GM Truck Club
Founded in 2004 ~ We're the #1 Chevy Truck & SUV Forum.
Silverado & Sierra | Tahoe & Yukon | Suburban & Yukon XL | SUV & CROSSOVER
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Jr. Mechanic SilveradoBrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Fort Lupton, CO
    Blog Entries

    Default 1996 K1500 Electrical Issues

    Hey guys I am new to the forums and have been seeing a lot of electrical problems so I decided to post this issue in hopes that it may help someone out in the future. I am the PROUD owner of a 1996 K1500 Silverado Z71 and last week she started acting up on me. This is what she was doing, I would be driving down the road about 25 miles an hour and would turn my turn signal on and apply the brake to slow down for the turn. All of a sudden the truck would just shut down as if the negative battery cable had come off. I would coast to a stop turn off the headlights and put the truck in park. Then I would restart it and it would start fine. Well so the first thing I did was clean the battery terminals and the battery cables to make sure it had a good conection. That had no effect and the problem persisted. My next thought was the alternator so I took it off and went to good old checker auto parts to have it tested and it passed the load tests. So that was not the issue and then while sitting and having coffee on saturday it hit me. There has to be a short in the brake lights that is causing the problem since it was only occuring when the brakes were applied. So I crawled under the truck and I discovered that the owner before me was running trailer lights but then for some reason just cut the wires and took the connector. So only bare cut wires were hanging down where the connector would go. I could see where the brown (power) wire for the trailer lights has touched the frame and arced to forn a ground in the power system. So I put on a new connector and wired everything up right again and bam, that was the problem and I haven't had another one yet. I thought it was going to be a nightmare pulling all of the tail light wiring out and checking for bad connections but I started with the simple things first and that was the way to go. So if anyone has a similar problem, just start with the basics and work up, because sometimes the solution is right under your nose.

  2. #2


    Nice fix and great information. Thanks.

    99 K 1500 Suburban
    78 Silverado Big 10 w/factory 454
    00 S-10 Blazer
    1976 Trans Am
    1980 Honda CB900 Custom

  3. #3


    Thanks for the info! Glad you found the fix and it wasn't a big pain.
    Hallsville, TX

    2005 Silverado 1500 LS Crew Cab 5.3L 2WD
    Magnaflow Exhaust
    Hypertech Max Energy Programmer
    Suspension Leveling Kit
    Putco Element Window Visors
    Carriage Works Billet Grille
    TruXedo TruXport Tonneau Cover

  4. #4


    Glad nothing smoked because of the short!
    "It went together didn't it? Well then there has to be a way to take it apart!" - Me.

    Check out my image gallery HERE.

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

  5. #5
    Jr. Mechanic SilveradoBrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Fort Lupton, CO
    Blog Entries


    Yeah I am glad nothing smoked as well. It only did it a couple times before I took a look at it. However you could see where the wire arced and kinda left a weld bead on the frame. It was like a little flux bead. It was not good but I am glad I got it all figured out.
    1996 Chevy K1500 Silverado Z71
    -248000 miles
    -The legendary 350 small block V8 (5.7L)
    -Sound System with a 10'' kicker L5 sub and 1300W amp in a sealed box

  6. #6

    Default Good Find...

    I appreciate you posting this. I have a 96 Tahoe that seems to have been butchered by the previous owner. It has one of those trailer brake controllers hooked up that doesn't work and have had issues where if I hit a pothole or bump, the power goes out and comes right back on. But most recently, it started shuddering and wanting to stall, tach jumps around if I drive through a puddle. I'm curious to see if its the same problem.

    Are electrical issues with these years common?



  7. #7
    Jr. Mechanic SilveradoBrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Fort Lupton, CO
    Blog Entries


    Hey Scott,

    I haven't had time to be on this forum for a very, very long time. I just got an email saying you had posted something on this topic so I decided I would come check it out. So if I can remember right the only issue causing this particular instance was the trailer light brakes. If yours are not working it would be a good place to start. Look for any bare wire that could be hanging down and possibly grounding on something. On my particular truck the brown is the power cable, white should be a ground and green/yellow are left and right but I can't remember which one is which direction. They sell a T kit connector that connects into the factory wiring right under the frame just behind the bumper. What it does is connect the left and right tail lights. The T connects in the middle and that's where the trailer connection comes from. It is a very common, easy to do thing. They are all black, 4 pin connectors you shouldn't miss them if you crawl back there and look. You will probably have to get the spare tire out of the way to see them. Another thing I would check if that doesn't solve your problems is check all your grounds. The spike in the tach could be a few different things. But if you think it is electrical check the grounds first. Look for battery/frame, frame/motor, motor/frame etc. Check the major ones first and make sure they have a good clean connection.

    To answer your question, I have personally had a few electrical issues with my truck. The one I posted about, and a few others. One of which was missing a motor/frame ground. I have also replaced the multifunction switch because the windshield wiper fluid dispenser stopped working. When the main ground was gone it had weird symptoms like the dash lights would dim and flicker and then they would be fine. But my father has a 99 tahoe the same style as my k1500 and hasn't had a problem with it electrical. Just the broken driver door handle, cupholder and console handle that happened on mine. His is a cherry with like 100k miles on it and mine is a beat up 4X4 trail hitting monster with 250k on it. It chews up fuel pumps like they are cheap made in china junk ( get lifetime replacement parts from advance auto or oreily). Which reminds me I got some new pictures and a few projects I should put on here when I get some time.

    Well I hope this helps you out in some way or another. At least it will give you a few things to think about and tinker with. Good luck! Let us all know how it turns out.

Similar Threads

  1. Electrical issues with 1998 Chevy Silverado k1500
    By JimfromTN in forum GM Electrical Tech
    Replies: 4
    Last: 07-13-2010, 06:53 AM
  2. Electrical Issues
    By Joethepoolguy in forum GM Electrical Tech
    Replies: 7
    Last: 03-21-2010, 09:28 PM
  3. New Guy With 1996 Chevy K1500
    By 96Vortec in forum Chevy C/K Truck Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last: 10-11-2009, 08:25 PM
  4. Electrical Issues
    By focal318 in forum General Chevy & GM Tech Questions
    Replies: 2
    Last: 08-29-2009, 10:57 PM
  5. Electrical Issues
    By ChevyFan in forum Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)
    Replies: 10
    Last: 12-03-2008, 08:52 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts