Completed the new survey of NHTSA complaints registered since the recall was announced (January 2017) where someone had the recall performed and then the problem came back.
Honestly, there isn't much here. 14 records total and only 8 of follow on failures after the recall fix was performed. Of those 8, only 4 could be confirmed as having just the tape fix performed and then a total failure later. Of these 4, I can only confirm 1 of these have happened after the 1 year warranty on the recall fix was up. I know I've read more than 1 person having their mat fail a year after getting the tape fix but those people are not complaining, not mentioning the first fix was a tape fix, and/or not mentioning the failure happened more than a year after the tape fix.
This really isn't enough to file a petition to look into the "tape fix" part of the original recall. I will keep monitoring it but if you have not filed a complaint with NHTSA and have had your "tape fix" recall solution mat fail completely, you need to file a complaint. If you have and have already filed a complaint, do NOT file another. Data integrity cannot be compromised just to get "more" complaints.
It looks like we may need to go through this again though this time may not be nearly as difficult to research yet will probably be harder to get a result.
In the original paper I wrote for this, I documented how this failure could occur and expressed our recall should be like the Cadillac recall and all PPS mats should be replaced. As you know, this was not the case. An active PPS fault needed to be occurring for a full replacement. If there was no fault, GM would put the reinforcing tape on the existing mat and call it good.
The problem we are seeing is that many of these "tape only fixes" are failing at or just past the 1 year warranty period of the recall repair. It is my hypothesis that these mats were already "damaged" when the tape was applied. By damaged I mean the mat 3D matrix of sensors had already started to tear but that the tear was not big enough to break the printed circuit that causes the fault. Once the mat is damaged in this way though, use of the seat WILL allow the tear to lengthen until it does eventually result in a PPS mat failure. The "tape fix", I believe, would not prevent this, only lengthen the time it takes to happen.
GM cannot tell if a mat is damaged unless the fault is active OR to tear apart the mat and inspect the 3D matrix within it. Of course doing the latter would render the mat unusable so only the active PPS mat fault method was used. It is my belief that ANY car that got only the "tape fix" should be recalled again and have a new mat installed and that, moving forward, the recall solution repair should only be replacing the existing mat, whether or not the PPS error is active or not, with a new mat.
So please, ANYONE who has taken their car in without the airbag light being on to have the PPS mat recall performed but who then later had the airbag light come on again only to find out their PPS mat has now failed, please go to the NHTSA complaint site (link below) and register a complaint. I will start going through that database next week to collect complaint counts. Thank you.
--- END UPDATE ---
WE HAVE A RECALL!!!!!
NHTSA Campaign Number: 17V061000
Manufacturer General Motors LLC
Components AIR BAGS
Potential Number of Units Affected 91,007
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles. The Passenger Air Bag Suppression System (PPS) sensor may become bent or damaged within the front passenger seat, possibly disabling the front passenger air bag.
Can't believe it's been over a year since we got the news the recall was issued. Now, the final remedy for this recall has been announced and folks are getting their letters to come in and have it applied.
The final remedy is to add tape to the mat just like on the CTS. If your mat is NOT damaged, and more on this word in a minute, then the dealership will apply the new reinforced tape to your existing mat. If your mat IS damaged, they will replace the mat with a new mat that has the tape in place.
Now for the explanation of what "damage" means. From what we can tell, you may have a working mat (no Service Air Bag message or Air Bag warning light) and it could still be considered "damaged". Now whether this means the section of mat that fails is slightly torn or if it is torn to the point where it is into the printed circuit yet has not broke the circuit completely we don't know. Talk to your service department or GM for further information on this.
NHTSA officially issues the recall.
NHTSA Campaign Number:
From the recall documentation:
You are required to provide an estimated date including month, day, and year, when you will send notifications to owners, dealers, and distributors as soon as it becomes available. Please be reminded that it is required that owners be notified of a safety defect in their vehicles within 60 days of a manufacturer's notification to NHTSA of a safety defect in those vehicles.
This means we all should receive a letter on the recall by April 9th. It is hoped that there will be a remedy listed by that time.
Looks like Transport Canada has beat the NHTSA to the recall punch.
Transport Canada issues safety recall of 7,143 Pontiac and Saturn vehicles
The Transport Canada recall number is 2017044. Here is a link to the Transport Canada recall page for our cars:
The recall has been issued by GM. #172080280
Issued January 26, 2017
NHTSA has not assigned a recall number yet.
