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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
On Thursday night I was driving to pick up some food, talking to my friend and commenting on how buttery smooth my ride was. Well wouldn't you know it, as I arrived to the restaurant and put the car into Park I felt a substantial clunk, almost like the feeling of stalling a manual transmission vehicle but not as severe. I put the car in Reverse and the same thing happened. So after picking up the food the same symptoms continued. I also noticed that the car seemed to not be in 1st gear as it pulled from a stop, and it wouldn't go above 4th gear on the highway. Halfway home the CEL came on and a message stating that there was a possible issue with the transmission control system.

The very next morning I brought the car to a local dealership to diagnose the problem. They stated it was a problem with the TCM, which upon inspection appeared to be corroded. They commented on the fact that the battery was brand new, and suspected that acid from an older batter somehow leaked into the connection harness. The cost to repair was estimated to be $1300 and 4-5 hours of work, and would include cleaning part of the connecting harness (shown in the pictures to be soon provided) and replacing the connector that was located in the transmission itself.

I still have part of the factory warranty left as well as an extended warranty. The dealer stated it wouldn't be covered due to the damage originating from "an outside source". I didn't really buy this, and called the extended warranty company about it, and they instructed me to have the dealer contact them directly. Long story short, the dealer said they called and the extended warranty would not cover it.

This dealer wasn't where I purchased the car, but it was much closer to me than the original dealer. I called the original dealer to tell them the story, and they asked if I could somehow have the car towed to them. I obliged, and on Saturday morning it was towed from where it was to the original dealer.

The original dealer confirmed it was in fact the TCM that was corroded, however they mentioned a few additional things that were a little surprising to me. Firstly, they suggested that the cause of the corrosion was not battery acid but rather from water damage. How this happened is anyone's guess. Second, they stated it would indeed be covered under the warranties. Third, they stated it would be approximately 10 hours of labor as ALL parts of the TCM were to be entirely replaced and not cleaned or spliced.

I thanked them for their honesty, and I felt a LOT better about having them perform the work. So, some questions for you experts:

1 - Have you ever seen anything like this before?
2 - Why would the first dealer be so reluctant to perform the warranty work, considering how comprehensive my coverage was?
3 - Do connections like these have some kind of anti-corrosion gel? It looks like the greenish material is somewhat thick

I guess the simple answer to the 2nd question is that it was a way for them to make money. Since they advised me the car was not drivable, they may have figured I had no choice. They must have been very surprised when I told them I would be having the car towed to another location.

I just wanted to share this experience with anyone who may have encountered a problem with their TCM and to also share how different dealers handle repairs. I'm very thankful they suggested having it towed to them because I honestly wouldn't have considered that as an option.
 

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2012 Kia Optima SX-T
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Hmm. I wonder how water got into that connector and caused it to corrode like that? The green color is copper corrosion happening and is very bad. Might be somebody pressure washed the engine and drove water into that connector and over time caused the corrosion. Don't know but glad you got it fixed! I suggest they also pull other connections (like the big bulk ECU connector) to inspect them as well.
 
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Have seen water penetration into ecu's on other cars when the condensate drain was clogged, but this, in the engine compartment, ever get a carfax on the car or run vin?
 

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2012 Black SX Prem. & Tech.
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Sorry I am wearing my conspiracy theory hat today, but the pictures make the corrosion look like brown and turquoise grease. It almost seems perfect, like movie special effects added to the car by a make up artist.

Were you able to see the corrosion first hand, and touch it? It seems like too much goop on there to be from metal corrosion. Maybe it was battery gel not water.

But I swear I have seen grease in the brown color and I wonder if blue grease is available too. The picture seems to show those two perfect colors, unusual for natural corrosion where there would be more of a blend and spectrum of blues and browns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys.

I think williamhood might be on the right track with pressure washing. The engine bay is extraordinarily clean and the plastic covers seem to have been wiped down with a mild cleaner/ protectant.

You know what's crazy, I've seen videos of detailers straight up SOAKING the bay with a pressure washer...some of them cover certain components with plastic, others don't.

The thought of wetting this area down just seems really foreign to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
FYI for those interested, the codes that got pulled for my situation were P0763 (shift control solenoid valve) and P0773 (valve e electrical).

Car was repaired and running beautifully now!
 
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