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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Brake Problems



  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    2003 GMC Sierra HD. Located in upstate NY, so we do get snow and salt. This is an 'HD' truck with the snow plow package, but that is apparently meaningless to GM. Last night, a tractor trailer hit his brakes and my 5000# GMC should have been able to stop quicker. Truck brakes went soft, but luckily I avoided a collision. Turns out brake lines are very rusty and now leaking. I have never in 30 years seen corrosion 'grow' so quickly on brake lines on even 10 year old 100K mile cars and I've lived here all my life.My truck is only 6 yrs old with only 50K miles, this is amazing.
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    Hey BarnOwl,

    A buddy of mine has a 2000 HD Chevy, last week he was plowing and almost lost his rid while plowing. There is a break kit available that has all the lines all measured and bent. he called last friday and the price was about $300 and about 2 weeks away... My past message #99 has some other details... here is the place were we ordered the replacement lines that are stainless steel... LOL >> a lot of good that does all of us owners now... i would have gladly paid the $300 at the time of purchase to know my kids wife and i would be safe from this type of failure...


    good luck guy
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    I urge everyone that has a GM truck with rusted brake lines to goto
    and file a complaint. Consumer Affairs will evaluate and see if a class action suite is in order. Make it happen complain now!
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    Thanks for the great tip. I knew the SS was available for older cars but did not realize they had them for the newer vehicles. I already dropped the truck off at a local shop, since I don't have the time to do this myself right now or wait for SS. I sure would have gone that route though if I had ordered them in advance.

    A note to all on bleeding brakes on these trucks. The brake booster ( Not sure of all are the same) is actually part of the power steering system. There is special bleeding procedure on the PS steering system which does wonders for the brakes. My PS line corroded last year and when I followed the PS bleeding procedure,my brakes were better than ever. Much better than new in fact. We noticed the brakes sucked on the 2003 as compared to the 2000 and the bleeding process made a huge difference.. The process is documented on those online repair manuals. I used Alldata for my manual.
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    A note to all on bleeding brakes on these trucks. The brake booster ( Not sure of all are the same) is actually part of the power steering system. There is a special bleeding procedure on the PS steering system which does wonders for the brakes. My PS line corroded last year and when I followed the PS bleeding procedure,my brakes were better than ever. Much better than new in fact. We noticed the brakes sucked on the 2003 as compared to the 2000 and the bleeding process made a huge difference.. The process is documented on those online repair manuals. I used Alldata for my manual.
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    "Dealer blames it on vehicle sitting for extended times (which it does but on pavement)."

    This dealer should be strapped to the front of my truck ( it too has the rusty lines and NO brakes). Let me see, it is work truck and I can't leave it outside!!!! Do these people even hear themselves speak? I have been a GM person all my life and they have finally lost me. You would think after like 12 warranty repairs, they would give me call and learn! Instead, all they care about is if the dealer treated me well!

    Here are the other lines that rust out early. Mine is an '03 with only 50K in the Northeast.. If you have the engine oil cooler option, that line rots out in like 3 years and you lose your engine oil .... real fast. After 5 years the fuel lines corrode where the nylon line and o-ring meet the steel line, causing a fine fuel spray giving your truck a fine orange glow if you light a match ( recommended). Oh yeah, I almost forgot the power steering line. The only problem there is that you might lose your steering ( best to time that failure with the brakes for some real excitement). My tranny lines should be good for a few more years since they were all replaced under warranty, since they all seeped. Guess 'fluids and materials engineering' is not a required course for engineers at GMI.

    Sorry about the rant, but come on, it was supposed to be a truck.
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    Just got my truck (2003 GMC 2500 HD) back from my independent shop. They used a copper nickel alloy brake line. I included a link below from a search. It is easy to work with and bend and does not rust. Did not have to wait for GM lines ( which are obviously poorly engineered trash). $70 for the tubing and $296 for ~ 4 hrs of labor to replace both front lines. I'll do them all eventually. These apparently seal better too, which sometimes can be a problem with stainless. Great alternative compared to some of the ridiculous GM dealer prices above. Also note that some car manufacturers are using these lines.

