Re: That GM feeling ...

Sounds like it might be a problem with the previous owner(s) rather than the vehicle itself.
I have a1990 Suburban that was owned by a surveying company and had
87,000+ miles on it when I bought it in 1997. I have replaced the radiator, water pump, TBI and alternator. The tranny and engine are original and have never been touched. There have been some minor repairs but overall, it's been an excellent vehicle. I hope to keep driving it for another 15 years (it currently has 172,000+ miles).
****************************************** I would rather be exposed to the inconveninces attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. ~ Thomas Jefferson ~
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RE/

I've got a '98 that I bought new and my list is substantially longer. More problems and more strandings that all the beaters I've owned to date conbined (at least a dozen...probably more...).
Look forward to more tranny fixes: my bet is that the valve body will fail about every 30k miles until it's re-bored and sleeved.
I'm going on the assumption that my alternator will fail about every 60k miles and had planned premptive replacements every 50k from now on....but your experience has me thinking twice....maybe I'll look for a "lifetime" alternator or something - but still replace it at 50k.
My impression is that GM is working hard to achieve the image of reliability - but isn't doing much towards the substance of same. The trans valve body is a case in point - they've had at least five years to fix it - but, as far as I know, haven't done do. ----------------------- PeteCresswell
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RE/

Because the consequences of failure in operation are so severe: sudden, total failure of engine, power brakes, power steering, and lights.
Been there, done that - twice. Thank heavens it was under very forgiving conditions.
But imagine tooling down I-95 in moderatly-heavy 70-75 mph traffic in, say, the second lane from the rightmost and having this happen. Geeze, you can't even hit your four-way flashers or a turn signal to warn other drivers - the thing just *dies"... Every try steering and braking when the power is off? I'd suggest everybody try it at least once.
Worse, imagine it happening at night and/or when passing on a two-lane highway....
Comparing the possibility of death or serious injury to a couple hundred bucks on something I'm inevitably going to replace anyway - just a little sooner - it's a no-brainer to me. ----------------------- PeteCresswell
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If your car quits that quick due to alternator failure you have more wrong than just the alternator. Even if it locked up and blew the belt the engine will still run, you might lose the power steering and the water pump, but that's it. The battery will keep it running for a long time.
--
Pacifism - The theory that if they'd fed
Jeffrey Dahmer enough human flesh,
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RE/

That's the rub - but it's not all *that* long a time.
Depends on what's running: headlights, AC, and so-forth.
When I drove mine the 35 miles to NAPA to pick up an alternator I started with a fully-charged spare battery (12.8 volts). Didn't run anything on the trip - which was 35 miles, so I'd call that a best case/maximum life scenario. At NAPA, I checked the voltage and it was down to 11.8 volts which, in my book, is pretty close to the end.
The alternator fails; the driver is watching the road and not the ammeter; the 20-40 miles needed to totally drain the battery go by and ..... bingo!... ----------------------- PeteCresswell
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Ever Heard of an IDIOT LIGHT. Why do you think it is there. Also even though the battery is at 11.8 you still had a way to go, the ignition will run on as low as 9 volts and so will the ECM. If the person driving ignores the lights and every other warning that will go off when the alternator starts to die then they should lose their license since they are a hazard on the road and have no business driving.
--
Pacifism - The theory that if they'd fed
Jeffrey Dahmer enough human flesh,
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when
the
connections,
Buy a small Ammeter Guage, the no name ones are less than $20, one of the first things I did to my 88 S-10, my 2000 has a guage so I don;t need one there as bad. This is much better than a light, bell etc. You can watch every time you start as the gauge will move over to charge and gradually move back near zero. You can see whay ahead of time if the alternator is going to fail.

when the

own
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appreciate
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lights on

An alternator failure won't cause complete loss of power and hazard lights are simple bulbs with a simple thermal switch, they will operate down to around 6 volts. If you had complete loss of power then something besides the alternator is at fault. I had a 92 Plymouth voyager (plemon as I came to call it), its great design feature had the electric fan for the radiator and ac and ac comprerssor on the same fusable link wrapped up tightly next to the others. One hot day it blew and burned up the rest with it. That was a complete loss of power, no hazards, no closing the rear vent windows, etc. But you don't stop dead unless your stuck in stop and go traffic. I was able to change lanes and drift on the shoulder untill I got close to an off ramp and then pulled in the grass.

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this is a bad idea, it's been a loooooong time since a car company has put a 60A alternator in a vehicle. my '88 has a 100A. using a higher rated alternator than your ammeter can handle (I've only ever seen a 60-0-60 meter) will quickly turn your vehicle into a fireball on the side of the road.
-Bret
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RE/

That was not my experience on the first failure.
Everything totally quit within the span of about 15 seconds. First indication was that the power steering accellerator (tht thing that makes steering more/less difficult depending on speed) got flakey and steering became effortless at the 5-10 mph I was travelling at.
Within seconds of that the engine stopped and all lights/signals were dead.
Simply replacing the alternator and charging the batter cured it all. ----------------------- PeteCresswell
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Hi!

