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fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
61,500 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. install helper springs (1 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Silverado drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Chevrolet Silverado Owner Comments

problem #10

Oct 282011

Silverado LS 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,500 miles


Purchased a used Silverado with 68,500 miles on it. On delivery noticed a clunk on braking and a severe clunk and slingshot feeling on acceleration. After a lot of investigation found the problem was due to axle wrap. The rear springs are very long and relatively soft for a cushy ride, and the axle had a 2 inch lift block (4x4 model). A bad combination that just invites axle wrap.

I left the car in park and laid on the ground underneath it, and rolled the tire up and back. I could see the axle pinion rotating up and down, confirming the diagnosis.

I purchased 440 lb full length helper springs and installed them. The lift from the helper springs was 2", so I was able to remove the lift block. Ride height remained exactly the same.

The ride is a little stiffer but now I have zero clunk and a much more direct feel on braking and acceleration. Problem solved. Axle wrap is a serious issue and shortens the life of u joints and can waste the back of the transfer case. Chevy blew it on this one, engineering the springs a bit better is all they need to do. Do an internet search for "axle wrap", it is a common problem in the off-road crowd especially when trucks are lifted the cheap way with lift blocks instead of correctly arched springs.

- James M., Hollister, CA, US

problem #9

Jun 062004

Silverado LS 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

I purchased my 2003 Silverado 4 WD PU new. At about 18000 miles it developed a clunking noise in the drive train when upshifting from 2nd to 3rd gear and when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd. It is an automatic transmission. Chevrolet said this is normal which is a crock as we all know. The service bullitin stated it has to do with the 2nd to 3rd gear clutch pack but that it is normal and will not get worse or create any other drive train issues. Well knowing this was a crock but the fact they would not do anything about it other than extend my warranty to 7 years or 75,000 miles, I now have excessive slop in the rear end which only makes the clunking noise worse and you can sometimes feel it in other gears when you accelerate or let off the gas. I beleive this clunking has damaged the rear differential most likely the spider gears in the posi unit. This means a new posi, installation kit and labor costs. If this is the case I am going to install a high performance posi unit (Eaton or Auburn Gear). This repair is going to cost me about $650-$700. What a way for Chevrolet to really piss of a loyal, die hard Bowtie fan.

- mbutler, Mesa, AZ, US

problem #8

Jun 252011

Silverado LS 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I bought this truck used. Took it in under the 90 day/3,000mi warranty and had them look at it. They looked (superficially), but took nothing apart and said the noise is normal. The transfer case is clunking and moving a lot when accelerating at lower speeds. Stationary, with a foot on the brake, shifting through the gears it makes a loud click/clank sound. The noise is coming from the opposite end of the transfer case from the 4WD. The dealer (Wissler Motors in Mount Joy, PA) won't fix the problem or acknowledge there is a problem. My wife and kids (and I) are going to get whiplash soon.

- kmett, Mount Wolf, PA, US

problem #7

Oct 152011

Silverado LS 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,305 miles


Just bought the vehicle yesterday, makes the same clunk when letting off gas and accelerating as two others that I test drove. But, not as bad as the other two. Also have a friend at work with an 01 who calls it the nature of the beast.

- rdave, Ishpeming, MI, US

problem #6

Feb 112011

Silverado 4x4 Vortec V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

I bought a 2003 silverado 4x4 2 weeks ago used and like everyone else says it clunks when u get off and on the gas!!!! evidently chevy doesn't want to take responsibility for this !!!! They just want to make excuses and tell everyone that nothing's wrong with our trucks!!!! this is the first chevy truck i have ever owned and will be the LAST!!!!!

- Jayson W., Clinton, IL, US

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problem #5

Nov 182007

Silverado Z71 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

took to dealer about clunking and received a service bulletin saying metal clunking noise is normal for this vehicle. service attendant said it wouldn't hurt to change fluids .

- billymc, Sterling, NY, US

problem #4

Apr 052008

Silverado Z71 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


I bought a used 2003 Z71 Silverado from the dealer in December of 2007. In april of 2008 i was backing out of my drive way and heard a clunk and the sound of grinding metal. I took my truck to a local garage where the mechanic told me i shredded my spider gears and the chunk of my differential would probably have to be replaced. I then went to the Chevy dealership and they said ive they drove it they concluded that nothing was wrong with my truck. I went back to our local garage and had the problem fixed. I sent chevy the photos of the shredded spider gears to see if they would cover some of the cost. It was a waste of time! I am beginning to question if i am going to stay loyal to Chevy in the future....

- Chris M., Simpsonville, SC, US

problem #3

Oct 022007

Silverado LX 4.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

We bought the truck used noticed the clunked about 3 months later it got worse and worse.

When driving slow and then stepped on the gas then it clunks. I checked the universals and it wasn't them.

- R., B., Midland, MI, US

problem #2

Aug 212003

Silverado LX 5.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,785 miles

well i took my truck in for repair but all i got was a document that says this is

normal, general motors says this is called driveline clunk well i have drove

other trucks like mine and they never had that problem.has anybody else had or

have this problem?

- Randy C., Mtgilead, OH, US

problem #1

Oct 152007

(reported on)

Silverado LS 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

i bought my truck used from basil with 32000 on it... i test drove it everything seemed fine. A week after i owned it it started clankin. i took it in because its under warranty and they told me oooo nothings wrong o bull sh*t. i told them its the rear u joint ooo no everythings fine. it happens mostly when i let off the gas and jump back on the gas it will clank or when im turning and get back on the gas it sounds like its coming from the front but im not sure...

- Zach H., Amherst, NY, US

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