Ode to An 03 Suburban

Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Hey all, rather than have a dozen different thread that I can never find when I want to update, I've decided to have this single thread to not only ask general Burb related tech question in, but to provide updates as I have them. Thanks to all who have participated in previous threads and to those who view and continue to offer suggestions about my Burb. Basic info: '03 Suburban, nothing major, sort of. Bought it in Feb '19 for $5400, good bones, but needed some TLC. I put around $1500 into cosmetics and minor maintenance, changing fluids, new brake pads, new shocks all around, that sort of thing. Fast forward to today, she had an exhaust leak on the drivers side manifold, 3 broken studs. Mechanic changed all but one of the bolts and the gasket, the last broken bolt wasn't removable without significant effort and expense. A fellow BITOG member turned me on to an aftermarket bracket that bolts into existing holes in the head and "thumbscrews" down over the missing bolt that I will be installing as soon as it arrives. Still chasing the suspension issue we've discussed. I think I'm heading down the right track with that one, we'll see where it leads as I have time to mess with it. Had the plugs changed, 160K, have no idea if they'd ever been out, which is why I had the shop do it. I don't have the tools or expertise to deal with a snapped off plug or stripped threads. She seems to have a little more pep in her step with the new plugs, not significantly, but noticeable. Biggest change was having the AC charged. The issue when I took it in was that it periodically would blow warm air for a few minutes then cool back down and be fine. They said the system was 24 ounce low, but otherwise in good shape, it seemed better. This was several weeks ago and it has worked fine since. She went back in this week to have the aforementioned exhaust studs and spark plugs done, when she came home the AC wasn't working at all. The pressure switch went out. They said it was unrelated to the work they did, maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.They only charged me parts to fix it, so kudos to them, happy and COOL me! banana It's over 100* here right now and I don't go anywhere without the AC blasting! I'm also really loving the dual zone AC! I have the passenger compartment overhead vents blowing down the back of my neck! Technically, that would be 3rd zone, as the front driver and passenger have separate heat/cold controls too, again, REALLY love this feature!!! So, that's where we're at now, still trying to diagnose and fix the suspension noise. Feel free to click the link above or chime in here if you have any suggestions. cool
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Previous to any work, the AC was adequately cool, sure, it could be colder, but isn't that always the case? I know that as a general rule of thumb, AC drops ambient temps by about 30*, and while this took longer on hot days, duh, go figure, it was working adequately. The issue it was taken in for was that it would periodically stop blowing cold at all, just for a few minutes. I knew this was a sign of low freon, so wasn't concerned. System checked out just fine, dye checked for leaks, recharged significantly at 24 ounces, and blew nice and cold. I don't make any correlation of the pressure switch failure to anything else. All I will say is that the tech would have been working in dangerous proximity to the switch while changing out the spark plugs. It could have been something inadvertent on their part, could have been unhappy circumstances. Either way, switch failed and I expected to pay for parts and labor. Shop of their own volition ate the labor and only charged me parts. This shop has a good reputation and great Yelp review. If Yelp isn't a thing in the rest of the nation, it's a platform for consumers to rate local businesses and services. I will also say that they spent 2 days trying to figure out the suspension noises. Even though they couldn't find anything, there was no charge for the time spent. All this to say, I believe them to be an honest establishment.
 
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2,560
Location
wv
i also have an 03 suburban. Take a look at Sway Bar Bushings... While they may feel tight to the hand and look good .. the weight that you add changes the variables. Get the noise back.. then spray the heck out of the rear sway bar bushings then see if it goes away.
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Hey Kris, Thanks for the thoughts. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure that I lubed the sway bar bushings. I got all the other pivot points, drag links, spring cups, sway bar end links, etc., but in thinking about it just now, I'm not so sure that I shot the bushing where it connects the bar to the frame. duh I'll definitely be inspecting and squirting them when I crawl back under there. Cheers2
 
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4,227
Location
Central Maryland
Following your Burb exploits with interest. For a 17 year old vehicle, I would just replace the sway bar bushings and end links. They are rubber, consider them consumables.
 
Messages
1,451
Location
Dallas Texas Area
Originally Posted by HangFire
Following your Burb exploits with interest. For a 17 year old vehicle, I would just replace the sway bar bushings and end links. They are rubber, consider them consumables.
Agreed. Doing just that myself and tie rod ends on my 01 Suburban. Was checked out by GM dealer last week and that's what they recommenced ! Dave
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
I expect to have to do front end joints in the not too distant future. Nothing bad at the moment, but some look like they're not long for the world.
 
