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V8 and V6 Transmissions / Driveline (6L80 / 6L50 / TR6060 / AY6) Driveshafts | Differentials | Gears | Rearends | Clutch | Shifters

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Old 05-23-2011, 11:13 PM   #1
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TR6060 MAIN (OUTPUT) SHAFT FAILURE ANALYSIS

Background:
On Saturday 5/7/2011, during a hard second gear shift, my transmission output shaft broke. I had the car towed to the nearest dealership. When the dealership opened on Monday, 5/9/2011, they called to tell me that they would look at it and get back to me later that day. The following day, they called back to tell me that they looked at it and believe that it looked to them like the transmission shaft was indeed broken, but they didnít have a transmission tech, so I needed to have the car towed to another dealership. This seemed odd to me, and I wasnít sure about what to do at this point, so I called GM Customer Assistance. Customer assistance was very helpful and helped me arrange to have the car towed to another dealership. The following day (Wednesday, 5/11/2011) the service manager at this dealership called me to tell me that they had the car in the shop and they had confirmed that the output shaft was broken and that they just got through taking pictures. I asked them what kind of pictures and the guy told me, "We had to take a snapshot of your engine computer and send it to GM along with pictures of your supercharger and other modifications." He told me that they should get a decision from GM in a day or two as to whether or not the repairs will be covered under warranty. On Friday, 5/13/2011, the dealership called me back to inform me that the GM was not going to warranty the repairs due to the modifications done to the car. I told him that I had been looking into this issue and that the transmission output shaft in the early builds are known to be defective and that the failure was not caused by modifications. He told me that I would have to call GM. They would not get involved and had to do what GM told them to do. At this point, I called the GM executive level assistance. This lady (Jeanne Crawford) was extremely rude and after about a week of 'investigation' she finally told me that the warranty was void because of modifications done to the car. I went to the dealership the next day (5/18) and picked up the car from the dealership and hauled it to an independent transmission shop. They ordered a new transmission through their GM parts distributor on 5/25 and replaced the defective transmission on 5/28. I paid for all this out of my pocket. I've filed a dispute with the BBB seeking reimbursement. The arbitration hearing is currently set for 6/20.

In the meantime, I've arranged to have a failure analysis performed to determine the root cause of the failure. Based on pictures I seen other early 2010 M6 SS cars with the same problem, it is obvious that my main shaft failed the same way as all the others did. So, if your main shaft fails and you have a VIN <25,000, here's why:


6/12/11 UPDATE: Much more data has been gathered. I will post it after all legal matters are handled.

If you experience output shaft failure, please take a picture of your METAL transmission tag and post it here.

There are 2 tags. (1):A sticker located on top of the transmission and (2): A metal tag attached to the transmission by a bolt.
The metal tag is accessible with the transmission still in the car and is the tag with the info about when the transmission was made.

Here are the locations of the tags:

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Here are the tags from my defective unit:

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This is the tag from my new unit (note the different Tremec part number (TUET10860) compared to the defective unit (TUET10150)):

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This is the tag on the side of the box. This was the direct replacement from a Chevrolet Dealership. They ordered this part using my VIN.

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Another tag on box showing GM part number:

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TTC (the manufacturer of TREMEC transmissions) provides the failure analysis guide linked below. The bulletin is focused on the failure modes resulting from abuse and/or neglect. Every issue described in the bulletin assumes no manufacturing defect, so it does not really pertain to this analysis. However, it could prove useful to those experiencing gear grinding, jumping, vibration, etc...

failure_analysis.pdf
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Last edited by mwt18; 06-26-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:13 PM   #2
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Post DATA

Chemical Composition of TR6060 Defective main shaft (obtained from SPECTROMAX Spectrometer):

Name:  shaft_chem_comp_crop.jpg
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Vicker's hardness profile through cross-section of defective main shaft (obtained using LECO LR300TD):

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Sample indent:
Name:  shaft_pos2.jpg
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Last edited by mwt18; 06-03-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:14 PM   #3
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FRACTOGRAPHY

Fracture location:

Name:  mating surfaces.jpg
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Macroscopic Fracture Surface Images:

Transmission side:

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Drive-shaft side:

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Name:  initiation_rel_scale.jpg
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Last edited by mwt18; 06-03-2011 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:04 AM   #4
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:44 PM   #5
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for minor updates
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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Ummm... I am sorry but it sounds like you got a FREE transmission???

