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Old 01-18-2007, 11:06 PM   #1
kstone005
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Default Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Hey Guys,

Just posting to request help from other Saturn owners who have had VTI transmission problems. My story is the same as many others. I felt a little kick when I stopped at a red light and new it was a transmission problem. I took it to the Saturn service center and they could not find a problem. Three weeks later returned with same problem and was told I had an internal failure. My 03' Vue has about 98,000 miles and has had every oil change and required service done at a Saturn dealership. As most of you know, I'm out of the extended VTI transmission warranty. I spoke to the Saturn Customer Assistance Center and they remarked my maintenance was excellent, however, all they could do was replace the transmission for $4800.00. This sounds crazy...I know. The price has gone down, my first quote was $6900.00 from the dealership. I don't even owe this much on the car. I am requesting people let me know what Saturn has done for them as far as a trade-in. I have read where they give a good trade-in even with a bad transmission. I am working with a lawyer and I hope your posts will help me get out of this situation.

Thanks,

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Old 01-19-2007, 09:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

See what you can negotiate on a trade, whether you decide to go that route or not. There's a guy selling a FWD VTi in classifieds, but that won't work if you have AWD. The retailer can still make money on the trade even with a bad transmission so you'll lose less trading it than fixing it. But that works only if you want to wash your hands of the car.

You're just in a bad place on this one. A lawyer may be your best option since they can muscle Saturn a bit better than a lone consumer. Honestly, Saturn could have done a better job on the extended warranty for the VTi. Since most failures seem to be in the AWD, they should have given that one a graduated warranty, like 100k miles and no year limit. Though their extended warranty seems to have addressed the issue, it really doesn't. Five years or 75k miles is rather stingy. I don't expect Saturn to be on the hook for life on these things, but this is well below what I've come to expect from Saturn Corp.

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Old 01-19-2007, 09:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Ah, another satisfied Saturn customer..... They're beginning to spring up like daisies!


When I traded in my 2003 VTi equipped Vue, I had 103,000 miles on it and like you, a bad transmission.

Again like you, I was quoted somewhere in the neighborhood of $6400.00 to repalce the transmission ($5500.00 for the transmission, and $900.00 in labor, tax and shop feed). just like you, mine suffered and 'internal failure' as well. Unlike you, Saturn Customer Service was completley unwilling to do anyhting the help me out with the cost of the transmission.

I elected to trade my Vue in on a 2006 FWD V-6. Without the transmission, I was originally offered a trade value of $3500.00.

I balked at that because I had recently done the 100k service ( a $600.00 value), replaced both drive shaft support bearings (A $572.00 value) and both front sway bar links (a $195.00 value).

The dealer reluctantly gave me most of the cost of the recent repairs and offered me $4250.00 trade equity.

I then complained again to Saturn Customer Service and the gave me a 'good will' package of free oil changes for 2 years or 30k.

Your best bet to get anything from the Vue in it's current state is to trade it back to Saturn. Most other dealers will probably only offer you $1000.00 as-is.

If you can afford it and have the time to do so, find a used VTi from a junk yard and pay a garage to put it in. Once that's done, drive it to the dealer of your choice and get rid of it.

I wouldn't spend more than $2000.00 on the used transmission since you're likely not to see much more than that back in trade equity. Expect offers of $6000-$7000 trade equity if you present it to another dealer in running condition.

Best of luck to you!

Welcome to the club........

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Old 01-19-2007, 04:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

I actually agree with jd on this one....whine to Saturn Corp until the cows come home for some sort of deal to fix it (buy-back or trade-in at pre-VTI failure). The first thing on your mind is to get rid of it. If your persistent enough, you should get a better deal than jd...I'd expect pre-VTI value for trade-in, at least meet halfways...or a lawyer to muscle them...good luck.

