GM Moves Fast to Fix Hill-Hold Assist Issue in 2011 Heavy Duty Pickups

GM Moves Fast to Fix Hill Hold Assist Issue in 2011 Heavy Duty Pickups

In less than a week, GM has rolled out a production fix to a problem with the hill-hold assist feature for its 2011 heavy-duty pickup trucks that came to light during our Heavy-Duty Shootout comparison test.

Hill-hold assist automatically applies the vehicle's brakes for 1.5 seconds once you lift your foot off the brake when you're on an incline that’s 5 percent or steeper. It's part of the Chevrolet Silverado's integrated trailer brake controller, so it will apply the trailer's brakes, too, if it has electric brakes.

During our testing on a 7.2 percent grade on July 13, the hill-hold system didn’t engage. The truck rolled backward as soon as we lifted our foot off the brake pedal.

The issue was traced to an incorrect calibration setting in the hill-hold assist system’s software that was quickly diagnosed, and a fix was rolled out to production by Monday.

That’s a remarkably fast update for a production issue, says Jim Hossack, vice president of AutoPacific, an automotive consulting company.

“It’s astounding” that GM could discover and fix an issue like this so quickly, Hossack said. “I think it’s the new GM and technology that wasn’t there a few years ago. It's another feather in GM's cap.”

A GM engineer we spoke with said fixing an issue like this a few years ago could have taken weeks or months. Now, it’s being fixed in days.

While the hill-hold assist calibration settings have been patched in GM’s production HD pickups and those trucks waiting to be shipped to dealers, the company is still studying how it will update the software of trucks already in the hands of customers.

We’ll keep you updated.


My crystal ball says GM loses the shootout.

Dave, even as a Ford fan myself, i honestly think your crystal ball is broken

My crystal ball says Dave drives a Prius.

This is a very minor issue and should not sway anybody either way.

Question......why does an automatic transmission truck have hill hold assist? In a manual transmission truck I could see it being useful, but it doesn't seem to be really necessary with an automatic transmission.

@Paul, Put a 10k lb trailer on the back of your truck on a 5% incline, with the truck in drive, it will roll backwards when you lift off the brake.

This a perfect feature for those smug little Prius drivers who would like to pull right up under the spare tire holder on your 5th wheel trailer, what they don't know is this feature just saved their little puddle jumper from being crushed into a parking chalk.

Popular Mechanics chose the Ford as the winner for the Diesel shootout.

Thanks for the info.

Quote from PM: On the Sierra..."On bumpy roads with that trailer, the Sierra's ride nearly equaled that of the Ford, and the setup felt exceedingly stable at freeway speeds."

On the Ford..."This heavy hauler is really just about as good-natured and easy to live with as an F-150. The ride quality of our 7800-pound Lariat was incredibly smooth over any terrain. It not only rides better than any truck here, the new Super Duty glides over broken pavement better than some light-duty trucks."

I knew GM's new "better riding" frame was much a do about nothing. Ford's engineers said they were not worried about GM's frame because Ford was the class leader and still is. I guess they were right. You guys can read the rest at PM for Ford's secret.

Here is the link for reference:

"@Paul, Put a 10k lb trailer on the back of your truck on a 5% incline, with the truck in drive, it will roll backwards when you lift off the brake."

Not for me, I just put my left foot on the brake and my right foot on the gas if I don't want to roll back. It's not even really necessary though, as the amount one rolls backwards with an automatic transmission is so minuscule that, unless some jackass is nearly touching the back of your trailer, you aren't going to hit them....and even if you do it's typically considered their fault.

I don't know, I just don't see a reason for it. I've towed heavy loads with automatic transmission trucks since the 70's and never ever had a desire for "hill hold control". I mean, hill hold control, hill decent control, traction control, stability control, active cruise control, active corner's almost to the point where the driver is just another passenger.

Se FORD...his is how you take care of an issue.

You don't issue a fix on the line...and then THREE MONTHS later, issue a fix to customers only AFTER a consumer research magazine brings the very serious problem to light.

Kudos to GM for doing it the right way...once again.

Software...what a joy to have in trucks.

When you click on Fords ad, it has a picture with Ram behind, that's because the Silverado is Ahead. That will also be the order in the shootout, 1. Chevrolet 2. Ford 3. Ram


Fastest 1/4 mile or 0-60 mph does not equal the BEST TRUCK.

