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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    Based on what the local driveshaft shop told me, GM has "cheaped out" on their shaft manufacturing process. This shop sees many new GM shafts that are way out of whack, consequently you don't want another GM shaft.
    I don't know what a new GM shaft lists for, but the one I replaced my OE shaft with cost $175.
  • My '97 X-Cab has the stock Uniroyal Tiger Paw 205/75/15 tires. Has anyone tried a slightly wider tire to improve traction? How much can I change the diameter of the tire b/f I start messing up the speedo, etc.? What tire would be a good replacement? I don't want to spend a lot and I don't need truck tires.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    I just picked up my Crew Cab on Saturday and the dome light will not turn off unless the dome override button is pushed? Anyone else have this problem? Also the alarm is randomly going off and the belt molding (window molding) on the passenger door had to be replaced. I have total of 270 miles on truck and hope this is not indicator of the future. The dealer tried to fix the truck today and could not figure out what was wrong with the truck, they had two other Crew Cabs on the lot and they both had the same problem with dome light. The tech thinks the factory forgot to install part of the wiring harness and is going to call GM tech. service tomorrow. What the heck is GM thinking? This is a $25K list price compact truck and they can't even get the dome light to work correctly.
  • Did the dealer ever get the problem fixed, I am interested because i amlooking to purchase that same type of vehicle in the next week or so..I want to know what to look out for..thanx..
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Yes, the dealer was able to fix the dome light issue. Had to take apart every door and check the electrical connections for each door handle. I drove the truck all weekend and it is working fine. The dome light in the crew is activated by the door handles and in the 2 and 3 door S-10 the dome is activated by traditional pin type door switch. The tech. at the dealer had to call GM to figure out the problem because they could not figure out why the pin type door switches were not connected.
    There is $500 in dealer cash incentive on the S-10 that started on 2-1 and is running thru 2-28. With the dealer cash and $2002 rebate the s-10 crew cab is selling for $20,246 at CarMax. Quite a discount from the $25,097 list price don't you think? Also make sure you understand that GMAC does not offer simple interest and instead uses rule of 78's regarding interest if you finance.
    If you have any specific questions about my experience or problems with the truck let me know and I will answer the questions as best I am able. I ended up paying $20,746 for my truck because I was unaware of the $500 dealer incentive.
  • abc246abc246 Posts: 305
    My 4.3 V-6 is making a lot of noise at idle again. When it was under warranty the dealer replaced a belt tensioner last time it was making noise. My question is, what idler tensioner goes bad, the idler pulley or the belt tensioner pulley? I can't tell from the paper work last time it was replaced. Why do they go bad?
  • Any one have experience with the fuel gauge not reading properly? The needle is just left of the full mark. The dealer said it was normal but after service manager and I filled another S10 and the needle moved all the way past full to the right he said there was a problem.

    First attempt to fix--They replaced the sending unit in September 01--problem never changed.

    Second attempt to fix--They agreed to change the instrument module but instead installed another sending unit January 02. The problem did not change.

    Third attempt to fix--Feb 02--said they took a cluster out of another S10 and temporarily installed in mine. The gauge did not read differently so they told me the condition is normal and nothing can be done.

    Now Chevrolet Customer Assistance says the situation is a normal operating condition. They will not do anything further.

    Any suggestions or has anyone had this problem? Could there be a step missing from the GM installation of the sending unit? Would there be any procedure that would require some type of calibration of the fuel gauge to the sending unit?

    The truck has only 2300 miles on it.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    I'm here to announce the new Chevrolet S-10 Owners club now available on Owners Club board. Please stop by and introduce yourself in Meet the Members and let me know how I can help build your club.

    I have linked this discussion into that folder, but it will always reside here in Pickups.

    Looking forward to meeting everyone!

    Owners Clubs

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email,, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • I had bought a 1996 extended cab SL new with the 4.3 V6, 5 speed manual and locking rearend. At the time I almost bought the Tacoma but decided on the S-10 since it was alittle less with the same items. So after about 40k I started thinking I should have got the Tacoma and now after 67k I am sure. I use the truck for personel use occationally hauling something from the store, a motorcycle, etc. Lite hualing use. I have run synthetic oil in the engine, trans and rearend. To date this is the history of repairs:
    -engine doesn't slow down sometimes until you hit 5-8mph. Hangs 1300-2200 rpm. They never found the cause. Random problem sometimes slows down the speeds back up. Very strange thank god I have manual trans.
    -water pump @ 40+k (question this one)
    -brakes front & rear 40+k (acceptable)
    -main seal power steering ~43k (unacceptable)
    -~45k right front upper ball joint broke. Lucky only going 20-25mph. (unacceptable)
    -left upper ball joint broke ~55k. Lucky again backing out of garage. Chevy mechanic said it was ok when the fixed the first one.(unacceptable)
    -65k Top transmission seal leaking. (unacceptable)
    -66k bad u-joint in drive shaft (vibrations). Had to have u-joints replace, hanger bearing and the shaft had to be straightened/balanced. Shaft was bent. I don't do hole shots or carry heavy loads. (unacceptable)
    -66k oil leak in oil pan or rear main seal. Pan most likely according to mechanic. Also rear main seal on trans starting to leak. (unacceptable)
    -Last two trucks were Nissans and I didn't do any of these repairs in 120k. Nissan didn't have the V6 available when I was buying.