    To further my distrust in any fluid line GM produces: Shop found that my PS cooler and line was leaking. I have one more rusty PS line left to replace now. One of the tranny lines is seeping again ( these were all replaced under warranty already once). If GM would simply correct their design/material flaws it wouldn't be that bad, but who wants to replace their fluid lines 2-3 times, simply because they want to keep a truck for 10 years.

    If anyone has any alternatives to the PS, tranny and brake rotors, please share them.
  • ldsokolldsokol Posts: 14
    After GM tried to do all the repairs on my truck they finally did a repurchase. Unfortunatley I'm not allowed to tell any details, the problems with the brakes where never resolved after 2 years.
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    Here is the link to report this dangerous problem to the government. Maybe they will trigger a recall. It won't be long before this problems gets worse on the highways. The other site ( consumer affairs) is private site that lawyers troll, so it is not a government agency. Filing a complaint is very easy to do online ( have your VIN). You can also search others complaints and recalls.
  • Is there anything different procedurally that needs to be done when replacing pads on my 2002 1500 that has ABS? I've never had a vehicle that has had ABS before.
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    Hey Blooz,

    No not really, the back discs can some times be tricky if you plan to do the front and rear. Front just pop off watch the nuckles...remember the rear calipers pistons screw/rotate back in and are a pain to get off (parking brake sometimes grabs too).

    I have always turned or replace the rotors ... I think Russel makes a nice braided brake line set for your year, i replaced the OEM hoses and love the feel of the brakes. If you replace the brake hoses, then it is usually a good time to flush the system with new fluid.
  • Thanks. I've looked over the brake lines and they don't look bad to me at this point, but I'll keep that in mind. I have very little rust underneath the truck. We just don't have the salt and moisture problems here in Amarillo that a lot of folks due up North and East.

    I didn't know with the ABS if you have to relieve pressure through the bleeder when compressing the caliper, instead of just putting the C-clamp on there and going for it. Someone at work said that was the way to do it to keep from damaging the solenoid? but I didn't know.
  • ttaupier1ttaupier1 Posts: 50
    i just used a C-clamp... and went slow... if you do use the bleed screw, I would have had to mount the drain hose to help capture the fluid. I was lazy.. and knew i was taking the hose off to replace the with the braided one.

    here are some of my photos..

    so as to not damage anything.. i was not in a rush and did the whole system ( all 4 wheels in about 4.5 hrs with replacing the and bleeding the entire system.. )
  • I am researching problems with the 2003 Chevy Silverado 1500HD Quadrasteer to see if it makes sense to keep it for the long haul or to trade up. I was surprised to hear about the problems reported here with brakes! I have 87000 miles on the truck which I bought new and it still has a ton of pad left on the original ceramic brake pads and the rotors look perfect. I also did not see any unusual corrosion on the brake lines. I live in N. CA so I deal with snow rarely, about 6 times a year as I drive over the mountains to go fishing. I put about 10% of the miles on the truck towing a 3500 lb boat/trailer and launch in salt water about 25 times a year so that would offer the opportunity for corrosion, although I am careful to rince the back of the truck after each trip. The only problem I have with the brakes is that the parking brake has never worked well, I would hate to ever have to rely on it. I have never had brakes that would go this long; I am almost sure I will make 100k miles before they need attention. Not sure what the variations are, but I am thrilled with the brakes on this truck. Now if we could do something about the gas mileage that would be something!
  • 2easy4me2easy4me Posts: 1
    DRIVER #1:
    My right rear disc brake was squealing. Inside brake pad was worn down to metal. Left side was OK but I installed new rear break pads on both wheels. Also had the rotors machined. My problem is, after re-assembling my rear brakes, they drag and don't release.

    DRIVER #2:
    I changed the rear brake pads & rotors. Brakes started overheating- went back in and changed out both calipers... that did fix passenger side, but driver side is still overheating. Is it possible the new caliper is bad? I already checked brake hoses, fluid seems to flow freely.

    Oh yes, that infamous GM right rear brake pad problem. A rapid RIGHT REAR brake pad wear problem is common on most GMC and Chevy trucks made from ’99 to ’04. The right rear brake caliper and pads are located in such a manner that road dirt/mud flies straight into them. This steady diet of grit causes the caliper to seize and the inside brake pad to wear out rapidly, causing the "squealing" or "grinding" noise often reported.

