Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Chevrolet Tahoe Suburban 4 Wheel Drive Indicator Lights



  • I have a 2004 Suburban when I push the button for 4H, 4L, or auto 4 wheel drive,
    the lights on the dash seem to work properly, they flash for a moment then stay lit, but the vehicle never engages into 4 wheel drive, any answers ?
  • mikeanddreamikeanddrea Posts: 2
    edited April 2011
    Here is a list of numbers and documents that may help you out. Just do a Google search. If you want to know more about my experience with our 2005 Suburban that had a mere 60K on it when I had to replace the entire transfer case, my email address is

    Reader's Digest version: Heard a rattle up front, and could not figure out what it was. This happened for about a month, and then my transfer case started to neutralize on it's own. Took it to a local transmission shop here in Tucson, and they could not figure out what was wrong. Everything was MECHANICALLY perfect with the transfer case. Took it to O'Rielly Chevrolet here in Tucson, they tore my transfer case apart, and told me that I had the WRONG PARTS in my transfer case. Excuse me? How the hell could I have the wrong parts in my transfer case? I even have this DOCUMENTED!!! Needless to say, I ended up paying $2500+ for a brand new transfer case.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks later, and I came across the documents below. Turns out the rattle that I heard was from the transfer case main shaft and the inner clutch hub assembly. The early designs of our transfer case came with a "slip fit" design for these two parts. The parts were rattling, CAUSING ENCODER MOTOR FAILURE! The encoder motor failed, causing my transfer case to neutralize itself when simply driving down the road in 2wd.

    The following documents go on to explain how the Chevrolet techs are to replace the two parts with "the inner clutch hub and shaft, which will have a PRESS FIT design and eliminate the rattle condition."

    Common sense tells me that the tech that tore apart my transfer case at O'Rielly's looked at my ORIGINAL SLIP FIT clutch hub and shaft, compared it to pictures/documents of the newer PRESS FIT clutch hub and shaft, and deduced that I had the wrong parts in my transfer case, and thus that must be the problem. All along, turns out that it was because of a DESIGN FLAW in the original transfer case that caused the encoder motor to fail, causing neutralization of the transfer case, costing me over $2500.

    I got nowhere with the dealership, nowhere with GM Customer Care (yes, I do have my GM Incident Number - let's see if anyone from GM Customer Care "cares"), and I promise to God that this will be the last GM product I EVER BUY.


    Also search on Google for: "DTC C0327 #PIP3480K"

    NHTSA Item Number : 10017299
    NHTSA Item Number: 10018926
    NHTSA Item Number: 10018607
    Service Bulletin Number : 3665
    Service Bulletin Number: 3480A
    Document ID: 1884845
  • I have a 98 tahoe and the 4wd service light came on. when i was on my way home and it shifted itself into neutral. i did the ignition thing and disconnected the battery. All the fuses are good. after i disconnected the battery it shifted into 4lo and is now stuck in 4lo. i dont want to spend money throwing a bunch of new parts at it. any help will be appricated
  • Sadly gm does not have a way to quickly diagnose the problem has been my experience. Read my previous summary post. I would replace the transmission switch on the transmission and the motor on the front that engages the front axle for 4 wheel drive. A lot of time and pain can be spent trying to diagnose this problem. There is a previous post that explains how the engaging mechanism works. This is a small $ to pay to insure you don't destroy the transmission.
  • I have a 99 Tahoe LT, sometimes the four wheel drive indicator lights are on and sometimes they are not. If they are on and I try to engage the four wheel drive the lights just shut off. Any suggestions?
  • keep blowing fuses for the transfer case fuse #2 in block of fuses on drivers side of dash. replaced fuse and was fine for awhile as long as I was in 2wd but when trying to switch to 4wd it would blow. replaced the switch cluster in the dash for the push button 4wd and went to try engaging 4wd and it blew again and now everytime I go to put a new fuse in it blows instantly. I unplugged the front actuator and tried replacing the fuse and it still blew instantly so I dont think its the actuator. Not sure what to try next? Im thinking Transfer Case Vacuum Switch? Any other thoughts?

  • does everything else still work fine? it still switched into 4wd and everything? if everything else works fine it could just be the cluster for the push button 4wd. just replaced mine for a 98 tahoe was $55 for the switches and then very simple to swap out. whole assembly just pops out with a flat head screw driver and then 2 plugs on the back to unplug and plug into new assembly and pop back into dash.
  • When replacing your switches did yours have the 4 button system or three? If you have the 4 button system (4wd auto being the 4th) where did you find the switches for $55? Thanks Troy
  • Buddy who works at a GM dealership got it for me for that price with his discount. think it was around $70 without discount. This is for the 4 button system with 4wd auto. part #19168765 if you need it. Kinda got lucky with them having 1 in stock.
  • replaced the front acuator also now and still blowing fuses whenever I try to swith into 4 hi or lo as soon as I touch the button? Possibly a short in the wiring? any other thoughts?
  • mrlesmrles Posts: 1
    Hey Boelter21,

