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Old 08-10-2017, 11:03 AM   #1
Household6
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2007 Outlook XR
Default URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

Driving round trip from D.C. to El Paso.
Ride TO El Paso went great.
The return . . . not so much.

(Un)Important(?) fact - car has had whining noise since just after we purchased it. I thought it was the power steering pump. Now wondering if it's the tranny. (Ouch!)

On way to El Paso, about 1.5 hours left in trip, the AC stopped working - for the front vents you could hear the sound increase when turning up the fan, but no airflow increase. While the rear vents were properly pushing air, it was warm air. We stopped about 30 min and let vehicle cool. AC then worked properly. It wasn't a particularly hot day in Texas, but definitely warm and rarely do I drive 80MPH, much less for hours at a time. If I was an AC on a 10 year old car, I'd probably have been exhausted by then too!

Spent 5 days in El Paso and had the oil changed (used high mileage oil) tires rotated and alignment done while there. It was noted there was a minor leak at timing cover (had belt replaced a couple months ago by a trusted mechanic).

Our trip home began Tuesday. It started with a (sudden) pinched nerve in my back. AC went out once, recovering after a rest. No add'l issues.

Wednesday - Thinking to self "I'm going 80 on cruise control, but my RPM's sound high. Is the car not wanting to go into 6th? . . . hmmm . . . " one of those things where you're not sure of yourself.

The last 3-5 hours of travel on Wednesday led to us having to stop 3 times to allow the vehicle to cool so AC would properly function. At this point, I'm realizing something isn't "right", but it's not vital to address so we continue.

Then around 8pm last night I get a warning flash up on my dash. TRANSMISSION HOT IDLE ENGINE. I immediately check the gagues and nothing is amiss (temp at 210, oil pressure is normal), pull over (on the side of I-10 in BFE nowhere, TX) and turn the car off.

Although still 2-3 hours from our intended stop for the night, I decided a hotel room was our best bet. Drove about 50 miles being gentle to her, then a bit hard as we arrived in civilization as I wanted to see what it would take for a repeat. No such luck. But I did notice a heavy shift in a lower gear (2nd or 3rd?) and a new noise (that seemed to be in conjunction with the aforementioned whining) while turning the steering wheel to pull into a parking spot. Nevertheless, I gave her a big hug upon arrival.

Any thoughts as to what's going on? I'm wondering if everything is somehow related, or if we have 3 different issues going on? I'm about to go check transmission fluid level and see if temp gauge appears to be working and will report back. As I'm in a small town and in "distress" being hundreds of miles away from home, I don't want to get put in a situation where I'm told "you need a new tranny" and taken advantage of. What do I need to ensure is done/tested before having to take that route?

PS - did I mention our trip to El Paso was to help settle in my husband for a 9+ month PCS and I'm traveling alone with our 11 yo son and 100# Golden Retriever? Yah, Murphy's law waited ZERO time to strike this time!

...
2007 Outlook XR AWD
Dark Blue, Tan Leather, 2nd row Captains Chairs
Fully Loaded
Engine Replaced by dealer at 100k, Evidence of new(er) transmission
(Purchased in Feb 2017 with 165k miles)

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Old 08-10-2017, 12:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

You may have to bite the bullet when out of town and stop by a local GM dealer for diagnostics or get a recommendation for a repair shop. If you go this way, to a dealer, explain your concerns about traveling to help with moving to a military base and traveling home. GM may be able to suggest several things to get you back on the road if repairs don't require an overnight stay and maybe followup with a visit with your home dealer or mechanic. A call to your mechanic is another alternative just so he make some initial assessment over the phone.

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Old 08-10-2017, 06:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

Thank you for your input.
Transmission fluid level is a tick under the full line.
Took it to AutoZone took hook up for codes. Nothing showed up.
Called the mechanic they suggested, he hooked up his "advanced" BCMii reader to it and also comes up with no codes.

Appears the temp GAGE is not functioning, but he THINKS the temp SENSOR is fine (not sure how that was determined).

Any add'l thoughts much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
You may have to bite the bullet when out of town and stop by a local GM dealer for diagnostics or get a recommendation for a repair shop. If you go this way, to a dealer, explain your concerns about traveling to help with moving to a military base and traveling home. GM may be able to suggest several things to get you back on the road if repairs don't require an overnight stay and maybe followup with a visit with your home dealer or mechanic. A call to your mechanic is another alternative just so he make some initial assessment over the phone.

...
2007 Outlook XR AWD
Dark Blue, Tan Leather, 2nd row Captains Chairs
Fully Loaded
Engine Replaced by dealer at 100k, Evidence of new(er) transmission
(Purchased in Feb 2017 with 165k miles)

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Old 08-10-2017, 09:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

What is the mileage on this Outlook?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
(Un)Important(?) fact - car has had whining noise since just after we purchased it. I thought it was the power steering pump. Now wondering if it's the tranny. (Ouch!)
Does the noise become more intense as speed increases, then become less intense as speed decreases?

