Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

2004 GMC Yukon XL Denali Traction Control

isiisi Member Posts: 16
edited August 2021 in GMC
At a stop sign or a green light, when I accelerate slowly, the engine cuts power and the "traction control" displays on the computer. This only happens intermittently, and always when conditions are dry and sunny (I live in Florida). It behaves as if I were accelerating on glare ice and the wheels were slipping. To overcome the problem on the scene, I either give it more gas (as the problem happens only on light throttle) or I de-activate the traction control via the button on the dash.
Has anyone had this problem? If so, what is the fix? A bad sensor or a bad traction control module?


  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    By the way, the OBD II diagnostic computer can detect NO ERROR CODES!
  • kevin71kevin71 Member Posts: 4
    I have the exact same problem! Have you found any answers yet?
  • matthewdfmatthewdf Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem too. It is very annoying. I haven't yet taken it in to the shop, but I am not having a good feeling about what will come about from it. I have already had to replace the transmission in the truck, and mass airflow sensor. Now the air conditioning compressor has a hole in it, so the A/C doesn't work and the front wheel bearings are going out, so, I am not very impressed with the truck.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    It seems that the general consensus is that the speed sensors on the front wheels are corroded and that this gives the computer a faulty signal about the actual speed of each wheel, thereby engaging the traction control. The solution is to clean the sensors. I have not yet had time to do this, as it is a lengthy job taking apart the front brakes, etc. For now, when the problem happens, I just reach over and disable the traction control.
    Sorry to hear about the problem with the MAFS and the A/C. Both those parts are not cheap.
  • jdlsierrajdlsierra Member Posts: 4
    I had this same problem and cleaned the front wheel speed sensors.
    That worked for about 1000 mi then it started again. After two times to the
    local dealer ( they could not find any problem ) and $ 125.00 later . I decided to
    take a chance and replace the front sensors ( approx. 2 hours in my garage )
    and cost approx. $110.00 ( for the set of 2 )at my local chevy dealer. He needed the vin to locate the correct part and it took a couple of days to get. of course they are made in
    Taiwon . That completely corrected my "traction control " problems. I have driven
    approx. 4000 mi with no problems except for the rear wiper that doesn't work.
    73,676 mi and gets 17.5 on the highway.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    Thanks for the advice. When you removed the sensors, did you first remove the hub and the half shaft, or do the sensors come out without having to take apart the hub?
  • jdlsierrajdlsierra Member Posts: 4
    you can remove the sensors by first removing your front brake caliper and then removing your rotor, the sensor is attached to the hub with a single allen bolt. I installed the new ones with " loctite " to be sure they stayed in place. This is the setup on my 2004 yukon denali.
    I got to cut grass now so i will check back in 1 to 2 hours.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    Thanks again for the advice. I will tackle the job in a few days. Right now my son is occupying our hoist.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    Replaced the front left sensor. Reused the front right as it looked really good. Still have the problem with traction control active. Will try replacing the front right sensor.
  • boxman4boxman4 Member Posts: 2
    Hi everyone,
    I have an engine light that goes on and off all the time. I tried new high grade fuel, the gas cap is tight and snapped when doing so but still the light goes on and off.
    I did notice that sometimes when I turned on the high beams the engine light would come on. It usually goes off in a day or two.
    Is it the battery or alternator??
    London, Ontario
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    The "Check Engine" light is usually related to emissions devices.
    For example it could be an O2 sensor, gas cap, MAF (mass airflow sensor) or a number of other emissions related problems. If you know someone with a code reader, check the error code, it will point you in the right direction.
    On my Denali, the gas cap was tight but the light still kept coming on intermittently. It turns out that there was a tiny crack in the rubber ring on the gas cap that forms the seal between the gas cap and the filler neck. A new gas cap solved the problem. Good luck.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    After replacing both front wheel speed sensors and scoping all 4 sensors, the problem still persists. It is likely a fault in the stability control module, which is epensive to replace and which must be coded to the vehicle by the dealer. So I will not go that route. I simply disable stability control and problem solved.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    You may want to try GMC Yukon Small Problems and Aggravations. We'll stick with "traction control" here. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • boxman4boxman4 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks! I will try your suggestion.
  • denaligirl04denaligirl04 Member Posts: 5
    First, Thanks for the speed sensor information. I have had the the problem with the cut in power and the "Traction Active" message for a year now. I have brought the truck into my mechanic countless amount of times for this and of course, it never happened when he drove it. He had spoken to his dealership people and there was conversation about the box under the driver's seat, he has also hooked it up the computer with no messages and cleaned off contacts, none of these things helped. I found this forum and made a copy and brought this to him.

