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Chevy Suburban Electrical Dies While Driving and Stalls

poshposh Posts: 3
edited August 2015 in Chevrolet
I have a 2003 Suburban LT and it has started to die while driving and the Air Conditioner stops blowing cold air and the air gets hot as if the A/C weren't on. I have replaced the battery and have had the alternator checked, it's not the battery or the alternator, does someone know what it might be? I have a teenage daughter that uses this car and I would hate for it to break down while she is driving. Please help me someone. Thanks so much

See Also
Diagnose Engine Stalls



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    It's probably to be expected that if the engine stops running then the AC compressor will also stop.

    Does the engine cut off abruptly? Do you hear any noise? Feel any vibrations, jerky motion? Do you see a change in the exhaust?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • poshposh Posts: 3
    Hey, thanks for the reply. None of those things have happened, or I have not noticed, but an example is driving down the street the car just died, nothing really changed and another example is while driving the car there was a sudden shift on the battery odometer, like it went from 14 down to 12 and then back up again, and if the car is on sitting idle and everything is on it struggles to stay on and then if you turn everything off it seems to be okay. The battery is brand new so it can't be the battery, right? Thanks so much for your help. Posh
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I'm no expert but my first guess would be that it is something electrical. It could be your alternator (which would affect the battery, by the way!), the ECU (electronic control unit) or a bad electrical connection somewhere. Anyone else have any ideas?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • poshposh Posts: 3
    I had the alternator checked and it was fine, I took it to a auto parts place and they hooked it up to check it out and the guy said it was fine. I am really at a loss, any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your help, tidester, I'm just a lady with a problem. Ha Ha
  • All of a sudden on highway engine stopped. Battery is fine because all power still works. After waiting ten minutes or so will start again only to drive a few miles and engine stops again. Any clue?
  • I am working on a 95 with a 5.7 engine. It is an OBD1. I first found I had only 16 psi. fuel preasure. I changed the pump and now have 65 psi. It will run 2-3 minutes and die. let it cool a bit and again it will run a bit and die. The injectors just shut off. I can pour fuel into the intake and it will run. There are no codes being logged. This tells me that it must be a mechanical problem that OBD1 did not recognise. A dealer told me to change the engine control box. I have one on the way and I'll let you know if it works.
  • Well the brain box seems to have cured the problem. I let it run 45 minutes. Before it would only fun a few minutes before it died. So I gues I cross my fingers and see what happens.
  • dee23dee23 Posts: 4
    I Had same problem with the ac unit... on 95 degree day teh ac decided to get stuck on heating us to like 95 degrees. even turnign off the blower didn't work it still blew hot air at us... we turned car off and went to have dinner, (in middle of nowhere), we got back in and was fine. THen a year later and this cycle repeats itself. We had the brain of unit replaced and seems fine now. THe battery accelerator actuator has another problem, separate issue. It actually drains the battery, so like myself you just went out and bought new battery, this problem of frayed wires that the GM distributor KNOWS about, drains your brand new battery, and even with a jump you have no or extremely reduced engine power, (even says so in dash message)... Frayed wires are the issue, I just want to know how big of an issue, getting sick of wasting a lot of cash fixing problems the dealership is aware of and has handout from GM explaining. THey need to recall, it is dangerous to loose power! GO to a dealership and ask "SES Light and Reduced Engine POwer DTC p0120 etc..." it's a service package all dealerships have so they know what is going wrong.
  • My 03 suburban has a similar problem. I've posted several messages about it. Stumbling and poor idle can be caused by air or fuel starvation so make sure that those filters are OK. I think that my own problem is caused by dirt in the fuel tank plugging up the fuel intake screen. I think the dirt falls off when the engine is shut off. It's possible that a mechanic might replace the fuel pump in the tank without cleaning out the fuel tank and fixing the problem.
    This doesn't explain why the car won't start after sitting 10 hours with less than a half tank of fuel and will start if the tank is banged on the bottom. I've done this for at least a year and a half and it works every time if you have some fuel. Possibly related is a recall I received for an instrument panel voltage problem. It causes gauges to read inaccuratly. Our fuel gauge level jumps a quarter tank at times. I wonder if the pump could be programmed to shut off with no fuel indication either to prevent burnout or to keep air out of fuel lines.
  • '95 Sub (5.7L, 4wd) recently began dying while driving (low speeds, turns, upon parking, etc.).
    Fuel filter replaced this weekend - drove fine - for awhile. I found much debris in old filter - could new filter already be plugged-up? Should fuel pump be checked/cleaned/replaced? Electical seems okay (wires, battery, etc.)
    Please help with any advice you all might be able to offer. Thanks!
  • My Tahoe starts and runs great but it has recently started cutting out. It is very noticable while in overdrive going up a small hill. It feels like the motor shuts off for a split second then goes again. It will do this only when the gas pedal is pressed to gain speed at a slow rate. I have also noticed this stutter while stopped at a red light but it is not very obvious. It seems like it starts doing this after it warms up. There are no indicator light on the dash showing a problem. Can this be diagnosed with a scanned if there is no error code displayed? Any ideas where to look? Thanks in advance for your help.
  • My guess is the fuel pump. Just had similar problem in my '95 Suburban. Changed fuel pump today (fuel filter too last weekend) and now it seems to run like a top! No more lurching or stalling up hills or while driving at slower speeds.
  • Just had the same thing with my 03 Burban. Died 5 times on a 300 mile trip at 70mph. Would just quit and then could restart while still coasting. Dealer found a faulty ignition switch.
  • I have a 97 Suburban, 4wd. I am at my wits end with it! It will start jumping and lurching out of nowhere. The tac will start jumping WILDLY. The first time I noticed it I had just put my foot on the brake and stopped at a traffic light. It then SHUT OFF. I was able to restart it and drove another mile or so to my destination without a problem, but then it started doing the same thing again with the tac when I put my foot on the brake to park.