Ask your self this... If GM is replacing ones that break FOR FREE... whats the big deal? So you are out your car for a few days. I am sure they give you a loaner.

I just dont see it. You expect GM to spend $17,500,000 for 5000 transmission that COULD BE FINE??? I see nothing wrong what GM is doing. Fix the ones that break and move along.

My friends just broke the other day. As long as GM foots the bill for the repair, I am sure hes not going to be that upset about it. Shit happens ESPECAILLY when you mod and run the car at the track.

And don't start on the "it should be built for that". Tell that to all the Corvette owners whos rear differentials blew into a million pieces. Racing causes stress, stress causes failure. PAY TO PLAY.
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhaus76 View Post
Ummm... I am sorry but it sounds like you got a FREE transmission???
Ummm... NO! I paid $3000 for the new transmission. GM denied my warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhaus76 View Post
So you are out your car for a few days. I am sure they give you a loaner.
WRONG AGAIN. I was without my car for 3 weeks until I took it upon myself to get the thing back from GM and have it fixed by an independent shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhaus76 View Post
I just dont see it. You expect GM to spend $17,500,000 for 5000 transmission that COULD BE FINE??? I see nothing wrong what GM is doing. Fix the ones that break and move along.
You obviously don't see a lot of things.. Maybe you should just move along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhaus76 View Post
My friends just broke the other day. As long as GM foots the bill for the repair, I am sure hes not going to be that upset about it. Shit happens ESPECAILLY when you mod and run the car at the track.
And don't start on the "it should be built for that". Tell that to all the Corvette owners whos rear differentials blew into a million pieces. Racing causes stress, stress causes failure. PAY TO PLAY.
You're an idiot
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:11 PM   #8
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Someone taking the time to analyize the reason for a far to common failure may help in future improvments to the product. Thats how we found the weak links in the early C5 corvette Getrags. the long output shaft has the diameter smaller between the splines and the bearing journal so they were naturally weak at the transition. The solution was a hardened replacement with the maximum diameter throughout.

But bear in mind, alot of the ones I've seen were due to wheel hop, which can break most any driveline component.

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Old 05-28-2011, 09:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhaus76 View Post
Ummm... I am sorry but it sounds like you got a FREE transmission???

Ask your self this... If GM is replacing ones that break FOR FREE... whats the big deal? So you are out your car for a few days. I am sure they give you a loaner.

I just dont see it. You expect GM to spend $17,500,000 for 5000 transmission that COULD BE FINE??? I see nothing wrong what GM is doing. Fix the ones that break and move along.

My friends just broke the other day. As long as GM foots the bill for the repair, I am sure hes not going to be that upset about it. Shit happens ESPECAILLY when you mod and run the car at the track.

And don't start on the "it should be built for that". Tell that to all the Corvette owners whos rear differentials blew into a million pieces. Racing causes stress, stress causes failure. PAY TO PLAY.
I'm going to guess that's me

I agree with the pay to play concept....except in this case. GM knows the first 25K M6 trannies are potential time bombs.

If my vin was 26K plus, my car wouldn't be at the dealer right now, I'd have the tranny out and be on the phone with RPM Transmissions.

However, given the fact that I'm 12K vin and numerous sub 25K vin output shafts are snapping...I gotta lay this one at GM's feet.

Anyone with a VIN outside the known TSB window bitching is another story. And yes, Jason's right....if GM picks up the bill for this one, you won't hear me bitching about a defective output shaft!

And he's a good guy not an idiot! I gotta stick up for him!!!
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwt18 View Post
Ummm... NO! I paid $3000 for the new transmission. GM denied my warranty.


WRONG AGAIN. I was without my car for 3 weeks until I took it upon myself to get the thing back from GM and have it fixed by an independent shop.


You obviously don't see a lot of things.. Maybe you should just move along.



You're an idiot
Sorry man, chill out. I didn't realize people were getting denied warranty for this. Jesus.

I am sticking by my comment that GM has no obligation to go out and replace everyones transmission if it falls into a certian VIN range, thats just stupid. Most of the shafts are probably fine. a select few have broke (I read the other thread). Why not just fix them when it breaks?

It sucks that GM shafted you (no pun intended) on the warranty. If you had any kind of attitude like you are displaying here, its no wonder they told you to go piss up a rope.

Hugger... thanks buddy! Best of luck on your claim and getting it back on the road SOON!!!
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhaus76 View Post
Sorry man, chill out. I didn't realize people were getting denied warranty for this. Jesus.