    The problem has worsened to the cut in power at almost every traffic light, toll booth and exit ramp and I'm very careful in pulling out in traffic for this cut in power can result in a collision when you accelerate in front of a car that is too close.

    I have reached my patience limit after driving the truck yesterday and it is now waiting at the shop waiting for the wheel sensors to be changed. I hope it works.
    Thank you again for the information, I will let you know if the new sensors help or if the car gets traded in!
  • denaligirl04denaligirl04 Member Posts: 5
    So far so good. I picked the truck up from having the wheel speed sensors replaced, I have not had a problem yet after 300 miles and have not had the problem with the power cut out or "Traction Active" message on the dash. I was having this happen so often that if the wheel speed sensors had not been the problem the cut in power, etc would have already reared it's ugly head. My mechanic had mentioned that one of the sensors was cracked before he replaced it. Thanks again for the information.
  • dmontanadmontana Member Posts: 6
    Hi I have a 2003 XL Denali. I too have the same problem the Traction Active engages cutting the power to the truck. Numerous trips to the dealer has not fixed the problem. But in reading all the posts and your recent post I will be printing them and taking them with me.and telling them to service the sensors. Quick question have you had any sort of electrical issues with your vehicle? When I push the drivers heated seat button, the odd time their is a loud buzzing noise thats appears causing the rear passenger door drivers side light to come on then the heated seat shuts off. Definitly a wiring issue again numerous trips to the dealer and no luck..
  • denaligirl04denaligirl04 Member Posts: 5
    Hello, I still haven't had the cut in power or Traction Active message come up since the wheel sensors were replaced, I actually find that I still unconsciously expect it to happen pulling away from a traffic light, etc. It was not an expensive repair considering the nuisance that it was, it only wound up costing me a little over $100, my mechanic told me he would cut me a break because he had messed with this problem so many times on this truck that he called his "Albatross" and using the info that I supplied him off this site which cured the problem was also a learning experience for him. Not even the GM guys that he consults with on occasion were sure that replacing wheel speed sensors would solve the problem but it obviously did.

