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  1. #1

    Default 4WD not engaging

    I have a 2000 Chevy Silverado 1500 4x4 with an 5.3 liter motor and auto transmission. Over the past few months the truck has failed to go into 4 low at times and the service 4 wheel drive light comes on once in a while. I changed the transmission and transercase fluid but the light continues to come on sometimes. Now it will not engage in either 4 low or 4 hi. I have a push button selection on my dash to engage the 4 wheel drive and neither the 4 hi or 4 low will light up or engage. If anyone has any ideas of what could be going wrong, please let me know. Thanks!

  2. #2


    i have heard of the "button module" going bad..

    2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4 (the Yellow Jacket)
    4inch suspension 3inch body
    Straight 6 (383 Stroker within a year)
    36inch SuperSwamper TSL.
    Detroit Loccers
    Daily Driver Weekend Wheeler
    much more...

    2004 Sierra crew cab, 2wd, 5.3 V8
    2inch Daystar Leveling kit
    single dumped Flowmaster 40 sieries exaust(removed)
    Mb Blitz Chrome wheels
    Leer Bed Cover(for sale)
    50k miles

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    East of Branson, Missouri
    Blog Entries


    Yep. Seems to be a common enough problem - either the module with the switches (go to a scrap yard to get a replacement to see if that helps solve the problem for now while you order a new one) or; the actual actuator for the 4WD. There is a way to check if it's the actuator on the transfer case but I can't recall how it's done. Doing a quick search on the forums should bring up the post.

    Does anyone know how to check the actuator and do you feel like typing it out?


    "The Sarge"
    1999 Chevy Suburban LT- K2500
    7.4 454 Vortec, 4WD
    305/70/16 on Eagle Alloy

  4. #4


    Have you checked the 25amp fuse for the 4wd?
    I have a 97 and the 4wd not working but mine blows the fuse and it means the acuator is shorted, you can chk for 12 volts to the acuator have someone under it while press the 4hi or low button but I would first chk the fuse box.

  5. #5
    Jr. Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Rochester, MN


    Quote Originally Posted by Springthing View Post
    Does anyone know how to check the actuator and do you feel like typing it out?
    I don't know if this is the best way or not, but when it went out on my Suburban I removed the actuator and watched it while somebody put it it 4WD. It didn't move so I bought a new one and my 4WD worked great after that.
    99 Silverado Z71 4.8
    2" Suspension lift (Add-a-leafs and leveling keys)
    Long tube headers with 3" offroad Y-Pipe
    Volant Cold Air Intake with Ram Air Intake Tube
    Jet Mass Air Flow Sensor
    Diablosport Predator Tuner

    Previous Truck:
    97 Suburban K1500
    3" Body lift
    2" Suspension Lift (Add-a-leafs and cranked up torsion bars)
    35" Yokohama M/T's
    K&N Intake
    Airraid Throttle Body Spacer
    Hypertech Programmer
    Dual Flowmasters

  6. #6


    i had the same thing happen to my 04, since i had recently baught it, i took it to the dealer still under extended arranty, and it ended up being some sensor was all jacked up..when the light came on, it wouldnt do anything, turn truck off, back on, it would engage just fine, no light, then after a while it would come back on..rinse, repeat.

    went to dealer, they swapped out the sensor of sorts, and all is well now.
    i wanna say they(dealer) woulda charged something to the tune of 200 for sensor, and install, but i could be wrong, was several months ago
    2004 Silverado Crew Cab-z71-4x4-5.3-100k+ miles-KN FIPK Stage 2 CAI-Flowmaster 40 muffler w/ dual tip-Apline deck/alpine amp, Pioneer components front/Pioneer Back/2x10" MTX Subs under rear seat-Cooper ST tires

  7. #7
    Sr. Mechanic John W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    St Peters, Nova Scotia, Canada


    I had that happen to me just ater I bought my 2000 Z71. No shift to 4wd. The actuator on the front diff was burned out and had shorted and burned the electronic shift unit on the transfer case. The truck was second hand but the dealer covered the cost of the transfer case unit ($800 ) they said, and I paid half the cost of the diff actuator ($90). At least those are the prices I got from the GM dealer.
    2000 4x4 Ext. cab 5.3 Z71
    2009 Corolla

  8. #8


    My 2000 Z71 switch on my dash went bad. Very inexpensive fix for how aggrevating it was at times.

  9. #9


    this might be a dumb repsonse but
    are you sure your putting it in nuetral before you are engaging 4 lo?
    also my truck i need to wiggle the steering wheel a little
    its kinda finniky

  10. #10


    The chevy's have had lots of trouble with the actuator on the transfer case so that's where i'd be looking first!

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