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Discussion Starter #1
Was hoping someone may be able to help. I live on a street called Mountain Street for a reason... it's a big hill. I can't park the car in my driveway or on my street anymore without the car rolling away.

My solstice will no longer be held in place by the parking brake (the brake never worked well an has been adjusted) OR when parked and left in any gear. The car will roll down hill when the transmission is placed in reverse or first AND the parking brake applied all the way.

Took the car to my mechanic and he thinks it's the pressure plate. To check if it was spinning the motor due to a loss of compression, he put it in 5th gear and parked it on a hill, turned the ignition on but didn't start the car. The car immediately began to roll forward, making clicking noises as the car kept lurching forward with each click. Eventually the ignition started as the car kept moving forward faster and faster.

The car just exited the powertrain warranty 6 weeks ago. I called Pontiac and am hoping they will help me out. They have me bringing the car in for a free diagnostic next week to diagnose the problem. We'll take it from there. In the mean time, any thoughts with what could be causing this? Pressure plate, clutch, and loss of compression are all running through my head.

2007 Pontiac GXP, about 42,000 miles on it.
 

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Doubful that it will be an enginge or transmission problem,not impossible though.More than likely it is an issue with your brakes.They are more agressive brake pads available,my suggestion would to bring it to a reliable brake company or go online and find a better brake pad for your E brakes.If it were engine related you more than likely would see it in your driving not to mention your gas milage and overall performance.If it were your clutch you would notice your clutch pedal being low or you would probably see an issue when you shift between gears.Try this ,see if you can spin your tires ,not a great suggestion but you would notice slippage if your clutch were failing .The fact that you can roll down the hill and actually start your engine makes me think that your clutch is holding enough to turn the motor over and that there is enough compression to start it.Come on 42K on the clock should not be enough to kill you rings.Is this your car from new or is it one that was purchased used?If it was new when you purchased it you would know from your driving habits and how hard you drove it.
 

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This is a manual transmission, right? On my 08 NA I get a little bit of this on a steep incline. My solution is to make sure that when the front is inclined downward, put it in 1st gear and if the front is inclined up put it in reverse. Along with the parking break this keeps it stable.
 

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Just a note. It is widely known that the e-brakes in these cars are for crap and don't work that well. Some have had luck adjusting them, but it doesn't always work. I freaked out the first time I tried to set the e-brake without it being in gear and the car rolled as if it wasn't set. They apparently also lose pressure after a bit so you can go back after 30 minutes and pull up on the handle some more.

That being said, it is my understanding that if you were to put a manual car in gear with the engine off, it should not move (putting it in 1st when facing uphill and reverse when facing down hill). I've done this will all my manuals and never had an issue. It seems to me that something must be up, whether its the engine like you think or perhaps the clutch like fosti says.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The car is a Manual transmission. The car will roll down the hill regardless if the car is in put in first gear or reverse. Neither will hold the car in place. I will be getting the brakes worked on, but knowing how poor the parking brake is on this car and living on a very steep hill, I need both systems working well to keep my car from rolling away.

I can still break the rear tires loose when the pavement is wet and can't get the clutch to slip as far as I can tell, but the clutch does engage a bit higher than before.

One of my friends who is a mechanic thinks it may be the pressure plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, no lack of power, but the Turbo may be compensating for it. Fuel economy is still mid to high 20's and I do usually drive the car pretty card. Last time it was on a highway trip, mileage was close to 28 mpg.

The mechanic said that if it was a compression or related issue, the computer should be turning on the check engine light. No codes as of yet....
 

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Was hoping someone may be able to help. I live on a street called Mountain Street for a reason... it's a big hill. I can't park the car in my driveway or on my street anymore without the car rolling away.

My solstice will no longer be held in place by the parking brake (the brake never worked well an has been adjusted) OR when parked and left in any gear. The car will roll down hill when the transmission is placed in reverse or first AND the parking brake applied all the way.

Took the car to my mechanic and he thinks it's the pressure plate. To check if it was spinning the motor due to a loss of compression, he put it in 5th gear and parked it on a hill, turned the ignition on but didn't start the car. The car immediately began to roll forward, making clicking noises as the car kept lurching forward with each click. Eventually the ignition started as the car kept moving forward faster and faster.

The car just exited the powertrain warranty 6 weeks ago. I called Pontiac and am hoping they will help me out. They have me bringing the car in for a free diagnostic next week to diagnose the problem. We'll take it from there. In the mean time, any thoughts with what could be causing this? Pressure plate, clutch, and loss of compression are all running through my head.

2007 Pontiac GXP, about 42,000 miles on it.
Sorry to hear the problems you are experiencing! Could you please Private Message me your case number? I would like to look further into your situation.

