Chevrolet Suburban Electrical Problems

julieyetjulieyet Member Posts: 1

I'm hoping you guys can help. I have a 1991 Chevy Suburban. I was driving it a week ago, when all of a sudden the brake light came on (and stayed on), the A/C shut off, the power windows wouldn't work, and the speedometer went all the way to zero (and stayed there).

Things stayed this way for a few days. Then, one day when I went to start it, the brake light was NOT on, and everything that had stopped working was working again. Later that day, when I went to start it, the light was back on and the A/C, windows and speedometer had stopped working.

It seems to go back and forth. Sometimes it'll work, and sometimes it won't.

Any ideas at all what we should check?

Thanks in advance! :)


  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    When coming across flakey symptoms like you have, I always start by making sure that the basic power is clean and stable. Have the battery and alternator load tested at a parts supply house, this is usually a free service. Pay particular attention to the battery connectors, looking that they are tight, and free of corrosion on the connector and up into the wire.

    You should also check the ground wire connection, to make sure you don't have a loose (or high resistance ground).

    If those check out, then I would follow the power to the main fuse box, and check your voltage on the main buss, to make sure you aren't dropping any voltage from where the battery voltage is sitting at. You'll need a digital voltmeter, they can be picked up reasonably priced at a radio shack or auto parts stores.
  • nyboy1nyboy1 Member Posts: 1
    hi i m having the same problem on my 2004 tahoe all of a sudden the abs light came on and the battery light then none of the instruments clusters where working the A/C is blowing hot air the windows are not working and the door locks are not working and it wouldn't respond to the key fob. the dome light stoped working. i checked all the relays they all seem in a working condition i don't know what to do next. if anybody have any suggestions i would highly aprecciate it thx
  • bigmomma2bigmomma2 Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 Suburban began with the Low Coolant light being on continuously. 1700.00 later the Check Engine Oil Level light came on for 2 weeks. That sensor is fine and the oil level is fine. Now the lights are both switching on, first the low coolant then the oil level light, one after another, after another, after another. Mechanic is saying it is electrical issue. Anyone have any ideas before I start screaming and have to be committed?
  • hatchel8hatchel8 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Suburban that out of the blue this weekend started giving me extremely loud feedback through the speakers... even when the car was off, radio fuse removed, radio/stereo off, etc. It was bizarre and is so loud inside that you can't stand to be in the car for any reason. In the past, we've had the a/c get stuck on extremely hot heat and also the auto locks flip back and forth while driving down the road but no one seems to be able to fix it. Now on those brief moments when it's not so loud from the feedback you can hear a sizzling in the dash board. Waiting on a mechanic to tell me if there are electrical problems for sure. Anyone experience anything similar?
  • silvercatsilvercat Member Posts: 5
    This is my first post. Before posting I read through a couple other discussions regarding electrical, engines shutting down etc. I need to fly to my son's college and see if I can get his 2000 Suburban running again. I need as much info as possible before I leave so I have described to my best ability the sequence of events. My main focus so far will be to check out the new battery and the original alternator and battery cables. Then clean the throttle plate and see what happens. Let me know what else I can do. Here is what happened.

    2000 Chevy Suburban 2500 - has worked great for 9 years - about 140,000 miles

    1. vehicle stopped running while out driving
    2. 72 month Napa battery checked "dead" after 14 months - got another warranty battery
    3. My son installed the battery with me on the phone.
    4. He said that the keyless did not work - while installing the terminals he said that the terminal was sparking excessively, the lights were flashing and the interior was making clicking noises - probably the door locks. I told him to turn the lights off as they were set for automatic - this helped and he finished.
    5. Vehicle started right up but kept dying if he did not give it gas. I told him to keep it runing and after a bit put it in drive and it kept running. He drove it up to school and parked it. He had to lock manually since the keyless was not working.
    6. Next day he opened the door with the key and the alarm went off and he could not stop it. It finally stopped and he drove to baseball practice and the alarm went off while driving.
    7. That night he went to the bank and lost the headlights, windows would not work, interior and dash lights went out and the truck died. It would not start. He left it and walked back to school. I have not heard back.
    8. With all the electrical items going outand then the truck stalling I was thinking alternator but would the computer not send a message in advance if the alternator was bad?
    9. What do you guys think? Any solid experience?
    10. The truck is in Whittier California in the event that someone reads this from Whittier.
    11. If I can't get some definite good info then I will need to fly there and get it fixed since my son does not have a lot of car experience to trouble shoot. If I tell him to take it to a shop that could end up costing a small fortune.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Could have fried the alternator control circuitry, or any of the computers with the sparking. On my vehicles I usually borrow one of the battery jumper devices (from the auto parts store) and plug it into the OBD jack, which maintains stable voltage to the computer, and then swap out the battery.

