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  1. #1

    Exclamation '09 Yukon XL 4WD Binding Problem

    As a newbie please let me know if this question is already answered somewhere else... I searched but could not find it.

    So I have a new 2009 Yukon XL 1/2 Ton 4WD vehicle. We just got our first snow of the year and for the first time I engaged the 4WD. I quickly felt a huge difference however upon initiating low speed turns, the truck feels like the drive train binds up and the vehicle doesn't want to roll forward smoothly. Almost feels like the front wheels are hitting the wheel well and grabbing. You can accelerate through it but it really feels weird and would definitely not be ideal when towing something, very "jerky." No warning lights appear on the dash either. Once the snow melted and I switched back to 2WD, the problem went away and I immediately linked the issue to the 4WD system. The service department at the dealership tells me this behavior is normal and I just can't believe it.

    I switched to this vehicle from a 2004 Tahoe with AWD that had a 4WD Hi and 4WD Lo setting. I never experienced this "binding" issue with this vehicle and simply can't understand why they would manufacture a vehicle that performs like this if it is in fact normal. If anyone out there knows what I am talking about I would greatly appreciate any advice you all have.



  2. #2
    Legend unplugged's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    High Deserts of SoCal


    My Chevy and Ford do the same thing. If the wheels get traction in low speed corners they feel like they are binding. Easiest to duplicate on dry pavement. Not a good idea to engage 4wd on dry pavement for that reason.

    I was always taught to engage the 4wd before I need it, so usually I will switch to 4wd as soon as I leave paved roads. I also use 4wd in standing water, heavy downpours, and whenever ice or snow are present.
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  3. #3


    Any vehicle with a locking transfer case (meaning it has a 4H and/or a 4L setting) will do this. When you put the transfer case in 4H or 4L, the front and rear driveshafts are locked together so that they have to spin at the same speed. However, any time you turn, the front and rear go through different arcs, so they need to spin at different speeds, and the tighter the turn the more this is apparent. When conditions are slick enough, the tires slip and the binding isn't noticed. When traction is good enough, then you feel the binding. It seems like hostuffworks had a decent description of how 4wd works.

    I can't explain why you are noticing it more with the '09 than the '04. Perhaps you used the 4Auto setting more on the '04, or perhaps by random chance the conditions were never such that you felt the binding in the '04.
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  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Red Wing, Minnesota, United States


    Thats the difference between AWD and 4wd, all wheel drive is built different then 4wd. An all wheel drive system is going to allow the torque to split differently then the 4wd. Every 4wd is gonna experiance the "binding" when you hit the dry from wet. AWD drive is just that FULL TIME, of it was designed the same as 4wd it would tear itself apart. So wht the dealership is telling you that its normal is true
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