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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    My A/C has yet to repeat the issue, so I don't think that I am will to tear into my dash for an intermittant problom, but when it becomes more frequent as I am sure it will, I will follow your advice and see if that will fix it! THANK YOU! :D

    How the tires working out?
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I will cycle through everything... since I live in PHX AZ, I rarely rarely ever run anything other than the A/C and norm A/C most of the time because I travel lots of miles I and I feel that norm A/C keeps the cabin air fresher... So thanks for the tip.

    Wow... I would say that you had a bad tire install. I just hope they used a torque stick and a torque wrench afterwords to avoid over/under torquing the wheels and having them either strip the lugs or even worse have the wheel fall off. Having managed a tire shop before I have seen everything you went through - although not usually all in one blow :D....
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    It could be the Rear U-joint. I just had mine rebuilt at it was making a "clunking" noise when I was taking off from low speeds or driving at low speeds - like your 1-15 MPH. My "clunking" noise was more of a "grinding" noise however, but it was continuously heard on every rotation of the driveline. Different people might describe the noise differently so it is possible it is the same thing.

    One if the tests to do is to put the vehicle in park and grab the rear wheel and rock it back and forth and see if you can replicate the noise. Or grab the drive-line and see if there is play in it. I thought it might be my rear diff but it turned out that it was just the u-joint. Much cheaper to replace than having a diff rebuilt.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    LOL - Let us all know and also if it increases HP and engine performance since it doesn't have to run the fan anymore... I'd be willing to do a conversion also :D
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    there are two sets of fuses - one in the dash and also under the hood. Check for blown fuses there. It is all an electrical connection and the most likely place to the connection to have a problem is where the electrical circuit is weakest. The bulbs being the weakest and most prone to burning out. The next is the fuses. Usually something causes fuses to blow, like a short. I keep blowing fuses in my turn signals every time I hook up a trailer because by wiring harness is frayed and every time I hit metal I blow a fuse. See if there is a blown fuse under the hood in the fuse box on the driver's side. Unscrew the cap holding the box cover in place and there is a fuse locator diagram on the under side. Also a place to keep replacement fuses.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    they should be fuses just like those in the dash... in the 96, I am thinking it might be a little different than an '01 like mine but there should be a fuse box under the hood. If the fuses under the hood are good and the bulb is good, than your problem lies elsewhere? Not sure where to go after that since I am not big on the electrical side of things.... (I drive around with a frayed trailer connector :D)
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Okay here is one that I need help on :D..... or maybe it's :sick:

    My normally perfectly running '01 V6 decided to hicup on me today. On my way home from town the A/C all of a sudden quit blowing cold and then I glanced down at my gauges and my temparature gauge was pegged. I mean pegged as far over as it could go. Prior to the A/C blowing hot (it had been blowing ice cold just moments prior) there had been no sign that the vehicle was running hot and I had just checked my gauges for speed etc ect.... I immediatly pulled over and shut down the vehicle. However it didn't seem to be running abnormally. I got out and there was coolant dripping out from underneath the vehicle. The motor/engine bay didn't feel any warmer than usual. Nor did I see or smell anything unusual aside from the coolant coming from underneath the truck. But the overflow bottle was full. I checked the overflow tube, but it was dry hence the coolant wasn't forced into the overflow bottle and out the overflow tube. The coolant draining out was not coming from there. I would like to note that I have just recently had the radiator tanks in the radiator replaced and so the coolant in the vehicle is less than 6 months old. The vehicle has also never overheated before.

    I turned the key on and turned the heater on, but it didn't get warm. I turned the blower on full blast and the temparature all the way to hot. But the air coming out didn't get any warmer than what it would on cold vent on a warm day. Also I noticed that as I moved the temp from cold to hot and back to cold the cold side blew harder than the hot on the same fan speed setting.

    I drove the vehicle a couple more miles since it was only about 4 home. But the motor starting clattering so again I immediatly pulled over and shut the vehicle down. Same issues as before. Even while driving the hot air I had coming out the vents didn't get any warmer than vent would. And I had the temp set all the way to hot. This time when I popped the hood I could smell something slightly burnt, but it didn't smell like coolant. Also the air coming out of the vents had a slightly burnt smell to it. It was at this point that my temp gauge dropped back to below normal operating temp. When I turned the key on without starting the vehicle, the temp gauge would spike over to the warmer side than drop down to below normal (also note that my gauges do not do a "spikeing" self test as some new vehicles do They just go set themselves to where they need to... the fuel gauge to it's proper lever, battery, oil pressure and of course the temp.) This is odd because if the vehicle were actually over-heated I would think that the gauge would stay over on the above normal side until it had cooled off sufficiently on it's own. At 100 degrees outside and the motor running, driving down the road to me that is doubtful the gauge would drop so quickly from being pegged to below normal, if indeed it was overheated.