There is no Remedy Plan yet.
Enter your VIN and you can read the details.
Now, per the GM employee who shared this on Facebook (and per the recall info on that site when you input your VIN), GM is working on a redesign of the part and there is no official Remedy yet. I don't know how long redesign and production of this new part will take (I'm thinking at minimum 6 months and that's being highly optimistic) so don't go down to your dealership and ask for the recall to be done on your car just yet.
What this news means is that GM has decided to issue a recall and move forward with making a fix. NHTSA will eventually issue a recall number too when GM has sorted out what the remedy for this will be.
As more news becomes available, I will post updates to this thread up here.
Below is the original post and the updates as they were posted...but most of this is moot now that GM has released an official recall.
Passenger Sensing System Sensor Mat Failures in the GM Kappa Platform - A Call for a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Investigation
Abstract: Based on a survey of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from their Vehicle Safety Consumer Complaint System and data supplied by manufactures who experienced and issued recalls on Passenger Sensing System (PSS) sensor mats, there is a failure pattern of the IEE supplied PSS sensor mat in the GM Kappa platform vehicles, the MY 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and MY 2007-2010 Saturn Sky, which would require further investigation and action to ensure passenger safety.
Not so much an update as a follow up notice. I talked to the person handling our petition and asked them about the status of it. All I got was "We're working on it and we haven't forgotten about it." I don't know if the length of time this is taking is a good or bad thing but at least they know we haven't forgotten about it either. I will keep checking their site (which is easier to do now at least...) and will follow up with them again in May if nothing has changed. That will mark one year since the petition was opened by them.
GM response posted. Included in the response are databases that list every Kappa produced, every complaint GM has received on this issue, and every repair GM has done for this issue. We're talking a LOT of data here folks. 90,000+ records in the production database, 300+ records in the complaint database, and 2,700+ records in the repair database. I plan on going over these databases like I did the CTS databases in my first report. May take a month or so to put everything together but I'll update you here.
What a difference a day makes. Today there are four new documents on the NHTSA Site. These are the response from IEE. Some very interesting information about our sensors.
Click the link below to go directly to the post in this thread about these important documents:
No update yet to the NHTSA site on the petition. I called around June 21st to see if IEE had responded and, while I was told they had and that no request for confidentiality had been submitted with the response, it should be on their website "soon". I know Takata is taking a lot of their time and the staffing is short but it has been over a month since IEE's response deadline (June 15th) and almost three weeks since GM's response deadline (June 30th) with no update to the site. I do check every weekday. So today I wrote an email to the contacts I had been put in touch with over at the NHTSA requesting some update on the petition. If I receive no response by July 31st, I'll be calling the office on August 1st to see what the holdup is.
I did an interview with WSMV, NBC Nashville for a follow up report on their 2013 story regarding this issue.
Drivers continue push for recall over vehicle's known issue - WSMV Channel 4
In the email the reporter sent me to share this link, he sent correspondence from GM stating that GM has began an internal investigation into this issue.
NHTSA has granted a two week extension to IEE for them to submit their information. New deadline for IEE is June 16th.
IEE responded to NHTSA requesting a conference call between the NHTSA, IEE and IEE's attorney to discuss an extension to their June 1st deadline to respond with the information NHTSA requested on May 16th.
NHTSA INVESTIGATION Subject : Passenger Sensing System Sensor Mat
Date Investigation Opened: MAY 16, 2016
Date Investigation Closed: Open
NHTSA Action Number: DP16001
Component(s): AIR BAGS
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received a petition requesting a defect investigation into an alleged defect of the air bag system on 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles. The petition letter is attached for review.
Defect Petition has been written and reviewed by the NHTSA representative I got in contact with yesterday. He told me to proceed and this should go out in the mail along with a CD of 8 attachments mentioned in the Petition. See page 4 in this thread for a link to the letter (a almost final draft version).
While I can't go into details at this time, I have been informed that the NHTSA has gotten wind of this report and would be open to starting an investigation into the problem. I first must draft a Defect Petition in accordance with 49 CFR 552.4 in order to get the ball rolling. I am currently researching what is needed in that Defect Petition letter and starting my first draft. I have a contact at NHTSA who is willing to help with this process so I look forward to having more news for you folks in the coming days.
