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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    I have been following S-10 boards for a while and even though I dont have an S-10 I do like the powertrain and follow it from time to time just in case I ever want to change to a smaller truck. I noticed no one is complaining about the fuel gauge problem. Did any of you ever find a fix for it?


  • mhgjrmhgjr Posts: 2
    I had a 98 S-10 with 105,600 miles. It was the LS, ex-cab, 4.3 auto, 2wd. I bought the truck in april of 2000 with 95,255 miles. In the 2 years i've owned the truck, 2 minor problems showed up. The first, the 3rd door started to rattle and sqeak, and the 2nd problem was the fan clutch went bad, which i fixed both problems. It has been a great truck, and the only reason I got rid of it was because I could't afford the payments on it anymore. It was still running strong and didn't smoke or leak anything. As far as the gas gauge goes, I think mine worked fine, although the gas milage seemed to decrease, but I think that was because of GM's 100,000 spark plugs. I never replaced them. I just wanted to add this to the post, because I think Chevy still has good trucks.
  • sab7sab7 Posts: 2
    I'm looking at buying a 94 s10 ext cab 4x4 with v6 and 133K miles as a third vehicle/work truck. Anything in particular I should watch out for?

  • farroyofarroyo Posts: 1
    AC condenser won't drain. I keep hearing water noise splashing inside the truck. I can't find the drain hose. Have any of you fix this problem?
  • tdcumminstdcummins Posts: 1
    Hey folks,

    I am a young and impressionable new 2001 S-10 2.2L automatic owner. I have owned 2 other Chevy products (albeit used), that I thought were wonderful and easy to fix. I am still in the honeymoon with the S-10, so I am hopeful. I have 6500 miles and no prob until I start to here this funny whining noise when I accelerate from 1-2 or 2-3. For the first time I also heard it when I put the truck in cruise control and the engine had to work hard to maintain 65 mph the whining begins and goes away after the engine has plateaued rpms. I took the truck to the dealership and the tech tells me it is a vibration problem from the engine (not the transmission?!?!??). He says GM has no bulletin
    and I must be the first with this problem (2 year old truck, I'm the first). The truck is under warranty for 2.5 more years. He says they will "check" with the engineers in Detroit, go figure.
    I don't push the truck hard so I assume this must be a factory defect. It has had regular oil changes (3K) and tires rotated etc.. Anyone have any advice?

    Thanks for any help
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    tdcummins: You didn't say if your truck was an extended cab, or where the noise was coming from. If it is an extended cab, have the dealership check the drive shaft. The extended trucks use a split (two section) drive shaft because of the truck's extra length. I've heard of some drive shafts coming out of the factory out of balance. If the whine sounds like it is under your feet, consider a transmission problem. If it sounds like it is coming from the engine, I would look at the water pump, power steering pump, serpentine belt tensioner or alternator. ANY whine in a machine is not good--it suggests there is metal-to-metal contact somewhere. That is always bad because it will lead to premature failure of one or several parts.

    ricsch: Sorry to hear GM is not giving you any help on your '97 Blazer's bad engine. GM seems to be trying to pinch pennys, but they end up making enemies. Any good marketer will tell you that a satisfied customer will talk to a few people, but a ticked off customer talks to EVERYBODY! This forum proves that. The few thousand dollars GM saved on a new engine cost them at least one future customer (you) and potentially many more. You may want to talk to a lawyer, letting him know what was said. The communications between GM and your dealer may have implied that GM was going to cover some or all of the costs. If so, a trip to the courthouse will cost them a lot more than the price of a new engine.

    meysterman: My 2000 S-10 extended cab has the same problem with the seat. I will be taking it back to the dealer I use to get them to fix it, among other things. I'll let you know what he does to fix it. Keep after your dealer to fix it. The seat not locking in place is a violation of Federal vehicle safety standards and a huge safety risk. If someone were in the seat during an accident, the seat coming unlocked could prove to be fatal. If Chevy doesn't get mine right, I will be talking to the NHTSA about the defect.

    By the way, the dealer I use for service is NOT the one I bought the truck from. The selling dealer's service department thinks customer service means you argue with the customer to convince him his truck ISN'T broken, rather than fixing the problem. Since they were the problem, and there are a gazillion Chevy dealers here in San Antonio, I fixed the problem by finding a dealership that listens to customers.

    Good luck to all! The S-10 is a great truck, but like any vehicle, they do have a few quirks.

