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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2007 Saturn (front wheel drive) that now has 10,200 miles on it. While we love the comfort and the roominess for my 4 children, the gas mileage is deplorable. We purchased it instead of a Tahoe or Aspen because of the mileage it professed to get. We are getting (big sigh) about 9-10 miles per gallon, city or highway. And what drives me crazy is the hard shifting when going up a hill. I have to literally pound on it to get it up even the slightest hill, and if I don't keep my foot down, it constantly downshifts to the point where the tach jumps to 3K then down to 1500K and back until it finally reaches the level.

We took it back to the dealer at about 3K miles, and they ran their diagnostics on it and said all was okay with the computer. There was also a computer software upgrade they made, which we had received a voluntary notice for. We had high hopes this would alleviate the problem, but it hasn't.

Does anyone else have the problem with gas mileage and/or tranny shifting? I have a 2003 Caravan with a 6 cylinder and a 2005 Hyundai 4 cylinder that have more guts than the Outlook.

Thanks.....
 

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I have the same vehicle. My mileage in the city is between 11.5 and 14 - highway 25 - 30. I can live with the mileage as I do mostly city with very very little highway and the fact that I do tend to push a little to hard.

As for the shifting - when I got mine last June it broke in fine and I had a few downshifting problems. I had the flash upgrade (tran and DIC) back in October. Since I have had no problems with any shifting and the vehicle has learned my driving habits very well. No accelerating problems at all in any condition.

I have 9900 miles on mine.

Did you receive the flash update for both (is that what you mean by the computer software...)?
 

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Something doesn't seem right, at least as far as mileage--are you calculating mileage divided by gallons to fill, etc. or just based on the DIC (information center)?

Even if you're doing the former, if the dealer didn't reprogram both modules as needed when doing the new trans calibration, your odometer/trip meter, etc. will be far off and would definitely be giving you far off readings in mileage.

Otherwise, most people tend to get a "low" of mid teens around town with many also getting high teens to right around 20, and then most get low to even mid/upper 20's doing a highway cruise.

So...something is amiss. I'd check on the mileage actually being correct after the flash and/or how you're calculating it. As far as the responsiveness, that has been complained about before, though most are satisfied.
 

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This seems very strange, and I would guess it is either a problem with the engine, or with how you are calculating the mileage. I typically get about 17mpg city and about 22-24mpg highway. In mixed driving, we usually end up with about 19-20mpg per tank.

As for the transmission behavior, even after the upgraded flash, it takes some getting used to. Part of that is due to the fact that it has 6 gears and part of the goal is to get higher gas mileage rather than providing pure power at a moments notice. Much of this is simply how the car is set up, and once you get used to it (and it gets used to your driving style), it will feel more familiar. My second car is a sports car, so going back and forth takes a bit of a shift for me, but overall, I appreciate the gas savings for what I feel is the small trade-off of an upshift happy car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all for your insights. I will have to check and verify what the computer program upgrade was that the dealer completed. I remember I received a document in the mail indicated it was a voluntary procedure and it had to do with the computer.

To calculate the gas mileage, I do the old school method---mileage at fill up minus the miles to the next fill up divided by the gallons it took to fill up (sorry about the wordiness..hope that made sense). My DIC doesn't have a MPG field. Perhaps because it is the base model Outlook?

I will post what I find out about the computer upgrade that was completed. Again, many thanks for responding.
Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay, I checked the document provided to me by Saturn in October, 2007. It indicated that there was a voluntary update to enhance "shifting performance".

The work receipt from the dealer indicated it was "Campaign #07217, Transmission software & calibration update"

This is all it (warranty work receipt) said---the October 2007 document referenced above did have wording about ".....making you aware of an engine and transmission computer software update that is being made available to you for improved performance".

I am going to contact the dealer to ask them to check everything again, based on the poor gas mileage and the rough shifting. Does anyone have any other advice to offer? I have checked the gas mileage again, doing it by hand, and it comes between 10-12 MPG in regular driving (nearly all non-city). I live in Western Penna, so while we do have hilly topography, it seems that the shifting uphills should be better so that I don't have to pound on it to have it stop shifting up and down before I get to the top of the hill.

Thanks everyone...
 

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We still have under 2,000 miles on our 2008 we picked up in March and finally took it on a road trip, Philly to Pittsburgh, 308 miles each way. I did the trip in 5 hrs, including stops. I would guess I averaged 73 MPH, and we got 17 MPG out and 18 MPG back. With my 2001 V8 Sierra I get 25 MPG on the same trip, and a little harder driving. I hope the mileage increases, we plan to hit Cedar Point in August, and at this rate it would cost almost $300 in just gas.
 

