Is the DoD 5.3 a durable engine? [Archive] - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum

: Is the DoD 5.3 a durable engine?


Groomerdriver
06-27-2009, 11:32 AM
Hi,

My only concern in purchasing the TB we picked out was the DoD 5.3 engine and "how durable has it proven to be?"

Before we bought the TB, I did some research on the engine but found very little information. No...I didn't find this site until after we bought it. :duh:

So how has this engine been for anybody? Any "common" issues to watch for? The good, the bad, and the ugly please!

I'm anal about taking care of my vehicles and want to learn as much as I can about this engine!

:thx

GD

Fishhunter911
06-27-2009, 11:43 AM
the 5.3 has been around for a while. The only difference between a standard 5.3 and the DoD is the electronics that control fuel and spark. That being said the engine itself is a very good engine as with most small block V8's.

I have not heard of any major issues with the electronics on the DoD.

Groomerdriver
06-27-2009, 11:47 AM
the 5.3 has been around for a while. The only difference between a standard 5.3 and the DoD is the electronics that control fuel and spark. That being said the engine itself is a very good engine as with most small block V8's.

I have not heard of any major issues with the electronics on the DoD.

Have you heard if anybody has ever disabled the DoD feature? Or even can you disable it?

Fishhunter911
06-27-2009, 09:01 PM
If you a tune you can have the DoD disabled. we have several vendors on here that can tune your truck for you. Browse this section for a vendor to use... http://forums.trailvoy.com/forumdisplay.php?f=62

markarock
06-27-2009, 09:53 PM
The only knock on these engines that I'm aware of is a tendency for some of them to use oil. This is supposedly due to either a valve cover issue or to an "overactive" lifter or three, or both.

Do some searches and you'll find the threads.

I have the 5.3 and love it even though it does use about a quart every 2000 miles.

Groomerdriver
06-27-2009, 10:04 PM
The only knock on these engines that I'm aware of is a tendency for some of them to use oil. This is supposedly due to either a valve cover issue or to an "overactive" lifter or three, or both.

Do some searches and you'll find the threads.

I have the 5.3 and love it even though it does use about a quart every 2000 miles.

I did see threads on this. Have you had the lifters checked and the valve cover issue addressed?

markarock
06-27-2009, 11:29 PM
Nope. Living with it.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it is my motto, and one quart per 2000 miles is much better than I ever got when I was young.

playstrings
07-03-2009, 08:48 AM
At 75000 I have 2 broken manifold bolts and blown head gasket.....

Engine has run well till now but all the ignition switch - rotting gas lines and other gremlins - and now this stuff just ticks me off.

Engineered just a little too close to the margin if you ask me - kind of like a Ford lol....

Enjoy
P:woohoo:

TXBlazer
07-03-2009, 09:14 AM
I've got 27k on mine and no probs at all so far.....did my research and really couldn't find any cons. Enjoy your ride!!

bartonmd
07-03-2009, 09:51 AM
At 75000 I have 2 broken manifold bolts and blown head gasket.....

Engine has run well till now but all the ignition switch - rotting gas lines and other gremlins - and now this stuff just ticks me off.

Engineered just a little too close to the margin if you ask me - kind of like a Ford lol....

Enjoy
P:woohoo:

Testing has shown average longevity to be about the same as the iron block 5.3...

I would think it would be much less likely to pop a head gasket than the iron block / aluminum head version in the trucks, because of the different expansion rates of steel vs aluminum causing it to be a more fluid mating surface than ours, that expands at the same rate between the block and heads.

Have you ever changed the coolant? Have you added anything other than DISTILLED water to top the coolant back off (water evaporates out of dexcool)... You would have surely had to add some, as I had to refill my burp bottle at around 30k miles.

Mike

playstrings
07-03-2009, 09:55 AM
LOL ...

Between the loss of coolant - and no dripping but a hissing in the back....

And the gunk in my oil - ....

Easy math problem...

bartonmd
07-03-2009, 04:47 PM
LOL ...

Between the loss of coolant - and no dripping but a hissing in the back....

And the gunk in my oil - ....

Easy math problem...

re-read my post... I'm not asking how you know it's a popped head gasket. I'm asking about past maintenence, like if you ran the thing with tap water in the system (you HAD to have at least topped it off before, so did you use tap water, or distilled water?), or if you had changed the coolant before, did you put green coolant in it, or if you had let it get low on coolant via evaporation, which caused it to overheat?

Mike

atv hauler
07-03-2009, 07:56 PM
At 75000 I have 2 broken manifold bolts and blown head gasket.....

Engine has run well till now but all the ignition switch - rotting gas lines and other gremlins - and now this stuff just ticks me off.

Engineered just a little too close to the margin if you ask me - kind of like a Ford lol....

Enjoy
P:woohoo:

DOD(AFM) available 2005-2008 Yours is not.

guitarplayr92m
07-03-2009, 08:54 PM
Do a search, there is a full page on the specs on this engine. It has been very reliable to me, and I haven't heard many complaints on this engine either.

bartonmd
07-04-2009, 10:30 PM
LOL ...

Between the loss of coolant - and no dripping but a hissing in the back....

And the gunk in my oil - ....

Easy math problem...

I hadn't thought before about what it was, but from this post, it's not as easy as you think... From the symptoms you posted, I'm going to say it's the lower intake gasket, for a couple of reasons...

1. I've never been able to hear a head gasket leak... Usually, head gasket leaks are so keep inside the metal, that you can't possibly hear them. The lower intake is plastic, and you could very possibly hear a leak.

