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Thread: To all Sonoma (S-15) and S-10 owners....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Rochester Hills, MI
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    To all Sonoma (S-15) and S-10 owners....

    Hi all,

    To those of you who own one of these vehicles I've just got a quick question concerning the front suspension.

    I've got a 2003 Sonoma 4x4 Crew Cab and I bought it new in Aug. '03. It just turned 37,000 miles within the last week or so. I took it in today for some new rubber and to have the brakes checked. I had a feeling that I was due for breaks and I knew the tires were getting close so it was time. I've rotated these tires about every second or so oil change (3K). But the fronts were showing more wear than the rears. They called me back after a couple of hours with the bad news. I needed the tires which was planned, but I also needed front and rear brakes which I kind of suspected but I didn't plan on having to do rotors too. This truck has four wheel disc so it gets expensive when you need to buy rotors too. Also, my front shocks were leaking so they needed to be replaced and was told I needed lower ball joints and an idler arm! By the time I did tires, brakes on both axles with the ceramic pads and rotors, alignment, front shocks, idler arm, and lower ball joints I dropped $1840! On top of this, two days ago I just spent $470 on my wifes car so it was a TOUGH week for the Pollman bank account.

    Please please please don't turn this into a HA HA HA you should have bought a Ford, Dodge, etc. type thread. We don't need that, it's been done a thousand times and gets old real fast. I'm just curious as to what other owners of these vehicles have experienced with the front end mechanicals on them. 37,000 seems a bit premature for most of those items. I could see shocks maybe but ball joints and idler arms should go longer than that!

    Thanks for any input.

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    Posts
    5,533
    I've got a 2000 Sonoma, and I just put $450 into it, but think I'll be putting more in for a driveline vibration issue. I've got 76000 on it, so it has lasted this long (I bought it with 30k almost 2 yrs ago). I feel your pain, but it does happen.
    -Ned

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inside the Beltway
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    2,666
    John,

    I've got a 98 sonoma. At 11,000 miles, the brakes went. Needed a 4 wheel brake job. After much discussion, they finally decided it was covered, out of a sense of shame if nothing else...

    It's a nice little truck, and I like it, in spite of a few problems...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
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    Unless you're pulling a heavy trailer, or you do nothing but stop and go traffic at 30 mph tops, that seems a little quick to go through brakes, much less rotors. Did they try to machine the rotors first? If so, did they markdown the measurements, before and after? If you weren't feeling/hearing grinding, It would be very odd to need rotors replaced. The exception to that, in my 8 year experience as a service advisor, is the Ford Focus. I've seen those with 25,000 miles on it, where the brakes literally destroyed the rotors and there was nothing left for the brake pads to hit!
    Ive been working GMC/Pontiac/Buick for the last 4 months, and I have not seen that model PU with a high percentage of brake problems.
    Sorry the wallet took a big hit, but I know you do want to be safe. If there is a specific question I can find out for you, drop me a PM. Like I said, I'm new to GM, but I've got some good people where I work that I can find out answers from. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
    Exclusively Irish!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Detroit Michigan
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    21
    Sounds like the 'lubricated for life' myth on the ball joints and idler arm. My 99 800 series has the zerk fittings so every oil change they get grease. Original suspension components at 150k miles. I hear the new 900 series is back to the 'lubricated for life' myth. The irritating part is the cost they save making the vehicle costs you considerably more in maintence.

    Shocks leaking so they need replacing. Cost cutters earned a bonus on this one at your expense.

    The brakes, maybe they used organic for the pad material, so 37k is about right. But unless you let the metal backing grind on the rotors, they should be OK. The problem is the cost cutters got you again. The rotors have just enough meat for safety and none for resurfacing.

    I do my 800 series brakes (all disk) and the ceramic pads cost me an avg of $60 front or rear. Front disks were $30 each for the 'good' ones. Rears were $78 each as they have those mini drum brakes for the emergency brake. Rear rotors are more complicated. Markup on the parts runs 50% to 100% and they buy the cheapest as possible.

    You can go online to Rock Auto and price out the parts as a comparison.

    Not much you can do on labor except be sure the place that does the work is reliable.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
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    Thanks for the input guys!

    Actually the majority of the miles on this truck are city driving and not highway. I do pull a trailer quite a bit for work and that's loaded pretty good a lot of the time. I can see needing pads, but FOUR rotors seems a bit ridiculous. They mic'd the rotors and the rear were just under minimum and the fronts were pretty much right there. As I said, I did rotate the tires regularly but I noticed the last time that the fronts were wearing a little funny. I attributed that to a possible alignment problem but figured I'd put new rubber on it and have the alignment done and that would solve it. But looking at the tires again (I got them back because there is still some life left in them and I know someone who doesn't have much and really needs some tires) I can see where the problems described lead to the wear.

