General Motors owner says she had to pay to replace the fuse block even though it was defective.

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GM Fuse Block Lawsuit Says Loose Terminals Cause Problems
General Motors owner says she had to pay to replace the fuse block even though it was defective.

— A General Motors fuse block class action lawsuit alleges the following vehicles have problems with the tension of the terminals that can cause stalled engines and other electrical malfunctions.

  • 2013-2017 Buick Enclave
  • 2013-2017 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2013-2016 GMC Acadia
  • 2017 GMC Acadia Limited

The lawsuit includes all consumers in California who purchased or leased any of the above vehicles.

California plaintiff Rebecca Casey purchased a used 2014 Buick Enclave in December 2016 when the vehicle had about 70,650 miles on the odometer. In April 2018 when the Enclave had 89,373 miles, Casey brought the vehicle to the dealer and said the stability and traction warning lights illuminated, with another warning of reduced power after slowing down on a highway.

Technicians tested the Enclave and found diagnostic trouble code P1682 and also discovered the fuse block ignition bus was loose. The dealership reinstalled the fuse block and the plaintiff paid for the repairs.

In June 2018, the plaintiff brought the Enclave back to the dealership complaining about the engine light activating and then going off, a traction control message and also a message about reduced power. This time technicians determined the fuse block was defective and replaced it, again charging the plaintiff for the repairs.

According to the class action, the fuse blocks in the GM vehicles are used to distribute electrical energy from the batteries or alternators throughout the vehicles. Fuse blocks also work as gateways to energy, with relays and fuses controlling the flow of energy.

The plaintiff says a defective fuse block will cause intermittent or complete disruption of energy distribution, causing a vehicle not to start, intermittent stalling and other malfunctions. Metal prongs used with the terminals must be tight to prevent a loss of tension of the engine relay into the engine relay terminal.

The lawsuit alleges if there is a lack of tension in the engine relay terminal that causes the engine relay to loosen, engine vibration in the engine bay can cause the relay to move around. This allegedly causes a loss of electrical power to various engine components, therefore causing the engine to stall.

The plaintiff claims it is difficult to diagnose the issue as loose connections at the fuse block terminal, but General Motors has allegedly known about the fuse block problems based on service bulletins sent to dealerships.

Service bulletin PIP5094 was issued in 2013 concerning the subject, “Prior To Any Circuit Testing" for 2014 and prior GM cars and light duty trucks.

“When testing any circuit for open or continuity resistance, it is imperative that all related terminal pin fit and tension be check when the test steps require disconnection of the connector or component, prior to any component replacement. Always use the recommended terminal test tool during these tests.”

The bulletin further talks about P1682 and P0689 which are fault codes relating to engine function.

In November 2019, GM published bulletin PIT5074M that covers, “All brand, all model 2005-2020.”

“When diagnosing an intermittent electrical concern terminal tension is one of the main culprits, especially when working with very small terminals.”

Then in December 2019, GM bulletin 19-NA-276 was issued and entitled, “Potential Reduced Engine Power Message Displayed and/or Engine Stall With DTCS P1682 and/or P0689 Set.

“Some customers may comment that the engine stalled and/or a reduced engine power message was displayed. The technician may find DTCs P1682 and/or P0689 stored. The cause of the condition may be poor terminal tension on terminal 51 in X50A fuse block Underhood X3.”

GM told dealers to "replace terminal 51 in X50A fuse block – Underhood X3, with a new terminated lead,” if needed, but the plaintiff says customers are still expected to pay for repairs unless the vehicles are under warranties.

The GM fuse block lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California: Casey, et al., v. General Motors, LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by the Law Office of Robert Starr. has complaints from owners of the GM vehicles named in the fuse block lawsuit.


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