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Hi guys, I absolutely love the look of the solstice. I've test driven a few non gxp. they were great but I wanted more engine. The GXP looks like it would solve this problem but the closet one is 100miles away so when I go out there, It'll probably be to buy it (Unless it has some strange problems in test drive.)

It's a 2009 GXP 18000 miles on it. It would be my everyday car, I've read some reviews that say the solstice is junk and full of problems and others that endlessly praise it.

So I'm looking for some honest answers, Can I expect this to be a reliable everyday driver? okay with have 15k miles put on it a year? Or Should I expect lots of problems, or at least a few up coming pricey ones.

Thanks for your help and honestly.
I really don't wanna buy a Miata. :p
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Many people have used Solstices as their only car or daily driver for years. A small number of cars seem to have a cluster of issues while the vast majority just keep going and going and. ..

Even the problematic cars tend to be retained by their owners because they like driving them so much (or just being seen in the car)

GXPs need normal maintenance, premimum fuel, and have experienced their share of water pump failures and to a much lesser extent high pressure fuel pump failures.

Here is my standard reply.

The vast majority of the deployed fleet of Kappa’s have had little or no issues at all. The owners take them home, have the dealers do maintenance, put gas into them and drive them until they want something new or the car is damaged beyond economic repair.

A tiny minority of cars have issues. And a much smaller minority of that subset have serious problems. To my knowledge, there have been on the order of 12 owners with major issues, like engine failures or differential failures.

NA cars - that is the 2.4 L normally aspirated cars - are going for 100k, 200k and approaching 300kl miles with few problems. The problems are "normal" failures like water pumps, clogged catalytic converters etc. Some of the early cars had issues with the differential. Several were replaced under warranty. There was a recall for all 06 and 07 MY cars that addressed the rear end. Some cars have rear end wine and some have a "clunk" when making significant throttle changes. I have yet to see a failure resulting from these symptoms. The only failures I am aware of were loss of lubrication or just a mechanical failure . Again we are talking less than 10?

The GXP cars are also pretty much bullet proof. A small - very tiny minority have had significant electrical problems that have been traced back to manufacturing errors. One Sky - GS Stage1 on the Sky forum had major issues that resulted in over a year of problems. In the end he got taken care of by GM, new engine, partial remanufacturing of his car . ..
Should GM Buy Back My Car? - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum

One GXP coupe had a series of undiagnosed electrical problems that GM chose to not address but they bought the car back from the Oregon owner and made him good.

GXPs have had some water pump failures, beginning as early as 25k miles with a cluster in the 50k region. All were repaired under warranty. There are several threads that cover this information,
waterpump woes

Some automatic cars have had hard downshifting issues. It appears that these are related to cam position servo failures that cause the transmission control module to go into protection mode intermittently.
Auto transmission suckage

There have been issues with the tops early on due to improper adjustment of the top mechanism and / or the door windows. Some cars were built without the acoustic liner and are noisier. Some early cars were built with plastic ball end joints which failed in some cases are resulted in a redesign. Putting the top up without opening the doors or lowering the windows will cause issues over time. Failure to lubricate the side hinges over the windows can result in sticking.

top ripping/pinching fix

There are cables that actuate the trunk release and the buttress releases. The plastic retention balls on the ends can fail and make it impossible to open the trunk normally.

Trunk won't open


Get a GM record pulled to verify the in service date and warranty remaining. Any GM dealer can do this for you.

You want to start with the local car because the Sky and Sol are highly susceptible to damage when lifted improperly. The front fenders crack frequently due to road vibration and are easily crushed if lifted with a floor jack. If there is damage you want to identify it before sale and with a dealer you can push to get them to repair the damage as part of the sale. There are basically no available right side factory fenders anymore and few left side fenders. They are repairable and there are aftermarket replacements available from DDM but you need to know if the fenders are cracked as this can be up to a $1k swinger on the retail price.

You also want to take a good look at the bottom front. Because of the configuration of the car nearly every new owner rams them into curbs one to several times and they get damaged. At the very least there will be scrapes on the bottom of the bumper cover that you can use to get a lower price or commitment to repair from a dealer that you probably will not get from a private party seller.

