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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Brake Problems



  • ricschricsch Posts: 540
    Within the last week I have experienced the slow speed ABS brake activation a few times, when pulling into a driveway or parking space. Only expect it will get worse.

    My truck is an '06 Silverado 1500 4x4 crew cab short box with a whole 10K miles on it.

    Read where it could possibly be the wheel sensors, with corrosion formed between the mounting surface & the sensors.

    I pulled a front wheel off and appears that I would need to remove the caliper & rotor to access the sensor for removal.

    Has anyone been successful at removing the sensors, cleaning the mounting area and re-installing the sensors to cure the problem? Need to do all 4 wheels or does it primarily affect the front wheels? Can the sensors be removed without damage to them??

    From what I have read on this forum, an inspection of the brake lines seems to be in order, as here in WI and the use of road salt in the winter can only accelerate the corrosion of them- I don't recall the brake lines on my late '80's & early '90's GM trucks having this problem of the lines getting rusty, but had noticed it on all of the 2000+ model year trucks I had, just never had them long enough to replace them.
  • ricschricsch Posts: 540
    I came across this information: 020&SearchType=QuickSearch&summary=true

    Looks like GM hasn't made any improvements in later year trucks. What will it take to get them to correct the problem, it is a safety concern after all!!!!

    Where I work, we have a Chevy Express van and the ABS control module was junk in only a couple years (with only 20k miles!) as it is located under the truck along the frame rail, great design to get soaked with water and road salt in the winter in WI!

    Can't blame people from turning away from GM vehicles.
  • I have a 2004 Silverado 1500 Z71 that was bought new in 2003. On 4/17/08 I applied the brakes while going aprox 25 mph. The pedal went to the floor and a Red warning light came on. I was fortunate enough to steer the truck into a Church parking lot without injuring myself or anyone else. I opened the hood and found brake fluid pouring out near the firewall. The brake lines had rusted and it appeared to have blown out at one of the rusted spots. I had the truck towed to the nearest Chevy dealership and they replaced the brake lines. My Silverado had only 17,961 miles on it. It was covered under the GM protection plan "Major Guard". I had to pay a $200 deductible.
    Now the new brake lines are rusting again. I am afraid that the lines might blow out without warning. I am concerned about my safety & others. I have filed a complaint with the US DOT NHTSA. The ODI # is 10358067. I think that GM should be responsible to replace these inferior brake lines at no charge. They should use a better quality (stainless steel) brake line so this won't happen again in the future. Does anyone know if the if the 2011 Silverados have the plain steel brake lines or have they upgraded them. I will also file a complaint with GM and possibly consumer affairs.
  • ricschricsch Posts: 540
    The solution to the problem with my Silverado was to replace both front wheel ABS sensor assemblies.
  • You are not alone! I bet if you file a complaint with GM, you will feel very alone. But let us know if they do respond.
  • hateful_jimhateful_jim Posts: 43
    edited September 2010
    HELP !! I just found this site, and it seems to be a good place to look for an answer. I have a 2001 Chevy Silverado, 4x4, K1500, 5.3. Brakes work fine, UNTIL you make a tight turn with the wheel all the way to the left or right. When you make a turn like that, and put on the brake to stop, the ABS comes on, and the truck wont stop at ALL. Wham, right into a yellow pole at Lowes. Its been doing this for a while, but not a problem til the pole. Took it to a mechanic, put it on the diagnostic machine. NO ABS codes. He said it must be the booster, so we changed that, but it still does it. The only time the abs comes on is turning all the way left and right.
