By on January 11, 2014

The new-for-2014 Silverado charmed our very own Winston Braithwaite when he tested it earlier this year. But if you ran right out to buy one after reading the review (YES ADVERTISERS THIS HAPPENS EVERY DAY) you might be without it for a few days in the near future.

GM is reportedly aware of eight issues where 4.3-liter and 5.3-liter 2014-model trucks caught fire due to “overheated exhaust areas”. These incidents all happened during “very cold weather”, and the company is encouraging owners not to let their trucks idle. Given that half of the reason people buy these sleds is to let ‘em idle in the winter, it seems unlikely this advice will be honored in the observation more than the breach, so to speak.

The fix will be available starting Monday and appears to be a software reprogramming.

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73 Comments on “GM To Recall 370,000 Silverado/Sierra Trucks For Fire Risk...”


  • avatar
    nine11c2

    ?? “Given that half of the reason people buy these sleds is to let ‘em idle in the winter” ??

    People buy gas pickups to idle? Diesel I could see you making that remark. Gas?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      In the Midwest, a lot of these are used as mobile offices.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        Good for you, Jack. Keeping busy.

        Mid-West… Construction types everywhere use their pick-ups as ‘mobile offices’.

        Mine through the years was a Suburban with a roof and side rack.

        It didn’t do much idling, but I put a lot of urban and suburban miles on it every day. Using up a 42 gallon tank or more, wasn’t uncommon.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Not just the Midwest. I live in the Great Southwest and every truck I have owned has been my mobile office I work out of.

        It has everything I need in it, including extra clothing, a couple of MREs, a couple gallons of drinking water, and a hygiene kit in case I get snowed in, like one year at Raton Pass, NM.

        I idled through a half tank of gas while sleeping in the warm cab of the truck atop the pass that night before the State Police allowed traffic to proceed the following morning.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Diesel does not do so well idling in cold weather….under load, yes but at idle heat output is pretty low all thing considered.

  • avatar
    Loser

    As most everyone already knows this is why you should wait a year or so before buying a newly redesigned vehicle.
    I thought Ford had the market cornered on fire recalls.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      What about Jeep? Pretty much anything shat out by the UAW is wienie roast material.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        I’m no fan of the UAW or unions in general but what does the UAW have to do with this? Was the UAW in charge of design and testing?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Ya, its the UAWs fault. That”s why Toyota is the North American recall king. Because of the UAW.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Number of recalls, 2012:

          Ford – 24
          General Motors – 17
          Honda – 16
          BMW – 15
          Nissan – 13
          Chrysler – 13
          Toyota – 12
          H/K + Kia – 8
          Mercedes-Benz – 6
          Volvo – 5
          VW – 5
          Jaguar – 4
          Porsche – 4
          Subaru – 4
          Fisker – 2
          Maserati – 2
          Mazda – 2
          Mitsubishi – 2
          Aston Martin – 1
          Ferrari – 1
          Rolls Royce – 1
          Lotus – 1

          http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/communications/pdf/2012_Vehicle_Recalls_by_Manufacturer.pdf

          You might want to rethink your claim.

          And if recalls are a measure of reliability, then Ferrari must have a stealth program for it.

          • 0 avatar

            http://autos.aol.com/article/why-toyota-topped-recall-list/

            “Toyota in 2011 topped the recall list among automakers for the third year in a row.”

            Again in 2012..

            “Toyota accounted for most of the 13.5 million vehicles recalled in the United States by the seven biggest automakers in 2012, followed by Honda Motor Co., General Motors and Ford Motor Co.”
            http://www.autonews.com/article/20130109/OEM11/130109888#axzz2q666pNMu

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I provided you with a list from NHTSA, the government agency that is charge of the recalls.

            I would hope that you’re smart enough to not argue about the credibility of the link that I provided.

          • 0 avatar

            And I provided links(without adding snide comments about smarts or checking facts) to two credible sources that show Toyota recalled the most vehicles 4 years in a row, validating Apagtt’s claim. Its not like Autonews made those numbers up and I am sure you have used autonews to backup your claims in the past. Your link shows Toyota recalled more vehicles than GM, Ford and Chrysler combined that you conveniently chose to ignore.

