Cranky Farmer

Duramax problems

42 posts in this topic

So I just got back from my local GMC dealer after having my truck towed in for the third time because it wouldn't start. It's a 2003 with 85k miles on it, and arguably the engine is just getting broke in so I don't understand all the problems I am having with the truck. I ended up taking a service and sales guy into the room and giving them an earful about the truck. I explained the remote places I go with the truck and that if it were to quit on me like has done with zero warning these last three times that my life could quite literally be in jeopardy. I explained that I do not trust my truck any more and will not be making any long trips in it until GM either gets it fixed or I buy a new truck. They also understand that if I am not satisfied with what they do with me and this truck that my business will be going across the street to Ford or Dodge.They promised me that they would have a talk with the service manager on Monday to look at history on other '03 Duramax's to see if these are common problems or if I just have a lemon. They also promised to have a conference call with me on Tuesday or Wednesday with a rep from GM to see what can be done to make me happy. No idea as of right now how this is going to play out, but it's all pretty frustrating. We're going to start by having the tech's determine what is wrong with it on Monday and proceed from there. I am a devoted Chevy/GM guy and have never owned anything BUT a GM product, but if they don't take care of me on this matter I am going to have a Cummins or International engine parked in the drive way soon.

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OK, What exactly, in detail occurs just prior to and during the failure?(mil comes on, loss of power etc.) What is the failure? (stalling, quit won't restart, runs rough etc.)What has the dealer done?, if it's a no start, then what do they do to get it started? please give details. Were they able to duplicate the problem? Were there any Diagnostic trouble codes set? I hate diesels but the Duramax is the better one to own if you must.Ralph

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I had absolutely no warning or loss in performance on two of the three occasions. It would turn over, just not start. I never had a check engine light come on or any sign there was a problem. Yesterday it started long enough to build oil pressure and then died. It would again turn over, but not start. (All three instances it would crank by not start) When I dropped it off via tow truck today there was no tech to trouble shoot or try and pull codes.The first time it died it was due to an o-ring failure, and I believe there were no TC's to pull and it took them a week to figure it out. The second time there was a component in the fuel tank that had died. I don't know if there were any TC's for the second but I assume there were because it was a quick turn around.Just my luck that it decided to tank on me on a Friday night after the service department was closed!

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It may be possible you are drawing air into the fuel system, possibly past another "O" ring. I looked at the tank/sending unit assembly and there is no pump in the tank. Now, when the engine quits, have you ever opened the hood, gone over on the passenger side of the vehicle and primed the fuel system via the priming piston on top of the fuel filter? If not, you should attempt to. It may take more than 30 pumps to prime a dry system. There is also a small plastic bleed screw that can be opened via a screwdriver after pumping to let some air out. If it starts after the priming then indeed you do have a small leak in the system. This is usually the case after the filter has been replaced or the fuel system has been opened for servicing.If air is not the problem then the first thing that has to be determined is, is it fuel or is it electrical. This may be hard to determine if the Tech can't duplicate the problem. Thats why I am informing you about the fuel system priming. Not to end on a negative note but don't expect to much from any GM rep at this point. What would he offer you? If they are working on the problem, even with little success, the rep can't do any more until they identify something. GM rep's don't necessarily have any technical background, most are and have been in the past, some form of "administrator"Keep us up to date on your progress/lack of progressRalph

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That's great info, and no I have not tried it. I wish the truck were still here so I could try that. And I did replace the fuel filter on Tuesday. I will let you know what I learn.

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The GM rep could initiate a "buy back" for him. That's what he can do. Although, the problem may be that it's a 2003 now. I know of 2 different people (one Ford, and one Chevy) that have gone through a dealer "buy back" in the last 18 months. I was fixin' to be a third as my Ford (International) engine had a very small oil leak that they couldn't fix for a very long time...

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I understand your prostration. It happen to me last year while hunting in Utah. Opening day, I can't leave the camp cause my 2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD won't start in the morning. It will only start after the sun is up and the temperature start to rise. By then it's too late to go hunting. This happen every single morning, the whole week I was there hunting. Went home empty handed and I'm pissed. Took the truck to the dealer as soon as I get back home and they kept it for two weeks. The mechanic at the dealer blame the aftermarket alarm system that I installed on the truck. After removing the alarm, the truck still wont start. Then they blame the DVD player that was installed together with the alarm. That didn't solve the problem either. Finally they determined that the problem was in the sending unit computer. They replaced that and I never have any problem afterwards. I love my truck, and the Duramax is one hell of an engine. Hope they'll find the problem on your truck. Goodluck. RJ

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A buy back is highly unlikely, the vehicle is long out of the base warranty, only the emission warranty and body rust through are in effect now, the vehicle has not been in for the same repair in excess of twenty days and the dealer is attempting to correct the concern. Buy backs are initiated due to faulty design, part not available for an excessive time or a verified concern can not be corrected. As I stated earlier, don't count on the rep for anything other than lip service.The vehicle has 85K on it. Though not a lot of miles for this vehicle I still feel the best approach is to work with the dealer. Understand, he and his service department are the guys that are helping you. Some of these problems can take a while to identify and correct, so being demanding, confrontational, threatening or giving them a peace of your mind just puts them to sleep when it comes to your problem.SmallBlockFuelie mentioned that he had replaced the fuel filter recently, it may be as simple as the O ring at the filter adapter or the O ring at the water in fuel sensor leaking. When I say leaking I refer to it leaking air into the fuel system as the temperature changes, IE when it cools down. This type of failure may not exhibit an external fuel leak, and thats why it may be challenging to identify. I would panic slowly on this one. Lets see what they discover next week.Holy cow Bat Man, its 12:45am !! Good Night

