GMC C-Series

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Auto Defects > GMC

January 2001

Dear Consumer:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your GM Suburban, Tahoe/Yukon, full-size C/K or Silverado/Sierra pickup or Blazer/Jimmy sport utility vehicle. For years, GM had two Jimmys and two Blazers - one full size and one mid-size. In 1993, the big GMC Jimmy became the Yukon while the smaller S15 Jimmy became the only Jimmy. In 1995, the big Chevrolet Blazer became the Tahoe while the smaller S10 Blazer became the only Blazer. In 2000, GM dropped the ill-fated C/K model name in favor of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra which had formerly been trim lines. CAS has received numerous complaints on fires, stalling, ABS malfunction, paint peel, engine failure, and transmission breakdowns.

Over 1,600 people have died in fire crashes involving 1973-87 full-size C/K pickups with side-saddle fuel tanks. Although more than 30 times as many people have burned to death in GM pickups than in the infamous Ford Pinto, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in December 1994, condemned 200 more people to burn to death in GM pickup crashes in exchange for GM agreeing to spend $51 million on public education, research and child seats. In 1996, attorneys for the numerous C/K class action lawsuits against GM renegotiated a settlement in which GM would give truck owners coupons and fund research into fuel system safety on any vehicle other than a C/K. CAS negotiated a stipulation with the class lawyers that they would contribute $1 million of their fees to test and develop a safety retrofit for the GM trucks. GM appealed its own settlement so coupons will not be sent out before the year 2002.

Prompted by thousands of consumer complaints, NHTSA opened an investigation into ABS brakes in September 1995 on all 1992-95 Suburbans. Many drivers reported the brake pedal suddenly "went to the floor" without warning or randomly failed to stop the vehicle. In July 1999, GM agreed to recall the smaller 1991-96 S10 and Sonoma with 4-wheel drive and the EBC4 ABS but not the larger pickups and Suburbans. A particularly expensive defect on all 1985-92 GM trucks is peeling paint. At CAS' request, GM agreed to pay for repainting for paint peel and delamination through six years and unlimited mileage but, in March 1995, GM cut this back to 5 years.

You'll find more information on these and other GM truck and SUV problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against GM as we fight for action on these defects.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible which entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

GM FULL-SIZE (C/K) TRUCK & SPORT UTILITY FACT SHEET
All Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) are either Chevrolet or GM broadly.

Brakes: Improved pedal feel 1984-89 All Models (88-300-5 & 88-311-5); Brake rotors 1988-90 C/K pickup (90-379-5); Slush on parking brake cable 1988-89 C/K (89-288-5); Brake noise 1990-92 C/K (92-166-5); Lead/pull, front brake wear 1992-99 C/K, Suburban (86-50-20A, 99-05-24-001).

Engine/Driveability: 4.3 V6: Idle rise between shifts 1989-90 with manual transmission (90-320-6E); Engine overheats 1987-88 (88T07); Main bearing failure 1996-98 (87-61-22); Rough idle after cold start 1996-98 (87-65-07). 5.0/5.7 V8: Engine overheats 1987-88 (88T07) & 1988-91 (91-145-6B, 91-167-6B & 91-224-6B); Rough idle after cold start 1996-98 (87-65-07); Bearing knock 1996-99 (99-06-01-003). 6.2 diesel V8: Black smoke at idle 1988-89 (89-181-6E); Difficult/no cold start/no restart 1983-89 (89-39-6 & 89-264-6E). 6.5L diesel: Hard/no start 1994-99 (87-63-04; No start/stall 1994-98 (77-63-06A); Hesitation, rough idle, power loss, hard/no start, stall 1994-98 (87-63-03, 87-65-13); Replace injection pump 1994-99 (87-63-07); Long crank on hot starts 1996-99 (87-65-25). 7.4 V8: Surge 1987-88 & 1996-99 (88-162-6E, 88-195-6E & 99-06-04-016); Engine overheats 1988-91 (91-167-6B); Belt noise/wear 1988-89 (89-61-6B); False "service engine soon" light 1987-89 (89-263-6E); Engine noise 1988-90, 1996-99 (90-299-6E, 99-06-04-014); High oil pressure 1992-93 (93-8C-31). All: Reduced performance 1988-91 pickup (91-139-6C); Starter grind/clash 1985-88 (88-305-6D); Oil cooler line leaks 1988-89 pickup (89-208-6A); In-tank fuel pump loose 1987-88 Suburban (88-137-6C); Engine roughness 1987-88 (88-40); Engine noise 1982-93 (376602); Oil consumption guidelines (1 quart/2,000 miles) & tests 1996-99 All gasoline models (76-60-04A).

