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Chevy Suburban Maintenance and Repair



  • Over the last four years I've had to replace the alternator four times. Now the mechanic has replaced the alternator and the battery twice this month but the charging gauge drops and the battery light comes on and the car ends up dying. He says he has checked for possible shorts but does not have an answer. So he put a new batt and alt in Friday and the charging gauge dropped immediately and the batt light came on. The truck has a new engine (with 50k) and rebuilt transmission so I would like to keep it going.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Does your truck have a separate voltage regulator (not built in alternator) as it used to be in the old days? If so, have it changed.

    If it does not charge after changing alternator and battery for numerous times it is obvious that the wiring is not connected correctly or you have a broken wire somewhere. Also check the fuses, which you probably have already.

  • Hi, did you ever get a solution to this? Please let me know - my 95 is doing the same thing!!!!!!
  • It acts like it's not getting any gas - it stalls out. After you getting going, seems okay but if it starts acting up while driving, the SES light comes on. Gave it a tune-up, still having same problem. Any ideas??? Please help!
  • Car chugs and or misfires when cold. Takes about 30 seconds before it gets up to speed. Seems to run fine after that. Spark plug problem? Dealer says they are 100,000 mile sparkplug - I am at 85,000 so they haven't been changed to my knowledge.
    Seems to me it is an electronic sensor that isn't working when engine first starts up or is cold. Please don't tell me I have a fuel injector problem!
    Thanks for your help
  • I have a 1987 suburban 4wd. with a 350 motor and a 700 R-4 trans. I just pulled the trans. because of a sucepted bent flywheel. I found that the flywheel was cracked all the way around the bolts,due to the fact that it was put on Backwards. I replaced the flywheel & tourch convertor,as well as the seal,filter,oil.When I started it and drove it for about 1/2 mile everything was ok.Next day when I drove it no 2nd or 3ed gears.I do have reverse & 1st gear. Wanted some advice before I pull it again and put it in the shop !! Thank you guys !!
  • You don't want to hear this. I had the same problem with mine. I replace the tensioner and belt (after belt broke). I noticed a "chattering" problem. Thought belt was too big. I talked to a good mechanic friend of mine. There is something in the compressor locking up. Try removing the belt from the A/C compressor and tensioner (if the tensioner is new, it is not the problem). If the noise goes away double check the size of the belt. If the belt is fine, you just found the answer. It is the resitance the compressor is causing that is making the tensioner flex. I had him replace the compressor and the problem was gone. You can buy the AC compressor, drier, and orifice yourself and save a ton. Then you can have a shop do the labor for you. You may try to get a reimbursement from the dealer for false diagnosis. Good Luck!
  • My guess is this is an older body style w/ a 5.7? My 96 had cylinder misfire. The fuel pressure regulator was leaking and draining through a weep hole directly into cylinder 5. The part is less than $50. The pressure regulator is located under the upper intake plenum on top of the intake manifold. You will also need a gasket kit for the upper plenum.
  • Other than the fact that I simply need to get a smaller, more practical car, I am at the moment stuck with my suburban, which admittedly I do kind of like having the all the space in my vehicle (I've had to move several times in the last couple years, and thus far everything I need still fits in the back.)

    Anyway my problems, first I have a serious issue with the truck starting. About 5 months ago, not long after I had the battery replaced (after having problems with buying a new battery that turned out to be bad) I started to have problems with it not always starting, all the electrical would go on, the radio, climate control etc. but nothing would happen with the engine, no sound nothing. Usually if I just sat there and continued to turn the key it would eventually go, but sometimes I could be sitting there for quite a while. I checked out the battery cables and made sure they were tightened down, one was really loose, so I thought I had solved the problem, no such luck. Next I had the starter replaced, I had it checked out and it was pulling way too much power from the battery to start, indicating that the starter may have been warn down. That actually seemed to work for about 2 to 3 weeks with no real problems, sometimes I would turn the key once, got nothing then tried again and it was fine so I just shrugged it off. Now it's back to it's old antics of just not starting. This is a car I inherited from my parents when they decided to move across the country, when they still had it about 3 years ago they had the engine replaced, and at that time they put in all new spark plugs and wires, (the engine however was used, I believe it had 10,000 miles on it.) So all I know is that those things were replaced recently, the battery is good, the alternator is goos, the starter is brand new. So what else is there?

    Also, a much more minor problem, when the airconditioner is on the suburban makes a HORRIBLE buzzing sound that makes passers by think it's about to die. This has been a problem on and off for a couple years. I've been told it's the compressor (I think... I honestly can't remember anymore) which would cost me $900 to replace, if that's the case I don't have much need for airconditioning at the moment.

    any help at all would be wonderful!
  • Did you get any responses to your problem? I have a 97 with same exact problems (I am #84 or #86)
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Starting problem that you describe should not be that difficult to solve.

    You say the problem is that the engine does not even try to turn over when it won't start. This means that 1. Your starter motor is bad (yes, new ones can be bad too), 2. Your starter solenoid is bad, 3. The wire from the key cylinder to starter solenoid has bad connection, 4. The Park/Neutral switch is not in Park/Neutral position at time you try to start, or The key cylinder itself is bad.

    I would not go after the starter motor at first as it has been replaced, but sometimes a new motor can have a problem though...

