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2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton


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MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 10:16 AM

Post #1 of 27 (3508 views)
2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Alright guys...when it rains it pours. We were heading to the pumpkin farm Got about 3 miles from home, went over a hill, and then the truck starting shaking. It almost felt like a flat tire. It's definitely coming from the front end. I looked underneath and didn't see anything obvious. Right when you take off the truck shakes and shudders pretty good. Once I got to about 30mph it just vibrates. When I slow down it does the hard shake again. I did notice one of the half shaft boots has a hole in it. It's the one on the passenger side and that seems to be the side I'm feeling it from. Is there anything else that could be causing it or do you think I found the problem?

I was able to limp the truck back home. Gonna take the Envoy now and hopefully stop by the parts store while we're out.

Like always, thanks for the help.


Hammer Time
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Oct 27, 2012, 11:05 AM

Post #2 of 27 (3479 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Spin the tires and look for a deformity.



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MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 11:34 AM

Post #3 of 27 (3473 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Will do...I just purchased new tires about a month ago and only have maybe 300 miles on them. I didn't hit any pothole or anything when it happened. Just went over one of those small hills that make your stomach feel funny. Just wondering if the up and down of the suspension caused it. The truck does have a leveling kit which I've heard can put stress on the cv shafts. I've thought about buying the stock keys and switching it back. It does look nice though. I realize even new tires can have issues though.

I'll let you know the results when we get home and i'm able to check. I went ahead and picked up a cv shaft while we were out just in case that is the problem.

Thanks HT


(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Oct 27, 2012, 11:39 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Oct 27, 2012, 11:42 AM

Post #4 of 27 (3468 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

300 miles on new tires - hmmm? Wheel lug nuts tight? I know it sounds too stupid but that crap happens,

T



MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 12:22 PM

Post #5 of 27 (3457 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

I hear ya Tom....I'll check that too. What got me thinking cv shaft is because the boot has a hole in it. I've had the truck about two months so I have no idea how long it has been like that. I'm sure no grease = problems. Could a bad cv assembly cause vibration? I always thought it was more of a clunk or pop when turning the wheel but maybe the guts fell apart or something?

I need to get home and check the obvious before I start guessing and asking more questions so I can narrow it down.


Tom Greenleaf
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Oct 27, 2012, 12:34 PM

Post #6 of 27 (3454 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Hole in boot is a problem or will cause one. Yes - most CV joint give that "snap, crackle and pop" on turns but could fail to other symptoms. I would think just grabbing it or watching it while jockeying wheel would show. If you have to have it out to tell probably worth just getting another as the boot alone can be a PITA and some (check) rebuilt w exchange are not so pricey.

Wheel lugs. Absolutely shocking that hand tight waiting to finish but left there they don't always give off any sign for a while. I find that happens when more than one person is working on a vehicle and it happened to me over the years. Everyone thinks it's done - NOT. Ever since my rule is NOTHING moves till I've checked myself (worked alone but some folks would help) right torque and all. None of that wild air wrench unless it is settable for exact torque or use of torque sticks. You don't see people (techs) using anything and it drives me nuts - short driveCrazy

No harm in ruling that out. Wouldn't have thought of it except for the new tires and most people don't have tire machines sitting around so have that much done.

Hoist while known tight and check for anything odd, free-play (none) and so on. Tire itself could have gone bad and would think you could see some problem just spinning it,

Tom



Hammer Time
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Oct 27, 2012, 12:48 PM

Post #7 of 27 (3447 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In


Quote
Could a bad cv assembly cause vibration? I always thought it was more of a clunk or pop when turning the wheel but maybe the guts fell apart or something?


So, apparently this is a 4WD. As a rule the inner can cause a vibration under acceleration and the outer will just click as you suggested.

Your description doesn't really sound like an axle problem but a separated tire would act like that. So would a locked up caliper.



