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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    Don't know if you'll see this. Your post was awhile ago. But the extreme is the lowered sport truck version of the S10 right? Thing is, towing doesn't just stress engine and brakes. You may think the V6 will be able to handle the load, but it also puts lots of stress on suspension components. On a lowered sport truck with a handling suspension like yours, the setup is designed for handling, not for heavy loads.
  • zr2zr2 Posts: 6
    I agree on the fuel pump. To test, just turn key on don't start. After 2 sec turn key off, and then back on again. Do this 5 times. Now try a full start. If it start right away and keeps running the check-value in fuel pump is bad. Had mine replaced under ext warranty at 55,000 or so ($500 chevy cost).
  • My mom has a '94 S-10 (2.2L engine with the 4-speed A/T), which she absolutely loves despite its anaemic acceleration. (I understand why; it came with an awesome detail job that turns heads even from the sports car drivers on the road.)

    She got the truck in March '94, which probably means it was made in '93, at the Shreveport, LA plant. The wiper motor's started acting funny - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I searched the NHTSA recall database and found that the '95s were recalled for this problem, but no mention of the '94 model year. I read in one of these posts that the reason for the '95 recall was a bad circuit board.

    I'm going to get hold of a Chilton's manual soon enough for the vehicle. Anyone replaced the motor on their '94 themselves? Can't drive in the South in summertime without wipers, as summer storms tend to pop out of nowhere, and I'd hate for her to get into an accident, especially if it's Chevrolet's fault for installing bad OEM equipment.

    BTW, anything that can be done to fix the awful acceleration on these 2.2L engines that doesn't involve putting in a small-block V8?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Should have bought the 4.3 V6,but then it would cost more.My 99 2.2 is rated 120 hp 140 ft lb torque and goes good,std cab 2 wd auto a/c Leer cap.
  • greystrkgreystrk Posts: 1
    I too had this happen. The gas cap seemed to be on tight. Took it to the dealer and he tightened the gas cap, even though I had already done that, and told me to drive it and see if it went out. He said it can take up to 5 drives, each being 10 miles in duration. Also had a friend who thought his cap was on tight, re tightened it, and the light went out during his next drive.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    First, sorry to hear so many of you are having trouble with your S10s. This is my second one, and both have been great, trouble-free trucks. I had a Ford Ranger in between. Nice truck, that Ranger, but never again. Long story.... It will be all GM/Chevrolet products for me from now on.

    My current ride is a 2000 S10 Extended cab 2WD, wtih V-6, automatic and loaded to the gills. It's one year old, have nearly 17,000 miles on it and have had no problems, except for my passenger seat recliner handle breaking off. Glad to find out I'm not the only one that happened to.

    My question is this: the truck has the 4600 GVW suspension package. When full, it is smooth and totally under control, but when empty, it rides pretty rough. I'd like to know what, if any, modifications other owners have made to improve the ride, but still have a decent load capability.

    If you basically rebuilt your entire suspension system to the tune of $3,000-$10,000, thanks, but no thanks. I'm not planning on going that radical. But, if you did try a different brand of shock absorber, tire, or remove that bottom flat leaf from the rear suspension and had good results, let me know.


  • jim4444jim4444 Posts: 124
    Trucks are meant to haul or tow etc. Not that that is news to anybody.

    My old S10 rode ok and I never worried about it but when I moved halfway across the U.S. and was towing a trailer, man what a difference it made. It was never so smooth.

    I have a 99 V6 S10, Z85 suspension and its awesome. When empty the ride can be rough. I havent loaded it down like I did with my old truck yet but I didnt buy an Impala either.

    The uniroyals that came with the truck are a joke, a little rain and you could put a feather on the gas pedal and you'd be sideways.

    So I got real tires, Michelins and my truck is fine.

    Its a truck. Not a car or El Camino.

    Maybe tires will help you out, maybe you need a car?
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207

    Not very helpful. Yes, I know its a truck. Yes, I've owned two El Caminos, and know the difference. Yes, I've owned two S-10s, and yes, I've ridden in trucks that ride better than my S10. And, yes, I know the difference between a car ride and a truck ride. That is not what I asked....

    Once again, I'm looking for anyone that has tried various shock/tire combinations, or any other reasonable modification that noticably changed the ride of their S10.

