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    GM Expands Ignition Switch Recall Amid A Climbing Death Toll


    • GM expands their already big recall concerning faulty ignition switches


    Two weeks ago, General Motors announced a massive recall that involves 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalts built between 2005 to 2007 and Pontiac G5s built in 2007 because of a faulty ignition switch that slip out of the run position if jostled or if any weight was applied to the key in the cylinder. Now this problem has caused 22 accidents and claimed the lives of six people since the air bags didn't deploy since the key was turned away from the run position. Now a GM spokesman pointed out at the time that the lack of air bags weren't the only factor in these fatalities; high speed, alcohol, not wearing a seat belt, and going off the road played a role in the six different fatalities.

    At that time, GM told owners to remove non-essential items from their key rings and get to their nearest dealer for a free replacement of the switch.

    Well today, GM has expanded the recall to an additional 588,000 vehicles bringing the total amount to over 1.6 million vehicles. The vehicles announced in this additional recall are,

    • 2003-07 Saturn Ion
    • 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR
    • 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky

    Along with the addition of the vehicles to the recall, the number of crashes and fatalities has increased to 31 and 13 respectively.

    In a statement, General Motors says they have begun the process of letting owners owners of the affected vehicles know. But it will go further by reaching out to social media and its customer care centers.

    But this may be only the beginning of problems for GM. Last week USA Today got their hands on documents in a court case concerning the death of pediatric nurse Brooke Melton. In 2010, she got into a accident with her 2005 Cobalt, killing her. A dump of the vehicle's black box showed that before the crash, the key was not in the run position, thus turning off the vehicle and causing the vehicle to lose control. During the trial, a GM engineer said the problem appeared when testing the Cobalt before went on sale.

    This was confirmed by documents filed by GM to safety regulators yesterday. Engineers were able to replicate the problem and an inquiry was opened. However, no action was taken after lead time, cost and effectiveness of potential solutions were taken into account.

    The paperwork goes on to say that in 2005, GM started getting reports that Cobalts were losing power when a driver inadvertently hit the key or the steering column. The company issued a service bulletin telling dealers that the likely cause came down to a heavy or large key ring. Dealers were told to notify customers to remove non-essential items from the key ring. During the 2007 model year, GM transitioned to a new ignition switch.

    But it was a few years ago that GM started getting reports of accidents in Cobalts where the airbag didn't deploy. It was discovered that the key was turning into the accessory position.

    With this, GM has opened itself up to the potential of lawsuits.

    "The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been. Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward," said GM North America President Alan Batey.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), USA Today, (2), General Motors

    Press Release and GM's Filing is on Page 2


    GM Expands Ignition Switch Recall

    • Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Ion and Sky included
    • Company Launches Process Review

    DETROIT – General Motors is expanding the recall of certain 2003-2007 model year vehicles to correct a condition with the ignition switch that may allow the key to unintentionally move or switch to the "accessory" or "off" position, turning off the engine and most of the electrical components on the vehicle.

    In addition to 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada only, GM is separately recalling 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky models. The affected U.S. vehicle population, including those vehicles recalled Feb. 13, totals 1,367,146.

    This expanded vehicle population raises the number of reported incidents involving frontal crashes, in which the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the non-deployment of the frontal airbags, to 31 involving 13 front-seat fatalities.

    As part of the recall, GM is taking steps to address customer concerns and working with its suppliers to increase parts production and accelerate availability.

    GM will notify all affected customers that in addition to recalling their vehicles and performing repairs at no charge to them, GM and its dealers will work with customers on an individual, case-by-case basis to minimize inconvenience associated with the recall.

    "Ensuring our customers' safety is our first order of business," said GM North America President Alan Batey. "We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can."

    Going beyond required written notification, GM, through its customer care centers and social media teams, is using customer records and communications channels to notify affected customers of the recall and additional actions the company is willing to take to relieve their concerns and minimize inconvenience.

    GM is recalling these vehicles because the ignition switch torque performance may not meet GM specifications. If the torque performance is not to specification, and the key ring is carrying added weight or the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, the ignition switch may inadvertently be moved out of the "run" position.

    The timing of the key movement out of the "run" position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.

    Dealers will replace the ignition switch to prevent the unintentional or inadvertent key movement. Until this correction is performed, customers should use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring. As always, customers should drive responsibly and use their safety belts.