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MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 3:06 PM

Post #8 of 27 (3439 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Sorry I didn't specify HT. I guess that would be some important info. Yes, it is 4 wheel drive.

Tom.....I went ahead and picked up a cv shaft. Brand new one only cost $60. I figured it would be twice that. I just wanted one on hand just in case since the parts store in my small town is closed til Monday.

Just got home so getting ready to check it out. I'll post back with any findings.


(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Oct 27, 2012, 3:12 PM)


MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 3:31 PM

Post #9 of 27 (3434 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Okay, lugs are tight and the tire seems to be okay unless a belt is broke that I can see. When I spin the there is a little bit of resistance about half a revolution and then it spins easier the other half of a revolution.

I think I'm going to go ahead and replace the cv shaft due to the ripped boot. Heck, a boot costs $20. Like Tom said, while I have it apart I might as well go ahead and replace it. It looks like that tear has been there for some time so who knows what kind of shape it's in. I just don't see anything else but doesn't mean there isn't. The ball joints feel okay and all suspension seems to be stout. Hopefully the the shaft swap out will take care of it. If not, keep those typing fingers warmed up!..lol...thanks for all the help.


MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 8:06 PM

Post #10 of 27 (3419 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Well HT, like usual, you were right. I replaced the cv shaft and it's still doing it. I'm going to have to go over everything real good tomorrow. You mentioned the tires but they look fine. What are the chances of something still being wrong with a tire even if it's not noticeable? Like a belt? Is there anyway to confirm a bad tire without taking it back to the tire shop? With them having right around 300 miles you wouldn't think that would be it but it happens. The tires are BF Goodrich All Terrain. They haven't left the pavement, haven't hit a curb or anything, and haven't hot rodded the truck at all. I mentioned that the truck has a leveling kit. It looks as if it still has the OEM shocks. If happened right after we went over a small hill that really extends the shocks. What are the chances it could've over extended a shock? Could a broken shock cause the shuddering? Like I said before, it almost feels like a flat tire, not as bad as a flat, but similar.

I mainly concentrated on the passenger side because that's where it felt like it was coming from. I'll have to take a closer look at the driver's side too. By the time I get this taken care of I won't remember crap about reassembling that tranny...lol


(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Oct 27, 2012, 8:48 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Oct 27, 2012, 9:25 PM

Post #11 of 27 (3416 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Half asleep and going blind doesn't help at this end. OK - half shaft is done and some are cheap as said. "Feels like flat tire" is the clue. Shock? Probably not but brake or tires could be. Move them and see if problem moves. Flaw of a tire may be unseen at the low miles on them separated inside making a soft spot.

Some but older that did I could about look out a window if driver's front and see it not right or just reference the hood with an object on road and see it move like an untrue wheel/tire issue.

Other is if you did just spin the wheel is it setting true on the hub? Said a few times out there that rust between rotor and bearing hub can be a problem but you've been there for CV joint haven't you? Only happens if rotors are not stuck to hub and flakes fall down unseen but would be obvious just spinning wheel while hoisted.

This issue should be easier than this to figure out and back to the trans before you forget where you were with that,

T



MarineGrunt
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Oct 27, 2012, 9:40 PM

Post #12 of 27 (3410 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Thanks Tom. Good idea on moving the tire. I'll swap it with a rear tire. I just find it odd that it happened right when we went over that small hill. Well, more of a hump. It's not a huge hump but does extend the shocks a little. That's what made me think of that. I've been over that hill plenty of times though. All it takes is once I guess.

When I installed he cv joint I took off the caliper and rotor. The pads and rotor seem like they're somewhat new. The caliper seemed to be okay too.

Hopefully it is just a tire. If so I sure hope the tire shop replaces it without issue. I'm not sure what the warrany is but I didn't pay over a grand to get a 300 mile warranty. At least the cv shaft is replaced. Due to the tear in the boot it needed done anyways.

