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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fellow Volt forum members,

I'm sure many have read my threads on HV battery replacement for my 2012 Volt and ongoing CVT issues, I'm at the point now where I'm not certain in the future of my 2012 Volt. When I purchased it last August I was excited to have an extended range EV that could go several hundred miles on a tank of gas and up to 40 miles on a charge. This was easily the best driving car I've ever owned and I absolutely love taking this thing out on the road. The $9,500 HV battery replacement and $4,000 in rebuilding the suspension really put a damper on that, however, and last weekend the CVT went belly up.

My car is at Castle Chevrolet North in Chicago and Jaryd Carvell (lead EV tech) has been very helpful so far. He suggests that I go with a repair of my stator bearing (now the 2nd time this car has had a stator bearing done) along with a replacement of my valve body/TEHCM (transmission control module) to get the car back on the road. He says there's no guarantees, but he's 90% certain this will get my car back on the road. I'm very appreciative of the time Jaryd spent to educate me on this transmission.

At this point, a CVT that will have its stator bearing replaced twice either indicates to me a bad part from GM or previous owner abuse. When I bought the car one tire was severely cupped and worn, so I can only wonder if someone got this thing stuck in snow and did a 1-wheel burnout with the traction control off until the diff/trans overheated. When I bought this car, the dealer I took it to for inspection (Lou Fusz Chevrolet) did note the abnormal tire wear so in hindsight, this could've been my "out".

I'm not sure if it's best to repair this transmission or just give up on the car altogether. This weekend I looked into other options to move on from this car. I looked at a new Toyota RAV4 Prime, sticker price was $41k, but the dealer said the "Market Value" was $66,246 with a $1,700 rebate totalling $64,546 out the door. That's ridiculous to pay OVER sticker for a new Toyota. I then test drove a Hyundai Santa Fe, sticker price was around $40k, car drove good but the 2.0 Turbo only returned 28.4MPG in easy/gentle driving.

I also reached back out to my local dealer on a 2022 Bolt EUV, sticker price was $41,800. The best they could do is still $879 for 60 months with $0 down and $830 for 60 months with $2,500 down. Ridiculous. Again, I'm not paying ABOVE sticker price for a new car. So I walked and told them to only call me if they could do better. I then went and looked at affordable used cars that were simple, with a small engine and manual transmission. Two Sonics I found were both high priced and the Red one had accident damage:


After all this, I think I'm going to really run the numbers again to see if keeping the Volt makes sense (I'm probably leaning in that direction). Again, there is no guarantee that the 2nd stator bearing replacement and full valve body/transmission control module will truly fix this CVT, but I think it's worth a try. I mean, I've already put so much into this car that I really love, I just want to see it continue to live a good life.

Happy Memorial Day,

clublife.peoria
 

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What is the cost estimate for the repair, and what was the length of time from the last bearing replacement?

You can also look at something like the Chevy Trailblazer AWD Activ, well equipped with ACC for 31K and it gets decent gas mileage at 26/30. It is one of the vehicles I've included in an analysis sheet for a potential next car.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I believe the stator bearing alone would be $850, he was going to quote the TCM to me this week, which I’m guessing is another $1k installed. He also wanted to give me a scrap yard transmission with installation pricing along with a GM reman with 3/100k warranty. The GM reman would be the most expensive, but guaranteed to solve the problem.

First stator bearing was changed in 2014 at 17,xxx miles...

I am looking for something that is fuel efficient but fun to drive (my C6 Vette has the BEST road feel out of anything I’ve driven, even when I test drove a 330i the Vette was tighter, IMO), prefer the ability to haul some cargo for taking kids on day trips/hiking/adventures and has good creature comforts such as a clean and dynamic stereo.

That last one is a pain point, BTW. Every stock stereo today seems to be overly “processed” with an unnatural sound. My Volt Premium’s Bose (it’s not an audiophile system) at least has a natural sound to it without sounding fatiguing when the tone controls are set flat. The 2021 Blazer had some silly “Beats by Dr. Dre” loudness curve stock and odd reverb that couldn’t be defeated. And most other cars just sound boomy or muddy (setting the tone to flat doesn’t change anything)...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also, I am aware that I have enthusiast taste on a beer budget...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can also look at something like the Chevy Trailblazer AWD Activ, well equipped with ACC for 31K and it gets decent gas mileage at 26/30. It is one of the vehicles I've included in an analysis sheet for a potential next car.
Trailblazer Activ is on my list, not sure about the AWD though. I’ve owned RWD and FWD cars my whole life and lived in the snow belt. I do like the AWD on the Blazer RS for handling, which so far has been my top pick from test drives. I just wish it got better gas mileage.

That dang Camaro V6 is only like 18/25 with the performance AWD option.
 

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Tough call you have. As a 2 time generation 1 Volt owner (first was an off-the-lot 2012 and second Volt, a 2015 I special ordered the first day GM was accepting orders. #2. was ordered "maxed-out" with EVERYTHING but the cargo net... I still occasionally drive Volt number 2...)