    The starter solenoid is a very likely problem, i.e. when you turn the key a small wire from the lock cylinder powers up and engages the starter solenoid. Starter solenoid then allows the high amperage current to flow from the battery to the starter motor. Have your starter solenoid checked and also have it checked that the wire from the key cylinder powers up when you turn the key.

    Another likely problem is the Park/Neutral switch. You know that all vehicles must have the gear shift at Park or Neutral for it to start. This is done using a small switch that engages that small wire from key cylinder when gear shift is in Park or Neutral position. Have this switch checked.

    Sometimes you can also work on the Park / Neutral switch yourself. Next time the engine won't turn move the gear shift a little bit or move it to Neutral position and try start there. The Park / Neutral switch can become flaky and it looses it's correct set position.

    Then the key cylinder itself can be worn out. It is a mechanical electric switch and it wears out over years and can become flaky before going all the way out.

    The horrible sound from the A/C compressor probably can be helped by putting an oil charge in the system. This is very easy and low cost fix and could just fix the whole issue. You say the horrible noise has been there for a couple of years but the compressor still works?

    Go to car part store and buy a can of A/C oil charge and the service port hose. Follow instructions and charge the system with oil.

    A/C systems must be charged with oil from time to time as the oil in the system wears out just like motor oil does. Also, the dryer in the A/C system tend to 'collect' the oil leaving less and less for the purpose of compressor lubrication.

    The compressor is a 'piston engine' which has metal parts sliding against each other. This needs lubrication what the oil does. Your vehicle being a '94 model, your A/C probably needs some oil...

  • I have a 2002 Chevy Suburban, 5300 engine, half ton, 45,000 miles, automatic transmission. Recently the vehicle shuts off completely when driving. No "check engine" light comes on, so there are no codes available to read. It will shut off at different speeds. I leave it in gear and coast to a stop. I let it sit for a moment, a minute or two. I start the engine, revs up okay no problem and go on down the road running okay. Shuts down again and I repeat the same process again. I have taken it to the chevy dealer. They checked all electronics and fuel system. They tell me they cannot find anything wrong. Fuel pressure checks okay. All electronics check okay. The garage thought it might have been a bad load of fuel. Have gone through many tank fulls since then. Will quit doing it for a few days, then begins to act up again. Any one have any ideas. Some have told me that it could be the fuel pump acting up when it gets warm. Then when I stop for a few minutes it catches up with demand. Does that make any sense?
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    When reading your post the fuel pump acting up came to my mind as a possible reason before I even got to the end of your message. Any other kind of problem should set a code but I do know another thing that in my '04 Tahoe shut down the engine without setting the code.

    I had a bad connection on the MAP sensor wire harness and when I had the problem it shut down the engine when I touched it but no code was present. Big surprise not to have code for this. Repeated it for about half dozen times and no code was set.

  • I am having the same problem that started six months ago. I tracked it to a TSB on stalling and it said replace the fuel level sensors. I did this at a cost of 757.00. It did not help. I then took it to a different dealer and they could find nothing wrong;however the service guy said it could be a defective crank sensor that could shut down the spark. There were no codes that showed up on this but he said we could replace it a hope it cures the problem, at a cost 325.00. Since it was at the shop already I told him to go ahead and replace it. That was three days ago and so far the problem went away. I hope this will help you. Keep me updated on your vehicle. I too have had some problems with my 3/4 ton suburban 8.1 engine. Good Luck Kim M.
  • Could you tell me more about MAP sensor wire harness. What is it and where is it located? What doe's it look like. What did you do to solve your problem.This could be whats happening to mine. Thanks Kim M.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Wow, $325 to replace Crank Shaft Position sensor!

    I replaced mine. The sensor cost I think about $65 + tax.

    For changing the sensor the starter motor must be taken down, two bolts. Sensor has one bolt. Need torque wrench for starter motor bolt tightening.

    If you buy plastic ramps and torque wrench and part I bet the cost will still be well less that $200 doing it yourself.

    I had the tools already so no cost buying those but $325 is just ridiculous when the job itself takes about 20 minutes at the shop. For me it took about 30 minutes when I need to set the ramps and then crawl under the vehicle.

    Being hands-on person really pays back quickly with these cars.

  • I have a 1998 suburban 4x4 with an alternator prob. My family and I are currently broken down (fortunately we made it to a motel) after the battery light came on and the lights dimmed then the car died. My husband loosened 3 bolts and it will not come loose. there is another bolt on the back left side but it appears to be attached to the frame holding the alternator. What are we doing wrong? It is almost sunday and no chance of finding a mechanic until Monday. Help!!!
    OH, I am also having problems when accelerating up a grade and the engine starts shaking. Replaced the coil, spark pluhgs and wires and now , the number 3 injector. Any ideas?
  • This is to didierf. What did you find out on your shutdown problem with your suburban? Thanks Kim M.
  • Kim,

    Have not had a chance to follow up on some of the suggestions. I do plan to take it to a garage and have them check codes on the PCM(powertrain control module). That was one of the suggestions that I check to see if that produces any codes related to the problem.


  • Thanks for your reply. Keep me posted. I'll see if I get another failure after I replaced the Crank sensor. I've had no shut downs yet since I relaced it, but it was just a guess. Thanks Kim M.
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