I'm off to bed. I'm gonna swap with a rear first thing in the morning and I'll report back. Thanks for always folliwng my posts to the end.


MarineGrunt
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Oct 28, 2012, 12:30 PM

Post #13 of 27 (3403 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Well, I can probably say with 100% certainty that I've found the problem. I just got around to swapping the front and rear tire. I took the rear tire off and took a look at the u-joint. One of the caps fell off. I checked the bolts and they were tight. Any idea of what could cause the u-joint cap to fall off? I sure felt like the front passenger side was shaking. I guess it was just the whole truck.


Tom Greenleaf
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Oct 28, 2012, 12:51 PM

Post #14 of 27 (3401 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

! A U-Joint cap just up and fell off!! Was that a U-bolted one to yoke or a snap ring type OR did this use that plastic crap some OE ones used? If replacing rear into yoke you have to make sure it is exactly in that with almost unseen wedges that center it in and if it just butt ended a tad might feel like it tighten up and on properly. I can't say the exact way or one that specific joint is held but there are only a few ways.

Vibrations like bearing noises can travel and you would swear it's one side or end and it seems like the other.

Lucky you caught that as shaft was about to fall off and can't imagine why it didn't?

T



MarineGrunt
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Oct 28, 2012, 1:30 PM

Post #15 of 27 (3390 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Okay, here's what I'm thinking might've caused it. When I first bought the truck it had that chirp/clunk thing going on. I replaced the u-joints. When I went to buy the u joints it was difficult finding one that matched the old. I finally found one. Fast forward to today. My wife went to a movie so I was going to call the parts store so she could pick one up on the way home. I got to looking online trying to find the right one. I decided to go ahead and measure the axis of the old one that I replaced a month or so ago. I matched it up to some I found online it says it's for a two wheel drive Sierra when I have a 4x4. Are the 4x4 u joints different than the 2 wheel drive? I'm wondering if someone replaced them in the past and put the wrong ones on? That could explain why it was so hard to find the right one the first time. If the axis was smaller than it should be that would explain why it fell off. It looks like 2 wheel drive use a u joint that where two of the caps are a little smaller. The 4 wheel drive have the same size caps all the way around and all 4 are bigger than the smaller two caps used on the 2 wheel drive.

Do you have any idea what u joint a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500 4.8 short bed ext. cab 4x4 would use? If not, could I just get the one where all 4 caps are the same size and see how it fits?

*Edit*

I think what I explained above is exactly what happened. If you hold the u joint strap retainer up to the smaller cap it just doesn't seem to fit right. If you hold it up to the larger cap it seems to be a much better fit. I think whoever replaced the original u joints put one on for a two wheel drive truck which has two smaller caps. I'll probably go to the dealership tomorrow and have them check it out through my VIN number just to be safe.


(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Oct 28, 2012, 2:10 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Oct 28, 2012, 5:03 PM

Post #16 of 27 (3383 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

OK. These are totally not worth it if free on line. Under $20 ea. perhaps over that at real parts stores or dealers. Lots of choices for a 2003 GMC Sierra 5.3 4X4 - guess you need to know who was out sick the day it was madeTongue

They are all the same idea - quality does vary. Here's a back one shown for this with what looks like inside clips and inside snap ring type retainers........
Part Number: 2-1569DG Alternate Part Number: 2-1569BF Warranty: Limited Lifetime Application: Extended cab
Rear shaft
2 wheel steering
78.0 in. Bed

Notes: Most common.
*****************************
Check that out - TWO WHEEL steering, length of bed and this was for the non HD version of the 1/2 ton = 1500. This from the site where they sell more air fresheners and neon lighted shifter balls but easy to get pic from - OMG they'll kill me. Press 1 for English or 2 if you don't know what you speak?

Silliness aside you can find the exact right one with right caps and clips without bringing in the old one to match. They sure did make them with different size caps with the needles that you'll spend hours looking for if dropped (none of us have ever done that I'm sure) and yes I have and had to go get another whole joint or sometimes with real parts people buy two to get ones with odd caps on one type crap so have spares if only match up a lost needle or once in a blue moon broke one not noticing one fell over while pressing it in! DO NO HAMMER THEM IN! Hammer to get out based on what is in front of you and how you will support the shaft or a part using a u-joint. In my book OK to use sockets and creative things for general u-joints. Excessive force shouldn't be need but shouldn't just slide into full circle yokes - some you might need to XXXX fine wet/dry sandpaper, dah-de-dah. Point grease fitting (many aftermarket) towards shaft where you have the best chance of getting to it with grease gun or needle gun greaser if off set.

SOME all GM so far to me OE ones were hot melt plastic and no clips which you heated - just propane till it was workable but never had to nor have that plastic stuff for a replacement.

The clips when used shouldn't be stressed out but new joint will be snug to turn in many till in use for a few feet of driving the vehicle. If just the wrong damage has occurred to a yoke on shaft or what you may need to replace that part!

Sorry for a long answer to a common u-joint but ways to hold them in place and hackery that might have come before you, you do need to know. If you had a yoke with no cap as said it might have damaged it beyond use and you have to look and decide. Whole redone and balanced shafts (used to be) available + core charge or exchange. Needed if shaft is damaged, rusted out (yup) or not yet but some use rubber inner/outer shell of shaft as a damper could be wrecked.

Whether u-bolted to like a rear differential or a band clamp it must fit true and is actually one unmeasurable amount more into the receiving yoke than held by that clamp or u-bolt centered near always by small wedges that are made into the part not replaceable.

I failed at "CONCISE" 101 on this topic. Most are not a big deal and exact fit replacements available with correct info at a parts outlet without needing the old one to match up.

Look for a PM in a bit too...........

Tom


MarineGrunt
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Oct 28, 2012, 6:54 PM

Post #17 of 27 (3371 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Thanks for all of the great tips Tom! Always appreciated.

I ran to the parts store and picked up a new u joint. Seems to be the one I need. I used my vice and my ball joint clamp to install it. I haven't put the driveshaft back on the truck yet though. I didn't really think about it until after I had it on but it doesn't have a grease fitting. Is it possible to install a grease fitting on a u joint myself? If not, I might just wait awhile and replace it with one that does in a year or so. Or, do you think I should go ahead and get one that has the grease fitting now and be done with it?

Well, I'm glad it ended up being the u joint. At least the ripped cv boot is taken care of since I replaced the cv shaft. Hopefully the test drive tomorrow proves there's nothing else wrong. It drove perfect before this so it should be fine. It will then be time to get back to the tranny.

Thanks again for all of the help and advice.


Tom Greenleaf
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Oct 28, 2012, 7:30 PM

Post #18 of 27 (3364 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Grease fitting: If it doesn't have a place for one it could have a spot to make one but I wouldn't. If your new part has a hole it should have come with a fitting to put in. If not it needs a plug of same thread or have to get a fitting. Just the grease that comes with it and add your own suited for it should do. It's not turning like a wheel bearing and most of those are sealed so just being as water tight as seals allow is best. Once told if you grease a u-joint to the point you see grease come out you just wrecked the seal! No more seal integrity from water so keep greasing those now and then and can still last ages.

None want to be submerged in water,

T


MarineGrunt
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Oct 28, 2012, 9:52 PM

Post #19 of 27 (3356 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

It's a non serviceable u joint. Since I paid for and already installed it I'll just leave it be. I'll worry about it next time my driveshaft almost falls off!..lol... I never would've guessed that would've ended up being the problem. At least it was an easy fix and it didn't cause any other damage. The drive shaft had a couple of small wear marks where the bolt heads from the u joint retainer straps were rubbing but nothing bad. Such a small amount of wear where it wouldn't have thrown off the balance. Luckily it happened close to home and I was able to limb home without causing any damage.