    Looking for replacement (not GM).
  • I have exactly the same problem. My truck has been in the shop nearly 10 times. I have a 2001 Chevy S10 Crew Cab. They've replaced the sending unit, the computer brain, gauge cluster, and examined the entire wiring harness for shorts. I've been without the truck for approximately 3-4 weeks. My dealer has been very good about this and appears to have done everything he can. I've talked to GM Customer support and they say that this problem is "normal operating condition". According to them, I have to deal with the problem because they can not and will not fix it. I've also found out that the problem may be because the fuel tank has no baffles in it to stop fuel from sloshing around and confusing the gauge - this is a load of crap because the truck does it when sitting still too. Tonight while talking to Customer support I was told that my only two options are to contact the Better Business Bureau or an attorney. I plan to do both. It is ridiculous to think that they will not uphold the warranty and expect me to pay for a truck that is faulty. In my opinion they have failed to upkeep the warranty and therefore voided our contract to pay for the truck.
  • I received a letter from GM today telling me how sorry they are that I am not happy with their decision (normal operating condition). The letter tells me I can go to the BBB for arbitration.

    Keep me posted on any new happenings with your situation. Anyone else having these problems?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    I have a 2002 Crew Cab and if you tell me the problems you are having with fuel gauge I will check mine to see if it operates the same. Perhaps I could provide a letter to you if mine operates differently and this would help to support your position that your truck has a problem.
  • Moparbad, the problem I have is when the fuel level gets below 1/2 tank
    and you stop and park the gauge sometimes shows empty and the low fuel light comes on. I have shifted the truck from drive to neutral going down the road and the gauge goes all over the place. Now this problem does not happen every time but there have been times when I haven't
    known if I have a 1/4 or 1/2 tank of gas .
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Could be a ground problem.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    My gauge reads slightly right of F when completely full, when it is at 3/4 it will take 3 to 4 gallons to fill it, when at 1/2 it takes approx. 8 gallons to fill it and when it is at 1/4 it takes approximately 11 gallons to fill the tank. It does not vary from 1/4 to empty when it is on the last 1/4 of a tank and does not go all over the place. Overall, the fuel gauge is the least accurate of any of the 20 plus vehicles I have owned but it does not have the same sypmtoms yours does. GM would be well served to review the design and operation of the fuel gauge on the S-10.
  • Moparbad, the problem I'm having may be on the 2001 models only, I have filed a case with BBB and we'll see what they come up with, I wouldn't mind if they give me a 2002 model in exchange for my 2001, but I was afraid the 2002 may have the same problem. Thanks.
  • the5carthe5car Posts: 26
    How can you classify what you describe as
    'least accurate' ??? My '97 S-10 came with
    what the owner's manual claims to be an 18.1
    gallon fuel tank. The numbers you provided
    pretty much supports that capacity, and quite
    accurately reflects my experiences.

    Even if you're gauge works perfectly, I would
    recommend that you fill your tank, run it
    down to almost empty, fill it again, figure
    out how many miles to the gallon you get,
    multiply that by your tank's capacity, reset
    your trip odometer at every fill-up, determine
    what your vehicle's mileage range is, and not
    worry about what your gas gauge says so much.

    I'm getting around 27mpg lately, so I know
    that after 450 miles or so, I should consider
    getting some gas, regardless of what the gauge

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Your point is good, what I describe happening with the fuel gauge does not explain very well the inaccuracy of the fuel gauge. When I fill up the truck the gauge reads slightly to the right of F and then by the time I drive 24 miles the needle is just to the right of 3/4 and there it will stay until I drive 60 to 70 miles total, once it reaches 3/4 it gradually will go to 1/2 and then it likes to stay there until I get to around 170 miles, sometime around that point it will rapidly go to 1/4 of a tank. When it is at 1/4 it will take 11 gallons to fill the tank and then when it reaches E the most I have been able to put in the tank is 12.5 gallons.
    But, it does NOT move from 1/4 to E or E to 1/4 when it is being parked nor does it move all over the place. So while I believe there are problems with the fuel gauge I don't have the same problem as scoops. I have owned other vehicles that the gauge would not go all the way to F or E, that if you waited for E you would be walking, and that when they reached E you still had a large reserve of fuel. The 2002 S-10 is the first one that has a fuel gauge that with favorite areas where it likes to stop and rest and then rapidly goes to it's next favorite area.
  • zr2randozr2rando Posts: 391
    Not just talking about fuel gauges, but alot of various types of gauges read the most accurate at midscale and read a little off at both ends, also the fuel tank shape messes things up because it is not a constant cross-section size from the top to bottom, My truck goes from full to about 3/4 very quickly and then slows down from 3/4 to empty. When the tank is nearly empty there is only an inch or so in the bottom and that probably doesn't help the float either. It would be good if Chev could make the gauge accomodate for the shape of the tank, and for the very full and very low condition but they don't seem to be able to,,,
    From what I have seen they deliberately set the low fuel light to come on a little early to help people avoid running the tank too low which lowers the full level in the tank and allows the fuel pump to run hotter as well, remember the fuel pump is cooled by the gas in the tank too, helps the pump last longer if you don't let the level get too low too often
    Good mornin
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    >remember the fuel pump is cooled by the gas in the tank too, helps the pump last longer if you don't let the level get too low too often<
    If that was true they would have the guage "E" when the tank 1/4 full,just another myth.The pump is cooled by the fuel passing through it and it sets in a sump.
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