    Does anyone know anything about this? Any help here will definitely be appreciated. I'd really hate for wife to go rolliing out in front of a big truck or something... Thanks in advance.
  • You may have a slightly bad wheel bearing. If you do, the wheel speed sensor gets confused and will cause this issue. Happened to me, drove me nuts till the wheel bearing started growling, changed it out and all is good.
  • complained to GMC. spoke to a clerk in an argentina call center. took the truck to the local gmc dealer. gmc covered all costs over $200.00. parts were $350 plus labor. got something out of it. honda has better service.
  • jbmitch1jbmitch1 Posts: 1
    edited October 2010
    Back in August I just wanted to move my 2001 chevy truck into the shade. It was in great shape couple of rust spots no dents, beautiful for an 01 with 156000 on it. I got in and pulled forward about 50ft. I went to stop only to have my ABS pump come on and the pedal was as hard as a rock with no pulsation. Thank god there was a tree there to stop me or I would have plunged down a 15ft bank into the river (that may have been better, see later). No warning at all. no lighted indicator nothing. I talked to a friend mechanic I know, he told me to pull the sixty amp fuse for the ABS so I could drive it safely. Now, I have no other vehicle to drive and a family to haul around. I needed to drive this vehicle. I brought it over and he found a bad left front wheel bearing. I called GM to see what could be done about the damaged to my bumper, headlight and hood because I don't believe that crashing your truck should be an indicator that you have a bad wheel bearing and I wanted to sell it and get an SUV. They asked if they could inspect it at a dealers garage and I said ok. Two weeks went by with no response. Finally the inspector called to set up an appointment. I brought it to the dealer. I told the service tech that I had taken out the fuse and told him he should wait to reinstall it after he got it in the garage. Safety first. The inspector told me he could not tell me anything he discovered. After he was done I did not see him. Instead I talked to the service manger for the dealer. The inspector said that he was not allowed to tell me anything, but the service manager could say the service tech found that clips holding the wheel sensor wires together were not fastened correctly, the sensor's were corroded and needed to be cleaned, he broke my parking brake and that the ABS did in fact come on at low speeds rolling several feet without stopping in parking lot tests with no indicator light on. OK. What about the obviously bad wheel bearing, nothing about that.
    The following week I was called and asked if I could have the dealer do an Estimates for the repairs because the estimate I gave was from an auto body repair business for $3500 and was told that because it was more than half the value that they would have to buy it from me and crush the truck and that I "didn't really want my beautiful truck crushed, did I"? Remember I need a vehicle. I said ok and called the dealer to set up an appointment. No problem. Now a month goes by no word. Finally I get a call that tells me that after their review that because I had removed the fuse that they could not verify that the ABS was in fact at fault in the accident even though there tests showed that it did do it with the fuse in and that it was final and came from way up high in management. I asked for phone numbers for these way up high managers and was refused, that the decision was final and that was that. It doesn't matter if I had hit a tree or rolled into an intersection with a tractor trailer going 60mph through it. I asked to see the report that they're basing this decision on and was - can you believe - denied. Whats the big deal it was just a "slow speed impact", right? I was also told that they won't replace parts that are "DESIGNED to FAIL". Makes you feel good that they admitted to making crap thats unsafe. "What would you expect on a truck with over 156000 miles on it, these parts are designed to fail"? I would think that safety parts like brakes, steering, suspensions, and wheel bearings that hold wheels on should out last drive trains and so on.