    So I started the vehicle. It clattered slightly than ran. I shut it down and did the same thing. It clattered again. When I started it a third time a couple minutes later, it didn't clatter, but coughed and then blew a slight amount of BLACK, not white, smoke that smelled of unburnt fuel. I shut it down and din't start it again after that. By that time my tow vehicle had shown up and we towed it home. On the way home - with the key on, the temp gauge again pegged all the way over 260 and stayed there for the rest of way home. It is now sitting in the driveway till it cools down...

    Any thoughts on what could have happened ?
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    heater core? That sound's like fun. Not looking forward to pulling the dash out. Wouldn't the heater core if it went out, leak fluid into the cab of the vehicle. Everytime I have known someone who had a heater core core out had a mess of fluid in the cab. Also why then would I have fluid leaking from the front of the truck underneath the radiator?
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I was a little worried I might have caused some engine damage (and I might have), but I just went and started the truck and it started fine, and sounded normal. I only ran it for a few seconds, to see how it started and how it would run once started. The check engine light was also on, but I don't think I will run it long enough to drive it to the nearest shop to run the code. Once it is daytime again, I'll tear into it to see what I can possibly find, or find a friend who can run the code for me.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I did not smell coolant coming from the vents while I drove it the couple more miles. If it is the heater core, would that be a sign to look for? Would I be able to turn the ignition on and the run the fan without the vehicle running and get a coolant smell if there is one to be had? Or would I have to run the vehicle long enough to get the coolant flowing. If I can I would like to avoid running the vehicle for any length of time until I can get a code computer and see what my check engine light is telling me. If it is a heater core issue I would also like to keep coolant from circulating as well since I don't want to end up with coolant on the inside of my truck. I don't want to have to deal with that mess. I didn't have time to check it out today, but should tomorrow (hopefully :D. With starting a new business and trying to get a new home finished and with a family reunion coming up and the fact that I am living at my in-laws with and I barely have a bedroom to sleep in at the moment and all my tools are packed away in the unfinished garage, this has been an interesting kink thrown into my plans... This was all I needed was for my once reliable truck to have a fit. Oh well. Such is life. :D)

    It's almost too bad I don't have the finaces to get a different vehicle. Not that this one is a bad one I'm just not wanting to deal with issues like this. Once this is done I still have to deal with the knock in the steering column and the worn out front end. I also need to give it it's 100K spark plug and wire change and tuneup. But at least the vehicle was drivable till now. It would be easier to dump the problems and get a different vehicle, but whose to say that the different vehicle wouldn't exhibit problems as well? So... in reality these are fairly minor issues and should be easily and fairly inexpensive to deal with. Once dealt with I should be able to get many more miles out of the vehicle, provided nothing else goes wrong, or I caused more damage than I want to think about when I drove it with it's coolant problem... Then maybe I'll dump it and get something else. :D
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Took a look under the truck and the hood today... Found a lower radiator hose popped off. Will get a new one tomorrow and see if I can get it on and then refill the coolant. Radiator is empty... at least I can't see any water in it. Which is odd because the overflow tank is full.... Why didn't the truck pull from the overflow? Could it be that I have have a bad t-stat that didn't open and then it turn caused a pressure build up and so the radiator hose popped off? Would that also explain why it didn't pull from the overflow tank?
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Okay I am still stumped. A couple weeks ago I posted a plea for help. Thanks to those who replied. But now I need help again. To keep you from having to go back and re-read posts, here is the short story.

    A couple weeks ago I overheated in my '01 4.3 S-10 2wd. This is the first time it has ever even been above the halfway mark on the temp guage. The truck has 104K on it. Here is how it happened...

    I was headed home from the store when all of a sudden I completely lost all A/C. I glanced down at my guages and my temp guage was pegged to the hot. Pulled over immediately. Coolant was coming from the bottom front of the truck, but the motor itself seemed to be at normal operating temp and didn't seem to be overheated in and of itself. Decided it would be okay to limp home as there was still coolant in the overflow. Went 2 miles. The lifters started rattling on acceleration - I assume because the oil was so hot that it was thinning it out and couldn't lubricate properly. Pulled over and had the truck towed home. A few days later when I finally had time to look at it, I found the lower radiator hose had come off, which explains that even though I overheated, there was still coolant in the overflow. I also need to point out that while I was driving the 2 miles after I had pulled over once, I had no HVAC. No A/C, no heater. I had turned the temp control all the way to hot, but the air coming through the vents was only as warm as it would be on cold vent. Also when I adjusted the temp control from hot to cold, the fan speed would also change. It would blow harder on the cold setting than it would on the hot setting even though I never changed the fan setting.

