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'03 Suburban Quirks #5161845 07/15/19 06:51 PM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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Hey guys,

Quirk #1 that I'd like your opinions on is a strange intermittent noise. It only happens on a cold start, after sitting for a couple days. It sounds like a low, sheet metal-esk shudder, like part of the exhaust system or heat shielding. The thing is, it ONLY happens after a couple days of sitting and ONLY for a fraction of a second between engine cranking and idle. The noise is gone before you can let go of the key. Sitting in the driver's seat it seems like it's in the engine bay, not under the truck.

At first, I was thinking possible lifters leaking down, but there is no lifter tick, ever, and if it was leaky lifters, wouldn't it present itself more often and for a longer duration. it's also more of a sheet metal rattle than metal on metal pinging/knocking that lifter tick usually presents as. Now I'm leaning towards heat shielding, but again, why would it be sporadic and only on first start of the day after sitting for several days and not all the time?

She's been sitting now for a few days and I'll be driving her tomorrow. I'll try to come up with a better noise analogy, possibly have someone else turn the key while I poke my nose under the hood, until then, all opinions welcomed. cool


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5161861 07/15/19 07:08 PM
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c502cid Offline
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I wish mine would only do it for a quick second. I've replaced every tensioner, pulley, and belt. Mine doesn't make the noise without the belt. 02 GMC with a 496/8.1 big block.



15 Chev Trax AWD
02 GMC 3500 8.1/Ally DRW 4x4
00 Blazer 4.3 4x4
97/98 Civics
84 Chev K30 454EFI/T400/NP205 DRW 4x4
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Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5161884 07/15/19 07:33 PM
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Fitz98 Offline
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I also have a startup noise like you describe, sounds like after 1 cycle of the pistons it is gone, which I thought was just oil leaking down. It makes me cringe every time. It does it each day, worse when left to sit for a couple days. I park my truck front up up on a slight incline if that matters. Another thing I notice that it is worse as the summer is getting hotter here in Florida. I notice you are in CA, so maybe it is temperature related? I also have a bad knock sensor that eventually needs replacement, don't know if it is related or not.

I also just had my driver side Cat converter cut out of my '03 Suburban. Sounded like a rapping rod.
Not saying that is what your problem could be, but mine started very gradually, initially only slight sound coming from what seemed drivers side engine compartment at cold startup and went away when it heated up. It got worse each day and eventually I had it removed. Inside the honeycomb material came loose and was broken. Maybe you are hearing a piece of that material against the cat converter housing?
You could tap the converter with a hammer to see if you can duplicate that noise.

Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5161903 07/15/19 07:58 PM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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For what it's worth, the Burb is new to me, I bought it the end of February and it did it back then when the temps were in the 50'-60's

Hmmm, hadn't thought of belt slap, but that is exactly the kind of vibratory noise I'm hearing. I might just have to pull all the belts and see if it does it.

The Burb is parked on a flat driveway, oil is fresh-ish (changed in Feb.) and at the proper level. It's checked often because the oil filter leaks slightly, but not enough to warrant changing it before the next OCI.

The rattle does sound a bit like an exhaust rattle, but I would think that if it were a cat, it would do it virtually every time it's started up and not just occasionally after sitting for several days. It's no worse today than 5 months ago when I bought it.


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5161909 07/15/19 08:03 PM
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clinebarger Offline
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Knock around on the catalytic converters.....The catalyst heat shields are bolted to the body. People have a tendency to bend-up the passenger side one getting to #8 spark plug on vehicles with auxiliary HVAC.

The exhaust manifolds have heat shields bolted to them.....Make sure all the bolts are present & the shields are tight.

There is also a heat shield bolted to the passenger side of the trans, Make sure it's tight


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/U341E
2000 Toyota Avalon 1MZ-FE/A541E
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: clinebarger] #5161946 07/15/19 08:47 PM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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Great tips, Cline, thanks. Yes, the Burb does have the aux. AC unit in the back of the truck, so it's likely that someone's been in there bending/moving heat shields.


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5162024 07/15/19 10:28 PM
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379KITTY Offline
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I have heard some odd noises on cold start that seem to be specific to hydroboost equipped vehicles. Assumed maybe it was the accumulator pressurizing, never really gave it much thought otherwise. No idea if any of the above mentioned have hydroboost or not - tho I'd assume the 8.1/496 does.

Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5162684 07/16/19 03:25 PM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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Ok, I think we scared it! LOL

She's been sitting for about 4 days, hopped in this morning and it didn't give the customary flutter/rattle/vibration she normally does after sitting. smirk2 not that I'm complaining, mind you. grin2


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5165622 07/19/19 05:54 PM
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another Todd Offline
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I have an 02 Yukon 5.3 that does that. When my vehicle sits several days it revs instantaneously up upon start up, higher than a daily start up and just for a second then idles down a bit, it does not do this if I drive it every day. I cannot prove it, but I think it is the cold belt slipping on one of the pulleys upon the instant rev up, as the engine revs quicker than all the cold belt/accessories can come up to speed. Although it sounds different, maybe because it is cold, but it would be similar to some diesels that chirp when shut off. That chirp is the belt slipping because all the accessories and belt cannot stop as fast as the engine does, and you get a belt slip chirp. In any event, I don't worry about it.


2017 Ford Escape 2.0
2002 GMC Yukon
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Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5168571 07/23/19 12:06 AM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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Thanks for the input Todd. cool

I fired up the Burb yesterday, after several days of sitting. This time I was standing outside the door, reached in and turned the key. I hear the flutter/rattle both under the hood and under the drivers door, which is pointing in the direction of heat shielding or the cat, as someone mentioned earlier.

I really want to figure out what's going on, simply because weird noises and rattles tend to drive me nuts. crzy Be that as it may, I don't have the luxury of time or space to dig in at this very moment, however, I am taking note of everyone's suggestions and will be going down the list as soon as I have the opportunity, probably a couple weeks.

Again, thank you to everyone who has participated and offered suggestions, I will continue to update this thread as I have more to share. cool


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5169406 07/24/19 04:27 AM
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another Todd Offline
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I think if it was the belt in your case, you could hear it as you describe. Belt noise would echo off the ground and you would hear it under the vehicle, as well as under the hood as you describe.

c502cid reported above that his does not make the noise when his belt if off the engine. So in his case, no belt spinning = no noise.

Keep us posted, there seems to be a number of people searching for the cause.


2017 Ford Escape 2.0
2002 GMC Yukon
2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI
2010 Itasca Meridain/Freightliner Cummins 6.7 non DEF
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5196151 08/25/19 11:30 AM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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Quick Update:

6 months of ownership now with no major complaints or problems to report. I think the trans is shifting better now, I can actually feel most of the up-shifts, whereas before the only way you knew there was a shift was by the rpm change, unless you were really getting after it, then the shifts were a little more pronounced. I'm guessing that a Suburban is considered more of a "car" than a "truck", so the shifts are designed to be more gentle, car-like, than kick you in the butt truck-like. Still, I think they could be a little more firm and I suspect that exchanging more of the tranny fluid than what a typical pan drop/filter change does, would accomplish this goal. For the record, when I was doing the pre-purchase inspection, the tranny fluid was not discolored and there was no strange odors. Upon purchase a fluid/filter service was done.

I don't have the luxury of time or space currently to start going back over everything that the inept shop did or didn't do. I've kept a log of everyone's suggestions and will be tackling the list, hopefully within the next few months.

Another quick update:
Quirk #1 - the strange rattle/flutter noise that started this thread. It sounds like a loose heat shield or something along those lines, the odd thing is that it only happens after several days of sitting, one would think that if it were a loose item that it would happen at every start up, not intermittently. At any rate, I noticed that the plastic engine cover was really loose and couldn't be tightened. I gave it a good shake and it kinda sounded like the rattle/flutter that I've been chasing down, so I took it off. It's been 3 weeks now and I have not had the noise return. Hard to believe this is the problem, but certainly an easy enough fix if it is.


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5207801 09/08/19 03:22 PM
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Reinstalled the engine cover today. It sits very loosely in the mounts, so I put some thick vinyl tape around the slip ears and a washer under the hold-down bolt, it now sits much more securely. Fingers crossed the rattle/flutter is a thing of the past.


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5225113 09/29/19 01:23 AM
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A_Spruce Offline OP
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Nope! Rattle is back! I suspect the plastic engine cover is the major culprit.


'03 Suburban
Re: '03 Suburban Quirks [Re: A_Spruce] #5225517 09/29/19 12:56 PM
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another Todd Offline
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If that's the case why would it only happen after it sits for a couple days? I just accept my noise now, nothing to worry about.


2017 Ford Escape 2.0
2002 GMC Yukon
2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI
2010 Itasca Meridain/Freightliner Cummins 6.7 non DEF
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