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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about ready to bang my head through the wall.

I was driving home tonight and stopped at Subway for a sandwich. I got out of the car, immediately locked it and remote-started it, and went inside. 5 minutes later, I came out and there was a message on the dash "Unable To Charge". I started the car and the MIL was on as well as the red 12V battery icon. The DIC was displaying "Service Charging System".

I made a beeline home (5 minute drive, thankfully) and plugged it into a 2A trickle charger (it even has an AGM mode). It said the battery was at 12.7 V, 75% state-of-charge.

I guess I'll need to make another dealer visit tomorrow (notice I've already updated the count on my signature...) to see what they can do. I swear, if I have to drive a base Malibu around for a week again, GM's going to be hearing some not-very-nice things from me.

Anybody have any suggestions on what I can do? The dealer is probably a 20 minute drive from my house. If I leave the battery on the smart charger all night long, drive without headlights (I hope it doesn't rain), no HVAC, and no radio, how long should I be able to drive? Should I just have GM tow it?
 

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If you have volt meter, check the 12 volt system right after you turn on the car. It should be 14 volts or higher (actively trying to charge the 12v battery). If you only see the battery voltage itself then the Auxiliary Power Unit is bad. I would not try to drive it for 20 minutes without the APU. If the APU is trying to charge the battery then you possibly have a bad 12 volt battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you have volt meter, check the 12 volt system right after you turn on the car. It should be 14 volts or higher (actively trying to charge the 12v battery). If you only see the battery voltage itself then the Auxiliary Power Unit is bad. I would not try to drive it for 20 minutes without the APU. If the APU is trying to charge the battery then you possibly have a bad 12 volt battery.
I'll do that tomorrow morning. The charger indicated it was charging the battery (although I suppose I could go check it again and see if it's still charging), and the battery was able to drive the car a bit (with headlights...I opted to turn off HVAC and the radio just in case), so it's providing decent current.

I noticed that there was a noise missing when I started the car. Usually I can hear a click and a little servo-style whine when I start it, but both when I remote started it and when I started it inside the car, it was entirely silent. I thought for a second it wasn't going to start because there was no clicking, but the READY light came on right away...it just didn't make any noise (not even the whoosh).

It was only off for 15 seconds (turn off, get out, lock doors, remote start)...I can't imagine how something could break that fast.
 

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I'll do that tomorrow morning. The charger indicated it was charging the battery (although I suppose I could go check it again and see if it's still charging), and the battery was able to drive the car a bit (with headlights...I opted to turn off HVAC and the radio just in case), so it's providing decent current.
What you want to find out is if the car's APU is working or not. The APU is an electric car's alternator. If the APU is making 12-14 volts, then you can drive the car even without a 12 volt battery (just can't start it). If the APU is NOT working, then the car will drive until the 12 volt battery is dead.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What you want to find out is if the car's APU is working or not. The APU is an electric car's alternator. If the APU is making 12-14 volts, then you can drive the car even without a 12 volt battery (just can't start it). If the APU is NOT working, then the car will drive until the 12 volt battery is dead.
I'll see if I can get up early (before the dealer calls me back) and hook a multimeter up while it's running. I'd kind of like to charge the traction battery overnight, but I know full well not to do that with a 12V charger hooked up to the battery (plus, I'm using the low-gauge extension cord for my HV charger on the 12V charger right now). Suppose it doesn't matter if I have to have it towed...
 

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Some intermittent 12V charging issues on the Gen2 Volt have actually been traced back to a couple of potential issues. One being a bad cable connection at the underhood fuseblock (may be accompanied by DTCs P0AA1 P0AA4 U3001) See bulletin 16-NA-193

and the other a bad batch of high-voltage BUSS fuses right inside the battery itself and outlined in preliminary bulletin PIC6182

So you may need to ask your dealer to refer to 16-NA-193 and/or PIC6182
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?262290-2016-Volt-no-start-quot-Service-Charging-System-quot&p=3668202#post3668202

Also see http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?255850-17-Volt-could-have-killed-me-today.-quot-Shift-to-Park-quot-and-locked-steering-40MPH!&p=3591842#post3591842

Can't hurt to look under your hood at the fuse block. The cable in the middle below has a seating problem described in the thread above. Notice how the side tabs of the metal plate are turned 15° and hitting the plastic on either side? Apparently it's enough to cause intermittent connection issues. The plate should be straight, not cock-eyed like that.

2016 bad 12V connection under hood.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?262290-2016-Volt-no-start-quot-Service-Charging-System-quot&p=3668202#post3668202

Also see http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?255850-17-Volt-could-have-killed-me-today.-quot-Shift-to-Park-quot-and-locked-steering-40MPH!&p=3591842#post3591842

Can't hurt to look under your hood at the fuse block. The cable in the middle below has a seating problem described in the thread above. Notice how the side tabs of the metal plate are turned 15° and hitting the plastic on either side? Apparently it's enough to cause intermittent connection issues. The plate should be straight, not cock-eyed like that.

