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Old 07-06-2014, 09:38 AM   #1
Drif10 OP
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Educate me on Tahoe/Yukon's 01-04

Retiring my 4runner. Needed to tow 3500 lbs. Not looking at the XL versions, more space than I need. Want comfort, and since the runner got 17mpg, these look comparable from what I read on Fuelly.

I can get these cheap here, what should I watch out for? What are the fast wear items? Desirable ones? Bad versions? Recommended mods?

I see these things everywhere, lots with significant mileage.


Any advice appreciated.


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Old 07-06-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
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get the big V8, 5.3L I think. The smaller one is a gas hog and cant pull a wet noodle in half. The early years of these motors also tended to have a slight lifter tap on start up. The fix is to get a oil filter for a later model. Yes GM fixed it by using a different oil filter. They have a anti back flow valve that keep the oil primed and doesn't let it back flow through the system. I don't know about the Tahoe's but the 01 02 GM trucks have something in the front end that caused a slack bump in the steering. it can be felt at slower speeds turning in parking lots and on rougher driveways. My bosses truck has been like this for years now and I refuse to drive it. it worrys me because it feels like something could fall off to me. But I've only seen this on a few trucks.

I bought and sold a 01 a few months back, 2 wheel drive, 5.3L, 3ed row seat, had 200k ish miles on it. didn't use a drop of oil and drove better then most cars. I wanted to keep it but it just didnt fit any need that I had for a truck. oh and they blow the bulbs in the day time running lights like crazy. this seems to be on all GM trucks and SUVs of that vintage. Buying the best bulbs you can find helps. Oh and some of them had electrical problems with the gauge cluster. but that has become a easy thing to get fixed and normally runs around 100 bucks for someone else to do.

All in all they are good SUVs and will do what you ask of it. i would get a 4X4, they ride just as good and get you our of a bind when you need them.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:39 AM   #3
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Excellent info, thanks for the write up.

I'd noticed that these and the pickups all seemed to eat their drl bulbs, always see them with one out.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #4
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Is it just the filter to change or the filter housing that's the fix?
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:27 PM   #5
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Wife has an '04 Tahoe 5.3L V8 that we bought used in '05 with 11K miles from the local Chevy dealer. We thought it was a lemon, did the carfax thing and I crawled all over it. Took a chance a bought it and also picked the GM extended warranty.

Awesome vehicle!

It's 10 years old now, the paint is showing some age and the headliner needs replacing. It only has 93K miles with original brakes.

We had some steering clacking (half shaft?) that was fixed (warranty) and the instrument cluster (warranty/class action). It occasionally will turn the a/c from cold to full blast heat which is a common problem for that vintage GM product, we just pull to the side of the road and turn off/on the car. I also replaced both front hub/spindle/bearing assemblies. A valve was replaced for the vapor recovery emissions system (PITA design).

It also tows our 21' boat great as spare tow vehicle.

If you can find a one owner grocery getter, buy it!

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Old 07-06-2014, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drif10 View Post
Is it just the filter to change or the filter housing that's the fix?
It's just the filter. they look exactly the same but one has a anti back flow valve in it and the other does not. I think 03 and up will show to use the new one at any parts house. and if it doesn't tap for 30 seconds or so on cold start up, don't worry about it. but if you look at a 01 or 02 that has a very slight tap for a few seconds on start up it's not a motor problem just a flaw the GM didn't see and fixed with a simple different oil filter. Most place use the new stile filter on them all now anyway.

as for the bulbs. I think the big problem is the day time running lights take the same bulbs as the turn sigs and park lights and they where never meant to stay on all the time. Like I said buying really good bulbs helps this problem.
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:53 PM   #7
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I had an 03 extended cab Silverado that I traded last winter for the Expedition. I was really, really sad to see it go. It had 120k+ when I got rid of it and did not use oil. I think I had to replace an intake manifold gasket, but cannot remember if it was that or the 4.3 we had in the Astro van. I LOVED pulling my boat around with it.

Had I bought a Tahoe instead of the PU, I would still have it.
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:36 PM   #8
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I had an 03 extended cab Silverado that I traded last winter for the Expedition. I was really, really sad to see it go. It had 120k+ when I got rid of it and did not use oil. I think I had to replace an intake manifold gasket, but cannot remember if it was that or the 4.3 we had in the Astro van. I LOVED pulling my boat around with it.

Had I bought a Tahoe instead of the PU, I would still have it.

I'll bet it was the 4.3 that had to have the gaskets. they blew them like crazy until GM updated the gaskets to have mettle inserts to keep them from crushing. the 5.0 and 5.7s had the same problem in the Vortec line.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:54 PM   #9
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Does anyone know if Chevy/GM ever fixed the notorious leaking valve stem seals, or leaking rear main seal at 70-80,000 miles?
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:32 PM   #10
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Ulthane, I don't believe those are problems on the LS motors.

OP, Watch for the security light flashing in the dash. They have some "no start" issues. They are a solid rig other than a few small issues. Good Luck!
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:28 PM   #11
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Does anyone know if Chevy/GM ever fixed the notorious leaking valve stem seals, or leaking rear main seal at 70-80,000 miles?
I did not have either of those issues. Bought mine at 30k.
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:34 PM   #12
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Ulthane, I don't believe those are problems on the LS motors.

OP, Watch for the security light flashing in the dash. They have some "no start" issues. They are a solid rig other than a few small issues. Good Luck!
Is that a cheap/easy fix?
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:05 PM   #13
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It can be but not always. I suggest you Google it. There can be several different cause's
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:28 PM   #14
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They do not like extended idle. Had a couple at work that were that vintage. Let them idle for an hour and they would all be pissing coolant on the ground. First one I thought was odd. But every single one did it. I can't remember it we had 3 or 4 of them. Couple of the big bosses liked to start them in the morning and not shut them off all day. I have no idea how these could pull police duty with a cooling system that boiled at long idles.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:20 AM   #15
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My whole family used to be Chevy people. At one time we had 3 Tahoes and one Suburban. Everyone of the Tahoes was the years you specified and all of them needed replacement transmissions before 75k miles. Everyone in my family now drives Toyotas. We all have well over 75k miles and no major repairs.
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