    On Monday, the company submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a detailed chronology associated with its initial recall of the ignition switch torque performance condition in Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s and Pursuits. The chronology outlines events that happened during the time that elapsed between receiving the first field reports and issuing a recall.

    "The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been," said Batey. "Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward."

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    What is sad is they new about in testing phase, so that was probably 2003-2004 and they for sure knew of the problem in 2005, yet did nothing. This is why they have a bad reputation and people don't trust them. How about getting it right the first time, rather than doing what is cheapest or "good enough." GM always had these press releases that say we are committing to doing better or being world class, and the new GM is different from the old, but they have been saying that for 30 years. Actions would speak louder than words.

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    One PreGM Bankruptcy and the BEAN counters were in control, so the cost of lawsuits outweighed building the product right. Clear enough, GM is aggressively working to fix this.

    I feel for the people who died and the families who lost loved ones. I think GM would be wise to let people know if all the deaths were only due to this or if human error also truly played a part as they imply in the comment about alcohol and other issues.

    End game, GM is still way better than they used to be. Can they improve YES THEY CAN, I believe this is a good test case for them to show it by aggressively going after repairing this.

    I would still take one of these GM auto's over anything German or Asian built. Simple fix, replace the ignition switch.

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    This same thing happened in my 1997 Cavalier causing the steering wheel to lock in a turn but luckily I was able to get the car into neutral and get the car restarted before I crashed. I have a feeling that this recall will get bigger over time.

    I resolved the issue by switching to my spare key which was still crisp and sharp unlike the worn key that I was using.

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    I hate to sound insensitive, but I think there is a major driver problem when the driver can't cope with a stall, except to crash.

    There's a stall, which is easy to manage...

    ... and then there's an unexpected steering wheel lock while driving. At that point, stalling is the least of one's concerns.

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    I hate to sound insensitive, but I think there is a major driver problem when the driver can't cope with a stall, except to crash.

    There's a stall, which is easy to manage...

    ... and then there's an unexpected steering wheel lock while driving. At that point, stalling is the least of one's concerns.

    Show me a source that claims the steering wheel locked. I haven't seen it. This is about the key either being loose and the car "falling out" of run or the driver bumping the key and knocking the key out of 'run'... but in either case, turning the key from run to acc to lock is not easy to do by bumping it. All the articles I've seen only mention the car stalling, not locking the steering... and then the airbag not functioning on impact.

    Since I am all too familiar with a '98 Sunfire (and a bit less familiar with the recently acquired '97 CheapHoe (Tahoe), which has the same exact key and ignition), it would take quite a bit a bumping to get the ignition to fall out of run... and consider that the '97's ignition is loose enough I can start it with my mailbox key. Playing with these, it really would take an unusual operation to accidentally lock the steering. Of course, these are not the ignition in question. I am not familiar with the Cobalt/SSR/Kappa ignitions and keys.

    In any case, if I jerked my ignition key and the car stalled and locked the steering, I would be immediately turning the key to see if it unlocked it.

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    Too much weight on the key ring has been named as one cause. These people who have fifty pounds of unnecessary stuff attached to their car keys always induce an eye roll. The ignition switches on Cobalts, etc., that are involved are a unique design.

    The fact that it has come out that GM discovered the problem long ago and came up with an ineffective fix is damning, though.

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    GM will have to eat crow, do normal damage control and pay out money. Then hopefully they will not listen to a bunch of bean counters and lawyers who only have their own wealth in mind and actually listen to the engineers who design and create these auto's so that the next problem like this comes up and they actually fix the issue never allowing it to get to the field.

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    I hate to sound insensitive, but I think there is a major driver problem when the driver can't cope with a stall, except to crash.

    There's a stall, which is easy to manage...

    ... and then there's an unexpected steering wheel lock while driving. At that point, stalling is the least of one's concerns.

    Show me a source that claims the steering wheel locked. I haven't seen it. This is about the key either being loose and the car "falling out" of run or the driver bumping the key and knocking the key out of 'run'... but in either case, turning the key from run to acc to lock is not easy to do by bumping it. All the articles I've seen only mention the car stalling, not locking the steering... and then the airbag not functioning on impact. <snip>

    If the ignition switch moves out of "run" in any car -- which is exactly what's happening with these vehicles -- the steering wheel locks subsequently. You don't need a news report for that.