View attachment 128745
I thought that was the issue that was giving people random "Shift to Park" errors? It runs fine currently; it just can't charge the 12V battery while it's running.
 

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Ok, I called my dealer and they hooked me up with Roadside Assistance to tow it to the dealer so I don't have to risk it dying on the way there.

I started the car to back it out of the garage and the battery (which was fresh off the charger) was at 15.0V, so I honestly don't know if the car was actually charging it or if it was just at 15 because it had been charging all night long. After I backed out of my garage, the battery warning light went out, and upon restarting the car, I didn't get a "service charging system" message, but the check engine light stayed on. I suppose it must be an intermittent problem with the battery or APU.
 

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I would hope that they looked at this TSB:

#PIC6200: Vehicle Will Not Charge With High Voltage Charger, Vehicle Will Not Charge 12V Battery, Battery Lamp On DTC P1F5A P1F59 P0D26 P0D09 P1EBD - (May 3, 2016)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Had the car towed to the dealer earlier. I'm driving a near-base '15 Malibu Eco again...better than nothing though. The service rep said he was going to try and get a Volt tech in to look at it today but said they might not be able to look at it until Monday. I'll keep you guys informed once I hear more.
 

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Did they remember you right away? Cause, they should, and be very nice and accommodating given your history with the car. If I remember correctly, your Volt is a CPO, right? Did prior owner/dealer have any issues? Maybe they drove it hard or their Volt Tech used it for practice troubleshooting.

And a Malibu again? Jeez, you'd think they could at least loan you a 2017 Volt. Heck, maybe instead of lemon law, you could do a swap for a 2017 Volt. Of course, after you've tested the 2017 Volt for a week first...
 

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It sounds like the APM/APU is not charging the 12V battery. Hopefully they are able to diagnose that fairly quickly. A 12V issue (somewhat ironically given all the juice in the HV battery) causes all sorts of errors which can leave you feeling like the car is a lemon. But once they track it down it really should be trouble free for you.

Don't hesitate to explain to the dealer what you already observed. If you say you can charge the battery yourself and it holds a charge, but the battery doesn't seem to stay charged when you're driving the Volt, it should be a no-brainer for them to look at the APM/APU. That way they won't just try to replace the 12V battery or something silly like that.
 

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If it shows above 13V when ON the AGM battery IS being charged by the APM
So I'm not certain why anyone would think or state otherwise
Sounds like an intermittent condition or some other DTC that fail-safes the charging system
Could be something as simple as a bad connection at the battery or fuseblock
There are also a couple of bulletins for potential causes for some of these intermittent issues
The dealer should be able to determine what's going on and straighten it out
WOT
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Did they remember you right away? Cause, they should, and be very nice and accommodating given your history with the car. If I remember correctly, your Volt is a CPO, right? Did prior owner/dealer have any issues? Maybe they drove it hard or their Volt Tech used it for practice troubleshooting.

And a Malibu again? Jeez, you'd think they could at least loan you a 2017 Volt. Heck, maybe instead of lemon law, you could do a swap for a 2017 Volt. Of course, after you've tested the 2017 Volt for a week first...
I got a different service rep than last time, but he saw in my history that they had performed a number of repairs on it already and he said he was honestly surprised that it had so many problems. We joked that it was because it was bright blue :p

It is CPO, but the previous owner was a "corporate fleet" that drove it for about 550 miles total, 500 miles EV. Not much room to drive it rough, unless they were driving it on extremely rough terrain or something.

Does "lemon law" apply for CPO cars? I thought it was only for new cars. I would love to have it exchanged for a '17 if I knew the 17 wasn't going to have problems like this. I can't spare the time off work to take my car into the shop every month and a half, especially not when I'm paying what I am for it less than a year out of college.

It sounds like the APM/APU is not charging the 12V battery. Hopefully they are able to diagnose that fairly quickly. A 12V issue (somewhat ironically given all the juice in the HV battery) causes all sorts of errors which can leave you feeling like the car is a lemon. But once they track it down it really should be trouble free for you.

Don't hesitate to explain to the dealer what you already observed. If you say you can charge the battery yourself and it holds a charge, but the battery doesn't seem to stay charged when you're driving the Volt, it should be a no-brainer for them to look at the APM/APU. That way they won't just try to replace the 12V battery or something silly like that.
I did try to explain everything that I observed to them; I can only hope that I explained it well enough for the service rep to tell the Volt tech on Monday. I know 12V issues can cause all sorts of other issues with the car, but the other issues I've had are completely unrelated. I had to get new spark plugs at 4000 miles. I had to get a new hybrid battery segment at somewhere around 5000 or 6000. I had to drive a '15 Malibu for 2.5 weeks for that repair. A new car shouldn't have problems like that.