If so, then have someone check for bearing noises coming from any of the accessories related to the drive belt (water pump, alternator, tensioner and idler pulleys, etc...). This will simply confirm whether or not a problem exists with those components. If a noise is present from one of them then the thing will be addressed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
On way to El Paso, about 1.5 hours left in trip, the AC stopped working - for the front vents you could hear the sound increase when turning up the fan, but no airflow increase.
This is odd. Increased noise and blower speed should result in greater air flow through the vents - period. Experiencing the opposite of that suggests blockage of some kind, but I can't imagine why that would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
While the rear vents were properly pushing air, it was warm air.
Normal air flow at the rear vents, but not at the front - am I understanding this correctly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
We stopped about 30 min and let vehicle cool. AC then worked properly.
I suspect that the ECM (Egine Control Moduel [computer]) shut down the compressor because the engine was getting too warm. The result of that was warm air from the vents. Once the engine temperature came down the ECM recognized that and normal A/C operation resumed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
Spent 5 days in El Paso and had the oil changed (used high mileage oil) tires rotated and alignment done while there. It was noted there was a minor leak at timing cover (had belt replaced a couple months ago by a trusted mechanic).
It wise to have these things done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
Our trip home began Tuesday. It started with a (sudden) pinched nerve in my back. AC went out once, recovering after a rest. No add'l issues.
I believe the A/C stopped and restarted for the same reasons as noted above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
Wednesday - Thinking to self "I'm going 80 on cruise control, but my RPM's sound high. Is the car not wanting to go into 6th? . . . hmmm . . . " one of those things where you're not sure of yourself.
This could be tested by reducing speed to safely allow for a manual downshift, return the shifting to automatic and note whether or not the upshift eventually occurs relative to increasing RPM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
The last 3-5 hours of travel on Wednesday led to us having to stop 3 times to allow the vehicle to cool so AC would properly function. At this point, I'm realizing something isn't "right", but it's not vital to address so we continue. Then around 8pm last night I get a warning flash up on my dash. TRANSMISSION HOT IDLE ENGINE. I immediately check the gagues and nothing is amiss (temp at 210, oil pressure is normal), pull over (on the side of I-10 in BFE nowhere, TX) and turn the car off.

Although still 2-3 hours from our intended stop for the night, I decided a hotel room was our best bet. Drove about 50 miles being gentle to her, then a bit hard as we arrived in civilization as I wanted to see what it would take for a repeat. No such luck. But I did notice a heavy shift in a lower gear (2nd or 3rd?) and a new noise (that seemed to be in conjunction with the aforementioned whining) while turning the steering wheel to pull into a parking spot. Nevertheless, I gave her a big hug upon arrival.

Any thoughts as to what's going on? I'm wondering if everything is somehow related, or if we have 3 different issues going on? I'm about to go check transmission fluid level and see if temp gauge appears to be working and will report back. As I'm in a small town and in "distress" being hundreds of miles away from home, I don't want to get put in a situation where I'm told "you need a new tranny" and taken advantage of. What do I need to ensure is done/tested before having to take that route?
When was the thermostat last replaced and at what mileage?

I'm thinking that the A/C operation is related to an over-heating condition of some kind and that its system is funcitioning normally. To me the question is, what is the source of the over heating problem? You know that the ECM showed an over-heating transmission and that is, indeed, serious. Its temperature may or may not relate to the engine's cooling system temperature which you see on the gauge at the instrument cluster.

Beyond this, I find fdryer's advice to be imminently sound (as I would expect it to be)!

FWIW, those are my thoughts on your concerns. I wish you well and will remember your family in prayer. I have cousins residing in North Texas, but can't remember which city. I believe they're somewhere near, or within, the pan-handle. Perhaps they could be of help if needs be.

...
275,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 08-10-2017 at 09:36 PM..

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Old 09-08-2017, 09:57 AM   #5
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2007 Outlook XR
Default Re: (no longer) URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

HOME SWEET HOME!
We made it back to D.C. WITH the Outlook after a $150.00 repair. I'm not confident the repair was the issue as it doesn't really make sense, BUT we haven't experienced the hot transmission warning light again.

Dealer we bought the car from had "fixed" a hose. The hose was to the purge valve. Their "fix" was to wrap electrical tape around the hose. Went ahead and replaced the purge valve too while we were at it. (This WOULD help explain the crap-static gas mileage the car was telling me (started at 15 mpg when purchased and gradually decreased to 10 mpg during trip).