    GM has had a problem with the rear brakes on their light duty trucks. There is a fix. The ALLDATA Information System shows GM Technical Service Bulletin # 00-05-23-005B, which they simply describe is a mud flap kit. This kit addresses the rapid brake pad wear problem. The GM mud flap kit is installed to block bombardment of road dirt and debris that is the cause of this very common problem. The GM kit part number is 15765007 and is pretty easy to install. I would suggest installing the mud flap kit before your next brake job.

    As for the new pads dragging and not releasing, DRIVER #2 was smart to check the fluid flow through the brake hoses, but more commonly, did you compress the caliper pistons in as far as they would go when replacing the pads? Retry depressing the caliper pistons back into the caliper as far as you can; make sure the caliper is loose over the pads as you reinstall it. When you press the brake pedal a few times, it should reset the pistons to where they need to be. If not, bleed the system.

    Also, were the sliders on the calipers free and loose? The sliders are the metal tube the bolts run through to mount the caliper. These allow the caliper to self-adjust as the pads wear down. If these are still seized or "frozen", you are running your brakes as if your pads are still worn, causing much friction with the new thicker pads. You can work them free and grease them, or replace just the slides on the calipers, but often to just replace the complete caliper (AND the mounting bolts), although more expensive, is more likely to be less headache (and safer) in the end.
  • A while back I posted that I was getting a squealing/chirping noise on my '02 1500 4x4. I figured it was the brake pad squealer as I just bought the truck in December. Took all the wheels off today finally, and all the pads are worn evenly and still have about 3/8" left. So the pads aren't worn down. The chirping is speed dependent and never turns into a continous squeal up to about 45 mph, which is where I can't hear it anymore. If I'm going 25-30mph and it's chirping, if I put on the brakes lightly it seems to go away (although it's replaced by brake squeal). I tried shooting brake cleaner on all the pads/rotors today and this made no difference but to quiet the brake squeal down some. My Dad rodei n the back and hung over the rear wheels and said it sounded the same from both sides. The front wheels seemed tight, there was a little play in the rear wheels, but you had to really hoss on the wheel to feel it. Any suggestions onwhere to look next?
  • Had to take the truck out of state for several days and on the drive back the squeaking got worse. Took it to a shop this morning and they said the rear axle is slightly bent causing the hub to wobble and the brake pads to hit and squeak. Great.....$540 + tax.
  • Just turned the rotors and changed my brake pads....Car pulsates now really bad when braking. Did not even do that before I changed them? Help?
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    Sounds like your rotor(s) have warped. Who turned the rotors?
  • akjbmwakjbmw Posts: 231
    The last time I had rotors turned, the shop made them worse. Because it was just before a long trip, it ended up costing the additional replacement of the unit the brake pads are mounted on due to the vibration.
    I then bought heavy duty rotors and replaced less often. Less stress.
    Replacement rotor cost may come into play when it happens on my current "new-to-me" 2500HD. Bigger usually costs more.
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    I was able to replace my front rotors on my 2500HD for about $45 each. Bought them from my local quality parts shop. They were probably still imports, but I can trust these guys to carry good parts. I have not had any problems for a year now ( towing, plowing, hauling). Just watch some of the chain stores that may carry inferior parts.
  • gmmastergmmaster Posts: 1
    NO, your GM tech did not have to remove the park brake shoes to service the rotors and drums. The idiot that said yes, because they touch the rotors, is a buffoon. Well so do the rims and tires, no relation in the big picture. As a GM tech, the poor [non-permissible content removed] was probably fighting scale/rust buildup inside the rotor where dust and moisture accumulate. This creates a deteriorative condition dependant of course on what climate zone you live in, use, non-use , etc, etc. The people here seem to look for someone to hang blame on, mechanics are pirates, GM dealers are scum. GM service managers have bosses, they are called District Service Managers, the DSM is a hitman for GM that ensures no dealers is too "liberal" with warranty. Too many of the same claim as compared to our zone (NE, SE, SW, Mid-west, etc), the dealer gets charged back with "ALL" the cost, some dealers have to write a check for $500K if the DSM has a bug up his pooper about something that caught his/her attention. This is why some dealers are skimpy on warranty. Your "babied, loved, pampered, garage kept jewel, hand built by angels just for you", may be just that. This unfortunately is offset by the guy that claims the same thing, but brake torques his Silverado for his buddies at the fishing camp and screwed GM for 1500 dollars in repairs because he is a whiney [non-permissible content removed] or is friends with someone. A repeat problem fix, because you live in the rust belt say PA ... happens to be in the same zone as Virginia which uses less salt due to climate. The guy in Raleigh and the guy in Pittsburg have 2 different score sheets on rotor rusting. The DSM will be climbing on the guy in PA for his excessive brake warranty as compared to zone.
