We have a 2009 Saturn Outlook with an HFV6 engine, which currently has 180K miles on it. Recently the car suddenly failed, showing the following messages:
“Service Traction Control”
“Service Brake System”
“Traction Control Off”
“Engine Power Reduced”
The car is not drivable due to the engine losing power, gradually slowing it to a stop.
We received a diagnosis and estimate from the dealership service center who indicated that the timing chain needed to be replaced, which will cost almost $3,000.
Upon looking up the diagnosis online, we found that in February 2010 there was a “Customer Satisfaction Program” (quasi-recall) to reprogram the Engine Control Module (ECM), so there would not be premature wear to the timing chain.
No letters were sent to us regarding this issue, but we had taken it to the dealership a number of times in 2011 and 2012 for other recalls.
If it really is the timing chain, the dealership should have addressed this issue due to the "quasi-recall” (they did the work for other issues with the same “quasi-recall” status even though we were in for totally different reasons), but for some reason they never did reprogram the ECM. Instead, they ended up “marking it complete/closed” in October 2012, four months before the program was scheduled to terminate (oddly, they “completed/closed” the file for our car when our car wasn’t even in the shop).
Would the ECM really cause the timing chain to fail prematurely? The “quasi-recall” suggests the timing chain wears prematurely if the ECM is not reprogrammed. If so, would $3000 be a reasonable cost?
Do you think the symptoms and problems we have experienced are a result of a failed ECM, which should have been reprogrammed back in 2011 under the “quasi-recall”? The numerous warnings received from the car cause us to wonder if the timing chain is really the issue.
(Note to self: other issues at Liability of sludge in engine)