    It is also worth noting that I just had the tanks on the radiator replaced and the entire system at that time was flushed and pressure tested and all new coolant was put into the vehicle. This was only about 6 months ago.

    Today, I finally had time to tear into the vehicle. I replace the lower radiator hose and the T-stat. My thinking on replacing the T-stat was that it had gone bad, failed to open and thus pressure built up in the radiator and the system failed at the weakest point - the lower radiator hose. After replacing those two items, I refilled the coolant and started the vehicle. I let it idle for several minutes and let the temp build. It finally rested halfway between midway and redline. Previous to this whole fiasco it had rested just below half. I turned the heat on. No heat. I turned the A/C on. It did work. But the heat would not. The temp would also not go down. Since the temp did not seem to be increasing I drove around the block. While driving I turned the heat on again and this time the temp dropped back to mid-point, but the air coming out of the vents would not get hot. Again it wouldn't get any hotter than a cold vent would. The fan speed would also change from hot to cold as I previously explained. When I got back home I checked the level in the overflow bottle. I found that it had been sucked almost dry. That could explain the higher temparature and when I turned the heat on while driving it opened the t-stat and sucked the coolant out of the overflow bottle and the temp dropped. I refilled the coolant overflow and let it idle for a few more minutes. The temp remained at midpoint this time.

    So now I am stumped. The truck is back together and seems to operating fine. The truck runs okay (hopefully no serious damage from driving it hot the other day - it's okay to tell me I'm a dink for driving it that way. I am well aware of the fact I could have screwed something royal. But at this point there is no water evidence in the oil, nor oil evidence in the coolant, but then again it may be to early to tell), the A/C works like normal, and the truck seems to maintain a constant temp now that I have the coolant level situated. But I still have no heat and the issue of the fan speed changing on my when I move from cold to hot...

    So any ideas as to where to go next? Heater Core?
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    This is just an update on my ongoing coolant issue. It appears that I have solved the problem. Thanks to all who helped my avoid a shop and costing me big $$$ :D.

    I have been running the truck around for a couple of days and all seems to be in order. The temp heats up more quickly than I remember, but that could be because I am keeping closer watch on the temp than I do the speedo. But once it reaches 210 (midway) it stays put. The heater works fine as does the A/C. The truck also starts normally and seems to run fine. So hopefully, even though I did run it hot for a couple miles I got lucky and no permanent damage was done...
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    S-10 = Sonoma. As far as drivetrain and mechanicals, the Sonoma and the S-10 are identical. If you have a 95 Sonoma 4.3 Vortec you need a New Venture Gear 3500 5 speed transmission. I beleive that particular tranny was used in manual full size 1500's, V6 powered Sonomas and S-10's and manual S-10 Blazers/Jimmy's.

    You might also be able to use a different 5 speed transmission provided it came from a GM rear drive 4.3, 5.0 or 5.7 powered vehicle up to the year 95. Prior years it might be possible to use as far back as 1990 or even older, but I don't know for sure. I don't know about computer hookups or speedo hook ups, but prior to 95 the computers were pretty simplistic OBD I and the speedo and tach linkage was cable operated and not computerized...

    I am speaking from memory and not from a manual that I have sitting in front of me so if anyone knows different, than a rebuttal of my faulty info is welcome :D.

    I had a 95 Sonoma V6 Vortec a few years ago and I had to put a transmission in it. I beleive it was a New Venture Gear 3500.... Something is also bugging me that I recall it might have also been a Getrag Transmission?? But that might have been used in an earlier 4 cylinder model?? I cant't remember for sure.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    no prob. I just hope it was correct info ;).....

    It must not have been too flawed otherwise I think Canufixit and hoodlatch wouldv've caught it... they're pretty knowledgeable on this automotive stuff :D
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    The first place to check would actually be the tires... even though they are fairly fresh as you put it, they may have lost a weight somewhere and need to be rebalanced. I would start there. That is the least expensive and a good place to start eliminating things. Try balancing and then rotating the tires.

