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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Brake Problems

mcleandmcleand Posts: 3
edited June 2015 in Chevrolet
I own a 2003 Silverado that has intermittent brake failure problems . The dealer has repaired this time and time again but the problem persists . The dealer and now GM say that this is a normal function for this vehicle , but now the brake pedal goes to the floor and although they are telling me it is safe to drive I am refusing . This truck sits in my garage .

I found over 100 similar complaints on the NHTSA web site , some involving accidents with injuries and deaths .

Does anyone have any advice . This truck has 48000 KM on it .

See Also: Finding the Causes of a Low Brake Pedal


  • I was wondeing if any one could help me out on this i hit a rock like a year ago and as the time went by i starting hearing sweaking form the rear passinger tire i went to places and they said it was a bent axle well the sound has gotton way worse but when i hit the brakes it goes away so i dont know what it is can someone help thanks.
  • Yea i have the same thing when i hit a bump when i go to hit the brakes and they told me its has something to do with the sensor and they fixed it and it hasent done it since then
  • eric62eric62 Posts: 1
    Changed master cylinder thinking that may be the problem, but pedal still soft and goes to floor. Mechanic thinks it may be abs module? Can this be bypassed? Suggestions???
  • I just had my mechanic replace my brake rotors and pads on my rear wheels. Almost immediately I noticed a sound coming from my rear wheels. Took it back to my mechanic and he tells me my emergency brake pad came loose and was rattling around in my wheel. Question: Did my mechanic have to remove the emergency brake assembly to replace my rotors and pads on my initial visit? :confuse:
  • Yes. The rear rotors have the barking brake on the inside or back side of your rotors. The parking brake shoes operate similar to the old drums whereas they push out on the internal surface of the drum which is actually the inside component of your rotors.

    here's a picture of a slotted rear rotor where you can see the internal drum surface.
  • The brake bleeding procedure in my"96
    ' book(Dealer "tech." manuel)includes pumping the pedal and cracking open and closing in succession, each fitting on all hydraulic components, working your way back to and including the master cylinder, untill all air is bled out. Don't forget to use something to prevent brake fluid from sraying all over the paint and yourself."TRY IT! YOU'LL LIKE IT!
  • I experianced some thing like that, cruising on the highway for a long way with out using the brakes, when I applied the brakes, the pedal went way low. I think I pumped the pedal before it bottomed, however on the second pump I had brakes. These symptoms repeated whenever I was on a long high way cruise. So I would apply the brakes every so often, (I'm cheap) until I replaced the rotors. With new rotors Inever had the problem again. Runout,jouncing,etc. can cause some calipers, more then others, to retract the pistons enough that the brake pedal will depress frieghteningly low before the brakes are applied if at all on the first brake application.
  • I replaced my front rotors,pads,caliper guide o-rings,cleaned all "sliding"surfaces and lubed the guide pins. When driving,I found myself smelling somebody riding with their parking brake on way to often. So I jacked up my front and spun my front wheels-free spinning-drove truck still smelling fillet-ala-brakes. Checked rotor temp. after coming home using very light brakes. One rotor-525F-other-675F.The caliper pistons retracted as caliper pistons usually do.I replaced the calipers with "Cardo" rebuilts. 80,000 later, still O/K. P.S. 120,000 and still original untouched rear brakes.
  • I just replaced my rear rotors and pads as well. What happens is the emergency brake, if not properly adjusted, wears a groove into the drum and prohibits the rotor from pulling off -- you basically need to finesse it off and if that doesn't work -- pound it off. If the guy whacked it with a hammer, etc. to get the rotor off he probably broke the e-brake shoe retainer clip. If he didn't replace the clip, that would cause the ebrake shoe to rattle around inside the drum.
  • Hey Mcleand,
    I have a 2003 sierra slt
    Conserning your brake problem whit the truck,I had the same problem whit the brake pedal going to the floor and after (quite a few trips to the garage) Finaly they changed the "Brake Booster" It did fix the problem whit the peddal going to the floor but still today I have problems whit the anti-lock not working takes the truck an exagerated distance to stop on a snowy road whit me pushing like crazy on the pedal whitch is as stiff as pushing on a cement wall(and you can just hear the anti-lock humming wide open)...And you know what! All of this is just normal operation of these trucks,everything is normal if you ask a GM Teck.And this is litterely the very tip of the iceburg whit my truck....lots and lots of trips to the garage and lots of headakes and frustrations to go whit it(major lemond) Hope you have some luck getting to the bottom of your problems.
    I`m getting rid of mine in about a year when the worth of the truck is equal to what I owe...and never again will I even buy a Delco Spark plug. Gm has a very bad quality system and it shows and they dont back up there product after its sold,I had to fight whit gm canada and garages since i got this 60 000$ piece of junk on wheels.(what a waste)
  • jake41jake41 Posts: 2
  • jake41jake41 Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Silverado 1500 4x4, I have been experiencing a front brake rattle when drive rough spots in the road with my foot off the brake, when I apply slight pedal pressure the rattle is gone. I have taken to the dealer multiple time with no results, they say from temp changes to lubrications of the slides. My warranty is almost done..I need suggestions..I sounds like tin can in my front end.
  • I just had an accident resulting from a brake failure with my 2000 Chevy Silverado 1500 truck. I was making a left hand turn into a parking stall (was going about 5 mph) and when I pressed on the brake pedal my vehicle did not stop. My truck hopped the curb and went down a slight hill and rammed into a retaining wall. When I pressed on the brakes they went lower to the floor than normal. I had no apparent warning of this impending brake failure (no check engine light, brake squealing, etc.). This is the first time I had this happen with the truck. The officer that did the accident report had me back out my vehicle and at this time the brakes worked fine and I still had no check engine light on.

