1997 GMC 2500 Pickup Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 GMC 2500 Pickup 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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23
Known Problems

The headlight switch used on the GMC Sierra 2500 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. 

The engine may develop a misfire due to worn valve seats. This fault will cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us the misfire may or may not be felt while driving. They further recommend that both cylinder heads be removed and thoroughly inspected and repaired as necessary.

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

One or more fuel injectors may become stuck closed causing an engine misfire  and the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us that this problem can be caused by some fuel additives. There are special procedures which may be able to restore the affected injector. If this fails the affected injector must be replaced.

The spark plugs should be replaced every 100,000 miles. Our technicians recommend replacing the spark plug wires also at this time.

Vehicles equipped whit a 4 speed automatic 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 engine idle may be lower than normal due to deposits built up on the throttle body, which can restrict air flow at idle. To low of an engine idle can result in a stalling condition. Performing a throttle body service will generally correct this concern.

Extended life coolant may become contaminated and require cooling system service before the recommended 100,000 miles.

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

The quick-connect fittings for the heater hoses tend to leak engine coolant. This problem commonly occurs because the metal housing has become brittle, which can break and cause leaks.

The alternator may fail causing the battery to go dead, or an abnormal noise may develop. The dash warning light may or may not illuminate. A failed alternator will require replacement.

The air conditioning compressor may develop an abnormal noise and require replacement. We recommend that whenever an AC compressor is being replaced for a noise condition, a filter kit should be installed to prevent any metal particles in the system from damaging the new compressor.

A coolant leak may develop from the water pump. This can result in an engine overheating condition. A leaking water pump will require replacement.

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.

The intake manifold gasket may develop and 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.