I am sticking by my comment that GM has no obligation to go out and replace everyones transmission if it falls into a certian VIN range, thats just stupid. Most of the shafts are probably fine. a select few have broke (I read the other thread). Why not just fix them when it breaks?

It sucks that GM shafted you (no pun intended) on the warranty. If you had any kind of attitude like you are displaying here, its no wonder they told you to go piss up a rope.

Hugger... thanks buddy! Best of luck on your claim and getting it back on the road SOON!!!
Right... because Gm shouldn't stand by their products and find every little way to get out of their warranty obligations. Tool
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:08 PM   #12
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bump for new pics. Any metallurgists in the house??
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:54 AM   #13
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I broke my outputshaft (4920). Looked about the same as the one you have posted pic's of. GM repaired mine only. Now the input bearing is noisy. They will be fixxing it again. I have put them on notice that there is still issues. Bearing became noisy within a 1000km of there fix.

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Old 06-01-2011, 02:17 PM   #14
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maybe there is a lawyer here that would like to submitt a class action lawsuit against gm on behalf of the owners for the LS3 manual cars under 25K vin number to have the tranny replaced.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:43 PM   #15
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I just want them to replace it with a good one.

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Old 06-01-2011, 06:30 PM   #16
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Chemical Composition of TR6060 Defective main shaft (obtained from SPECTROMAX Spectrometer):

Attachment 247218
Anybody know what alloy this is? It seems to be between 8620 and 8630..
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:19 PM   #17
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Anybody know what alloy this is? It seems to be between 8620 and 8630..
Just posted the hardness data. That along with the chemical composition shows that this alloy does not match standards for any AISI 86xx steel.

It is likely that the shaft is made of AISI 8620 alloy, but was not carburized properly. AISI 8620 should have a carbon content between 0.180 - 0.230 %. The carbon content of the defective shaft averaged 0.27%. Higher carbon makes the material harder and also more brittle. There are also signs of quench cracks and inclusions in my sample. Not going to get technical here (unless there are people who actually care).


So, what does it all mean, man!?!
My professional opinion:
The root cause of the shaft failure was improper heat treatment. These defective shafts came from the factory with VERY small cracks and other internal defects. The cracks grow over time. How fast depends on the loading placed on them. The crack will eventually reach a critical length and the shaft will snap like a piece of chalk.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:53 AM   #18
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As an old 'heat-treater' of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, I would be interested in the process they used. They must be quenching in some warm media. Surely it is not design. Possible stress from machining that was not handled in the heat treatment?
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:03 PM   #19
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As an old 'heat-treater' of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, I would be interested in the process they used. They must be quenching in some warm media. Surely it is not design. Possible stress from machining that was not handled in the heat treatment?
ASM standards require martempering for transmission shafts. It's a highly time and temperature dependent process. Can't say if residual stresses are a factor here or not.

The next test in the failure analysis is EBSD to map the grain structure. The machine is already booked by 'paying' customers, so it may be a week or two before they get this test done, but it should provide more insight.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:27 PM   #20
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This is a great investigation, interesting on the carbon content.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:34 PM   #21
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If my trans hasn't been sent back yet, I'll snap a pic of it tomorrow.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:39 PM   #22
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as for the poster above that is talking about footing the bill... i payed 5k for a trans from keisler when mine happened. My warranty was voided and I didn't have a transmission for 7months... Thats what happens when your in the first group of breaks.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:42 PM   #23
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as for the poster above that is talking about footing the bill... i payed 5k for a trans from keisler when mine happened. My warranty was voided and I didn't have a transmission for 7months... Thats what happens when your in the first group of breaks.
That really sucks....however the plus side is you no longer have to worry about your trans.
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:02 AM   #24
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Had Pumpkin up on hoist yesterday, when I rolled the the rear wheels foward and backward a very noticable clunk was coming from the tranny. Any ideas?

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Old 06-03-2011, 08:23 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by mwt18 View Post
ASM standards require martempering for transmission shafts. It's a highly time and temperature dependent process. Can't say if residual stresses are a factor here or not.

The next test in the failure analysis is EBSD to map the grain structure. The machine is already booked by 'paying' customers, so it may be a week or two before they get this test done, but it should provide more insight.
Interesting,figured thay were quenching around 350-400 F. Are they holding it there for awhile, then air cool?? thanks for the reply. Looking forward to more info when you have it..
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