    Just so you know the dealer I went to was helpful. GM is the one I have a problem with

    How's that for great customer service from a company that I will Probably never buy from again

    hope you enjoy my story and learn from it.
  • Thanks for sharing your story, it is very eye opening. I've been a GM buyer for 30 yrs, but my 03 Sierra experiences and these stories are setting me straight. Reminds me of the run around I got from GM for one year when my bumper rusted in the first month of ownership. They obviously don't care about customers after the sale.
  • As I have posted several times, I had the same issue with my 02 GMC. Fortunately I didn't hit anything, but had a couple close calls (embarrassing). Took it to dealer, they said the wheel speed sensors needed changed, I let them change them. $350.00 later I still had the same problem. Back to the dealer, they said oh, your Master Cylinder is shot too. I let them change it. $450.00 later, same problem. Though this was on a Friday, Saturday morning my right front wheel bearing started growling, mind you, this is probably 5-6 weeks from when the problem began. I changed out the wheel bearing myself on Sunday morning, which by the way the assembly includes the wheel speed sensor. Monday afternoon I went to the dealership, along with my toasted wheel bearing assembly. After a handfull of polite discussions, including with the Owner, all my money was refunded for the wheel speed sensor job and the master cylinder job. I have posted this story multiple times in hopes it can prevent others from going through the same crap you and I did.
  • Hateful jim here. Yeah, I'm a little hard of hearing, so i didnt hear the slight rumble in the truck, although wife says she heard something for a little while. I did start to hear a growling, so i went online and purchased a pair of brand new bearings, with the ABS sensors attached. That fixed the problem, and someone here said that when the bearings get bad and start to wobble, it confuses the sensor.
    Amazes me that alot of truck owners are smarter than the mechanics at the Chevrolet dealership.
    Dont get me wrong, I have always loved Chevy trucks, but when this one dies, My next truck will either be an OLD chevy, or it will be a Honda, or maybe an old toyota.
    Thanks to all who helped with this problem, and hopefully anyone that owns a Chevy, will see these posts and not spend a fortune to fix something that only cost me 54.00 (Although i spent 140.00 on a booster that i did NOT need, mechanic said it was the booster, "YEAH, THATS IT" duh!!!) HATEFUL JIM !!
  • Hey, jbmitch 1, hatefuljim here. Dont feel bad, I went into Lowes parking lot, and was turning into a parking spot. It only did the abs not stopping thing when i was turning. Luckily for me, there were some yellow poles there, and i hit one of them, instead of the suv parked in front of my spot. Now my bumper is pushed past the rubber curtain below the bumper.
    GM said to bring it in and look at it, and "Maybe" fix it, i was looking at 1700.00.
    Other than the 140.00 to change the booster, it would have only cost me 53.00 for the bearing.
    I've been a proud chevy owner too, for about 30 years, but my next truck WILL NOT be American made, ( I have always said to BUY AMERICAN, but when american companies build things to wear out, they are telling me that they dont want my business. ITS NO WONDER AMERICA IS GOING DOWN THE TOILET!!
  • notz1notz1 Posts: 1
    I have an incredibly odd issue going on with my brakes (2001 GMC Sierra Z71 4x4). Since the day I bought the truck in 2008, I have never been happy with the braking power of it. My issue is hard to believe unless experienced for yourself. I have two friends of mine that are very good mechanics that have both told me that these trucks just plain and simply don’t have great braking abilities. I am not satisfied with that answer, I know something is not right with it. I have done a total brake Job myself, Calipers, Pads, Rotors (ALL AROUND), E-brake, fluid flush and both front hubs. There is no air in the lines, I have followed the proper bleeding procedure to spec and don’t have any brake lights coming on in my dash.
    Now on with the description of my issue, it feels as if though I don’t have much braking power after the truck has been sitting for a long period of time. For example in the morning, if I were to press the brakes hard say at 40mph the truck does not have enough braking power to even screech the tires and takes way to long to stop. The initial braking is there, but it seems as if when I get to about half way down and the push to the floor it doesn’t respond. Now I know what your thinking (brake fade), well guess again because if I were to repeat this procedure two or three more times going even fast and jamming the brakes to the floor my braking power only them begins to come to me…I had my cousin do it while I instructed him what to do, and he said by the third pull it felt as if it had 40 to 50 percent more braking power than initially. After this doing this even the touch of the pedal and you can feel the brakes grab much better. It totally restores confidence in the braking abilities of the truck…
    If anyone has any sort of explanation to what my issue may be, or has experienced this please reply back to me…this issue is getting the better of me and I don’t like it one bit. Keep in mind that the only things I haven’t replaced are the master cylinder, and brake Booster, ABS Module. I am also running the correct brake fluid.
    Thanks for your help.
  • :surprise: This is why I don't care for new truck or vehicals. There problems are to complicated. They may get better gas milage and stuff like that, but they are harder and more expensive to work on. I just bought a 92 Chevy 1500 4x4. Brakes were gone as well as the lines. I got both rear as well as the front right brake lines replaced, all four brakes with rotors for $300. Of course I think because the mech who did the job wanted me to come back he gave me one hell of a deal, but is a hell of a lot better than paying what some of you guys payed to get the problem fixed. I do emphasise with you all though. Rusting is always going to be a problem, but for new vehicals it is a shocking discovery. :surprise:
  • I have a 2003 chevy s-10, 4x4, abs, V6 4.3 engine. My problems started back in june. short and simple...after i turn hard left and go to brake after the turn the brake pedal sinks a bit. then i pump it up and its ok. iv replaced MC, booster, front calipers, abs pump, front brake lines, and the pass front wheel hub. no abs or brake lights and no leaks. I have put way too much money into this truck and i need it fixed. if you know what could be wrong with it please!!!! tell me!!!
  • Hi inventordude90, The only thing I can think of a is you may have a kinked line seems strange that its only happen when you turn left. I have replaced all my brake lines with Russell braided hoses. This has improved feel tremendously ! ...Huge difference, they are so sensitive now I feel like I am going to press too hard and lock the wheels up. The other issue I can think of is that the factory calipers never greased the sliding pins (on the calipers) that the outside of the caliper can not be brought in. These could be sticking and feel like its not pressing.. and then when you pump they could break loose and slide in.

    BTW>>> I'm not a brake engineer, just a guy that has spent the last 8 years fixing brakes on GM trucks.

    For the money and time I would replace the flex hoses first.. then bleed, while there i would check to make sure the calipers are free floating.. then I would look at the rear drums for issues, they are also suspect due to rusting components and GM shotty design record with there OEM brake system parts, and the rusting of brake lines. ...

    My Brother has a GMC version of you exact truck and is also having really scary issues with his brakes.. 2003 GMC V64.3 extcab. (80k miles), i am researching after-market products now to replace most of the things you talked about. Also his truck is left outside and not sheltered from the elements like my truck.