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Old 01-19-2007, 06:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

What would a lawyer do for you? It's out of warranty. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

...
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

I had a recent failure on my Vti. The initial informal quote was about $4000. Before I got an official quote, (and I'm not sure of the correct terminology here...) Saturn decided to make a "goodwill" offer, and paid for the part. I'm not sure if this is Saturn Canada policy, or the benevolence of a regional Saturn rep...

That left me with $1200 (in Canadian funds, probably $900 US funds) to pay for the installation. See if you can work something like that out...

Also, for me they did not replace the whole transmission - just the "end cover" (which includes the most important, and probably most failure-prone components) - see if you can get away with just replacing that - it may lower the cost.

Last edited by HfxVue; 01-20-2007 at 10:29 AM..

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Old 01-20-2007, 11:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Mine is in the shop right now for the same thing so I can empathize. Unfortionately, since you are out of warranty, I would advise you to negotiate the replacement price, get it fixed, then sell it and get another vehicle.

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Old 01-20-2007, 04:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by deadwood View Post
What would a lawyer do for you? It's out of warranty. It sucks, but that's the way it is.
[rant]Well, it is my firm belief that a car should last longer than the warranty (if properly maintained), and building a transmission with just a 100k life is ridiculous....I guess that is why GM is slipping in the polls. If I don't sell Silven due to money issues or whatnot, I expect it to last 200k or more before major engine or transmission work is required. This is why I bought the peppy little ecotec/hydramatic...I heard that it lasts...not a throwaway after 5 years....

You know, most electronics come with a one year warranty (like TV's), but they last decades...heck, I have a fifteen year old VCR that is still ticking...no reason why a car can't last as long....[\rant]

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Old 01-21-2007, 09:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

I just did the end cover replacement, and it didn't help very much. I've been a Saturn owner from the beginning, but this may be the end for me.

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Old 01-21-2007, 06:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

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Originally Posted by mellissam View Post
[rant]Well, it is my firm belief that a car should last longer than the warranty (if properly maintained), and building a transmission with just a 100k life is ridiculous....I guess that is why GM is slipping in the polls. If I don't sell Silven due to money issues or whatnot, I expect it to last 200k or more before major engine or transmission work is required. This is why I bought the peppy little ecotec/hydramatic...I heard that it lasts...not a throwaway after 5 years....

You know, most electronics come with a one year warranty (like TV's), but they last decades...heck, I have a fifteen year old VCR that is still ticking...no reason why a car can't last as long....[\rant]

Yeah, it should last longer, but they're under no legal responsibility when it doesn't after warranty. This used to piss me off when I fixed cell phones. A person would ***** that we should replace their phone a year after the warranty ran out.

...
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by deadwood View Post
Yeah, it should last longer, but they're under no legal responsibility when it doesn't after warranty. This used to piss me off when I fixed cell phones. A person would ***** that we should replace their phone a year after the warranty ran out.
Legal responsibility is one of those things that makes me cringe because of how weasely it can be. Sure, it is supposed to protect the Consumer AND the Manufacturer, to keep the consumer from having crap hoisted upon them, and the manufacturer from having to deal with unreasonable expectations... If a product has a higher than nominal failiure rate then the company should try to find a proper solution. I used to work in the PC industry and a few years ago there was a serious problem with Capacitors on motherboards. These parts were getting something like 10-25% of their service life. That meant that some components wore out quickly, in 3 months. That also meant that some components, in lower usage modes, wouldn't fail till one or two years. Does that make them any less culpable? Legally, sure, they're off the hook probably. But the company in question sure ticked off a lot of my customers, to the point where we dropped the brand we carried at the time as a whole. Especially when the people who DID send boards back in warranty had a 50/50 shot of getting a board without the faulty parts or another board with the same parts that just don't last as long as intended...

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Old 01-23-2007, 09:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

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............ I used to work in the PC industry and a few years ago there was a serious problem with Capacitors on motherboards. These parts were getting something like 10-25% of their service life. That meant that some components wore out quickly, in 3 months. ......
Off Topic-
Are u talking about ABIT motherboards? Capacitors blew on mine (twice)...ABIT was held in high-esteem by the mod crowd until their boards started to fry...I swore off them, won't go near them...now I enjoy ASUS...been bulletproof so far....many years past the standard one year warranty.

