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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
160,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
1997 Chevrolet Tahoe engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Chevrolet Tahoe Owner Comments

problem #1

Dec 012004

Tahoe 350 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


Had our truck not start on us twice, same problem, cost about $200 bucks each time. Same fix both times - they replaced the plugs, wires, cap, and rotor. Third time I said screw it and looked at it myself. ALL kinds of water corrosion inside the cap and on the rotor!!! Cleaned them up with rubbing alcohol and a pencil eraser (thank you childhood slot-car experience!). This kept me going enough to get to the store and get the replacement cap and rotor. Which had the same problem AGAIN.

Each set seemed to last about ~10K miles. The first time I lived in a desert environment, the last two in the rainy part of the Pacific NW, so it's not an atmosphere/climate thing. The problem seems to be this design allows in nothing short of a (comparative) crap ton of moisture and then has no place for it to escape once it's condensed into water. So it sits. And corrodes the contacts, as water is known to do. Water damage of this type appears as a white or whitish-green colored "fuzz" on the brass/copper/whatever contacts. There were no visible cracks in ANY of the last three caps. The first one was suspected, but they pitched it in the can before I came to retrieve the truck.

Sadly, two bloody weeks after the last repair, we got T boned and the insurance company called it a total loss. :( So I will have no further updates on possible fixes unless I get another small block Chevy powered vehicle of this vintage. Doubtful given all the GM recalls going on lately! I just don't trust them any more.

If you can, thought it's doubtfully legal, my suggestion would be to put a different vintage distributor in place. Given it's part of the computer system and therefor part of an emission control system, it is likely to be illegal to do so.

Years ago I had a '62ish vintage 283 SBC which I put an MSD electronic conversion kit in and that distributor NEVER needed service again for the next three YEARS and 60K miles. Why can't GM live up to that standard?!? Then again, I got ~20mpg with an Edlebrock four barrel carb. Why can't GM do better with all these fancy computer gadgets to help over thirty years later?!?

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

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