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Truck wants $$$

covetsthesun
Explorer
Explorer
Hello All, We've been off on a weird life journey the last few years... but that's done.

So. Same truck. 2004 Chevy Silverado 1500. About 400k miles now... it doesn't owe us anything. We did get it a new transmission though. Three problems.

1. Intermittent power problem with driver's seat. Driver seat won't move and neither seat warmer works. We have to reach under the driver seat and jiggle the wiring box. That works for awhile. Until it doesn't and we have to do it again.

2. Some of the steering wheel control button lights have stopped working. Is this an easy fix? What could cause this to suddenly happen?

3. The passenger seat heat quits working intermittently. Again. A few years ago I found some "codes" and the dealership used them to get the seat heating again. Now... it's doing it again. The element was replaced a few years ago.

Could all these issues be related somehow?

A bit bummed because my go to truck tech left to go work for another company in another town. Had the truck in to check the wiring/box jiggle issue and seat warmer... they couldn't get it to repeat. It did the next day though...when the dealer was closed.

I love my truck so not getting rid of her!
12 REPLIES 12

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
covetsthesun wrote:
mkirsch wrote:
The ideal solution would be to replace the wiring harness with new, or you will just be chasing after little "gremlins" until you run out of

Unfortunately a new wiring harness for this truck probably does not exist.


We've thought about replacing the wiring harness more than a few times. The dealership (s) have never said we couldn't get a new WH. They've just said since they can't recreate the issues...they didn't want to replace a WH and then find out that wasn't the problem. Given the other comments about wiring... it would seem prudent TO replace an old WH. When you renovate an old house...or even a vintage vehicle... you do have to do some restoration and replacements.


Dealerships love to get your hopes up and then dash them with "parts no longer available." Your truck is 19 years old. They're only legally obligated to keep parts in stock for 10 years.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
And put your husband on the phone…lol.
I now see why you’re posting this here…
He’s thinking logically. Present him a logical solution, give the old truck to the kid and find something nicer for yourselves.
Presume you still drive a lot of miles, or you USED to drive even way more miles, either way, you’re not mechanics, you’re presumably retired and traveling or want to travel.
Do yourself and husband a favor and a gift to yourselves and find a nice one that you can pile a bunch more miles on with less worries.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
covetsthesun wrote:
Valhalla...well maybe just a bit of sentiment. More for the Grandson. He thinks the truck is awesome. What's funny is...my DH who is so far removed from sentimentality, has suggested that we hand the truck over to someone who can restore it! His thinking is that making it like new would be "productive". I...would love to have a new(er) truck. Or a good sized SUV.


First off, I understand these vehicles pretty well (GMT800 trucks) and they ARE in general very durable long lasting trucks. Arguably the best engines GM has produced. Surpassing the the (other) venerable Chevy engine, the small block V8. Amazing but not totally surprising you have a 400k engine.
And when cared for the chassis, electrical, interior etc is also quite durable as you’ve experienced.
They are also NOT rare. If you love that truck, there are still many “grampa” models of that truck running around low miles, like new so to speak.
With vehicle price wild escalation and the popularity of trucks in general, especially the good ones, you’d pay more than what it would seem it’s worth face value, but you “could” easily buy “your” truck again with less than 25% of the current miles for about $15k.

That would be a solid plan for a solid truck that you don’t have to deal with all the “new” issues and complications (either real or perceived). And money well spent if you want or need a vehicle like that still. Or a Tahoe/Yukon/suburban if you now fancy the same thing in a SUV flavor.

Not knowing your financial situation and amount of disposable income available, I can tell you matter of factly that restoring that truck in particular or anything from that era is a horrible financial decision. Especially or even moreso considering you’d be paying retail for all of it. (No DIY based on your posts now and in the past). You WILL have MANY headaches getting it “restored” and if you’re finding a few little repairs frustrating, what you’re proposing will be 1000% more frustrating. And when you’re done restoring it, you still have a 400k mile truck. Most all parts are readily and easily available and will be for many years to come, but back to my previous recommendation. If you want a “new” version of your truck start searching. There won’t be 5 of them at the local dealer, but they’re out there. Lots of them.
I’ve bought 2 different Tahoes (both 01s, same platform as yours) in the last couple years with right around 100k miles. Can tell you they are holding their value pretty well for old cars but deals are out there.
Give that one to the grandson if that’s the plan anyway. It’s not worth much money, he’s a kid, they don’t need seat heaters anyway and go find it’s twin if you’re attached to that truck.
Best of both worlds.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

camperdave
Explorer
Explorer
I hate intermittent electrical gremlins. Were it me, I'd probably buy a set of manual front seats from ebay and call it good.

My 1998 Ford Van is totally rust free and runs great as well (but many less miles at only ~200k). I'll keep on fixing little stuff because no way can I afford a new truck these days. The difference in registration and insurance fees alone for a new truck probably makes up the cost of repairs to keep an old truck on the road lol.
2004 Fleetwood Tioga 29v

covetsthesun
Explorer
Explorer
Valhalla...well maybe just a bit of sentiment. More for the Grandson. He thinks the truck is awesome. What's funny is...my DH who is so far removed from sentimentality, has suggested that we hand the truck over to someone who can restore it! His thinking is that making it like new would be "productive". I...would love to have a new(er) truck. Or a good sized SUV.

covetsthesun
Explorer
Explorer
mkirsch wrote:
The ideal solution would be to replace the wiring harness with new, or you will just be chasing after little "gremlins" until you run out of

Unfortunately a new wiring harness for this truck probably does not exist.


