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Chevy Suburban and Tahoe AC and Heater Problems

tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
edited June 2015 in Chevrolet
Got problems with air conditioning or climate control systems? Discuss them here!

tidester, host

See also: Air Conditioning Troubleshooting Tips


  • bugguybugguy Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Z71 w/ 43000 miles. I just noticed a noice from the compressor when I accelerate. After taking it to a local shop, the told me it was the compressor, and gave me a bulletin number from TSB ( is that right?). They suggested I call my local dealer and ask them, because a number of models, according to this bulletin, have been affected.
    When I spoke w/ the service department at the dealership, they basically told me "too bad", the compressor is coming apart, and there is no help from GM.
    Has anyone else had this problem? And if so, what was your fix.
  • technokoztechnokoz Member Posts: 2
    We just recently purchase a used 03 Tahoe LS with the duel climate controls (not automatic). Right now the fan only works on 5. So its all or nothing. I took everything apart to check that the switch was working correctly.

    I'm guessing that there is a relay or module that actually controls the speeds of the fan.

    Anyone have any idea what and where this is?
  • ainslbainslb Member Posts: 11
    2001 Suburban makes a clicking noise under the dash at a rate of one per second when the a/c is on after a short period of time. When I stop the a/c the clicking goes away. Turn the a/c back on and the clicking starts again after a short period of time. A/C works fine.
  • mitchgtomitchgto Member Posts: 1
    I just had this fixed in my 2003, it was the modulator door, they switch from defront to vents or hot to cold etc. I had the same clicking but now its gone.
  • jrphillipsjrphillips Member Posts: 5
    They told you right. Had the same problem. They replaced the compressor as well as some other parts and that fixed it. Very expensive. Tried to get GM to help but they would not. Please email them and bug them. Maybe if enough people complain they will help us. My dealership gave me lifetime warranty on the compressor and dryer. I figured it could happen again down the road.
  • arriearrie Member Posts: 312
    As there are a lot of posts about the Tahoe / Suburban A/C compressor problems I decided to lube mine.

    I have occasionally had the loud noise from under the hood at engine start-up especially when my Tahoe has been sitting for a few days. From the posts I have learned that this noise comes from the belt tensioner banging around as the compressor tries to lock-up.

    To prevent any lock-up for lack of lubrication I decided to add one can of compressor lubrication oil in my Tahoe's A/C system.

    When I added the oil I immediately noticed remarkably big noise reduction when the engine was idling. REALLY BIG difference.

    I also noticed that the engine runs smoother and guess what, it looks like the gas mileage went up by almost a mile per gallon.

  • platzieplatzie Member Posts: 3
    First post here, thanks in advance. I have to issues I need to solve:
    1-Cabin Air Filter- Where is it located? I bought a filter and want to change it.
    2-My overhead/rear heat/AC controls no longer work. Should I first check fuses?
    3-My factory radio from the get go always makes this wierd noise that comes and goes. Even had it replaced w/ a new on under warranty, but still happens. Kind of sounds like an electronic interference or something. Of course it never occurs at the dealer. I'm almost ready to just put a aftermarket one in...
  • arriearrie Member Posts: 312
    3-My factory radio...

    Is the sound you hear a high pitch 'whistling' sound that slightly changes pitch with change in engine speed?

    If it is you could have an intake manifold gasket leak. That makes the same kind of sound as sometimes radio does when the alternator interferes with it.

    If your problem is electrical, not the intake air leak you might want to work with your alternator, not the radio to fix it.

    Amazing if the dealer replaced your radio on warranty and did not go check the alternator?

  • platzieplatzie Member Posts: 3
    It isn't a really a whistling sound. More like a electronic whinning/ transitor sound from behind the dash. Not to be confused with a RPM based interference. It comes and goes even when the radio isn't even on. It's clearly a electronic sound. Not a vacuum leak from the motor, etc.
  • arriearrie Member Posts: 312
    "It comes and goes even when the radio isn't even on".

    Why replace the radio when you have this sound when radio is not even on?

    Perhaps my 'whistling' was a bad reference for the type of sound. Transistor sound is a good reference to what I mean by the type of sound it can make when intake manifold gasket does not hold against the vacuum.