  • I have a 1996 S-10 with A/C that is not cooling properly. I have checked the freon level with a gauge and it is properly charged. The compressor is also engaging. It seems to blow cool at times and other times not. Has anyone had this problem and what was the solution. I have been told it could be the expansion valve. Thanks for any comments.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Has no txv,i would say you low on 134a.What are your low & high pressures & outside air temp & at what rpm did you check the pressures at.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    Keep in mind that 134a pressures are much higher than the old R-12 readings. If you are using an R-12 table or chart for the readings, the pressure could be low for 134a readings. Also, check the fan clutch for failure. A bad clutch won't keep enough air flowing through the condensor on hot days at low speeds. IF you have a proper charge of freon (should be 134a on a '96) and the compressor is engaging, then you may have one of two problems:

    1) The heater blend door in the air box in the cab is not opening and closing properly. Let the glove box door hang down (there should be a release to let it come all the way down in the upper left corner of the glove box) and move the A/C control from max A/C to the regular A/C position. If you can't see the door moving, it is stuck, or the vacuum line came off.

    2) The valve that controls hot water going into the heater coil may be broken, allowing hot water to flow through the heater year 'round. If so, your A/C is working, it just can't compete with high outside temps AND a heater on full blast.

    Good luck!

  • cajun626cajun626 Posts: 54
    The owner's manual for my 2WD '97 recommends CHECKING the differential fluid level at certain intervals. I'm at 41K miles. My dealer told me today that I should have already changed the fluid. I've taken several non-GM vehicles over 100K miles without changing diff fluid. Any recommendations?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    As far as I know there is no GM recommended fluid change,I looked in the owners & Service Manual.If I planned to keep it I would change it at 100K.I have a 2 wd 99 Sonoma.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    Do it yourself with synthetic fluid and save a LOT of money over what the dealer would charge.

  • jlkiljlkil Posts: 18
    my '99 Sonoma (couldn't find a sonoma board, so here I am) has the service engine light coming on ONLY when I travel in hilly country. It's a 2.2L Automatic and has 51,000 on it. Usually after I get back on level ground it will go out. First time it happened, I had just bought some gas, so figured it was a fuel related problem. Had the code checked one time and said the trans was slipping. Why would driving up a hill without a load cause this?
    Between this, no performance and my 21MPG hiway, I am ready for a car.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    If the transmission has not been overheated a trans shop can repair it fairly easily with a spring kit,the valve body will have to come down.

    I keep up on this stuff I have a 99 Son 2.2 auto & air with 32K.I get between 25 & 29 mpg highway,the difference is how fast.
  • cajun626cajun626 Posts: 54
    I asked several s10 boards about the interval for the diff fluid change. Since I got replies anywhere from every 3K to never, I said screw it and changed it this weekend. It cost < $15 (with synth fluid) and a couple of messy hands, so I think it was worth it. Easy job, even with the wheels not jacked up. Probably won't even think about changing it again until >100K.

    Advance Auto Parts didn't have the gasket (Autozone had it), and the guy told me "maybe it doesn't need a gasket". Then his boss said "ah, you don't need a gasket, just slap some adhesive on the cover". The best part is their people????
  • eoghaneoghan Posts: 4
    Recently purchased this unit and find I am only getting 16 mpg. Have had others similarly equipped and got 18-20 mpg. Think I can expect better after break in or is something wrong. I only have 1800 miles on it. Also the rear end on this one is bouncier than others. I previously had 235/70 Michelins and now have 235/75 Goodyears. Brakes on the new one(all discs) are much improved as is the fit and finish of most details.
  • PAman - I have taken my truck back to the dealer about 5 times now. They have replaced the rails, and the seat adjusters. The locking problem was fixed but now if the seat is moved foward to place something in the back, it takes an excessive amount of force to lock it back in place. The dealter says that that is normal, but when they gave us a loaner s10 the seat would lock back with no effort at all. Please tell me if they fixed yours and what they changed or replaced. Thanks
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    I took mine to Ancira Chevrolet in San Antonio. I've had very good luck with their service department. On the invoice, the tech said he removed, lubricated and adjusted the mechanism. I don't have the copy here in front of me, but I don't believe he had to replace anything, such as a spring or track assembly. Now, the seat seems to work exactly as it should, whether going forward to put something in the back, or locking in place when I slide it back.

    If your truck is out of warranty, or if the dealer doesn't seem to be able to fix it to your satisfaction, I suggest you take it to an auto upholstery shop. They probably work on more seat assemblies in a month than the dealer does in a year. If lubricating and adjusting the track is all yours needs, then they probably can fix it while you wait.

    Hope this helps!

  • According to my dealer, I should have had my fluid changed at 30k miles?? I don't remember seeing this in the manual??
  • I have now had my Sonoma for 48k miles. I had the differential and tranny fluid changed at 45k miles -- 5k earlier than the manual says, I believe.

    Anyway, to the point. A few weeks ago, I started hearing a low groaning coming from the rear. The noise has gotten worse. The noise seems to get louder, the faster I go... with max noise between 65mph and 70mph. When I'm on a smaller two lane road, I can hear the noise some, but if I turn LEFT, the noise reduces greatly... but when I turn to the right, the noise gets louder??