Thank you,
Caron, GM Customer Service
 

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Just a note. It is widely known that the e-brakes in these cars are for crap and don't work that well.
A related question, so I'm not completely hijacking this thread...

With 4-wheel disc brakes, just exactly how do our emergency brakes actually work? Small set of brake shoes? e-brake lever somehow operates the disc brakes by applying hydraulic pressure? Or...???

Inquiring minds want to know.
 

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With 4-wheel disc brakes, just exactly how do our emergency brakes actually work? Small set of brake shoes? e-brake lever somehow operates the disc brakes by applying hydraulic pressure? Or...???
Mechanical coupling to the rear disc calipers.
 

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I rather doubt that your clutch is slipping just sitting there, if it doesn't when you are driving it.

It is quite possible for the weight of the car to cause the engine to turn over if the brake is nonoperative. This is more likely to happen on engines with lower resistance - lower compression 4 cylinders have a lot less rotational inertia than a V8, for instance. It will usually 'chug' in other words move forward until the engine hits compression stroke, pause and then maybe continue another cycle. A friend had a car that took most of the night to make it all the way down his driveway - possibly the compression was slowly released past rings or valves that weren't sealing properly and when it got down to the point where there was insufficient resistance to hold, it would turn another engine cycle.

This is usually only a problem on really steep inclines or with engines in poor shape and lacking compression, but if your slope is steep enough it could be the explanation even with a good engine, and it is why your mechanic found that it would 'cog' forward in cycles when he tried it.

I'll be interested in what GM finds, but in the end, it is very hard to implement a useful and effective hand brake on a rear disc brake. Volvo are among the few that have managed, and they did it by having what was effectively a small drum brake inside the rear disc hat.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I rather doubt that your clutch is slipping just sitting there, if it doesn't when you are driving it.

It is quite possible for the weight of the car to cause the engine to turn over if the brake is nonoperative. This is more likely to happen on engines with lower resistance - lower compression 4 cylinders have a lot less rotational inertia than a V8, for instance. It will usually 'chug' in other words move forward until the engine hits compression stroke, pause and then maybe continue another cycle. A friend had a car that took most of the night to make it all the way down his driveway - possibly the compression was slowly released past rings or valves that weren't sealing properly and when it got down to the point where there was insufficient resistance to hold, it would turn another engine cycle.

This is usually only a problem on really steep inclines or with engines in poor shape and lacking compression, but if your slope is steep enough it could be the explanation even with a good engine, and it is why your mechanic found that it would 'cog' forward in cycles when he tried it.

I'll be interested in what GM finds, but in the end, it is very hard to implement a useful and effective hand brake on a rear disc brake. Volvo are among the few that have managed, and they did it by having what was effectively a small drum brake inside the rear disc hat.
The compression theory is pretty much what I was thinking... I am a Mechanical Engineer and tend to over-analyze things. But everything does not add up. My mechanic has friends that work at another Pontiac dealership that he has talked to about the situation, and their theory is the pressure plate. This is a problem that has crept up over the past 3 or 4 months or so. I live on a steep hill and have a steep driveway. I have always parked it by leaving it in gear. In the past, I have been able to leave it in 2nd or 3rd and it was never a problem. Today 1st and Reverse will not hold the car. Since I am having some construction done at my house, my garage is unavailable for the car and I have nowhere else to park it but in a hill. Not to mention this being a significant safety issue for me, but anyone else around my car. Parking at friends' places and away from home can be an even bigger nightmare.

While the car was still within the 36 month bumper-to-bumper warranty, I complained about the parking brake not holding the car on even slight inclines. The dealer told me that they could not adjust the brake to make it any better (after charging me a diagnosis fee and basically doing nothing) and that I needed to leave the car in gear to park the car. That is the official GM Dealer solution I got 2 years ago when I complained about the parking brake almost exactly 2 years ago. It will be interesting to see what the same dealer says this time when their solution of leaving it in gear will not work either.
 

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I'll be interested in what GM finds, but in the end, it is very hard to implement a useful and effective hand brake on a rear disc brake. Volvo are among the few that have managed, and they did it by having what was effectively a small drum brake inside the rear disc hat.
Au contraire, mon ami. Audi have managed it very effectively in the 3 different Audis I had before I got my Sol. Even the Alfasud ti I had back in blighty (early 80's) wouldn't move a fraction, even on a steep hill. May not be that all cars excel there, but a lot more than a couple. Plus the Audis at least, do it the same way ours do, with a mechanical linkage to the rear piston.

The one thing I HATE about our handbrakes is the rotten placement. High and far right - VERY difficult to gain leverage.
 

