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GM Active Fuel Management Woes


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msw007's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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March 13th, 2013, 12:01 AM   #1  
GM Active Fuel Management Woes

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> So I would like to discuss our recent troubles with our 2007 Chevy Tahoe LT 5.3L. We were finally able to purchase our first new car, 2007 Chevy Tahoe LT, ever in October 2006 from our local dealership. We decided on the Chevy Tahoe because we have had a used Chevy Suburban and Used Chevy Tahoe prior and have had excellent experience with both of them. It was truly a wonderful experience until now.


Flash forward to October 2012. While traveling several warning lights came on ďService Traction Control, Stablitrak, and Service engineĒ. We brought it to the dealership a few times to scan for a code and they couldnít come up with anything. So now we had to wait until it was actually happening and rush it over to the dealership so they can scan for the code while it was happening. Finally it was happening enough that we were able to get it to the dealer for the scan. The scan revealed that spark plug #1 was fouled and would cause a chain reaction on all the computers to go haywire. So they did a little research and they found a GM TSB (technical service bulletin) that said replace the valve cover gasket, replace all the plugs and wires. Keep in mind these are 100K mile platinum plugs/wires and we currently have around 79000 miles on the vehicle (GM recommends replacing these items at 100K miles). So we did what we were told and $700 later we were on our merry way.


Jump forward to January 2013. Now we start hearing a clunking sound on acceleration. We bring it back to the dealer and they canít seem to find anything (of course not????). Now February the sound is more apparent and all the warning lights have come back. I decided to take the car to a friend of mine who has a local shop and specializes in foreign autos. I knew he would take the time and do the research to finally tell us what the dealer couldnít. After having the car for a week the verdict was in. GM has this fuel management system introduced on this particular 5.3L motor in 2007. Itís supposed to be able to switch from 8 to 4 cylinders and back to help save on fuel (Active Fuel Management or AFM). To confirm the problem he would have to tear down the engine and check the intake valve on cylinder #1. This is when I said ďIím taking it back to the dealerĒ.


Now the dealership has the car and I didnít mention that I already had it looked at. I wanted to see if they would come up with the same diagnosis. Well after a week they did. I canít believe it since the initial $700 fix 3000 miles ago in November 2012 I now have to replace the engine, WTF! Needless to say I was not a happy camper. Now the car has been out of warranty for a little over a year (which has been pointed out to me over and over again) but thatís not the point. The point is we bought a brand new car so we wouldnít have any problems usually associated with used cars. A car that has less than 100K miles on it. A car that has been religiously serviced by our local Chevy Dealership. And now Iím being told I have to replace the motor!


The dealership called GM. GM was quick to say they would replace the motor and cover 50% of the costs? Well whoop de doo. Why were they so quick to offer that deal? Of course they are replacing it with a genuine GM remanufactured motor with a 3 year/ 50K warranty and thatís all they are willing to do. I donít expect the dealership to cover all the costs and it would be nice if I wasnít out of pocket any. Yes I know the car it out of warranty but I expect GM to back up their product. Did I mention I have purchased over $100K in new Chevy vehicles over the last several years.


So the car is no good to us. Canít drive it, sell it or trade it in. I basically have to take the deal.


My estimated out of pocket will be $3K plus tax.
So I decided to call GM directly and talk to them in a kind Christian sort of way (as only I can do). I figured if they heard from the customer directly that they would be willing to at least come down a little. I know the car isnít under warranty. The results were not what I was looking for. After they gathered all the information from the dealership and me as well they will only cover 50% of the cost. I explained to them that Iíve been a loyal customer, this car had less than 100K miles on it, Iíve spent over $100K in Chevy cars over the last several years. Nope all they would do is 50%. I asked would they would at least reimburse me for the $700 that I already spent that was totally unnecessary? Nope only 50%. Well letís just say things went pretty much south from there.


So here is where we stand. The dealership is putting in the new motor. They are working with me to get the price down under $3K. I donít begrudge the dealership I think they did what they could do (as personally later found out with GM). I donít begrudge the lady at GM Iím sure she has set parameters she has to follow and sheís just a drone in the corporation. However I do begrudge GM for not standing by their product. Do the research itís all over the internet. GM has a problem with this motor and itís ďActive Fuel ManagementĒ they know it and they will continue to have problems. Unfortunately if you do have this particular motor thereís no way to check if you will have this problem or not. I will never buy a GM product again. They have lost a loyal customer over $700.
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fishing nut's Avatar
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March 13th, 2013, 9:34 AM   #2  
That is a frustrating story, but I think you should be appreciative that GM was willing to cover 50% of a new motor. The situation as a whole sucks because when you bought the vehicle GM had no idea they would have issues with the AFM. I know someone that had an 09 suburban and at 95,000 miles he had the dreaded problem with the AFM and GM replaced the engine under warranty. They do stand behind there product and will honor there warranties. I had an issue with Ford and the paint on a truck and they would not honor there warranty, so back to GM I went. Overall a crappy situation for you to be in that is for sure.

