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  1. #1
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Pearland Texas

    Default Odor in cabin area of 2011 Chevy Traverse

    Hello all,

    I bought my wife a 2011 Traverse and have been in a constant battle with the way the interior smells. The smell happens when the vehicle has the a/c set on "fresh" air and either at low speeds or at a stop.

    I have found some other posts relating to this but I am wondering if anyone has found a permanent fix. It is a 2011 AWD, and I genuinely like the car but the smell is horrible. It has been to the dealership on three different occasions. Prior to 08-30-2012, they installed a charcoal filter system (#10-01-37-002 dated 12-09-2010), and they advised that this should remedy the problem.

    Unfortunately it did not. I picked up the vehicle from the dealer on 08-29-2012 and they advised me that the charcoal filter was completely clogged and they cleaned it. This never seemed to work in the first place.

    The stated cause in the TSB is "The condition may be caused by PTU (transfer case) fluid odor being pulled into the vehicle through the HVAC air inlet due to the location of the PTU vent". I guess my questions are: Is there a fix for this that GM will approve (apparently there is a vent tube fix, but GM wont approve this)? Is there a long term problem with breathing this? I am getting close to being at my wits end. They advised me that they could replace the oil with synthetic, but it would be at my cost, and it would still be unknown if this would fix the problem.

    I have the print out of the filter installation procedure, if anyone is interested I can try to scan it and post it.
    Last edited by Steve; 09-07-2012 at 08:38 AM. Reason: paragraph breaks added

  2. #2


    I do not have a real answer for you but I would take it back to the dealer, tell them you had enough and you are tired of your kids getting stomachaches every time thins happens. This is a 2011 and should not have this problem and you want the same car as a rent a car until this problem is completely fixed. Don’t be a nice guy be loud and do not take no for an answer. There is no way I would take this. If the dealer will not take care of it, ask for the manager or the owner. If that don’t work contact GM again and again! You should not have to deal with this on a new car.. Also you can take it to any GM dealer not that one.
    Tim Walters (Curky)

    Wrangler AT/S 265/70R17 - Trail-FX window vents - Husky fitted splash guards - Silver Star zXe - Leveling kit -

  3. #3
    Tim Walters (Curky)

    Wrangler AT/S 265/70R17 - Trail-FX window vents - Husky fitted splash guards - Silver Star zXe - Leveling kit -

  4. #4
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Pearland Texas



    Yea-Its obnoxious....The dealership has been great and appear to want to help. I'm assuming that they can only do what GM authorizes. I'm about to call GM. Not that I guess its relevant, but I have 3 kiddos with asthma and really don't need anymore "triggers". Its just sad that they design and build a car with a known problem, but cant seem to engineer a fix. Ill start working the phones today as time allows. Ill keep yall posted

  5. #5


    good, it is new so i would not take it, don’t let them hold out till warranty is up.
    RULE 215.208 Lemon Law Relief Decisions

    1) If it is found that the manufacturer, distributor, or converter is not able to conform the vehicle to an applicable express warranty by repairing or correcting a defect in the complainant's vehicle which creates a serious safety hazard or substantially impairs the use or market value of the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, and that the affirmative defenses provided under Occupations Code, 2301.606, are not applicable, the final order authority shall issue a final order to the manufacturer, distributor, or converter to replace the vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle, less a reasonable allowance for the owner's use of the vehicle, or accept the return of the vehicle from the owner and refund to the owner the full purchase price of the vehicle, less a reasonable allowance for the owner's use of the vehicle.
    Last edited by Curky; 08-30-2012 at 09:17 AM.
    Tim Walters (Curky)

    Wrangler AT/S 265/70R17 - Trail-FX window vents - Husky fitted splash guards - Silver Star zXe - Leveling kit -

  6. #6


    If all else fails you could try relocating the vent tube.
    The transfer case vent tube is a small flexible hose going from the transfer case up to a mounting point on the firewall, your will probably be 3/8th tube or smaller, cut a few inches of the end of tube off and take to either a hardware store or one of your better stocked auto parts stores (I like Napa for stuff like this), buy 3 or 4 feet of hose the same size, enough to route the tube to the front of the truck away from the air intake, the hose you cut off probably has a small fitting at the end of it, if you got the same diameter hose you should have no problem reusing this fitting, just zip tie your new hose up and out of the way to wherever you choose for your new location.
    Length of the hose will not hurt anything, it's a breather hose evacuating fumes from the T case when it warms up, the fitting is just to stop moisture from getting into the T case so it is important to be on the end, just make sure you relocate the end of the hose as high as you can to help keep moisture out.
    Just about any off-road nut that likes mud will relocate and lengthen t-case and axle breather tubes so it's a very common modification.

  7. #7



    I'm sorry you are experiencing this unpleasant smell. Did you end up calling GM Customer Service as you had mentioned?

    Evan, GM Customer Service

  8. #8
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Pearland Texas


    I did. They are in the process of talking to the dealership here in the local area. They advised that they may try replacing the current oem gear fluid with full synthetic, because the odor is less. My question in doing this, will the same vapors still invade the cabin area with just less smell, and is it harmful.

    And TBPLUS 10, I have seen a video of the fix you are talking about. Will me trying this jeopardize my warranty in any way, or do you know. Thanks guys and gals for the reply. Is anyone else on this board having or heard of this problem?
    Last edited by dock420; 09-01-2012 at 05:02 PM.

  9. #9


    Unfortunately I cant answer how your dealership will look at this modification, I can tell you that to deny your warranty claim they have to prove the modification caused a failure.
    Google Magnussen Moss Warranty act and you should be able to find enough information to get a better idea of how a warranty works.
    I would start by talking to the dealership, this mod may be an option their open to but just cant do themselves without approval from above, and that approval might take longer than your willing to wait.
    The other option is retain all the parts you remove to do the mod and if you ever need to go back to the dealership put the vehicle back in factory condition, they wouldnt have any way of telling if youd done this or not. My problem here is in my opinion it's a little on the shady side if you ever have a problem pertaining to the T case, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do and if the mfgr isnt helpful on the issue you have yours to protect.

  10. #10

    Default 2011 smelly Traverse LTZ

    I have this issue also but I do not smell the mystery odor until I am in the process of hauling hiney in order to get up to highway speeds on an entrance ramp or accelerating past a rock hauler.

    From what I have read..this odor may be venting whilst at low speeds or sitting idle but for some reason my Tverse sucks it into the cabin when I jackrabbit.

    Will be going into Classic Chevy in Grapevine Tx in the morning for the recall for the coolant tank seal that just posted and have them look at it. Will give them the info I learned from this forum. Thanks to those who commented.

    As a side. We drove Suburbans for 20 years until the kidos FINALLY grew up and I love my Tverse LTZ. Bought it new in
    Dec 21st 2010 and have racked up a little over 50k with -0- issues other than rotten eggs while launching.

    My last road trip to PA from DFW was spent in relative comfort whilst listening to Killin Lincoln on the CD. I averaged only 24 mph because I was in a hurry.

    Totally awesome vehicle.

    Again, Thanks for all the info!

    Last edited by Timbo55; 05-16-2013 at 05:55 PM. Reason: paragraph relign

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