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Chevy Suburban Maintenance and Repair



  • I am having the same issue withmy 2003 Sub Z71. I have had the computer reprogrammed and the problem continues.

    Were you able to find a solution to the problem?
  • Here is what I found...

    On the 4WD, there was an encoder motor fault. The dealership replaced the sensor and downloaded updates. This is the same thing they did at 38,000 miles. $300.

    The left rear door had to have the power lock actuator replaced. $350.

    The seats had a wire rubbing in the dash, so they said. They replaced the heater element for the drivers seat, but this did not fix the problem. The fuse still shorted out. After taking it back they discovered the wiring. $350.
  • thiseythisey Posts: 11
    I have a 2003 Suburban with 155000km. I have fixed all of the historical electrical, transmission, blower motor etc. However, I now have a sporadic pinging and popping noise that occurs when excelerating or when parked pushing the gas pedal. Is it an exhaust problem? If so what is the best remedy? I have no signs of exhaust escaping.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Have you recently changed your brand or grade of gasoline?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I am not sure if I'm buying a lemon. I found the Suburban we've been looking for used with 17000 miles on it. It is a 2008 LT 1500 4wd. The carfax is clean and states it is a rental vehicle. The Chevy dealership gave us the service records which shows that there was a power steering leak, fuel gauge problem, and tire indicator light problem. When we asked the dealer about this, he said that these were all TSBs (Techinical Service Bulletins). This just doesn't seem normal to me. I have a Toyota, and it has 100000 miles on it and it is approaching seven years old with none of those problems. The biggest problem I had with it was the power door motor pooping out. That's it. For a 2008, that seems like a lot of service, but reading other posts, it seems that GM has quite a few longstanding problems. Any insight?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Personally, that wouldn't bother me.

    The tire indicator was probably an underinflated tire, which easily can occur in the fall when the temperatures get colder. Thats exactly what the TPMS systems are supposed to do, tell you when the pressure gets low. The power steering leak could have been a loose fitting, or a bad part which was fixed...either way, thats fine. Have had Suburbans for 14 years now and haven't had a gauge problem, don't know anything about that.

    If the vehicle is priced to your satisfaction, and you take it to an independent garage to check it over (which you should do with any used vehicle purchase), I'd go for it.
  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    demstillers said: but reading other posts, it seems that GM has quite a few longstanding problems. Any insight?
    GM just doesn't build 'em like they used to. Fuel pumps go out at under 75K miles, speedometers are a problem with many Suburbans/Tahoes, transmissions fail regularly at low mileages, electrical problems galore...just check this forum for many more reported parts failures. The reason Toyota is the best selling brand in the world is.....because they build a great car that lasts. I wouldn't worry about the power steering leak, fuel gage problem or tire indicator faults...those are all minor things. If you buy the '08 just make sure you get the warranty with it. I have an '06
    Suburban with 41K miles and zero problems....but I also purchased an extended warranty up to 75K miles because I read about too many parts failures on this forum.
  • tsf7tsf7 Posts: 31
    I wouldn't be too worried about TSBs. Just minor problems in a new production vehicle that need to be worked out. Your Toyota has 100k miles with no problems? I have a Suburban approaching 100k miles with none of those problems, either -- not even an electric door motor failure. Spend some time on the other forums on this website for other makes and models, and you'll see that they all have plenty of people complaining about issues, especially in bigger and more complex vehicles. But if you "need" a vehicle with the Suburban's capabilities, its a great (and only legitimate) option.
  • Hi,
    I have the same issue. Started after I also started noticing a vibration on cold take offs. I changed the fluid and filter, seems better. But must have bumped the shift solenoid, getting p0745. I can attach the vibration directly with the trans issues. I also have a 99 suburban. Have you found anything different. .
    Thanks RUss
  • aggie10aggie10 Posts: 17
    I am so frustrated. I recently bought all new tires for my 2004 Suburban. The two front tires continue to lose air. I took them back to the store. They checked them out, thoroughly, and couldn't find anything wrong. I'm not having any problems with the rear tires. Has anyone else had this type of problem? We're driving out of state in June, so I'd like to gete everything resolved before we make the long trip. Thanks for any help or suggestions.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Did they check the rims for damage?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • thiseythisey Posts: 11
    I have Nokian Fativa's on my 2003 Sub and have not had any problems. Best tires I have ever owned,
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    If a tire is loosing air pressure it means somehow air is getting out of it, right? There is no magic in this.