  • hemiheadhemihead Posts: 8
    Sup guys,

    I have a 97 S-10 with a 4banger and a 5spd with about 91k on it, good truck, glad I got the extended warrenty. Anywho, like Jim, I put Michelins on mine, 215/70/R15 X-ones to be exact. These tires just put the useless-royals that it came with to shame, they handle great, don't scream when you make a U-turn, wear perfect, and most importantly, are really good in wet weather. With the other tires, I also could lite'm up in the rain when not trying, not to mention the rear tires coming loose while goin up a hill on a freeway at 60mph. The michelins came with an 8yr unlimited mileage warrenty, you just can't beat that. The current set I have was replaced for free, wore the others out in about 2 yrs commuting to school on a windy country road. They are just great all around, they wear very well too if you keep them rotated. I wore that other set out just taking corners to fast and such, but I kept them rotated to make it all even. They also look good, better stance than the skinny tires it came with, they didn't last like 20k until they were at the wear marks. SO, I highly suggest these tires, very safe, good traction, and well wearing tires. As for shocks, replaced the factory ones with Monroe sensa-tracs, they have been really good too, lifetime warrenty. I have noticed that most S-10s have a rear sagging problem when they are not loaded, mine did that from day one, was just weird, I even have the heavier suspension. I put monroe sensa-trac load stabilizing shocks on the back. They are basically the same as the regular xept they are beefier and have springs on them, this raised up the rear end a bit and makes it handle well when hauling stuff. This combination makes it handle very well also, the ride is also not to bad. One other thing, how long are the clutches lasting in your trucks and does anyone have a tach on their 4 cyl, if so, what does it redline and idle at? I put an aftermarket on mine, just wanna know.

  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Mine has dash red lines starting at 5800 rpm & solid red lines starting at 6400 rpm.The idle speed is 900 rpm,I asked the dealer if that was too high and he said no,I think its because of the clutch fan being engine driven.Any other questions just ask.
  • hemiheadhemihead Posts: 8
    Thanks, the aftermarket I got shows it idling at 500 rpm with the a/c on, which is totally off, so I"m gonna look for another. O'Reilly said they would give me my money back, I guess that's what I get for getting a cheapo tach.

  • I purchased my S-10 in Feb. 97. It had 10 miles on it. I now have 131000 miles on this truck, and I bought my first set of tires at 118000 miles. I probably could have gotten another 3000 miles out of my old tires.Naturally, I bought the same tires, Uniroyal Tiger Paws.Of course, the type of driving I do is mainly highway,so I don't do a lot of stop and go.The only problem I have with my truck is that my A.C. compressor had to have the seals replaced after only 4 years.Otherwise, I have changed the oil and filters,the brakes,and other regular maintenance items.Does anyone else have problems with the A.C. in their truck? I have a 4 cyllindar, 5 speed manual transmission,2.2 Ltr.Please let me know.
  • Yes, I did. When my 97 S-10 was still under the extended warrenty my a/c pump went out, it was 3 yrs old and had 72k on it. I think the seals went out and it bled off all of it's lubricating oil over time, turning my hood insulation into an oil sponge and making a nice little oil trail down my fender. I thought the engine was leaking oil until the a/c pump totally locked up, and the spray was right above it. So, new a/c pump. Anyone having trouble with peddle pressure on their clutches?

