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GM faces massive lawsuit alleging faulty eight-speed transmissions

By James Raia
The eight-speed transmissions installed in numerous Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles, including several trucks and SUVs manufactured by General Motors, are faulty.

According to a new class-action lawsuit against GM in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, the automaker shipped vehicles with transmissions that: “Slip, buck, kick, jerk, harshly engage, suffer abnormal internal wear, sudden acceleration, delay in downshifts, delayed acceleration, difficulty stopping the vehicle, and eventually require replacement of the transmission or its components.”

Thw GMC Canyon is among numerous GM with faulty eight-speed transmissions, according to a new lawsuit.
The GMC Canyon is among numerous GM vehicles with faulty eight-speed transmissions, according to a new lawsuit.

Vehicles affected include: Cadillac ATS (2016-2019), Cadillac ATS-V (2016-2019), Cadillac CTS (2016-2019), Cadillac CTS-V (2016-2019), 2016-2019 Cadillac CT6, Cadillac Escalade/Cadillac Escalade ESV (2015-2019), Chevrolet Camaro (2016-2019), Chevrolet Colorado (2017-2019), Chevrolet Corvette (2015-2019), Chevrolet Silverado (2015-2019), GMC Canyon (2017-2019), GMC Sierra (2015-2019), and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL (2015-2019).

According to the plaintiffs, the problems trace to an issue with the torque converter that causes excess friction.

The lawsuit also cites more than 60 technical service bulletins and service updates from GM regarding the eight-speed transmission problems. The documents are evidence GM was aware of the problems with the transmission and decided to sell the affected vehicles anyway.

Separately, a C7 Corvette owner complaint submitted to Car Complaints in 2015 stated they were told by a “GM insider” that the automaker was “aware some transmissions are defective and is working on a kit to fix the fluid starvation problem internally.”

Numerous class-action suits have been filed against GM over its 8L45E and 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmissions. The automaker sought to have one of these suits thrown out last August, claiming the transmission problems are related to a design defect and not a manufacturing defect.

GM’s vehicle warranties only cover manufacturing defects with parts and components and not design defects. Most of these suits claim all vehicles with these eight-speed transmissions are defective, which would imply a design defect and not a manufacturing defect.

This latest class-action suit calls on GM to reform its warranties to address these transmission problems and also issue a recall for affected vehicles.

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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Kassandra
13 days ago

I have a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ and I have already had to take my truck to the dealership once for transmission issues a few months ago and I am having the same issues again. My transmission was slipping trying to change gears and sometimes it would jerk or shudder. I bought my truck new June of 2020.  

Bruce
18 days ago

Had a 2017 Sierra and loved the way it rode until you had to start and stop. The trans would do that bucking around trying to figure out what gear to go to and almost stop. Would scare you. Had it at the dealer complaining and service manager said I get it, my personal truck does it too. Several people at work had same truck and same issues. Think we all drive Rams now. Ridiculous they can’t get it right and most is caused by trying to meet those stupid cafe standards with the EPA. Course guess in a couple years I’ll be complaining of where to charge my truck on the road 😁

Charles Allen
18 days ago

GM’s warranty policy and design should be combined. Never knew that there were different warranties.

1HasBeen
18 days ago

Gimmick Motors

Vincee
17 days ago
Reply to  1HasBeen

Or, Government Motors. Many dealers felt that it would of been better for GM to go bankrupt and re-organize to correct their decades of shoddy products instead of the Obama administration bailing them out. Much of the money was never re-paid to the government.

Mike
17 days ago
Reply to  Vincee

Not completely accurate to say GM did not “pay back” the bailout. Here’s a statement from CNN Business news back in 2014:

“GM, which filed for bankruptcy five years ago this Sunday, has repaid everything it was obligated to pay Treasury. Taxpayers came up short because the U.S. decided to buy GM stock to keep the automaker alive instead of giving it a loan and saddling it with more debt.”

Net…the US bought an equity stake in GM, but rather than holding it until it’s value increased enough, they sold it off taking a loss on the deal. Sounds more like an incompetent government decision. Surprise, surprise!

Last edited 17 days ago by Mike
Tom Hosack
18 days ago

I had a 2001 GMC 2500HD. At about 20k miles my low oil light came on. Checked and there was no oil on the dip stick. Added 2 qts and thought maybe last time oil was changed they didn’t fill correctly. About 2k miles after my next oil change oil light came on again. I did check oil level after the last oil change and then it was at the full mark. Took truck into GMC service. They checked for oil leaks and found none. The service writer handed me a GM Service Bulletin that said it was normal for an engine to use a quart of oil every 1000 to 1500 miles. Dumped that POS shortly there after.

Tommy Molnar
18 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hosack

Normal for an engine to lose a quart of oil every thousand miles? Give me a break. My 20 year old pickup (a 97 Ford, not that that makes any difference) never used that much oil – ever.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
18 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Hi, Tommy. Hmmm. You have a ’97 Ford pickup that’s “20” years old. I have a ’97 Ford T-bird that’s 25 years old. Interesting. (Just giving you a bad time.) Have a great day. 🙂 –Diane

Tommy Molnar
18 days ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Ha! Actually, I USED to have that pickup. I bought it in 98. Bartered it off in 2018 for a whole BUNCH of concrete work (driveways, curbs, 135′ retaining wall, fencing, and more). I really miss it though. I loved that truck! Wifey didn’t! I just saw a 97 F-350 that sold for $35,000 on “bring a trailer”. Holy cow, that’s what those trucks sold for NEW! How’s that T-Bird running?

Tom Penn
18 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hosack

The standard most all automakers have used for decades is a quart use per 1000 miles is acceptable. Most vehicles don’t use that much but they have to set a hard number to determine what needs repair and what doesn’t.

Snayte
17 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hosack

In the late 80s I had an 78 Delta 88 that used a quart every 3000 miles. I used to say then it is a quart low it is time for an oil change. This was back when the gm 350 engine was known for leaking from the valve covers.

Vincee
17 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hosack

My brother-in-law had that same problem on one of the Cadillac SUVs he owned, not sure what size engine. He was persistent with the local dealer who was accommodating in finding a solution. They did, their engine had the wrong size oil pan, bigger, which was causing it to always read it was down a quart or more. Changed pans, the problem was solved.

Dan
18 days ago

Hmmmm? It’s not because of the way we built it, it’s because of the way we designed it, so tough luck, go pound sand.

Mike
17 days ago
Reply to  Dan

That part really gets me. I’m not much for public shaming, but that’s a statement that should be put on billboards across the nation, as a quote from GM, for all to see….and I’ve had GM vehicles most of my adult life that were trouble free.

That statement sounds like it’s right from the RV Manufacturers playbook!!! :-))