Common 1st Gen Silverado Problems: 1999 to 2007

1st gen Chevy Silverado

The 1st gen Silverado was Chevy’s departure from its C/K trucks. While it is a very popular truck for many good reasons, it also has common faults owners have reported. Here are the top 5 Chevy Silverado problems of the 1st generation, years 1999 to 2007.

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Top 5 Problems on the 1st Gen Chevy Silverado: 1999 to 2007

1. Knock Sensor Failure

Symptoms of a Bad Knock Sensor

The engine will probably run like normal and a check engine light will come on for a knock sensor code.

How to Fix a Knock Sensor

The knock sensor is located underneath the intake, so it can be a little difficult to access. After removing the intake, replace the intake gasket. The knock sensors also have a separate wiring harness that is replaceable. We recommend replacing that harness as well.

2. Steering Intermediate Shaft Knocking

Symptoms of a Bad Steering Intermediate Shaft

  • Knocking sound after turning the steering wheel 1/4 a turn when driving over a bumps

Causes of a Bad Steering Intermediate Shaft

The steering intermediate shaft failure is not a safety concern, but it can fail over time on the 1st gen Silverado.

How to Fix a Bad Steering Intermediate Shaft

Steering intermediate shaft inside a 1st gen Chevy Silverado's engine compartment
Steering intermediate shaft inside the engine compartment

The steering intermediate shaft can be found entering the firewall on the driver side. If you remove the bolt from the end of the shaft inside the engine compartment, the steering shaft can telescope up. There is also a bolt on the inside of the truck to remove.

Lubricating the steering shaft may extend its life for about 5,000 miles before the knocking sound returns. We recommend replacing the steering shaft.

3. EVAP Vent Valve Failure

Symptoms of a Bad EVAP Vent Valve

There will likely be no drivability issues, but a check engine light with an EVAP code will appear.

Causes of a Bad EVAP Vent Valve

Dirt and debris can clog the EVAP vent valve.

How to Fix an EVAP Code on the 1999 to 2007 Chevy Silverado

EVAP Vent Valve on a 1st Gen Chevy Silverado
EVAP Vent Valve on a 1st Gen Chevy Silverado

First, check the gas cap for tightness and for a torn or broken gas cap gasket when diagnosing an EVAP code.

The EVAP vent valve is located on the fuel tank. If the gas cap is in good condition, it’s likely the EVAP vent valve.

4. Front Wheel Bearing Failure

Symptoms of Bad Front Wheel Bearings

  • Humming or growling noise while driving that may change in pitch or disappear when turning the steering wheel
  • ABS activation at slow speeds

Causes of Bad Front Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings are a wear part that commonly fail on the 1st gen Silverado. Sometimes this can be heard or felt as a groaning or humming when driving. The sound can also sometimes be heard or disappear when turning.

The brake pedal may also feel soft from a rusted wheel bearing that has pushed the ABS sensor out of position.

How to Fix Front Wheel Bearings

How to Test the Front Wheel Bearings
Mechanic testing the wheel bearings by grabbing the tire from the 12 and 6 o'clock positions
Testing the wheel bearings

Grab the tire at the 12 and 6 o’clock position. Press the tire in and out. If there is play, the wheel bearing is likely loose. It may be the upper or lower ball joint causing the issue, but on the 1st gen Chevy Silverado, it’s usually the wheel hub assembly. If the wheel bearing is defective, replace it.

If the ABS is out of position from a rusted wheel bearing, you may be able to clean the area to fix its placement.

5. Stuck Tailgate Handle

Symptoms of a Bad Tailgate Handle

The tailgate handle seizes, making it difficult to open the tailgate.

Causes of a Tailgate Handle Problems on the 1st Gen Chevy Silverado

The tailgate handle rods can seize. If the tailgate handle rods have trouble pulling in and out, the tailgate will have difficulty opening and closing.

How to Fix a Bad Tailgate Handle

How to Open a Stuck Tailgate on the 1999 to 2007 Chevy Silverado

  1. Remove the Tailgate Handle Trim Bezel

    Remove the trim bezel to access the tailgate handle rods

  2. Disconnect the Tailgate Handle Rods

    Disconnect the tailgate handle rods from the tailgate handle

  3. Pull the Rods to Open the Tailgate

    Pull out the tailgate handle rods to open the tailgate

If the tailgate handle is stuck and unable to open and close the tailgate, replace the tailgate handle and rods.

How to Fix Your Own 1st Gen Chevy Silverado

Fix your own 1st gen Silverado with tons of how-to videos that cover many repairs like the headlights, brakes, mirrors, wheel hubs, suspension parts, and more. 1A Auto’s videos have step-by-step instructions for the 1st generation Chevy Silverado and more makes and models in 1A Auto’s video library.

1st Generation Chevrolet Silverado Model Years

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Common 1st Gen Chevy Silverado Problems | (1999 to 2007)
Article Name
Common 1st Gen Chevy Silverado Problems | (1999 to 2007)
Learn the most common problems on the 1st gen Silverado like a stuck tailgate handle or knock sensor failure as this article covers the top 5 issues with the 1st generation Chevy Silverado, years 1999 to 2007
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1A Auto
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