  • hdaiv1hdaiv1 Posts: 3
    Just wanted to let the owners of older S10s know, I finally fixed the water leak on my 1992 S10. I went to the junkyard and got a replacement door switch for the driver's side. One with good rubber on it. Slathered on the lithium grease, installed it, and the water stopped coming in. Then I sold it two months later and bought a Sierra!
  • I have a 2000 Chevy S10, 2.2 5 speed manual, antilock brakes, with 11,000 miles on it. The miles are mostly highway, not city, miles.
    Yesterday a loud squeal developed in the left front brake area. Constant squeal when vehicle is moving, goes away when brakes are applied. Would the pads be bad already or could it be brake dust?
    Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
  • Seems like your pads are getting bad or worn. When the pads get worn, a piece of metal sticks out and rubs the rotor to let you know that your pads or low. Depends on how you drive. If you do a lot of braking, then your brake pads probably need to be replaced. I had to replace my front pads on my 97 sonoma at about 25,000 miles i think. If it continues, bring it in and have a check before you do some damage to your rotors.
  • i would like to here from any one that has a 2000 or 2001 truck that has paint problems. My truck has 6000 km on it and the paint is cracking from nothing more than tree sap! the dealer says they will paint the affected areas but i think the paint is the same on the whole truck ...this sucks. They also say it is only covered for 1 year what if anything can i do?
    Help... dave in BC Canada
  • I have a '97 S10, 4 cyl, 5 spd, x-cab with 35K miles. What other problems have you had with your trucks and do you have any maint. suggestions? I've done routine maint. so far and have had no problems.
  • mjbwrtrmjbwrtr Posts: 172
    hearing all this and seeing Edmunds and other sites saying "spotty build quality" and such, have made me waver on my choice of a new s-10...are they really that bad?
    let me explain. i am looking for a new truck...a stripped down one which i can get great mileage and be able to do work on my house with and transport hunting and fishing supplies. i also commute quite a ways and i tend to hang onto vehicles and drive them until they sputter and kill themselves in the driveway for fear of going yet another mile. :)
    so my choices are Ford Ranger with the new 4 cylinder, and the s-10 with the 2.2.
    i want a manual tranny, air conditioning, cloth seats, and maybe a CD player. any suggestions or preferences? i could also use info regarding which engine is best.
  • Has anyone had a problem with fuse #9 in the fuse panel blowing, it controls the HVAC or climate controls. Mine just started doing this at 7,000 miles. It is not blowing immediately, but can take anywhere from 5 minutes or longer to blow. The dealer has it now, but I'm just wondering if anyone else had this problem and what was done to solve it, because right now I'm not too thrilled with what one service rep was trying to suggest to me.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    if they have a spotty build quality then my dads 92 is an exception. Just turned 100K on wed.

    Truck has been great. It should easily go 100K more+
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    2001 did have an issue with shorted wiring in the HVAC system.
  • mjbwrtrmjbwrtr Posts: 172
    i have a 93 s-10 which has given me no problems...i meant the new version...1994 and on.
  • Have a 2001 Chevy Xtreme S-10 Ext Cab pickup that develops a vibration that you feel in the seat. The truck has only 700 miles on the odometer, a 4.3 L V6, automatic transmission and the Xtreme sport package. The vibration usually begins to occur at approx 50 mph and will continue to occur at all speeds between 50 and approx 64 mph. At 65 mph the vibration will diminish tremendously if not completely.

    There is no vibration felt in the steering wheel at all regardless of speed. Less than 50 mph the ride is smooth and vibration free. The vibration does vary in intensity at times. A first reaction is that a tire must be out of balance. Other ideas were that a wheel lug nut was loose but none were loose.

    I had a reputable tire shop examine the vehicle and remove and rebalance all four wheels and tires. Two of the wheels needed rebalancing and .5 oz was added. The other two were fine. The wheels that were originally on the rear were moved to the front. There was no change in the vibration and its’ characteristics.

    The Chevy dealer would not check the tire balance at first because it did not have enough miles on it. They said carriers cause flat spots in tires during the chaining process as the vehicles are transported. Chevy will not authorize a dealer to balance tires until they have over 500 - 700 miles on them.

    I have had suggestions (from other than the dealer) there could be a problem with the alignment of the driveshafts or another problem since the ext cab has two driveshats and a carrier bearing.

    The dealer has now had the truck for a week. They have told me the vibration is normal for this performance oriented suspension. I disagree. I refused to take the truck back from the dealer. They had a Chevy service rep look at it last Friday and say they now feel it is a tire problem. They will let me know in a couple of more days after another dealer rechecks the tire balances with a special "road vibration balancer".

    The dealer said they used an "electronic vibration analyzer" which registers vibrations in some type of electrical term of measurement. The installed another set of wheels and tires from another vehicle and the machine registered a 2/3 drop in vibration. That is the reason for the additional dealers involvement with the "road vibrations balancer". They did not invite me to stop by to drive the truck with the other tires so I have no personal experience of any difference.

    Any suggestions or information will be greatly appreciated in that this is a problem that not only makes the truck uncomfortable to drive but also brings safety into question if there is something wrong that could eventually contribute problems to controlling the vehicle.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    Here's a self-diagnosis suggestion:

    1. Drive the truck as you normally would, and as soon as the vibration starts, shift the transmission from O-D (overdrive) which looks like a "D" on the indicator, to the "3" position. This will take the transmission out of overdrive. IF the vibration goes away, the vibration is in one likely place. If it continues, there are two other likely sources.