We've thought about replacing the wiring harness more than a few times. The dealership (s) have never said we couldn't get a new WH. They've just said since they can't recreate the issues...they didn't want to replace a WH and then find out that wasn't the problem. Given the other comments about wiring... it would seem prudent TO replace an old WH. When you renovate an old house...or even a vintage vehicle... you do have to do some restoration and replacements.

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
covetsthesun wrote:
Yes...the truck has "old truckitis". It's not so much sentimental as it is this has been a great truck. And...for almost 20 years (and 400K miles) it has been a road warrior. It's comfortable...but a little cranky from time to time. It is nowhere near being an old rust bucket though. My Dad was a pilot...his favorite craft was a DC3. He always said...take care of your machine... and it will take care of you. Planes can fall out of the sky, so being finely tuned to what your machine is doing can save your life. I've been very finely tuned to this truck since I drove it off the lot with only 12 miles. We have friends with much newer vehicles who are constantly having issues...and selling out of frustration. We also have friends who have 20+ year old vehicles and will never let them go.

My truck will eventually go to a grandson...so, keeping it sound and rust free for him is a good thing.

DH found a local and well respected small shop and talked to the owner. He had similar issues with an old truck and seemed eager to dig in and find the problem. He's not known for overcharging or blowing smoke...so I guess we are going to let him have the truck for a bit.

Thanks for the advice! As always, very much appreciated. 🙂


This post screams sentimental.

And that's OK. If you really like the truck, have it fully rewired, reupholstered, etc... so it's in like new condition. If you have them chase each glitch, expect it to be an ongoing process.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
The ideal solution would be to replace the wiring harness with new, or you will just be chasing after little "gremlins" until you run out of

Unfortunately a new wiring harness for this truck probably does not exist.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

covetsthesun
Explorer
Explorer
Yes...the truck has "old truckitis". It's not so much sentimental as it is this has been a great truck. And...for almost 20 years (and 400K miles) it has been a road warrior. It's comfortable...but a little cranky from time to time. It is nowhere near being an old rust bucket though. My Dad was a pilot...his favorite craft was a DC3. He always said...take care of your machine... and it will take care of you. Planes can fall out of the sky, so being finely tuned to what your machine is doing can save your life. I've been very finely tuned to this truck since I drove it off the lot with only 12 miles. We have friends with much newer vehicles who are constantly having issues...and selling out of frustration. We also have friends who have 20+ year old vehicles and will never let them go.

My truck will eventually go to a grandson...so, keeping it sound and rust free for him is a good thing.

DH found a local and well respected small shop and talked to the owner. He had similar issues with an old truck and seemed eager to dig in and find the problem. He's not known for overcharging or blowing smoke...so I guess we are going to let him have the truck for a bit.

Thanks for the advice! As always, very much appreciated. 🙂

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
Sounds like why I usually let an old truck go.

Yeah, you can keep chasing little glitches but 400k miles of bouncing and jiggling, means the wires will all be work hardened and prone to breakages.

If you don't know what that means, take a paperclip and bend it 180deg. If you bend it back in shape, it will be fine. Do that 10-20 times and eventually it will break due to work hardening. If you only bend it a little bit, it takes many more bendings but with 400k miles, you probably have many millions of little bendings everywhere the wires have the slightest give.

Switches are similar though slightly different. Every time you make a contact, there is a small arc as it engages/disengages. This leaves a little charred spot. Eventually, that starts to mess with the connection (hence, jiggling sometimes works).

If it's sentimental, of course, you can dump money into her and keep her going. Look at some of the rusted out 1930's pieces of junk, that are rebuilt to like-new condition.

But financially, it will probably be far better to replace her.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
What you’re describing to me just sounds like oldtruckitis. Lights or fiber optics whatever lights buttons, burn out.
Jiggling a connection means a short or intermittent connection.
And 400k out of seat heaters is better than most.

Best bet is find a good little private shop that won’t hose you to fix some little stuff.
Don’t touch the steering wheel. Those little lights aren’t as important as it is expensive to get to them.
That’s my suggestion.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Turtle_n_Peeps
Explorer
Explorer
I would see what codes come up and go from there.

If I had to guess I would say something going wrong with your body control module. If your windshield leaks on the drivers side even a small amount this can cause problems with the BCM.
They are around 100 bucks or so for your BCM.

A shop with a good scan tool that can command different modules to do this should be able to fix you up.

Let us know what you find out.

Oh, the lights going out are more than likely just that. The lights are burned out. I have quite a few that went out on my 06. The steering wheel switches are a PITA to replace. It can be done but I hate doing the job. There are Youtube vids on doing it.
~ Too many freaks & not enough circuses ~


"Life is not tried ~ it is merely survived ~ if you're standing
outside the fire"

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."- Abraham Lincoln