    Just for the heck of it have your intake manifold fastening bolts checked for proper torque (or do this easy task yourself). That at least rules it out as a possible source for the noise. And don't be surprised if it even fixes the problem.

  • platzieplatzie Member Posts: 3
    Thanks, I will give it a try. I guess I WANT a new radio and I can disguise the purchase. He,he....A good excuse to use my torque wrench. I'll let you kow if it works.
  • rexskidmorerexskidmore Member Posts: 1
    I also had the whirring sound in my factory Radio/CD player. Sounds like the CD is spinning, when it is not. It came and went for months at a time and has stopped on its own. I assumed it was something out of alignment from hitting bumps and some later bumps re-aligned it. Self fixing stereo, I say.

    Found this thread because my overhead controls work, but the dash controls don't provide heat... only cool. I know it's the "gate" or "valve" that mixes air, I just need to locate the fix.
  • ge_ccoge_cco Member Posts: 6
    I have a 2001 Suburban with auto climate control. It started acting differently at the end of summer . . . everything still works the same as normal, except that when the cabin temperature gets to where it should be, the system doesn't back off enough. The computer still controls the fan speed, directs the air to different vents, and blows hot or cold air as required. Now in winter, it eventually gets too hot in the car, but it's still blowing hot air. I turn the temperature control down to minimum and adjust the fan speed manually to the lowest setting, but the air temperature is too hot and the car keeps getting warmer. Same in summer - it would keep blowing cold air, and with the temperature control set to 82 and the fan on minimum, it still got colder in the car.
    The thing is it's different from how it used to work, where it would control to the temperature that was set.
    The dealer simply said that I need a new computer. But to me it seems like a sensor problem, because the computer is still doing everything that it normally does, except backing off when it reaches temperature. It's as if it can no longer sense the cabin temperature correctly.
    Has anyone had any problem like this, and if so did you figure out how to fix it? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • mickgz28mickgz28 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 Tahoe which also had fan problems. The fan only worked on settings 3 through 5. I replaced the blower resistor (about $30.00 from Chevrolet Parts). It is located on the heater shroud under the dash in front of the passenger seat. It was a simple fix that took only about 30 minutes. I needed a 5.5 MM and a 7 MM socket wrench.
    San Antonio
    Go USAF!
  • mickgz28mickgz28 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 Tahoe and when I turn the temperature selector knob to full hot that's what I get, even when I turn the temperature selector knob back to full cold -- it still blows full hot. If I turn the motor off and let it sit for about a minute, then start it again, the air will blow cold at the cold setting. But if I nudge the temperature selector to a warmer setting, I get full hot again. Any ideas?
  • ge_ccoge_cco Member Posts: 6
    Does anyone know where the cabin temperature sensor is for the computerized climate control systems? There's a little perforated disk above the driver's seat in the hood liner, and sometimes I hear a noise from it - like something rotating and buzzing. I wonder if there is a sensor in there with a small fan to suck in air. If you know, please let me know - my problem seems to be that the computer doesn't realize when the temperature in the cabin has reached setpoint and a sensor problem would explain that. The dealer wants megabucks just to diagnose this, and I have no faith whatsoever that they will figure out what's actually wrong.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    Others have said that the disk is exactly what you're guessing it is- a temperature sensor with a tiny fan that sucks in air to sample. I don't know how you'd diagnose the sensor(s) yourself though.
  • mickgz28mickgz28 Member Posts: 3
    I'll answer my own question since no one else did. By the way, if you want to visit a FANTASTIC Tahoe forum site where I found the solution to my Tahoe's problem, visit: They have many more topics and ANSWERS!!! The problem was a flapper valve actuator. AC Delco part number 15-72506. Cost about $46.00 from a local parts house. I ordered online for $41.00 (shipping included) from
  • alawinalawin Member Posts: 6
    Mick, need some help, I am handy with a wrench, but wary of tearing my dash apart. Is the flapper valve somewhat accessable? Any tips would be appreciated. thanks
  • ge_ccoge_cco Member Posts: 6
    I'm glad that you solved your problem. Thanks for the website references too - they're really great.

