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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 4x4 Questions



  • I never had a 4x4 problem till now.i was at the beach last week and i used my 4x4 it worked great then i turned it off and drove home just fine. well today i try to put it in 4x4 low and the front tire lights that tell me its on, wound not light up. my 4x4 would not turn on it feels like its in gear my back tires have the power but my front tires wont spin i don't no why it wound mess up like that when it was working fine when i last used it? does any one no what i should start messing with...thanks for reading, get at me as soon as yall can?
  • Two things I would look for:
    1. When in 4x4 is the front drive shaft rotating, have someone look under the vehicle while moving forward slowly? If so it’s not the transfer case encoder.
    2. At that point I would expect it could be the actuator located on the front differential. This actuator simply pushes a pin in and out to engage the front axle. Take if off and push the 4WD button to see if it is clicking as if to move the pin in and out.
  • okay so i took a look at the front drive shaft and yes!. it still rotates but no 4x4! so im going to check out my actuator. thanks for the help! also in my truck i don't have the 4x4 button i have the stick on the ground. And if u could let me let me no if there could be any thing else that can cause this problem?
  • you've narrowed it down to the front axle, my actuator is activated by push button if yours is mechanical, it could be a linkage issue to the actuator. unless youve blown out your front axle what left should be simple to fix.

    good luck
  • im having trouble finding my actuator, where is it located? is there somehow you could send me some kind of diagram of the front differentials? i cant find any pictures online. beacause im more than sure that i did not blow my front axle out. i had just used it perfectly fine last week. also, if i have a stick for my 4wd does that mean it's called mechanical?
  • I have a 1994 Z71 4X4 auto. the other night I herd a soft ginding noise like the pinion shaft hitting my flywheel. Now its loud and only does it when you take off from a stop. Only for two or three seconds then just befor trans shifts into second gear. I thuoght my starter was letting the shaft hit flywheel but I had afriend ride with me and he said it was my axle but it dont sound like it s from there it sounds like a external noise and close to fly wheel locatiom more towards the right side where starter is . OH this is good when I put it in 4 high the noise goes away..please help me .
  • if my actuator does not engage will that keep my 4wd light from not turning on?
  • You know , I went trough the same Problem , I worked and worked on mine , bought extra parts that I had to list on EBay, and there was nothing wrong with any of it , it was two plugs ins on tranfer case were crossed , but that does not seem to be your problem , by the way if you know a good transmission shop , carry it there and in a few minutes they can tell you , cost me a hundred , but it was worth every penny ,But it does sound like the front acuator, but there again, it could be the encoder on the transfer case , or a module, if your truck has one , and I assume it does, good luck to you.
  • so i replaced the actuator, and now my 4x4 is working great thanks for the help! ya'll just saved me probably a few 100 just to get that simple thing replaced!! :]
  • Well, thanks , very glad we were some help to you, I spent a few sleepness nights over mine , and was very glad to get it fixed, as I said , I have quite a few items that there is nothing wrong with them on eBay , mine is a 2000 Silverado , real cheap, so you guys that have problems with your 4X4 better have a look , these parts are going cheap , and have been tested by a Tech. They will end tomorrow, on the 2nd.
  • not sure if you figured it out yet but, I would look to see if the the front drive shaft is engaged in 4 high. see if the front drive shaft is rotating while creeping forward, someone needs to look under the truck while moving forward.
  • I have a 2003 Z71 with the auto track 4X4. Have used it several times at beach and at least once a month around the property. Noticed the orange light on the push button selector was not illuminated. Tried to shift between Auto and all 4X4 options. The light does not blink on any button and it doesn't sound or feel like it is going into 4X4. Any ideas?
  • well it sounds like you had the same problem i did. what you should do is push the 4x4 button and look under your truck to see if your front drive shaft is spinning if so the u need a new actuator!! they go out alot unexpectedly! and if ur front drive shaft does not spin then it can be ur encoder box or ur 4x4 switch needs to be replaced! i think you can take ur truck to an auto shop and they will hook up one of those little code reader machines and it will tell them if there bad. they usually don't charge for that?
  • Thanks for the response above. I actually had the chance to use the dash switch from another truck with functional 4wd (all lights flash during start up). The other switch did not make my 4wd work and when I installed my switch into the other truck the red neutral light flashed once during start up, but the orange lights on the other buttons did not flash, or ever light up. I tried to engage 4wd in the other truck with my switch and nothing happens (making me think bad switch). I will try to get the truck on stands to see if the front driveshaft ever turns (working by myself). It's hard to believe that both the switch and either the actuator, or encoder went out at the same time. 15 amp fuse on side of dash is good, had a loose ground on battery, but did not solve the problem. Does the 4wd operate through one of the on board computers? Can there be 4wd codes and not show a warning light? :confuse:
  • I havea 1989 Chevy Silverado 4x4 with a 5.7 liter motor and when I engage it into 4 wheel drive (4 wheel drive stick is on the floor and not a push button) it seems as if it is in low range because the gearing seems to change but when I gas it in dirt only the rear wheels spin, the same goes for 4 high. Also the light on the floor shifter does not light up.