Paint: For detailed package on how to get GM to pay for peeling paint, go to GM Paint.

Steering/Suspension: Free front end alignment kit with greaseable ball joints 1988-90 C/K (90-277-3C, 90-392-3C); High P/S effort 1988-91 C/K (88-308-3B, 88-415-3B, 91-173-3B); Steering "hoot" 1988-89 4x4 C/K (89-55-3B); P/S pump pulley misaligned 1996-98 C/K (77-60-02); Reduced steering effort '97-98 C/K (86-32-06).

Transmission/Drivetrain: Cracks/leaks 1988-92 All 6.2L diesel models (92-182-7A); Clutch chatter/shudder 1988-90 C/K (90-336-7C); Vents leak fluid 1988-90 C/K (90-252-7B); Transfer case leaks 1988-92 K pickup(91-508-7D); Clutch hydraulic system fluid leaks 1992-95 C/K with A/T (66-73-01); Fluid leak 1995-96 C/K, 1996 Bravada (57-71-26); Clutch chaffer/shudder on launch 1994-95 C/K with 4.3L, 5.0L or 5.7L engine (66-73-04A); No upshift 1995-96 C/K with 4L60-E or 4L80-E A/T (57-65-08A); Lack of power, early shifts, late shifts, or erratic shifting 1993-96 All models with 4L60E & 1994-96 All models with 4L80E (343); 4th gear loss/slip, 3-4 busy shift, TCC cycling 1996-97 C/K with 4L80E (77-71-7); Slow or no engaement of front axle when 4WD selected 1988-97 (76-43-01A); 4WD inoperative 1998-99 C/K (99-04-21-002); Transmission fluid low, transfer case overfill 1996-98 (86-74-04). For more info on GM transmission defects, go to GM RWD Transmission.

Other: Wiper chatters/streaks 1988-90 C/K (90-323-10); Odometer seizure/dust 1988-91 C/K (91-92-8C); Wind noise/cold air intrusion at doors 1985-86 C/K & 1985-89 utility/Suburban (90-347-10); Tailgate window chipping 1985-87 utility/Suburban (87-T-75); Slow power tailgate window 1984-88 utility/Suburban (88-317-10); W/S washer pump fails 1985-86 All Models (86-C-06); Inoperative reverse lights 1980-91 (91-4598A); Reduced power assist 1988-92 (92-333-3B); Tire slips on wheel 1988-93 (93-3E-63); Tire damage 1991-93 (93-3E-19); Rear axle vent leaks 1993-96 C/K with 10.5" rear axles (56-42-03A); Fuel gauge fluctuation 1995-97 C/K (76-83-05); Fuel gauge shows empty with 7-8 gallons left 1995-97 C/K (76-83-03A); A/C odor 1993-99 (99-01-004); Reduced range of Remote Keyless Entry 1997-99 (86-90-06); Front seat belt bunching, replace retractor assembly 1999 Silverado, Sierra (86-16-20).

MAJOR SAFETY RECALLS
Copies of recalls can be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768. Unless otherwise indicated, all recalls apply to both Chevrolet and GMC.

Airbags/Seatbelts: 194,243 1989-90 C/K extended cab - Seat belt adjustment instructions (90V-170); 3,651 1995 Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon - Location of airbag label (95V-140); 8,323 1995 Tahoe/Yukon - Center rear lapbelt improperly routed (95V-081); 630,099 1994-95 C-series & Sierra - Belt buckle releases (95V-241); 40 1994-95 C/K Extended Cab with diesel engine - Front belt missing energy management loop (95V-242); 279,132 1999 Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon - Airbag exceeds neck injury allowable levels under safety standard (00V-122).