You're saying PM does not know anything about trucks. They have been reviewing trucks since 1976 and you're saying they don't know anything.

Wow, you're best post EVAR!!!!!!!


That picture you're seeing is showing the BEST HD TRUCKS ON THE MARKET.

What YOU are seeing is an optical illusion.

Let it be said, let it be written, let it be done.

No way a chevy can win the heavy duty shoot out the f150 can out work the chevy 3500 duramax lol That says it all!!

That's a typical ford guy's talking. WOW LOL..... I thought I was back in first grade for a second.

Frank, I don't really care what Popular Mechanics says.

For example:
"Trailer in tow, we evaluated each pickup on a 15 percent hill gradient test. The Ford maintained a higher speed at the crest of that hill than any truck here. And on our towing fuel-economy loop, the Ford was thriftiest too. "

I have to call BS when I see it.

Let them be write it, it shall be do it.

Gm should win the shootout. How the heck can you tell reliability of fords new engine in such a short test. Ram still the best work truck and Cummins will always rule the diesel for reliability.

@Dave and Frank

Does "Popular Mechanics" even know anything about trucks?.. Guess not since all they do is talk about robots and the "The future"(Total NERDS!). When it comes to trucks, the only one i can trust are and motortrend.

I also see a bit of jealousy and "Fanboy'ish" within Daves post,"Ford the class leader"? your joking right? maybe thats why ford backed out of the tug-o-war challenge issued by chevy. now thats pretty pathetic if you ask me.

And "Frank", First consider selling your ford focus, then come on here and talk about trucks. But untill then, KEEP YOUR SNOUT SHUT SON!

The 20" wheels def. didnt help the ride of the GMC
the 275/70R18 on the ford has a nice bit more side wall then the 265/60R20s on the GMC

Not fanboyism. It was a quote from Doug Scott at Ford during a live chat. He was asked about a fully boxed frame for the F250.

His reply, "No plans to depart from present frame configuration. Super Duty has been and continues to be the class leader in capability. "

I will admit I was a little skeptical at first with the new GM frame coming out, but after reading PM test with Ford having the best ride I am in agreement.

Too much Ford talk in this post!!!!!!!!!!

Why do people even consider Ram as an HD? Ram is crap. If your looking for a real working truck you only have 2 options Ford and GM. I am a Ford fan boy and believe Ford beats GM but I would never even put Ram in the same category as Ford and GM.

I see the HD shootout Ford, Chevy, Donkey (the animal), and Ram being dragged behind.

After reading the PM story, interesting to note:

- Ford 3.55s vs. others 3.73s
- Ford best ride
- GM best handling
- Gm faster except with tow up hill.
- Ford shortest braking despite all early reviews saying that was its weakness?
- GM best empty mpg
- Ford best loaded mpg
- Ford MUCH quieter at all levels!

- Ram........ umm still reading... best seats!

I hate to go off topic but I just gotta say that I'm pretty happy Pop Mech copied the format of our HD Shootout, which we've used since 2003.

adding to PowerKid's list from the PM test

- Ford best comfort
- Ford best work-oriented options

@ Mike in your test Ford has 3.73s right? So that will give us a couple different scenarios.. Nice. At least until Job 2 SD hits the lot.

@ Mike

Any ETA on a potential LD shootout? Given you've said embargo on EB ends end of year, I'd guess @ Feb/Mar 2011?

@Power Kid: Which Ford? We tested 3. :-)

The PM article talks about the 6.0 as the outgoing ford diesel motor. Not the 6.4. It's like the guy who wrote the article doesn't even know about the twin turbo 6.4. That says a lot about what the guys at popular mechanics know about trucks.
I bet finds the same results with their shootout though. FORD first, CHEVY close 2nd, DODGE good but still a distant third . Don't bash the dodge. its still better than any HD truck made a few years ago.

@ Mike

Sorry, I meant F250 Diesel. (comparable to PM test truck)

We have the same axle ratios they tested.