    I have been doing this with GM for 30 years, this is the skinny on warranty. Trust me when I tell you if a dealer "can" provide warranty, he gets paid, the tech gets paid, it's all good. If the dealer thinks it's marginal, like 27K, you will be buying pads. GM says 12K max for free pad replacement, period. The rotors are another issue, but again at 27K, it's iffy. The dealer is rolling the dice on your loyalty versus your needs. If you get your vehicle serviced at the dealer regularly (even without purchase at that store) and you have a marginal issue, the dealer can "goodwill" at discretion. If you bought there and the deal was kosher, you will get warranty, if you bought out of state for a savings and do your own oil changes, don't ask the dealer to hug you because of your "loyalty", it certainly isn't to the dealer you are crying to.
    Dealers aren't out to screw you, warranty is income, income is king at "any" for-profit business. Do you think if we can get your business without you paying is a bad deal for us, you are wrong. I advise every friend and family member to buy as much extended warranty as possible, for your best interest. Car repairs are far from cheap and door rates almost always exceed $100.00 an hour across the country.
    Back to your rear park brake shoes after that venture to the soap box. Probably after wrestling the rotors off the hub, the scale build-up in side the drum (which happens in Florida, Cali, Washington State, NY and every state in between for one reason or another) it may have broken the glue bond that hold the friction lining to the actual shoe. The tech may or may not have noticed this. Some techs admittedly, when getting considerably less pay for warranty, do less, because you have warranty, bring it back for the next issue, when he/she will get paid to fix that new problem. The tech will not get paid to replace the rotor damaged park brake show without the following: Stopping to get extra time approval, manager signature, manager sign in for extra time, sometimes a call to the DSM first, parts request issue, pick up the new part from Parts Department, install new park brake shoes and THEN, can continue with work he/she is being paid warranty time for...OR, let you take it, come back with a new noise and get paid Diag time by warranty, re and re of the rotors and pads, then get paid to replace the shoes, etc. Do you get it? Rotors and pads on a truck like yours pay .6 of an hour or 36 minutes. We have to find your vehicle on the lot, test drive, bring into the shop and put on the lift, pull the wheels and inspect before we can begin the repairs. This is followed by a parts request, parts aquisition then the repairs, just how much of the 36 minutes do you think is used up in the preliminary procedure? Now you want the tech to fix something else for free. He/she is not inept, but trying to make a living on the rules imposed by warranty. We get paid next to nothing for warranty time, so "extras" are not often a first priority inless it is a critical safety issue. Use your warranty and thank you dealer for what you get. Think of it as free health care for your car.
    I hope this quick statement ;-)) helped resolve your issue on your visit to the mechanic and your brake problem. I must admit, you disclosed only going to"your mechanic", but didn't mention if it was at a dealership for warranty or not, so I filled in the blanks as warranty. My mini bio on warranty brakes should help others with insight I hope.
    PS, if you paid out of pocket for brake repairs and the company had an issue and didn't call you while your brakes werw apart on the hoist, I'd look for a new mechanic. Nobody likes a followup call, but a head's up a problem has developed during the repair and it is minimal to correct at this time is far better than letting your car roll and have you come back a second time, bad ju-ju for an independant shop. Further to this, if I spot something as a GM tech I can't fix today, I tell the consumer to expect this noise or light, etc and call in as soon as it happens, in the mean time I will order the part so you are incovenienced as little as possible. That way we ALL work the warranty.
    Thanks for your time
  • brakelabbrakelab Posts: 1
    Measure or have someone measure the LRO (Lateral run out of the rotor), the bolt face to rotor face should be true to less than 30 microns at top pad edge contact area of rotor. Yours must be horrible. Hi LRO is the main cause of shudder, brake dust and fast pad wear. Always clean the rotor and knuckle mount surfaces after separation.
  • gpl88gpl88 Posts: 1
    I just filed my complaint.....