    It looks like I have also solved my problem. It turns out that the perforated disk in the head-liner above the driver's seat covers a device called an "aspirator", which is a small fan that sucks air out of the cabin over a thermister to measure the air temperature inside the vehicle. The thermister leads had bent and it was touching on the fan preventing it from spinning. Once I bent it back into place, the system worked normally. Not sure how it got bent in the first place!!
  • rbressnerrbressner Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know where I can buy the original Panasonic roof mount dvd for my 2003 Suburban. I have checked ebay.
  • ctmahanesctmahanes Member Posts: 3
    I've got a problem with the same fan rattling when it is below 40 degrees. Once the vehicle warms up, the rattling goes away.

    How did you "get" to this area in the head-liner? I haven't found any good way to investigate the rattling.

    Could this termister/sensor be causing the rear compartment temperature actuator from working? The rear HVAR is stuck on cold, no matter if I change the temperature settings on the front upper console or rear console. I tried replacing the actuator, but that didn't fix it.

  • ge_ccoge_cco Member Posts: 6
    It wasn't easy, and I'm not sure that I found the best way to do it. My manual (non-GM) simply said that if you have the computerized climate control system, it's too complex so take it to the dealer. Helpful!
    I used a screwdriver to pry off the perforated disk in the headliner. It has four legs that clip into the cover on the "aspirator" assembly. They have actually used adhesive to hold the cable in place so that the assembly doesn't move very far when you do this.
    To get in there, I pulled the rubber door seal away from the frame, and the cover on the B pillar also pulled out - it's held on by several clips. THen I was able to get my hands up between the roof and the headliner, but there wasn't much room to see what I was doing or to manipulate things around.
    It turned out that the cover on the aspirator had become detached and when I got that back on and reattached the perforated disk, the system worked normally.
    If you had to replace the assembly, then you'd have to figure out how to disconnect the electrical connector - wouldn't be easy due to the difficulty of getting your hands in there and it wasn't obvious to me where the clip was that held the connector in place.
    Hope this helps, and if you find an easier way, please let me know in case I have to go in there again.
  • ctmahanesctmahanes Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the update. I haven't had any time to further investigate. I found another one of these behind the rear seat and can't imagine how to get to that one.

    I'm wondering now if the second one has something to do with my rear HVAC problem.

    Thanks again,
  • ge_ccoge_cco Member Posts: 6
    Hi Chris
    Interesting!!! My rear system works OK, so it makes sense that it has a separate sensor somewhere. I had never gone looking for it. Where exactly is it behind the seat?
    My front system is still flaky - sometimes OK and sometimes it just keeps heating, so I think I'll actually have to bite the bullet and buy a new one of those "aspirators". It was $54 at the dealer and about $32 on-line but I think that getting the cable disconnected could be the biggest challenge because there's really not much space to get your fingers in there. Please let me know how you get on.
  • ctmahanesctmahanes Member Posts: 3
    This one is centered in the ceiling, directly above the back of the rear seats (second row seats, not third). Being centered and like 3 feet from the tailgate, I'm gonna find it difficult to get that one out. Not even sure how the dealer would either.

    I may breakdown and go get it looked at. Just haven't had the time nor the money.

    If you hear something pertaining to this, please write.

