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Thread: Transfer Case?

  1. #1

    Default Transfer Case?

    I just moved to NY from TX. Yeah, I know! Why?? work. I had used my Z71 suburban on the beaches of the Texas coast about twice a year and now I use it weekly here in up state NY. Last week we began to notice that the 4X4 would not smoothly switch over from 2 wheel drive when needed. When we attempted to go 4x4 the light on 4x4 would blink for a long time. Sometimes I would stop put it in neutral and then it switch to 4x4 more easily. But once in 4x4 it would make some awlful noises from the front end. It would sound like metal grinding. Of course we only used it to get up our drive and into the garage. Otherwise I restricted the use of it. Today, 2/11/08, I drove it to the dealership, because I know of no place else to take to here yet, and while en route, I went to stop at a red light and it seamed that the front end was jerking as if it had really bad brake pads that were warped. But this is the first sign of this issue so I am sure it is not the brakes. Well it is now at the dealership, I am over the 36,000 mile warranty (about 50,000m) and I am hoping someone can spot my issue and give me an idea as to what the dealership should tell me the problem is. When I explained the issue to the service manager he said it sounds like your drive line. I know nothing about the drive line other than what I read on line about the u joints and the angle of the drive shaft. To me it sounds like my front axel, when engaged , is shredding apart. Thanks.

  2. #2


    What are you running for tires? Are they matched properly (same make/model/style/size)? What you are describing sounds like the drivetrain is binding, which is caused by the front and rear trying to spin at different speeds. I have had problems before with 4H binding caused by different tires front and rear (same "size" but different manufacturers). The size difference between the makes was enough to bind the drivetrain and make it difficult to disengage the transfer case.
    '98 K1500 Suburban LS 5.7 L 4L60E NV246 ARB
    '92 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 4.0 L A4LD BW13-54 Trac-loc rear
    "My toys were the greasy cogs and springs and pistons that lay around all over the place, and these, I can promise you, were far more fun to play with than most of the plastic rubbish children are given nowadays." Danny in Roald Dahl's Danny The Champion of the World

  3. #3


    Do you have a push button transfer case, or a manual one? The push button (I HATE THEM) version is electronically controlled, so it might be sending the wrong signals to the T/C. Also, if you pushed that sensor 4x4 button (where it engages 4hi if the wheels slip), it might be reading wrong and engaging the 4x4.

    What you described in your post, that's what seems to be happening. If its electrical, let the dealer fix it.
    1972 chevy p/u - 454 engine - work in progress
    1999 'burb - wife's vehicle
    1976 Jeep CJ5- Dana 60 front and rear, locked, 350 engine, GM 3 spd, Atlas II T/C, 8" lift on 38's
    2003 Jeep TJ- Dana 44 rear Dana 30 front, ox lockers front and rear 3.5" lift on 33's - My DD


  4. #4


    I have 265 70R15 Wrangler ATS on all 4 wheels, same size as orignials from dealership. I did already have the dealership put in a new (rebuilt) transfer case. Dealer said it was a catostophic failure. Said that one of the bolts that connects in to the t-case was missing and said something about the "fork missing". It also does have the electronic 4x4, which we only engage when necessary. Some one told me it was better to run on Auto / 4x4 when we think we need it. Is there any test to figure if the computer is sending the wrong signal? I will be going over to the dealership to bring up that topic. Of course I also plan on finding a decent mechanic in the area to avoid the dealership if I can. Thanks for your help on this.

  5. #5


    Take it to the dealer to diagnose the problem. My money is on the faulty sensor. PS: you should NEVER put the transfer case on "auto 4x4" I don't even know why they would even put that feature on there.

  6. #6


    this would bring up another good question and point to everyone. have you properly serviced the transfere case and front diff and hubs? alot of the time these parts sit and or get pounded on and service is never thought until too late. ( i too have fallen in this space---this is why i bring it up) mike
    Michael Collins
    1993 4X4 Suburban
    many other toys as well

  7. #7


    My 91 K1500 started grinding and jerking when I hit something submerged in the snow a few years back. I thought it was damaged and I just haven't had the money to get it fixed so i never took it in. But what MrShorty says makes me have some hope. I'm going to get in my Chevy and put it in 4wheel right now. I never thought about the fact that my spare tire was smaller than my other 3 and that could be causing those problems. And yes, i had a spare tire on it for a couple years. I've not tried it since I got the correct sized tire on. I'll have to let you know how things go. Thanks MrShorty!

  8. #8


    MrShorty, you just put a $1,000 in my pocket. Well, that's what it feels like anyway. I commented earlier about my situation: I ran into something in the snow hard enough to burst my tire and damage my rim, so I put on the spare which was a completely different size. As soon as I began driving home my 4wheel ground and jerked to the side with the small tire. I assumed it was severely damaged and haven't used 4wheel in years. Well, as soon as I read your entry I thought, "no, it couldn't be that simple." Oh, yes it could. I went out and put my truck in 4wheel for the first time in years and it ran like a champ. (of course I have since replaced my spare tire and rim with the proper size). I am so pumped. It was like I went to my truck and found $1,000 in the glove box, put there by you. 5 years ago I put that spare on and drove home in the snow in despair, but today the world is right again. Thanks MrShorty!!

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