    Then, it drove just fine with no problems day after day for a week or so. Then, out of nowhere again, the tac started going crazy and the think started bucking and lurching with my foot on the brake. This "behavior" has happened just after it is started, it happens after it's been running for 20 + minutes without any prior problem, there is no rhyme or reason to it. I can start it and it will run in the driveway for 30 minutes with no problems or I can start it on another day and it wont stay running!

    It isn't the fuel pump, or the battery.

    Also, every once in a while when it is having this problem when it shuts off and I go to restart it, it acts as if it isn't going to start. I will have to turn it over several times, and then it will just start.

    Please, if anyone has ANY ideas I would be thankful. This is my main vehicle (the only one our entire family can fit in) and I have four children with me broke down on me on the INTERSTATE with them all in it. Obviously, I lose my power steering and my brakes don't work right when it is EXTREMELY hard to control when it cuts off while I'm driving 65 mph! We've pretty much been house bound (no trips to the doctor because it's 30 minutes away) since this problem began.

    My mechanic cannot seem to get a code on this problem. It has shut off before and I've just let it sit without attempting to restart it. He hooks up his scanner or computer (small handheld box) and it doesn't throw ANY code at all!

    Thank you for taking the time to read through this.

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I would suspect a power problem first, then a computer problem.

    I'd check first to make sure the main power to the vehicle was perfect. Check the battery, corrosion on the terminals or up in the cables, loose connections, key switch, and any main power relays. Probably the easiest way to begin to analyze this, is to hang a (fused) digital voltmeter off a 'switched' power circuit (a circuit that gets turned on via the ignition switch). Watch what happens to that digital voltage (should be normally about 13.5 volts), when the vehicle has the problem which causes the engine to cut out.

    If the voltage is perfect and steady, then move your diagnosis to the computer and engine control circuits.

    If the voltage was jumping around, then you know you have a power problem, and begin to focus there. Move your voltmeter monitoring back to a circuit which is an 'unswitched' (hot all of the time) circuit. If the voltage is fine the next time this happens, then you suspect ignition switch or relay....part of the circuit which is downstream of where you are monitoring. If the voltage is less than perfect, then move your diagnosis upstream toward the battery.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for the suggestions/information. I will certainly give that a try. I've read every single post on ANOTHER THREAD (444 of them!) and I'm amazed at how many problems are similar even though the year of the vehicle is different. So many things that it "could" be...I really miss the old cars. lol. I have a 1990 Geo Prizm that I don't drive because it needs a lot of little things done to it/replaced and needs it just sits for now.......but I've always done ALL of the work on it myself. Man, that was a cake-walk compared to having to deal with computers and sensors......Someone remind me again what was so wrong with the way they used to make cars? (I think it's just the manufacturer/dealer's way to get people to bring vehicles in for service as opposed to having backyard mechanics being able to fix everything.... ;) )

    Thanks for the suggestion, again. I will keep this thread posted. Any other suggestions are also welcomed.

