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Stranded in the mountains - 2003 Silverado, 8.1/Allison

Discussion in '1992-Present Chevy & GMC models' started by Jumppr, May 31, 2016.

  1. Jumppr

    Jumppr 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    So I went up to the mountains to camp this past weekend and everything was great. I've been driving my '03 Silverado since 2010 when I bought it from Carmax. I woke up Monday morning and moved the truck closer to my tent to load everything up and go home. Just so happens that at this particular spot the best place to pitch my tent was on a nice little island in the middle of a little creek. No big deal.....I forded the creek, broke camp and finished my coffee. Then I get in to leave and the stupid DIC says "UKNOWN DRIVER". The truck turns over, fires and dies. I disco'd the battery for 30 mins and still no joy. We load the guns and other valuables, into my buddies truck and head down the mountain. I figure at the worst I'll have to find a trailer long enough for my quad-cab/long bed and drag it down to the dealership the next day.

    When I got home I did some thorough Googling and posted to a few different groups on Facebook and got tools ready to head back up the mountain in the morning. My friends also showed me how to delete the VATS and gave me their shop laptop to take back. Luckily it's only about an hour and a half away so it's a relatively nice drive in the country. The wife and I dropped the kid off at school today and headed back up.

    Once I got there and was happy that no one messed with my shit overnight I disco'd the battery, touched then two battery cables together and jumpstarted it on the first turn of the key. When I got home I turned off the VATs just so it wouldn't happen again. Thank God for Google and YouTube.

    truckstuck.jpg
     
  2. brans87

    brans87 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I was going to say VATS system but you now know that. Crazy story and glad you have friends like you do there!!!!
     
  3. Phil513

    Phil513 Freakin' Sponge Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    They should have stopped with a basic computer for TBI. The future scares me.
     
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  4. Jumppr

    Jumppr 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Yeah......the future of being able to work on your car in the driveway is grim. Though after this experience I'm starting to be a little more comfortable with the electronics.
     
  5. campfire

    campfire Adventure is out there! Premium Member

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    As the systems are getting more complicated, the skill set is shifting. The older members of my family like to talk about the high failure rate of old cars, how tires used to wear out so quickly, how tolerances were sloppy, how hitting 200k miles in a cheap car was unheard of. Modern mechanical hardware is holding up nicely in comparison, so that sort of work is less commonplace now. But rather than just enjoying the lower maintenance intervals the amount of complication makes a formerly quick job into a drawn-out affair. I may have fewer failures than my dad did, but it can take a whole lot longer to get access to things.

    Having just finished my 5,000 mile road trip, I changed the oil filter on my Saturn this week. Doing so requires me to slide under the car to the back side of the engine and reach up into a blind crevice and feel my way to the filter. As it was stuck this time, I then had to get a wrench into this crevice. What would have taken seconds on my 6.2 truck took minutes on here. Not a big deal (nor is this even a cramped car by modern standards), just the first example that came to mind. It could have been a simple job and turned out a whole lot harder than it needed to be.

    I think we've reached the point where you should learn programming if you wanna be a serious automotive enthusiast. Can't do a whole lot on a new rig without getting into software. @Phil513 and @Jumppr are right, it's not just wrenches in driveways anymore. It's now laptops in driveways. :wink1: Not bad, just different.

    Even the squarebodies on here are getting invaded by software, one at a time. This week it's @wetoolowdingbangow, next week it'll be someone else. The modern age is slowly working its way into our classic vehicles.
     
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  6. jekquistk5

    jekquistk5 Weld nekid Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yup and it's a good thing. Newer isn't bad it's just different.
     
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  7. campfire

    campfire Adventure is out there! Premium Member

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    :thumb:

    It's quite likely that I'll never get good at tuning multi-barrel carburetors. And that's ok. If I'm gonna learn just one style of tuning, it's gonna be a more modern MPFI system, that skill will be a lot more useful in the future. I mean, it's already a lot more useful even now. And carburetors aren't coming back any time soon...
     
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  8. Jumppr

    Jumppr 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I actually work on computers every day so I'm pretty comfortable with most of it.

    Now lately the gauges have completely stopped working intermittently and the radio isn't keeping time. It's always something.
     
  9. Chevy305

    Chevy305 6 Lug 14bsf Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Sounds like you're still dealing with some electrical gremlins. Start by cleaning all grounds and battery connections.
     
  10. sreidmx

    sreidmx Fortify Offroad Vendor

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    I agree it's a golden age.. The amount of reliable tech available now is crazy. The fact that your resourceful enough to figure his out shows how much better prepared you are as a consumer than 99% of the public.
     
  11. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Well,I'll keep at least one of my diesel or carbed vehicles ,thank you...at least I know how to fix them,and they might still run after an EMP hits...this old dog doesn't like learning new tricks..call me anti-progressive,but I seem to get everywhere I want to go and back OK..

    I like sticking to familiar things I understand...don't want no stinking "chipped keys" and a bunch of electronics ,computers,sensors,etc,to keep me from being able to drive my own truck!..not to mention check engine lights costing you a fortune to keep off long enough to pass an emission test..
     
  12. campfire

    campfire Adventure is out there! Premium Member

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    This is a philosophical difference, Bob. IMO, nobody should ever stop learning new things. Stagnation is not a virtue. :deal:

    As for emissions/CEL inspection, I've never been a fan of the nanny state. But saying you're not willing to own a newer, reliable car while regularly complaining about maintenance and reliability issues just seems odd to me. :dunno:

    Whether or not you like them, newer vehicles generally beat the pants off of worn-out 30 year old trucks when it comes to reliability. Age is a brutal thing.
     
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  13. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I see enough of the issues my friend has to deal with at his repair shop to convince me that I dont want any part of having to figure out the many "electrical gremlins" newer vehicles have..

    I'm not against learning new things--but I do prefer sticking with things I know well that I grew up with too..

    I also do not dispute the fact newer EFI engines run much better and last longer than "old tech" ones did--but when they decide to quit,it seems a lot of head scratching and guessing has to take place,even when you have scanners,repair manuals,and years of experience..

    I do have a pretty good understanding of how modern EFI engines operate,and I'd rather not have my life hanging on a flukey sensor or module that decides to take a dump at a bad moment..

    When I had my '95 Ford Contour,I never felt so "helpless" --if the thing quit running,I would have probably not been able to diagnose it myself,or fix it,and even "simple" repairs like replacing a radiator hose,or alternator,would be a very involved process,impossible to perform on the side of the road,it would require a lift,and a day's work..not so on my old GMC..10 to 30 minutes to do either of those chores,right where it happened..

    True,my old junks have their share of issues,95% of them related to RUST and corrosion,not so much mechanical failures..
    I'd be perfectly happy with an old rust free GM truck with a carb & points..
     
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  14. jeff in co

    jeff in co 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I did not know about this system, thanks for highlighting! I hope my 04' Suburban doesn't do it but if so, is this another procedure that could fix it too?

    In order to initiate the relearn process:

    1. Insert a master key (black head) into the ignition switch.
    2. Turn to the “On” position without starting the engine. The security light should illuminate and stay on.
    3. Wait approximately 10 minutes or until the security light turns off.
    4. Turn off the ignition switch and wait 5 seconds.
    5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 two more times with the same key.
    6. Turn the ignition off. The vehicle will now learn the key transponder information on the next start cycle.
    7. Start the vehicle. If vehicle starts and runs normally, and security light is off, the relearn is complete.
     

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