    As far as the electrical problem with the seat heater switch, no I haven't experienced that at all.
  • mariannes1mariannes1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2005 Yukon XL and had the same "spinning wheel" and traction light problem occur when accelerating from a stop on dry pavement. They said it was a front wheel sensor and it cost me over $300 at the dealership. Now, my entire traction control module is bad, and this is only two months later. I wonder if that was the problem to begin with and they just put a bandaid on the problem. The module that I need is unavailable and has been for a month ! bTW, it is a $700 part and IF it can't be separated from the pump (due to corrosion and it happens about 50% of the time), I will be out another $500 for the pump. I can drive it, but I do not have ABS or traction control, and this has been a hellish winter in Pittsburgh for me under these conditions. How can GMC let critical components to it's flagship vehicle be "unavailable" or "backordered" for over a month??? I'm done with GM. Any comments on the wisdom of finding a used traction control module instead? Let me know.
  • lucy0_0lucy0_0 Member Posts: 6
    Hello, I have been experiencing the same problem so do you went and had the dealer run it through the machine so it can tell you which sensor was? Please give some advice thank you!
  • rhagedornrhagedorn Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2004 Denali XL and it has just started experiencing the problem with the traction active problem. The messages posted here will be very helpful when I visit my mechanic I was dreading the thought of taking it to a dealer. Has anyone been experiencing a problem where the driver side AC zone starts blowing out hot air but the passenger side continues to blow cold. The only way I found to correct is to turn off the car and restart. Thanks!
  • denaligirl04denaligirl04 Member Posts: 5
    Hi, Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you, you may have had the problem resolved by now. I never took it back to the dealer, I have a mechanic whom I had to tell him what was wrong with the car after finding the info here. He did replace both sensors a while ago and apparently found that one of the old sensors had cracked. I have not had the problem since they where replaced and that's thousands of miles ago.
  • rhagedornrhagedorn Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the follow-up! I plan on seeing my mechanic this week armed with the information pulled from this forum. Hopefully I will have the same results as you which i will post to this message board. Thanks again!
  • jdlsierrajdlsierra Member Posts: 4
    As of yesterday it has been about 18 months and 15K miles with absolutely no "traction active " messages . Today it starts happening again and I am not trading it. I will probably do the front sensors again and post the result. I have about 88k now and it runs great with little maintenance. I am plagued with some minor problems like the driver seat heater turns on occasionally by itself and usually turns off manually each time . probably a week or so when I can have time for the repair.
  • rwillmsrwillms Member Posts: 1
    I have just read all the posts on the Traction Active issue on the Denali - helpful thank you

    My 2004 is doing this, but also the ABS light comes on and goes off frequently and just this morning a sqeal seemd to be coming from the wheel area that went away after a mile or two.

    Any thoughts?
  • tdt1tdt1 Member Posts: 1
    Hello, I have a 2004 Yukon XL. I have been having problems with my Traction control. I receive this message when I make left turns ( Service stability ) . I have replaced the steering sensor 3 times in the last two months. I had the steering sensor replaced again last week and I now get the service message when I turn Right. My mechanic is currenty looking for answers. Any advice? Thanks
  • mariannes1mariannes1 Member Posts: 4
    I had that light come on, and at the same time felt a momentary loss of forward momentum when starting from a standstill. They replaced a sensor (don't recall what is what called exactly) in the wheel. They said the wheels were getting mixed messages about traction and were improperly causing loss of power because the message meant that I was "spinning", which wasn't the case. Once this sensor was replaced, problem was solved.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    Re: traction active when starting up on dry pavement - here is your answer: You do not need new speed sensors. If you are able to remove the existing speed sensors without damaging them, take a flat file and thoroughly file down the seat on the hub where the sensor sits. I went through the same problem, and had replaced the sensors but the problem still existed. After filing the hub, the problem went away and has been clear for 6 months. It seems that the corrosion that builds up under the sensors moves the sensor enough to cause it to occasionally lose the magnetic signal from the hub. If a shop does it for you, it is all labor cost, and should not take any more than 1 hour to do both front wheels.
  • rhagedornrhagedorn Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the information and i will review this with my machanic
  • jjoannejjjjoannejj Member Posts: 1
    Hey, did you find out the problem/solution by chance. I seem to be having the same issues, including the squeal noise.
  • denaligirl04denaligirl04 Member Posts: 5
    I had both front wheel speed sensors replaced a couple of years ago and it's been fine since
  • mariannes1mariannes1 Member Posts: 4
    After dealing with, what I believe, was a less than knowledgeable and honest dealer, I decided to part ways with my Yukon XL for good. Over the course of about 4 years and costing thousands of dollars in diagnostics and repairs, I continued to have intermittent ABS / traction control error messages. My dashboard would light up like a Christmas tree with error messages. We replaced speed sensors, steering wheel sensors and were looking at replacing the ABS and traction control module (very expensive!), but when I asked if THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE END OF IT that came with a "we can't guarantee that'll fix the problem". Couldn't see sinking another $1500 bucks into something that "might" not fix it. So, while I loved that vehicle, it was becoming a money pit and living in snowy, hilly Pittsburgh, I need to count on my ABS and traction control working ALL THE TIME. I'm done with GMC.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252

