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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
BLUF: ICE intermittently misfires and throws “135a #1 coil ignition circuit” code. Dealership doesn’t know what to fix.
*2016 Volt
*~50,000 miles
*Driven ~80mi/day to work and back (Virginia Beach - Newport News, VA)
*Symptoms only occur when using ICE.

A couple weeks ago I was in Hold mode on the freeway; I felt a shudder and the CEL came on and automatically switched back to EV mode. A few miles later I switched it back to Hold and made it to work but with one more instance of shuddering.
After work I drove it in EV to an auto parts store to read the code(s) [CEL was still on]. When I hooked up the reader and turned the car on, the code had cleared and the reader read nothing.
The next day I drove to work as normal in Hold-mode (No code/no shudder). However, on the way home I depleted the EV battery and it was forced into ICE. I made it 3mi. before the shudder/CEL returned. It attempted a few times to switch back and forth to the EV battery, but eventually died on the side of the road. I had no power and when I touched the accelerator it would rev really high, but go nowhere. Dash said “Propulsion engine unavailable” or something of the like.
I had it towed to the Chevy dealer. A week and a half later they said the small battery had failed a load test and replaced it. I pulled out of their parking lot and it immediately did the same thing. They had it for another few days and said the tech cannot recreate the symptoms so there’s nothing they can do. But it was throwing a “135a #1 coil ignition circuit” code.
I tried to drive it to work today and the same symptoms occurred again. I drove it on EV to them once again.
The ECU is under warranty so they said they will replace that and see what happens. After that they said things are going to get expensive, as they will have to dig in and test individual electrical components/wires that are not warrantied.
I’m asking if anyone has experienced or knows of any direction to move towards to fix this?

Thanks!
 

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2013 Volt
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A shudder as you describe would seem to indicate that several (all?) cylinders simultaneously have problems with combustion. I would wonder about the fuel -- water or clog. Did your dealer rule out these issues? If you recently added gas, you might ask the station whether they've had a rash of complaints. Have you tried a bottle of dry gas? Do you have another dealer within driving distance; arbitrarily throwing parts at a problem is rarely successful. Any good mechanic should be able to troubleshoot such an engine problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A shudder as you describe would seem to indicate that several (all?) cylinders simultaneously have problems with combustion. I would wonder about the fuel -- water or clog. Did your dealer rule out these issues? If you recently added gas, you might ask the station whether they've had a rash of complaints. Have you tried a bottle of dry gas? Do you have another dealer within driving distance; arbitrarily throwing parts at a problem is rarely successful. Any good mechanic should be able to troubleshoot such an engine problem.
My wife suggested bad fuel, but I haven’t yet talked to the station. I assumed a Volt technician would be able to easily narrow the problem; shouldn’t have assumed.
You might be into something. Thanks.
 

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With a possible misfire and ignition coil circuit code, I would have immediately suspected one of the ignition coils. Like all modern vehicles, the Volt utilizes a coil-on-plug setup that are relatively cheap and very easy to replace. They can also be easy to diagnose. Watch the misfire counters with a capable code reader.. If you see any misfires on one cylinder, swap that coil with another one and see if the problem moves with it. If it does, there is your problem!

A cheap $12 bluetooth OBD reader and the TorquePro app can access misfire counters. As should any other type of code reader capable of looking at live data.
 

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Have you recently had to replace your spark plugs?
 

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do the ignition coil and spark plugs at the same time. Amazon or rockauto has the best prices. Go for the oem AcDelco parts. Ignition coils have always given me troubles in all my old gm cars, the volt is no different.
 

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the coils are sensitive to plug gap
when i pulled plugs, gap was at .036
put them back to .031 gap reinstalled them
misfire gone , runs like new 2016
 
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