 
in2pro's Avatar
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March 13th, 2013, 9:41 AM   #3  
msw007 Welcome to the forum
Thanks for the detailed write up and info, you are not alone in your gripe...keep us updated on the process...you may also want to take the time to file a complaint with the BBB....
Are you having any of the other issues prone to the 07? cracked dash, peeling door handles, oil consumption?
Not wanting to add insult to injury, just trying to get an idea... I also have an 07 with the 5.3l flex AFM and just rolled over 80k miles... knock on wood no issues except the peeling steering wheel so far... I too take my vehicle in to the dealer for all servicing...

 
msw007's Avatar
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March 13th, 2013, 12:34 PM   #4  
Thank you for your responses.
Fishing Nut, I find it interesting that GM was pretty quick to agree to cover 50% of the cost knowing my car has been out of warranty for over a year. I agree they could have said "go pound sand". My gripe is this is a design flaw and they know it.

THIS IS A GM DESIGN FLAW!
THIS IS GOING TO BE MORE APPARENT IN THE COMING MONTHS AS THESE 2007-2009 MODEL YEARS START CREEPING UP ON THE 75K-85K SWEET SPOT MILEAGE.
GM IS TRYING TO HIDE THE FACT THEY HAVE A PROBLEM AND HAVE A BAND-AID SOLUTIONS.
YOU CANNOT CHECK IT WITHOUT A COMPLETE TEAR DOWN OF THE MOTOR.
IF YOU HAVE THE 5.3L MOTOR OR ANY GM MOTOR WITH AFM I WISH YOU LUCK.
I HATE TO SAY IT BUT BUY THE EXTENDED WARRANTY BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT IN 5-7 YEARS.

 
fishing nut's Avatar
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March 13th, 2013, 1:53 PM   #5  
Yeah, I totally agree that is is a design flaw and GM should be looking to do more. I was lucky enough to know people who had the problems with the AFM so I choose to go with the small block 6.0l No AFM. Good luck in your fight against GM.

 
73shark's Avatar
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KC, MO area

March 13th, 2013, 7:02 PM   #6  
Does anyone know just exactly what is going wrong w/ the AFM that's causing the problem?

 
msw007's Avatar
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March 26th, 2013, 7:14 PM   #7  
Well we have the new remanufactured motor installed.
I spoke with the mechanic at the dealership and asked what exactly happened and if this was normal?
He told me the rings on the piston were worn and caused the leak by which fouled the plug. The cylinder wall were scarred and the other cylinders were starting to look worn.
He just shrugged his shoulders when I asked him if this was normal (that kind of says it all right there).
I know Black Bear Performance offers a tune solution to turn the AFM off. I guess they started to offer this due to the rash of complaints and problems that have been associated with this.
I have sent letters off to GM's upper management pleading my case. I'm not expecting much but it doesn't hurt to try.

 
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March 27th, 2013, 7:17 AM   #8  
Nhsta

File a complaint, if enough people do, it may force a TSB or recall.

Welcome to GM Quality.

I'm moving up to Lexus for the next one. Check the reliability stats for the past 10 years, GM isn't even in the top 100 lol.

I regret my 09 Tahoe as well.

So much in fact, I picked up a lifted 2012 Wrangler Rubicon just so I don't have to drive my Tahoe.

 
msw007's Avatar
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April 2nd, 2013, 6:14 PM   #9  
GM Acknowledges Letter

Posted By: msw007 Well we have the new remanufactured motor installed.
I spoke with the mechanic at the dealership and asked what exactly happened and if this was normal?
He told me the rings on the piston were worn and caused the leak by which fouled the plug. The cylinder wall were scarred and the other cylinders were starting to look worn.
He just shrugged his shoulders when I asked him if this was normal (that kind of says it all right there).
I know Black Bear Performance offers a tune solution to turn the AFM off. I guess they started to offer this due to the rash of complaints and problems that have been associated with this.
I have sent letters off to GM's upper management pleading my case. I'm not expecting much but it doesn't hurt to try.

So I received a phone call from GM Corporate (my letters got through). I have spoke with him several times and as of now GM is holding firm on the 50/50. They say because I accepted the deal there's nothing else they can do? I reminded him I accepted the deal because I had a useless car and it had to be fixed (holding a gun to my head).
I told him right up front I'm not looking to get off without paying anything. I understand the car was out of warranty but the fact of the matter is the engine failed under 100K miles.
He said there were a few more upper management people he could plead my case to. So I don't know if he's blowing smoke up my a** or he's being truthful. We'll see.

 
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April 3rd, 2013, 10:21 AM   #10  
Posted By: 73shark Does anyone know just exactly what is going wrong w/ the AFM that's causing the problem?
What I am gathering from what I am hearing, is that the deactivated cylinders lifters, are apparently operating dry or with minimal lubricant when disabled, or that the valves stop altogether but the lifer remains in motion but at a higher stress level and wear out, collapse, seize in the bore and tear up the cam shaft...
Anyone else ?

 
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