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1996 GMC Suburban 1500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1996 GMC 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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22
Known Problems

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 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.

Power brake systems using "hydro-boost" may leak power steering fluid from the hydro-boost unit located behind the brake master cylinder. Replacement of the hydro-boost unit is the common repair to correct this concern.

The windshield wipers may not work intermittently due to a faulty wiper motor control board. Our technicians tell us that lightly taping on the wiper motor when the fault occurs should temporarily get the wipers working again. Some vehicles were recalled for this problem and some were not. You will need to check with your local dealer to find out if a specific vehicle was included.

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

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 headlight switch used on the GMC 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. 

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

Our technicians recommend flushing the brake fluid every 60,000 miles.  Brake fluid that is dirty may cause problems in the brake system.

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 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.

A Loose or worn gas cap may cause Check Engine Light to illuminate.

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

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