    I'd get to an autoparts store and check that the battery and alternator are load testing and put out what they need. If the problem still exists, get it to a dealership who have the tools to check out the computers. May potentially need to replace a computer, or may just need to reload it's software.
  • silvercatsilvercat Member Posts: 5
    I figured out the problems. So I am posting the solution in case anyone else has the problem. By the way, I bought a basic Scanner/Reader but I did not get any codes. There were basically (2) problems.

    1. The electrical went dead after replacing the battery. The alternator was shot. I recharged the battery and installed the new alternator ($208 with tax) and that solved the electrical problem.

    2. The engine kept shutting off when it was started and would only keep running if I sat with my foot on the gas for awhile. Once it stayed running I turned it off and it kept shutting off again. I checked the air filter which was dirty but not real dirty to cause the engine to stall out. I tried starting without the air filter and it still kept stalling. I then "reset" that air filter use gauge that has the red, green and yellow markings. I pushed the button and it reset back to "green" like I had just installed a new filter. That solved the problem. I put the old filter back in and it still ran just fine.

    I drove home with the car (about 400 miles) with no problems.
  • beege84beege84 Member Posts: 1
    have an 89 gmc suburban. the display is out on it. can turn stereo on and you get static. with antenna attached it sounds like it tries to tune but when hit the seek or manually tune a humming static is all that can be heard. any ideas as to how to resolve this problem or would it be easier to simply replace stereo with an aftermarket cd player?
  • middawgmiddawg Member Posts: 1
    I am expereincing some electrical issues with my 2003 Suburban Z71.

    First issue began about a year ago, Rear defroster and wiper stopped working. I can hear the wiper motor turn on but wiper doesn't move.

    About 4 months ago my turn signals started working intermittently. They will work normally for days and then stop working at all. Sometimes manually flipping the lever up and down gets the signal started. Sometimes it is weeks working and weeks not working.

    Last night, the heater in the drivers seat stopped working. It turns on but then right back off. And, when using cruise control, turning on either turn signal cancels the cruise control.

    I am taking the car in to the dealership next week. Since I have no idea how the electrical works on these newer models I was hoping for some info an possible problems before I go in and hand over my checkbook. It is amazing what some shops will try to convince you is wrong when you are a woman!

    Anything would be AWESOME!!
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Well with a number of electrical things wrong, I would suspect that your battery might be bad, or perhaps there is a lot of nasty corrosion on the terminals. Or perhaps you have a loose ground cable.

    Those turn signal symptoms could be just a bad dual filament bulb, or may be related to an above larger battery problem.

    The way that rear wiper motor sounds, it's as if the mechanical connection is broken or loose. You can hear the motor turn, but the wiper arm doesn't move.

    You may want to consider taking it to an autoparts chain, where they will usually do a battery and alternator test for free for you. "IF" all of these problems (or a majority of them" are related to a bad battery, then they are certainly qualified to replace that battery for you.