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    If the ignition switch moves out of "run" in any car -- which is exactly what's happening with these vehicles -- the steering wheel locks subsequently. You don't need a news report for that.

    Simply wrong.

    On modern cars, there are four positions... Lock, Accessory, Run and Start, in that order. (See page 2-16 and 2-17 in the 2005 Cobalt Owners Manual (http://www.vadengmpp.com/owners-manual/chevrolet/2005-Chevrolet-Cobalt.pdf). The steering only locks on Lock. Falling out of Run would place the ignition either in Accessory or (depending on the switch contacts) something of a cross between Accessory and Run... If the steering locks in Accessory, you need to have your car ignition fixed, as its not working to GM specs.

    Even on older cars, with an ignition order of Accessory, Lock, Run and Start, there is enough of a gap between Lock and Run that you can remove the car from Run and place it in the gap between Lock and Run, where its off, but the steering it not locked. I know this for a fact, as I've shut off and restarted many of my cars countless times without locking the steering while the car was rolling along at speed.

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    OK, I shall admit my mistake and defer to your experience on this one. :bowdown:

    I had my Bonneville stall out countless times -- even on freeways -- when the MAF sensor was dying out. So many times that, in fact, I became a pro at rolling starts myself. Not fun, but hey. The thing was, I could actually feel the car stall out each time it happened, and the ignition was still in On so I had full power otherwise.

    It's a bit different when the car turns its own key to Acc and you lose your power steering and brakes (by GM's own account, this happens). It may not be an actual steering lock, but it sure might feel like it when you don't see it coming...

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    The squishy folks of today that have no muscles at all probably think it locks up when it slips out of run due to the increased resistance. Just think how bad it would be if it was truly manual steering of the 70's or older auto's! Men and Woman of those days had to have some arm muscles to drive a car. :P

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    I agree that loosing power is disconcerting, but it is like any other hazard of driving... you have to be prepared for anything... be it a sudden stall, a huge pothole, or a car darting out of nowhere into your lane. Steering/brakes not working normally? You better adjust your plans RIGHT NOW. One can argue fault all they would like, but it does not bring one back from the dead... the only person on the road that is looking out for your life is yourself.

    Dfelt, I used to drive my '68 Catalina with no assist, as the pitman arm seal leaked like a sieve, so I removed the pump. Nothing like regularly parallel parking a power steering car with no power steering to build the muscles. Ugh.

    Normal manual steering cars fixed the issue by have an insane turning ratio and a huge wheel to give you better leverage... so parallel parking involved turning the wheel 50 times to the right followed by 100 times to the left and then 50 times to the left again.

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    I agree SAmadei, today many drivers are paying more attention to their smart phone than to their driving.

    Loss of life is always sad and regretful, but I wonder how many of the 6 deaths involved the driver not really paying attention to their driving due to being distracted with other things and when the slip happened they just let it go. Each and every human behind the wheel has an obligation to their driving and the people around them.

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    One PreGM Bankruptcy and the BEAN counters were in control, so the cost of lawsuits outweighed building the product right. Clear enough, GM is aggressively working to fix this.

    I feel for the people who died and the families who lost loved ones. I think GM would be wise to let people know if all the deaths were only due to this or if human error also truly played a part as they imply in the comment about alcohol and other issues.

    End game, GM is still way better than they used to be. Can they improve YES THEY CAN, I believe this is a good test case for them to show it by aggressively going after repairing this.

    I would still take one of these GM auto's over anything German or Asian built. Simple fix, replace the ignition switch.

    Question is now two fold...

    1) how are they going to handle this? Prove to me GM that this is not just talk.....I'm got a front row now with my Balt...

    2) Just how much damage is this going cause? Hate to see them have to give away Cruzes because of the s**tbalts.....

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    Loss of life is always sad and regretful, but I wonder how many of the 6 deaths involved the driver not really paying attention to their driving due to being

    Not 6 deaths... 13.

