Frequency of drive train repairs

My son has a 2003 GMC Sonoma Truck. He has replaced the drive train twice maybe three times and it is out again. He has 150,000 miles on the truck. Should he repair repeatedly or not?

What components specifically do you mean by drive train? Was the vehicle ever in an accident? Is it 4 wheel drive and if so is it left in four wheel drive all the time?

As Number 5 said in the movie “Short Circuit”, need input!

Exactly what was replaced previously and why, and exactly what is broken now?

I also wonder how the truck is being used. Is he hauling tree parts out of the woods like I did with my pickup? Is he hauling a large camper…or hauling and launching a boat? Is he an enthusiastic “four-wheeler” whose pride swells with every added inch of mud?

I assume you are talking about the automatic transmission and I’m assuming it’s the 4L-60/65E transmission.

I assume this because we are on tranny 3 at 170k miles with an 03 Silverado.

More money has been spent on this truck than all the 4 Ford F series trucks in our fleet.

He should have done cash for clunkers. It’s a lost cause.

The truck shuld have gone that far without ANY replacements.

Companies go bankrupt for a REASON…

I?ve owned numerous trucks with 700R4s/4l60s and have been very happy with them. They are not a heavy duty transmission, they are for light duty trucks, such as ? tons and smaller. The biggest mistake people make is towing heavy loads in OD and not maintaining them. That being said, the ones I have owned have held up well to both towing and extensive off-road use. 160K on my current one and my father has 200K on his (both ? ton trucks). For off-road and towing I love the low 3:1 first gear.

For the OP: How old is you son?

At 111000 miles the transmission and engine on my 2000 Blazer are holding up well. The transmission has a pan drop and filter change every 40-45k miles. The only repair on the 4wd system was the replacement of the vacuum switch (~$70) that engages the front axle. I don’t tow or beat on the truck though.

Ed B.

In polite terms, I think it’s a bit misguided to have a GM bash based on a complaint in which little info has been provided.

An '03 truck with 150k miles has obviously seen some heavy use with an unknown number of those miles put on there by the son.

Some questions that could be asked, and probably not answered, might be:

  1. Bought the truck new or used?
  2. Fluid change regularity? (assuming the norm, never.)
  3. The definition of what was replaced?
  4. The replacement part was what; rebuilt, reman, used from the junkyard, or what?
  5. Any towing, off road use, etc?
  6. Assuming a transmission problem, maybe a botched diagnosis or elec. fault not in the transmission at all?
  7. Driving habits of the son in question?

c’mon gailkatherine
answer back on this one so we can get somewhere with an answer.

THE TERM DRIVE TRAIN DOESN’T MEAN ANY ONE ITEM. It is not a name of any one thing.
‘drive train’ is the series of mechanisms that ‘drive’ the truck ; engine,transmission, transfer case, drive shaft, rear/front axle.

You must be more specific.

Not four wheel drive. One accident. A repair of the system by a Ford dealer ended up back at GMC with a reimbursement from the Ford Dealer.

Carrying heavy weight was assumed by one mechanice but all he has carried are carpenter’s tools.

He is 50 but he has only been in Recovery for about 10 years. His youth was wasted. He is very intelligent. He is working in Afghanistan as a civilan so it falls to us to find the right repair shop.

[i][u]YOUR SON HAS HAD TO REPLACE THE WHOLE DRIVETRAIN THREE TIMES?[/i][/u] Perhaps he is abusing the truck. Perhaps the roads would be safer if he were to take the bus.

So, a response but still no details about the truck or what was done to it.

Thanks guys. I put the most information in the Reply to ok4450. It is the Drive shaft or drive line that is bad right now and it has damaged a line into the radiator so the radiator has to be replace. This happened when he was traveling while home on R/R last week so they did put some miles on after the noise started getting home again.

All he’s been carrying are carpenter’s tools? Has he been towing heavy trailers with materials or equipment?

No. He did make a rolling floor with 2X4s and plywood so her could keep his tools boxes from rolling to the front where he could not reach them. It could be considered heavy.

There’s still not enough info to even make a wild guess so I’ll just bow out of this one.

Stabbing in the dark and based on the damaged line and radiator comment then this problem seems to revolve around a 4WD halfshaft issue. Whether it’s different sides, bad reman halfshafts, poor workmanship or whatever, who knows.
Faulty truck it’s not.

It is either faulty design. Accident damage not properly repaired. Or, a driver that is tough on drive train parts.

There are lots of GMC Sonoma’s of similar age that are doing fine without greater than average drive line issues. Perhaps not the best vehicle ever made, but this isn’t a design problem.

If the vehicle has ever had significant accident damage, it is possible it was repaired poorly. A frame that is misaligned can cause all sorts of problems. The failures may not happen immediately, but over time misaligned joints and components will fail pre-maturely.

The most important factor in driveline failures is the driver. Some folks still like to go from reverse to drive without bothering to step on the brakes and come to a full stop. Bad driving habits can kill transmissions, differentials, and U joints. Driver’s that are tough on vehicles also tend to be lax on maintaining them.

You may love your relative, but my guess is that he is particularly tough on his cars. Some drivers just keep buying cars with bad transmissions and never figure out that they are the problem not the cars they buy.