As I said, no warning lights since then. But we still have the noises to contend with, which are getting worse.

I'm attaching (I hope) a recording of a drive around our neighborhood this morning. (Apologies for the dog-panting noise you may hear.) The first noise I speak of you will immediately hear and has been present since we brought the car home. Is this just how this particular year/make/model sounds?

Soon after you will hear my blinker for a turn. There is a prevalent noise that masks a secondary noise (not sure if you'll be able to hear it). Again, the prevelant noise first showed up during the trip. The secondary noise surfaced upon driving the car home after purchase.

As for the AC issues, they are still present and remain as previously described - about an hour after car has been running, no force of air difference when adjusting fan speed. Car cools and it works again. As I don't drive to work, most of my driving incorporates trips of 5 to 30 minutes (to school, grocery store, doctor appts, etc.). As stated by PP, car may be acting as it should when it gets hot and not running the AC fan. But if the temp gauge isn't functioning properly, I wouldn't know the car was hot.

Re the temp gage - the mechanic in TX couldn't quite figure it out. His BCM was showing a definite difference in what it was reading and what the gauge showed while the car was running, but it wasn't overheating. After turning the car off, the gauge eventually started to drop and the BCM was in-synch. I'm going to have the temp gauge replaced and then the sensor (if need be).

But even doing that, there's an underlying issue. WHY IS THE VEHICLE GETTING HOT?

Also, why didn't the car throw any codes when the hot tranny message appeared?

...
2007 Outlook XR AWD
Dark Blue, Tan Leather, 2nd row Captains Chairs
Fully Loaded
Engine Replaced by dealer at 100k, Evidence of new(er) transmission
(Purchased in Feb 2017 with 165k miles)

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Old 09-08-2017, 11:46 AM   #6
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2007 Outlook XR
Default Re: URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

Ok. I give up on trying to attach.
Won't allow m4p file, so Zipped it, but said it was too large.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/eqv2401gs1...ed%29.zip?dl=0

...
2007 Outlook XR AWD
Dark Blue, Tan Leather, 2nd row Captains Chairs
Fully Loaded
Engine Replaced by dealer at 100k, Evidence of new(er) transmission
(Purchased in Feb 2017 with 165k miles)

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Old 09-08-2017, 11:52 AM   #7
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2007 Outlook XR
Default Re: URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

That was the trimmed version. Here's the full recording:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/eqv2401gs1...ed%29.zip?dl=0

...
2007 Outlook XR AWD
Dark Blue, Tan Leather, 2nd row Captains Chairs
Fully Loaded
Engine Replaced by dealer at 100k, Evidence of new(er) transmission
(Purchased in Feb 2017 with 165k miles)

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Old 09-10-2017, 04:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: URGENT input needed - military wife traveling & near-stranded

I listened to the unzipped file - I may be deaf (did wear ear buds) and cannot seem to discern much, other than what you described. I didn't hear dog panting but do hear the turn signals and a soft whining sound. Everything else seems to be muffled. Human ears are more perceptible than cellphone or portable recorders unless you're carrying million dollar sound recording equipment to play back in surround sound.

If I were to guess, the ac cycling from cold to nothing/hot may be one or both(?) cooling fans not running. AC always demands cooling fan(s) as soon as ac is turned on - one way to know if cooling fans are running. Opening the engine hood with engine idling then turning on ac should turn on one or two cooling fans at low speed. With low speed fan(s) running, there may be no noise and require looking into the front grille to see if the front fan blades are spinning. If two fans are used, the rear fan might be behind the radiator and looking carefully for spinning blades. On hot and humid days, your Outlook may have three fan speeds so high speed will be heard better with the hood open and standing in front of the suv. If one or two fans aren't seen running with ac on, this may be either a blown fuse(s) or a worn out fan. Without ac use, the cooling fan(s) are only needed when engine coolant begins to overheat where the engine computer senses coolant temps and determines when to turn on cooling fans. A dead fan or blown cooling fan fuse would allow the engine to overheat. If the engine overheats, this may also led to the transmission overheating. A cascade effect.

There are two radiators on most vehicles if ac is used. One is the radiator for the engine cooling system and the other radiator in front of the cooling system radiator is the ac condenser coil. The ac condenser coil always sits in front of the engine radiator so both heat up when ac is used. When both heat up (ac turned on) the engine computer automatically turns on one or two cooling fans (starting in low speed) to have a continuous airflow blowing thru both radiators to prevent the ac from overheating and shutting down as well as keep the engine cooling system from overheating - hot air from the ac condenser coil flows back into the radiator that's already hot.

Either check for one or two cooling fans turning on as soon as ac is turned on or have GM diagnose your troubles. This is only one guess.

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