Why do you suppose they put those gauges and lights there in the first place?
Not so you'll sit and stare at them instead of the road, but so you'll check them every now and then just to be sure everything is OK.
William
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I drove about 1/2 hour without an alternator, almost made it all the way home. Things don't fail all of a sudden. You will still have lights and engine. A vehicle can still be driven without power steering and brakes. It takes a lot more push on the brake pedal (two feet if you have to) and the power steering is really only needed at low speeds like parking. A vehicle without power steering is perfectly steerable at highway speeds.

"lifetime"
total
say, the

even
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I'd
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sooner -

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Hi!

total
Uhhhh...do you drive without a battery installed then? Or have you got some 20 year old battery under the hood just to occupy space?
If you're losing everything like you mention, you have a whole lot more wrong than an alternator or battery.

Actually, I have. It wasn't bad, but it was unexpected. Never let those belts slip again in my '84. Taught me some respect for those parts and why to take care of them _now_ instead of later.
I have driven quite a few things without power steering, and it ain't bad when you're moving along.
William
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inline...
size=2>&gt; sez:<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; &lt;snip&gt;<BR>&gt; &gt; My impression is that GM is working hard to achieve the image of<BR>&gt; reliability -<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; They are certainly spending some big ad budgets to make people *think* so<BR>&gt; ... I must admit that I was swayed into believing that they had found<BR>&gt; religion.&nbsp; I know better now:<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; "Once, misfortune.<BR>&gt; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Twice, coicidence.<BR>&gt; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thrice, my enemies at work."<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; &gt; but isn't doing much towards the substance of same.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The trans valve<BR>&gt; body is a<BR>&gt; &gt; case in point - they've had at least five years to fix it - but, as far as<BR>&gt; I<BR>&gt; &gt; know, haven't done do.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; ... indeed, long time wrenches and highly credible posters here have related<BR>&gt; having to do the TCC valve body sleeve fix to '02 4L60Es.&nbsp; Simply amazing.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>As an undergrad, you no doubt know the cost to GM to redesign the valve body would be prohibitive, from corporate accounting point of view.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>It is more cost effective to have warranty repairs and/or replacements to "fix" the issue as we the owner are paying, not GM! It is a numbers game that you and I are on the wrong side of!</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>The C,K,full size vans should have been shipped with 4L80E transmissions after all mentioned are too heavy at basic empty weight for the 4L60E to cope.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>For the record, the 4L60E in our '93 K1500 'Burb failed at&nbsp;125000 Km&nbsp;due to stuck valve body&nbsp;causing torque converter slip (miss diagnosed as 3/4 clutch failure) with no evidence of noted at teardown! I have adopted a fluid change per heavy usage schedule because of our predominant stop and go usage.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT color=#0000ff></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>Your point regarding front brake wear could be a result of rear brakes being "undersized" for the weight of the vehicle.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>I have installed larger dia rear &nbsp;wheel cylinders (found them in aftermarket parts book) and am happy with the resulting better bias ie more braking from the rears,</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>basically less chance of initiating ABS in wet road conditions.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff size=2>respctfully</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT color=#0000ff><FONT face=Arial size=2>Rolf</FONT><BR></FONT><FONT face=Arial size=2>&gt; <BR>&gt; VLJ<BR>&gt; --<BR>&gt; Take only pictures, leave only bullet holes.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; </FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>
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sez:

as
related
Where was your burb assembled? North America or Mexico? Not a slam or anything for the south of the border, but I've seen more failures on the Mexico assembled Surburbans. Just my 2 centavos.
Chip
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a
<snip>
My credentials are over 30 yrs. of wrenching my own vehicles and other's vehicles that span motorcycles to cars/trucks and farm equipment. That plus having and undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering fully qualifies me for evaluating not only the condition of any vehicle but the quality of the design that went into it.
Having worked on so much machinery from that includes marques from the world over, I'm most unimpressed with GM's efforts. The only thing I've found that makes me cuss and mutter more is Italian stuff with British designs being the runner up.
The previous owner was a gent that used it as his business vehicle (he gets a new Suburban when the tax depreciation schedules have been consumed) and had all of the service records from his dealership to show the maintenance schedule. Even though he loaded the thing up with tow package and skid plates, it had never been off pavement and I put the first scratches on the inside of the receiver.
Basically, it had a creampuff life before I got it ...
VLJ -- Take only pictures, leave only bullet holes.
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I'm really impressed with your credentials. After 30 years of wrenching, you couldn't tell that a GM wasn't right for you? Most people buy theirs with only a test drive around the block! I've been wrenching for a while, too. I drive a GM. I've had others and stuff broke on them, too. I think if you're unimpressed with GM's design, you probably should have known it before you bought it. Trade out of it, man! .
sez:

buy
plus
me
the
world
gets
the
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