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Stingray Z51 M7 Transmission Failure - Dealer cannot fix! GM Buyback?

3830 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Busa Dave
After owning my first C7 Stingray since January 2017 and putting 18,900 miles on it, it finally needed new tires. I brought the Z51 Corvette to Stillwater Motors to have new Pilot Sport 4S tires installed, and while in there I noted there was a harsh grinding noise when shifting into 2nd gear and eventually the transmission would not go into 2nd. Upon inspection they confirmed my issue and proceeded to disassemble a majority of the car to remove and disassemble the 7 speed manual transmission. The mechanic found a plethora of metal shavings inside and the root cause was a failed 2nd gear synchro and damaged 2nd gear. GM would only approve a transmission rebuild rather than a replacement, unlike I had requested. So…. 23 days later the dealer called and had the car finished and reassembled. This is where the fun begins… upon arrival I noted the car sat higher than before (about 0.5” after measuring). I asked why the vehicle was not returned to original ride height and was told it was in spec…. ok. No big deal. The bigger deal is when I went to drive it home. Approximately 117 miles into my scenic detour home along the St. Croix River, the car would not shift out of neutral and the dash illuminates with a check engine light and service park brake light. The shifter would not move out of the N position however the car was still locked into 5th gear and did not display gear position. The engine was also in a limp home state with PO734 code present. So, rather frustrated at this point after waiting almost a month for my car to be repaired, I call the dealer. They instructed me to limp the vehicle back and drop it off…. They claimed the shift linkage may have been out of alignment and they would recheck and get back to me…

For the sake of brevity, I will fast forward to today, 35 days later from when I initially dropped the car off to get new tires. I have made 4 more dealer visits since returning the car after they instructed me the issue was fixed… only to have the fault set before even leaving the lot! The car has not returned back to my house since Aug 30th due to these issues and the dealer unable to repair the transmission or properly diagnose the issue. At this point, I am very upset with the situation and have missed out on 3 significant road trips due to this, as well as make vehicle payments on a premium car while I am stuck I a cheap loaner Malibu.

As if all of this turmoil was not bad enough, there were also blemishes on my carbon side rocker panels which were not there before and scratches on the fascia from pushing the car around by hand, along with a dead battery and squeaks and rattles on the interior from removing most of it to reinstall the trans shift linkage, which I question if interior removal was necessary. I am extremely upset and dissatisfied. I am not convinced this car will ever be the same and without issue and request that it be bought back from GM. After much correspondence with GM customer assistance, I have yet to get any resolution on this matter. This level of inconvenience and customer assistance with such a premium vehicle is unacceptable. WI lemon law applies to vehicles which are still under factory warranty and have a defect covered under warranty and not able to be repaired and leaves the vehicle inoperable for 30 cumulative days, so I may proceed that route.

Has anyone else had to deal with such terrible customer assistance or a vehicle buyback from GM? This all seems like a nightmare.
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When compared to some other states, Wisconsin lemon law is quite bad from a customer's perspective. I bought a GMC Acadia from a dealer in Wisconsin because they had exactly what I wanted, and there were only two in the whole country (the other was in Iowa). Anyway, because of doing business there, I read up on the laws. Let it suffice to say, I would much prefer to buy a new vehicle in California to have the better lemon law safety net.

Getting back to your condition, you need to act quickly. As you may know, Wisconsin lemon law only covers a defect which occurs during the first year after you buy the car. If I were you, I would go ahead and start the ball rolling.

Read the information in the following link carefully. If I were you, I would take option #2 on the first page (which is to get the money back). Then, you can take the money and buy another C7 (if you want it) from another dealer somewhere else.