Brakes: 63,196 1988 C/K - Hose rupture (87V-136); 50,000+ 1994 C/K - Pedal push rod retainer missing (93V-152); 300,000+ 1988-92 C/K 100, 200 - Rotors corrode (93V-119); 1,000+ 1998 C-series, Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, - Rotors crack (98V-033); 13,684 1998 C10 - Rear brake line wears hole (98V-226); 988,587 1994 C-series, Suburban - Brake switch wiring reversed & contacts wear out (99V-025); 5,000+ 2000 Sierra, Silverado - ABS motor & Dynamic Rear Proportioning system inoperative (00V-055); 3,758 2000 Suburban - Kinked brake booster vacuum supply hose (00V-222); 1,383,922 1999-00 Sierra, Silverado, Tahoe, Yukon - Right brake pipe wears at body cross sill (00V-345).

Electrical/Lights: 1985-86 All Models -Headlight failure (86V-131); 36,641 1995 Suburban, Tahoe, Sierra, Yukon - "Park" indicator light fails (95V-139).

Fires: 976 1994 C/K Short Bed - Fuel tank sags (94V-030); 2,595 1992-93 Chevrolet C10, C20 & GMC C15, C25, Sierra - CNG tank cracks (94V-044); 3,493 1994 GMC C-series cab-chassis - Fuel tank straps crack (94V-187); 10,000+ 1995 C/K & Suburban/Sierra - 4L80-E A/T case casting leaks oil onto exhaust system (95V-026); 623 1996 C/K pickup with 7.4L engine - Fuel rail assembly leak (95V-243); 1,702,880 1988-93 C/K - Transmission vent tube leaks (93V-016); 55,272 1995-98 Chevrolet C10, GMC C15 Crew Cab - Fuel tank cracks or wear hole at front inner corner (98V-187).

Seats: 303 1993 C/K - Seat becomes detached due to improper rivet (93V-163); 1,375 1994 C/K - Seat loose due to missing bolt (93V-216); 1,720 1995 C pickup - Driver seat collapses (95V-027); 624,433 1995-97 C/K Extended Cab & 2-door Utility Vehicles - Recliner mechanism on Easy-Entry feature pinches hands or severs fingers (97V-037); Seat back suddenly reclines: 250,000+ 1989-90 Suburban (93V-187), 2,400 1994-96 C/K (96E-010), 675,661 1993-94 C-series Extended Cab (95V-246), 32,596 1991 Suburban (96V-226), 57,264 1992 C/K (99V-130); 6,418 1997 Chevrolet C10, C20 & GMC C15, C25 - Seat mounting bolt missing (97V-176).

Steering/Suspension: 3,047 1995 C-series - Steering shafts separate (96V-004); 30,148 1994 C/K - Loose lower control arm bolt (94V-060); 2,750 1988 C/K - Tie rod nuts fall off (87V-126); 15,000+ 1996 C/K - U-bolts nuts on rear axle loosen/fall off (96V-082); 3,957 1998 Chevrolet C10, GMC C15 - Steering shaft separates (97V-142); 8,367 1999 Silverado, Sierra - Steering gear separates (98V-242); 1,462 2000 C35 - Steering linkage improperly assembled (00V-054).

Other: 8,893 1988 C/K - Cruise control cable lock mechanism disengages (87V-125); 1,521 1988 C/K - Cracked/broken striker nuts cause door to open (87V-127); 29 1994 C/K - W/S separates (94V-212); 379,004 1995-96 C/K, Suburban, Tahoe, Sierra, Yukon - Throttle sticks (96V-057); 5,000+ 1995-96 C/K with General Ameri*550 tires - Sidewall bulges &/or flat tire (96V-117); 73,162 1995 Blazer/Jimmy - Fan blade rivets break (95V-180); 5,683 1989 C/K Extended Cab (89V-078) & 4,821 1994 C/K Extended Cab (94V-057) - Hitch failure; 750,000+ 1994-96 Chevrolet C10, GMC C15 - W/S wipers fail (98V-150.001); 35,659 2000 Tahoe, Yukon - Exhaust gases enters passenger compartment through rear wheelhouse (00V-343).

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