for repairs after repairs, from GM in 2005 and went to Japanese vehicles and couldn't be happier! you need to break the cycle man!
P.S. Oh I forgot, 1992 Buick Century went through 4 alternators in the I think 8-9 years I had it! seemed GM got better with alternators as each new model year progressed
#16 of 19 Re: 2010 LaCrosse CXL Electrical Problems - My car is dead. [smarty666]
Jan 03, 2011 (7:52 am)
Now that it is brought up, I've also had alternator issues with GM vehicles and I can't ever recall replacing one on other vehicles.
One I do recall, it was the diodes that kept going out. The first indication was at night you'd see the alternator idiot light very faintly. It was at that point with the third alternator when it left my posession.
I have come to the conclusion that GM is horrible about fixing some issues and suspect the union impedes.
One very long standing issue is with the remotes. The metal used to make the battery holder will not accept solder and consequently the solder only fills the hole on the circuit board where that holder attaches. Some have avoided buying a new remote by remelting the solder but that fix is temporary at best. I found a better way that lasted years.
Also on a 96 Aurora, they found that some electronic components were being eaten by spikes of voltage created when the cooling fans would cut in and out. There cure was to add a short jumper harness that included diodes to stop the spikes. Enter 2009 Malibu and it has the same issue and the exact same fix.
Some were recalled to add the fix, but mine was not in the applicable VIN's and it did not have the diodes! This could potentially be the cause of the crazy electric power steering issue that would try to drive me off the road about once every thousand miles. Car is gone back to GM and may be on the road somewhere.
#17 of 19 Re: 2010 LaCrosse CXL Electrical Problems - My car is dead. [e_net_rider]
Jan 03, 2011 (3:27 pm)
".....I have come to the conclusion that GM is horrible about fixing some issues and suspect the union impedes."
Why would you think that the union would have any say in what's wrong with a component? A bad diode (if that's the problem, and not the symptom of the problem) is not a component mfr'd by an automaker. MANAGEMENT decides where to buy from. Engineers (who I don't believe to be union) design and test the cars, and that's where you would find fault with an issue that is unresolved prior to manufacture.
#18 of 19 Re: 2010 LaCrosse CXL Electrical Problems - My car is dead. [cooterbfd]
Jan 03, 2011 (9:23 pm)
Sorry, but in most cases if the company is union then all employees except management are. Because union benefits don't relate to product quality it often suffers because management then has to decide upon a less costly methods to maintain profitability. Also many companies that build auto parts are owned subsidiaries.
The simple diode pack for alternators is not new and relatively simple in today's level of technology. So it should be quite simple for anyone with a bit of experience. But enter the union and you can not remove someone from a job that is not performing well without great effort. You can't even put them into something more qualified. The union's main aim is more employees, thus more dues being collected.
I met a union autoworker while waiting for mine to be serviced for 3 mo old bad battery. According to him the union would be the holy grail, it was responsible for being able to build cars, not the company. And btw the company was trying to short pay him and a myriad of other bad comments about GM. But absolutely nothing bad about union.
I can show you at least four exterior flaws on my vehicle that would have been done during final assembly. With that many on one vehicle, that is at least four people that should lose their jobs plus those that would be handling any oversight of such workmanship.
#19 of 19 Re: 2010 LaCrosse CXL Electrical Problems - My car is dead. [e_net_rider]
Jan 08, 2011 (1:18 pm)
".......I can show you at least four exterior flaws on my vehicle that would have been done during final assembly. "
That I would agree with. I know here at Verizon, engineers are management postions.