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      The intake design is another example of the advanced integration included in the 2017 Silverado HD that makes it over-the-road capable.   
      A strong foundation
      As with previous versions, the new Duramax block features a strong cast-iron foundation known for its durability, with induction-hardened cylinder walls and five nodular iron main bearings. It retains the same 4.05-inch (103mm) and 3.89-inch (99mm) bore and stroke dimensions as the current engine, retaining the Duramax’s familiar 6.6L (403 cu.-in./6,599 cc) displacement.
      A deep-skirt design and four-bolt, cross-bolted main caps help ensure the block’s strength and enable more accurate location of the rotating assembly. A die-cast aluminum lower crankcase also strengthens the engine block and serves as the lower engine cover, while reducing its overall weight.
      The new engine block incorporates larger-diameter crankshaft connecting rod journals than the current engine, enabling the placement of a stronger crankshaft and increased bearing area to handle higher cylinder loads.
      An enhanced oiling circuit, with higher flow capacity and a dedicated feed for the turbocharger, provides increased pressure at the turbo and faster oil delivery. Larger piston-cooling oil jets at the bottom of the cylinder bores spray up to twice the amount of engine oil into oil galleries under the crown of the pistons, contributing to lower engine temperature and greater durability.
      A new, two-piece oil pan contributes to the new Duramax’s quieter operation. It consists of a laminated steel oil pan with an upper aluminum section. The aluminum section provides strength-enhancing rigidity for the engine, but a pan made entirely of aluminum would radiate more noise, so the laminated steel lower section is added to dampen noise and vibration.
      There’s also an integrated oil cooler with 50 percent greater capacity than the current engine’s, ensuring more consistent temperatures at higher engine loads.
      Segment firsts
      Re-melt piston bowl rim Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator Closed-loop glow plug temperature control Stronger pistons with remelt
      A tough, forged micro-alloy steel crankshaft anchors the new Duramax’s stronger rotating assembly. Cut-then-rolled journal fillets contribute to its durability by strengthening the junction where the journals — the round sections on which the bearings slide — meet the webs that separate the main and rod journals.
      The connecting rods are stronger, too, and incorporate a new 45-degree split-angle design to allow the larger-diameter rod bearings to pass through the cylinder bores during engine assembly. They’re forged and sintered with a durable powdered metal alloy, with a fractured-cap design enabling more precise cap-to-rod fitment. 
      A new, stronger cast-aluminum piston design tops off the rotating assembly. It features a taller crown area and a remelted combustion bowl rim for greater strength. Remelting is an additional manufacturing process for aluminum pistons in which the bowl rim area is reheated after casting and pre-machining, creating a much finer and more consistent metal grain structure that greatly enhances thermal fatigue properties.
      Additionally, the Duramax’s pistons don’t use pin bushings, reducing reciprocating weight to help the engine rev quicker and respond faster to throttle changes.
      Lightweight cylinder heads, solenoid injectors
      The redesigned engine retains the Duramax’s signature first-in-class aluminum cylinder head design, with six head bolts per cylinder and four valves per cylinder. The aluminum construction helps reduce the engine’s overall weight, while the six-bolt design provides exceptional head-clamping strength — a must in a high-compression, turbocharged application.
      A new aluminum head casting uses a new double-layer water core design that separates and arranges water cores in layers to create a stiffer head structure with more precise coolant flow control. The heads’ airflow passages are also heavily revised to enhance airflow, contributing to the engine’s increased horsepower and torque.
      The Duramax employs a common-rail direct injection fuel system with new high-capability solenoid-type injectors. High fuel pressure of 29,000 psi (2,000 bar) promotes excellent fuel atomization for a cleaner burn that promotes reduced particulate emissions. The new injectors also support up to seven fuel delivery events per combustion event, contributing to lower noise, greater efficiency and lower emissions. Technology advancements enable less-complex solenoid injectors to deliver comparable performance to piezo-type injectors.
      Electronically controlled, variable-geometry turbocharging system
      A new electronically controlled, variable-vane turbocharger advances the Duramax’s legacy of variable-geometry boosting. Compared to the current engine, the system produces higher maximum boost pressure — 28 psi (195 kPa) — to help the engine make more power, and revisions to enhance the capability of the exhaust-brake system.
      Along with a new camshaft profile and improved cylinder head design, the Duramax’s new variable-vane turbocharger enables the engine to deliver more power with lower exhaust emissions. It uses a more advanced variable-vane mechanism, allowing a 104-degree F (40 C) increase in exhaust temperature capability. The self-contained mechanism decouples movement from the turbine housing, allowing operation at higher temperature. That enables the engine to achieve higher power at lower cylinder pressure. Additionally, it has lower internal leakage, allowing more exhaust energy to be captured during exhaust braking.