    If our shop did not find any leak then they either do not know what they are doing or someone is intentionally letting air our from your tires.

    When they checked for the leak did they use soapy water spray or sink the tires in water?

    If they just looked at them and did not take them off of the car then take it back to them to do the job right.

  • mike123mike123 Posts: 10
    I have an 01 Tahoe. The abs and brake warning lights are on together and have been for months. The brakes seem to work fine. Any suggestions on the problem?

  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    The abs and brake warning lights are on together and have been for months
    Your problem could be the computer that controls the ABS system....when the computer fails your brakes will still work but the anti-skid feature will not work. You might test the vehicle in an empty parking lot by getting up to speed then applying full brake pressure. If the ABS system is working you will feel it automatically "pump" your brakes as you come to a stop. If the wheel locks up upon braking your ABS in not working. The computer is not a cheap fix...over $1K at the might find one cheaper online.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    Your problem could be with the ABS control module but you could also have a problem with a much lower cost part.

    For the ABS each wheel has a speed sensor. These sensors tell the ABS control module the speed of each wheel and ABS control is based on these speed readings.

    If you are just a little bit of a mechanic you could trouble shoot this yourself. This would require buying one of the speed sensors, which cost I do not know as I have not had problems with my ABS in my Tahoe but I would think the sensor cost less than $100. Rotating the new sensor from wheel to wheel might reveal which sensor, if any, is faulty.

    You can also take your car to the dealer to find out what the problem is but just diagnosing it will cost about the same as a new sensor.

    You can also have a sensor knocked out of alignment. This actually happened to my old Lincoln that I used to have. The sensor needs to be at certain distance from the notched wheel that it reads for it to work. If sensor distance to the wheel gets too big it cannot sense the rotation of the wheel and the ABS system is disabled.

  • ecarlclayecarlclay Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Suburban with 123K on it I've had since 2005. I just had the belts and tensioner replaced last month; now it is making noise when you accelerate above 2000 rpm. If you turn off the A/C at that point- there is no noise.

    Shop is wanting to replace the A/C compressor- does this sound right? I trust the shop- but geez- I keep soaking more and more into this thing. Air works fine regardless.

    Thanks for any help here- I love this vehicle, so I always fix whatever is needed (and its the wife's car)- but I just wanted to shop this diagnosis. (and I work extra at night just to pay my mechanic off!)

    Should have bought the Sequoyah....
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Hmm, that may be the cause.

    Personally, I would pop the serpentine belt back off, and manually turn each of the accessories to feel whether there is a bearing going bad in one of those accessories. Turning the A/C switch on energizes the clutch which then turns the that 'could' be the source of the bad bearing and noise. But, compressors also place a significant load on the belt and engine, that perhaps the belt load is causing one of the other pulleys to get a load on it and make a grinding noise.

    If their diagnosis is just based on the noise going away when you turn the a/c off, I'd have them check it closer before replacing the compressor. If they already checked everything else, and they are okay, then it could very well be the compressor is bad (which you are going to want to replace before it disintegrates and messes up your whole a/c system with metal filings).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,472
    kiawah's suggestions are good ones! You DON'T....I repeat...DON'T want that AC compressor seize up, because if it does, it spews metallic debris throughout the entire AC system, which means, you guessed it, the entire system has to be cleaned and all contaminated elements replaced or removed for cleaning. That could cost you big bucks.

    So stay on top of this issue and invest whatever time you need to, to make sure you have the right diagnosis. "Wait and see" while often good advice, is not the best course in this case, IMO.

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  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    What kind of noise is it making? Like dry grinding noise perhaps?

    If your A/C compressor is making dry grinding noise then you need to lubricate it. A lot of A/C compressors are lost due to inadequate lubrication. This is internal lubrication, i.e. mixed in A/C refrigerant.

    This is a very easy fix to do. Go to auto part store and buy an A/C system service kit that includes fill hose and pressure gauge. Some kits also include a bottle of refrigerant and some come with lubricant also. You can buy all these separate too.

    If your A/C system works, i.e. you get cold air from it when needed then the system has enough refrigerant charge but what you can be missing is lubrication.

    If your A/C system has never been serviced the lubricant oil in the system can be broken down, i.e. the oil that was added in the system at factory has lost its lubrication properties and your compressor now could be running with marginal lubrication. This can generate grinding noise, which precedes the moment when the compressor locks up and is completely ruined (= high $).