From what you have written and what Wisconsin law appears to be, your case is a SLAM DUNK for getting your money back. You just need to educate yourself, and make sure you dot all of your "i"s and cross all of your "t"s and do everything exactly like you are supposed to do.
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Also note that most car manufacturers will not give you 100% purchase value in a buyback, but take your miles and charge you $.50 a mile usage charge, give you the remaining amount from your original purchase price.
That does not appear to be the mileage usage charge which is allowed by law in Wisconsin. He can use the link I posted, and, given how many miles were on the car when he FIRST had the problem, along with knowing his purchase price, he can compute exactly how much they are legally allowed to deduct. Given Wisconsin law (which is not as consumer-friendly as some other states), and what I would guess he probably paid for his Z51, they probably can charge him somewhat more than $0.50 per mile if they want to (well, they absolutely can charge him more than $0.50 per mile, unless he was able to get his car at a screaming deal of a cheap price).
By the way, just to be clear on the steps which it appears you need to follow in Wisconsin:

1) File MV 2691 from the Wisconsin DOT. You can find the link here:

2) Send a copy of your MV 2691 along with copies of all of your repair orders and a cover letter succinctly stating that your vehicle has been in the shop for XX days since DATE with an extremely brief description of the transmission problem (summarize into fewer words your post from item #1) to GM at the address shown in your owner's manual. Keep it simple. Forget about the damage they caused to your interior and the exterior. That is just a distraction to the case at hand. You can nail them on the transmission itself, and the number of days it has been out of service. Again, keep it simple.

3) This is taken directly from the information I linked from the Wisconsin DOT: "If you don't get a refund or replacement vehicle by writing the manufacturer, consider
using your manufacturer's arbitration program. If your manufacturer has a program
certified by WisDOT, you must use it before you can sue under the Lemon Law. If your
manufacturer's program is not certified, you do not have to use it. However, if you do use
it, you might get a decision you like. You can reject any decision you don't like.

4) If you don't get resolution that way, then you can get an attorney and start a Lemon Law suit. Given your slam dunk of a case, I bet it will not go this far, although they might put you through step #3 just to see how determined you are.

I do not recommend that you follow John's advice with respect to following the steps in the owner's manual at this time. In many cases and states that very well may be the correct route to follow, but from what I have read from the Wisconsin DOT, you should not waste any time with those other steps in the owner's manual at this point, especially with what has already happened in your particular case. If I were you, I would go straight to the Wisconsin DOT and start filling out form MV 2691. Then take it step-by-step after that.
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Oh, and this appears to be the address to which you would need to send the MV 2691 in step #2 above:

Chevrolet Motor Division
Chevrolet Customer Assistance
P.O. Box 33170
Detroit, MI 48232-5170

Of course, that is from a 2016 owner's manual. Be sure you check your 2017 to make sure.
Thank you for the feedback! I agree and at this point I have filled out forms MV 2691 and MV 2692, summarizing what is in the dealership repair log. I also have a brief cover letter that I am sending to GM. I also was contacted by the dealer today and was informed they are pulling apart the car and transmission a 2nd time now, they suspect reassembly error and anticipate the car being out of commission for another 2 weeks. I also reached out to Jeff Strausser (Corvette Brand Quality Manager) briefly describing my concern and if he could offer any assistance to the situation.
Well, it looks like you already have done everything correctly up to this point. Recheck your letter to GM, make sure it is succinct, factual, and without emotion, gather copies of all of your relevant paperwork together, and send it all to them via certified mail.

It might take a while, and they might make you to jump through hoops getting there (I hope not, so GM can keep you as a repeat customer), but, if I were you, I would feel confident that I would win in the end given your case and the information from your DOT.

By the way, if they treat you right and pay you without trouble, if I were you, I would seriously consider buying another GM vehicle.
Yes, I do plan to either upgrade to the Z06 or the ZL1 Camaro if this is able to be bought back, or worst case trade it in.
No, a trade-in would probably hit you unreasonably hard financially. If I understand your case correctly, and if I understand Wisconsin DOT's description of the Lemon Law there, you have a slam dunk case.

Engineer, break out your favourite calculating machine (for me it is an old TI-68 which I have had since I was in approximately 8th grade) and see exactly how much they will owe you. Remember, with that route, you get money back on the taxes you paid, the registration you paid, collateral costs, et cetera. You will get WAY more money with a Lemon Law buyback than a trade-in.

I do hope they realize that if they treat you right that you will buy another, even more expensive, vehicle from them (as well as remain a life-long customer).
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