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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • I haven't looked here in a long time but I did note that somebody was looking for my earlier post on wiper control circuit board problems with the '94 S-10.
    What I found was that the solder-joints on connector pins on the board were "cold" (dull color on surface of solder and cracks around pins you can see with magnifying glass). This causes the wiper motor to operate intermittntly - sometimes appears to be heat related (worse when warm under the hood), you might also be able to get the wiper to run sometimes by wiggling harness close to the motor...
    You can remove the control board from the motor assembly without removing motor (removing the motor is a real pain and the motor is not the problem!). Get a small soldering iron and re-heat the solder around connector pins by touching each pin connection on back of board with a drop of fresh solder. This fixed my wipers - no problems now going-on 3 years! (You can buy new Circuit Board from GM - I think it is $40. The solder repair costs about 5-cents!)
  • Thanks for your advice on the break in - I wondered what I should do when. And, I've never had a timing chain incident with the other Chevy's I drove to around 200K. I religiously had the oil changed But aren't the timing chains plastic now?
    I guess it couldn't hurt to change the trans fluid earlier - when do they start throwing off bits of metal?
    And your comments on the 4.3 6cyl were good to hear. I was scrambling to find one of the last before they come out with their new 6cyl., which I bet has an alum. head.
    Someone talked about a problem with a seat not locking - had that same problem on an Astrovan - passenger seat. Never found a solution - but didn't look too hard , so it's not a new problem - it was an 86.
    And someone was working on a blower fan. Replaced one on the Astrovan and turned out to be a switch under the control on the dash. Easy to replace and took back the new blower fan.
    Before that, junk would fall into it and it'd squeal and hang up as someone had just cut the screen to get to the windshield wiper motor. Fixed the screen and no more problems.
    I had the Hayne's manual on the van, so I could read it and decide if I could do it or before I'd take it in and know that the mechanic was really going through the trouble he said. But, for the engine codes, I found them in a book at the library and zeroxed those pages. Wow - that opened up a whole new world.
    Thanks again, Joe
  • I want to change the manual trans fluid on my 97 s10 xcab 2.2L. My user's manual recommends "GM part 12377916 or equivalent", but the dealer wants $11.00/qt for this crap (need 3 qts.). Any alternatives?
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    As for the timing chain question, years ago (late 50's into the early 80's) GM used lots of timing chain sets that consisted of steel gears coated in a nylon plastic material. Most timing chain failures were not the chain breaking; they were caused by that plastic material shattering and letting the chain slip. I'm told that all GM engines using timing chains (belts are another issue) are using all-steel chain and gear sets. That means that with good maintenance, the chains are good for 150K and as much as 200K.

    cajun: If you manual doesn't tell you what that fluid is, go to a good independent shop or parts store and have them check to see what your transmission calls for. The fluid the dealer wants $11 per quart for sounds like a synthetic ATF. If you can't get a straight answer, go to some Internet sites that sell GM parts and order the fluid. Try or do a search for GM dealers on the web using Yahoo or Google. Even if you have to pay $11/quart, just remember that $33 is small change compared to a new tranny.

  • I am shopping for another S-10 used. My last had a 2.8 engine V-6 - EXTREMELY reliable. Almost 200,000 with NO engine repairs. That's no longer available. I'm having a hard time finding a 4.3; almost all seem to have the 2.2 4 cyl. Any experiences with these engines? I have heard the 2.2 is underpowered. Is it durable?
  • Just got a 2002 s10 Crew Cab. The passenger seatback exhibits a side to side shake when empty even at low speeds. Is this normal or could it be a defect?
  • I have a 5spd x-cab with the 2.2L. It's a dog, but on the plus side I average 24 city/29 hwy. It's decent enough if you're just tooling around town. Only problem at 44K miles is a currently leaking valve cover (seems to be common on this engine). Don't even think about getting the 2.2 with an auto trans.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    If you are buying it to be a truck (hauling or towing) the the 2.2 shouldn't even be considered. GM puts the 2.2 in that truck for basically four reasons. One, it helps raise their CAFE, Corporate Average Fuel Economy, which is closely monitored by the EPA bureaucrats. Two, it helps it compete with the four-banger Ranger and Japanese trucks, often advertised as price leaders to get you into the dealership, where they will try to sell you a V-6 or V-8 truck. Three, they sell alot of them to rental car companies and fleets that only use the trucks for light delivery. If you own and operate 500 trucks, a difference in 3-4 MPG makes a huge dent in your budget. Fourth, if the Chevy Cavalier and other lines that use the 2.2 engine are not selling well, GM can easily modify their production line to make the 2.2 engine in a truck configuration (different oil pan and other minor modifications)

    I have the 4.3 in my 2000 S-10 extended cab. Reliable, quiet, never stalls, quits, runs hot or idles rough. It tows and hauls well. It easily breaks the tires loose if I want to, and always 'runs with the big dogs.'