            Btw i am glad you find the job of policing the internet very fulfilling. I hope you will soon find that mall cop job you’ve always wanted.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            Recalls can be calculated by number of recalls issued, or number of vehicles recalled. The rankings can be quite different

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There’s no arguing with the data that I provided, since it comes from NHTSA, the agency that oversees vehicle recalls in the United States. Every other source is going to get its data from the very same list that I provided; there is no greater authority on the subject of US recalls.

            Recalls and reliability have little to do with each other. Surely, even the biggest domestic fanboys should be able to recognize that Rolls Royce, Lotus, Ferrari and Aston Martin are not the most reliable cars sold in the United States.

            Similarly, I would hope that the GM fanboys would realize that a Silverado is not 46 times more likely to catch fire than a Volt because its recall is 46 times larger (370,000 vs. 8000), or is 46 times less reliable. The pickup truck recall is much larger than the Volt recall because GM has sold a lot more pickups.

            There are a lot of factors that go into recalls, and smaller numbers shouldn’t lead you to believe that Lotus leads the reliability hit parade. It’s great to have data, but you need to understand what it means (and what it doesn’t mean.)

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            I would be more concerned with a third metric. Number of recalls and number of vehicles recalled is somewhat less important to me than the nature of the recalls. There is a pretty vast difference in a recall for spiderwebs in my AC drain versus my truck potentially burning to the ground.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @PCH101- It is a fact that Toyota has recalled more vehicles, irrespective of the number of recalls, and by that measure could be considered the recall king. The NHTSA data you present lumps recalls including a handful of vehicles with those including hundreds of thousands or millions. The business and customer impact is a function of volume more than number of recalls.

          To normalize the data, it would make sense to consider the potential exposure in terms of vehicle populations in the field in the analysis.

          It is correct to disconnect recalls from dependability.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Most posters on this forum don’t appear to understand what recalls are about or what they represent.

            Individual Toyota recalls tend to be large because the company excels at parts sharing. Parts sharing is more efficient, plus it tends to promote higher reliability because a reliable part finds its way into a lot of vehicles.

            But that is a double-edged sword, because a part that is recalled has been installed in a lot more vehicles.

            Recalls are undertaken for safety reasons, not necessarily because the item in question has a high failure rate. The failure rate itself of recalled items is typically low; the issue is often the possible consequence of failure, not the statistical likelihood of failure.

            As the US manufacturers become more efficient, you should expect the volume of their individual recalls to get larger. GM’s Volt recall was relatively small because the car isn’t very successful. Let’s not give GM a pat on the back for having a Volt recall that was smaller merely because there aren’t many customers for the car.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Your main points are well made. The connection between recall volumes or number of recalls and vehicle dependability are tenuous at best, though public perception is another angle.

            The US Makers are as efficient as any. General Motors in particular has more volume in most segments than Toyota or anyone else, especially when considering past model year volumes expose the company to recall risk.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      this “wait one model year” rule unfortuantely still is true and likley seems to become more true.

      In Europe the rule used to be that German cars have new models every ~6 years with more radical changes than Japanese cars that are on ~4 year cycles. So each transition for Japanese cars was less radical with fewer bugs. In addition Japanese cars typically already had been sold in Japan before they came to Europe (back then Japan didn’t have much production in europe anyway) and Japanese costumers were the guinea pigs. So the rule was for German cars to wait one model year, Japanese cars most likley were fine rigth away.

      But with faster globalization, it seems every single brand requires one year of bug fixing (OK, German cars now seeem to require 8 years before they get it right – unfortuantely then they already are at the next flawed model…:).

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      I would extend that to at least 3 yrs for domestics, just look at all the latest Ford products, all of them have had major issues of one kind or another, only Mustang, F-150 and its derived SUV’s and Crown Vic have been mostly trouble-free

    • 0 avatar

      “I thought Ford had the market cornered on fire recalls.”

      Ford is having a tough time keeping combustion internal. Too bad their PR machine is working twice as hard as their engineers.

  • avatar
    Atum

    Dang.

    Is it ironic that when I go on IAA’s website and look for burned 2014 vehicles, most of them are Kias?

