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Old 02-03-2008, 09:37 AM   #1
Sablefish
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Exclamation Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Just thought I would pass along a little experience I just had with my Chevy Silverado!
I'll start off saying that I love the ride of the Chevy and I have owned 7 of them but after this last go around I beginning to wonder if I can afford them.
I heard a little rumble in the front end a couple of weeks ago and I took the truck into my mechanic and lo and behold I have a bearing going out in the front differential....no biggy...$400 and a bearing kit and I am going again, but WAIT. While you have that front skid plate off see if you can find a water leak. I've noticed that I have been a little low on water a couple of times but I can't find any water leaking. They look and look AND LOOK....no water leaking anywhere. They ask me how bad is the water leak and I think back, well I have added 1/2 a gallon probably 4 times over the last 5 months, not a lot but where is it going??????
Meanwhile, Jim, the owner of the shop is looking through the GM service bulletins and BINGO he has a lead.

Service Bulletin No. 06-06-01-019B
Gradual coolant loss over time with no evidence of leak
04-06 Buick Rainier
01-06 Cadillac Escalade
01-06 Chevy Avalanche, Blazer, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Trailblazers
01-06 GMC Envoy, Jimmy, Sierra, Yukon
01-04 Oldsmobile Bravada
05-06 Saab 9-7x

With 4.8L or 5.3L Vortec Engines

Some vehicles may experience a gradual coolant loss over time. A "very low percentage" of cylinder heads manufactured with a Castech logo may develop a porosity crack in a very specific area.

If the cylinder head is a Castech casting, inspect the area around the five oil drain holes for witness marks indicating coolant seepage over time.
If inspection reveals evidence of coolant witness marks, replace the entire head assembly.


Well long story short, I won the lottery and both heads were Castech castings and yes there was evidence of coolant "witness" Although I have no idea what witness is... I believe they meant wetness. And yes I did have to replace both cylinder heads.
$2800 dollars later I have my truck back and it appears to be running fine.
I contacted GM about this problem and they told me since I have around 100K miles on this truck that they probably won't offer any financial asistance to me and they are very SORRY!
Well, I am very sorry too because I just went and test drove a Toyota Tundra after being a loyal GM owner for 28 years.... It was a very nice ride by the way!

Makes me wonder how many more people are developing gradual coolant loss over time. I know if I had one of the afore mentioned vehicles I would be watching my coolant level very closely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 02-03-2008, 09:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Bingo, 2000 Tahoe here.

Coolant low 2 yrs ago on the way to work. Stopped to check it and it in fact was low. Added coolant and watched it for a few days. No leaks anywhere so I just chalked it up to some lack of proper maintance/evaporation. Checked it about a week later, all fine so no worries.

2 weeks later, oldest going to Pendleton roundup with friends and will Dad trade rigs for a few days. Sure.

Phone call few days later. Hey Dad, were on Hwy 84 just past Multnomah falls, engine made funny noised and lost power. Now wont start.

New short block, about $3500 later and I was back on the road.

Hey Chevrolet, My 4 yr old Cannon camera, that I bouthg used had a display issue and they are fixing it for free and paying freight both ways. Faulty part from factory not up their standart quality. Guess what, I will buy many more cannon cameras. But when I replace my Tahoe, this long time Chevy guy will be buying a FORD.
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

The sad part is by the time you figure out what is wrong and how to fix it you are so committed mechanicley and financeley it makes it hard to get rid of the vehicle.
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Sorry to here that Sablefish. I hate to hear when anybody has to spend there hard earned money on unplanned repairs rather than the important stuff like hunting and fishing gear. I feel your pain but I doubt any of the big three would be any different unless you had an extended warranty. I have owned trucks from all the big three in the past 10 years and they all have their share of problems. As far as Toyota I have no first hand experience, but have heard many positive comments. That being said they do not make heavy enough iron to pull what I need it to, therefore not a consideration for me. If I was pulling more moderate loads though, I would have to seriously consider Toyota. Tight lines, Osprey
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Thanks for the heads up, Sablefish.

I have 2004 GMC with a 5.3 liter and it has a slow water leak. Looks like I should get it into the shop. I am past warranty at 57K miles and I don't think the GMC service shop wil be a lot of help. I will try, though.

It also makes strange noises, a grinding noise, when I make turns when 4-wheel drive or All wheel drive is egaged. I had the service shop inspect it twice since I purchased the vehicle. They said all was fine both times and it is expected to have a little "noise" when in four weel drive. Does that make sense?

Like you, I also enjoy the ride my truck gives me. It has all the bells and whistles and I would really like to be able to keep it around for awhile.

Again, thanks for the warning/notice.
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Thanks for posting this. Chevy owner, 5.3 etc, etc.....