You also want to take a hard look at the top. More than a few cars have had problems with the folding mechanism that has damaged the canvas where it folds over the windows and / or damage to the canvas when it rubs against an improperly adjusted side window. The top is also susceptible to damage from the hold down feet mounted on the trunk lid. The rubber feet come off, fail or even twist allowing direct contact between the mounting structure and the top canvas while the top is in the trunk. I have seen more than one car that has holes in the top due to this. The canvas is $1600 plus installation which at a dealer can run into several hundred dollars. And to the best of my knowledge while there are plenty of replacement canvas parts available, there are no more top assemblies in stock.

You want to visually inspect the cup holders. The front one is notorious for failing and they cost upwards of $100 for replacement parts plus installation labor. The rear one between the seats is much more robust however they can and do get so full of dust and dirt that they will no longer deploy. If treated well they are fine but you do not know till you try to pull the things out.

Another area that I recommend you inspect is the center console. If the previous drivers did like me and leaned on them hard while driving and used them as a support while getting in and out of the car, they all will crack right down the center. I have had mine replaced under the warranty but you are probably out of warranty. The cover is easy to replace but again is in the range of $100 for a replacement part from GM. There are several threads that cover reinforcing below the cover so it will not crack again and DDM has a replacement that is much stonger and includes two cup holders but again that is in the same cost plus shipping and you get to install it.

If you are by chance looking at a 2008 RL, one factor is the production run for the first 6 or 8 months deleted the electronic vacuum pump that provided motive force for the brakes immediately after start up. The issue presents itself on some cars as high brake pedal force required and / or pulsing of the brake pedal for the first few seconds to the first couple of minutes upon cold start after sitting for an extended period or at high altitude. The issue is that the turbo car does not generate much vacuum (its boosted) and as a result once the vacume accumulator leaks down, there is no vacuum for the power brakes when you start. And when you start the factory tune, it is set to heat up the catalytic converter and not optimized for creating vacuum. There was a big safety investigation made and a lot of people had problems with this about mid-way through 2008 calendar year. My wife's car falls in this group and about once or twice a year we get the symptoms but it works fine through it and within about 30 seconds there is normal brake feel. The factory has a software update that if asked they will install on cars with this complaint and in extreme cases there is a retro fit kit that adds back on the electronic vacuum pump. But again, you cannot tell if the car you are looking at falls into this group or not unless you physically check for the pumps presence on the left side of the engine block, and unless you drive the car from a cold start. If you are buying from a dealer you could make the software update part of the deal and get a promise to do the pump retro fit under warranty because GM normally pays for it.

You want to cycle the driver’s seat up and down because a lot of cars have never had their electric adjusters cycled and they need to be freed up and lubricated before they work correctly. In fact, I did a test last year and out of 40 cars and 80 drivers only 5 knew that the driver’s seat went up and down with the switch! Servicing the seat is no big deal but it will be half an hour of labor and some parts allowance so its in the $100 range. If you buy from a dealer you are much more likely to have this addressed as part of the deal than if you buy from a private party. And if you do not have access to the car its difficult to verify operation.

Many, maybe most of the key fobs for 2006 through 2008 at least have a known manufacturing problem. The metal tab / connector that holds the battery in place has a cold solder joint. The fob starts to work intermittently and eventually stops working. If you are good with a solder iron you can easily fix it as many of us have done, but if not, then the dealer will charge you around $100 for a replacement fob and programming it with the car. Potentially times two. If you have access to the fobs, you can pop them open and inspect the condition of the at risk part and know if you are good to go or not. If not, again you are much more likely to get the fob replaced as part of the deal by a dealer.

The door sills have an aluminum insert that is glued to the plastic part. Unfortunately as a result of the attachment method and the difference in coefficient of thermal expansion between the aluminum trim insert and the plastic door sills, the aluminum part will almost always bow up around .25 inches in the middle during cold weather. In some instances drivers will drag their heels across the door sills and can catch the trim plate and bend the crap out of it. They are relatively cheap - around $25 plus labor to install, but if you find it after the fact then it’s your $25 and not the sellers.

If you are getting a GXP, put an OBD2 reader on it and pull any codes. There can be codes that are not displayed but that can indicate incipient problems.

Have the selling dealer pull the outlet air tube from the turbo at the turbo and check for oil. A little oil is normal. If there is a lot of oil there then have the breather valve checked. When they fail, and if the car is driven moderately hard they pump oil out of the valve cover into the intake at the turbo. If there is a LOT of oil there, have them check the drain on the intercooler to verify that it is not holding pooled oil there.

