I love my truck, I really do, even though it’s haunted by poltergeists or possibly inhabited by gremlins. It started behaving strangely about a month ago, and despite the tireless efforts of my trusted mechanics, the cause remains a mystery. After days of diagnostic work, the service manager could come up with only one possible cure – an exorcism.
She’s a 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE crew cab 4X4 with a 5.3 liter Vortec and about 78,000 miles. I bought her two years ago when she had barely 60,000 miles, and never experienced even a hiccup until recently. It started in the parking lot of Lowes on a fairly warm day. I jumped in, turned the key, and absolutely nothing happened. Dead, dead, dead. No dome light, no chimes, no buzzing solenoid. It seemed strange since I had replaced the battery about one year ago. I opened the hood, shook the battery, wiggled some wires, and tried again. Presto, it started right up with no further problems. I didn’t think too much about it for a week or so until the same thing happened again, but this time, it stayed dead. I had it towed to the aforementioned trusted mechanics, who said the problem was a loose battery cable, and it was returned to me good as new.
A couple of days later, I was leaving another parking lot after starting up, and heard a strange, rhythmic sound all around me. Not recognizing it, I looked around and discovered that all four of the door locks were popping up and down. At the same time, all of the gauges were gyrating back and forth, the seat belt chime was going off, the Check Engine light was going on and off, the status lights were flashing a wide variety of warnings and information, and the engine was doing a low-speed lurch. This possession lasted a minute or so, then all returned to normal.
Back to the trusted mechanics it went. They did their diagnostic magic and determined that there was a bad diode in the alternator, so it was replaced with a new OEM unit. Everything was fine for a few days, then the same weird stuff happened as I was coming down a mountain pass at 60 mph. This episode lasted about twenty minutes until I pulled over and parked. After the engine cooled, it started right back up and behaved perfectly. This time the trusted mechanics kept it for three days and did everything they could think of, including talking with the local GM service department to see if they recognized the symptoms or if there any active recalls. Zip, nada. In the end, they said they couldn’t reproduce the events and that all systems scoped out perfectly. They are at a loss.
I’m thinking it could be the battery – maybe an internal fault or defect? It’s a maintenance free type. All the posts, lugs, cables and connections seemed OK, but my non-mechanic thinking keeps coming back to the battery. Have you guys heard of this kind of eccentric behavior before, or have any suggestions on where to go next? Any advice would be much appreciated.