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I have a 2008 XE and I have had mixed results with mileage. I have gotten as low as 18-19 on the highway and as high as 22-23 on the highway. What seems to be the key in higher MPG for me is:

1.) avoid using the break as much as possible
2.) accelerate slowly from a stop (avoid surging)
3.) coast where you can (downhill or when you see congestion up ahead)
4.) avoid constant use of A/C on long rides
5.) Keep speed at or below 65 MPH (very important, makes a huge difference)

Other variables like wind and rain or steep inclines can create more resistance and cause you to burn a lot more fuel on trips.

These are also key "hypermiling" techniques... but they do make the difference for me.
 

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Has anyone heard of a chip, or any modification to get more MPG's or performance?

I was thinking about looking into some air intake work (maybe a K&N system) to see what that does.

Any thoughts or anyone have any experience with this?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No, haven't heard of any updates to increase MPG--in fact, I was at the dealer last week and they said there is an update that improves shift performance but reports to lower MPG by 3-4. I believe some other threads in this forum relate the same story.

Big sigh....I love our Outlook but just despise the MPG and shifting issues. While it is comfortable to drive, the performance of the tranny and the fuel economy leaves much to be desired. I hope they correct this so when I turn this lease over in a few years a better version is on the scene...otherwise I'll look at another model.

Take care...
 
D

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I have a 2007 Outlook also. The transmission is constantly shifting up and down. It shifts at the slightest incline and sometimes will shift back and forth three times before you get to the top of a hill. I too have taken it back to the dealer twice. They first said it was normal. The second time they installed the latest software on the computer. Nothing has changed. I feel that I am stuck with a lemon which cannot be fixed. I think that in trying to get fuel economy, they made a transmission with too many gears (6) and it continually shifts back and forth. Outside of a total redesign, there is probably nothing that can be done for it. I wish I had kept my Highlander. Also, the cruise control is absolutely worthless because it will shift at the first hint of a slight incline. It will usually shift from 6 to 4 and immediately up to 5. Then, maybe back to 6 and back to 4 and 5 again. It will drive you nuts. I hate it.
 

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Disgruntled said:
I have a 2007 Outlook also. The transmission is constantly shifting up and down. It shifts at the slightest incline and sometimes will shift back and forth three times before you get to the top of a hill. I too have taken it back to the dealer twice. They first said it was normal. The second time they installed the latest software on the computer. Nothing has changed. I feel that I am stuck with a lemon which cannot be fixed. I think that in trying to get fuel economy, they made a transmission with too many gears (6) and it continually shifts back and forth. Outside of a total redesign, there is probably nothing that can be done for it. I wish I had kept my Highlander. Also, the cruise control is absolutely worthless because it will shift at the first hint of a slight incline. It will usually shift from 6 to 4 and immediately up to 5. Then, maybe back to 6 and back to 4 and 5 again. It will drive you nuts. I hate it.
Yout hit it right on the head.....I had mine in for the state inspection and asked them to check it out...you guessed it "All systems operating normal". The comfort and styling are great...the gas mileage and shifting are horrible. If I could get my 04' Grand Caravan back that I traded in, I would in a heartbeat. I can't wait until my lease expires so I can actually get a vehicle I can afford to drive and more importantly, is enjoyable to drive from a performance standpoint.
 

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Khansen30.... please please tell us how you're getting 25 - 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The best I've ever hand calculated was 24 on the highway. Never hear of a lamda getting 30 mpg.
 

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I havn't had mine for that long, and havn't had it on any significant hwy trips.

But just cruising on the Hwy and then resetting the Avg MPG I can definitely see how much it can fluctuate. With cruise control on and a flat road, I see it sit pretty steady up in the 30-32 mpg range (with AC off and no headwind). Now this isn't EPA Hwy testing, but for my use....it is "HWY" use. Like for long trips etc....this is what i should get (assuming AC off and no bad headwind).

Going on my first hour+ drive on the freeway this friday...(fully loaded car) so we'll see how she performs.

