2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 as reported by 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 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 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 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 power door lock actuators may become slow to operate or stop working completely and require replacement.

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. 

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.

Our technicians highly recommend that the transmission is serviced every 30,000 miles to avoid problems and maintain optimal operating order.

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.

The steering may develop a clunk type noise from the upper intermediate steering shaft.  Our technicians tell us that you should check with you local GM dealer to find out what the latest repair is for this condition.

The fuel pump may fail causing the engine to stall and not restart. Our technicians recommend replacing the fuel filter every 30,000 miles to help prevent undue strain on the fuel pump.

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.

The daytime running lights are prone to burning out. Our technicians tell us that the light sockets may show signs of heat damage but usually are OK. Always be sure to use the correct replacement bulb for the best life expectancy. The new bulb recommendation for 2000-2003 models is #4114K (trade number).

One or both secondary air injection check valves may become restricted causing poor air flow resulting in illumination of the Check Engine Light. It is often recommend to replace both check valves even if a fault code is set for only one bank of cylinders. Replacing only one valve may result in a return trip to the repair shop.

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.