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Sounds like an air leak in your fuel system. Does it only happen after the truck has been sitting a while? When it fails to start, have you tried to manually pump the fuel system primer? It should take about 20 pumps and then you should be able to start your truck.I'd bet on one of several things:Bad connection along one of the fuel lines.Mis-seated fuel filterWarped fuel filter head assemblyProblem in sending unit (but you say yours was replaced)Or it can be small dry rot cracks in your fuel lines allowing air in.I had a similar problem and replaced the fuel filter head unit to no avail so I then replaced all soft fuel lines. Have not had a problem since.Rubber parts in dry climates only last so long.I'd suggest you replace your fuel lines.BTW- if you need cheap parts try gmpartsdirect or thepartsbin. Great sites for gettting GM parts at less than 1/2 what the dealer will charge.

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I believe it's an air leak too. I've had three diesels though older models but that sounds like an air leak and I've had them. I also have had FORD buy back two vehicles one a diesel pickup and the other was one of the first 100 Expeditions made. Neither was for the engine though.

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I understand your prostration. It happen to me last year while hunting in Utah. Opening day, I can't leave the camp cause my 2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD won't start in the morning. It will only start after the sun is up and the temperature start to rise. By then it's too late to go hunting. This happen every single morning, the whole week I was there hunting. Went home empty handed and I'm pissed. Took the truck to the dealer as soon as I get back home and they kept it for two weeks. The mechanic at the dealer blame the aftermarket alarm system that I installed on the truck. After removing the alarm, the truck still wont start. Then they blame the DVD player that was installed together with the alarm. That didn't solve the problem either. Finally they determined that the problem was in the sending unit computer. They replaced that and I never have any problem afterwards. I love my truck, and the Duramax is one hell of an engine. Hope they'll find the problem on your truck. Goodluck. RJ
I would've guessed the diesel was starting to gel up in the cold weather. :drinks:

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SBF- I've had the same thing happen to me on my '05 Duramax. I pulled my Edge EZ out of the truck before taking it to the dealer and the problem went away. Haven't had a problem since then and Edge is replacing the whole thing for free. Don't suppose you have a programmer on yours???

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I would've guessed the diesel was starting to gel up in the cold weather.
Nope, that wasn't it. The temperature never dipped down below 40 degrees. This also happens while the car was inside my garage. It was definitely the computer. The truck is working perfectly now.

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What computer? There is no pump or computer in the sending unit and the CP3 high-pressure fuel pump in the engine is mechanical.If it is a single discrete air leak, the dealer should be able to pressure test the fuel system to isolate it. If it is sucking air through micro cracks in the soft fuel lines then this can be a bear to diagnose. With your truck's age and miles, I'd say it is not a bad investment to just replace all rubber in the fuel system with new. Maybe put a new fuel filter housing in first just to eliminate that as an issue. I did that then had to do the rubber lines. No stalling problem since. I did replace my sender recently since it started throwing off my fuel gauge. While I was in there I put a 45 gal tank and upgraded the fuel pick-up, in-tank fuel line, and filler neck.BTW Edge boxes for D-max trucks cause lots of problems. Their tunes are great but their hardware causes stalling, no-starts and other problems. I took mine out, they replaced it, after three box replacements - I sold the replacement unopened on ebay and have not looked back. Been getting into tuning my own truck using EFILive but that is another thing altogether.

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I have the SuperTuner for mine and like it so far.The truck came back home tonight. Turns out the fuel filter was loose and letting air by. I called the guy who installed the filter to let him know I was bringing him my repair bill tomorrow!Thanks for all the help, advice, and pointers. I learned something here.

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BTW Edge boxes for D-max trucks cause lots of problems. Their tunes are great but their hardware causes stalling, no-starts and other problems. I took mine out, they replaced it, after three box replacements - I sold the replacement unopened on ebay and have not looked back. Been getting into tuning my own truck using EFILive but that is another thing altogether.
That's what I'll be doing with my Edge EZ. They've already warrantied it once. I'm looking at going with the Moonshine tune next. Then my kitty's gonna disappear and the EGR's getting plated.

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My dads 2002 duramax had the same problem at 1 month old it didn't want to start in the morning. The dealer had it for a month they thought they fixed it . It still didn't want to start they had a GM mechanic check it again. Then they found out it had rust in the diesel bad tank on farm.It was our fault since then it has no problem we pull cattle to the auction every Tuesday. SBF tell the dealer to drop the fuel it might be the problem.When they pull the fuel filter have them tap it and see if dog poop falls out of it. good luck

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When I purchased my second diesel pickup the front tank leaked. At the time they had just changed the style and you couldn't get a new one Ford said. They did take another tank out of a NEW diesel they had just gotten in and I can verify they did. I went to the station and filled it up and it leaked too. Great! Ford had a bad batch of fuel tanks. So they said they'd "seal" the tank. It seemed to work and I thought that was it. About a month later I'm driving down the freeway when my engine quits. I try switching tanks and nothing it won't start. I call the dealer they tow it in and after a couple of days I get a call they ordered a new tank for my truck. I went to pick it up and the service guy says I'll let the mechanic tell you this one. So he says I started to check the fuel system and when I got to your fuel filter I thought you sucked a scuba diver into your tank. He said I pulled out what looked like the remains of a wet suit from the filter. I said great! When they said they were going to seal my tank I didn't think they meant with a real seal! Apparently the sealant they used wasn't cured when they put fuel back into it. We had a good laugh about it. His buddy another mechanic said you should have seen his eyes while he was pulling these rubber strips out of the fuel filter. :good:

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