I know how most of us can get addicted to our Volts (I'm disappointed as can be that GM pulled the plug on the Volt, and didn't just merge it into a 3rd generation "all battery, no ICE vehicle) but as old as your Volt is, I would have a very hard time spending money on it. I've nearly lost all confidence in GM for keeping a parts inventory on the Generation 1. And if you spend money on the 2012, if something else fails, you could be stuck with a car that no longer has a shelf life and can't be "kept alive." I hate saying this having once restored a 1950 Chevrolet Business Coupe, and we still see old Classics still roaming the streets... But a 2012 Volt can be like that old dog we have and love, that we need to decide if it is best to put him/her to sleep.

Regardless, best of luck to you.
 

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OUCH and OUCH!
I hope you're having a better luck with your car but I think you can get a brand new Bolt Premier for $24K plus taxes now. I know I was already offered one at that price but that's still expensive for a little car. Perhaps you should start looking at a nice low mileage or certified Volt. The new Bolt EUV is too hot right now. Better let it cool off for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looks like it’s time to fix the Volt then. I have over $24k in my used 2012, not including wear items like wipers and tires. And at this point, I will not be buying another used car because of the “too many unknowns”. This one drove for only 9 months before the CVT issues came up. Another used car might not even last 1/2 as long...
 

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I hope to squeeze about 50K more miles out of mine before I have to spend more money. The most I've spent so far was $800 for a new set of tires.
 

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I hope to squeeze about 50K more miles out of mine before I have to spend more money. The most I've spent so far was $800 for a new set of tires.
You still need an oil change every 2 years ($20-50), coolant change every 5 ($400-500), those new tires will need rotation annually or something, and there's often weird things. The trigger mechanism on my sifter broke. The handle lifted off and was easy to replace but it's a $50 part. A bit of trim that covers the corner of the windshield and helps keep water from getting under the seal flew off. $30 part. Parking brake cable started binding. $350 to replace that cable and relearn. Those aren't systemic things, they're no pattern of "things that go wrong with a Volt", but just "part of owning a car".
 

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You still need an oil change every 2 years ($20-50), coolant change every 5 ($400-500), those new tires will need rotation annually or something, and there's often weird things. The trigger mechanism on my sifter broke. The handle lifted off and was easy to replace but it's a $50 part. A bit of trim that covers the corner of the windshield and helps keep water from getting under the seal flew off. $30 part. Parking brake cable started binding. $350 to replace that cable and relearn. Those aren't systemic things, they're no pattern of "things that go wrong with a Volt", but just "part of owning a car".
I have 4 free oil changes from my GM points left to use. My tire rotations are free along with new tire(s) if I ever have a blow out. But I think I'm due for a coolant change next year. Apart from that I still have 5 more years of extended warranty. For the last 4 months and 8000 miles from the time when I bought it, the car has been solid. Knock on wood!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm glad to hear several members are experiencing relatively trouble-free ownership with their Volts. My decision to repair the existing transmission in my 2012 is purely a gamble - there's no guarantee that something else inside the transmission won't let loose 6 months down the road, or that the issue is with the cooling system such as the trans cooler. But Jaryd says if the unit appears to have been overheated when he opens the side cover, he will let me know and at that point I can go with a junkyard or remanufactured tranmission.

Does anybody know if regenerative braking is what causes these stator bearings to fail? Mine was already replaced in 2014 at around 17k miles by the previous owner and it's already going out again at 81k miles. I don't know how the previous owner drove the car, however, so that may be a contributing factor. I always drive in "D" unless going down steep grades where the car is picking up speed very quickly, then will shift to "L" which provides similar compression braking to my 6 speed Cruze Eco in 3rd or 4th gear going down a hill. That car would never exceed 2,500-3,000 RPM under the same circumstances, and it felt relatively easy on the mechanical components.

Should I stop using "L" completely once the transmission is repaired? I really don't want another stator bearing failure, and it seems like even the "upgraded" stator bearing from GM is still prone to failure. I hope this is the last of the transmission repairs on this car...
 

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Does anybody know if regenerative braking is what causes these stator bearings to fail? Mine was already replaced in 2014 at around 17k miles by the previous owner and it's already going out again at 81k miles. I don't know how the previous owner drove the car, however, so that may be a contributing factor. I always drive in "D" unless going down steep grades where the car is picking up speed very quickly, then will shift to "L" which provides similar compression braking to my 6 speed Cruze Eco in 3rd or 4th gear going down a hill. That car would never exceed 2,500-3,000 RPM under the same circumstances, and it felt relatively easy on the mechanical components.
According to Jaryd, the second bearing failure is almost always due to improper installation. He says the procedure in the TSB must be followed exactly, and the proper tools must be used.
 