If it shows above 13V when ON the AGM battery IS being charged by the APM
So I'm sot certain why anyone would think or state otherwise
Sounds like an intermittent condition or some other DTC that fail-safes the charging system
Could be something as simple as a bad connection at the battery or fuseblock
There are also a couple of bulletins for potential causes for some of these intermittent issues
The dealer should be able to determine what's going on and straighten it out
WOT
I believe you're right, Wop, that it's an intermittent problem. When I got home from the 5-10 minute drive that initiated the problem, the charger I hooked up said it was at 12.7 volts only a couple minutes after shutting it off. Obviously low. The next morning, after charging it all night, the charger said it was at 14.9 volts. Sounds right. I disconnected the charger and started the car. Battery warning light came on right away, but when I measured it with a multimeter (while running), it read 15.0 volts. Backed the car out of the garage into the driveway for the tow truck, and the warning light went out (but MIL stayed on).
 

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I got a different service rep than last time, but he saw in my history that they had performed a number of repairs on it already and he said he was honestly surprised that it had so many problems. We joked that it was because it was bright blue :p

It is CPO, but the previous owner was a "corporate fleet" that drove it for about 550 miles total, 500 miles EV. Not much room to drive it rough, unless they were driving it on extremely rough terrain or something.

Does "lemon law" apply for CPO cars? I thought it was only for new cars. I would love to have it exchanged for a '17 if I knew the 17 wasn't going to have problems like this. I can't spare the time off work to take my car into the shop every month and a half, especially not when I'm paying what I am for it less than a year out of college.



I did try to explain everything that I observed to them; I can only hope that I explained it well enough for the service rep to tell the Volt tech on Monday. I know 12V issues can cause all sorts of other issues with the car, but the other issues I've had are completely unrelated. I had to get new spark plugs at 4000 miles. I had to get a new hybrid battery segment at somewhere around 5000 or 6000. I had to drive a '15 Malibu for 2.5 weeks for that repair. A new car shouldn't have problems like that.



I believe you're right, Wop, that it's an intermittent problem. When I got home from the 5-10 minute drive that initiated the problem, the charger I hooked up said it was at 12.7 volts only a couple minutes after shutting it off. Obviously low. The next morning, after charging it all night, the charger said it was at 14.9 volts. Sounds right. I disconnected the charger and started the car. Battery warning light came on right away, but when I measured it with a multimeter (while running), it read 15.0 volts. Backed the car out of the garage into the driveway for the tow truck, and the warning light went out (but MIL stayed on).
Actually 12.7V is perfectly normal when the car is OFF and not being charged.
14.9-15V actually sounds maybe a bit too high but it might say that on your DVOM while you're plugged in (depending on its accuracy) I suppose.
WOT
 

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Actually 12.7V is perfectly normal when the car is OFF and not being charged.
14.9-15V actually sounds maybe a bit too high but it might say that on your DVOM while you're plugged in (depending on its accuracy) I suppose.
WOT
If the car was just running, shouldn't the battery be closer to 13 or 14? The "full charge" voltage for an AGM is 14.8 volts, so it makes sense that the charger I had it connected to would bring it to 14.9.

The Malibu I'm driving has a battery voltage mode on the dash, and it was 14.9 any time the engine was running (didn't check it when auto-stop kicked in...probably low 13s to high 12s)
 

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The Malibu I'm driving has a battery voltage mode on the dash, and it was 14.9 any time the engine was running (didn't check it when auto-stop kicked in...probably low 13s to high 12s)
With all the problems a weak/bad 12V battery can cause in a Volt you would think GM would build in a voltage readout in the DIC somewhere, low battery warning indicator. With all the tech in the Volt, this seems quite simple to do. I've scheduled a reminder at 40 months from when I got the car to replace the 12V just as preventative maintenance. Goes against the old rule if it ain't broke, don't fix it however this seems like a good situation to break that rule.
 

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Actually 12.7V is perfectly normal when the car is OFF and not being charged.
14.9-15V actually sounds maybe a bit too high but it might say that on your DVOM while you're plugged in (depending on its accuracy) I suppose.
WOT
It's high for the likely conditions in the Volt. It's about right for a cold-ish (like around freezing) absorption charging AGM, but in a Volt, I'd be surprised that a battery would NEED enough charge to go into absorption instead of simply floating up.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It's high for the likely conditions in the Volt. It's about right for a cold-ish (like around freezing) absorption charging AGM, but in a Volt, I'd be surprised that a battery would NEED enough charge to go into absorption instead of simply floating up.
I just checked a guide on lead-acid batteries; absorption charging kicks in at 80% SOC and floating at about 85%. My charger said the AGM was at 75% SOC right after turning the car off, so that's probably why it had to do absorption charging.
 
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