    The kicker is I had a recall service performed on my truck not more than six weeks to clean the front wheel sensors. The recall dealt with a problem where the ABS would turn on during low speed brake applications between 3.7 mph to 10 mph. I am not sure if they did the cleaning properly, but it was similar to the consequence that was listed in the recall of the braking distance increasing as a result of the ABS being activated. If I would of been on flatter land then I do not believe I would have had this problem with my truck.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? I am currently waiting for an official GM investigation of my brakes. I will report back after I get the results.
  • Did you ever get an answer to this question? We are experiencing the same issue on our 2004 Sierra 1500 4X4?
  • Hi everyone,

    Just like post # 14, my ABS has been kicking in just as I'm about to make a complete stop (on dry surfaces) Thankfully, it won't do this on higher speeds. Before I send my 4WD 2000 Silverado in for repairs, is there something I can do to remedy this? Perhaps a simple sensor replacement?

    (FYI)I got the recall done on this about a year ago.

  • steve142steve142 Posts: 1
    phxdenise/jake41: Have you had your pads replaced lately? If so, I have an '02 Z71 with the same problem - which appeared shortly after the dealer replaced the front pads. After about a year or so of folks trying various remedies, I found a service manager at another dealer who knows trucks. Some Chevy dealers apparently use lesser-quality (and cheaper) replacement pads. The rattle on mine was the result of the lesser-quality pad - which is supposed to be a harder substance and last longer. I had the more expensive pad installed and the rattle is gone.
  • No. I didn't change my pads. The problem started all of a sudden last week.

    In the meantime, I went to the dealer and (of course) they wouldn't honor the recall that was done back in Feb 05 for the same problem. They (at the time) took 15 minutes to "fix" the problem. Whetever they did, they did fast only this time, they want to charge me for 1.5 hour labour and (get this) $300.00 CDN for each sensors!!

    Needless to say that this is a total rip off. These sensors are not even available in other part stores. It's a part reserved (so I'm told) exclusively for dealers. I don't get this one bit.

    Anyway, I will not pay $600.00 + for this repair that I believe is useless to start with. I never believed in ABS and I still don't. MY work around, I unpluged the stupid things. However, If I remove the fuse, both the ABS and the emergency parking light stay on. So by unpluging the sensors, only the ABS light remain on. To fix this, I removed the dashboard, and removed the LED light for the ABS. End of story. My truck now stops on a dime and no more pulsating pedal.

    It's shameful to have to resort to such a drastic so called "repair". I'm not satisfied but at least, I'm $600.00 bucks richer. ;)
  • bdsumnerbdsumner Posts: 1
    Had 2 of the above noted brake failures with my 2000 Silverado - too bad - a beautiful truck otherwise. Just got off the phone with GM Canada (there is no recall on this for Western Canada) and they told me I was on my own with regard to fixing this. As some of you guys have done I disabled the ABS crap system by taking off the 2 wire harness to the ABS unit itself (don't pull the fuse or you'll lose your cruise control). I guess I'll do as some above have done and just pull the ABS and P&! lights out of the dash.

    I'm out $600 for a new bumper should I decide to fix it and $155 for the dealer to R&R the wheel speed sensors. Without ABS (Hooray!) I won't hit anymore immovable objects and I'll never have this problem again. Geez - I wonder should my next truck be a Silverado or a Toyota Tundra??? I have to agree GM has been absolutely shameful on this ABS issue. I've been a GM guy for the last 41 years but I'm a little embarrassed for the company over this nonsense.
  • bdsumner--- Just so you know, you'll need a soldering gun to remove the LED light from the dashboard. It's soldered in place.
  • hey whats up eric,i have a 98 sierra with the 4wal abs system and the 5.7 vortech,vin code r.If im driving down the road and get ready to apply the brakes to stop at a light,the first initial push on the brake pedal goes straight to the floor,if i pump it once it gets better and better.Ive replaced master cylinder and both calipers up front,bled the brakes over and over,pedal still goes to the floor.Ive been told it has something to do with the abs dump valve.
  • bp21901bp21901 Posts: 2
  • bp21901bp21901 Posts: 2
    I have an '03 Silverado 1500. My ABS & Brake dashboard lights come on and beep when I have my vent fan on setting 2, 3 or 4. When the fan is on 1 they don't come on, when on 2 they come on when braking, when on 3 or 4 they come on and stay on whether braking or not and will go off if I change the fan switch to the 1 setting. I also noticed that when I have my inverter in use it will also light up and beep when on fan position 1 and braking and all the time when in fan position 2.