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I'm glad to hear several members are experiencing relatively trouble-free ownership with their Volts. My decision to repair the existing transmission in my 2012 is purely a gamble - there's no guarantee that something else inside the transmission won't let loose 6 months down the road, or that the issue is with the cooling system such as the trans cooler. But Jaryd says if the unit appears to have been overheated when he opens the side cover, he will let me know and at that point I can go with a junkyard or remanufactured tranmission.

Does anybody know if regenerative braking is what causes these stator bearings to fail? Mine was already replaced in 2014 at around 17k miles by the previous owner and it's already going out again at 81k miles. I don't know how the previous owner drove the car, however, so that may be a contributing factor. I always drive in "D" unless going down steep grades where the car is picking up speed very quickly, then will shift to "L" which provides similar compression braking to my 6 speed Cruze Eco in 3rd or 4th gear going down a hill. That car would never exceed 2,500-3,000 RPM under the same circumstances, and it felt relatively easy on the mechanical components.

Should I stop using "L" completely once the transmission is repaired? I really don't want another stator bearing failure, and it seems like even the "upgraded" stator bearing from GM is still prone to failure. I hope this is the last of the transmission repairs on this car...
There is no evidence that using "L" has contributed to the bearing failures. I've driven both my 2017 and 2014 exclusively in "L" drive. If you have any questions regarding the bearing longevity, I'd personally ask the tech as he has more hands on experience, however I believe JuneBug has addressed that point already.
 

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Also, I am aware that I have enthusiast taste on a beer budget...
Same here. An odd option that may fit this bill is a 2014+ Buick Regal GS. It isn't a popular car, depreciates like a rock but checks off a lot of boxes you wouldn't think possible.

Sonic is a fun little car also. We had one with the 1.4 turbo and a tune. Very quick and good handler.

But the Regal was not on my radar. I wasn't even close to turning 50 and couldn't bother to offer a second look even in passing. One day I was bored while waiting on a recall update for our Sonic. They had a GS on the used lot. I drove it out of morbid curiosity wondering what does GM think they are doing by trying to turn a geezer car into something sporty.

Perceptions and reality are very different. This was a GREAT car. Rock solid, stable, quiet, good handler, good power, great seats, etc... Brembo brakes were fantastic. The magnetic adaptive suspension soaked up everything and still felt like Camaro in the corners. Even the exhaust tuning sounded good for stock. Adaptive cruise, heated steering wheel, memory seats. A lot of stuff for a good price on the used market.

I ended up buying one a few weeks later and was never disappointed. Just a really good mix of sport, comfort and features.

Try one if you are looking at ICE cars again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
According to Jaryd, the second bearing failure is almost always due to improper installation. He says the procedure in the TSB must be followed exactly, and the proper tools must be used.
He also says it could have overheated, been a bad part, etc. I just find it strange that a stator bearing with 64k miles and 7 years on it was installed improperly. If it was, I’d think it would show up much quicker? 7 years is a long time in car years...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There is no evidence that using "L" has contributed to the bearing failures. I've driven both my 2017 and 2014 exclusively in "L" drive. If you have any questions regarding the bearing longevity, I'd personally ask the tech as he has more hands on experience, however I believe JuneBug has addressed that point already.
It sounds like these are pretty common failures for 2012’s and even the replacement bearings, not just the install, may be suspect. I believe the original was done by Jim Ellis Chevrolet of Atlanta, which is a reputable Volt dealer, but I can’t see this as none of the service techs would let me see the warranty info (its not supposed to be given to the customer I am told).

So I’m just going by where the previous owner bought and serviced the car, with the limited service info I have.

I’m pretty sure the used car lot bought this one at auction so I don’t think they would’ve known this was a lemon. But I’m not sure. They did let me drive it for a whole day and take it to Lou Fusz Chevy for a pre purchase inspection, and at that time (2020) the stator bearing was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also I’m kinda pissed that Carfax showed none of this when I bought the car. I later found the charge cord was replaced, the stator bearing was replaced, and the electrical system was serviced twice for a drivability issue. All I see was a radio was installed/replaced at 865 miles (I didn’t think much of it, Nav screens do fail) and the inverter was replaced at 13,567 miles...
 

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Also I’m kinda pissed that Carfax showed none of this when I bought the car.
nodnodnod The participation rates in reporting stuff to Carfax seems... haphazard. Like contributing to someone else making money from good data isn't that important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
nodnodnod The participation rates in reporting stuff to Carfax seems... haphazard. Like contributing to someone else making money from good data isn't that important.
Would be nice if they at least admitted Carfax is not gospel, instead of advertising it as the bees knees...

Just got off the phone with Jaryd, this is going to be approximately a $2,000 repair (including a door seal, which is a maintenance item). I’m ok with that if it keeps this CVT alive for a while, and he said he will let me know what the inside of the trans looks like once he has the side cover off. I’m leaning towards authorizing the repair.
 
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