  • avatar

    I’m curious why recalls scare people so much.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I agree. It means they have identified a problem and are fixing it quickly. I think the problems are the ones where the manufacturer denies there is a problem.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I agree, I am still awaiting a fix for the faulty solenoid value on the transmission on my Sienna. Toyota were informed of issues in February 2013, a recall notice went out in October 2013 and no fix is yet found.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        MBella, I agree. People seem to forget how complex cars are. There will be problems but it’s how the manufacturer deals/or not deals with the problem that makes the difference.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hmmm. 2014 Chevy Silverado.
    Isn’t this somebody’s “Truck of the Year”?
    Maybe even two or three “somebody’s”

    —————–

  • avatar
    Dan

    I looked up the details of this recall. Apparently the trucks are intended to run on just two cylinders at idle. The current version of the software isn’t doing that correctly and instead fires “most” cylinders.

    Read as, heat shielding on the exhaust system is specced such that idling while firing on six or eight cylinders will literally set the truck on fire.

    Intellectually that’s a clever solution to save cost and weight. Or at least it would be if GM had done it right.

    Intuitively, using a gimmick to get away with leaving out a proper heat shield doesn’t give much confidence in the rest of the truck. What else are they leaving out?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Oh oh, another GM V8-6-4 problem?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Considering most of these trucks will have cyclinder deactivation tuned out in the next 10 years, that certainly is a scary thought.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Dan, you did good.

      I wonder how many other commenters thought to read the details.

      But the fix for these trucks is relatively simple. The problem with my dad’s Caddy 8-6-4 did not include catching on fire but was a lot more involved in that it often fouled plugs which made the engine miss like sh!t.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Dan and Carlson fan- The Detroit News simply had it wrong. I confirmed that these engines are designed to idle on 8 cylinders, as has been and remains the norm. The journalist (surprise!) simply did not understand.

        The recall addresses a problem that can occur ONLY IF some fault in a vehicle system causes the engine to operate in “Reduced Power” mode, which is accompanied by I/P warnings, AND THEN it is allowed to sit at idle too long in that mode. The idle condition is a concern because there is little or no air flow by exhaust components when the truck is stationary. The “Reduced Power” related overheating won’t occur if the vehicle is moving.

        The software update changes the way this “Reduced Power” mode is handled and eliminates the potential of this rare scenario leading to exhaust overheating.

        “Reduced Power” mode is a default failure response mode of engine operation intended to protect components and allow a “limp home” capability in the event of component failure, say a pedal position sensor, for example. If Reduced Power mode is active, a warning light is always illuminated and the Driver Info center displays “Reduced Power”.
        “Reduced Power” mode has existed for years, but the specific way it functions with the original calibration was undesirable and is changed with the software update.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    @Dan- The issue has nothing to do with heat shielding. It is an engine calibration issue which can cause abnormally high exhaust temperatures under rare conditions and is typically associated with, and preceded by a warning light. It is easily corrected with a re-flash. The hardware is fine.

    How did you get the idea that the engines are supposed to idle on two cylinders? GM’s press release does not indicate this.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Detroit News link: http://tinyurl.com/nxhgeqk

      “When the truck idles, it should use two cylinders. But because of a software glitch, the recalled trucks idle with most of the cylinders. That causes the vehicles to overheat and leads to the fires.”

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Dan- The Detroit Free Press does not include that information, nor does GM’s press release. The New comment is surprising, since I don’t recall ever hearing of 2 cylinder idling as a design feature of the DI V8. I will find out!

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          So what is it? Do the new trucks really idle on 2 cylinders? I’ve always wondered why our ’07 Tahoe w/AFM doesn’t idle on 4 cylinders.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            A GM contact who responded this weekend says the Detroit News is not accurate. Expect more info when the guys get back to work tomorrow.

            If these engines were designed to idle on two cylinders, one might expect that feature to be mentioned in press releases and reviews. More to come.

            The most likely reason for not idling your AFM V8 in 4 cylinder mode is idle pleasability. Owners don’t like roughness and that would be hard to avoid at idle, imho.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Also, its a 20-35 minute reflash. No one is going to be ‘out of it for days’.

    • 0 avatar

      If all they have to do is a software refresh I am wondering why it couldn’t be done remotely via onstar. The K2XX launch has become a mess. Greedy pricing, deceptive discounts, stocking dealerships with higher priced trims and fewer regular cab trucks has caused the F Series to pull away and Ram to close the gap. The trucks only marginally better than the competition and in no way justify the price premium. It will be interesting to see how much longer they hold the line on pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        That could cause more trouble.

