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1999 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1999 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The front or rear differential may develop an abnormal noise due to worn bearings or another internal fault. Our technicians tell us that a complete overhaul of the affected differential is commonly necessary to correct this condition.

The power door lock actuators may become slow to operate or stop working completely and require replacement.

The speedometer or other instrument panel gauge may begin to work erratically at times. Our technicians tell us that the instrument cluster must be sent to a repair facility to correct this fault. The warranty has been extended on some of these units to 7 years or 70,000 miles.

Illumination of the Check Engine Light can be caused by a loose or worn gas cap.

The inside and outside door handles are prone to breaking.

The 4WD transfer case encoder motor position sensor or the selector switch may fail causing the service 4WD message to be displayed. Fault code(s) stored in the transfer case control module will be of assistance in determining the exact fault causing the message to be displayed.

The intake manifold gasket may develop an external engine oil or coolant leak. In some cases, an internal coolant leak may occur causing coolant to mix with the engine oil. Running the engine with a coolant/oil mix may result in engine damage. Replacing the intake manifold gasket should correct this issue.

It is common for the fuel level sensor in the fuel tank read the fuel level incorrectly. The sensor must be replaced to correct the condition. Our technicians recommend having the complete fuel pump module replaced on high mileage vehicles.

A dirty throttle body may cause a lower than normal idle and an engine stalling condition can develop. Performing a throttle body service will generally correct this concern.

One or more heater & AC (HVAC) air delivery and/or temperature mode door actuator may fail. This can result in incorrect air delivery or temperature. If this occurs, fault code(s) stored in the HVAC control module should be available to assist with diagnoses.

The 1998-2001 Suburban 1500 has a known issue with the air pump check valve which causes illumination of the check engine light. There are no notable symptoms, but the vehicle will not pass state inspection or smog testing. 

When the valve fails, it sticks closed, and the computer sets the code P1416. Replacement of the check valve is the only fix, as the valve is not serviceable. 

This page can provide more information about the air pump check valve. 

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) front wheel speed sensors are prone to failure. When a sensor fails, the ABS warning light may illuminate and/or the ABS system may activate erratically.

The transmission may develop a harsh 1-2 shift and/or illumination of the Check Engine Light with code P1870 stored. This can be caused by wear of the bore for the TCC isolator and regulator valves in the valve body. This condition does not commonly occur until the transmission reaches normal operating temperature. If the valve body is worn, replacement will be necessary to correct this concern.

The headlight switch used on the Chevrolet Suburban 1500 is known to fail through normal operation. Since the headlight switch is also integrated into the interior lights, a malfunctioning switch can cause issues with interior lights as well.

  • Symptoms of a failed headlight switch include:
  • Headlights and taillights failing to turn on or off
  • Interior lights flicker, or fail to turn on or off
  • Gauge cluster lighting off or flickering with headlights on
  • Parking light malfunctions  

This issue is well known with General Motors Trucks and SUVs, and is solved by testing and, if needed, replacing the headlight/dimmer switch. Bad grounding wires at the tail-lights, and dirty/corroded tow package wires can also lead to some of these issues.