Check the intake clamps for condition. The factory clamps are basically radiator screw clamps and have been known to fail and allow leakage which can cause tuning issues under boost
 

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And



1) Run a CARFAX report to check for any issues on record

2) Go to the GM dealer with the VIN and pull a report from the GM maintenance database, it will provide a lot of useful info on maintenance, failures, mileage, and recalls applied or outstanding

3) Early 08s had the electric vacuum brake booster pump deleted. Some have had issues due to this. There are two fixes, one software one adds the pump back to the car as a "kit"

4) 09s had the center double cup holder deleted. Many find this a problem and some have had the dealer install one. See threads on this subject

5) 2010 MY has updated engine management software and is not compatible with the GMPP tune.

6) Check the front cup holder to see if it’s there and functional.

7) Visually inspect the differential for seeping / leaking and operation. Some 07s had noise issues and there was a recall to install a special additive to address issues.

8) Visually inspect the undercarriage. Look for damage due to lifting in the area of the front fenders and the front lift points. Put a torque wrench on the bolts that retain the wheels on the inside as there are a few cases of these coming loose. Check the shocks for leakage, there are a few instances of them failing prematurely.

9) Visually inspect the "chin" for damage, many have been run into curbs and need repair. It’s a place where you can easily get it fixed but could negotiate the fix into the purchase price.

10) Cycle the tops several times for proper operation and look for any wear on the sides where the trunk hold down feet contact the fabric. Some scuffing is ok but the unwary owner has often had the top holed in this area. Visually inspect the trunk lid to make sure the rubber portion of the hold down feet are intact and properly aligned. Check the top for proper deployment and any sticking as well as general alignment. Make sure the twin flaps move freely and smoothly. Verify that both buttresses release easily and completely. Check the condition of the trunk hinges and the torsion bars. If the trunk has popped open when in motion, the hinges can be damaged and the torsion bars are known to fail occasionally. The fix is to pull the rear bumper cover and while it’s not difficult, it can be a significant labor charge to get it done.

11) Visually inspect the center console. Many have failed due to their design. If the previous owner put any significant weight on the center console cover, it is most likely cracked. The cracking starts at the curved rear portion on the driver’s side and progresses up through the center of the console cover. Often you can press down on the cover and see it flexing abnormally in this area and determine that it is unsound. It’s an easy fix, but if out of the bumper to bumper warranty, it will cost about $100 for a new part. If in doubt, pull up on the rear of the console cover and it will pop up so you can visually inspect the underside.

12) Visually inspect the tire pump assembly in the trunk. It’s about $50 to replace and its all you have on the road.

13) Visually inspect the intercooler for damage or defects. Many have been run into curbs and damaged, they are subject to foreign object damage on the road and unless you give them a good look you may not discover it until you have a problem. In rare instances, GMPP equipped GXPs have experienced splitting of the IC can on the outlet side. It is hidden by the plastic shroud but you can infer damage if there are codes thrown regularly or on cold start you listen up front near the ground you can hear a sucking sound.

14) Manually inspect the hose clamps for tightness. Give the air cleaner a quick look. If its full of tons of junk, that may be an indicator of the attention that the car received from the current owner and be a subject for triggering a more detailed inspection of the car by a trusted tech.

15) Check the condition of the MAF sensor where it mates with the intake tubing up front. Some have been broken off and glued back on as an expedient repair. This is not necessarily bad but is another indicator of the level of attention the current owner gave to the car.

16) Check for heavy uneven wear in the tires. If they were rotated as required, they should be evenly worn. If they are not, then that is another indicator.

17) Pull up the passenger side carpet and give the BCM a quick look. Is the cover in place? Does it show signs of having been removed frequently? Are there any signs of modification or tampering?

18) Inspect the fuse / relay box on the left side of the engine bay at the firewall. Look for any signs of problems, excessive handling or modifications.

19) Visually inspect the turbo for any signs of external cracking, oil leaking, or “modifications” to the actuation rod. The locktite should be intact with no signs of the nut having been turned.

20) Check the coolant level and color. If there is any question or anomaly, have it tested for specific gravity.