Man that's a good looking truck in the feature picture!

ford didint back outta the tug o war contest look up on you tube ford was already jipped outta tug o wars, ford would own in a tug o war, also why is popular mechanics teting the ford with 3:55's and obama and fiat with 3:73's seems odd? noone tests pickups right.

i have Hill-Hold assist on my truck......its called my left foot.

Are people to dam stupid to press the brake pedal with there left foot and press the throttle with there right foot on a hill to stop from rolling back ?

I have to agree with several posters - why would you ever need "hill-hold assist" on a truck with an automatic transmission?

@bobby - since when did you become an expert on testing trucks?
You call BS on Popular Mechanics results..... Why?

Because your GM colored glasses can't see the truth!

If the next gen Silverado were to use the 1978 Oldsmobile Diesel, couple it to early '90's Dodge tranny and rear end, put it in a Tundra frame, use Ford's Texas Instruments cruise control switch, GM's explosion prone side saddle fuel tanks, and cover it with a Mahindra styled body -
you would still say it was the best truck on the planet.

What do you drive?

A 1974 Chevete minus the rear hatch does not equal a Silverado.

I am a ford guy but this could be a close compittion.
Ram will be last the main fight will be Ford and Gm.
Gm probably best performance truck. Ford best work truck for towing and hualing.
This could through gm off since this happened early.
Ram needs to step it up to be called a hd.
Go Ford!

I typically lean more towards Ford than GM when it comes to trucks but I to think this is going to be a really close one. Both trucks are just so good, period. The one thing I will predict is Dodge being in last place where it belongs...


I bet the truck that wins is the truck that has more features, i.e. a command center behind the wheel a la Ford SuperDuty.

That is all!!!

@ Frank - you are forgetting that Chevy has OnStar. That alone will propel it to first place.
The information center, Sync, manstep, boxstep, power retractable mirrors,heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheels aren't needed by real men.
OMG (Obama Motor Group) would of thought of that stuff first if it was important.
Having hill-hold assist is way more important than all those features that come on a Ford.

Frank - tisk..tisk...tisk.... you should of known!

You are ruining this thread with your anti-OMG posts.



I find all the comments made that Ram has nothing in the HD segment pretty funny. Look up the towing and hualing specs for all 3 2010 MY trucks. Ford and GM just surpassed the Ram in the 2011 MY and that shouldn't really surprise anyone. Usually the newest design is the best, thats just common sense. We are still living in the year 2010. Ram took the recent redesign to fix its shortcomings, namely the interior and according to all the anti Ram guys the tranny as well. Next time wil be power train. This time GM and Ford left the body and interior and went for frame and powertrain. Next time probably body and interior. To say that Ram is all but obsolete is short sighted. This MY it was most capable next MY its garbage? No grey area I guess. Either its the most capable or the manufacturer should stop making them. Common guys, think rational for just a second.

It seems pretty clear that:

- Ford needs a new skin. front needs to 'match' the back.
- GM needs a upgraded interior(& larger crew) and a exterior redo to look diff from the 1500s.
- Ram needs a good dose of refinement.

The Ram may finish 3rd but in fairness the Ram guy that buys one is going to love it. This is a very competitive class.

All 3 trucks will do the job. Slight differences in towing, hauling, HP, and torque are great for bragging rights or elbowing your rival neighbor in the ribs - nothing more.

I lean toward the Cummins powered Ram since it is the simplest and most proven design. I'm always leary of the "latest and greatest" - especially when it's the specific company's PR department making that claim. They all do it - and they all are full of crap.

@Jordan L

I agree.

Jordan, I looked up the numbers, you are wrong. 2010 Ford has more towing and payload than Ram. I only looked up one config. Reg cab, 8-foot bed, auto, diesel.

Mike, Speaking of quick fixes....any chance that the GM shootout truck(s) with the gas motor had fixed the harsh shift you commented about in the Maryland evaluation? How did Ford's new slushbox behind the 6.2 compare to the GM box? (or will that be covered in the shootout article?)

@ Jim I looked too, towing 18500 for Ram 3500 and 18400 for the Ford. Heres the link for the ford info I found.
Hauling was 5700 for the Ford and 5150 for the Ram. Fairly even. But thats my point. Up to 2010 Ram was tops or close to it. The competion has just now surpassed Ram with thier redisigns. Its unlikely that Ram will just sit back and do nothing. People seem to have a short memory on this website.

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