Started having to add water every three month or so at around 100K. Now at 160K. Other than that, no other issue with the truck that has cost me money other than service. Truck is now 8 years old

I plan on buying another chevy in about 12 years.......
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

My '99 Silverado has given me no issues at all- with 110,000 miles. 5.3 engine.
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Old 02-03-2008, 11:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24 on/ 48 off View Post
My '99 Silverado has given me no issues at all- with 110,000 miles. 5.3 engine.
The 99s had cast iron heads versus aluminum on the 02s.
By the way...did I mention that my last truck sucked an intake manifold gasket at 104K. Service manager at the GM shop said oh yeah you are supposed to replace that at 90K. Thanks for the heads up!!!!! $3500 later CHA CHING.
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Old 02-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

My 5.3 '99 silvarodo 4wd wouldn't tow my 21 ft Arima over the coast range without pegging the temp gauge and shifting into second gear going up the steep stuff. Great truck when not towing at 20 mpg.
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24 on/ 48 off View Post
My '99 Silverado has given me no issues at all- with 110,000 miles. 5.3 engine.

I had 182,000 miles on my 99 when I sold it a few year ago. We rebuilt the front end bearing and such along with some other small things like brakes and shocks but never had any other problems. I have a few friends with them. I will let them know of your troubles.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Boy I am sure glad I don't have a GM 5.3.
I've got 489,251 miles on my Ford and never even checked the oil.
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Did the same on the 7.4L too. Will never go back to GM unless they put a diesel in a Suburban. Even then it's a maybe.
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Old 02-03-2008, 08:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

160K on the company truck, all's well for now, cross my fingers, and hope and pray it stays that way.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24 on/ 48 off View Post
My '99 Silverado has given me no issues at all- with 110,000 miles. 5.3 engine.

Sounds like a good time to start looking.
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Old 02-04-2008, 05:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

I've never owned a new Chevy. Probably never will. I had a 78 chevy luv. It was a beast!!
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:32 PM   #16
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Well, as you were un aware of the actual problem and the vehicle was giving you no sign of trouble other than having to add a little coolant here and there. I think I would have nursed it along and gotten the most mileage out the heads and then replaced them when they would go no further. Being a mechanic I feel this would be getting the most bang for the buck. I may be bashed for this advice. Another option I would have entertained is to trade it in at a new car dealer, preferably a big one, as they stand behind their vehicles pretty good. That would clear my conscience of unloading my problems on some one else. If your truck was under 100K when the problem occured and they know that they have a bad part, they(chevy) should have at minimum split the repair cost with you.

Last edited by bullshooter; 02-04-2008 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:24 PM   #17
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

Quote:
Originally Posted by bullshooter View Post
Well, as you were un aware of the actual problem and the vehicle was giving you no sign of trouble other than having to add a little coolant here and there. I think I would have nursed it along and gotten the most mileage out the heads and then replaced them when they would go no further
I agree 100%. Some people like their vehicles "perfect", though, and are willing to spend big bucks to fix something that may not really need to be fixed. To each their own.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by nx302stang View Post
I've never owned a new Chevy. Probably never will. I had a 78 chevy luv. It was a beast!!
well that is enough said...... glad it was not a pinto
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:46 PM   #19
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Never again!

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well that is enough said...... glad it was not a pinto
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:36 AM   #20
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

it's a GM you should expect bad parts when you buy them.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:35 AM   #21
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Default Re: Chevy Silverado 5.3 liter

i have an '02 silverado with 47k on it, i will check the heads, although i cant remember if i have ever checked the collant level!!!
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Well, as you were un aware of the actual problem and the vehicle was giving you no sign of trouble other than having to add a little coolant here and there. I think I would have nursed it along and gotten the most mileage out the heads and then replaced them when they would go no further. Being a mechanic I feel this would be getting the most bang for the buck. I may be bashed for this advice. Another option I would have entertained is to trade it in at a new car dealer, preferably a big one, as they stand behind their vehicles pretty good. That would clear my conscience of unloading my problems on some one else. If your truck was under 100K when the problem occured and they know that they have a bad part, they(chevy) should have at minimum split the repair cost with you.
I actually entertained the idea of trading in my truck. I went so far as driving a new Chevy and I was unable to pull the trigger. I also have a bit of an issue of trading in a vehicle with a known problem without disclosure. I can just see some 22yo kid buying his first truck and all proud and then poof he's stuck with a 3K bill to fix it. How bad would I feel!!!!
I rolled the dice and hoped that it wasn't the heads and just a head gasket. Once I committed to the course I pretty much had to follow through to the end. I travel quite abit and I would not feel confidant heading out to Idaho in the middle of the night with a cracked head and 2 snowy passes ahead of me. Not my idea of fun being stuck on Pendelton Loop with a broke down truck.

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Old 02-05-2008, 06:08 PM   #23
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[quote=Sablefish;1860223]I can just see some 22yo kid buying his first truck and all proud and then poof he's stuck with a 3K bill to fix it. How bad would I feel!!!!

That is why I made the point about trading it in at a large reputable dealer. even as I write this it sounds wrong. But used vehicles have a warrenty and most wind up being sold with a contract. The next buyer of the vehicle would most likely be taken care of. It sounds like you did the right (righteous) thing. I understand your point and good on you. I got the mindset of pushing things (vehicles) to their limits from my elders and as a kid can remember many a time being broken down on the side of the road. since I have owned my own vehicles I have never been stranded.

Last edited by bullshooter; 02-05-2008 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPAZZ View Post
well that is enough said...... glad it was not a pinto

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Old 02-06-2008, 07:19 AM   #25
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Splash...The window says it all.....LOL
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