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Chevy Suburban/Tahoe Rough Idle and Stalling



  • eca1eca1 Posts: 1
    I have had an almost identical situation with my 2008 Suburban. It has stalled out on at least four occassions after the Stabilitrack and other warning lights come on while the vehicle loses power. On three of the instances, the dealer has replaced the throttle body under my warranty. After the most recent incident in Jan 2012 I did contact GM customer assistance. I was offered 2,000 off of a new vehicle. When I explained that I do not want a new vehicle & really just need mine fixed, GM told me that it will likely involve involvement with a GM field engineer. I requested the same, and the rquest was denied. I've been told that this is something that I will have to work out with my local dealer. I have been placed in a situation where the issue continues to go completely unresolved, and I am essentially in an unsafe vehicle. I've been renting cars for extended trips and am considering long term rentals while I try to resolve the situation.

    The entire situation is extremely disappointing - this is my third GM vehicle (second suburban) and, while I would never had thought hat it would be my last, I really must consider other manufacturers. GM's complete disregard for an unsafe product up until this point is both surprising and unfortunate.
  • Wow. I can't believe so many of us have the same issues. The worst part is that we are putting ourselves and our passengers in a potentially dangerous situation while driving an unreliable vehicle. My 2007 Suburban has been in the dealer for multiple problems. It breaks so I bring it in for service. They try and fix it and it breaks again. Now I basically never want it back. It's a cycle that we are all in. But how will they ever fix the multiple problems that keep happening as a result of an obvious massive manufacturing problem? Their are 143 service bulletins on this vehicle. You can't possibly rebuild the car and keep it running without a complete engine overhaul. Right now my dealer has my vehicle and is "trying to work something out" to compensate me in some way for the unreliability. You can extend the warranty, have GM pay for the repairs, and fix it all you want. Bottomline...I don't feel safe with my horses in tow and my kids in the car. I no longer want to drive this vehicle to the store or take it on vacation. This was my first American purchase and I will never do it again. Sadly, now that gas prices are rising, we are all stuck with these gas guzzlers that are not safe.
  • I own a 2008 Cadillac Escalade and had the same problem. The first time it happened, I could not start the engine after stopping for gas. I was able to finally get it started by tapping on the bottom of the gas tank where the fuel pump is. I immediately went to the dealer who tried to claim my battery was bad, and that they could find no problem. It probably had a bad cell from attempting to start the car for 30 minutes.

    The car then stalled after exiting the highway the same day. I got it started by tapping on the bottom of the gas tank again. I then replaced the battery to be on the safe side since I was on a road trip. No more problems occurred for a few days. I was on another trip and stalled exiting the highway and was able to get it started by tapping on the gas tank.

    Fortunately, a dealer in Orlando diagnosed the problem as the fuel pump. The funny thing is they thought I was paying for it and quoted me $950 for the repair. I then informed them that the fuel pump is part the of the drive train, and that the car was under warranty still. The service manager studdered and said he was have to check on that. After 30 minutes, he called and agreed to replaced it under warranty.

    My Escalade has been driving fine so far with no stalls. I do feel that they would not have found the fuel pump bad if I had mentioned powertrain warranty from the beginning.

    I have also had 3 lock actuators replaced and my forth one has now failed, as well as one of the previously replaced ones! The dealer refused to fix these under warranty since I had 58k miles, even though was a warranty replacement!

    Bottom line, I think GM has some serious quality control issues on their electrical parts and refuses to fix problems that are affecting numerous customers.
  • Good afternoon soochman,

    We're sorry that your experiences with us have not been what they could have been. If there's anything you would like for us to look into, please email us at with the following details: your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and current mileage, and the names of the involved dealership.

