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Avalanche Braking



I got my 02 AV 2 weeks ago, I traded in my 01 GMC pick-up. I also have a 02 2500HD 4x4 Crew Cab.

My question is... Is the braking system different than GM pick-ups. The brake pedal feels soft and the AV is very difficult to stop, especially when pulling off a highway off ramp.

My 2500HD has a very firm pedal and will stop on a dime, even though the vehicle is much heavier.

I have not towed anything with my AV yet and am actually quite scared too. The pedal goes down about 2 inches before the truck even starts to deccelarate and if you puch it down another 1/2 inch or so it will go into a full ABS skid.

The 2500HD pedal (with the engine running and the truck not running) will push back lightly against my foot and you can hear the booster load up quietly. The AV pedal just goes to the floor with a squish sound under the same conditions.

After my 1st encounter with a highway off ramp, I immediately drove 2 miles (really pumped with adrenalin, mind you) to the nearest Chevy dealer, who "checked the master cylindar pressure, inspected the rotor and caliper operation, bled the brake fluid and road tested" all in about 20 minutes and told me there is nothing wrong with it, I just needed to do some hard braking to "Break in the brake shoes" (even though the manual says not too during the break-in period) after leaving there, I now have a slight vibration that feels like a flat spot on a tire ( I felt around on the tires and can't find one however)

I have an appointment at my dealer tommorow, to have this checked out again.

Just so I don't feel like an idiot myself, does anyone have any experiances like this or complaints about AV braking systems?

Does anyone know where I can find comparative skid-pad results for the AV and the 2500HD to compare stopping distances?

Thanks All
I can't talk specific data about AV brakes other than that the 2500 has great heavy-duty breaks meant to help stop not only the vehicle but heavy loads as well.

Other that that though, brakes seem much like clutches to me. Many vehicles feel very different, it just takes some time getting used to them in a new vehicle, especially if you are use to one that is particularly hard or soft. Sounds like yours might be a little over soft still though.

Yes compared to my 2500HD the braking is very different, but I am not sure if the 2500HD has heavier brakes than the AV. I don't remember the GMC being that way either, It was a 1500, like the AV
Here's my personal view. We traded in a 2000 Chrysler 300M for our Z66 Avalanche, so there was sort of a noticable difference in the two.

As far as the braking goes, I've never really noticed a problem. It does feel as though too much pedal pressure is needed, but stopping power seems to be on par. It would be better with shorter pedal travel, less "dead" space, and quicker, tighter, brake grab. But, as they are now, the Av is rather easy to control when braking. However, even though we bought it with 4 miles on the odometer, there has always been a slight vibration when braking that you can feel. Knowledge of the same trait in our 300M, I'm fairly sure the rotors are warped, but it's not bad enough to worry about having fixed just yet.

My biggest problem with the Av is the steering. Now granted, this is a very large truck that ways nearly 6 tons, but I still feel there could be some steering improvements. To me, it just feels a little loose and floppy, and theres some play in the steering when going straight. I wouldn't go to the extent of my father saying that it's "sloppy, and all over the road", but I would say it could benefit from a little firming up. Basically, it's slightly overboosted in my opinion, much like was mentioned by an editor in Automobile magazine of their long-term Z71.

Other than that, basically flawless! I just can't tell you how nice it is to have a vehicle that doesn't need something fixed or replaced each week!
Beach said:
...I just can't tell you how nice it is to have a vehicle that doesn't need something fixed or replaced each week!

Could've been worse...Fixed Or Replaced Daily! >:D
actually, i noticed a weird thing today with the brakes while pulling up to work. as i got into the parking lot, i spotted a parking space for the truck and started to turn the wheel. i was actually pulling in a bit fast, so i pressed on the brakes while the wheel was turned, and it was firm for a second or 2, then the pedal depressed in further than normal (like when bleeding your brakes and the person helping opens up the valve).

it stuttered a bit, and felt like there was no pressure stopping the truck, so when i was completely in, i released the brake and then presssed on it again, and it was back to normal. was pretty weird, anyone else experience this. braking while the wheel was turned, moving a tad bit fast (15-20mph to quick stop)???
3 tons... 6 tons would be 12,000 lbs. ;)

vortek: I suppose it's possible that if the fluid level was low in the master cylinder that the hard corner sloshed it such that the lines sucked in a bit if air. That air compresses much more than fluid, thus the sudden mushy pedal. I find this highly unlikely however and you may want to try to duplicate the condition (in an empty parking lot!) and see if it occurs again, which may require a trip to the dealer.
good idea crexis, im almost off, so's i shall take a look at the resevior before hittin the road home. updates to come...
I have had the problem of the pedal going to the floor. The service mgr tried to pass it off as "normal" (I've been driving for 50+ years and it ain't normal). The truck would stop fine but while holding it stopped the pedal would slowly go on down. They replaced the master cylinder. Just returned from a 3K trip and in traffic I had to use them a couple of times quickly in succession and once again I could feel the pedal hit the deck. Came on in, no problems. Back to the dealer again as soon as possible. I want a hard pedal when depressed.
The Chevy 2500HD and the AV 2500 both have much heavier duty brakes than the half ton counter parts.