    So, go buy a fill hose, pressure gauge and a bottle of A/C oil lubricant. First run the A/C on full cooling for 5 minutes with engine on idle and then add the oil charge in the system but if compressor really makes noise don't wait 5 minutes and start adding oil immediately. After this measure the pressure in the system. If pressure is too high after adding oil, which it should not be, let some refrigerant out using the fill hose, i.e. shut off the needle valve at the end of the hose and connect it to the service port. Then open needle valve and let refrigerant out. Make sure you don't spray it on painted surfaces as it could corrode paint.

    If the noise you are hearing does not come from the compressor itself but disappears when A/C is turned off it can be coming from the belt tensioner. You had it and the belt replaced. Was this noise present before these parts were replaced or did you have them replaced just because they were old?

    Belt tensioner can make the kind of "rattling" noise but it also is caused by the compressor. This noise is generated by the moving tensioner arm that can in bad case even bottom out its travel. Arm movement is caused by changing belt tension. Changing belt tension comes from the A/C compressor from its piston strikes, i.e. every piston strike causes more load to compressor shaft, which translates to more tension in the belt.

    Apparently belt tensioner should have been designed to be able to handle normal belt tension changes from A/C compressor. This is why rattling belt tensioner is an indication of abnormal condition, which translates to compressor problems.

    Compressor problem can be the above explained lubrication issue, i.e. marginal lubrication increases friction in the pistons.

    Another way compressor can cause higher than normal belt tension pulsing is if A/C system refrigerant charge is too high. Too high charge can cause refrigerant to enter in the compressor in liquid form. Liquid cannot be compressed so it could cause very high load on the belt each time liquid is pressed in the compressor cylinder. This condition is not very likely as over charge would need to be quite big but that is why you need that pressure gauge. With that you can verify that the system is not over charged. A good gauge comes with instructions and chart for pressure reading as the correct reading depends on the ambient temperature.

    If you have a compressor issue it could be a very simple "lack of lubrication" issue and I highly recommend adding a small bottle of oil lubricant in the system in any case. If your A/C system has never been serviced that oil from car's manufacturing 6 years ago is worn down and new lubricant is needed. A/C oil breaks down just as any lubrication oil. That is why we change engine oil too, correct?

  • zookpr46zookpr46 Posts: 2
    Hi all !! Hoping you can help...We just purchased an 09 Suburban LT have had it for a wk...noticed when accel at low speeds around 20mph to 40mph the vehicle shakes...reading in manual that vibration can occur in 4WD mode but this is in 2WD is this a transmission glitch it's very frustrating having to bring it back to dealership...anyone else having this problem and any thoughts on what it could be...hoping we didn't make a $30,000 mistake... Thanks...
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    It's under warranty, get it back to the service mgr.
  • We were advised to change the rear bearings but found that it is the wheel axle that is worn down and the bearings are not too bad. Our mechanic advises us to buy new and not rebuild. He says rebuit axles are not strong enough for this type of v;ehicle. What do you think? The Suburban is 10 years old and we have already spent a lot on repairs.
  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    What do you think? The Suburban is 10 years old and we have already spent a lot on repairs.
    Base the money you may have to spend on repairs on how much the vehicle is worth now with the problem, and how much will it be worth if you fix it. You may find it is not worth it to spend more money. Might be time for something newer.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    What the heck is a "wheel axle"?

    Re-built is as good as new as what comes to rear axle.

    What wears out is wearing parts, i.e. bearings and gears. All these will be new with re-built axle.

    Almost sounds you mechanic wants to make more money with repairs that what you really need to spend.

    Who recommended bearing change in the first place and if bearings are good then what the heck is wrong?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,472
    Not sure either what part you mean. If you mean the DIFFERENTIAL gears, the only rebuilt I'd settle for is one done by real professionals who do that kind of work day after day. Differential rebuilds are tricky stuff. "New" sounds pretty expensive however.

    If you mean that the axles are bad, these are straight axles on a bearing, not CV types, so the only way they wear out is by being cut by bad bearings usually---or they can break.

    You really can't rebuild a solid steel shaft, so I don't know quite what your mechanic is referring to.

