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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • jim4444jim4444 Posts: 124
    I average 22 mpg and have a leadfoot. And you better believe I use the A/C! 99 S10 LS 4.3 Auto. Posi. HPP modified shifts.

    Great truck, factory puts on worthless tires. I recommend to everyone with a new S10/Sonoma to get real tires, the uniroyals are worthless.

    And the factory shift pattern is......yaaaaawn.

    Unacceptable. Do they think this is a luxury truck?? is very nice but its still a truck.

    But a day and a half to shift when you floor it???

    I havent been to the track to get any times but after the reprogramming I can guarantee you that I picked up at least a second if not more in the 1/4 mile.

    When I go to the track I'll reprogram it and eliminate the govenor. For now 99 mph is plenty.
  • I have a 2001 S-10 ext cab 3rd door 4.3 V6 and am continuing to have 2 problems that I was wondering if anyone has had experience with.
    1) The third door rattles all the time on good pavement or bad
    2) between 55 and 65 mph the vehcile seems to surge and I can't hold a steady speed. While at these speeds there seems to be a vibration in the gas pedal as well.
    In both cases I have taken it in 3 times and the dealers can find anything wrong.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    When I bought my new 2000 S-10 third door extended cab, I felt the same surging. The dealer said it was the A/C compressor engaging and disengaging.

    While I didn't like that answer, the problem DID go away after I drove the truck a few miles. I think the engine was not broken in and was very tight. As it accumulated a few miles, it became MUCH smoother. One of the reasons I think the engine was not broken in and was very tight is because it uses NO oil, and I mean NO oil. I'm using synthetic oil and a high quality filter, so I'm going about 5K-7K miles between changes, but this 4.3L V-6 engine NEVER drops below the full mark on the dipstick. This is the first engine I've ever had that does't use even 1/4 quart of oil between changes. I now have nearly 21K miles on it.

    As for the rattling third door, that sounds like a broken retaining clip between the door panel and the metal shell of the door. DON"T accept a noisy door; my truck is now 16 months old, and the third door has never rattled, even on the roughest roads.

    If you can bang on the panel with the heel of your hand and hear the noise, it is likely a broken clip. If the door is quiet when you bang on it, but it still rattles when the truck is moving, it sounds like there is metal-on-metal somewhere and it either needs to be adjusted or have a new door gasket installed.

    Good luck.

  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    There's lots of hype out there, but here's a test conducted by an Acura NSX owner that proved interesting. He pitted his "custom" $144 a jar Zymol NSX wax against Zaino, Mequiars and the inexpensive Zymol wax sold in discount stores.

    He also used several other NSX owners to help judge the results. Considering that many of these guys think of their cars as if it were their religion (there's something very sad in that thought) I knew they would "take no prisoners" when it came to determining which wax worked best.

    Here's the link to see the results of the test:

    Have a good day!


  • cwo4cwo4 Posts: 90
    While driving along the highway in my 2001 Sonoma today, the ABS dash light came on for no apparent reason. I checked the owners manual and it said if the ABS light comes on, your system needs servicing. (DUH) If your brake warning light stays off, you have brakes, but not ABS. I had brakes, no problem . I was just cruising, didn't even have my foot on the brakes. I'll take it to the dealer tomorrow, but I'm a little disappointed. I only have 12,250 miles on the truck. Anyone else have this problem before, and if so, what caused it?
  • mr5by5mr5by5 Posts: 11
    I'm the guy who posted the fix for intermittent operation of '94 S-10 Wipers a year or so ago! I think it has been lost from the database but I do have a simplified description of the problem and my fix on my personal website at:

    Check it out while I try to find my original (detailed) instructions for making the relatively simple repair!

    (As I recall, a Chevy Mechanic posted a response that stated that you can buy a new "Wiper Delay Control Board from GM Parts. Solder is cheaper!)

