View Full Version : Chevy Diesel lost power while towing/anybody else chime in?

Jun. 13, 2012, 12:26 PM
Purchased a used '05 Silverado, Diesel with 130k miles. Has been running great! Until this past weekend....

Hauled my one horse about 1 hour away, returning home, braked to make a turn at an intersection and when I went to accelerate, I had nothing. RPM's at 2k, floored, would not go above 25 mph. Took it out of Towing, shifted to 3rd gear, (it's an auto trans), and still, nothing. Pulled off road, (much to the joy of the impatient folks behind me), turned off engine, waited a few minutes and when I restarted, had full power. Only about 10 minutes from home, so that's where I went.

I'm taking it to my mechanic later today, but, has anyone else experienced this with their Chevy Diesel?

Thoroughbred in Color
Jun. 13, 2012, 04:40 PM
That sounds like my work truck... Same basic scenario, but on an 01 Silverado diesel. Just wouldn't shift. Turned out to be a computer problem.

Jun. 13, 2012, 06:24 PM
Safety mode. Truck's computer does that when it doesn't like something.

Jun. 13, 2012, 06:27 PM
My diesel did this and it was the Turbo- some sensor was faulty, loss of power at first then it progressed to engine strain. Later on the fuel injection pump went- NOT a cheap repair.

Jun. 13, 2012, 10:37 PM
Mine did the same thing. It had something to do with the air filter which the truck did not like. My mechanic had used an off brand because they were out of my usual. Never had the problem again after mechanic immediately switched filters.

Jun. 13, 2012, 10:43 PM
My 1995 did the same thing. The mechanic put in a new starter (I know, doesn't sound like it could be related to the problem) and the problem hadn't come back for the last 5 years. I just had it happen a couple of weeks ago. I have also noticed that the starter is straining a little when I turn the key. Might try a new starter again if the problem shows up more. We shall see!

Jun. 14, 2012, 12:18 AM
Hmm, could be a throttle sensor going bad. Could be the filtering system. It needs to be put on a diagnostic machine! don't ignore it though!

Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating!!
Glad you got home!

Jun. 14, 2012, 12:20 AM
Do you use an additive for your diesel? It is highly recommended now that they have taken the sulphur out of diesel fuel, not allowing the injection system to be lubricated.

Jun. 14, 2012, 07:02 AM
Had the same thing happen with a Chevy, it was a computer problem. Turned out to be a recurring problem too for some reason with mine, ended up just having to unload the truck.

Jun. 14, 2012, 07:21 AM
There is a known problem with the first Duramax engine put into the Silverados, I think up to 2005 or 2006. It can manifest in more than one way but loss of power is the most common. Chevy never issued a recall but did extend the warranty coverage on the engine to cover their ass. My 2002 Silverado engine went out at 72,000 miles on my way home from PA to MD late at night. Although my mileage was low it was beyond the "years" that Chevy had added to the warranty extension and I spent $4000 on the repairs!!!!!!!! They replaced that Duramax model with an improved one. Do some web searches with the terms Silverado, Duramax, power loss. You'll find ton's of reading by irrate owners.


Jun. 14, 2012, 08:14 AM
Had this happen with my 96 3500 Chevy Dually. I would lose power only while towing, usually at the end of the a long trip, didn't seem to happen on short trips. I could take the trailer off and drive away just fine, but it would simply lose the power to tow. We could not seem to replicate it, it seemed to happen randomly, so it took several strandings for hubby to figure it out. It ended up being the fuel filter which we replaced and have not had a problem since.

Jun. 14, 2012, 10:05 AM
Thanks for all of the input. Truck is in as we speak, I did share your experiences with my beloved mechanic.

Kinda depressing. I thought I had done my research fairly well...

Jun. 14, 2012, 11:04 AM
Chatted with my husband briefly this am (he is away at a Ford training!) and off the top of his head he wanted to know if the coolant levels and sensor had been checked. He said that one additional possibility is that your coolant may have been a tiny bit low, and that going around the corner triggered the sensor. When you pulled over, the levels evened out and you were good to go.

Anyway, let us know what your mechanic finds out!!

Jun. 14, 2012, 11:05 AM
Most likley you A. ether over boosed your truck or B. your limped your trans.

I had a 05 dmax (lly) I had some work done to mine, but I know the motors all too well. It would over-boost going up any significant incline, throw a check engine light and lock me down to doing a lower speed. Limping the trans would happen here and there when I wasn't careful (I had messed with my ECM and reprogramed and messed with my HP - I had a 580hp truck on a stock trans - the stock trans was only rated up to 400hp) When you limp your trans it will 'lock" you in 3rd gear and keep your RPM's around 2500-3k to protect itself for pretty much granadeing itself and costing a ton of money. Fuel additives won't help this issue. (Ether one to be honest). Over boosting will happen more going up an incline than on a flat piece of road. Both will set your check engine light.

GM diesel trucks (Equipt with the Duramax) from 2001-2004.5 were known for having injector issues along with others, IMO stay away from those motors. They "perfected' the Duramax 2004.5 and up... Starting with the LLY motor, through-out the LBZ and so on. I'd suggest going to an auto parts store and buying a code reader/scanner. This will not only let you see what code your truck is throwing anywhere at anytime, but will also let you clear the code (still doesn't mean its fixed depending on what it is) to get you home safe. or to the shop to have it looked at. Just write down or remember the code.

Hope this helped some, Feel free to message me if you have anymore questions!

Jun. 20, 2012, 01:02 PM
GM diesel trucks (Equipt with the Duramax) from 2001-2004.5 were known for having injector issues along with others, IMO stay away from those motors.

Ahhh- yes this completely makes sense. I went through 2 starters with the power loss issue since two seperate mechanic shops said that was the issue- $1700ish later I find out that was incorrect. Likely the first starter needed replacing but the second one was probably fine.

With the sensors going out of whack and then getting the fuel injector replaced ($2800), I was told that the injectors were being replaced every 60-80K miles for those model years. It could also not be over stressed how important it is to replace the fuel filters every 8-10K miles.

CERTAINLY find a repair place that is extremely knowledgable in these trucks or you could end up like I did and wasting money.

Then there was the cost to rebuild the tranny... another $3K but that was due to lending the truck out to people who shouldn't have been driving it. My fault.

Loved the truck- despite all the repairs. Looking back I was just a victim of an abusive relationship. When I learned she was back on the auction block, I was tempted to do a rescue. But alas we were out of town! I do however see her from time to time on the roads the next town over (she has distictive markings with some interesting stories:cool:)

Jun. 20, 2012, 05:21 PM
SuperSTB - LOVE THE STORY!! And of course "she's" female!

Jun. 27, 2012, 01:59 PM
I had my 1991 gas dually do something very similar. Engine pretty much turned off when I was getting off the interstate exit. It was not fun stopping or trying to gently pull off.

It did restart. It never did it again, but I had "truck phobia" so soon after that I traded and got a new gas truck. 9 years later after saving $$$$ I sold that truck and got a new 2011 duramax chevy. So far so good.