    A. If the vibration goes away when you shift from D to 3, the vibration may be generated by the torque converter or the lock-up solenoid for the converter in the transmission. The dealer can verify this by using a Snap-On Scanner with the proper cartridge for your truck. On the scanner, which should be plugged into the diagnostic connector while the truck is being driven, the relay that engages the lock-up torque converter will be going into and out of lock. The tech can clearly see this while driving the truck with the scanner on the right diagnostic screen. This may sound like gobbldy-[non-permissible content removed] to you, but a good transmission tech will know what this all means.

    B. Second possibility is the vibration is in the Y-pipe or the exhaust pipe between the Y-pipe and the catalytic converter. I know it sounds stupid, but I know of two full-sized Chevy trucks that had a similar vibration, and it was somehow related to the exhaust system. Not sure why--maybe the factory made the wrong bend in the pipe somewhere and it is transmitting a vibration through the frame and motor mounts.

    C. Third possiblilty--the drive shaft. This procedure must be done CAREFULLY in a shop with another mechanic. DO NOT do this in your driveway! Using a frame lift, raise the truck's wheels a foot or so off the ground. Making sure the lift doesn't rub the wheels anywhere, have someone get in the truck, start it, put it in drive and accelerate it CAREFULLY. The truck will speed up easily because the wheels are off the ground, so don't have someone gun it hard, but speed up gradually. While this is happening, you are under the truck, clear of any moving parts. Watch the driveshaft while this is going on. If it seems to stay in the same horizontal position as it rotates, it is likely balanced. If it seems to be jumping up and down while it rotates, it is out of balance. Either it lost a balance weight that was originally welded on it at the factory, or it wasn't balanced properly in the first place. If, while spinning, the drive shaft doesn't appear to be perfectly straight, then it could have been damaged while being shipped from the factory.

    Good luck--and let me know what you find out!

  • My 1996 S-10 4.3 had the sludgey Dexron orange problem. Different opinions from several people as to switching to green stuff, but after the second overheating problem, all 12 lifters needed to be replaced, thank you Warranty Gold. The dealer switched the coolant to green
    stuff after doing the expensive acid wash routine per the service bulletin.

    I first noticed the sludge forming in the filler/overflow tank at about 50K and it first overheated at about 70K. (The dealer originally said the sludge was no problem!).

    After the repaired lifters about 4K ago, no problems. Green stuff looks clean still.
  • Hi, I own a 00 4 cyl S10 and have been getting horrible mileage. Best so far has been 17 mpg, worst has been 13. I have read that other people have been getting around the same. I was wondering if any of the other guys had found out the problem or found a way to fix this. Thanks
    Oh yeah i do mainly city driving, but i don't thing it would make such a huge difference.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I have a 99 Sonoma 4 cyl auto A/C.The window sticker states 19 city 26 highway.I never check city milage but i get 25 mpg at 70 mph & 29 mpg at 55 to 60 mph.I think its hard to check city, like the number of stop & goes makes a difference.
  • cwo4cwo4 Posts: 90
    My '01 Sonoma with 4 cyl, standard, gets 25-26 mpg combined city and highway. That's with the AC on too. If I do 55-60, which I did once on a long road trip, I get a whopping 30 mpg. If I were you meisterman, I'd take it to the dealer and have the mileage complaint documented and checked out. I'm assuming you're still under the 3 yr, 36K bumper to bumper warranty. If so, it won't cost you a cent.
  • The short story version is YES, THE VIBRATION IS GONE!!!

    I find it hard to believe but they replaced both rear tires and the side-to-side vibration is gone.

    Here's the whole story...long version.

    Service Writer & Service Mgr explained they were going to replace the driveshafts with one from another Xtreme in stock. When they drove the stock models they noticed the same side-to-side vibration in the other 3 models. So before changing the driveshafts they called Chevy Technical Assistance only to be told the condition could not be fixed. Chevy told them there had been other complaints and they were aware of the "situation" but there was not a fix.

    Dealership continued to explain the ride was normal for a vehicle with a performance-designed suspension.