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I experienced problems very similar to those mentioned in these threads. It got to the point where I couldn't get around the block without it stalling two or three times. It had begun by stalling out when driving down the highway usually when coming into city traffic. It put my wife in several very unsafe conditions in Atlanta and Charlotte. I did all the troubleshooting for fuel pump problems and was on the verge of replacing it. I kept on doing Google searches for this problem and finally found one very obscure post that pinpointed the problem exactly. It was that this problem can be caused by a dirty Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor. The great news is it is very inexpensive to try this and a very easy task to perform. There is special cleaner just for it. From reading, just better to pay a couple of extra bucks for it as other cleaners can cause damage and or gunk up the sensor even more. I think it was $8. Any parts store will have it. The sensor itself is at the front of the main air intake. It only requires loosening a hose clamp type fitting and pulling away the air intake. Carefully remove and spray the sensors. They are VERY thin wires.

    Doing this has completely solved my stalling out problem! I hope this helps someone else to keep from spending a fortune on shop repairs.
  • Looks like i'm not the only one here with a stalling issue.... I have brought my Suburban into Carmax once and the Chevy dealer twice now. My car has stalled 6 or 7 times so far. Either dealer can't find any codes so therefore nothing can be done. I must say everyone has been very nice. However MAMA BEAR is no longer happy. I have 5 kids and pretty much drive around ALL DAY! I don't feel safe in my big ole Suburban. I was told to get a new battery so my hubby went out the next day and had one put in for me. The car has since stalled 2 more times. I live in So. Cal so yes, the weather has been hot and I do run the A/C.... I'm bringing my Suburban back in on Monday the 8th. I don't know anything about anything when it comes to fixing my car. Can I please get some advice on what to say or do???
    Today when it stalled i was slowing down to stop at a stop sign. Last time I was on the street going about 45mph...
    Thank you in advance for any help or advice!!!
  • Hello there 5kidsnorest,

    We're sorry to hear that you've had to make so many trips in to your dealership for this same concern. If you would like for us to check into this with your dealership, please email us at (include your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and mileage, and the name of your dealer).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I have a 1991 GMC Suburban. I took a drive to make sure that my Truck was running good for the Winter. I had been driving since 9 am running errands. About 50 miles. I stopped to pay a Bill cam out to leave. Engine Stalled. Cranked more than Normal. But started. Went about a Mile down Road. Was stopping for a Traffic light. Foot off Gas on Brake. Engine Idle speed went up to the Point it was difficult to Stop. Engine Stalled. Tried to restart. Would not. I called AAA for a Tow. It started belching Black Smoke. Got Suburban off main drag to a Side Street. Stalled again. It had raw fuel Dumping into throttle body. Towed to GM Dealer. They said they purged Gas lines & it ran fine. Spark Plugs were Fouled & need replaced. Went to pick up Suburban at Dealer. Tried to start. Would not start. Installed New Spark Plugs & Spark control Module in Distributor . Would not start. Dumping Gas into TBI. I rebuilt the TBI & installed New Injectors. Tried to start again. Still dumping raw fuel into TBI. What is the problem? Clogged Gas Lines? Over Pressure from Fuel Pump? Fuel filter? ECM Malfunction? No Trouble Codes. I had a Similar Problem 10 years ago. I bought Oxygenated Gasoline with 10 % ethanol in Cleveland Ohio BP Station. Found that the Gasoline was de solving the Gas Lines Gaskets & "O" Rings. Rebuilt TBI. Replaced Gas Tank & Fuel Pump. Help me decide what to do Next.
  • Problem resolved. The New Gas is de solving the Lines in the Fuel system. Destroyed Engine. When I removed Gas Filter. It was Full of De solved Rubber etc. Engine is Now Rattling & not running.
  • alanrsalanrs Posts: 25
    Oh man, I feel your pain. The politicians who have pushed for alcohol mixed as an ingredient in our gasoline failed to research the problems it could cause. Vehicles with fuel systems designed and constructed of materials for gasoline use only can be severely damaged using the "modern" stuff that is now pretty much the only option. There are still said to be a few outlets in many areas which offer non-alcohol gasolines. Do an internet search of Pure Gas (I hope I posted that correctly).