  • mdm4mdm4 Posts: 33
    I just purchased a '98 extended cab LS S-10 with a 2.2 four banger and a 5spd with 33,000 miles. Aside from the driver's seat recline handle being broke(actually the handle is fine it is the rod that the handle connects to that snapped), and having to replace the front brake pads, I have a question about the thermostat housing. There is a by-pass tube that connects to the housing, at this connection I have a small leak. When I had the vehicle inspected the fellow said that there is an o-ring on the tube and if you turn the tube counter clock-wise the tube will come out of the housing and you can replace the o-ring. Well, I went to the dealer to get the o-ring and was told that I would have to order the complete housing for about $50.00. It appears that the tube will come out of the housing but I am not sure. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    If the tube screws out why would you need an "0" ring,just use sealer.
    I looked at my 99 2.2 and i think the tube maybe pressed in,they like cheap assy.
    Try some epoxy sealer or pop for the $50 part.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    My wife's '96 Regal with the 3.8 has a similar set-up for the heater hoses. I replaced the O-rings by matching them at Autozone or Pep Boys. Cover them with some white lithium grease before putting them back in. I don't like the design, but so far, no leaks.
  • mdm4mdm4 Posts: 33
    PAman: On your wife's Regal how did you get the tube out, did you have to turn it or did it just pop out?
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    I think the bypass tube went from the top of the water pump or water pump housing to the base of the intake manifold. I just GENTLY pulled it straight forward until it came out.

    The heater hoses were mounted on 90-degree elbow connections that slipped into the water pump housing. They also just pulled straight out. If they seem difficult to pull out, that is probably because there is a lot of mineral deposits around the fitting, or the aluminum has started to oxidize, and is partially stuck.

    If you can't get it out, I would recommend going to a u-pull-it junk yard, finding a truck with the same engine, and if you can get to it, take that one apart first. That way, if you break something because you couldn't determine the best way to take it apart until it was too late, you haven't damaged yours yet.

    Good luck!

  • deppdepp Posts: 3
    Hi all,

    I have a 1994 Sonoma, and every time it rains or gets wet it leaks into the passenger foot well. It trickles down behind the heater soaking the foam there along the firewall. I don't think its a windshield leak from the top, I think its coming in from the cowl area somehow. I can't really see down in it though, it is hard to get to because the steel only allows so much of an opening under the windshield. I've tried looking up behind the L. front wheel covering, still cant really get to the area to find out what is leaking. Can anyone help me out?

  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    Take it out when you know it is going to rain again. When the rain starts, get in the truck and wait to see where the water is leaking in.

    As for the 'where,' there are several possibilities. The first place I would suspect is the area at the bottom of the windshield where it mounts to the truck. Next, I'd look at the gasket where the hood meets the cowl. If the gasket is damaged or missing, it would allow water to run down the firewall, and could be leaking in around the box that holds the heater core.

    If those areas are not the source of the leaks, talk to a windshield shop or the guy at the dealership that fixes water leaks. They may have seen this in a few other S-10s and Sonomas and can almost certainly tell you where to look.

    Good luck!

  • I've just purchased my new S-10 in July of 2001 and I've been back to the dealer 7 times in 5 months! Everytime I tell them to fix the same problem they come back with a different excuse for the shaking that occurs at 55 to 65mph and 1800 rpm's.Does anyone know about a drivetrain problem or any recall's? I would really like to hear anybody's opinion on this problem. I'm about a phone call away from my lawyer! Also, this truck after 5 months has terrible interior design. The interior rattles and creeks all the time, even on smooth roads! Please e-mail or post your response here. Thanks!
  • I took delivery of my new 2002 Crew Cab last Wednesday. I had to drive 120 miles to get it so you can imagine my digust was turning the corner onto my street I heard for the first time a loud, high-pitched squeaking noise coming from the left front of the vehicle. It sounds like two pieces of styrofoam being rubbed together. I rolled the window down and listened to the noise until I parked in the driveway. I could not find anything out of the ordinary until I pushed down on the front bumper. Same sound. I loked under the front end and bumper and found the inside of the bumber is lined with no other than a black styrofoam substance. Due to my work schedule I have not been able to take it in to my local dealer. I was wanting to know if anyone has had the same thing happen to them.
  • cwo4cwo4 Posts: 90
    On my 2001 Sonoma. Turned out to be the rubber bushings cushioning the springs. It happened to me around 12,000 miles. Took it to the dealer during routine oil change and they "greased" it. It was quiet for about a week. Took it in last week and they're going to replace the bushings under warranty. Part is on order.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    I had a similar vibration in my 1997 S-10 4x4 when I first bought it. The dealer did all kinds of "smoke and mirrors" while trying to fix it, but wouldn't listen to me. I took the driveshaft out myself, and took it to a competent shop who diagnosed the problem.
    The shaft had about 0.100" of "whip" in it, and was too far out to re-balance. The problem was cured by a new driveshaft, and then the dealer and I had a "long discussion" about it being covered by the warranty. GM eventually paid for the new shaft. Good luck !!
  • Hi all. I am posting for my sister and brother in law, who are 130 miles away (so I haven't seen the truck). I'm good with cars, so I get the phone calls when something goes BLOOEY...