  • xamonoxxamonox Posts: 1
    Hi I used to own a 1995 chevy suburban. And I had the same symtoms as you do.
    When I would come to a stop at a red light the engine would die. I go to park it the
    engine would die. And when I put my foot on the gas it would lurch forward. When
    my engine would die I would lose power steering. I go to start it again it would crank forever and not start. And the whole time it did'nt throw a code at me. After drive it for months like this it finally gave me a code. It was the coolant senser went
    bad. Check the voltage at the coolant sensor plug with a voltmeter with the key on engine off and it should be 5 volts. To check the coolant senser itself you have to
    ohm it with an ohmeter. Ohm out the coolant sensor once when the engine is cold and once when the engine is at hot at normal operating temperature. Compare it to the ohm spec of the coolant sensor in a hanyes manuel that you can get at autozone. If the coolant sensor is out of the ohm spec replace it. Or you can have a mechanic check the coolant sensor. I replace the coolant sensor on my suburban and it fixed the problem. Hope this helps later
  • kdmillerkdmiller Posts: 14
    Those who are having trouble with you 02,03 Suburban shutting down while driving check your cam or crank sensor. Kim M.
  • 01 LT Suburban i replaced the battery the truck will be parked over night and in the morning the battery will be very low or dead ihave check a number of times and cant seem to find anything that is running while the truck is off ... is this some kind of short ?
  • This is exactly what happened to me with my 95 sub. I changed the fuel filter no change. then had the egr valve tested (off vehicle) at a local shop. It tested bad so I replaced still no change with stalling and cutting out. Finally It showed a code 15 on check eng light. wich was my coolant temp sensor. Installed new sensor and magically all works great now.
  • jonny77jonny77 Posts: 6
    it shouldnt be a problem with that new a suburban, but how is the oil pressure? if it is too low, it will shut off the engine. also have the fuel pressure checked.
  • azekazek Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Chevrolet suburban Z71, i was driving back from a trip in the afternoon and suddenly the truck just wouldn't accelerate anymore and was just running to a halt and suddenly stopped. I tried starting the car immediately but it will just cranked and not start so i just waited for a about 30-40 minutes and afterward it started and i continued driving and the same thing happened after about 2 hours of driving again. Please can someone tell me what the problem might be?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Not sure how someone on the internet, who have no ability to look
    at the vehicle to diagnose a problem with only your interpretation of a symptom......but here goes......

    You don't have any fuel, or bad fuel, or fuel pump is bad.

    Or a bad sensor, which one of the 50, who knows.

  • i have a problem with my suburban its a 1997. we went to go swimming and about 5 miles from home it just died it will turn and turn but it wont start we went out and bought a distributor car and a rotor because there was no spark past the coil still nothing then we bought the electronic ignition module and still nothing we cant think of anything else does anyone have any suggestions we really would appreciate it thanks
  • otis682otis682 Posts: 2
    edited October 2011
    97 Suburban, 350. Never had an issue till I recently went in for an oil change. They said I needed a new air filter (which I admit was pretty bad) to save money I replaced it myself with a Fram. Right after that while idiling at the mall my suburban stalled. Since then it has stalled at stop signs (twice) and cuts out when driving but will stay running. After each stall the truck starts right up. Connections are good and clean, all the way to the fuel pump. I had problems before with a fuel pump and it cut out and then quit and wouldn't start, so replaced it. Any ideas where to start? I really don't think it has to do with the air filter but who knows.....
  • sakidsakid Posts: 1
  • theres a reset button located near the air felter assembly its located on the air intake hose it looks like a small cylinder its black on top and bottom and clear in the middle with two different colored peices on the inside. on the top of the cylinder theres a small button push it in for about 8 sec. while the motor is running and let go. then shut the motor off and restart it your problem will go away. in the fueture just remember when u replace the air felter on that type of motor u haft to push the reset button. i hope this was any help to your problem.
  • Thank you, I will try it.
  • balan1balan1 Posts: 2
    My 2004 suburban stalled after I passed a car on my way home from a trip. Then it just shut completely down right while I was driving. I let the suburban sit for about 5 minutes and it started up again. At that point, as long as I didn't go into the overdrive passing gear, it seemed to do fine. It is almost like there is a sensor that tells it to shut down and it won't let the suburban go into the passing gear again. This is very frustrating as nobody seems to be able to diagnose this problem.
  • I'm having the same problem with my 2004 Suburban. Did you ever find out what was causing the problem?
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