21) Have a person sit in the passenger seat to verify the proper operation of the seat airbag sensor. Several have failed and its relatively expensive to have them repaired out of warranty.

22) Check for proper operation of the driver’s seat lift motor. Many are never used and need to be lubricated to free them up properly.

23) Road test the car. Make sure all systems are functional. Check the DIC for all displays and the presence of any codes or warnings.

24) Visually inspect all the rubber seals – they are hard to find and some are very expensive.

25) Visually inspect the condition of the headlight and tail light assemblies. They are expensive and difficult to find. Some light pitting can be polished out but cracks are a problem.

26) For automatic cars, drive the car in low speed conditions an check for smooth upshifts and downshifts. Some cars are experiencing very hard 3-2 and 2-1 downshifts apparently due to undiagnosed camshaft position sensor failures
 

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hello, Whow and Rob youre the man again.

heck yes get the GXP! Faster than Porsche Boxer S, BMW Z3 4 better handling stock than a 350 Z. Plus they are and always will be "hey is that a Porch" at the local fuel stop. LOL.

Oh and you can make it go even faster!


 

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:agree::agree::agree:
 

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Norm! When can we see and buy that new hood? Lot of guys around here are thrilled about it.

By the way, I use the GXP as my daily driver. Had it about 4 months now and just broke 100k miles. I've had no major mechanic problems and love it. Its totally impractical, though. You can have 1 passenger and very little trunk space, especially with the top down. If you're okay with those serious limitations, you won't find a better car in this price range.
 

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Ritsuno - you could just offer to fly Rob out for your test drive. Might be easier than going through his list, as concise and thorough as it is!

Norm - I really like the yellow and black one. The car is nice too.
 

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I have 2 of them and am wanting a 3rd. yes they have their fair share of problems but doesn't everything else? Here's a perfect example. March 2012 I bought the wife a brand new scion. earlier this year it was in the shop and got a new blower motor. Today it's in the shop for engine noise with only 18k miles and they just told me that they were going to need to change out the rings. parts coming in Friday and I hope to have it back mid next week. Scion is put out by Toyota and they have teriffic reviews so I would not go by reviews. Buy the damn Solstice.

P.S, guy in a miata just doesn't look right to me.
 

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The ultimate decision is on you.
The posts above give you an idea of what to look for, but ultimately if you do not feel good about the car, then it does not matter what anyone else says.
Is a car and it will have some issues.
How you drive it and maintained it is another part of the equation with a car.
Good luck.
 

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If you aren't serious about a GXP, don't test drive one.... You WON'T go back to the NA version!!!! The turbo car is all that and more!!! You wouldn't regret it!
 

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Simply put, yes, buy one. I had one and it was full of issues but that car was the most enjoyable car I had ever owned even with the problems. The joy I got from driving it every week day made the issues so minuscule that I mostly forgot about them when driving it. I sold it on a whim and have regretted it since. I plan to buy another after the first if the year. Buy one and you'll be in love instantly.
 

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I am glad I did not pay a premium for my Solstice. Never thought I would run across as many nuisance problems on a car that only has 42,000 miles.

My Buicks and GMC trucks definitely had better build quality and better components. I guess that is what happens when price drives production. My 2000 GMC truck never needed a single repair in over 180,000 miles. Same with the '04 Buick. The '08 GMC truck had one infant failure in the fuel pump and had been flawless since.

The solstice is an amazing looking car. If I was not mechanically inclined I would not be happy with the nuisance issues that I can fix for a few bucks and some time, but would run me over a $100 a pop if I had to run to the dealer.
 

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My recommendation run counter to what other are saying. While I enjoying owning and driving our Kappa's I do not consider them daily drivers or winter cars. For some of us they are secondary cars. If fact, to a lot of us they are toys that are only played with on nice days, on weekends, or attending Kappa events and car shows.

This is why I encourage people to consider buying an additional cheap daily driver if at all possible. This is especially recommend if your state uses road salt. Now I admit it's not fun driving around in a POS when when everyone else is driving new shiny cars around you. But the payback comes when you do get to drive your Kappa, and in 5, 10 or 15 years those daily drivers that you thought looked so great at one time are now looking a little tired and ragged. Meanwhile you'll get questions like; That car is how old, what year did you say that car was, or wow that car is in really nice shape for the year it is.
 
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