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If you think it is the clutch, put a chalk mark on the belt. If the car moves and the belt doesn't, it is the clutch. As for the hand brake, best to get it adjusted at the calipers. I had mine to the dealer twice (I could push it with the handle all the way up), first they did the handle adjustment, very little increase, then they did the caliper adjustment, now my hand brake holds in all situations and continues to do so after two years.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I parked in my driveway, turned off the ignition, put blocks behind the car, placed it in 2nd gear and watched the belt move as the car creeped down the hill. When placed in reverse, the belt was moving in the other direction.
 

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When placed in reverse, the belt was moving in the other direction.
Ah, don't do that. I assume you had the car pointed downhill going forward, with it in reverse. Sounds like you were spinning the engine backwards at that point, not a good thing to do.

So if the clutch isn't slipping, then I am thinking you have low compression. :(

I can't speak for others, but I have never seen either one of our Skys even hint at moving with the car in 1st or reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My driveway points uphill, so the car was trying to go in reverse.

I used to be able to leave it in 2nd or 3rd and not worry about it a couple years ago... I have parked on steeper hills in the past by leaving it in gear too. But usually the car is in the garage where it is flat. I likely wouldn't have realized I had an issue if I couldn't use my garage right now.
 

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I would never trust engine compression to hold a car on an incline. Some are 'tighter' than others, but they all leak. Funny story to go along with this. Buddy of mine always sat on his motorcycle with his foot on the kickstarter, but held up by engine compression. One time after sitting a long while, a couple cute girls came by our way, we had been sitting quite a while, the engine must have been close to a valve opening anyway, just as the girls walked by, the kickstart lever dropped and my buddy fell off his cycle almost flat on his face. Those two always laughed at us everytime we saw them since.
 

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At about 40K my ebrake wouldn't hold my car in reverse even on the slightest of slopes. Recently, I replaced my pads and found that one of the rear caliper pistons had adjusted itself almost all the way out, while the other wasn't. This lead me to believe that as the pads wore away, one side of the rear brakes was taking up the slack and the other wasn't. Adjusting the cable did nothing.

When I put the new pads on and adjusted the pistons back to original setting, the ebrake now holds like a gorilla. I could park it on pikes peak and it wouldn't roll.

The car rolling downhill has been a common occurrence since the old days, there's even a vid of one doing it on youtube.


Basically, you just need to do what is described in this thread,

http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f42/e-brake-adjustment-works-70613/ Unfortunately the pics are gone.

You basically just buy one of these rear brake piston adjustment tools at oreilly's, looks like a borg cube.


If you find out that the borg cube won't fit the holes in the piston, (about half of the damn things don't), then you can use a pair of needle nose pliers.


Then press and turn in the rear pistons, (clockwise). Put everything back together and then pump the brakes halfway down and repeat till firm, THEN try your ebrake, but not before getting the brakes firm.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
O.K. I took the car to the local dealer and they have done NOTHING with respect to diagnosing a power train issue and only looked at the brake system.

They informed me that the Left Rear Caliper is defective and needs to be replaced for $501 plus tax. When I asked if they did a compression check or anything beyond the brakes, they told me "no, and that the engine and power train is not designed to hold the vehicle on a hill and that is what the parking brake is for". I am more concerned about a power train issue that is in its early stages at this point than anything else.

I have owned this car since brand new for 5 years now, and the power train alone has always held the car up until a few months ago. At this point, they are telling me I have a brake problem and nothing else, even though they refuse to look into anything beyond the brakes.

They tell me that if there was a compression issue, that the motor would put out some error codes. Yet when I asked if there were any error codes, they could not positively confirm with me that there were any error cores present or not.

I am beyond frustrated at this point. Should I take the car to another garage and have a Leak Down Compression Test done on the motor to see if there is an issue with compression? They haven't even performed a basic compression test either.

For the other Solstice GXP owners out there with a manual transmission vehicle out there, of you put your car in 1st or Reverse on a hill and don't use your parking brake, will the power train hold your car? If I place the car in 5th, it's like having the car in Neutral! It wasn't like this before.

For all the other Solstice GXP owners out there with manual transmissions, is this typical for your car too, or does putting your car in 1st/reverse on a hill without uding your parking brake hold your car?

Any more thoughts/advice?
 

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First, don't spend $500 on a new caliper straight away. First do the piston adjustment that Aztek talks about above, screw that sucker all the way in and then let it re-adjust. A number of folks have experienced the sticking/seized piston issue and that has solved it. This is pretty easy to do yourself... just look for any of the "swap pads" threads around for details.

Second, if you are concerned about compression, then sure, go ahead and get it checked. I agree with you that you should find another dealer. If they don't do as you ask and can't answer your questions, then what effing use ARE they?
 
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