      The integrated exhaust brake system makes towing less stressful by creating added backpressure in the exhaust, resulting in negative torque during deceleration and downhill driving, enhancing driver control and prolonging brake pad life.
      Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator
      A new Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator employed with the Duramax 6.6L is the first of its type in the segment and is designed to ensure oil control in sustained full-load operation. The totally sealed system collects the fine mist of oil entrained in the blow-by gas and uses a small portion of the boosted air generated by the turbocharger to pump the collected oil back to the engine oil sump for re-use by the engine. Less sophisticated systems are not able to return this oil during full-load operation, which can result in oil carryover into the cylinders during combustion.
      Cold Start System
      The new Duramax also provides outstanding cold-weather performance, with microprocessor-controlled glow plugs capable of gas-engine-like starting performance in fewer than 3 seconds in temperatures as low as -20 degrees F (-29 C) without a block heater. The system is enhanced with ceramic glow plugs and automatic temperature compensation — a first-in-class feature providing improved robustness and capability. The automatic temperature compensation assesses and adjusts the current to each glow plug for every use, providing optimal temperature for cold start performance and durability.     
      Electronic throttle valve and cooled EGR
      Unlike a gasoline engine, a diesel engine doesn’t necessarily require a throttle control system. The Duramax 6.6L employs an electronic throttle valve to regulate intake manifold pressure in order to increase exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rates. It also contributes to smoother engine shutdown.
      Additionally, a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system enhances performance and helps reduce emissions by diverting some of the engine-out exhaust gas and mixing it back into the fresh intake air stream, which is fed through the cylinder head for combustion. This lowers combustion temperatures, improving emissions performance by reducing NOx formation.
      The exhaust is cooled in a unique heat exchanger before it’s fed into the intake stream through a patented EGR mixing device, further improving emissions and performance capability. An integrated bypass allows non-cooled exhaust gas to be fed back into the system to help the engine more quickly achieve optimal operating temperature when cold.
      B20 Biodiesel Capability
      The new Duramax 6.6L is capable of running on B20 biodiesel, a fuel composed of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent conventional diesel. B20 helps lower carbon dioxide emissions and lessens dependence on petroleum. It is a domestically produced, renewable fuel made primarily of plant matter — mostly soybean oil.
      Manufacturing
      The new Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel engine is produced with locally and globally sourced parts at the DMAX Ltd. (GM’s joint venture with Isuzu) manufacturing facility in Moraine, Ohio.
      Allison 1000 Automatic Transmission
      The proven Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission is matched with the new Duramax 6.6L. A number of refinements have been made to accommodate the engine’s higher torque capacity, including a new torque converter.
      The Allison 1000’s technologically advanced control features, such as driver shift control with manual shift feature and a patented elevated idle mode cab warm-up feature, haven’t changed. Also, the Tow/Haul mode reduces shift cycling for better control and improved cooling when towing or hauling heavy loads.
      There’s also a smart diesel exhaust brake feature that enhances control when descending steep grades.
    • By William Maley
      The seemingly never-ending diesel heavy-duty truck war is back in force with Ford announcing the power figures for the F-Series Super Duty back in the summer. We were wondering when either FCA or GM would strike back. Well GM did this over the weekend by accidently and then subsequently deleting the figures for the next-generation Duramax V8 diesel.
      Truck Trend got screenshots of GM Powertrain's website where the details of the L5P 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel are there to see: 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. Compared the 6.7L PowerStoke V8 found in the 2017 F-Series Super Duty, the updated Duramax produces 5 more horsepower but is slight behind in torque (15 down from the PowerStroke's 925 pound-feet).
      We know for sure that the new Duramax will debut a new air intake system (you can see the new hood scoop in the picture above). More air is a good thing as it means better cooling and more power.
      The Texas State Fair is this week and it has become a showplace for the various truck manufacturers to make big announcements. We wouldn't be shocked if General Motors debuts the new Duramax there.
      Source: Truck Trend

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