        Typically a recall (even a software patch) involves some checking by a tech as well as signing off that the work was done and passed tests.

        Sending out patches to people’s driveways invites trouble:

        1) what happens if the patch is interrupted (reception, user decides to drive the vehicle, etc)

        2) how do they confirm that the patch was performed AND that the vehicle passed QC tests afterward?

        3) If the patch applies and for some reason does not take, or fails to restart properly you have vehicles off at who-knows where, possibly stranded.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @alluster &pragmatist- Inside GM we looked hard at doing reflashes remotely through On-star many years ago. Pragmatist’s list captures some concerns which were considered when we decided there was too much risk involved.

          A key factor involved in a reflash is assuring the vehicle battery is fully charged or connected to a charger. If the state of charge were to fall too low while reflashing, the controller can go “brain dead” as in you have to replace it. You’d hate to turn a simple reflash into a customer walk home/tow in situation!

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Funny. Ford recalls the 1.6 Egoboost SEVEN times and there is one story about it here on TTAC (at recall number 3).

    GM recalls their new trucks YESTERDAY, and there is a story on it.

    But you’re not biased. And I thought TTAC didn’t report on recalls?

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Software fix. What do they do uncheck the “catch on fire while idling ” checkbox?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Let’s see if the new GM, under Mary Barra’s stewardship, handles this well.

    In terms of the truck world, I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my complete shock at how any rational person could drive a new GMC/Chevy pickup, and its Ford F-Series equivalent competitor, and conclude that the GMC/Chevy product doesn’t drive better, have a more solid feel (especially with Z71 package), have a superior drivetrain all around, have a better interior with better and more modern materials and better fit & finish, and one’t just of a much better quality all over.

    That Ford sells as many F Series trucks as it does is a testament to how they’ve mastered marketing, almost to, or at the point, that pharma companies have in peddling their wares, rather than to the quality or efficacy of their wares.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      It’s only going to get worse when the F-150 aluminium experiment goes on sale.

      You thought the Tundra bed shake (in the Ford produced ads) was bad, just wait until the Tin Can F-150 with the high-strung and gas guzzling motor hit the streets. It will be worse than the weak Raptors and slower than a Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      ‘Job Quality is Number One’ or some such tripe. I have probably bought more new Ford trucks/vans then ten Ford fanboys on this site, together. They were decent tools, but they sure had some problems over the years that I didn’t experience with my GMC/Chevies.

      Front end alignment was a constant issue. Ride and handling never on par with the GM units. Fuel economy, never up to what we could get out of the GM trucks. Ford’s late eighties electronic ignition and ECU’s were a problem, as were their trannies both Manual and Auto. When their time was up you sold them and never looked back, while guys on the crews had dibs on most of the GM’s.

      Only one Ford ever was ever spoken for by one of the crew and was my personal/business 87′ Ford F-150 4×4 that had a the handling package, posi front and rear, Blk on Red, and was just a plain and simple truck with rubber mats.

      It had the FI L-6 as I was a big fan of the 300 inch inline and used to race one in a 61′ Falcon A/G coupe. That new 4.9 Ford was a serious disappointment, with ignition problems with less then 10,000 miles. Then ECU problems, never got rated MPG, and I tried hard to get it. Before I had hardly got it home, there was a recall on the tranny I sold it after a year. I did later, nineties, buy some more Fords for the business, but never another personal one. Was very disappointed in Ford’s advertising hype.

      After I sold the 87′, I picked up an 88′ Chevy 2500 4×4 that I still drive with 200,000 miles on it now and few problems. Starter/light switch/dampener/distributor plate broke. Still the same engine/tranny/etc. un-rebuilt. It has been past the Arctic Circle(Prudhoe Bay/Dutch Harbor) three times and to Belize four times.

      Ford builds a good truck, but like ‘Dead Weight’, I wonder why so many, given the issues and variable build quality.

      That new 2014 Chevy, is sure a good looking truck. Never liked and thoroughly tired of the macho grilles on light trucks. The, my grille is bigger then yours, cock fight.

