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2013 Charger needs to be replaced, what are your thoughts (also MM question)?

2426 Views 22 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dvancleve
Howdy folks. My fam's 2013 has about 155K miles on it, and unlike a lot of Volts I think it has done at least 100K of them on gas. It stopped charging a couple months ago, Chevy dealer says the charger (silver box near the right front wheel) is bad. On the bright side, it is also expensive ($1500ish) and backordered with no ETA. To the best of my knowledge, the car was still getting 35+ miles per charge but my kids drive the car in another state so I don't see it much any more.

Here are my questions... Do I have any realistic option for replacing the charger other than a dealer? I called a couple places that work on hybrids and EVs and both said if they replaced the part they wouldn't be able to do the programming and at least one gets their parts from the dealership.

Second question, with concerns about the probable life of the propulsion battery AND factoring in a $2500 bill for the charger, what are your thoughts? The car was babied by the original owners, other than apparently doing lots of road trip driving, but my kids have been kinda tough on it. It really needs a new front bumper cover, for instance.

Since the car can't be plugged in to charge, it seems like using MM at least for freeway/highway driving might be a good idea. My understanding is that MM charges the battery to a certain level then stops, so would it make sense to just leave it in MM when not on surface streets?

Thanks, Doug
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Regarding using MM, that makes sense to me, especially considering that it sounds like it's mostly being run on gas anyway. Our 2011 usually won't allow MM anymore, so that workaround won't work for us if the our charger dies. Hopefully your 2013 won't run into this Mountain Mode Unavailable issue. If so, your plan to use MM seems solid.
Thanks, I wasn't very clear... We bought it a couple years ago with about 132K miles on it, using a formula I found here I came up with just under 93K ICE miles. I'm pretty sure my family's use has been much more balanced than that, but it has done AZ to CA and back several times and been used ICE only due to no place to charge or charging not working for at least 6 months. My current inclination is to suck it up and do the repair, but I don't have a good feel for how common the 10 year old battery trouble is...
The famous volt named Sparky is now over a half million miles, so I wouldn’t worry about a 10 year old battery. If you like the car, suck it up and fix it. The other option is to get a newer car and jettison this one, but that will likely cost you more than fixing the volt. I wonder if the loose bumper cover was a collision from one of your kids that broke the charger. With the bumper loose, you might luck out and just have a loose or broken wire (fingers crossed).
As for MM you really aren’t gaining anything by just driving it in normal except you get 12-14 miles of pure EV mode if driving along quietly once in awhile is important. Using MM to generate electricity at a cost of fuel only to use it later is no different than just driving in normal using that same fuel, in fact there are losses converting that motion to electricity to battery storage then back out to motion through the electric motor.
Thanks, and good question on the bumper vs charger 💡 The bumper was damaged long before the car stopped charging, and their parking garage has a very steep ramp. The car charged normally one day, then wouldn't charge the next. We assumed it was a Chargepoint issue at the apartment, but the charger tested out okay and a different charger also didn't work. A Chevy dealersphip/Volt tech diagnosed the issue as the charger, so if it was something simple I would hope they would have fixed it and added it to the diagnostic bill.

My main thought on using MM was that perhaps it does something beneficial for the battery when the car can't be plugged in?
My 2011 has 188,000 miles on it. My on board charger failed some 5-6 years ago and was replaced by my dealer under the Voltec warranty. The fault was that it would charge on L1 120V but not on L2 240V. Try both chargers on yours and see if maybe L1 works. But my opinion is to fix it. My math calculation shows I’ve saved $20,000 on gasoline in 180,000 miles vs the BMW 3 series it replaced. So you should save the $2,000 expense in 18,000 miles. Assuming you can plug in regularly. Side note: Change the 12V battery if it’s age is unknown, or it’s older than 4-5 years. Catastrophic expense has been caused by simple failure of the 12V.
Thanks :) Is your HV battery original and unmolested?

I tried an L1 charger when the car was "home" in AZ a couple weeks ago, no dice. The HV battery, which has always been fine, is the unknown. Fixing it for $2500 is a no brainer, but it would stink if it didn't buy much trouble free time/mileage. As of today they can L2 charge daily for cheap (possibly free, we haven't figured out if it affects their utilities at all), but they are renters so it is always possible they'll end up somewhere that charging isn't a daily thing. The 12v battery is less than a year old...
Is it possible your Volt’s inability to charge from the wall socket is a problem with the charge port on the side of the car, rather than the charging unit itself?
I suppose anything is possible, but a Chevy service department concluded that the charger needs to be replaced. I would hope their troubleshooting rules out the charge port before calling for a big bucks repair. The car recognizes that it's plugged in, the light on the dash goes yellow but never transitions to green and the dash says something along the lines of unable to charge.
A couple things about not charging the battery at all. Years ago GE leased a large number of volts for their employees, supplied fuel credit cards so they didn’t have to pay for gas, but never came up with a way to reimburse their employees for electricity. So many of them drove them purely on ICE thereby negating the benefits of having a PHEV. I haven’t seen any reports of people buying used off-lease GE vehicles having any problems.

On the other hand, if you live in a place where it gets really cold, without plugging in, your battery could get cold soaked as it doesn’t have the ability to protect itself as it would if it were plugged in. But if you live in a mild climate like Cali, I think you could potentially drive it using the ICE. Others on this forum may have differing opinions.
To the best of my knowledge it has only ever been in CA and AZ. We had it as a family car here in Chandler for a couple years, now it's in LA with my daughters, so I guess that's good :)
The OBCM (on board charging module) failed on my 2011 volt back on 2016. I purchased a used one from a wrecking yard and DIY myself. Plug and play. Did not require any re-programming (at least in my case). It was about $200 for the used part and a drive to Tennessee.
Thanks for chiming in :) So this OBCM is the silver box near the right front wheel? My understanding is that is what is bad on my car...
The OBCM (on board charging module) failed on my 2011 volt back on 2016. I purchased a used one from a wrecking yard and DIY myself. Plug and play. Did not require any re-programming (at least in my case). It was about $200 for the used part and a drive to Tennessee.
Howdy folks, still no luck getting this fixed thru the dealer that diagnosed the issue. Anybody know if what @Eric99 posted is correct? Not sure if it's something I could do, but saving money and getting the car chargeable sometime soon(ish) would be really nice... Thanks, Doug
Howdy folks, can anyone confirm that this can be replaced with a good used unit without any programming: 2011-2016 GM Battery Charger 24276662? @Eric99 appears to have done just that (Replacing my OBCM) , and the new part seems to be completely unavailable... Thanks, Doug
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