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Whining wheels / brakes - turned out to be gearbox bearing ...

21469 Views 112 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Russ
Last couple of days the brakes appear to be whining quite loudly as reduce speed - almost like a circular saw sound !!
It happens with the brakes applied but also when I let go of the accelerator which I assume means the regen brake is kicking in. When I accelerate again it stops........

Booked into the dealer anyway.
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I have a feeling that's the bearing failure that's popped up a few times, mainly in the US... they need to replace a plastic bearing with a brass one, if I remember correctly. How old is the car? I think this has been fixed in later ones?
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Jan 2014.
Great if its a known issue. Fingers crossed........
It does sound like the bearing issue some others have had. Not a small repair though...
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I think it involves removing half the electrics and stripping down the gearbox completely... if I remember rightly, they'll need your car for at least a few days. Hopefully the My Ampera people will be able to come and collect it and leave you a courtesy car in the meantime...
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That is both interesting and worrying. I was under the impression that this bearing failure was limited to the short production run back around the first deliveries in 2012. Maybe even the brass one can wear if not aligned 100% correctly. Still keeping my fingers crossed about mine, and not wanting to let go of the lifetime warranty.
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Inspected today and they are ordering in bearings, a gasket of some sort and gearbox oil (gears?!).
Some of these on back order so yes several days in the garage.
Are lease cars covered by My Ampera. Don't want to be paying for hire car if Vauxhall should be providing ....
This is a worrying trend as I had hoped that these bearing failures that have plastic cages (as I understand it is the cage that fails) were few and far between.
Do we have any details of the mileage these failures have happened at?
I read that the bearing has been changed on later builds. Does anyone know the VIN number sequence that the later bearings were fitted to?
Bearings are so cheap that it is a shame that such a great design has been spoilt by such a cost cutting exercise.

You would have thought that GM would have had a long history of costly warranties to cut this cheap skating out.
It does seem to be pretty rare, but still slightly concerning - worth having a trawl of the Volt forums in the US as they'll have all the info on there. Apparently the Ampera/Volt has been the most reliable car ever for GM in terms of engineering, which is probably backed up by the fact this seems to be the only real fault (ignoring sillies and minor inconveniences).
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Still in the workshop.
"A bigger job than we thought it would be .........."
:( Hope they get it sorted soon...
All done today - apparently it was a gearbox bearing which I assume is quite different to a wheel bearing ?

Reading the posts above again I guess you are all referring to the gearbox not wheels.

Anyway got my misted up rear lights swapped at the same time. Good to have it back .....:)
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@George Jetson
I understand that your car is a low mileage one.
Do you know if it is a 2012 model? This bearing failure is rather worrying to us purchasers of second hand cars as we are only given one year warranties on the car mechanics.

Did they confirm it was caused by the plastic bearing cage breaking up or did they keep quiet about it.

Such a pity that someone decided plastic was an acceptable replacement to brass or steel.
I guess heat or manufacturing tolerance is causing the failures as it doesn't yet seem to be a major failure but had that bearing been reliable, the Volt/Ampera would have had an enviable reliability record.
I had exactly this fault. The first repair failed quickly too, apparently this is not unusual.

Worrying because as said up thread, we thought it was limited to pre 2013 cars.
Worrying indeed especially if the fix doesn't necessarily fix the problem permanently.
What VIN no. do the affected cars have? Are they BUXXXXXX, CUXXXXXX or DUXXXXXX ?
My 2012 ampera just developed exactly this bearing "soundtrack" tonight on way home. Will be booking in tomorrow and preparing to say goodbye for a while.

Just after a bit of advice...

Does this issue seem to be a "stop driving and get a recovery" or a "book it in and go in a few days" type issue. I can live with the noise but don't want to cause significant damage. Thoughts anyone?
Hi Dave, my bearing went on the way to work just before Christmas. I was told to stop driving immediately. However I have since heard that although the bearing makes a terrific noise you can continue to use the car but the noise gets even worse. Not sure how true this is but it may be worth checking with Vauxhall if you really need to use it. I flat bedded mine to the garage. I got it back within a week but now I have a wind down noise on de-accelerating - makes me feel I am driving a milk float! I will be checking it out with the dealer when it goes in for its service but I guess it may well be down to the change of bearing from plastic to metal. I'd be grateful if you would let us know how you get on.
So I think I was the UK guinea pig for this. My car was off the road for weeks and it took two attempts to fix, but it didn't help that while I was out of the country for two weeks the dealer sat on it and did sweet fa.

If the car is still making the noise after the fix, do not accept it. It will get worse.

Touch wood mine has been ok now for a year and five months.

The fix can be done in a working day if done properly.

The advice from the US was that it sounds worse than it is. It's a broken ball race in the ball bearing which allows the balls to rub together. Apparently it can't cause damage to other parts but drive at your own risk. I did about 200 miles to get home from Cornwall when it went the second time.

I wonder if the 2014 car above was actually a 2012 that sat about?
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Thanks... Will update all on my luck.

Fingers crossed.
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