    After Edmond's does its WEB face lift I will post the work and the mods we did and anything we discover..from my brothers truck. I fear his brake lines might be an issue as well. I have just replaced all my solid brake lines with the kit from Classic tube....good thing they were about to blow, after I got all the parts back from the dealer i went through them...several spot were rusted and when i bent them and stress then they fell apart on my hands....

    last: I know I care for my truck, three mechanics guys at the dealer offered to buy it once i wanted to get rid of said it drove like a new truck and was tighter than the ones they are selling now...hmmmmm must be the bilsteins i put on 80k miles ago
  • Hi Terrybill, I just had my trucked major serviced, AC compr, Power steering pump & lines, water pump + hoses, and the install of the classic tubes SS brake line kit. It took 10 hrs to replace the lines and bleed the system @ the dealer. = $400 labor & fluids, and $340 for SS lines with shipping. The lines they use at the dealer were hand bent.. and very soft steel, apparently the dealer i used had never used the classic tubing pre made kit and had young mech working on it...not sure what the servc book said (4-6hrmax), but it took a good 9-10 hrs to get the brake lines swapped, without the custom bending.

    I'll scan in the receipt and send to you if you want (
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    That's real cheap. Most dealers charge around $125/hr minimum.
  • Yea I think the rate was 87/hr.. I live in Central CT, the dealership is really run down and located in New Brittan, somewhat slow urban setting outside HFD ...The service Mgr has seen it all, however the mechanics are somewhat basic in knowledge. Good service for the most part.
  • hello duke 30 I am haveing the same problem on my 2005 gmc sierra 1500 ,the front brakes grab and hold and stick on ,but then other thimes they work fine ,I replaced the front flex hoses and the calipers seem to be free ,wondering if its in the abs contoller ?
  • IA couple months ago I had a discussion with a GM mechanic and he told me it was probably the master cylinder.He took my master cylinder off and it tested fine,so he drained all the brake fluid and replaced it with new. Brakes are fine now, he said there must have been some dirt in it blocking a port occasionally, thus not releasing pressure from the calipers.Hope this helps.
  • I'm having similar issues with my 05 Sierra 1500 4x4, extended cab with the 5.3L and 49,500 miles. My ABS is coming on when pulling up to a stop - usually under 5 mph. I don't have the light or any codes. I replaced the rotors and brake pads with new. I checked the calipers to see if they were extending and they were. The only difference I saw was that they didn't extend equally. I don't know why this is but since both sides do it, I figure it must be designed this way. I checked the old pads and rotors and they looked fine - no abnormal/uneven wear, no signs of overheating, warpage etc. The issues are still present, any help troubleshooting this problem would be greatly appreciated.

    Derek @
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    Could be dirty wheel speed sensors. They are known to cause pulsation when braking.
  • My similar problem was remedied by flushing the brake fluid after pads, rotors, one caliperand brake hose and two quarts of brake fluid. Also I used synthetic grease on the caliper rails that receive the brake pads. good luck!
  • I measured the resistance across the sensor this morning. The readings came in at 1047 and 1037 ohms. Any idea what the spec is for the 2005 model year? The haynes manual says the 1999-2002 years should be 850-1230 ohms so it seems I'm in the right ballpark. Would dirty sensors still have the proper resistance? Thanks for your help.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    The specs for the 2005 should be the same as the 2002. After I sold my Silverado and Denali, I dumped the factory service manuals so I can't tell you if the resistance reading is relevant to how dirty the sensor might be. I didn't take a reading on mine rather pulled the wheels and sensors and blasted them with brakekleen. The pulsations went away after I did the cleaning.
  • I had the same problem with the ABS coming on every time I hit the brakes at slow speeds. I took it to the dealer and they said it was a bad slow speed sensor.
  • mpitmpit Posts: 1
    I took my 2000 Sierra, with 71,000 miles, to two different places yesterday one an authorized GMC dealer and the other a Tuffy Muffler repair facility. They both think it is the speed sensors as well. AFter they put in new sensors the problem still exists. Now they want to replace the wheel bearings. They think the bearings might be going bad which causes a vibration in the sensors which in turn applys the ABS breaks.

    I also have a 2003 Sonoma with 19,000 miles on it. The rotors rusted out and GM refused to do anything about it. It is stil under the 7 yr/50,000 mile GMPP warranty.

    In all honesty I will never ever buy another GM product again. They make very cheap [non-permissible content removed] parts that are doomed to premature failure and then do noting to stand behind their product.
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