2. As mentioned above, with the lower intake being plastic, it expands at a different rate than the aluminum block and heads (which expand at the same rate as each other). When you've got a leak you can't find, the FIRST place to check, ALWAYS, is the most fluid joint in the engine, as they're the most likely to fail... The most fluid joint in this engine (that has coolant flowing through it, that could drain into the oil) is the lower intake manifold.

Mike

playstrings
07-06-2009, 08:41 AM
Mike,

Good point on the intake ... when I get some time I will have to search it out some more.

Thanks
Rick:tiphat

playstrings
08-01-2009, 02:11 PM
Well after more research there is a posting with Aldata and some other GM techs that on 5.3s if you are losing coolant into the oil, the odds are the head is cracked. I now have to take off the valve covers to check the head casting numbers but there is a series that were defective.

I will keep you informed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL....:bonk:

playstrings
08-01-2009, 02:51 PM
GM TSB# 06-06-01-019B (came out 06-12-2007)
Subject: Information on Gradual Coolant Loss Over Time With NO EVIDENCE OF LEAK FOUND

[/b]

Models:
2004-2006 Buic Rainier
2001-2006 Cadillac Escalade
2001-2006 Chevrolet Avalanche, Blazer, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, and Trailblazer
2001-2006 GMC Envoy, Jimmy, Sierra, and Yukon
2001-2005 Oldsmobile Bravada
2005-2006 SAAB 9-7X

With 4.8L or 5.3L VORTEC GenII, GenIV; V8 engine (VIN's V,T,M,M,Z --RPO's LR4, LM7, LH6, L33, and L59

Information:

Some vehicles may experience a gradual coolant loss over time. A very low percentage of cylinder head(s) manufactured with an embossed Castech logo may develop a porosity crack in a very specific area.

Inspect the cylinder head assembly to determine if the casting was manufactured by Castech. This can be accomplished by inspecting for their casting logo located on top of the intake port, under the rocker arm support rail and in the spring deck cavity portion of the cylinder head.

Important: If the cylinder head(s) are Not a Castech casting, follow normal diagnostic procedures in SI to determine the cause of the coolant loss.

Refer to the following illustrations on how to identify Castech casting and/or the very specific areas of the cylinder head(s) for a coolant leak from porosity.

If the cylinder head(s) is a Castech casting (1), inspect the area around the five oil drain holes for witness marks indicating coolant seepage over time (2).

Important: If No evidence of coolant loss is found on inspection of Castech casting cylinder head(s), follow normal diagnostic procedures in SI to determine the cause of the coolant loss.
The crack location can be found in any of the five cylinder head(s) oil drains. This can be seen as a clean or shiny area, on an otherwise stained surface (1). Pressurizing the cooling system at this time may reveal coolant, air, or a combination, weeping in the described area. If inspection reveals evidence of coolant witness marks (1), replace the entire cylinder head(s) assembly.

GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a "do-it-yourselfer". They are written to inform these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Properly trained technicians have the equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know-how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin applies to your vehicle, or that your vehicle will have that condition. See your GM dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from the information. WE SUPPORT VOLUNTARY TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION

Copyright General Motors Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
:hopeless:suicide::bonk::nono::crazy::x:x:x:sadcry :

bartonmd
08-01-2009, 09:54 PM
... so it takes you ~3000 miles to empty the burp bottle?? If it's less than that (like a hundred miles or something), it's almost surely a gasket... Porosity cracks don't typically just DUMP fluids... That's why there's the bottom paragraph in the TSB...

Mike

jasher32
07-26-2010, 09:37 PM
I have a 2006 with 65,000 mile on it. I am am currently in in the market for a Reman engine due to a spun rod bearing.

pauln1
11-09-2012, 10:03 AM
Does anyone know if there is a way to disable the AFM (Active Fuel Management) system? My 5.3L with 93,500 needs rings and pistons - nice. I am convinced this failure is due to the AFM system wreaking havoc with the engine. I was trying to have the engine replaced under the CPO warranty but despite the dealer's efforts GM will only do rings, pistons and one valve I believe. We bought this thing with 20k miles, had the upper end of the engine rebuilt at 45k. I plan to get it back and sell it. Ridiculous when there exist engines like the Ford 4.6 L V-8 that easily go 300k miles and beyond needing only routine oil changes.

LEGDAIN
11-12-2012, 04:24 PM
Well. Let's see. My 2006 Trailblazer with the 5.3L DOD had 33,000 when i got it. From day one it consumes 1 QT of oil in 1500 miles and has a ticking sound. Tried three dealers and filed a complaint to GM. HAHAHA That was a joke. everyone says oil consupmtion is ok and ticking is normal. All is fine..... At 90,00 miles I have a misfire on number 8 cylinder. Replaced all lifters, push rods, gaskets, and had a valve job done on that head. Fixes the problem. Then at 101,000 I have a lifter collapse on the opposite side throwing number 1 cylinder misfire. Did the same on this side of the engine and all seems ok for now. But, besides the engine miscues and the multiple electical issues.....I love the feel and ride of the vehicle. Too bad Chevrolet wouldn't stand up and help me out like they should have. This will be the last Chevrolet product I ever own.

TXBlazer
11-12-2012, 10:37 PM
Have you heard if anybody has ever disabled the DoD feature? Or even can you disable it?

Yes, you can have the DOD turned off in the tune, or you can remove it completely by swapping out the cam, lifters, springs and the valley cover, and also have it turned off in the tune, if you choose to go the route of just turning it off, you may have an oil PSI jump from 20 (at idle) to 45 (normal operating speeds) I can only vouch for the cam swap option......it is so much more power it's hard to describe.....I threw in an LS2 cam.....awesome.....I'm getting ready to pull that and go even more aggressive.