    My brother in law is part owner of this shop along with the current manager. I actually used to work for them back in high school in '81 and the current manager was my boss back then. He's a good guy and I know him very well and he wouldn't sell me something I didn't need. I just think that this extensive work at 37K miles is a bit ridiculous. Heck, the truck is barely paid for and I've got to drop almost $2K into it?! I guess I'll just have to suck it up and go with it. I've got to have a safe vehicle to drive. I was just curious as to whether or not any other people driving this class of vehicles have experienced the same type of problems. I've always thought of these vehicles as being fairly decent vehicles for the money. Heck, I see these things driving around until the wheels are about ready to fall off and they still keep going.

    I guess maybe I just needed to vent a little bit too. I'm just pretty stressed out right now because this is NOT what I needed right now. I've got no substantial work lined up and don't see any in the near future at this point. I've just gotta beat the streets and try to find some work to PAY for this fiasco. Thanks for listening folks and thanks again for the input!

    Have a great weekend

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  7. #7
    I may be all wet here, but despite low mileage the vehicle has still seen several Michigan winters... which I suspect involved some snow, salt, and other general 'muck' that comes with that kind of weather.

    I usually end up trading a vehicle off between 100-150K miles, and have only replaced brake pads on one vehicle EVER... that being a 1994 Sentra.

  8. #8
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    Location
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
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    John, I feel better that it was someone you know and trust that was loking at the vehicle. I've heard too many horror stories from the "Just Brakes" of the world. Maybe the rotors were just soft. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
    Exclusively Irish!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
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    5,533
    Quote Originally Posted by John Pollman View Post
    Thanks for the input guys!

    Actually the majority of the miles on this truck are city driving and not highway. I do pull a trailer quite a bit for work and that's loaded pretty good a lot of the time. I can see needing pads, but FOUR rotors seems a bit ridiculous. They mic'd the rotors and the rear were just under minimum and the fronts were pretty much right there. As I said, I did rotate the tires regularly but I noticed the last time that the fronts were wearing a little funny. I attributed that to a possible alignment problem but figured I'd put new rubber on it and have the alignment done and that would solve it. But looking at the tires again (I got them back because there is still some life left in them and I know someone who doesn't have much and really needs some tires) I can see where the problems described lead to the wear.

    My brother in law is part owner of this shop along with the current manager. I actually used to work for them back in high school in '81 and the current manager was my boss back then. He's a good guy and I know him very well and he wouldn't sell me something I didn't need. I just think that this extensive work at 37K miles is a bit ridiculous. Heck, the truck is barely paid for and I've got to drop almost $2K into it?! I guess I'll just have to suck it up and go with it. I've got to have a safe vehicle to drive. I was just curious as to whether or not any other people driving this class of vehicles have experienced the same type of problems. I've always thought of these vehicles as being fairly decent vehicles for the money. Heck, I see these things driving around until the wheels are about ready to fall off and they still keep going.

    I guess maybe I just needed to vent a little bit too. I'm just pretty stressed out right now because this is NOT what I needed right now. I've got no substantial work lined up and don't see any in the near future at this point. I've just gotta beat the streets and try to find some work to PAY for this fiasco. Thanks for listening folks and thanks again for the input!

    Have a great weekend

    John

    John,
    sounds like you may be pushing the envelope a bit. that is not even a 1/2 ton truck, and probably wasn't intended for daily/frequent towing duty. That additional weight and wear and tear are likely related. I'm glad you've got a reliable shop you trust to do the work properly.
    -Ned

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
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    940
    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Bulken View Post
    John,
    sounds like you may be pushing the envelope a bit. that is not even a 1/2 ton truck, and probably wasn't intended for daily/frequent towing duty. That additional weight and wear and tear are likely related. I'm glad you've got a reliable shop you trust to do the work properly.
    Actually Ned,
    I my work trailer is a 6x12 enclosed cargo trailer. The trailer by itself isn't that heavy but by the time I load it down with tools and materials it can get a bit heavy. I don't really tow it on a daily basis, but a lot of the jobs I do require me to haul the trailer because there's just not enough room in the truck for the tools and materials I need. From what I'm hearing here and on another forum I posted this same question, 30K brake jobs are quite common on these trucks. They did however install lifetime warranty pads. It sounds to me like rotors these days are pretty much disposable anyway and aren't really designed to be turned. I had considered doing the brakes myself a couple months ago and was pricing the parts. At that time before I knew I had all this other stuff to do I was going to put "premium" rotors on and they were $85 and $95 each for the front and rear! I just looked at the bill and they installed standard rotors which he told me will be fine for this vehicle and are probably better than the OEM ones anyway. They only charged me $35 and $45 each (front/rear) for the rotors. That's not too bad and I've decided that from now on I'm DONE with the dealer. I took it there last summer and had them check the brakes and couldn't get a straight answer out of them as to the condition of the brakes! A bunch of morons IMO. This shop will rotate my tires for free so at every other oil change I'll just have them check the brakes carefully. When they're worn enough, they'll replace the pads because of the warranty. Sure I'll have to pay the labor but that's not that expensive.

    Thanks again for all the input folks and have a great weekend!

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

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