    Being an electrician for 40 years, I would definately say you have a direct short some where. Try and disconnect each part one at a time and meter to ground to find the problem. The side sliding door on my mini van quit working, and luckily I noticed the sparks coming from the traveling wire harness at the bottom of the door.....the insulation they used just deteriated.
  • I wanted a suburban since i got my license at 16 and drove my aunt and uncles 88. So I'm trippen here, LOL. When I turn on the 02 that I now have, all 3 (2WD, 4Hi and 4lo) lights come on for a second. That's fine it always did that. Now they come on and do their thing but the Service 4WD light is coming on for a few seconds as well. The lights also make a loud ticking sound when they go on and off that they didn’t before. THAT my friends, did not happen until today. Damn cruise control makes a tick sound when its set as well. I’ve seen similar things I think in other stuff that’s just aged in wiring but i don't know. I havent done anything with the 4WD (like screwin with it on dry pavement and the such) so I don't think it's anything with the hardware cause I'm sure if it was the light would stay on, screaming for help, haha. Still though why is the damn thing coming on though. I'm afraid it'll stay on starting tommorow or the next day or next week etc. My father didn't take very good care of it and then signs the damn thing over to me. I'm trying to refurbish this baby inside and out. Last sh*t I need is 4WD goin to sh*t, :'-(. One gentleman said something about the wiring harness and that could be $600. I like that better then 4Gs for a whole new unit. Any advice or possibilities I can do now to prevent further more serious problems is greatly appreciated.

  • To mrles: When I turn on the 02 that I now have, all 3 (2WD, 4Hi and 4lo) lights come on for a second. That's fine it always did that. Now they come on and do their thing but the Service 4WD light is coming on for a few seconds as well. The lights also make a loud ticking sound when they go on and off that they didn’t before. THAT my friends, did not happen until today. Damn cruise control makes a tick sound when its set as well. I’ve seen similar things I think in other stuff that’s just aged in wiring but i don't know.
  • ended up being the encoder on the transfer shaft was bad
  • Is that 2 grand to fix? :-/
  • my 03 suburban had this problem a year ago and I too removed the TEAC fuse and put back and it was fine until today. So I did the same thing again and now its stuck in 4wdlow. Anybody got anything for me?
  • no it was around $700-$800 to fix the encoder on the transfer case
  • bird29bird29 Posts: 1
    I replaced the Transfer Case switch 3 months ago and the light has not returned. There is a problem with the soldering in many of the original switches, which causes the trouble. Bought a Dorman switch online for $30, took 5 minutes to install. Good luck!
  • My '04 Tahoe is doing this EXACT same thing! I noticed one night on my way home that my 4x4 indicator showed I was in Neutral, which doesn't make one bit of sense since I was MOVING. I came home and told my boyfriend about it and we just figured it was an electrical issue. I started it up the next day and it showed in 2H so we just wrote it off. Then, it happened again while he was in the truck with me but, once again, we were still moving. He and my dad (both are ASE certified mechanics, mind you) replaced the axle seal on the rear differential and also checked the transfer case fluid level. My boyfriend found the fluid level was high but clean so drained some off. My readout has said "service 4x4" for a couple weeks now and we thought this would take care of that issue. Well, I kept getting that readout and now, today, on our way out from our home the truck felt strange to me, like it was trying too hard to move. I looked and found the indicator showed in was in 4L!! We quickly pulled into a parking lot (we hadn't gone more than a half mile) and I put it in Neutral and pushed the 2H button. It did switch out of 4L but there was a loud clunk when it did so. We brought it back home and that's where it will sit until I can get some answers as to what in the world is going on! What did you find with your issue? Did anything finally work? I don't want to have to go thru a trial and error, spending unnessary money that we really don't have, to not have the issue fixed. Any insight is greatly appreciated.
  • There are a lot of rumors that are mentioned. In my experience replace the 4x4 switch on the dash, replace the front actuator (on front axle) and replace the transmission switch (on transmision). Should be able to do this for parts under $700. It is a very intricate system that has checks and balances between the 3 parts. Not to mention parts that are known to fail. Unless you want to troubleshoot a lot I would put the new parts in like I did. I have not had a problem since. The original front actuators used gas which was not accurate in cold temperature and did not perform to specs very long. The actual transmission switch controls the 4H/4L and the dash switch tells the transmission switch what to go to. It could be the wiring between any of the 3 but I have not personnally seen this. 99% of the time it is best to replace all three because if you are on the interstate and the system does go into 4L or 4H then you will have bigger worries like the transmission and motor.

    Good luck!!!
Sign In or Register to comment.