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  • zookpr46zookpr46 Posts: 2
    Brought it back to service dept. checked for codes, nothing. Test drove and they couldn't get it to repeat...said it was probably normal if it happens again bring it back. It's hit or miss when this happens some days I'll drive it and it feels smooth no problems with shuddering other days it feels very different sluggish response shuddering while accel. and now it not only does this while on incline but also if I slow down at a light or to turn and then accelerate I get a shake...Brought it back to have a tech drive with my husband in the car, car shuddered @ low speed on incline and felt almost like a loss of power husband trying to accelerate no response pushed pedal to floor revved to 5000rpm. Techs response to this was hmm that's weird....left the vehicle @ the dealership again to have service mgr take a look @ it...couldn't get it to repeat when he test drove again said it's normal. Is this normal drive response from a Sub? it just doesn't seem right that the shuddering @ times almost feels like the engine is loose at other times it is a slight this just a by product of the 6 speed tran and flex fuel engine? Since there are no codes or TSB's on this the dealership does not feel it is an issue...Thanks for any thoughts...
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    Sounds the same response from the dealer that I got with my '04 Tahoe. Because there was no trouble codes the dealer said there was nothing wrong with it. Well, I knew there was something wrong because my highway gas mileage went down to 13 mpg when for the first 1500 miles it was 17+ mpg.

    I fixed my truck while it was under warranty. It is fine now and I really like it. It just is that in 2 years I must get a new vehicle and it will not be from GM regardless how good it is when it works. I just can't take the risk of fixing a brand new $40000+ vehicle by myself under warranty because the dealer chooses not to.

    I am absolutely sure you have some sensor reading wrong or a bad wire connection (very likely). Sensor sends enough signal for the computer so that it does not know sensor actually is bad.

  • Hello Arrie - I too have an 04 suburban, purchased new. I too went from 17+ to 15 to currently 12. :sick: Dealer is no help after giving standard answers / doing standard stuff, tuneup, injector cleaning, no codes nothing else to do. Can you tell me what you did, with a little detail, to get your tahoe back to getting 17+?

  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    I have posted it all in these forums but perhaps I can give you a short version.

    1. Make sure your intake manifold gasket is not leaking. Mine was leaking badly and was perhaps the biggest problem I had. Gasket bolts (10 pcs) have a special riser with thick rubber washer under them. When you tighten the bolts they tighten against the riser and are supposed to set the gap where the rubber washer is. My intake manifold obviously have manufacturing defect as on some of the holes where the bolt goes thru it never gets tight against rubber washer. It seems the plastic at some of the holes is too thin.

    My fix for this was that I cut the risers and removed the rubber washers so that I can tighten the bolts directly against the manifold. I also cut rubber gasket material to fit on both sides of the GM plastic "lip seal" gasket as it did not work well alone.

    My intake manifold gasket holds now. Leaking gasket causes manifold pressure to raise (vacuum is lower) and this will mess up with ignition timing. Leaking gasket can be also felt as jerking idle.

    First thing to do is to re-tighten the manifold gasket bolts. This is very easy job to do. You need 8 mm socket and "clicking" torque wrench.

    Haynes repair manual tells bolt tightening order and torque, which I used. Tightening is in two steps. First you tighten bolts to 44 in-lb and after that to 89 in-lb.

    2. I purchased a set of racing spark plug wires that allowed me to remove the heat shields from around spark plug boots. This also is a very easy thing to do and I highly recommend doing this. Spark easily leaks around the boot to the heat shield and goes to ground as the shields are grounded with a small spring at the end of it. Any leak of spark means less spark at the point where it is needed, i.e. at the end of the spark plug inside the cylinder.

    3. I changed the crank shaft position sensor. Sensor is located behind starter motor, which must be removed before you can get to the sensor. This sensor going bad can really mess thing up.

    4. I found bad crimp connections on MAP sensor wire harness. This made me to solder almost all wires at harnesses. Crank shaft position sensor wire harness is the only one I have not done as that starter motor must come down even to get to the harness connector at the sensor.

    5. I added oil charge in the A/C system. You would not believe how much fuel A/C system takes to run. You can test for this while driving just by turning A/C off while driving at constant speed on highway and looking at the instant fuel consumption display that these trucks still have. It sometimes looks like 15-20% better MPG when A/C is off. Making sure the compressor has good oil fill minimizes compressor friction.

    My MPG is 17+ at 78 MPH speed. And as I have Good Year Fortera tires I think it makes it even better as I have read under tire topics that Fortera tires cause loss in MPG by about 10%.

    This is what I remember right now.

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