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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
CEL under high RPM/WOT, and trans won't shift

I have a 2008 NA w/ automatic trans and have noticed a loss of power the last few weeks. A few days ago, I was at WOT from say 20 mph :devil: and noticed that the car wasn't shifting normally. It would get to 6/6.5K and I'd have to let off the throttle for it to shift. Investigating further, I started getting a flashing CEL when this happened. I checked for a code when I got home and got nothing. I left it alone until the next afternoon and on my way home from work, went back to investigating, got the light to stay on and it was a P0300, random misfire.

I figured it was probably the plugs as the car has almost 70,000 miles on it. It's a cheap quick fix, so I grabbed plugs and swapped them out today. Back to testing and the condition still exists. On my last test the car freaked out. Got another flashing CEL and the DIC said "SERVICE TRACTION" and "SERVICE ESC". It started shifting hard and in very weird ways. So I stopped, shut it down, let it sit a few minutes and gave it another go. The funky shifting continued and I'm now thinking the car is in "limp mode". It shifts very hard when accelerating, and when decelerating, it lurches forward very dangerously as it slows and downshifts.

At this point I brought it straight to the dealer and I'm preparing to bend over when I get the diagnostics and estimate. Anyone else experienced this with their car?

I've got some hunches that it's either bad O2 sensors, a vacuum issue, or possibly a plugged cat. Thoughts?
 

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Camshaft actuators/solenoids, one or both. Just a guess, but I'm working off the hard shifting. ECM isn't sending the expected info to the TCM. TCM is going into its "safe" mode.

:dunno:
 

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I have a 2008 NA w/ automatic trans and have noticed a loss of power the last few weeks. A few days ago, I was at WOT from say 20 mph :devil: and noticed that the car wasn't shifting normally. It would get to 6/6.5K and I'd have to let off the throttle for it to shift. Investigating further, I started getting a flashing CEL when this happened. I checked for a code when I got home and got nothing. I left it alone until the next afternoon and on my way home from work, went back to investigating, got the light to stay on and it was a P0300, random misfire.

I figured it was probably the plugs as the car has almost 70,000 miles on it. It's a cheap quick fix, so I grabbed plugs and swapped them out today. Back to testing and the condition still exists. On my last test the car freaked out. Got another flashing CEL and the DIC said "SERVICE TRACTION" and "SERVICE ESC". It started shifting hard and in very weird ways. So I stopped, shut it down, let it sit a few minutes and gave it another go. The funky shifting continued and I'm now thinking the car is in "limp mode". It shifts very hard when accelerating, and when decelerating, it lurches forward very dangerously as it slows and downshifts.

At this point I brought it straight to the dealer and I'm preparing to bend over when I get the diagnostics and estimate. Anyone else experienced this with their car?

I've got some hunches that it's either bad O2 sensors, a vacuum issue, or possibly a plugged cat. Thoughts?
I had a similar issue on my 07 Sky NA. Here is the thread, check out post #13 and #23, on post 23 I showed the picture on what failed... In my case it was the CAM Actuator for the tranny issue..
Door Chimes Going Off & other Issues - Page 2 - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum :thumbs: Good luck!!:yesnod:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the responses!

Got the car back from the dealership yesterday. The same tech that always works on my car checked it out, so I know he's decent and does a good job. Definitely knows my car. I told him about what everyone here said and he checked it out in his diagnostic. He didn't find anything wrong and even contacted GM to discuss it with their techs. It was recommended to clear the codes, test drive it, and then give it back to me. $100 for the diagnostic, so I'm not too mad about it, but does seem like a waste of money.

They concluded I probably got a little water in my gas and that caused it. Recommended I run an additive through a tank of gas (I already had a can of sea foam in the current tank, so I think they're wrong). Another friend of mine that has a lot of GM knowledge seems to think it may be an O2 sensor. I checked the upstream O2 sensor last night to see if it had any carbon buildup or anything possibly telling me I have cat issues, but it looked normal. Still going to change it out this weekend since it's an inexpensive part and easy job and changing it can't hurt.

Regardless, the original problem still exists. The "limp mode" and jam me through the windshield hard shifting is gone due to the codes being cleared. I drove the car aggressively yesterday evening and it was still not shifting and letting the RPMs climb to 6-6.5K RPMs before I would let off the gas and it would shift. One one test I held the engine at 6K to see if it would eventually shift and again the "SERVICE TRACTION, SERVICE ESC" message came on the DIC. Hard shifting/limp mode returned, but reset itself upon stopping and restarting the car.

It drives normally when I'm not being aggressive, but there is something definitely up when i give it some gas.

Has anyone changed the VVT intake and exhaust solenoids? I see they are both about $60 a piece and I believe they are right in front of spark plug #1 on top of the engine. Any special tools needed to remove them and put new ones in? Any calibration or anything required? If things keep acting a fool I may want to try swapping them out myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update!