Petal feel on my 2500 is not the best, but I haven't had any problems stopping or with brake fade.

Cheers - Jim
I originally commented on this in the "Love or Hate Your Dealer's Service Dept." thread.

Mushy brake feel and hard to stop
- Dealer road tested my Av and said stopping power was well within parameters and felt like other Avs on his lot. Said mushy feel is a characteristic on some Avs. I have found the brakes to be inadequate, unless very very large pedal force is applied. Dealer said to live with it or write Chevy a letter and maybe they will issue a TSB fix. End result is I AM VERY DISSATISFIED! :8: Anyone know if a TSB ever came out on this?

BTW, Chevy realizes this is a problem and has addressed it in 03 models. Look at the specs on it.
I agree, my pedal is also a little soft.

My wife noticed it too.

The brakes do work well, but I just have to press the pedal a little further than our other cars. I just thought it was because the Av is so much heavier, but the brakes should be designed to match the weight.

Maybe I'll ask about it at my next dealer visit.
Sorry...so long to post back, kinda got lost in the forum trying to find may way back to the thread. They did a much more thourough check but as suspected, no problem was found, I test drove 4 other AV 1500's on the lot and they all brake the same way, evidently this is a design "flaw" . I think I will be scouring the aftermarket for a brake upgrade, anybody have any suggestions on where to start?
Those rotors look very nice, but the direct replacement series is not availiable yet. The Plus 1 series is the only one as yet availiable and requires a wheel and tire size change. and with only 1500 miles, I am not quite ready to do that.

However, the main problem is not with stopping power, it is with brake pedal response.
StompinRound: ?Yes, my brakes were the same way when I first got my 1500. ?Squishy, no bite, wooden feel. ? They took a while to bed in, but they are quite sufficient now. ?

It helps to get the truck up to speed, drag the brakes lightly for a few hundred feet, and then brake heavily. ?It beds the pads in right-quick. ?(make sure you have the 500 or so miles that GM says you need before doing heavy braking though) ?I ran through this a few times and the brakes are very nice now.

How many miles do you have on the truck now? ?Mine started to work great at a few hundred on the clock.

vortek5300 - I wonder if you hit a greasy spot with one of your wheels, and triggered the ABS... ? ?Maybe the quick weight shift from your actions lightened up a wheel and it locked for an instant. ?I know I've dragged my inside rear tire braking hard around corners at ~30mph and set off the ABS...

Also... I think the only differences with the 1500 brakes and the 2500 brakes is the booster... Vacuum with the 1500, Hydraulic with the 2500...
Another Thing!!!

I think my dealer sprayed WAY too much silicone on my tires during the detailing, and got some on my brakes. I ALSO noticed a bit of grabbing or slipping feeling here or there after I initially complained about the poor braking.

Where your tires all greased up when you got the truck?

I also think this helped with the feel, after it eventually wore off after a few hundred miles and a rain or two...
When I picked up my AV from the dealer, I thought the brakes were terrible. After 1000 miles, they're just fine. I used to lease a Blazer, that thing stopped on a dime. The AV is almost there, I am still getting used to gauging how fast I'm going. I can't complain about stopping power, when I'm trying to grind to a halt from 65mph, and I thought I was going less than 45mph!!! :eek:
I find the brakes are real good and stop the heavy weight avy pretty quick....I remember the chief posting or showing some stopping distance comparisons somewhere and the avy was better then some cars and mini vans.....Not bad for a beast >:D

I guess it just takes a while to get use to the feel as when I rent cars it takes a while to get used to the brakes.....All have a different feel so for the first few miles I tend to hit them too hard at first....kinda hurts the shoulder from the seatbelt ;D
It may be worth looking into braded steel brake lines to replace the four flexible rubber lines (one at each wheel). They make a noticeable difference (firmer pedal and better feel) on Corvettes. Cost is under $200. It is also essential to have a completely bleed system. Cheers - Jim
I have 2165 miles now...I am starting to get used to using the squishy brake pedal, unless I switch vehicles and drive the 2500HD...The braided brake lines sound like a good idea...I can feel them swell when I have my wife push the brake pedal, but then again the 2500HD does the same thing. Any suggestions on how to put a 2500 "hydroboost" system in a 1500?