Messages
1,776
Location
Kingston
I'm highly considering one of these or a Tahoe/Yukon to replace my Caprice as my backup work vehicle/winter beater. I love my Silverado but a suburban would be a good vehicle for long trips with several passengers or camping. My neighbor has one I'm always drooling over. Looks very well maintained. About an 03. Good luck with your squeak. My Silverado squeaks sometimes from the back but no clunks. Maybe I should check the sway bar bushings on it.
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
I love my Burb! She's been a great vehicle, comfortable, reasonably quiet, spacious as long as you're not using it as a haul vehicle, 'cuz it ain't a truck! :lol: 3 row seating, 3rd row removable and 2nd row folds flat, can get full sheets of plywood in. Good tow capacity too!
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Hey Guys, Burb went back to the shop today for AC issues. The front air was little more than recirculating the cabin air,it wasn't cooling. The rear AC was blowing much cooler, but certainly not as cold as a properly functioning system should. The line coming out of the receiver/dryer was cold about 12" out from the can, then got quite hot before it even got to the tee in the line where it splits to the front and rear evaporators. Shop went over the system and could find nothing wrong. They suspect a clog in the system either in the truck evaporator or the receiver dryer. Their solution was to replace the receiver dryer and flush the evaporator, but they didn't know if it would cure the problem or not. When the shop serviced the AC a few weeks ago they performed a dye test (checked out fine) and 24oz of refrigerant. Then the AC pressure switch went out. Now the front air isn't cooling. What are the odds that debris was introduced via the can of dye or by sloppy workmanship of the tech? I've never had a vehicle get its AC serviced, then suddenly start having other AC issues before. To be clear, I am NOT trying to blame the shop for the issues, I just need a functioning AC system without repeated trips to the shop. Side note, I noticed the day before taking the Burb back to the shop that there was green dye all over the receiver/dryer and surrounding areas of the engine bay. I was checking fuses and that the compressor was functioning and to see if there were any simple fixes over taking her back to the shop.
 
Messages
1,451
Location
Dallas Texas Area
Originally Posted by A_Spruce
I love my Burb! She's been a great vehicle, comfortable, reasonably quiet, spacious as long as you're not using it as a haul vehicle, 'cuz it ain't a truck! :lol: 3 row seating, 3rd row removable and 2nd row folds flat, can get full sheets of plywood in. Good tow capacity too!
RIGHT ON BRO !! Burban man over here in Dallas. I have 2 right now, One for my local business and another out of state for business also. One is my daily driver a loaded black on black 2001 5.3 LT G80/GT4, New recovered front seats and still kicking strong @ 320K miles running M1 5W30 truck/Suv thumbsup I picked up outside Dallas for $1500 Other is a rare orange/maroon '02 5.3 flexfuel LS 170K miles that I picked up for $1200 wholesale running and driving. Tune up, Shocks, brakes, Basic trans service(Solenoids, Fluid, Filter/kit.) she's kicking STRONG !!! Even my transmission buddy was speechless lol Dave [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Nice trucks! cool My Burb came with a bench seat. When I pulled everything out to pull the carpet and clean it outside the vehicle, I decided that while it's all out, I might as well install a console instead of the center jump seat. Absolutely the BEST thing I've ever done! My console is similar to your black Burb, snagged it out of a wrecked Yukon XL, I think, don't remember, but it was the same year truck so the interior color was perfect. I've been told that these rigs are basically bullet-proof. Most of the stuff I've done has basically been minor maintenance, shocks, brakes, water pump, etc. As long as it stays that way I'll be a happy man and keep her for a good long time.
 
Messages
1,451
Location
Dallas Texas Area
Originally Posted by A_Spruce
Nice trucks! cool My Burb came with a bench seat. When I pulled everything out to pull the carpet and clean it outside the vehicle, I decided that while it's all out, I might as well install a console instead of the center jump seat. Absolutely the BEST thing I've ever done! My console is similar to your black Burb, snagged it out of a wrecked Yukon XL, I think, don't remember, but it was the same year truck so the interior color was perfect. I've been told that these rigs are basically bullet-proof. Most of the stuff I've done has basically been minor maintenance, shocks, brakes, water pump, etc. As long as it stays that way I'll be a happy man and keep her for a good long time.
Ya I love these rigs my black one takes off like CRAZY on the highway TONS of torque !! My first one of these was a 200 LT clean low miles 140K back in 2010 that unfortunately got stolen. These burbans are my # 5 and 6 lol grin2 Here's a good video to look at for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlmuiFd7FQo Top issues on these: O ring pump seal Intake/Valve Cover, Oil pan Gaskets Water pump A/C compressor window lift regulators Knock Sensors o2 sensors 03-06 have more problems. Stepper motor gears on instrument cluster and A/C blower fan resistors, actuators, blend doors Dave
 
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A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
I changed the water pump a few months back, it started leaking and squealing. Did the idler pulleys and belts while I was in there, as the belt in particular was showing signs of age. Don't have window regulator problems, but the windows on the passenger side do like to not close properly, it's like the jump the track a little bit. So far, lowering and closing them again has cured the issue. I don't use the windows all that often, that's what AC if for! :lol: The stepper motors I'm aware of, and the Burb's do rattle quite a bit upon initialization, but are quiet otherwise and seem to be functional. I've blown the dash apart before, so taking the cluster out isn't a problem, and I've seen quite a few vids on how to replace the steppers, which seems to be pretty darned easy. $50-ish for steppers and DIY is a lot better than $200+ to have it done. My two main problems right now are not having much for tools and zero space to work. Third problem is time, I just don't have much free time to be able to do a lot, especially larger jobs that could take several days to do.
 

A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Update on the suspension issue for those following along: I finally had some time today to crawl back under and relube all the hinge points. As I suspected, I has missed the rear sway bar bushings where the bar mounts to the frame. Shot it with WD-40, drove it back and forth across some speed bumps, no improvement. Shot them again and it started to quiet down. Went back and forth across a speed bump again and while the clunk/twisting rubber noise is still there, it's greatly diminished! A little more driving and time for the lube to soak in and I expect that the noise will be gone. Fingers crossed! As always, I welcome everyone's thoughts and am thankful to everyone that has participated in these conversations. cool cheers
 
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A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
Originally Posted by GMguy84
Ya I love these rigs my black one takes off like CRAZY on the highway TONS of torque !! My first one of these was a 200 LT clean low miles 140K back in 2010 that unfortunately got stolen. These burbans are my # 5 and 6 lol grin2
Baby isn't all that quick or torquey. While she's had the nuts to pull a heavy trailer for about a month last fall, she really wasn't all that happy about it. For a daily driver, she's more than adequate. I do have to say, though, she does love to run on the highway, she seems happiest at 70mph. It's kinda funny, when I was towing the trailer, a 7x16 enclosed fully loaded on a 1000 mile long trip, on the way out it was "work" to get to and maintain 60-65. There was a pretty good run-up time for it. On the way home she wouldn't stay below 70, and that was with the cruise set. Apparently, like any good horse, she knew she was on her way back to the barn! LOL FWIW, it was after this trip that the suspension noises started. Heavy trailer, good tongue weight, made baby work a little harder than she apparently wanted to. grin
 
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Messages
1,451
Location
Dallas Texas Area
My Suburban Count last 12 years grin2 1-1998 SOLD 1-2000 STOLEN(Oklahoma druggies smirk2) 3-2001 2 SOLD, 1 ACTIVE 1-2002 ACTIVE 1-2007 SOLD Last month I missed a clean 1 owner graphite grey 2003 Denali XL 2WD 6.0 300K miles running and driving, Cold A/C no issues for $1700 . Couldn't make it up to Oklahoma city in time. SOOOOOO hard to find a denali XL without the horrible $$$$AWD$$$ mad mad For me most common was Window regulators oil pan gaskets oil pump O ring o2 sensors Only have had one water pump go bad(knocks on wood) on one of my old 01 Silverado's Also I Can't believe I forgot the VERY common fuel pump/Sending unit failures. My 2000 had that issue. But its been said to be VERY common on the 2004 older trucks. Looks like 2005 and newer problem was fixed Dave
 
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A_Spruce

Thread starter
Messages
218
Location
Cali, USA
I searched long and hard for my 2wd Burb. Like you, I'm not into the added headaches of all wheel drive when it simply isn't necessary. I also have absolutely no use for 4wd, so paying the added buy-in cost, lower gas mileage, and higher maintenance costs just isn't worth it for me.
 
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