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Continuous problems with the Tahoe...

Discussion in 'Plains Region' started by mrs_rocko, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. mrs_rocko

    mrs_rocko Registered Member

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    First, let me thank those who have already helped us in trying to figure this thing out. And thanks Charles for making all the posts for me since I just don't have the time anymore... hopefully that will change soon. This is long but I am desperately in need of help so I figured that I would get all of the details in. I put this already in the IFS forum but I thought that some of you may be able to help since some are already aware of my problems.

    Let me start from the beginning...
    1. Around a year ago the SES light would come on intermittently, usually at turns, but never stayed solidly on.

    2. Around the same time I was starting to smell coolant but there were no puddles under the truck. There was however coolant around the manifold and it appeared that was where it was coming from. Responses that we got on the issue was that the coolant was eating through the gaskets and causing the leak. They also made a note to check the oil to make sure no coolant wasn't getting in there. Bruce (batmanjr) was borrowing the truck at the time so he replaced the intake gasket and the oil was okay. It seemed to help a little but it was still loosing a little bit of coolant. The SES light was still coming on but not as frequent.

    3. Then in April, the truck was riding rough. Idle was bad and a lot of hesitation. At first it wasn’t too bad… not enough for Charles to notice but I certainly did as I drive it everyday. Over the course of two weeks it kept getting worse. In the final 2 or 3 days it was HORRIBLE. I could tell it had to do something with the fuel system because it seemed to want to buckle when I stepped on the gas and of course there was the hesitation. Exhaust sounded bad too. Finally on my way home from work one day, I was stopped at a light and it just died. I kept turning the ignition and it wouldn’t start. I knew it wasn’t the battery or alternator because I was still getting plenty of power. Finally, after sitting there for a few minutes (and the people behind me getting mad – like I could help it/forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif), I tried again and it started. And of course, thanks to the Austin traffic, I had to stop again. Same thing happened, it died, I tried and tried, waited a few minutes then it started. Eventually got home that night and got it to the dealership. They adjusted the camshaft timing and fuel pressure regulator.

    4. Seemed to help a little but after a week or two it was happening all over again so I took it back. The money (blood) suckers ended up replacing the fuel pump… well the whole fuel sending unit. Finally that problem was solved… or so it seemed.

    5. Over the next few months replaced the tie rods, several alignments, brake pads, and rotors – nothing having to do with this other than more frustrations and money.

    6. Then it was the anti-freeze problem again in August. This time there were puddles under the truck. Kept refilling the anti-freeze until we could work on it but it was leaking so fast that the temp was running real high. Unfortunately it took about 2 weeks until we could finally get around to it but we replaced the all the hoses and the water pump. The water pump was bad so that ended that problem and finally no more anti-freeze smells or leaks.

    7. Here comes September. The SES light is on again, the truck was running rough again, and it developed a really loud knocking noise. /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif Billy Ray ran a test on it and showed to be the spark plugs. The exhaust also had a really rich smell to it and there was white smoke coming out of the left exhaust pipe (it’s dual). The exhaust from the left side comes out with a fast pulse while the right side is coming out smooth and with no smoke. We did an oil change and replaced the spark plugs and wires and it seemed to help with the roughness but after two days, the roughness and hesitation was back again. So I took it in to get an induction cleaning. After that, it was running the smoothest than it ever had before… strong and no hesitation, which brings me to today and the current problems…

    8. The smoke, rich exhaust, horrible rumbling exhaust noise, and knocking noise hasn’t gotten any better and there are still black deposits coming out of the exhaust when I romp on the gas hard. And now the truck is running rough again. The knocking noise calms down and goes away after the engine warms up. Also, about three days ago, a funny thing happened with the temp… it maxed out on the gage all of a sudden, stayed there for a couple of seconds, and then it quickly dropped back down to normal. I haven’t had that happen since the water pump was replaced. There was a small antifreeze smell but no signs of leakage. Checked the antifreeze and it was a little low. Then this morning as I was pulling away from the house, the truck didn’t want to go and it felt like it was about to die and then all of a sudden it jumped forward and started going. Major hesitation, almost like it wasn’t getting any gas. It kept doing it and rode really rough until I was on the highway and then it got a little better. Soon after that, the temp maxed out on me again and then dropped back to normal quickly. Then it fluctuated between 165 and 210 all the way to work. Just checked the antifreeze at lunch and it was low again. I put in about a quart (all I had left) but it still needs more… still no signs of leakage. My feeling is that it still has fuel system problems… at least to me that is the way it seems to be acting and riding. Maybe something with the computer? And now antifreeze problems again.

    Don’t know what else to do. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Please, can anyone shed some light? Or any suggestions, other than getting a '03 2500HD crew cab. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Sorry for the lengthiness but like I said, I just wanted to get all the details in. I am just so damn frustrated with this truck that it is about to become target practice. /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif
     
  2. 74beater

    74beater 1/2 ton status

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    the temp gauge might be the sending unit..has the fuel filter been changed...start with the least expensive things first...sending unit..egr..map..so on and so fourth. if you need a honest guy to help let me know..he lives in rr, and had a tahoe close to the same year..
     
  3. Nonesuch

    Nonesuch 1/2 ton status

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    I vote for target practice. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif I have been dying to try out my new .357 ammo. It should be just right for full engine block penetration.

    Seriously, check out the electrical system. Check every inch of engine harness for worn/damaged/frayed wires. A good short could be causing all the fluctuations and also can throw the ECM into "limp mode" which will really make the truck run bad. This is easy to do and free to boot!

    Have you guys done any motor or computer chip changes to the truck?