    If everything is fixed, cancel your dealer appointment. If battery and alternator are okay, then you'll need the dealer to trouble shoot everything. If the battery was bad and it fixes some of the things, then the dealership has a smaller list of items to repair.
  • detaildavedetaildave Member Posts: 7
    I have a 08 suburban. nav. screen went out, or is just turned down. when you turn the key you can see the screen try to come on. Is there a reset for the nav. unit. touching the screen you can hear beeps like its working. check the fuse,nothing. went thru the manual trying to adjusting the contrast. no luck. any help would be great.
  • shaykiashaykia Member Posts: 2
    Pleeeeeeeeese Help. My driver seat is so hot you can feel satan :mad: . The heated seat switch in not pushed at all. At night I have to unhook the battery and if I hook the battery during the day I have to start it and run it for about 20 min :sick: , I called the shop and OMG they want to charge me a arm and a leg. If I can do this for free I would be so happy. Anyone out there please help :)
  • hquickhquick Member Posts: 5
    Both seats having this issue or just the drivers?
    I only have the 98 wiring diagram...but I assume it's similar/same.
    You're going to need to use a multi meter o find the issue. You could try just unplugging either the elements or the module in the meantime (saves disconnecting the battery).
    They should be located under the seat.
  • shaykiashaykia Member Posts: 2
    Just the drivers side. I tryed to unplug each element one at a time but seems like it stop the power seat
  • darnell10darnell10 Member Posts: 1
    One day I started my 2000 suburban. Last time I drove I had left the a/c & fans on full blast when I turned it off, & when I started it back up it stalled & went dead. It never stalls. So I turned off the a/c & tried again. It restarted fine, & hasn't stalled since. However, at that moment something happened. From then on the front & back passenger windows and the sunroof stopped working. The door locks & all other electrical works, but not the 2 windows or the sunroof! HELP! The dealer says "gee we never heard of this before" & it's $115. per hour to try to figure it out.
    Thank you!!
  • fordrules08fordrules08 Member Posts: 1
    ok one day my 99 k2500 suburban just all of sudden started losing electrical power while i was driving. i assumed alternator was going pad so replaced it. that didnt help. the voltage meter in my dashboard goes up to the normal 14 and then drops down while driving and keeps fluctuating back and forth with the battery light going off and on. i then replaced my belt and tensioner. the problem got a little better but then worse. i realized that if i put pressure on alternator one way it charges rite then put pressure the other way it dosnt. so i try to see it move while doing so but it doesnt. also while doing that my engine idles different one way and then another when i change where i out the pressure. well this has been a problem for a while now but just recently my battery has been dying while i have truk off and i make sure nothing is on. i just dont know what the prblem is or how else i could go about fixing it.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Have battery and alternator 'load' checked at auto parts chain.

    I'd also check for corrosion on the battery terminals, and if you have some I'd be looking for corrosion up inside the cable. You need to check power cable connection where it connects down on the starter, and you should also check the negative wire connection to block.

    If all of those are good, then have the vehicle checked for parasitic current draw from the battery. There may be something that is drawing the battery down, when it's not supposed to be.
  • mpi_mikempi_mike Member Posts: 3
    Hey shaykia, did you ever find out the problem here??? MY 2005 is having a simlar problem- the heated seat just comes on for no reason... I think I have a stuck switch or something. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • jenn1974jenn1974 Member Posts: 2
    Along with many other problems I have had with my 07 Suburban, now I have an electrical issue. I heard a beeping noise twice in my truck yesterday while driving and this morning I wake up to a completely dead battery. Took it in for service this morning and waiting to find out answers. They replaced the battery less than a year ago. Has anyone else had this problem. Like I said this just adds to my list of problems with it.
  • carol00carol00 Member Posts: 2
    Transmission flushed, new filter, new fuel filter, new catalytic converters, new alternator. Gauges will go to zero, message center flickers battery, low fuel ( with 1/2 tank of fuel)and security. Battery is 2 years old. What is going on? It dies will driving, but can be restarted though it sputters etc when accelerating and will die again repeating the cycle. IS it electrical or fuel pump (never replaced) 230,000 miles
  • leirleir Member Posts: 3
    i cant find the issue here. takes 6-7 attempts to start before it will idle, stumbles throughout throttle range untill warm. then , within 5 miles stumbles and stalls. will not re fire untill approx 20 min cool down, then starts on firstattempt, runs fine for 5 more miles and stalls again. its like clock work. i tried disconnecting E.G.R valve, tested ignition coil, replaced cracked vaccum lines. no help. hard to blame the fuel pump??? or no... please help as this is my only ride. im not a pro mechanic but have done extinsive repairs in my 55 yrs. mostly chevys. just bought this so dont have much history. Thanks much< Richard
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