2004 Chevrolet Tahoe Multiple Problems, No Communication

This 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe came in with a multitude of complaints. Some of the complaints were that it might not start, the power windows would stop working, the door locks would cycle, the radio would stop working, the instrument cluster gauges would stop working and  multiple warning lights would come on. From a technical perspective there would be an extreme amount of communication problems between modules. Also scan tools could not communicate with multiple modules. Maybe I just lucked out and had the vehicle cooperate but apparently several others had attempted to repair this Tahoe to no avail.   I had four different people talk to me about the problem for almost a month before it finally showed up at my shop.

I did not bother taking a bunch of pictures of scan tool data for several reasons. Number one there just would have been too many pictures of data screens. I also realized that they would only have meaning to technicians that have a Tech 2 or similar scan tool. They already know what the screens look like.

My diagnosis began with connecting the scan tool and pinging the modules to see how many were active. The first ping with everything working yielded 17 modules present. I took the time to write down each module. I then took the Tahoe for a test drive. The problems appeared driving around the parking lot. I pinged the modules again and only found 4 present. I eased the Tahoe back into the shop and parked it. I pinged the modules several times and wrote down the active modules. I cross checked the module lists and found that modules that are in or under the center console were consistently missing. A quick check with a mirror and flash light under the driver’s side leading edge of the center console and I was pretty sure I had found the problem.

The next step was to remove the center console assembly. The first thing that had to be done was to clean up the trash; cups, papers, french fries and chicken nuggets. That’s gonna cost em.  I then removed the front seats. Pretty easy. Two bolt and two nuts for each seat. It required moving the seats back and forth a little and disconnecting the harness connectors. The hardest thing is lifting the seat and rotating out of the vehicle without having the sharp edges on the seat track cut anything.  Both seats removed.  All of the trash vacuumed up. Time to work at the top of the console.

The upper trim panel pulls away from the center console. The lighter and power outlets have wiring that need to be disconnected.  The picture below shows the dash trim panel also removed but I do not remember if that is necessary or not. There are two 10 mm fasteners that have to be removed behind the console cover. You can see one in the picture below.

The insulation under my thumb is what I saw in the mirror that looked suspicious. It was pulled up and twisted under a metal bracket.

The light blue wire shown below was the actual problem. It is the Class 2 Serial Data line for the Rear Seat Audio controller, RSA for short. I only saw the RSA after pinging the modules one time. That was just after looking at the harness with a mirror.

The repair was simple. I wrapped the insulation scar with live rubber tape.

Wrapped the harness back together.

Put the harness protection material back into it’s intended position. It is not shown but I did wrap the abrasion protection material with tape and secured it to the black plastic floor bracket.

This bracket is where the wire was shorting out.

In the end, logical testing and a little bit of experience and this really was not too difficult of a problem. I have seen shorts in this general location before though.

Cliclick here to see another example.

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