Hammer Time
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Oct 30, 2012, 3:11 PM

Post #20 of 27 (3304 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

This thread disappeared for a while so I'm testing it now.



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MarineGrunt
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Nov 12, 2012, 9:31 PM

Post #21 of 27 (3226 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Well, it happened again. We were on our way to my grandma's visitation. It was about 70 miles away. I made it about 25 miles and then I felt it. I was able to slowly limp 3 miles to Orielly's and picked up a new u joint. All I needed was one cap. Didn't have time to turn back home and get another vehicle. You're going to love this. Well, not really. Once I put the new cap on I wrapped Gorilla Tape around the end of the driveshaft covering the caps. But hey, I wasn't going to miss grandma's visitation. We made it the rest of the way there and back home without incident. I had a dummy moment right after it happened. I sent a text asking if I could unhook the driveshaft and put it in 4 hi. Ha, I didn't even think of transfer case fluid leaking out. What a dummy! My excuse for that one is that my brain wasn't working quite right because I was too concerned about missing the visitation. What if I had a tennis ball to plug it though? Would it effect any components in the drivetrain? Although, I guess we had better not even go there because someone could see this and use it as what they think is a permanent fix! Alright alright, let me have it, I'm ready for it!

What do you think....wrong size u joint? When I installed the u joint after purchasing the truck I matched the old up with the new so not sure on that one. New straps maybe? Maybe the old straps are worn some? Would it hurt to buy a u joint where the cap is a tad larger?

When we did my stepdads t case I noticed the caps on his u joints had a small piece of flat stock covering the cap and then the tips of the flat stock had a tack weld on them. The weld isn't on the cap itself but on the yoke. Could I do this without harming anything?

I've been trying to think of what else could've caused this. I was thinking that maybe the driveshaft is out of balance but when the u joint is attached I can do 70mph without any sort of vibration. Wouldn't I feel some sort of vibration if it was out of balance? There is not even the slightest bit of vibration.

Any tips or advice is appreciated. It's really pissing me off. I was the only one at the visitation with mud and grass all over my dress clothes! If you would've seen me I would've made you mechanics proud!


(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Nov 12, 2012, 10:05 PM)


Hammer Time
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Nov 13, 2012, 4:02 AM

Post #22 of 27 (3219 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

If you actually just lost a cap, not wore it out, then the only thing it could possibly be is the fit of the old one. It had to be loose when it was installed.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MarineGrunt
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Nov 13, 2012, 6:47 AM

Post #23 of 27 (3214 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

It was definitely not wore out since I just put another u joint on 3 weeks ago. Only one cap fell off so I still have the other cap. I took a micrometer to it and to the original one that was on it when I bought and they're within a 1/1000 of an inch of each other. When I replaced the u joint the first time I did wire wheel the rust off of the original straps. Do you think it's possible one of the straps could need replaced? Or, is that 1/1000 enough to make a difference? Is there a way to check the tightness of the fit once installed? I guess I could put the strap on while leaving the u joint off and measure the inside diameter. I could then measure the cap and see if there is a difference.

Thanks HT.


Hammer Time
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Nov 13, 2012, 7:18 AM

Post #24 of 27 (3210 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

There really isn't any way for a correct cap to just fall out if installed properly. There has to be some problem with the way it was clamped down. Depending which type of centering device that one uses, the strap may have been tightened against the centering device which later moved and caused the strap to be loose at that point.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MarineGrunt
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Nov 13, 2012, 8:45 AM

Post #25 of 27 (3204 views)
Re: 2003 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton Sign In

Thanks for sticking with me on this HT. Seems like it should be a simple problem to take care of but it's kicking my ass. When you say centering device are you talking about the little indentations that are normally on the yoke? Mine is smooth and doesn't have any. Is that normal? I use to have a 2004 silverado and it had little indentations or grooves so the caps couldn't slide out.






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