    I wish I could offer advice on how to get your truck running reliably again economically. Good luck!
  • jcorr13jcorr13 Posts: 4
    edited October 2012
    I have a 2003 Suburban 1500 that has me outraged! It will stall while accelerating, it will stall on hot days, it will stall on cold days, it will stall while going up hills, it will stall on flat ground, it will stall while driving with the cruise control on going down the highway. There have been several close calls of getting into an accident because of the stalling, one time almost causing me to get hit by a semi! When it stalls I have no power steering. This is an absolute safety hazard that needs to be fixed. It will restart after a couple minutes, and I have no idle issues. It just stalls! I've replaced the fuel filter twice, replaced the crankshaft position sensor, cleaned the throttle body unit. Nothing has worked. No codes have been thrown. This is just one of many issues I've had with this vehicle. Turn signal in mirror went out, window lift motor went out, heated seats no longer work, had to replace wheel bearings, it won't start if the fuel tank gets below 1/4....and the list goes on. This is the biggest lemon I have ever owed and I will never again by a Chevrolet.

    If there is anyone with knowledge of how to remedy the stalling issue, please please please let me know. Thank you.
  • jcorr13 Check my post #154. It really sounds like you may have the same thing mine was doing. Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensors dirty. I have not had the issue since cleaning about 6 months ago. Hope this helps!
  • krc85aggie,

    Thank you for the response, I was just reading your post and will definitely give it a try.
  • We purchased a 2009 Chevy Suburban used with 38000 miles on it 2 months ago. Immediately after purchasing the vehicle we noticed that the transmission sounded horrible (at low speeds, mainly under 30 mph). One week to the day of purchasing the vehicle, the vehicle shut down on the interstate with my entire family in the car. Prior to the vehicle just shutting down while going 65 mph on the interstate, the car started doing weird things like the locks inside would just click and the traction control light on the dashboard would just start flashing. We had the vehicle towed back to the dealership that we purchased it from. After a week of being in the shop we were told that the alarm system on the vehicle was the problem and they removed it from the vehicle. We asked them to check on the transmission and were told there were no problems with it. It has now been one month since we got the car back from the dealership and the vehicle has now stalled once more and the locks will randomly go off in the car. The transmission still sounds absolutely horrible at low speeds and seems to lose power when taking off from a stop. Other odd things I have noticed are that sometimes when parked and the vehicle is running there is a sudden jerk from the backend of the vehicle. It seems almost as someone rear ended me to the point where it causes the whole vehicle to jerk. Also, yesterday I noticed on my way home that there was a loud scraping noise coming from the backend. It started when I was slowing down to approach a stop sign and continued about 2 blocks. It almost sounded like metal being dragged on concrete to the point where I got out to look to see if I had ran something over (which obviously wasn't the case). This continued until I pulled in the driveway and hasn't repeated since. I am not sure where to even start with this, but am now seeing why the previous owners got rid of the vehicle. I feel like we probably inherited someone else's lemon. Does anyone have any suggestions with any of these issues? I am to the point where I am scared to drive the vehicle and we have only had it for under 2 months. After reading everyone else's complaints it seems as though a "code" has to be thrown before Chevy will do anything. My husband was so insistant that we purchase another Chevy but I am starting to think this was a bad idea!
  • This absolutely helped and has seemed to solve my stalling problem!!! I have been dealing with this for over two years, replacing various parts along the way. You're post about cleaning the Mass Air Flow sensor was the first I had heard about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My truck hasn't stalled since, and it has regained some power.

