I bought a 98 Sonoma SLS 4.3 Vortec in 2005.
I've had to replace water pump, pulse board for windshield wiper, one ball joint failed, replaced two u joints, replaced front coil springs.
I use this truck to off road, camp, and interstate usage. The truck has 114000.
I have had my 1997 GMC Sonoma since I bought it new in 1996. It has over 200000 miles on it. I put in a killer stereo cause I travel a lot of miles. It has been abused, hauled some big loads and heavy trailers. It has plenty of power and looks nice (sport-side). But...
Mass Air Flow regulator went out 4 times until I finally bought one from O'Riely Auto, that one has been good for 5 years now. Cost of each was $150, ORiely was $100.
Fuel pump went out at 80,000 - $550 for parts, 250 installation. It is whining again.
Throwout bearing went at 120,000, replaced clutch, pressure plate and bearing with 3rd party, tired of GM junk, another $500 for parts and a weekend of sweat.
Wipers only work when they want to - got recall notice but had too many miles for them to honor it.
Front brakes need to be replaced every 40000 miles.
U-Joints need replacing every 60,000 miles (they are clunking again).
Starter went out last week, GM starter was $400 - I bought a rebuilt for $120.
Paint flakes off, just like my 91 S-10 did.
Rear end howls a lot, will need replacing soon.
Locks broke long time ago-have to lock with keys.
Door handles are breaking.
I am keeping the truck running until it finally falls apart, then I will buy a Toyota. I really hate the fact that GM parts fail consistently. For those of you who think 200K is a lot of miles, I sold my my old 91-S10 to a friend who has almost 400K on it with no major repairs - brakes, tires and mufflers. All cars should be good for 300k-400k. My Hyundai Sonota has 125,000 and all I have replaced is a battery. Just give oil changes and filters on a regular basis. By the time my GMC had 125,000, I had sunk more than $2,200 in parts and labor, not counting oil changes, lights, etc. And I couldn't drive it in the rain or lock it from the inside. And $800 for a fuel pump is ridiculous.
I bought my 1998 GMC Sonoma SLS used two years ago with 70k miles. The first thing I had to do was fix the seat back levers (about $400 at the dealer). They had both sheared at the handles - definitely a design/part failure. Next was the AC, about $700 (NOT at the dealer). Now my problem is the third door handle. I was able to remove/replace it fairly easily, but the aftermarket part ($7) broke after 2 months. This is another design problem.
Some of these responses are absolutely ridiculous. I have a 98 Sonoma SLS, with the 4.3 Vortec. I got it used from a private party, and I had to make repairs because of the previous owner’s negligence. Most of the repairs are general maintenance, and some where major repairs. It comes with owning a used vehicle. I have a shopping list of problems, and the truck only has 93,500 miles on it.
Fuel Pump - Yes, had to replace it shorter than the lifespan it should of lasted, but I think, it was because the fuel I ran, you know, the general 87 octane. But it is GM’s fault because when I refuel, the storage tank at the fuel station pumps sediments into my fuel tank as I refuel. Those sediments, being pumped through the fuel pump, created wear on the pump, and eventually, it went out.
Intake Manifold Gasket - major repair for a minor part. I think it is GM’s fault for that too. Even though the gasket is designed to work when it works, and go out when it goes out. But instead of it being the manufacturer that supplied GM’s factory with their product to be used, it is definitely General Motors fault for not using the extremely high cost steel gaskets in production. Instead they used a lower quality of product to keep the vehicle at a reasonable cost to provide a quality vehicle at a lower price. But since it is another part that is not intended to last forever, it eventually went out, and I had to replace it.
Shocks - Replaced them too! But because I knew it needed shocks, and kept putting them off. I decided I would continue driving the crap out of it, driving off in bar ditches to the adjacent road to avoid traffic jams, putting heavy loads, pulling heavy trailers, oh, I also hit every pot hole I could find in the road. One shock eventually broke in half, and another was so compressed that it required no tools to remove it other than what it took to unbolt it. How dare GM put parts on this vehicle that would break down like that!
Steering Stabilizer Bar - Yeah, it broke completely off. I bought that way. No explanation, but I sure it was from something stupid the previous owner did that made it break.
Tires - I keep forgetting that the 4.3 actually has some torque, since you know, the truck is light, and does not really have any weight on the back tires, so when my lead foot hits the accelerator, it seems to spin the tires a little bit. I sometimes really get into so hard I wheel hop, but wheel hopping won't cause any type of mechanical strain on the input shaft in the transmission, nor the gears in the rear end.
I have also noticed, that since I don’t maintain the proper amount of air pressure in my tires, which wears on the tread, I also did not keep in mind that my camber could have been off, from the pot holes I happen to find in the road, and the camber or alignment being off could create issues for the tires to wear quicker. Really though, damn GM for not producing their own brand of tires, because I really want to blame the tire quality on GM instead of Firestone, Michelin, Good Year, or any other TIRE MANUFACTURER!
3rd Door Latch - Yeah, it is a problem here, but it is GM’s fault for having engineers that are human. Humans make mistakes, sure they should of came up with a solution, but I discovered that if I just unbolted the latch that I could just pull it out some, and then twist, that the door mechanisms still works, and I can open the door. Because the extended cab is small, I have discovered that it is really easy to reach around and get to what ever I need.
Listen, most of the things I have read on here, are just things that will go out either it is American or foreign, throw out bearings go out, especially if it is someone’s clutch work. I’m not saying if the person who mentioned it is bad on the clutch. Wiper motors go bad, fuel pumps go bad, electrical problems will happen, a lot of this are things that will go out and time frame will vary on region the vehicle is in, just a lot of different factors that can be any excuse for a part to fail. Foreign vehicles are no different, it is still just a piece of mechanic engineering that will eventually fail.
I also own a brand new Nissan Sentra. I bought it in 2008 with 45 miles on it. So far the rear axle had to be replaced, the gauge cluster replaced, it came from the factory with a bent rim, which was replaced by another bent rim. The e-brake light constantly stays on, the gauges randomly zero’s out. Paint has already flaked off, drove it off the lot out of alignment. There is also a slew of problems that I won’t go into.
Fortunately, warranty covered repairs, none the less, it is a vehicle designed but humans, built by both machines and humans, and guess what, something will go wrong. And it is not always the fault of GM, or any car manufacturer either being a import or domestic.
I personally think that my truck is fantastic; I have fuel economy of a car, the power of a more full size truck. The customization if I choose to make something flashy or something more rugged. It’s comfortable; it has the features needed and others that are desired. The 4.3 is one of the most reliable motors you will ever find.
Even with the some of the headaches, American is still cheaper to work on, and easier than foreign. With my truck, I can work on it on my own, with generic type tools; you don’t need to have too many specialty tools as if it was foreign.
There is a reason either from abuse to mechanical flaw that a vehicle will fail; there will always be something that will go wrong, in any vehicle, at any time, regardless of what it is.
It doesn’t matter what is more or less likely to fail, or pro’s and con’s to any debate. If you think about it, it really comes down to a personal reason of many aspects that really doesn’t necessarily come from the manufacturer itself. Vehicles, and their parts are mass produced, not a single one of them would ever be perfect. It comes down to how much the consumer wants to put in.
Preventive maintenance doesn’t stop problems from occurring. It just helps the problems from occurring frequently, and or slows the process down. The best preventive maintenance you can perform is to gain some knowledge on what it is your trying to prevent, and what occurs if it is not maintained. When something does go wrong, educate yourself in knowing what made it fail. Don’t just go point fingers.
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