    Based upon comments from owners with the 4.3 engine in the "Older S-10" discussion, this engine easily lasts well over 150K. I'm tired of car payments, so when mine is paid off, I hope to break 300K on synthetic oil before I have to buy another one.

    Good luck.

  • I have a 2002 Ext Cab 4wd S10 with 9000 miles on it. There is a noticeable clunk when the transmission upshifts from 2nd to 3rd, especially when accelerating slowly. I have checked all the posts on this board and haven't seen any mention of this. There is a TSB out on this, number 01-07-30-042, but being a consumer I can't find the details for it. Does anyone know anything about this problem? Thanks!
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Information on 2-3 Upshift Clunk Noise

    2002 and Prior Light Duty Trucks

    Equipped with 4L60E Automatic Transmission

    Some vehicles may exhibit a clunk noise that can be heard on a 2-3 upshift.

    During a 2-3 upshift, the 2-4 band is released and the 3-4 clutch is applied. The timing of this shift can cause a momentary torque reversal of the output shaft that results in a clunk noise. This condition may be worse on a 4-wheel drive vehicle due to the additional tolerances in the transfer case.

    This is a normal condition. No repairs should be attempted.
  • Thanks for the info Joe! That is kind of what I suspected (that the noise was "normal") because my '98 Blazer had a similar noise but I never got it checked out. It's still discouraging to pay $25K for a truck and have it "clunk" when it shifts. I am a long time GM guy but am seriously considering trying something else next time. GM seems to be caring less about the details these days. I have a restored '57 Chevy Bel Air and it is still going strong! I only wish my S10 would last half as long! Thanks again!
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I have a 99 Sonoma 4L60E 2 wd and no clunk,whats up.
  • I just had to have the intake gaskets replaced on my 99 4.3 S-10 due to an external antifreeze leak. The truck only has 33,000 miles on it. The dealer did however cover it 100% even though it will be 4 years old in November.
  • Wish I'd found this site earlier. My problem is with my 92 S10 4.3 auto/trans (188,000). When I start out from a light I get a pretty bad knock noise from the engine. The problem is even worse when towing my boat. I've tried just about everything except tearing into the guts of it. I've replaced timing set, w/pump, (2)mtr mounts, cat converter, O2 sensor, and ign module with no fix. My previous 89 S10 4.3 had none of these problems and would tow the boat up/down without so much as a whisper and ran great with over 230K until it tried to go through a minivan.
  • Well, about a year ago, I bought the '99 s-10 truck at a good price, with low miles, and until now, I have been really satisfied with everything. The past couple of days, I have been experiencing problems. The problem seems to be an electrical problem, where the computer(maybe?) is cutting out. When I start to take off after warming it up, all the gauges start to jump, the idiot lights flicker, and then the truck stalls. This happened several times in a row, before it started to run fine again. It ran fine for an entire day before it happened again, and it really worries me. I asked some other people about it, and they say it could be a computer control module. The truck only has 43,800 miles on it, and this shouldn't be happening with so little miles.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    to do is check the battery connections,at the battery & at the engine.
  • I already checked the connections. That isn't a problem. I talked to more people about my problem. My future wife's father works for GM, and he said that they discovered a problem with a computer module, and that they thought they were going to have to replace them. He told me that reseting the computer fixes the problem. I did that yesterday, and I haven't had the problem since.
  • I'm looking at a 99 s10 loaded,4.3.4x4, v6,automatic,43k miles,exc.cond..The seller is asking 10,600.00 firm.Is that a good deal?What should I look for on my look over?And how is it for comfort+leg room?[I'm 6ft.200 lbs..]Thanks very much for your help
  • Just saw this petition. If your 5 speed is giving you problem like mine has then sign it. If enough signatures are collected maybe GM will do something.

      In the meanwhile its good ammunition when arguing with GM about the problem.

  • amoralesamorales Posts: 196
    Had same problem with '00 S10 XTREME 2.2 5 SPEED.
    at 20k engine began stalling in afternoon on L.A. freeways. Most horrifying part was i had to come to complete stop before re-starting engine. It would stall 5-8 times daily. Dealer had it 3 times, could not find or duplicate problem. Engine codes revealed erratic anti-theft device...they would clear codes and say all is fine. At 4th visit i threatened to invoke BUY-BACK lemon law, they allowed me to trade up. I now drive an '03 GMC Sonoma FWD crewcab w/4.3.

    Have owned 5 S10s, '87 4x4 2.8L (Best), '88 4.3 SO-SO, 91 Tahoe S10 4.3, 4x4 BLAZER (worst), '94 S10 4.3, 200k trouble free...

    Insist they replace computer module, or threaten legal action.

    Good luck.

  • I have a recently acquired 97 2.2 liter with the New Venture 1500 transmission. The truck has 87,000 miles on it. The transmission is as smooth as silk except for a slight noise with clutch out at idle. I changed the lubricant with the $11.30 per qt.. takes 3 quarts, of the special GM/New Venture lubricant. I understand that the friction modifier was made available to be added to earlier transmissions. I don't know the time frame of this change.