This is assuming the MPG calculation/sensors are accurate (which i hear most are right on these days)

On the otherhand with mixed city driving, onoff ramps etc, hwy changes .... with cruise on some of the time, i get around 21 so far it seems like (sometimes lower...sometimes higher depending if i hit a few lights etc)
 

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Disgruntled said:
I have a 2007 Outlook also. The transmission is constantly shifting up and down. It shifts at the slightest incline and sometimes will shift back and forth three times before you get to the top of a hill. I too have taken it back to the dealer twice. They first said it was normal. The second time they installed the latest software on the computer. Nothing has changed. I feel that I am stuck with a lemon which cannot be fixed. I think that in trying to get fuel economy, they made a transmission with too many gears (6) and it continually shifts back and forth. Outside of a total redesign, there is probably nothing that can be done for it. I wish I had kept my Highlander. Also, the cruise control is absolutely worthless because it will shift at the first hint of a slight incline. It will usually shift from 6 to 4 and immediately up to 5. Then, maybe back to 6 and back to 4 and 5 again. It will drive you nuts. I hate it.
Those of you dissapointed with the transmission performance, especially if you own an '07, need to get the May 8th transmission flash upgrade. Many Acadia and Enclave owners who weren't happy with tranny performance have said it is a marked improvement. One of the GM powertrain engineers worked with many forum members to come up with the re-calibrated algorithms. The details are posted below.

ALSO, when in cruise the tranny DOES NOT downshift from 6th to 4th and immediately back to 5th. What it actually does is downshift to 5th WITHOUT torque converter lockup. The next immediate upshift you feel is the torque converter locking back in. All transmissions have to kick out the torque converter to downshift. The May 8th upgrade also includes an April upgrade to help the tranny "hold" higher gear when on an incline without upshifting back to 6th until the hill/grade has leveled back out. Good Luck!


#08-07-30-022: Hesitation or Flat Spot Between 56-80 km/h (35-50 mph) (Reprogram Transmission Control Module) - (May 8, 2008)

Subject: Hesitation or Flat Spot Between 56-80 km/h (35-50 mph) (Reprogram Transmission Control Module)
Models: 2008 Buick Enclave
2007-2008 GMC Acadia
2007-2008 Saturn OUTLOOK
with FWD or AWD
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Condition
Some customers may comment on a flat spot or hesitation between 56-80 km/h (35-50 mph) speed range.

Cause
The existing transmission calibration is programmed to maximize fuel economy and requires a greater throttle input than some customers would prefer to provide acceleration in this speed range.

Correction
A new calibration is available. This new calibration increases the speed required to obtain upshifts and removes TCC apply from 2nd to 3rd gear, thereby reducing engine lugging and improving vehicle response to accelerator input.

Important: This calibration will have a negative impact on fuel economy of 0-1.2 L/100 km (0-2 mpg) combined driving.

To obtain this calibration, contact Techline (TCSC) at 1-800-828-6860 (English) or 1-800-503-3222 (French). Techline will reconfigure the vehicle to make this calibration the default calibration for this vehicle.

The table below shows the Shift Pattern Change at Light Throttle.

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Current Calibration New Calibration
Shift MPH KPH MPH KPH
1-2 8 13 12 19
2-3 18 29 20 33
3-4 24 40 31 50
4-5 32 53 43 69
5-6 44 71 56 90

TCC Applied 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 4th, 5th, 6th

Warranty Information
For vehicles repaired under warranty, use:

Labor Operation Description Labor Time
K5364 Transmission Control Module Reprogram with SPS Use Published Labor Operation Time
 

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Do any of the 2008 Outlooks need the transmission re flash. I own a 08 XE that I find in some situations doe's not seem to find the right gear to be in.
 

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The above listed flash is "voluntary only" to respond to customers with complaints and has only been available since May 8th 2008. It is the "third iteration" of transmission flashes for this transmission. You may want to look into getting it.

ALSO, 2008 model year vehicles built prior to August 2007* have the same algorithm as the 2007's (first iteration). ALL lambdas built August 2007* or later are supposed to have the "second iteration" of transmission algorithms which corrected alot of the "sluggishness" or hesitancy to downshift when you hit the accelerator that plagued early 2008's and all 2007s.

*correction to my original post....I meant 2008 model year vehicles built after August 07 (not August 2008)
 

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ccaats is exactly right. None of the Lambdas have the newest (May 8th) transmission flash, since it's voluntary. However, a huge majority of users who have gotten it seem to be extremely happy with the performance of their transmissions afterwards. It comes with the caveat that it will possibly decrease mileage, but so far users haven't seen a measurable difference. If you're not happy with your transmission, I'd suggest you get the newest flash.
 
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