    Anyone else with a Suburban that is stalling for no apparent reason, and then starts up just fine a few minutes later, try this!!! There are special cleaners you can buy, but I just used a Q-tip and a dab of rubbing alcohol.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,001
    We're sorry for these ongoing concerns you have with your Suburban. If you wanted for us to look into this further with you, please contact us at (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, the name of your dealership, and a brief summary of the situation).
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Just took my '07 Tahoe to the dealer for diagnosis. I've been having a rough idle and can hear a ticking sound intermittently. Truck only has 71,000 miles and has been maintained very well (full syn oil changes every 5k miles, coolant changed @ 60k). No DTC. Not sure what this could be but I'll update as soon as I hear back from the service advisor. Hopefully it's not an issue with the lifters.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,001
    Looking forward to an update, zman1970!

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Just got a call from the service advisor. Lifters need to be replaced possibly camshaft. Minimum $3400 up to $4400.

    This is unbelievable. I have never had a vehicle basically become useless after 70,000 miles. Not loving GM right now. :(
  • alanrsalanrs Posts: 25
    zman, I bought a 2001 Suburban in 2005 with 48K miles, and in seemingly near perfect condition.

    The local GMC dealer gave me a similar engine diagnosis about 5 years ago for the 5.3L V-8 in my Suburban. The service manager told me that they suspected a "grooved camsahft" as the cause for a rough idle and a ticking sound which became louder above 2000 rpm. The potential cost had me thinking that I would be agreeing to writing a blank check. I thanked them for their opinion by paying for the hour of labor diagnostic time, and I drove the truck out of their service area.

    Yes, I did quite a bit more investigation into the possible source of the problem. The rough idle did set a code in the system, and the service engine light (known as the MIL or Malfunction Indicator Lamp) has been on pretty much ever since. The code indicates a consistent misfire on cylinder # 5. I personally removed both valve covers and took some measurements with a dial indicator for cam lift on several cylinders. Rotating the engine by hand with the spark plugs removed, I was able to see a reduced lift on the #5 intake valve. My belief is that there is a bad lobe on the camshaft or a bad roller lifter, or both, in that position.

    So, what did I do about it? Nothing. The truck was out of warranty at 58K miles. A repair would be, as you found out, VERY expensive. So, I ignored the rough idle, and continued maintenance as I had before, (Synthetic oil and filter every 3-4K miles). I keep a log for fuel and maintenance in every vehicle I own. There appeared to be no degradation in the fuel economy. In fact, on the home leg of a trip a little more than a year ago, for one tank of gas I got just a shade below 18mpg, the highest figure I have ever gotten in my years of ownership. With the defective cam/lifter, I drove the Suburban on many trips halfway across the country, sometimes towing a 14 ft single axle enclosed trailer, weighing about 2300 lbs.

    No internal engine problems occurred, until something I believe is unrelated cropped up this past August. In the interim, I added 60K miles with no reduction in performance. Since I can't hear your motor run, or drive your Tahoe, I can't say how similar your situation might be. What I will say is this: IF I had allowed the dealership to do thousands of dollars of work on my Suburban's engine, there is no way it would have generally performed any better for the next sixty thousand miles. Did I just get lucky for those years? I don't think so... I made an informed decision. BTW, I do have to say this: A rough idling engine will probably not pass a smog inspection, if one is required in your state. A check of my Suburban's emissions at idle early in my effort to diagnose the problem showed a high level of unburned hydrocarbons. At driving rpm, the emissions returned to a normal level.

    Yes, the rough idle bothered me. I often would slip the gear selector into neutral if I was sitting at a long light, just so I would not have to feel the chugging. But I am glad I saved the money. Now I am faced with the possibility of replacing the motor altogether. The latest issue appears to be terminal. I'd be angry If I were in your shoes, I know I was when I was told pretty much what you got from your dealership. If your motor is really that bad, rather than have cam, lifter and cylinder head work done on it, I'd source a good used motor. There is one on eBay right now in Oklahoma for $1365 out of an '08 Tahoe with similar miles. You might be able to get it delivered and installed by a local mechanic for an additional $12-1400, and you'd still be ahead.
    Good Luck!
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