    Were you planning on have the vehicle diagnosed by a GM dealership? Please keep me posted on any information.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • barrydavis67barrydavis67 Member Posts: 4
    I am having the same problem turnning left and the traction control system activates with loss of power. I just had my brakes replace and wonder if it was damaged there? Should they be responisble for repair?
  • barrydavis67barrydavis67 Member Posts: 4
    I have the same problem but no all the time. Restart car works but getting tierd of having to do that. Did you get a repsonse on how to fix?
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    If you are able to do your own work, then please try removing the front sensors intact and FILE the hub where the sensor mounts. It will cost you nothing, except 1-2 hours of your time. I was having the same problems as you were (i.e. intermittent traction control activation), and tried all kinds of diagnostics, even driving the car down the street with a scope on the sensors! The GM people did not have a clue as to the solution. I even replaced the front sensors, but to no avail. Then I was speaking to another mechanic about this, and he informed me that this is a known problem on the Yukon, where corrosion forms under the speed sensors on the hub, which in turn interrupts the signal from the sensor to the computer. The simple solution was to remove the sensors and use a file. Then just replace the sensors. My Yukon Denali has been trouble free for the 18 months since I did this.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    It is remotely possible that they damaged the sensor or wire while replacing the rotors or removing the calipers, BUT IT IS UNLIKELY, as the sensor is not close to the rotor or caliper. If the problem started right after the brake job, you may be able to get the repair shop to look at it as a freebie, as long as it has not been too long since the brake job. If all wires and sensors are undamaged, you can get them to try the fix in msg #38.
  • kim_g1kim_g1 Member Posts: 1
    Sorry. But could you tell me where the front sensors are located? Are they behind the caliper or inside the tire? I want to see if this is something my husband can swing or to tell a mechanic. I had front end work done recently, then had a flat. The repair shop drove the truck into the bay with a total flat and now also have probs with the "tire pressure sensor" message on. Wonder if its all related?
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    The tire pressure sensor is a different issue, and you can be almost 100% sure its failure was caused by driving the vehicle with a total flat tire. The way it works is that there is a tire pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS) on every rim, located inside the part that the tire covers (i.e. where the air is under pressure) and measures the tire pressure and transmits it to the computer. If the car is driven with a flat, it is highly probable that the sensor will be damaged. Make sure that the rim was not damaged as well. The shop that fixed the flat needs to install a new sensor (hopefully at their own expense).

    As for the front wheel speed sensors, they are located on the hub, not behind the caliper and not inside the tire. The hub is the stationary part where the drive shaft hooks into, and allows for the rotating components to be located. The wheel speed sensor will be easy to find as there will be a wire attached to it. It is located near the top of the hub (around 1 o'clock if I recall correctly). If they have not been removed in the last 2-3 years, they will be difficult to remove intact, but it can be done if one is careful. Good luck!
  • farmgrl22farmgrl22 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    OK....same issue with my 2004 Yukon SLT 60,000miles. Just within the past 8 months or so it started with the traction active on beautiful days and dry roads. I called our local GM dealer today and they want $280 to do the cleaning and another $100 if the sensors would need replaced and another "couple hundred per side" if by chance the hubs would need replaced too.

    I saw someone that posted was in Pittsburgh area.....anyone want to offer information where they took their vehicle for this repair and got good service and reasonable rates? We are located in the New Castle PA area. I have read a lot of the posts on here with detailed directions and my husband is going to try cleaning the hubs himself. (I would like to have a back-up though)

    We also have a few other issues with this truck. The dash has gone out a few times resetting the radio and such.....no idea why this happens. The airbag light came on a few months ago - probably a sensor. We also have the tire pressure message.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
  • barrydavis67barrydavis67 Member Posts: 4
    I just had the front drivers ABS sensor replaced (part cost $50 at Napa Autoparts) and it stopped the warning lights and loud beeping noise. It also fixed the problem when i was turning left and traction contraol comes on. However now the traction control activates when I come to a complete stop (at red light) and I have a 2 second loss of power then it releases and truck runs great until I stop again. Wondering if the computer needs to be reset now that I have replaced the ABS sensor? Any thoughts?
  • mariannes1mariannes1 Member Posts: 4
    All of this, sometimes individually and sometimes all at the same time, happened over the course of 2 years with my '05 Yukon XL. I had it serviced at Wright Pontiac/GMC in Wexford, which is where I bought it.