    My brother in law has a '97 S10 regular cab, long bed with the 5 speed and 2.2 (2.5?) 4 cylinder engine. It has 59K miles on it, and gets mostly light commuter use. After catching the truck overheating, they took it to a shop they trust and had it diagnosed as a bad head gasket. It's now at the Chevy dealer's where the repair will be covered by the extended warrantee they forgot they had...

    Apparently, the last time the truck was serviced (9/11/01, actually...), a notation was made that there was 'red liquid' under the truck (my brother in law says he's got Dexcool). He saw this time that there seemed to be seepage at the head/block seam. He noticed the problem when he didn't get any heat, and the truck started running roughly (nothing but 'normal' showing on the temp gauge). Both the shop and the dealer say the gasket blew. It sounded right, from the symptoms which I won't try to paraphrase here for fear of forgetting something he told me...

    He's had it maintained by the book pretty much, doesn't haul much besides himself (and he's 160 pounds soaking wet) and small Home Depot type repair stuff (the stuff you'd put/fit in a car trunk), and doesn't beat on the truck.

    My question is--especially since I didn't see it in a search on the board as a problem--is this a common thing for the S10 4 cylinder? I have never heard of this on the GM 4, but might have missed it (I am VERY familiar with the problem in many Chrysler 4s, both the older 2.2/2.5 and newer 2.0/2.4 engines with the aluminum head and cast iron block, and the Ford 3.8 V6 problems). Is this head aluminum (the shop mentioned machining the head, my brother in law said, so I assume that it is)?

    In any case, the mileage is awfully low for a gasket blow (59K). Even the Chrysler and Ford engines can often squeak out to 100K (assuming they don't overheat first and cause a blow). Any suggestions/comments/etc.?

  • Well, my brother in law's truck was repaired at the Chevy dealer on Saturday. He and my sister couldn't find the paperwork for the extended warrantee they bought (from that dealer) but the dealer didn't even look up their files. They said that at that low mileage (59K), something had to have been wrong. So, for the $50 deductible plus the ~$100 replacement of the thermostat, the truck's back on the road.

    The only "HMMMM" in this whole thing was that my sister said they'd had the water pump replaced after a leak a while back. That's definitely too early for it to need replacement. Wonder if that and the head gasket failure are related somehow...
  • I have a '98 S-10, 4x4, 4.3L that has had this drivetrain vibration problem since @ 20,000 mi. Took it to the dealer who couldn't find the problem although in the course of r&r ing the driveshaft it fixed itself. About 15,000 to 20,000 miles later the problem reappeared. Took it back to the dealer and they again r&r ed the driveshaft and said they "repositioned" it. Now at @ 75,000 miles the problem is back again.
    Reading post # 138 it would seem to be the same problem. From an even earlier posting I saw that a new driveshaft is $600 from the dealer. Since I'm going to have to keep this truck for several more years I guess I'm going to have to get it to someone who knows what they are doing as I'd like to get it fixed once and for all.
  • 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: 3,868
    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: 3,868
    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_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    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

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • 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.
This discussion has been closed.