On topic - Being a newb to Saturn, I always heard that Saturn cars last (word of mouth). In my mind, they were the NA version of the old Volvo's or Subaru's, they kept on ticking (and they had cult following - LOL). A warranty to me, is to cover bad workmanship. I always thought, if the car made it through the first couple of years, chances are it would last decades. Now the warranty seems to be indicative of how long it will last, not to cover bad workmanship. I wish manufacturers would build cars with longevity at top of mind, instead of slapping on the latest gizmo. I've owned a lot of older cars, never had to change a bearing, warped discs, bad strut mounts, windhield nozzles...things like that....I guess I'll find out, in time, how long Silven stays together, but it would be cool to have him 20 years from now still going strong....You'd think they could build a car to last, after all these years....Imagine if a car company decided to make a car, in that it's only great feature, that it was built to last! I bet they would get a lot of sales....

...
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellissam View Post
Off Topic-
Are u talking about ABIT motherboards? Capacitors blew on mine (twice)...ABIT was held in high-esteem by the mod crowd until their boards started to fry...I swore off them, won't go near them...now I enjoy ASUS...been bulletproof so far....many years past the standard one year warranty.
Off Topic-
The issue affected a large number of board manufacturers that had the capacitor manufacturer as a supplier, Abit included. IIRC, signs to physically look for were bulging capacitors possibly with a brownish fluid oozing out the top. The Epox board went on my parent's PC and the warranty covered repairs. Yet another reason that it got to be just too much of a hassle building PCs for people I knew...

On Topic-
kstone005, I can't offer any info. that might help. Wish you luck getting the situation resolved though...

...
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Old 01-24-2007, 06:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Hey guys, If some one intresting for a used VTI transmission with 35K mi on it, then I have one for $250 + shipping. Replace it to a 5 sp manual tranny. Was working fine.

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Old 01-26-2007, 01:36 PM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Boy do I have allot to say about that stupid VTi situation!!! Here goes...

I had an '03 VUE with the sucky transmission. GM would only allow Saturn to do the bare minimum. At around 40,000 miles the transmission started sounding weird. Saturn changed the fluid and put in an additive of some sort, so they said. A week later the transmission went completely out. Had to have it towed to Saturn. They rebuilt it instead of replacing it. Less than a year later same thing happened. It was acting weird so they changed the fluid, etc. Then on Thanksgiving weekend we went to leave some place and it would not go into Drive, only reverse. We had it towed in to saturn. I only had about 5,000 left before the 75,000 mile trans warranty ran out so I traded it while it was in Saturn's shop. I had been trying to trade it in all year but have been so upside down on it I'd been putting it off. I had previously been told they CANNOT hold the transmission problem against me when giving a trade in appraisal. After all it is a know problem created by GM. They gave me $8,500 on trade in. it had around 70,000 miles on it. When I bought it new at the end of 2003 I thought I was getting a good deal. Someone had ordered it special and decided they didn't want it and it was the last 2003 on the lot so they gave me $2000 worth of extra's at no charge. It had AWD, advanced stereo, sunroof, mud flaps, bumper guard, front and rear side airbags, roof rack, sunroof wind deflector, & bigger tires. I would have kept it if it had not been for the transmission. I hated that is was a 4 cylinder but could have lived with that a while longer. I did not want to keep it and fix it because even if they replaced it, they have to put the same kind back in and it would only be a matter of time before it went out. It is best to cut your losses and get rid of it! I traded it for an '07 Redline Vue and I love it. The day I traded cars they told me they were going to put a new transmission in it before selling it. I was just at saturn two weeks ago and it was on the rack again. They didn't put the new trans in after all. They doctored it up and sold it to someone who drove it for about a month when it went out on her. That day I was there they were putting the new trans in. I was actually told by a tech at saturn that GM is pretty much just trying to bandaid the trans in hopes the warranty will run out before they have to replace them. That is exactly what they did with mine and it was obvious without hearing it from one of their employees. I called the corporate off to complain. I was trying to get them to pay mine off but they would not do that. The corporate manager said if the trans went out after the warranty was up that they would not just leave me hanging out to dry. they said they would help pay for the cost to repair/replace it. I wasn't going to take that chance. We shouldn't have to worry about paying for even part of the cost no matter the number of miles on it.