    The brakes work fine, just very annoying to have the truck beeping at you while the fan is set to more than 1. The wheels have been pulled and brake pads checked, they are fine. Brake fluid level is fine. Brake lines have been bled.

    Any ideas? The local dealer is stumped, but willing to start swapping things out on a trial and error and high $ basis.
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    I had serious break problems; they couldn’t seem to stop the truck. At all ( had no idea what to do after repeated visists). I typically drive in commuter traffic and they have stunk! from day one. Then a friend showed me his Chevy 2500HD his breaks that are practically the same and his truck did not stop either... rear calipers were not greased from the factory or installed properly. Off I went to Google and every GM/GMC forum on trucks, seems there are hundreds and thousands of folks out there with GM brake problems, My brother and father both have GMC truck and they also have problems. Here's what I did. I went to SSBC and ordered the rear caliper and rotor kit, I ordered the Russell SSbrakelines and ordered new SSBC rotors and pads for the front calipers. I installed and bled the lines and install the new gear...Holy Shmoly... The issue that most GM truck owners have is that the rear calipers are not designed to help stop the truck (they were miss manufactured, or mis-installed (not greased slider pins), rear rotors wear funny and pads do not squeeze the rear rotors. Mstcyliners have issues and ABS sensors have issues. Most everyone I talk to all have had issues with breaks. For now my issues are done the truck feels like a track car...until ABS or wheel sensors hit me. I have had the SSBC system for 2 years and 30K miles, my wife loves the feel of the truck despite the fact that its 6000+lbs. Toyota even markets their trucks to the fact that GM has crappy brakes...Hmmm what do they know that GM does not.. Oh yeah...what was the number one American car company in 2006 Bueler, "Anyone"... contact me if you want photos or thoughts :mad:
  • daffypuckdaffypuck Posts: 2
    I havent had any of the problems yall are mentioning. BUT, I have had serious warping of my rotors problems. After about 7,000-10,000 miles on my 05' Silverado, My truck started bouncing up and down when braking. It turned out to be warped rotors, Which I figured. The dealer repaired them and now 12,000 miles later, Theyre warped even worse. I never pull or haul anything. I dont drive like my Grandpa, but Im also not abusive to my truck. Why are they warping so easily? Is it substandard materials or too small of rotors? If the dealer is uncoperative, What are some good aftermarket rotors I can buy?
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    The Warping is caused by excessive heat on the rotors, excessive heat is caused by having to apply too much friction... by the front pads,

    too much friction on the front rotors is caused by lack of brake pressure balanced between the front and back brakes 70/30(is the likely cause)

    You could have MSRCylynder issues...?,

    I know from personal experience from yr2000 and on, GM has always had warping issues, I now have 34K miles on my after market SSBC components and no more warping, is probably your best bet, they have rotors that are coated that resist rust.

    I now have about 45K on my truck and bakes and rotors are fine, dealer serviced said their 10% used, means I will get about 150k miles before the next brake job... see my photos
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    and rotor. Still had a lot of meat on the pads too. Figured 100k was no problem.
  • daffypuckdaffypuck Posts: 2
    Well, Too much friction is the common sense assesmaent that the dealer gave me. You would think that would know that and adjust accordingly. But alas, they didnt. If they fix em again for me, How can I adjust the differential? IMO, A truck should never have warped rotors unless youre abusive or haul a butt load of crap all the time. My truck is just a small V-8 2WD. It never has the load to warrant warping the rotors reguardless of how abusive one is when braking. Thanx..
  • utah2004utah2004 Posts: 1
    Hello ttaupier1,
    I have rotor warping problems also. I own a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500, 2WD. Last July/2006, I experienced brake pulsation. Dealer determined that all 4 rotors were warped. They were machined and this fixed the problem.
    Milage at that time was 67338 miles. Today after only 7723 miles, I again have brake pulsation caused by warped rotors - this confirmed by dealer. Rear rotors must be replaced since not enough metal to machine them; front rotors need to be machined again. I don't feel I should have to pay for this since it shouldn't have happened after so few miles. I think I need some kind of official proof to show my dealer before they will give in to my request. I've searched the Internet but can find nothing that appears 'official' You mentioned you've seen many instances of people with GM truck brake problems. Do you recall anything specific that would help me here?

    Thanks. Clark
  • ttaupier1, did you get the stock rotors or the 14" ones from SSBC? I'm looking at the 14" rotor upgrade. Every GM vehicle I have owned has had marginal brakes,(except my GXP)but these are he worst.
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    edited October 2015
    I got the standard OEM rotors for the (4 of them)truck, like you my truck had marginal brakes from the start, and i assumed that the front calipers were working well, so i replaced the rears with the triple piston SSBC calipers, russel SSbrake lines and standard OEM rotors....feels like a nascar now!!!, my wife loves to drive it due to the brake feel. I have standards OEM rotors from SSBC all the way around. (note*...the key might be the SS-brake lines to the feel.) I did all the work myself and only extended the complete brake job by an hour for bleeding the new lines.

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