I have gone through the whole document for a third (or fourth, or fifth...I've lost count) time and have incorporated suggestions from those who have read it over and messaged me as well as my own revisions that I caught while reading through it. I THINK I got everything. I will start working on a Social Media story now.
10 more pages added comparing NHTSA reported complaints of the PSS sensor mat failure in the Vehicle Safety Consumer Complaint database versus production numbers of the two Kappa vehicles and four other GM products.
ORIGINAL OPENING POST:
I ask that folks who wish to read the above PDF and, if you find any typos or mistakes, please let me know so I can fix them. It's not a short read.
Also, thank you to Tomato Soup and DaveOC for their help with this project. I referenced TS's great work and photo documentation on the PSS sensor mat he took apart and DaveOC helped with research information on production and sales numbers for the Kappa platform. Thank you both and thank you to all those who supported my efforts in putting this together.
Okay folks, for those that didn't follow along in the other thread and need to catch up, here is the backstory to this:
The whole purpose of this survey of information is to get the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to open an investigation into the problem. Until they do that, GM isn't going to do anything I don't believe.
This document reviews the problem in the following manner.
First we go over why we have these sensors in the car and how the system works.
Then it moves on to the Cadillac 2005-2007 CTS recall. This recall was for the same issue we seem to have, the mat flexes and eventually breaks causing the Service Air Bag message to display. This recall is used for a baseline since GM is in charge of the Cadillac, Pontiac, and Saturn brands. There is a review of the problem, how GM determined there was a problem, the role NHTSA played in that discovery, the changes made during production to fix the problem, the timeline of the recall, and GM and NHTSA data documenting the problem and decision making process.
Then it moves on to the Kappas. There is a brief background of the Kappa development with emphasis on GM using as many parts from other cars in production as possible to speed up development time to go from show car to production, an overview of our problem, and complaint data from the NHTSA complaint system then comparing that with data trends in the CTS recall.
From there it moves on to the BMW recall of 2008, its expansion in 2013, and the inclusion of the MINI vehicles in 2015. Manufacturer data is used to compare the discovery process with Cadillac, how BMW resorted to alternative analysis data and the symptoms of the problem with both Cadillac and Kappa. Also the solutions of BMW to the problem and how BMW categorized the issue is compared to how GM solved the CTS problem.
Next up is Kia and it's 2013 Kia Rio recall for the same issue. It covers the discovery timeline of Kia, how Kia Motors America (KMA) and Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) twice conducted internal investigations into the problem without discovering the issue and finally, under pressure from the NHTSA, used alternative analysis data techniques to finally uncover the problem and issue a recall.
The last recall it covers is the Suzuki recall. The discovery process and timeline are reviewed and conclusions drawn about the length of time the problem requires to be discovered on average as well as how the company handled the recall process after pressure from Canada's version of the NHTSA (can't remember it now...Canada something).
This is followed by a comparison of these four recalls to the Kappa problem and the conclusions I drew from the data that was presented.
Finally, the survey of information proposes an action plan to move forward with the initiation of an investigation based on the evidence presented in the survey.
I call this a survey because it could take me six months to thoroughly go over the data I can find, writing manufacturers for more information, and querying hard copy records all over the world to get more information on these recalls, supply chains, and production processes. In the end, the only way we will see more data to be able to really determine how bad the problem is will be when GM has to respond to the NHTSA investigation I hope this generates and needs to provided hard data as to why or why not they decide to issue a recall or not.
I originally said a week but the PDF at the top of the page is the product of over a month worth of research, data entry, analysis, and writing. It's the first time I've wrote something of this size. 54 pages of writing, 1 cover page, 3 works cited pages. Almost all primary sources. Found all of it through extensive Internet searches.
And this is just the beginning...
I'm going to make an empty reply to this thread below this initial post to save a spot for the next part of this process. I'll take the information I put together in this survey and put together a more "Pathos" argument that relies more on a Emotional argument for the investigation for posting to social media. This one shouldn't take as long...I don't have to use citations or formal writing styles plus it needs to be a paragraph or two at most. Maybe three.
One more thing, this was all done for the Kappa community. If something comes of it, its for all of us. Give me a week before you share this on other sites so I have a chance to do second and third proofread passes on it. I've already done one healthy pass but I would like to do a couple more and have others get their eyes on it so they can catch things I miss. Next week though, we can post away. For the social media message I'm making for the next replay, that can go out at the same time as you will want to link back to the main document posted above.