  • fa18hookerfa18hooker Member Posts: 3
    My 2004 Suburban HVAC blower motor has stopped blowing. I took it out and tested the leads (resistor lead with battery, ground and input as well as the two wire output to the motor) with the system on (control command for fan at full blast) and there was no input voltage. Ground and battery work just fine. The heater core gets hot, but the fan isn't passing any air past it. Any help is appreciated.
  • fa18hookerfa18hooker Member Posts: 3
    well, took it to a repair shop, and the thermistor (little box in line with the wiring that tells what voltage to send to the motor via temperature based resistance) was bad...replaced it and everything works now. wish i had known, could have saved a hundred bucks in "labor"!
  • sangoriumsangorium Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 suburban that yesterday the hi speed on my fan went out I still have the low midlow and midhigh, do you think that its the blower resistor and if so how can I check
  • flyboy_25flyboy_25 Member Posts: 2
    I havea a 03 tahoe lt. I disconnected my battery to place in another car. after putting it back in my tahoe died several times unless i kept the rpms high. at the same time my climate control was spuratically going floor vent to window vents to the dash vents. after cycling itself it is now stuck on window vents. i can adjust temp. and speed and my rear climate control is fine. several days later i noticed half my lights on my steering wheel for radio and stuff are out. bout an hour later my i was going down the interstate and i noticed my speedometer was showing 45 but new i was doing at least 75. as i would let off my pedal to slow down my needle on speedometer would go down but not back up as my speed increased. then it slowly stopped working all together within 5 mins or so. well 2 hours later i had to pull over but left my truck running, got back in and my speedometer was working just fine. for the year that ive had the tahoe now, ive always had that clicking/hissing sound coming from the drivers dash area and it is at a one second interval. sometimes louder than others but consistent but ive not heard it every since these other problems occurred. overall, the only problem i had was the clicking untill i disconnected my battery then i got more than i wanted. does anyone have any good news on how to fix the problems.-randy
  • alliantalliant Member Posts: 1
    Very Strange, but ironically I have the exact same problem? I put a new battery in the other day and instantly it started acting weird? It seems like it is putting a drain on the battery or alternator, I had alternator tested twice and it checks out fine. My AC is cycling from floor to panel to dash and then stays on dash regardless of selector position? Now the temp indicator on the rear view is reading OC instead of a degree? I also had the exact same clicking noise in my AC system, if you swith the ac selector postion to just one click past panel , the sound will go away, in other words turn the ac position selector all the way counter clockwise, then click it once clockwise. That process usually got rid of the clicking sound for me. Although I often wondered if something like some change is stuck in there preventing the control to change positions, I have kids! Also after changing battery the car was idling rough and would stall if I turned hard. I continued to drive it for 25 miles and it appears to have gone away, running pretty good now. I think the computer (PCM) or (ECM) needs to reset once you disconnect power. Funny Chevy mentions nothing in the owners manual about keeping power to the system when changing a battery? Car is running pretty good now, although I still have the AC issue, let me know if you have found anything out? Best Regards, :confuse:
  • rgj1960rgj1960 Member Posts: 1
    when I run my rear A/C in my 1999 Suburban I get water soaked in the carpet in the rear cargo area and on the floor behind the drivers seat > is my drain plugged ? and where is this drain ?
  • whhagerwhhager Member Posts: 2
    I have a 03 tahoe z71 and the battery went out on me. Replaced the battery and all seemed to work fine except for my rear a/c, it does not work since the battery change. Any idea what may be causing the problem Thanks
  • whhagerwhhager Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Tahoe Z71 and the battery died. When I replaced the battery all things worked except for the rear a/c blower. Any ideas on what to do to fix this. thanks
  • watrprowatrpro Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1995 Surbaban that only blows air from the defrost. The A/C stopped working the next day. I checked the freon level and it was ok. I also checked the compressor and it worked ok when I sent 12v direstly to it. What can I check next. The a/c button on the dash seems to flicker but nothing happens. Thanks Steve
  • flyboy_25flyboy_25 Member Posts: 2
    man i wish i could help u but im not sure what is going on with the battery and climate control problems but they need 2 have a recall on the problen because lots of people r having the same problems
  • fa18hookerfa18hooker Member Posts: 3
    Check the thermistor above the passenger have to remove the shield, and then take out the fan...inside is a 2 or 3 paneled heat sink looking part that measures the temp of the air going to the cabin, and thus meters the fan speed. Mine failed (only defrost worked, manual or auto control failed), and it took a $200 trip to the shop to find out that the thermistor fails on quite a few suburbans because of poor QC. The part is under a hundred bucks (from the dealer)...replacing it is as easy as unplugging it and putting the new one in. Hope this helps.
  • watrprowatrpro Member Posts: 2
    That is the best answer I have heard yet. Thank you.
  • larconelarcone Member Posts: 9
    I had a 1999 Tahoe that did that. It was a deformed rubber gasket on the ambulance style doors as a result of a poor manufacturing process. Take a close look at the gasket around the doors and see if any are is crimped as a result of the improper application of glue from the factory.
  • larconelarcone Member Posts: 9
    Yeah, that's nice. Next time you might want to give Rock Auto a look see ( They could have sent you the same part for $40.36, shipping included.
  • snowman77snowman77 Member Posts: 1
    My rear AC blower on a 2002 Tahoe Z71 just stopped working. The front unit works fine. I have checked all the fuses and they are all good. Any ideas what to check next before heading to the dealer?
  • crash101crash101 Member Posts: 1
    tahoe Air Conditioning Problem
    1997chevy tahoe 4x4, 5.7L (350)

