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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • baker20baker20 Posts: 11
    I just purchased a 2003 S10 with the ZQ8 sport suspension pkg.(4.3L). I owned a 1993 Sonoma before and it proved to be a great truck. I traded it in on a Camaro (which has and still is a fun and reliable car). I am pretty biased toward Chevrolet, so I really cannot give an objective opinion on your message. However, I also used my GM Card earnings (only $600). You should check to see how much of your earnings are eligible to use on the S10. In my research, I found that there was a limit to how much of your GM Card earnings you are able to use on different GM vehicles.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Yes, there is a definite limit on how much card rebate can be applied to a particular vehicle. However, I have one of the first GM cards (black card) which is for some reason exempt from these rules (I already checked with GM card representative). So I can apply the whole accumulated amount of about $ 3200 towards a single vehicle purchase.
  • baker20baker20 Posts: 11
    Wow! That's really good. I have had my GM Card for a little over three years. I was all excited about my little $600 earnings. Have you decided whether or not you will go with the S10? Are you going to give the new Colorado a look. I believe those are due at the dealerships around September.
  • larryb12larryb12 Posts: 3
    My brother has a 93 S-10 with 4.3L engine & Central Port Injection. It has a rough idle both cold & hot but gets worse when hot. It has 150 K miles. He has changed, plugs, wires ,EGR valve, Oxygen Sensor and has checked fuel pressure, compression, vacumn leaks and has tried adding injector and carbon cleaner with no improvement. He is ready is ready to dump it for a newer s-10 is he can't solve this problem. Any suggestions would be greatly apperciated.
  • slickracerslickracer Posts: 38
    The idle problem is caused by a faulty CPI unit. I requires replacement of the entire unit. May be $500- $700 for parts and labor.
  • ffmcobaltffmcobalt Posts: 20
    Has he tried simply checking the timing?
  • Hi, I was wondering if anyone has an idea what this problem might be. I have a 2003 6 cyl 4.2L? auto tran, extended cab Sonoma GMC 2800 miles. When I pull into my driveway (tight right turn) at slow speeds/(kind of rolling in using the brake) it makes a metal groaning noise. I took it to the dealer but he couldn't recreate the noise. A friend of mine "zerked" (greased) the front end, but the noise is still occurring. I was hoping someone might have experienced this problem and found a solution. I posted here because there doesn't seem to be many GMC Sonoma postings compared to S10 Chevrolet postings. Thanks
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    You brother's S-10 with 150K is possibly suffering from a dirty injector, clogged fuel filter, tired fuel pump and/or a dirty throttle body. These fixes are easier and much cheaper than a new computer, so I would recommend you try them first. Here goes....

    First, if he can't remember when he last changed that fuel filter, do that TODAY. Fuel injected cars need much higher pressures than older engines with carburetors. A clogged filter can really reduce the pressure, and put a lot of extra load on the pump, causing it to wear out.

    Next, add a quality concentrated additive to the gas tank. Ignore the hype, cute bottles and megabuck advertising you see on TV or in parts stores. There is an additive called BG 44K that many new car dealerships use on their customer's cars. It is not readily available at places like AutoZone or Pep Boys, but you can get it online. If you can't find it in your area, go to or to order it. Yes, it is expensive (about $20 per bottle) but this is the real deal, not a late night TV miracle-in-a-can snake oil cure. BG 44K cleans the injectors as well as much of the carbon buildup on the back side of the intake valves. You will actually feel a huge improvement in 50-100 miles.

    Next, you need to clean that throttle body. Get a can of Berryman's B12 carb and choke cleaner at the parts store. Remove the snorkle and air hose, and with the engine running, spray this stuff all over the inside of the throttle body and plate. Keep the engine running by opening the throttle as you spray it in. Then, with the engine off, open the throttle all the way, and clean both sides of the throttle plate and all around the inside of the throttle body. Let the truck sit about 15-30 minutes, and then restart it and let it run a few minutes. It will be very hard to start at first because you have just dumped a ton of this stuff in the engine, but it does work.

