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2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 Crew Cab - Long-Term Report part 2 Of 4

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on February 20, 2015
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Welcome back to our one-year extended evaluation of our 2013 Pickup Truck of the Year. During this portion of the test we’ve amassed another 6,000 trouble-free miles of commuting, towing, and long-distance travel, with only a couple of complaints along the way.

We heard from the guys at General Motors almost immediately after receiving our long-term Silverado regarding a recall about a necessary software fix. It seems that an undisclosed number of trucks had begun inadvertently shifting their T-cases into Neutral, and apparently this was possible even while the truck was parked and unattended. We were warned to bring the truck in for a “re-flash” as soon as possible and to always use the parking brake. Thinking we should test for the possibility of this defect, we waited three months until the on-board diagnostics requested an oil change before heading off to the dealer for the bug-fix. Fortunately, we never experienced a ghost-shift, but wrongly assuming this would be an easy download, we tried to have the truck serviced during lunch at our local dealer, Connell Chevrolet, in Costa Mesa, California, but were turned away. We keep forgetting that dealerships are still stuck in the “drop it off for the whole day for an oil change” mentality but without loaner vehicles like the high-end car stores. Also, they claimed the software fix takes about three hours. We later made an appointment to drop it off for the day at DeLillo Chevrolet in Huntington Beach, California, for an oil change, tire rotation, and the recall. When you purchase a GM vehicle, maintenance service is normally no charge for the first two years or 24,000 miles. However, since our truck still belongs to GM, the dealer had no method to account for service on it, and we ended up paying $83 out of pocket for the service.

We’ve noted online comments from owners who have experienced vibration issues at freeway speeds. Thankfully, we can report that our truck, at almost 13,000 miles, is still buttery smooth at all speeds. In fact, as mentioned in the first update, this truck is remarkably smooth, quiet, and rattle-free. Only the overly harsh suspension tuning makes for any unpleasantness on- or off-road.

Not all things are going well, however. There’s a considerable amount of pre-ignition possible under part-throttle acceleration with the 5.3L. We thought it odd at first that a direct-injection engine would knock and suffer detonation, but then realized that it’s not a diesel, where the act of injecting fuel is simultaneous with ignition. With a gas engine there’s still time between the fuel being injected into the cylinder and the spark event. Also, direct-injection engines are able to use higher compression ratios, so perhaps it’s more difficult to manage than with port-style fuel injection. At any rate, it’s annoying that such a modern, high-tech engine can rattle away like something from an older era. The next step will be to try a tank of mid-grade or premium fuel and see if that makes the engine happier. We’ve heard the 6.2L has a thirst for premium, but didn’t know the smaller V-8 had the same appetite.

There’s also an annoying squeak that’s developed, only occurring when rolling back into the throttle at freeway speeds after coasting. It almost sounds like the leaf springs rotating under load, but we did a little online searching and found a comment from an owner who says a similar squeak is coming from the engine when toggling back from V-4 into V-8 mode. It’s hard to say where it’s coming from, and it’s barely perceptible, but just enough noise that you’re constantly reminded that it’s there. We can’t wait for the conversation with the tech advisor at the dealer about this one, since we’re sure they’re going to think we’re nuts and probably won’t be able to recreate the sound. Stay tuned for the next installment, and we’ll fill you in.

Overall, the essential experience has been one of high quality materials, fit and finish, and construction. There are absolutely no rattles, and all bits and pieces are still firmly affixed to their appropriate locations. The interior is holding up very well under heavy use by adults, teenaged kids, and dogs. Fuel economy and range continue to be high points, especially considering the power and torque. Hopefully we can get the squeak quieted down before the next report.

The new engine is fantastic. Access for maintenance is great, with plenty of room to reach around, and everything is well marked.

Report: 2 OF 4
Previous reports: Dec. ’14
Base price: $45,050
Price as tested: $53,210
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time, electronically controlled, two-speed

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 12,312
Miles since last report: 5,968
Average mpg (this report): 15.6
Test best tank (mpg): 18.2 (Highway between 70-75 mph)
Test worst tank (mpg): 14.3 (Around town, short trips)

Maintenance
This period: Oil and filter change, tire rotation, software re-flash, $0 (Service included for 2 years / 24,000 miles)
Problem areas: Software recall

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Build quality, fit and finish, quiet cab
Not: Pre-ignition, chassis squeak

Logbook Quotes
“Make the squeak stop!”
“Bed cover latches are finicky and still plenty of air gap in tailgate to let dust in on dirt roads.”
“How can it ping with direct injection?”

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