After reading for awhile and still seeing all the connections between this problem and the cam solenoid, I attempted to locate some replacements locally and change them myself. I was only able to get the intake solenoid and it was a quick 15 minute job. Bad news is it is still doing the same thing.

I did find this post on the HHR forum helpful: http://www.chevyhhr.net/forums/showthread.php?t=28779

I guess I'll see if I can get the exhaust solenoid on order for the weekend... that way I can change it and possibly the O2 sensor if that doesn't work...

I hate to throw parts at a problem, but I think at this point that's cheaper than taking it back to the dealership and paying them labor to shrug their shoulders and give the car back to me with no solution.

As usual, any ideas are much appreciated!
 

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Thanks for all the responses!



It drives normally when I'm not being aggressive, but there is something definitely up when i give it some gas.
There is your answer; discontinue beating on the car and it operates fine. Seems to me to be the least expensive and most predictable option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, so drive my car like it's made of glass is an acceptable solution? I don't buy that. The car is not shifting when it's supposed to. The "beating" I'm giving the car is to make the problem more apparent and establish a pattern for troubleshooting purposes. I don't beat my car down on a daily basis. I do toy with it from time to time (autocross, etc.), but I think it was designed for that being a sports car and all.
 

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(methinks Kelly's tongue was placed firmly in cheek. You know, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." Doc says "Well then don't DO that!")
 

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Update!

After reading for awhile and still seeing all the connections between this problem and the cam solenoid, I attempted to locate some replacements locally and change them myself. I was only able to get the intake solenoid and it was a quick 15 minute job. Bad news is it is still doing the same thing.

I did find this post on the HHR forum helpful: Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid Valve Replacement (w. pics) - P0010/11 P0013/14 - Chevy HHR Network

I guess I'll see if I can get the exhaust solenoid on order for the weekend... that way I can change it and possibly the O2 sensor if that doesn't work...

I hate to throw parts at a problem, but I think at this point that's cheaper than taking it back to the dealership and paying them labor to shrug their shoulders and give the car back to me with no solution.

As usual, any ideas are much appreciated!
Hi slusamson,

I apologize you are experiencing these concerns with your Solstice. We certainly don't like seeing our customers not fully enjoying their vehicle. I see that you are already involved with your dealer in finding a resolution. Please keep us informed on your situation and how your visit with the dealer goes.

Terrell
GM Customer Care
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@chickenwire... maybe so... kinda hard to tell that in a text based forum when you don't know there person on the other end... my apologies if I seemed harsh.

In other news, both camshaft actuator solenoid valves have been changed... I put in a new upstream O2 sensor as well... The problem still exists, but I think I'm narrowing in on the cause.

The limp mode is just an after effect of the real cause. I got a ODB II scanner that will allow me to reset the codes and I'm carrying it in the car so I can grab the codes whenever they show up. The P0300 random misfire code is the cause of everything. I can get the code to show up by itself as well as with the others. The others being a P2637 and a C0561 (traction control/torque management/ESC). P0300 is always the first to come up.

Considering the car had the injectors/fuel system serviced in the last 5,000 or so miles, I doubt that is the issue. I'm really starting to suspect the cat being clogged or a vacuum issue being the cause. I know the best way to check the cat is to drop the exhaust and look in there, so I may do that this weekend. What can I do to test the vacuum and what are the acceptable values I should be looking for?

@GMCustomerSvc Thanks for your response. I doubt I'm going to bring it back to the dealership because they are just going to charge me $100, tell me nothing is wrong, and give me the car back. I feel like I've already wasted enough money on them.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update:

Over the weekend I ran the remaining gas out of the car and put in a fresh tank of ethanol free 93 octane. Took it for a drive and it still won't shift correctly.

Today I bought another can of sea foam to put in the intake and clean that out. I also bought a vacuum/pressure gauge and checked the vacuum by putting it inline to the brake booster vacuum hose. I got about 25 bars, got my wife to keep it at 2500 RPMs, watched the pressure drop and come back up to about the same mark. I sucked in some sea foam it killed the engine and poured in a little more for good measure... let it sit about 20 minutes while the engine was warm and then fired it back up. Smoked a little, maybe a minute or so, but that was it...

I let the engine cool and a little later I took off the upstream O2 sensor, hooked up the gauge and cranked it up. The needle bounced between 0-1 bar at idle. I'm pretty sure the cat is fine.

Kinda running out of things I know how to check or replace. I'm wondering if the problem has no relation to the random misfire code I'm getting, and that too is an after effect or something else thats slowly dying. Maybe an actual transmission problem.

Any thoughts anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It turned out to be the catalytic converter... Just got the car back today and it's like a totally different car. It got so bad it was misfiring in 35 mph driving. It was covered under warranty too even though the 5 yr/100,000 mile warranty is up.
 
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