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Thread: Driving in 4-HI

  1. #1

    Default Driving in 4-HI


    My son left our 1997 K2500 Suburban in 4-HI the other night, and then my wife drove it about 30 miles on the interstate (65mph) while it was still in 4.

    She called me because she said that she smelled something, and that the truck was acting funny when she tried to turn in the parcking lot.

    When I got there, I found that the truck was in 4-HI and there was some fluid leaking from the transfer case. I put it back in 2-HI and drove it home with no problems.

    My question is, what damage may have been caused by driving it this way, and what should I do to minimize the impact? Does the transfer case vent if it gets too hot? Should I simply replace the fluid, see if it still leaks, and if not, call it good?

  2. #2


    It probably didn't hurt anything. I would check the transmission fluid as sometimes it will leak into the transfer case causing it to over fill. Other than that just make sure your fluids are clean and you should be good to go. Keep your eye on the fluid levels for awhile.

    2004 SILVERADO 2500HD LS
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  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Koeppel View Post

    She called me because she said that she smelled something, and that the truck was acting funny when she tried to turn in the parcking lot.
    That's normal.. because the 4 wheel drive doesnt disengage when you are parking causing it to make ''grinding'' noises. If you turn sharp while in 4 wheel hi it will take more acceleration to make the vehicle move because their is more resistance due to 4 wheels drive being on.

    Nothing to be worried about though!
    99 GMC Sierra 2500
    Chipped 5.3L with Airaid Intake/Throttle Body Spacer
    Dual Cat-Back Flowmasters
    18'' MKW M28's on 32" Fuzion XTI tires
    8000K HID Kit, Cleared corners all around
    2 10" alpine subs with alpine amp

  4. #4
    Jr. Mechanic jmonte3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Lafayette, La


    yep, i drive in 4 hi all the time when its raining or its slippery out

    07 Sierra NBS Black Crew Cab 5.3L Z71
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  5. #5


    How about towing in 4 Hi on the Interstate for long period of time? Would that cause problems? I think I may have some issues with 2Hi that may require to use 4Hi.

  6. #6


    When you drive on dry pavement it really wears tires, u-joints, axle joints, differential spider and axle gears, as well as internal transfer case parts. If you drive long enough you WILL break something! Never drive on dry pavement in 4WD. All wheel drive is OK but not 4WD.

  7. #7
    Legend bry2500's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Gloucester, MA
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    30 miles should not have been enough to do too much. maybe scrape the tires up a little. Unless your wife has a lead foot there really should have been no damage done. Driving too fast and taking off hard in 4wd on pavement can put some added stress but rubber is softer than metal, so the tires should have taken the brunt of the force if she was just driving normally.


    02' Avalanche 2500 Onyx Black
    8.1L Vortec
    43,000 miles

  8. #8


    jimmiee's right ive sheared some ring gear teeth off and broken spiders from playin around in 4hi/4lo on pavement :P

  9. #9
    Sr. Mechanic larryleeUSN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Now stationed in Mayport,Florida


    yea you should be fine. i dont see anything happening. just do what jimmiee said everything should be good to go.
    Lawrence Lee,United States Navy, Engineering.
    2008 Silverado CC. Z71 4x4. leveling kit on with exhaust hopefully putting on soon

  10. #10

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks for the input from everyone. I feel much better. I haven't done anything with the suburban, and haven't had any more issues.


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