    If that doesn't work it could have something to do with worn parts on the front suspension... ball joints or shocks since they are directly linked to the tires contact with the road. It could also be a worn wheel hub and worn out bearings?? Not too sure as I am not well versed in that area. But try the having the tires rebalanced first. Hopefully the place you bought them from will also rebalance at no charge... that way if it fixes the problem, it didn't cost you anything other than time :D.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    interesting... i haven't recieved anything about my cables. Not that I have had a problem with them and the truck is now 5 years old. But I did buy my truck used, although from a Chevy dealership. But then I have also moved as well. Oh well it's not a big deal. If the cables break, what can they cost? A whole whopping few dollars. I am sure it will break my budget to have to replace them :shades:
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    maybe when changing the filter they knocked the shift linkage loose?? Or since they also changed the fluid, they didn't get enough back in??
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    It could be a solenoid...

    Automatic transmission typically exhibit symptoms of going out before they actually go out. However there are exceptions as was the case for me. Signs a transmission is going out are slipping in and out of gear while driving. Unusually hard shifts. Not shifting from park to drive when the lever is moved. No movemet from the vehicle when trying to accelerate from a stop andthen a sudden jerk into gear. Or the engine RPM's go up, but the vehicle barely moves indicating that the gears will not engage.

    In my case the transmission exhibited none of these problems, except for the occasional hard shift. I attributed it to the fact that the vehicle had 180K miles on it. Then one day after exiting the freeway and going into town, It would no longer shift from 1st to 2nd. It was stuck halfway between and that was it. I had neutral and reverse, 1st gear and a partial 2nd gear and that was all. Turns out the transmission was toast and needed to be replaced.

    So in your case, it is possible that the transmission is gone, but it is hard to say. I am thinking that since it first exhibited problems after the fluid and filter change, it has something to do with that. I would back track all the steps that were taken to change to fluid and see if there are any bolts left loose, wires that may have come disconnected, fluid lines that may have been knocked loose. I might also recomend finding an honest transmission shop and having it diagnosed. If it does need a transmission be prepared to spend about 1500 dollars or so. I paid 1500 for the transmission I just replaced and a few years ago paid about 1200 for the one in another vehicle.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    oh yeah - I thought I had posted my thanks a few posts back, but maybe not...

    It seems to be running just fine. No issues that I can tell. Unfortunately (or maybe that is fortunately since it has over 100k?)it doesn't get driven a whole lot anymore whereas it used to get driven 3-5K a month. I may have put 100 miles on it since I "fixed" it. But so far so good. The A/C works fine and the heater as well. I have taken it on a couple of 20 mile freeway trips with speeds up to 75 MPH and everything seems normal. So it it looks as though the T-stat and a new hose have fixed the problem. Thanks for all the help.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    quick question and this refers to previous posts about the transmission that wouldn't go into reverse. You mentioned that the fluid is changed once before 100K and then left alone. I had mine changed at about 40K and now I have about 105K. Would you recomend it being changed again? It doesn't smell burnt and hasn't done a ton of towing and still looks and smells normal... I want/need this vehicle to last at least until 200k with out any major repairs.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I recieved an letter from GM today about my tail gate cables... Basically telling me that if I need to replace them, to take it to the dealer and it will be taken care of....

    I guess I'll head in and have it taken care of. It will also give me the opportunity to ask them about the tranny flush after 100K that I have been meaning to get to. Plus my Impala has a defective horn that needs looking at which because it is still less than 3 years old and only has 20K miles on it shouldn't be a problem to have taken care of. I also need to have them see if they can do anything about the gap between the dash top and dash front.... All minor ticky tacky things which don't really bother me, but I guess I should just get them taken care of. :D
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Actually they addressed that in the letter they sent me. They also included a reimbursement form for which those who had already paid to have them replaced could be reimbursed. It didn't specify if you replaced them yourself or had a dealer or independent shop do it. It just simply said "paid to have them replaced". I would assume then that means you would be able to be reimbursed even though you did the work yourself and used after market parts. I have that form and since I do not need it can offer to send it to you to fill out and send it?? Or they printed a phone # on the bottom of the form -- am I allowed to post it here??
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I did what canufixit suggested and it seems to have fixed the problem... I cycled through all the climate control settings and now it seems to be fine.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I sent you a scanned copy of the form... I don't know how GM would respond to a copy, but if your vehicle falls under the recall criteria then I don't see why it a copy versus original would really matter??
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Possibly a fuel pump?