      Not mentioned here, but doesn’t the combined GM/Chevy truck sales about equal Ford’s?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “have a superior drivetrain all around”

      I don’t know man, I really like that Ford 6.2L.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        OHV > OHC

        New 6.2 GM is rated at 15 city 21 highway in the trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          But, with the GM engines you also get all-aluminum construction, cylinder deactivation, and direct injection (granted GM’s DI system has historically been alright).

          None of that is on the Ford engine (which is still fairly basic as a SOHC 2-valver).

          Plus, Ford trusts the 6.2L enough for their HD trucks while GM is keeping the old 6.0L for the 2015 gas option on the 2500/3500.

          I’d go with the Ford if it was my money.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            6.0l has a much better torque curve and, I believe it still has iron heads?

            I’d prefer a 6.2 in a half ton, but I’ll take the 6.0 in the 3/4 ton as a gasser, 7 days a week over the 6.2.
            No where near as much engine crap to break, the 3/4 + are still built as trucks, vs the lux 1500s
            A 6.0 2500 made today will probably be on the road longer than a 6.2 1500 made today.

            And the hell with messing with an OHC, I’ve yet to see an OHC match a OHV truck in longevity.

            Don’t have to worry about afm, DI, etc on a 6.0.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            OK, you bring a 2.2 pushrod powered S-10 and I’ll bring a 22R SOHC powered Hilux and we’ll see which truck is more durable.

            The method of actuating the valve train is not a central component of durability. Plenty of SOHC Panthers with silly miles on the Odometer out there.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            To all who responded, I’m not saying my personal preference is the correct answer as to which make is a better vehicle, given the subjectivity of the subject matter, but I will say that I am genuinely astounded at how dated the F-Series’ dashboard, gauges and interior trim/materials are, how much worse its ride quality is, how much less tight it feels and how much worse it tracks on road.

            Anecdotally, I’d estimate that 80% of my clients that run a fleet of trucks for everything from excavation & site improvements (i.e. underground utilities) to concrete or asphalt work, to snow plowing either have stuck with GMC/Chevy trucks or have gone back to them after temporarily defecting to Ford or Dodge trucks.

            Maybe it’s a regional thing since I’m in Michigan.

            I do know that despite the GMC/Chevy conservative styling, their trucks feel at least a generation more advanced than their Ford competition.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The method of actuating the valve train is not a central component of durability.”

            I generally agree, but I think it’s worth some consideration if you are shopping in GM Land.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            aj, I’ve owned a lot of trucks in my life but I only bought three brand new pickup trucks.

            I owned a Silverado 350 and a F150 5.4 and I’ll take my all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC 5.7-liter Tundra V8 over any of them, any day.

            I consider the DOHC method of valve activation to be the Rolex of the car industry. To own one is to love one.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I always wondered if the reason for seeing more GM work trucks means that GM offers better fleet discounts.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            I think it’s a location thing.

            Most of New England is GM truck land minus Connecticut, we love our ford’s. Most of my fellow Ford truck buddies are out west.

            As for the efi 300 6 guy the head was redesigned and they get horrible mpg. The carb version was better in that respect.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      It should. The Ford is what, like a 5 year old design now? And I have to say, this is the first time I have ever heard anyone bash a 300 straight 6…Those things are legendary but there must have been a few bad ones..just hadn’t heard of any until now.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Some on this site should try to learn a little about risk management.

    That is the crux of the matter. You just can’t state one product is better or worse just by adding up the number of recalls.

    Hazards are what many recalls try to remove or mitigate. The consequence from a failure can be graded from critical with a large consequence, ie, potential death to just slight damage to equipment.

    Then it must be organised into likelihood or probability an event/incidence will occur.

    In most instances even if the consequence is quite high the likelihood of it occurring is very low. Even though the likelihood of an incident is low, the consequence will dictate the urgency to mitigate/remove.

    It comes to money and how best to manage fallout.

    It’s good that a manufacturer will have callouts on what appears trivial.

    The likelihood of one of these Chevs burning up is very, very low. But, GM is fixing the problem.

    Good on them and the system for allowing this to occur.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    +1
    I also see recalls as responsible responses from a manufacturer.

    Recalls, even something as simple as a re-flash, cost a lot of money and dent a reputation. They are not done lightly, many people become involved, tons of data is crunched, analysis are made… it is never a simple decision and many times the manufacturers will dither for a while before issuing a recall.


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