    The recommended lubricant is a highly friction modified semi-synthetic synchromesh oil to reduce transmission component wear.

    Could it be that some are having their oil changes done at Jiffy Lube, and some GL4 or GL5 lubricant has been added to the transmission???
  • I'm having trouble with the head gasket (2.2 L 4). Needs to be replaced again at 95000 miles. Also the electrical wiring is bad in my truck. My tailights don't work sometimes.
    Recommendation: Don't get an 2.2L s-10
  • What year model is your 2.2 powered vehicle. I read somewhere, maybe here, where the pre 97 engines had a head gasket failure problem, but not like the Dodge Neon. But I understand that the late models are not plagued by this problem. Now that we are nearing the end of the production of this engine!

    What else do you know about this problem? My 97 has 87,000 and to my knowledge has not had a head gasket failure.
  • I bought a 97 S-10 77,000 miles, 2.2 auto. I have an 83 S-10 with 160,000 and the engine has had no internal repair. I got the 97 real cheap because it has a lot of dents and the carpet was destroyed. But the engine and trans ran very well. Took it home, changed oil, problem began. Since the lifters can't be removed without pulling the head, $100 for gaskets and new bolts, and lifters are $150 a set, I hoped someone might have some pointers for me. Cold start, fine. Soon begins ticking like a lifter. Noise goes away if RPMs increased. Used stethoscope. Loudest under exhuast port of number 4 cylinder. Used timing light to verify it ticks on every crank rotation, and shorted plugs one at a time to see if noise would go away or double up. Stays the same. Removed valve cover and checked torque on rocker nuts, bottom centered. Started and put stethoscope on each rocker arm. Does not seem to be any of them. Tried 10-30 oil instead of 5-30, no change. Put in a quart of Risoline treatment and idled a while, seemed to lessen. Changed oil, returned to same. Dropped lower bell housing, checked convertor bolt torque. Drove a hundred highway miles with no problem. Oil pressure on dash gauge, 60 cold at idle, 20 when warm at idle. 60 above idle when warm. Temperature fine. Like I say, runs great, and in spite of all the complaints I see here about lack of power with fours, it tachs up and goes just fine. If I have to spend $300 to pull the head and replace lifters, I might as well pull the engine renew everything. Thanks.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    sound could be an exhaust leak they sound the same,check it out.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    1. If the engine has multiple fuel injectors, put the stethescope on each one. If it is a throttle body injector, be sure to put the scope on the throttle body to check the injector in it. If the noise matches exactly, you have noisy injector(s), not lifters. If the injectors are making the noise, I suggest you run a can of 44K through the fuel system. Most retail parts stores don't carry it, but a lot of dealerships do. Expect to pay about $20 per can.

    2. Before tearing into the engine, remove the serpentine belt. Don't run the engine long--I think the belt runs the water pump. If the noise goes away, you probably have a noisy belt tensioner, alternator or water pump.

    3. Before tearing into the engine, I would try running a can of engine flush in the oil, then change the oil and add a can of Restore with the new oil. If I remember the layout of that engine, the lifters have alot of oil flowing on them. It's pretty difficult for a lifter to go bad with good oil flow, unless you have a broken spring in the lifter.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks fellas. The problem turned out to be the oil-pump. The first owner apparently replaced the timing chain tensioner after the plastic guides broke off. The pieces were on top of the lifter retainers, in the oil pan, jammed in the pump screen, and everywhere else. I'm just trying to decide how much to spend on rebuilding it. A thousand dollar rebuild on a thousand dollar truck doesn't seem sensible. Might see a lot of S-10 body and interior parts on eBay soon!
  • I have a 2000 Sonoma with 4 cyl and 5 speed New Venture Transmission. It has made noise since new with the transmission in neutral and your foot off the clutch. I am told that this is normal--what else is new. Any input on this? Anyone had any experience on a fix for this?
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Mine too, and there are other post about this condition. It made me feel good to change the fluid with the $11.00/qt oil from GM. Holds 3 qts. New Venture says an oil change is not required, and the owners manual does not mention it. There was no change in the idle bearing noise with the oil change.

    The truck has 89000 miles on it and the transmission sure is a smooth shifter and quite in all the gears. I don't feel that the slight bearing noise is a problem considering the light weight oil used.
  • We are having alot of problems with my sons S-10. I realize that he is hard on this vehicle but we have put in 2 motors, a transmission, clutch, rear end, alternator, and now it is in the shop for the computer. He has a 2000 S-10 with 57,000 miles. It was bought new off the lot. My husband has a friend who works at a chevy dealer near us and he described the truck as a hand grenade waiting to go off, and recomended them for ladies or older men only and said they are not made to hold up to any abuse what so ever. Help! What can we do short of taking the truck away! It was bought for him by his grandfather so I really don't have much say so. Thanks Gale
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