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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
105,600 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace gasket (2 reports)
2004 Chevrolet Tahoe engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Chevrolet Tahoe Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 012017

Tahoe Z71 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles


click to see larger images

cracked head gasket cracked head gasket cracked head gasket

We bought this 2004 Chevy Tahoe from a private individual who actually ended up being a car dealer in Nixa, MO. She high-pressured and frightened my father-in-law about losing the opportunity to buy the vehicle so that he made an on the spot decision to buy. As we pulled out of the driveway an alarm began going off indicating that the brake system wasn't working correctly. Soon after the vehicle began to emit a white exhaust. We took the vehicle to a dealership and they assured there was no issue other than evaporation of moisture from the tailpipe creating the white exhaust.

We then realized the vehicle was losing anti-freeze and burning oil. We add approximately 1 quart of oil and 1/2 to 1 quart of coolant every 300 miles. Additionally, the white exhaust smoke has changed to a gray/blue billowing smoke from the exhaust when first starting it that utterly envelopes the vehicle.

Today we removed the driver's side valve cover thinking that the PCV valve was blocked and that was causing the issue based on our research. The lifters and cover were covered with a thick brown sludge (see photos) from mixing of coolant and oil. This indicates that the coolant has been entering the oil and this is likely a result of a head gasket or cracked head. Additionally, the engine light has come on indicating multiple misfires.

So, what to do? The vehicle is going to a dealership for a diagnostic to determine the exact problem and from there, things are about to become much more expensive. I was wary of buying the vehicle based upon the information I found here and on other websites concerning cracked heads and blown head gaskets. After spending $8,000 on the vehicle and being in the middle of just beginning my career, money is certainly an object.

I would like to share this information for others like myself. Please be very aware of the ongoing engineering issues with Chevrolet. These are issues that the company should overcome, but they continue to create vehicles with these same issues year after year and people like myself continue to suffer as a result of their practices.

If anyone more knowledgeable than myself has anything to add to this conversation or advice to share with me when I come up against the decision about whether to pay more than a quarter of what I bought the vehicle for on repairs, I would appreciate it.

Best Wishes to All

- Leesia M., Glenmora, LA, US

problem #4

Dec 012013

Tahoe Z71 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I am just hearing about the bad heads. My coolant is disappearing and from what I am reading is that it is cracked heads. Guess I will try to trade it in.

- John M., Fayetteville, NC, US

problem #3

Jan 202011

Tahoe Z71 4x4 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I Heard a knocking sound when started and stopped after a few minutes of warming up. I then noticed smoke coming out of exhaust that wasn't normal. I was driving and engine started to overheat stopped and checked coolant was low saw no leaks. I took to radiator shop replaced gaskets. about a week later was filling up with gas turned ignition on "CHECK ENGINE OIL LEVEL" warning came on checked with dipstick barely registered on dipstick add a quart took back to quick lube where oil was changed a month earlier they found no leaks. Check engine light had come on was over 100k miles so had plugs and wires replaced engine light stayed off less than 24hrs. I started doing research online and found others having same problem. I called GM Thursday Feb 10, 2011 to file a complaint #71-916749059 they said no "RECALLS" on this problem but there is a service bulletin on this issue. Why if Chevrolet knows this is a problem with the head gaskets not standing behind their product

- Ben F., Chattanooga, TN, US

problem #2

Apr 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

My husband bought the Tahoe last summer and know I found out that there is a factory defect regarding the intake manifold gasket and made worse with the use of the GM approved coolant Dex-Cool. Is there any legal action that can be taken being that this is known to be a factory defect?

- careyg, Mankato, MN, US

problem #1

Nov 042008

Tahoe V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

It looks like this is a documented flaw that CHEVY needs to be paying for.

- abingha, San Ramon, CA, US

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