    I had the ABS light come on, the traction control light come on and also experienced the lost of acceleration when pulling away from a complete stop, such as a red light. I was nervous turning left in front of oncoming traffic from a standstill because of this.

    WRight wanted to change the ABS sensors and the steering wheel position sensor, which I did and the problem continued to come and go, albeit not as frequently. When driving in the snow, if the tires did slip it would immediately kick on the ABS light and traction control light. Sometimes those lights stayed lit up for weeks and wouldn't shut off, emitting a loud pinging noise for a minute every time I turned on the vehicle. When the ABS light is on, that means you DO NOT have antilock brakes working and there were a few times that I skidded and fishtailed a bit on wet roads and also had to be especially careful in the snow.

    Then they wanted to replace the ABS/traction control module which is housed under the body of the vehicle. That part plus labor was over $1000. There were no guarantees that the problem would go away because it was just an educated guess on their part if that was the sole source of the problem. It seemed like too much money to throw at a "guess" with no guarantees. At that point, with the leaking fuel line, need for new brakes and four new tires I decided to not throw any more money into the Yukon and got rid of it.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    Remove BOTH front ABS sensors and file and clean the hub where they mount. Although the shops are supposed to file/clean the surface when they replace sensors, most of them don't do it. Your "traction control" issue at a stop light / stop sign will go away after you have done this.
  • hldavis88hldavis88 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Yukon XL with the same issue your having. After several times taking it in for service a local mechanic finally found the issue. Prior to him finding the issue, I was told it was a wheel sensor, then it was the pump, which the pump was replaced. It was neither of these. What he found was that you have a sensor on the steering column that if it gets out of adjustment, it will cause the issue your having. Have them adjust this sensor.
  • hjimenezhjimenez Member Posts: 2
    I am also having the same problem. Could you please tell me where to locate these sensors and remove them?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  • hjimenezhjimenez Member Posts: 2
    Where are these sensors located?
  • barrydavis67barrydavis67 Member Posts: 4
    The ABS speed sensor is located on the back of the HUB assembely (behind the tire). It is a black cable the plugs in to the HUB assembely and runs behind the black wheel well. The part should only cost $50 online. Hope this helps. http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/2004/gmc/yukon_denali/brake/abs_speed_sensor.ht- ml">
  • lindseylynnlindseylynn Member Posts: 1
    I've had my denali for about a year had have had it in the
    Four times so far over $1200 so far and I still have the same
    Problem the truck won't move when the traction comes
    On!!! The want to replace the sensor in the steering wheel
    That I just had replaced 6 months ago that cost $500
    Then the computer on and on it goes its a money
    Pit I'm getting sick of now there replacing the wheel sensors
    If it don't work this time I'm contacting DMV !!!
  • lawman1962lawman1962 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 yukon xl Denali. Had the traction active message coming up. My Mechanic replaced both wheel speed sensors to start with and it was still showing a problem on the right passenger side. Replaced the hub on that side and the truck is working fine. My mechanic done a great job and it was less than two hundred dollars. What a great mechanic.
  • isiisi Member Posts: 16
    For $200 you did well!
    However, you did not need to replace the hub. Remember this when the left side shows the same problem. All that needs to be done is to remove the wheel speed sensor and file the area where it makes contact with the hub. This area tends to rust over time, and if filed until shiny, the sensor will work properly! Tell him to put some anti-seize on the area before he replaces the wheel speed sensor.
Sign In or Register to comment.