    I read through all of the forums and have seen that it could be the front acutator on the front diiferential or the encoder on the transfer case, but my question is that all of the other trucks were newer and were the type with the push button 4 wheeldrive. Could anyone tell me if they could or would be the same? If anyone has any suggestions please let me know because I miss my 4 wheel drive!!! Thanks!
  • maw3maw3 Posts: 4
    I have an '04 Silverado with the push button 4WD buttons. I just bought the truck used and it seems to be blowing the transfer case fluid out the vent line. I drained it a couple of weeks ago to see how much fluid was in it and only got about a half quart out. I refilled and it's low again and I keep getting the Service 4WD message intermittently. Does anyone have experience with this problem?
  • hey! i have a 1992 chevy silverado z71 and have the EXACT problem with mine. i replaced my actuator and it did nothing. it gears right when i put it in 4 high or 4 low and i know its not the transfer case because when when i put it in 4 wheel when the truck is off the drive shaft stiffens and i cannot turn it. my light does not come on, but i hit a bump today and suddenly the 4x4 light came on when i tried it and i had 4 wheel drive! but then i suddenly lost it again.. i went under my truck and jiggled a couple wires in the front end and it started working again. i feel it is just a loose connection with the wire and it is not sending a signal from the transfer case telling it to engage in the front end.. i am going to work on it tomorrow and hopefully fix it for good. if anyone can help us out on this please do asap!
  • I am having the same prob (same truck too) but mine started after i just had the tranny rebuilt. not sure if had anything to do with it. I have been under the truck and all is hooked up.
  • So I have a 97 gmc sierra Z71 with an auto trans it does not have push button it has the 4wd shifter on the floor the transfer case engages and the front driveline is rotating when in 4wd I had replaced the actuator on the front axle figuring it was a simple fix and it is still :confuse: not engaging any insight or help on this problem would be greatly appreciated thanks
  • You say you repalced the front actuator but "its still not engaging" ?
    If you don't have push button on the dash what sends the signal to the front actuator? Possible it is something electrical to do with the fron actuator?
    May still be a simple fix? $20 for a Haynes Repair manual might be a good investment?


    If the front drive shaft is rotating after manually locking in the transfer case and you have replaced the front actuator, then it sounds like maybe the transfercase is burned out?

    My guess there is enough friction on the clutch plates in the transfer case to rotate the front drive shaft but not under load?

    How many miles on the truck, I rebuilt my transfer case at 110k miles, it was not completely gone but did not work as it should. The clutch plates total apx 12 ? only 2-3 were worn out. Parts cost to rebuild the transfer case apx $150 and apx 6 hrs time.

    Good Luck!
  • Try the t case switch, it looks like the one on the front diff that lets you know if your truck is in 4x4, the t case switch lets your truck know you have shifted out of 2wd,
  • I have an 89 chevrolet silverado. It is a 4.3L five speed standard. When I try to put it in four high it wont work at all until I put it in four low. Then you can pull it back into high side but as soon as you put power to the wheels the 4x4 stops working. I was just wondering if anyone could help me out here? Thanks.
  • maw3maw3 Posts: 4
    Any idea where to get some instructions for transfer case rebuild? I'm about ready to give that a try but would like some idea what I'm getting into and what parts I need to get ahead of time.

  • I went to a local part shop that also did repair talked to the guy there then went to the local book store to get a Hanyes Repair manual. The manual helped but was still learn as you go for me when I did it.

    If your mechanically inclined an have got some experience you should be OK if take your time an pay attention.

    The parts were around $100 an the book was $20
    The Truck dealership may have a better manual that could make the job easier.

    Good Luck
  • bhanley55: Did you ever get this problem fixed? I bougth a 89 Scottsdale with only 75000 miles on it recently. I had it i 4 wd yesterday on the beach and the very same thing happened. It took me a couple hours, two busted tow straps and some nice dings in my tailgate from a chnain that slipped off to get it back on the road. This was on Christmas morning.

    I have 4 vechicles. All 4x4 and this is the only one w/o manual locking hubs. I didn't like it, but it was only 2k and I figured it had low enough miles and I wouldn't have to worry about it. I am not impressed with this Chevy. Thanks
  • Both the outside and inside door handles will not open the passenger door. 1999 K2500 Silverado. Is there a trick to opening it without total disassembly?
  • We have a 2004 Silverado 1500 Z-71,the ABS light started coming on and after a few days the service 4 wheel drive light,then one day the 4 wheel drive was dead,no lights on the buttons ot anything,after replacing the selector switch on the the dash,still nothing, so we took it to a local garage ,he did some wire testing and well it turned out to be some for black computer box that is in behind the instrument panel under the dash. ABS light hasnt come back on and the 4 wheel drive works juts fine now...Thank god he owns a salvage yard and we got a used one or there wouldve went xmas...
  • Yes, just pry off the door lock inside peice of plastic, won't hurt it and it will go right back in place , then you have access to the door lock.
  • Yes , you would have , those 4x4 can drive you up the wall , then of course I have freind that has a computer that tells you what is wrong with it , I was ready to do any thing to mine , but I took it to him , there was 25 codes wrong with it , did'nt know that you have to take the + battery cable off every time you take a wire loose.There was nthing wrong with mine but two wires crossed.
  • Looks as though you have a bad accuater in the front drive line or the encoder on the transfer case that is bad, the front drive shaft will turn regardless, it turns all the time ,either in 4x4 or not.
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