    I didn't buy it. I told them I felt there has to be something that can be done. There could never be a way any car mfgr would design a vehicle with a side-to-side vibration like that in the seat/frame. They said nothing could be done.

    I asked if where the Xtreme was parked was ok. They told me yes. I then handed the keys back to them and told them if that was the case I did not want the truck. They could call whomever they wanted but I was not accepting the vehicle...after all it only had 700 miles on it.

    They did not know what to say. I went to the sales mgr and explained the situation. He told the Service Mgr he could not believe GM had not fixed the problem yet and continued to sell these. He indicated this problem existed on other models and on the full size truck also. After some heated verbal exchanges between the Service mgr and Sales mgr we went for a ride. The Sales mgr agreed there is a problem and it is not right. He assured me he would talk to the Chevy Zone rep about what could be done. He assured me they would take care of me.

    Next day, no answer from the rep. I was introduced to the General Manager. I insisted we go for a drive. He tried to worm his way through the whole thing. He kept telling me the ride was normal and was due to the performance suspension. I insisted he was not being honest with me. Insisted he drive the truck further, pointing out the vibration in the seat as we went from 50 – 64 mph. When we hit 65 mph the vibration disappeared. He started to acknowledge the problem but caught himself and shrewdly admitted the truck was a sport model and rode rough. I could not get him to focus on the side-to-side vibration. He would only feel the up and down bounce of the tires against the road, which is a little harsh because of the large tires and suspension.

    When we returned to the dealership I informed him I would not accept the Xtreme. They could either return the truck I traded and restore ourselves to our before sale condition or work something acceptable by me for another truck.

    He said he would have the Chevy Area Service Rep look at the truck on Friday. I refused to take the truck and left it.

    The rep drove the Xtreme that Friday and said there was a tire problem. Service mgr said they drove the truck with an “Electronic Vibration Analyzer” which converted vibrations into an electronic unit of measurement. When they tried tires off another vehicle the “Electronic Vibration Analyzer” gave readings of 2/3 less. They scheduled an appointment with another dealer who has a “Load Force Tire Balancer” that would determine a bad tire and/or wheel.

    Service mgr also told me Chevy said they have had a problem with these because of a process where the paint is baked on the truck after the tires are installed. He went further to state that the problem was worse on black trucks because they actually bake them twice due to the paint. I guess he was telling me since mine was red the vibration was not as bad. Go figure. I found that explanation to be a bit of a stretch but did not question it at the time. I have never been to the plant to see them built so do not know if that is true. Sorry to be so distrustful of what I am being told…..but these are the guys who kept telling me nothing was wrong.

    After they had the truck a week and a half they called to let me know it was finished and the vibration was gone. The tests confirmed two bad tires. They replaced them and the vibration was gone.

    True! When I drove it afterwards the side-to-side vibration was gone.

    I thought they were “yanking my chain” with the explanation of the “Electronic Vibration Analyzer”. I have asked around and found no one who has ever heard of a device such as that. I am not saying they do not exist…..only that I have not found someone away from the dealership who knows about them. As for the “Load Force Tire Balancer” I have confirmed that there is such a machine. It has a drum that forces load pressures similar to that of a road against the tire. It looks like a high scale tire balancer and sells for around $12000.

    So, if everything they have told me is true….then that is the story of how it was fixed. The only thing I am still puzzled about is in the very beginning the vibration never changed when the tires were balanced and rotated from front to back. One would think in theory that if the rear tires caused the vibration in the seat that they would have caused a similar vibration in the steering wheel when they were on the front. No such vibration has ever been in the steering wheel. The vibration was in the seat and remained there regardless of the tires and wheels that were on the rear of the truck.

    Now on to a new problem. The fuel gauge does not read full when filling up the tank. It only read 7/8 of a tank. Every GM vehicle I have ever had when full sends the fuel needle past the full mark to the right. This needle will not even touch the full mark on the left side let alone go past it.

    The dealer has told me it is normal. When I went with him to fill up another one on the lot we discovered that the fuel needle went past the full mark to the right just as I stated. They tried to tell me it was a normal condition the way mine read. Now the Service Mgr had to admit mine was wrong. They are going to install a new sending unit tomorrow……we will see.

    If anyone has these problems, please be persistent with the dealer. There is a fix.
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