I was able to get my new VUE when GM was having the redtag sale. I was able to get $2700 in rebates and was able to come up with some down payment so I wouldn't be in the negative any more. I was $5000 upside down on that piece of crap!! Even with a 1.9% interest rate on it. The whole situation was just awful. I had thought about getting a lawyer too but figured it wouldn't do much good with the arbitration papers they make us sign. Don't let them give you less than the Kelley Blue Book Trade in value for it! If it is in Saturn's shop broken down because of the transmission they should still give you the trade in value as if there were nothing wrong with it. They did me. I should have pushed for $9000 since I just made $800 worth of repairs.(breaks, rotors, new exhaust manifold, etc). Now if you want to trade it at another type of dealer I doubt you'll get any sort of deal. Only saturn will trade it with a bad transmission and not take off for it.

Good luck and please let me know how it works out for you!



Quote:
Originally Posted by kstone005 View Post
Hey Guys,

Just posting to request help from other Saturn owners who have had VTI transmission problems. My story is the same as many others. I felt a little kick when I stopped at a red light and new it was a transmission problem. I took it to the Saturn service center and they could not find a problem. Three weeks later returned with same problem and was told I had an internal failure. My 03' Vue has about 98,000 miles and has had every oil change and required service done at a Saturn dealership. As most of you know, I'm out of the extended VTI transmission warranty. I spoke to the Saturn Customer Assistance Center and they remarked my maintenance was excellent, however, all they could do was replace the transmission for $4800.00. This sounds crazy...I know. The price has gone down, my first quote was $6900.00 from the dealership. I don't even owe this much on the car. I am requesting people let me know what Saturn has done for them as far as a trade-in. I have read where they give a good trade-in even with a bad transmission. I am working with a lawyer and I hope your posts will help me get out of this situation.

Thanks,

Last edited by annjot; 01-26-2007 at 01:50 PM..

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Old 01-27-2007, 11:52 AM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

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Originally Posted by annjot View Post
...They gave me $8,500 on trade in....
annjot $8500 is a very good trade in on an 03 VTi w/70K miles. I got that exact same amount on an 04 VTi with 63K miles.

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Old 01-27-2007, 03:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

$4,800.00 sounds like a bargin. Prices sure have come done since I owned my VTI. Just keep in mind you only get a limited warranty for the 5 grand, take your wipping on a trade and be free from it, you will sleep a lot better at night.

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Old 01-27-2007, 10:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

As soon as mine started to act up, I found this site and then saw what was going on and traded it in. I had it maybe 6 months. Never looked back. Now that I'm thinking about that again, I took a bit of a loss on a 6 month old vehicle. Hopefully my 04 will continue to be a good vehicle but down the road I will probably not go with Saturn since they did not recall the VTI and I had to take the hit instead of them.

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Old 01-27-2007, 10:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

Our 2003 Vue (not VTI) is the last GM car we will ever buy. Clarification: My wife can buy another one, if she gets a divorce first. Our 1993 SW2s were great cars, and we still have one. Her Vue is an evil, expensive, annoying joke.

...
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Old 01-27-2007, 11:23 PM   #20
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2003 - VTI Transmission Problem

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Our 2003 Vue (not VTI) is the last GM car we will ever buy. Clarification: My wife can buy another one, if she gets a divorce first. Our 1993 SW2s were great cars, and we still have one. Her Vue is an evil, expensive, annoying joke.
No need to explain, saw your post in another thread....cheers.

...
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