2013 Suburban (3/4 ton) won't start/crank

traveler2000traveler2000 Member Posts: 5
edited April 2015 in Chevrolet
The $70,000 Suburban only has 25K miles on it and I've already had it at the dealer 3 times for different issues. The latest happened when I went to start the Suburban yesterday and it would not start - in either park, drive nor neutral. It would not crank at all - like a dead battery but all the lights were on and the windows worked fine. I had the "Service Traction Control" and the "Service Stabilitytrack" messages on.

I then called for a jumpstart and it started right up but then I had two new messages on "Service battery charging system" and "service trailer brake controller." The other two messages had now been replaced with these two.

I plugged my travel trailer in and the truck would not see trailer. It normally tells me that the trailer is connected and I can see the brake gain when I press the brake pedal, but this time none of that was happening.

I had it towed to the dealer 150 miles away but the dealer says they can't find an issue and can't replicate it. Anyone have any ideas? I am about 1500 miles from home traveling with a trailer with the family and now I do not feel safe with this SUV afraid of being stranded or worse without brakes while towing over a mountain pass.




  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,614
    All of the diagnostics have to be performed while the problem is occurring. Unfortunately it appears that the random issue wasn't present by the time you got it to the dealer. While there should have been some codes set (most likely communication codes) it can be a very difficult task to interpret those fragments into a verifiable solution. Even if the codes all pointed towards any given module, one still has no way to know if the problem was internal to or external of that particular module.

    To get a better understanding of this you have to consider all of the possible results from trying to fix something that couldn't be proven was broken. The tech could have guessed either by SWAG or by association to some other random event which essentially is what you have asked for here. While there is always a chance that they could get it right, that chance is much smaller than the likelihood that they wouldn't and that doesn't go unpunished. One of the biggest issues with failing to attempt to fix it comes from you leaving and believing that it has been repaired and not knowing that it hasn't until the symptom resurfaces.

    Based on what you described, and this is without any testing or code information the failure is possibly associated to start-up system voltage, a weak or undercharged battery could lead to certain modules not turning on when everything else does. If that is the case, then once started under normal conditions when everything is working it would be unlikely that any systems like the trailer brake controller will shut down during use. You are going to need to experience the symptom again and either prove, or disprove this. Then communicate what you observe to the shop because this will be some of the information that a tech will need to help figure this especially if it remains random.
  • traveler2000traveler2000 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the comment thecardoc3!

    Turns out in this case the battery was reading more than 14v. When the dealer got tested the battery it also tested fine, so perhaps it has to do with some other electrical voltage issue elsewhere, as you mentioned. I just got a call from the shop letting me know that they want to keep it for another day as they want to run some more diagnostics on it after a GM rep told them that he has seen this issue multiple times. Crossing my fingers they find something definitive.

    Looking at forum posts, I have found other people having the exact same sounding issue going back years on Suburbans, but nothing in terms of info on fixes. Maybe one of those people will see this post and supply their story.
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655

    Looking at forum posts, I have found other people having the exact same sounding issue going back years on Suburbans, but nothing in terms of info on fixes. Maybe one of those people will see this post and supply their story.

    And perhaps if you get a good and correct answer you can supply yours :)
  • traveler2000traveler2000 Member Posts: 5
    I got the Suburban back from the dealer without a fix since they could not replicate it. A GM rep did confirm that this issue has been observed in other vehicles though.

    Will update the post here if the issues happens again....
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