    Right now, the dealership is telling me "It could be the rear axle bearings but we won't know for sure until we tear it down and look at it." Does this sound right, at all?? Also, my service advisor tells me if this is the problem, the cost for repair could be between $1100 and $1600. Ouch

    Ideas? A friend of mine seems to think the noise sounds more like a transmission mount or wheel bearing noise?

    I need some help. The dealership is going to call me again, tomorrow, to see if they want me to work on it.

    - ddavis
  • janel84janel84 Posts: 3
    I just got a new S-10 6cyl. It has 35 miles on it. I've had Chevy's before that I ran to 205K and 185K miles, without valve jobs or any expensive engine problems, so I know to do most maintenance things pretty well. I did have to replace a transmission once at 130K, but it was one that had been recalled. Is there anything that anyone recommends I do now from the beginning? as I plan to keep this sweet truck a long time. Should I go now and have the oil changed out to synthetic (never used that before - what are good brands)?
    I plan to do the coolant flush way before the recommended. And I know about repacking wheel bearings after going thru high water. If anyone has any suggestions, especially from any "wish I'd known that" situations, I'd appreciate hearing.
    Thanks, Janel
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Sounds like axle bearing,I would be curious to know how much 80W-90 is in the diff.

    The $1100-$1600 is a diff. rebuild,check the fluid level.
  • I still have the same two problems that I have had since new. Truck is a 2000 4cyl Sonoma with a 5 speed stick. In neutral with the engine running and foot off the clutch the transmission sounds like marbles rolling around. Also sometimes sticks coming out of second into third and lately from third to fourth. Dealer of course says all is normal. Has also developed an engine rattle when cold. Any suggestions.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    WEll the j-body forum posts a lot about the trans noise,I think the factory is using a different trans oil to try to cure the problem.
    I have 2000 2.2 same engine but in a Cavalier that has developed the piston rattle when cold,they must have come off the same production line.I guess I will call the dealer monday and see what they say.
  • I was interested on some info about the S10 timing chain. I have a 4.3L V6 4WD. If this chain breaks, are you simply left stranded, or will engine damage occur as a result. I have 71K on the truck with no real problems, and don't want to have something like that cause any.

  • Twice in the last 3 months I have had the SERVICE ENGINE SOON Light come on. I took the truck to AutoZone both times to have the code read. It is 00042 (Evaporative Emissions Slight leak detected). What is that and is it an urgent problem.. Each time I have hade the code erased and the truck will go a couple months before it shows up again.

  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    A loose or poorly sealed gas cap will cause the code.
  • cajun626cajun626 Posts: 54
    joe3891 is right - if your gas cap isn't on tight, it will light up the good ol' check engine light. Learned that $$ lesson the hard way!
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    Janel: I have a 2000 S10 with the 4.3 engine that I've had since new. I recommend you go to about 1,000 miles and change the oil. This gets any small metal pieces left in during manufacturing or that wore off during break in out of the engine. Check the drain plug tip when you change it--there is a magnet mounted on the tip, and if there are any metal filings, they will stick to the drain plug. Then, go to 5K-6K miles and switch from regular oil to synthetic. This will keep the inside of the engine like new for at least 175K-200K miles. While the synthetic is more expensive, you can extend the oil changes out to what some call a 5/10 cycle. What that means is that after changing over to synthetic, go to 5K miles, change the filter and top off the oil. Then go another 5K to a total of 10K miles, and change both the oil and the filter.

    Joemilan: As far as the timing chain goes, if you do what I recommended to janel and go to synthetic oil, you will probably never have a problem with the chain. If it does break, it shouldn't cause any problems. The 4.3 engine is basically a 350 cubic inch V-8 with two cylinders chopped off. That engine is one of the best and longest lasting engines GM has ever made. It has plenty of clearance in the cylinders for the valves to clear the tops of the pistons if the chain does snap.

    jjstokes0430: Check the owner's manual and then check the transmission to see what kind of fluid is in it. I've heard stories of the manual calling for ATF fluid in a manual (yes, many manuals now have ATF in them) while the factory may have put 10W30 oil in the tranny. If your manual calls for 10W30 oil, try changing it to a 20W50 synthetic oil. If that doesn't help, you may want to try another dealer or a tranny shop for another opinion. If you work on your own truck, you may want to put the truck on a lift, start it and then look at the linkage. You may have a loose or rattling piece of the clutch linkage or a cable rubbing against the floorboard, causing the noise. I haven't heard too many problems about the 5-speed trannys lately, but they did have trouble with them several years ago. At one time, the tranny was made by Suzuki for Chevrolet, and it wasn't holding up well. I know of one guy that had so much trouble with it while it was under warranty, that he was able to force Chevy to buy back the truck.

    Good luck to all!

This discussion has been closed.