    As for the coolant issue, it has to be going somewhere. Pop the hood with the engine running and look everywhere for leaks. It would be best to do this while the engine is cold. The hotter it gets, the faster it will evaporate and the harder it will be to find. You may want to run the engine higher than idle as well while somebody searches for the leak. 195 degrees is about where the truck should be under normal driving conditions. 210 is not to hot but its getting close.
     
  4. 4x4Freak

    4x4Freak 1/2 ton status

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    Bad head gasket? It would explain the smoke out the exhaust, low water level and possibly the hesitation. The temp gauge may be maxing out because the water is low. If there is not enough coolant to keep a constant flow across it then it may get hot and then cool off when the water hits it again.

    I dont know, just throwing out an idea.
     
  5. 77 Mud Buddy

    77 Mud Buddy 1/2 ton status

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    As for the coolant temp jumping around, I have seen that with my 93 when it was low on coolant. Just as what was said above when a hot pocket of air hits it it will read hot then when coolant actually gets to the sensor again it cools back down. It was low on coolant because one of the radiators side tanks was starting to give way and it was slowly leaking coolant.

    As for the running rough problem I have 2 suggestions.
    1) Force a computer self diagnostic on your vehicle. Let me elaborate. In my Hanes manual it gave me a procedure to force this self test. Basically you start with the vehicle off, you ground out two pins which I believe were pins A and B but you need to check for sure before taking my word for it, then you place the key in the ignition and put it in the first ignition position, ACC / IGN ... what ever you want to call it JUST DONT START IT. The computer will go through a self diagnostic and if there is a problem it will flash the "CHECK ENGINE" light in a certain pattern that will give you a code. If I remember right it is a sequence of short or long flashes to give you numbers. For instance
    Flash, Flash, Flash, .... FlAAAASH, FlAAAASH! would be code 3-2. Then they Hanes manual has the definitions for each code. Now this some times doesn’t really get you to the exact problem but it might get you closer than you were so it is something to try. I wish I could give you more detail but I gave that Hanes book to the guy that bought my 93. If this is a route you might want to take I believe the Hanes books are only about $15 at AutoZone or you might be able to find the same info at the library.

    2) I have a TBI injector test kit you can borrow. It has very simple instructions with it. You basically plug in these light bulb like test things into your TBI injector sockets, turn the ignition to "Start" or "Crank" and if it lights up / flashes then the computer / wiring is good, if it doesn’t light up or stays constantly on then your computer / wiring is bad. I dont have a great way of actually checking the injectors besides looking at them work. Take off the air cleaner, fire it up, and carefully watch both injectors at work. If they both look like they are squirting fuel then things are working okay. This is not a great test, more or less a work / dont work check. As I posted in Rocko's "Rant" post, I had one injector not working on my 93. The fix was the connector from the computer to the wiring harness wasnt connected well. I ensured it was plugged in good and my rough idle / no top speed problem was fixed.

    Both of these things are something I bet Billy ray's shop has already checked or would have detected but just thought I would offer what I have available

    Besides these 2 silly suggestions I like the fuel filter possibility, never under estimate the ... power ... of a clogged fuel filter. If you haven’t checked it already that is!
     
  6. micah

    micah 1/2 ton status

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    I'm going with head gasket. The coolant would be able to get out here, it may be getting released as steam and therefore no (or minimal) leaks. That would also explain the air pockets (low coolant), which just to agree with above posts, will cause the temp gauge to act just as it is. The head gasket will also cause the smoke you're seeing. I'd do both head gaskets, but you can probably guess the driver side head gasket is the one to question since your exhaust is smoking on that side. The bad gasket will also cause low compression which will show as poor performance, and any water/coolant that leaks over in to a cylinder will cause hesitation and sluggishness. I could even see where it would kill the motor at idle.

    Just a heads up though... there is the possibility that it is a warped (or worse... cracked) head. so while you have the heads off to replace the gasket, but sure to drop the heads off at a machine shop to get them magnafluxed (checked for cracks) and decked/milled for a nice flat surface. you'll gain a little compression boost from the decking as an added bonus /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. mrs_rocko

    mrs_rocko Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I vote for target practice. I have been dying to try out my new .357 ammo. It should be just right for full engine block penetration.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif And I want to try out my new Sig some more!

    Thanks for your replies and help guys. I think we pretty much agree with all of you. I know there is alot of work to be done but we probably won't do anything until sometime in December. We went on a short get away this past weekend for our 2 year anniversary and then we are leaving in 10 days to Maine for a couple of weeks. So no time for the trucks right now. We did put a sealant in to help with the temp for now. Seems to be helping. Anyone want to help when we get back? We'll provide you with lots of beer! /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif (Does that sound like a bribe?) /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  8. balls of fire

    balls of fire Registered Member

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    Ok the temp problem is due to low h2o. when the water level gets below the thermostat it will close and cause the temp gauge to shoot way up so now what water is still in the block and what little is getting by the bypass will boil and has to get hot enough for the steam to open the thermostat again and temp drops back down. If you have had problems with water leaks more than likely you cracked a head. Here are some checks you can do start the engine remove the radator cap with the system full you might see bubbles caused by the compresion of the engine. Of course white smoke, or remove the spark plugs they can tell you every thing look for wet,water stains, and if it is running lean they will be lite brown dry because the leaner the mix causes hotter temps in the combustion chamber. and of course you can do a compression check. we all know what oil looks like with water mixed in it. So that should be easy check. But micha is right if is just a gasket I would have the head resurfaced. And do both sides because the engine will not be balanced, more compression on one sibe or the other and that could efect the ECM and may cause more probs. hope this helps.
    Jeremy /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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