    When I acquired this used vehicle, I noticed the air conditioning wasn't fully charged
    and it was blowing luke-cold air from the vents. Everything was working fine and
    operational, aside from the fact that the air was not very cold). I stopped using the a/c
    because it wasn't that hot outside, but before I ever had a chance to get the a/c serviced, something must've failed in the system.
    Now, all that works is just the actual fan motor. I always left the position on the '
    (all the way to the left), and now it's stuck that way and only blows air from the floor
    vents. Even when you try to turn the dial to get the air off of the floor vents, the
    air continues to blow from the floor vents when the blower motor is turned on, regardless
    of the position of the selector. Also, the actual A/C button does not work (the light does
    not illuminate and the compressor does not kick-on anymore...same problem with the
    other 'air circulation button').
  • jiml100jiml100 Member Posts: 1
    rear a/c blows cold, front one does not help ???
  • eashbaugheashbaugh Member Posts: 1
    I just had the samp problem with my 96 suburban. The ac compressorwould with the front fan off but as soon as I turned it on thelight went out and the compressor stopped. The air would go out the main vents as soon the fan was turned on but immediately went to the floor, etc. I opened up the controls and checked the circuit board. No info on the board, but with limited electronic knowledge, I assumed that a transistor was bad, and replaced it. NO help. Finaly went to the junk yards and they said they have calls for the hvac control module many times a week. I guess this means their is a bad problem. Apparently when the module goes bad, every problem exists. I am going to put in a new one but am still looking for someone that might know what goes wrong and how to repair it. The new module is $240 from my dealer, $175 on ebay and if you look arond you can find used but if they fail that much new may be better.
    Hope this helps.
  • zetababy79zetababy79 Member Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 2003 Tahoe. I noticed that when the a/c is on and I accelerate and the RPMs reach 1 1/2, I hear the worst thumping from under the hood. It continues until the RPMs fall below 1 1/2. Then this month the a/c belt breaks. I replace this and the problem continues. I took it to my a/c guy. He replaced the tensioner and a/c belt. Still the noise!!! Everything is in perfect running order but the thumping continues. He even emptied the coolant and replaced it thinking it could be overcharged STILL TO NO AVAIL. As long as I drive like a snail, there is no thumping. He is going to call the dealer and find out if there is a kit to correct this.
    Has anyone found a solution to this noisy problem?!
  • duckfan2duckfan2 Member Posts: 1
    I haven't found a solution but I have the exact same problem on a 2002 Tahoe. I know of two other people who have also had similar symptoms. I've replaced the belt several times and also the tensioner. When excellerating hard I have even had the tensioner break. If you find a solution I'd love to know about it.
  • jmilletjmillet Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem on my 2001 Yukon. on my third a/c belt tensioner. If you find a solution please post. Thanks
  • jaymoore74jaymoore74 Member Posts: 1
    I just took my 2003 Tahoe (55,000 miles) in for the same thing. The mechanic found a bulletin from Chevrolet that discusses the problem and the solution. He printed it out for me. I am trying to find it online right now...but haven't yet. Basically, the 2002-2004 Tahoes/Suburbans have faulty air conditioning compressors. And they seize up. I thought it was just the A/C belt, and I replaced that, but I kept hearing the noise when I accelerated. So I eventually took it to a mechanic, they replaced the compressor and dryer ($900 when all done), and everything works great.
  • markanag1markanag1 Member Posts: 1
    My burb started making this belt flapping noise and I isolated it to the A/C. It is not consistent but intermitent. The noise quits when you turn off the A/C. I asked around and was told it was probably the belt tensioner so I replaced it with no improvement. The A/C works great (we live in Texas). Anyone ever had this problem or know what I should check next?
  • tomgovtomgov Member Posts: 1
    I have an 05 Tahoe that since it was new has had very good defrost but the floor heat has been lacking. I initially wrote it off has a design flaw but wonder if there is a problem or workaround. Everything seems to work and the diverter seems to work, but when I want a lot of heat to the floor (cold feet) the warm air to the defrost makes is almost unbearable. Is this a design issue or do I have a problem with my vehicle. I would like to resolve this while still under warranty.
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