    My 2002 Chevy Silverado HD 2500 has severe rust issues for certain components. On 5/16/2009 I had a steel brake line burst because of rust damage. Upon inspection I noticed that all brake lines had significant rust damage. General Motors has no part number on these steel brake lines and cannot supply a replacements. In addition to rusted out brake lines I have the following other rust issues, Severely rusted drive shaft, Severely rusted front rotors, (I had to replace the rears last year), Severely rusted washers on body mounts, Severely rusted transmission casing and the Frame starting to rust out. In my onion GM has a major quality and safety issue here. I contacted Chevrolet about the rusted brake lines and they blamed the problem on road salt. However other components under the truck and the truck body itself look great. I believe that GM used inferior materials in certain components resulted in these parts rusting out.

    I'm planning on using right stuff detailing to make my new brake lines.
  • barnowl3barnowl3 Posts: 70
    In my experience with many warranty issues with my GMC, gmmaster is right on. First you get a good dealer that appreciates your business, be fair with him and they will treat you fair as well.(I'm sure it doesn't apply to all) My dealer always tried to do their best and I could see when GM was the cause of the hold up, but the dealer still worked with me. My biggest complaint is with GM. They send a comment card, ask all about the dealer--- the dealer is awesome --- it is the Truck! But, no one apparently reads those comments cards or cares. Simple Secret-- learn from your customers and mistakes and fix them! Customer comes back! No excuse for the same technical problem, that can be resolved, to exist for 6+ model years, while producing the same problem replacement part. Kind of sucks if you have to replace the part ( warranty or not) and know it will only go another 10,000 miles or so ( eg steering shaft.) geez i wish GM would read this. You don't need no f***king overpaid consultant to tell you what's wrong. The answer is under your nose---- talk to your customers! Sorry about the rant, but I really want to buy another GM, if they would just fix these issues, it's not that hard.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    The GM board just got rid of Wagoner. Can't believe how long he lasted losing so much money. That's what GM is good at. Making a product no one wants. The Aztec comes to mind.

    No matter as everyone deserves a 10th chance as GM is getting. We shall see what the future holds. At one time all three of my vehicles were GM. Now two of them are and by the end of the year only one. Course I'm not giving up the vette. Trucks are another matter. That 5.3 is really old news even with the AFM.
  • clh421967clh421967 Posts: 1
    i was on my way home yesterday when i went to hit the brakes they locked up on me and the rpms went up to 3000 when i threw it into nuetrel the brakes went back to normal and have not had any problems sinc e any idea please help if can thank-you it is a 95 chevy silverado 5.7 v8 350
  • mram50mram50 Posts: 5
    My brake lights won't turn off even when I depress the switch under the dash so I'm assuming the switch is bad or there could be another issue.. Anyway, can anyone give me a clue where to locate a diagram of how to get the switch removed? This is a jumble of wires and plastic and steel and right now I'm not sure where to begin without just ripping into things.
    Also the brake light on the dash is on as well because i know one of the rear cylinders has a slow leak, but that's never been a problem. (well, it IS a problem, but...)The problem now is I can't get the brake lights to shut off at all without pulling the battery and can't figure out how to remove the switch. Any suggestions?

  • mram50mram50 Posts: 5
    I ruled out the switch. I removed it and the lights are still on.. Any ideas from here?
  • ellis5464ellis5464 Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 GMC Sierra truck. There is a hole in the brake line near the gas tank. I can't access the union/coupling in this area because it is too tight, the gas tank is in the way. Is there a way to get to the union/coupling without removing the gas tank? I have been soaking the union/coupling joints for 5 days with solvent, but I still can't get the wrench on it. Can I run a line down the entire body instead of removing the original sections?
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