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Chevy Suburban Maintenance and Repair



  • 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.
  • got an '88 suburban silverado over here thats havin some interesting window problems. they seem to be sticky, but i sprayed silicone in the cloth tracks and it made not a bit of difference. when rolling up the drivers side window, the motor just stops and doesnt work for a few (20-30 seconds) and then starts going again. is the window motor givng up because its so sticky? or are they even sticky at all because if they were, then the silicone would have fixed it right? im so confused because its gonna be mine here real soon when i get my permit, and i dont want to have the motors replaced, so if it is the motors then ill bribe my mom to replace them before its mine. ;) anyone here have any ideas on how to fix it?
  • I have a 03 Suburban that won't start. 5.3 2w drive. Parked it one night with everything fine. Next morning it would not start. It acts like it tries to start then shuts down. Fuel pump is making noise when you turn key on. Any suggestions?
  • have a mechanic run a diagnostic on it. Mine was fuel injectors. Tune up didnt help,neither did a new coil. this is 2nd suburban I have had with fuel injector probs.
    hope this helps
  • My 98 has 124000 miles on it, with recent full tuneup, new coil, new radiator and alternator. My prob is everytime I climb a steep hill and put a load on the engine, the engine shakes and the SES light comes on. First time, diagnostics said no. 3 fuel injector, so we replaced it. went on vacation and while climbing VA hills, SES on again. This time, diagnostics state no. 4 and no. 7 fuel injectors. is this common? My mechanic was worried that he "knocked something loose" when he replaced the first injector and is sending me to the chevy dealership, who can run more specific diagnostics. I love my suburban and just want it to run correctly. after replacing the injector, he cleaned the fuel system out my backflusshing, which only made it run worse!!! I would appreciate any advice.
  • thiseythisey Posts: 11
    I have a 2003 Suburban. Three times my suburban has failed to start. Engine light comes on, lose the clock, and when I turn the ignition only a clicking noise is made. When I remove the keys the odometer and speedometer needles rise. Twice boosting has started the vehicle, third time unsuccessful. Vehicle was towed to GM dealer and left over long weekend. I visited the vehicle to recover some items and found no power at all to open locks etc. Two days later the GM dealer started the vehicle without boosting and called to ask me what the problem was. Explained it to them as this was second visit to dealer. GM Technical is involved and cannot explain problem as it cannot be replicated by dealer. Again dealer says battery, alternator, cables etc is fine. GM is going to keep vehicle for rest of week to see if no start can be replicated.
    Any ideas?
  • Start by replacing the battery with a new one.My suburban is a 2002 and it's on it's third battery. Then you can eliminate that problem. I belive if it detects a undervolt it wont start just click. Also make sure your battery connections are tight. I am not a mechanic just had some experince with mine. Kim M.
  • thiseythisey Posts: 11
    Replaced battery and found a Mechanic who showed me a GM service bulletin for no starts on Suburbans. It recommends replacing the ignition relay part no. 12177236($10.00 part). I have replaced it and so far so good.
  • jbran95jbran95 Posts: 10
    I also have a 3/4ton 8.1L '01 Suburban, I've replaced the MAF, CPS, TPS, along with checking all connections.I even checked to see if it might be related to the alarm/remote start. The problem was solved for about 1-2 weeks then it came back worse. Now if it stalls while driving it can take 20-30 minutes of waiting before you can re-start it. It also has a few new symptoms, 1. it went into Tow/Haul mode by itself 2. After leaving it parked for 2-3 hrs. it sometimes takes 15-20 tries to get it started. I have all but given up on it! Anyone have any new Ideas?
  • I have had the same trouble. I replaced the same parts you did. I hope that Didier came help us out with this problem. Pleases keep ne updated if you can find anything that solve this problem. Have you had a service dept check codes? Maybe PCM computer ? Thanks Kim M. Good Luck
  • What is the bulletin number? Where is the ignition relay located? Tell me more about it. Thanks Kim M
  • I have a 90 Suburban. Only 100,000 miles. Running perfectly. Had the fuel pump changed b/c we were in the gas tank for another reason. One week later stepped on the gas and a huge loss of power. Would only go about 15 to 20 miles per hour. When you would step on the gas it would rev up normally about 1/2 way to the floor then it "cuts out" and losses power. Check engine light comes on. It doesn't idle rough or run rough, just no power. This is very intermittent. It will work bad then run fine for a few miles, then bad, then fine for days then stalls completely & won't restart. We have had it in the shop numerous times. Cat. Conv. test fine. He has changed the fuel filter, ignition module, ignition coil. Now he wants to change the EGR valve. I think he is just guessing. The check engine light is never on by the time we get it back to the shop so it is tricky to figure out. Any suggestions?Thank you.
  • thiseythisey Posts: 11
    I do not recall the number. The GM mechanic I met did not want me letting the dealer know that he had showed the bulletin to me. The relay is number 5 and can be found in the engine compartment fuse box. The part is easily purchased at your GM parts dept for around $10.00 cdn.
  • My suggestion...change mechanics/dealers immediately. No one should "honestly" tell you that a code can't be read because the SES lite went out...before the truck got back into the shop. All codes are stored in memory. That's the way the system, no codes are lost. They must be manually erased. Someone is playing you.
  • I was told from several folks that the code wasn't stored in this year. A 1990. That isn't true? Thanks
  • jbran95jbran95 Posts: 10
    I found that there are 2 crank sensors 1 at the front of the engine and 1 in the back. Although there are no service bulletins, they are both common problems. Another thing you can check is the ignition switch (a common problem). They also told me that if you have an aftermarket remote start or alarm they can cause similar problems. I'm going to replace the other sensor and remove my aftermarket stuff this weekend. I'll let you know what happens.
  • Thanks for your reply. Since I replaced the crank sensor I haven't had any shut downs. But mine was a intermintent problem. I am going to keep the suburban and warranty has expired.If mechanics don't have a trouble code they don't know how to fix. We all need to stick together and help each other out. I have has many electrical problems since I bought this suburban,but I still like it and pulls my boat great. Keep us updated on yours. Good luck Kim M.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Sorry for the late response. Your question slipped by me...

    The MAP sensor in my '04 Tahoe is located on top of the intake manifold in the back end of the engine. The harness is the 3-wire connector that connects to the sensor.

    I got new connections from the dealer and soldered them on the wires myself. The dealer would not do anything and the vehicle was still well under warranty. The problem was fixed by the new connectors in the wires.

  • It sounds to me like a bad/defective/incorrect fuel pump. Incorrect fuel pressure or supply is easily misdiagnosed as a bad cat convertor or plugged fuel filter. Did you install a universal fuel pump or dealer part? Good luck!
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    Last week on a trip I noticed the indicator lights for 4wd system would show in neutral or 2wd or 4wd low during various trips, (turning engine off and restarting would sometimes change the light). The transfer case was clearly in 2wd mode the entire time as I was driving normally.
    Yesterday I tried punching the 2wd button while the 4wd low light was on, 2wd light flashed several times then came on, and I now have "Service 4WD" message on.
    The transfer case now will not shift into other modes.

    I assume it is the electronic actuator but I am wondering if anyone else has had similar probs/ fixes.
    Thanks, Catam.
  • My 97 suburban 4X4 has had it's transmission changed out in the past year. Recently, the vehicle feels "jerky" when shifting gears and while driving it feels like I'm pulling a heavy load (trailering feeling). When this has happened at Road speed, I've shifted down into 3rd and the jerking is still there. These problems only happen intermitantly and at no particular time (hot or cold, wet or dry). I can't figure out if its the transmission or an engine problem. Any ideas would be most helpful. thanks.
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