    If he is still not happy with the performance, have the fuel pump pressure checked. I'm not sure what the idle pressure should be on that engine, but I would guess it should be in the range of 35PSI at idle. Also, make sure it keeps pressure once the engine is turned off. If the pressure is low, he may need a new pump. If the pressure drops immediately after you shut the engine off, the fuel pressure regulator is likely bad.

    Another suggestion is to use a good engine flush at the next oil change after you do all of these things. There is probably a lot of unburned gas getting dumped in the crankcase, diluting the oil and adding a lot of sludge. When he changes the oil, add a can of Restore to the oil. It's great for high mileage engines.

    Good luck!

  • carpenicarpeni Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 S-10 with the 2.2 4cyl, and 46000 miles. Every once and a while when I am driving I will go to accelerate and the motor bogs down, it usually recovers in a few seconds. It happens when its cold, hot, anytime you name it. I can be cruising at 70mph and it will do it. Any suggestions.
  • jauto98jauto98 Posts: 77
    You may want to see your dealership. I had some problems with my wipers on my 97 sonoma. Sometimes they work, the intermittent feature doesn't work (Intervals weren't consistent), or they just don't work period. I recently got a recall notice to replace the wiper controller board, not the motor. Wipers work now. Don't know how long the board will last though.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    How to repair GM intermittent wipers,before starting pull the wiper fuse or disconnect the battery.Disconnect the electrical plug from the motor,remove the screws holding module to the motor assembly.Remove the module from the motor assy,you may have to pry it loose with a flat blade screwdriver where it plugs into the motor.Now where the plug attaches to the circuit board there are 5 soldered pins,if you look with a magnifying glass you will see the cracked solder,I resolder all five pins.Use a large enough solder gun to get a good melt,I also add some fresh solder with some electrical flux.Reverse assy.
  • mike3720mike3720 Posts: 17
    I have a 2002 ZR2 4x4 with a 4.3 motor. The fan clutch is making a lot of noise when the motor is hot, it sounds like a jet engine taking off. The dealer says this is NORMAL! Is anyone else having the same problem? Anyone have any ideas?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    i have a 99 2.2 and it rarely comes on and it does roar.Is it hot where you are,it dosen't get too hot in Maine.
  • mike3720mike3720 Posts: 17
    I live in Alabama and it gets hot and humid. I think it's too much noise, it sounds like the RPMs are going wild. But the dealer says it's normal, i'm hoping someone else is having the same problem.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    I have a 1997 S-10 4x4. I realize that some of the lower area of the truck are going to get "sandblasted" by road debris. It doesn't make me happy, but I know that it will eventually happen.

    What concerns me, however, is that I'm seeing paint just flaking off in obscure area that don't see direct contact with debris. Like the lower edge of the tailgate, the front side of the box, betwen the cab and box.

    Anyone else seeing this on their trucks?
  • jauto98jauto98 Posts: 77
    Ive got a 1997 GMC Sonoma, don't have a problem with my paint except the some rock chips and door dings from other people.
  • mike3720mike3720 Posts: 17
    I bought mud guards from Husky, they look good. I was having problems with road debris and road tar on the lower area of my truck. But this took care of the problem.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    ...I put those on all four fenders when the truck was new. I can only imagine how bad the truck would have been without them!
  • I owned a 98 s-10 2.2 liter 5 speed, rear seal was leaking at 7,000 miles. I had it fixed at dealership no more problems. Then they had a recall on my plug wires, truck ran like it had bad gas in it. fixed it with no problems. I was towing a lawn equipment trailer with it so i figured it was under to much stress, so i traded up to a 2001 4.3 liter extended cab, no problems till 40,000 miles when rear end on it started whining. Took it to dealer, they said rear end was bad and would fix it under good faith. A week later driving interstate rear end sounded like it was going to fly apart. Out of oil in rear end again, so i took it back and left it for a week. They put a new hub on rear end plus changed out all of the drive shafts, now it has a vibration in it. They say that it's because i lowered the truck two inches, and that there is nothing else they can do with it. So now i have it at another rear end specialist to see if i can it fixed for real this time, AS SOON AS IT IS FIXED I AM TRADING IT IN FOR A TOYOTA AND AM NEVER OWNING ANOTHER CHEVROLET. I BABY MY TRUCK I DONT HOT DOG OR SPIN THE TIRES, SO I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY THIS HAS HAPPENED TO MY TRUCK TWICE. DOES CHEVROLET HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THEIR REAR ENDS? ANYONE ELSE WITH SAME PROBLEMS?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Back in '93 when I bought my Nissan Sentra, I was at the dealership (GMC-Nissan-Pontiac) and saw six of the eight lifts being occupied by either S-10 pickups of Blazers. There were approximately 20 new complete rear axle assemblies stacked on the service department floor.