    However it sounds like the fuel lines could be losing pressure somehow. As it sits over night the fuel pressure is lost and it takes a few cranks for the pump to get fuel back through the lines. That could be why turning it on and letting the pump run helped it start better. That could also be why it starts okay once the vehicle is has been running. The fuel pressure has been built up and through out the day it doesn't have time to lose the pressure??

    Just a theory. Not sure where it could be losing the pressure, maybe there is a small leak somewhere in the fuel lines, or maybe the pump has something to do with keeping the lines pressurized even while the truck is not running. I know that to change a fuel filter, you have to bleed the lines (I'll never change the filter again with out first doing that! :D Having gas sprayed at you while lying under the truck is not an experience I care to repeat! :sick: doh), and that after I put on the new filter it took several cranks to get it started again.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Okay here is an update to what I have done about my tailgate cables...

    A quick update to catch up those who may have missed, I recieved a recall letter regarding the cables rusting through and breaking and that if I would like I may take it to my dealer for inspection and no-cost replacement. I inspected my cables and although i didn't see anything major, I decided to go ahead take it in and have them replaced. That was several weeks ago. I finally got around to calling the dealer to schedule an appointment. When I mentioned I had a 2001 S-10 immediatly the service guy said "for the tailgate huh"... I said "yeah, how'd you know". "Oh I've only done about a thousand of those over the past couple months."

    Anyway it goes into the dealer next week for the "fix". Also at the same time my Impala is getting its horn and a separating dash panel looked at.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    The only thing I can think is that the trans is actually gone. I speak only because it sounds similar to when the trans on my 95 went out. I had just had the clutch replaced. The shop that used the wrong shift tower gasket and hence all the fluid would leak out through the top of the transmission. They finally figured out the problem, but had to order the new gasket, but they filled the tranny and I went about my way. I was on the freeway going about 75-80 when all of the suddent the truck popped out of 5th gear and I tried all the other gears and I think I was able to manage 2nd, but only long enough to get off the freeway. Once parked I only had reverse, barely, and that allowed me to get it backwards onto a dolly to tow it home, which was a distance of about 80 miles.

    Anyway, it could be possible that it is the transmission???
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    The cost to replace my transmission was about $1500 wtih a "refurbished" one. It wasn't rebuilt, it wasn't new, but it was in good working order it had been gone over and checked to make sure it was good to go. It never gave me problems after that.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Fuel Filters are very simple to change. Changing the filter will probably eliminate a suspect in a rough idle, but may not fix the rough idle. The filter is under the driver's side, next to the frame rail on the inside. You will need some shop rags, a pair of pliers, an adjustable crescent wrench, or a wrench set (I can't remember the exact size) and a plan to bleed off the fuel pressure, unless of course you enjoy spraying your self with fuel.

    Disconnect the battery and relieve the fuel pressure. Under the hood there is a pressure releif valve (it's a schrader valve, similar to a valve stem on a tire). You can get a kit at parts store that will capture the fluid or you can use the shop rags and hold them over the valve while you depress the pin. Honestly, I would get the kit. After my last experience changing my filter I wouldn't go any other way.

    Once you have relieved the fuel pressure, crawl under the truck and change the filter by loosening the nut on the tank side and with the pliers pinching the release tabs on the the motor side of the filter and remove the filter. Have a couple of shop rags and or a small pan to catch the residual fluid that will drain out of the lines.

    Install the new filter and make sure your connections are tight, then make sure all the gas is cleaned up from both under the vehicle and under the hood (if needed spray degreaser and hose off. You don't want gas puddled somewhere in the engine bay.) Make sure your pressure relief kit is removed and the cap covering the relief valve replaced. Reconnect the battery and turn on the key. Let the pump run (the whine you hear when you first turn the key) till it shuts off to build up a little bit pressure then crank the motor to start the truck. The truck will take longer to start than normal as you have emptied the gas lines and so it will take a few cranks to get the truck started. But once the truck is started, make sure there are no leaks in the fuel system. Don't stick your head under the truck in case the you accidently didn't tighten something properly and the minute you stick your head under there it decides to come apart. Just look without sticking your head under the vehicle.

    That's all there is to changing a fuel filter. Pretty simple and should only take about 10-15 minutes. Unless you are like me and didn't relieve the fuel pressure so that the minute you release the plastic tab fuel sprays backwards into your face, down your neck, up your nose, down your ears, thankfully not in the eyes. Lesson learned :D Doh. Anyway, I had done it before without relieving the pressure with out such incident but such was not the case the second time... never again !...
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