    I asked the service manager what that was all about and he said that the S-10 series suffered from "a lot" of rear differential failures.

    Now, I have known people with better than 100,000 miles on their S-10 series trucks that have never had a problem. My son, who was the unfortunate owner of two S-10 PUs, never had a problem with the rear differential, either. Plenty of other problems, but not that.

    I have known two individuals that have had a S-10 rear differential pop. I don't remember the miles on them since this was a while ago, but both were out of warranty.

    I think you will find that rear axle failures are more than likely the result of incorrect machining or assembly from day-one that will affect a certain percentage of units manufacturered. Ford, Dodge, and Toyota have had problems in this area, too. In fact, Dodge use to buy rear axle assemblies from GM for the full size RAM (American Axle) some years ago and they had about a 4-6% failure rate, which is just about the same for GM full-size trucks.

    Toyota Tundras are not exempt, I might add. About four months ago I saw one changed out at my Toyota dealership.

  • I think my fuel pump has gone bad...i've been hearing that this isn't too uncommon with this truck. Is what i'm hearing true?
  • In responce to the wiper motor fix that was posted here recently, Wanted to add that this does work. I have an S10 Blazer that had that problem. Did just as the person described. But one thing to add. You will also want to look down the side to find a burned out circuit. I had it and used a stripped piece of telephone cord to fix the circuit. But since then I've had no wiper problems. Took all of 5 minutes to do.
  • cage47, don't know if you know that GM recalled the wiper motors, supposedly replacing the circuit board. I have a 97 Sonoma and got the dealer to replace the board for no charge. So far, no problems yet.
  • But it only includes models up to the 1997 year. I have a 1998. No luck. Why sweat it when the fix is so easy? What I'd like to see is the ball joints recalled to be replaced with grease fitting units. Or the Oil coolant lines.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 5,582
    The service schedule on the S10/Sonoma shows that front wheel bearings should be repacked every 30,000 miles. Is this for both 2wd and 4wd, and does anyone actually do this?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    >>The service schedule on the S10/Sonoma shows that front wheel bearings should be repacked every 30,000 miles. Is this for both 2wd and 4wd, and does anyone actually do this?<<
    Repacking front wheel bearings on 2wd is required every 30K, i did mine last year.Not sure on 4wd they may be sealed.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    ...You are correct. The front wheel bearings on a 4WD are sealed units.
  • Mike3720:

    What date was your 2002 built? Check the door jamb for the month and year. Does the noise occur only on startup and then go away or all the time in traffic? Finally how hot is it when this occurs?
  • 2002. 35K. 4.3L. Have had little problems so far. One day I ran 4wd a little, put in back in 2wd, then it was whinning constantly. 4wd sounds and feels great. 2wd steers tighter, although 4wd has disengaged.

    Engine and tranny are running loud. It almost stalled at a light the other day. I'm clueless.

    Any thoughts??
  • My truck has a date of 11-01...Summer time driving is the worst. The clutch is on and off in summer traffic, mostly on. It also happens during start-up most of the time, but goes away quickly. I've talked to other people who own the same model truck and they're not having this trouble. The shop manager says the fan clutch is doing what it is suppose to do and that the same noise on the Trailblazer is worst than my truck. If i had heard this noise during my test drive, i would be driving a Toyota right now.
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