1999 GMC Suburban steering wheel "slips" sometimes +2WD selector light intermittent.

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by pinkldy1229, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. pinkldy1229

    pinkldy1229 New Member

    Hi all,
    These two issues may or may not be connected, but the steering problem is this biggest issue. The steering issue is that sometimes when we are driving and making a turn the steering wheel sorta slips. It's like it moves further toward the direction we are turning without the wheels turning and when it catches the wheels will turn further to catch up with the steering wheels position or, if we hold the wheel steady, the wheels will move out of the turn slightly. I thought was an issue with our power steering so I had our mechanic check the steering and he couldn't find any issues, but when my husband explained what was happening our mechanic said "Oh! That's an issue with your 4WD. Just go to an open area, switch into 4LO or 4HI, put the suburban in drive and swing the wheel left and right while letting the truck roll in drive without pushing the gas. After working the wheel left and right a few time, repeat the procedure in the other 4WD setting. Do this now and then to get grease in there." Apparently the differential is slipping out of 2WD or something to that affect sometimes while we're turning. We hadn't used the 4WD at all up until that point, except for engaging the 4WD once on accident. Did this and it seemed to fix it temporarily.
    Sometimes this fixes the steering issues for a while and sometimes it doesn't, but it brought issue number 2 to our attention. Sometimes when I start the suburban the 2WD selector switch light won't be lit. Sometimes while I'm driving I look down and notice that the 2WD selector light isn't on. I can hold the button down and sometimes it'll light and sometimes it won't. If I let go it may or may not stay lit and if it does stay lit it might still be temporary. If we switch to 4LO/4HI we get the same results, but we hear/feel the 4WD kick in.
    We're going to check the fuses tomorrow and we also might change out the 4WD actuator. Any ideas if we're on the right track to fixing our issues, or any advise? We're lost, this is our first 4WD.
  2. zippstripp

    zippstripp Member 1 Year

    Hello and welcome. On your #2 issue,sounds like a bad selector switch. On the steering issue,sometimes they put a steering sensor on the steering shaft just bellow the column under the dash. If goes bad it gives it a kinda floaty feeling sometimes. Hope this helps.
  3. edsmagichands

    edsmagichands Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    I don't know if it has a steering sensor or not, i would have to research that. i suspect your issues are related. most of the 4wd system is electronic/ electrical. sounds like the front hubs are locking causing steering issue. light flicker could be because it is trying to shift into or out of 4wd without you pushing button. could be as simple as a bad switch or a bad ground. complete testing of the electrical circuit is he best place to start. throwing parts at one of these can get real expensive real fast.
  4. unsub

    unsub Member 1 Year

    On the steering I just can't say as I've never experienced that. Obviously a serious issue, probably not expensive but serious as other than braking, steering is the next must have working thing on a auto.

    As for the 2x2/4x4 light issue those selector boxes tend to stop working properly at around 100k miles, something to do with the internal soldering. If you are a DIY guy remove the selector box and open it up and see if you can see any breaks in any solders and re-solder them. When my light quit working I also got a "4X4 NEEDS SERVICE" message on the dash. Being the 4x4 system is built so strong and well on these the #1 weak point is the electronics, second most failed piece on 4x4 is transfer case motor but that issue is obvious to troubleshoot as you won't be able to engage 4x4. But I just bought a new 2x2/4x4 selector box(from online not at the parts store, online is much cheaper) and replaced it. Selector lights now work properly and I haven't had a 4x4 warning since.

    You can find them new online between 40-80.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sounds about right. Flickering selector light could mean selector is working fine, but an issue exisits with the hubs not engaging/disengaging properly causing a steering issue and the flickering light.
  5. pinkldy1229

    pinkldy1229 New Member

    Status so far:
    Hubby checked the fuses, they're good.
    Hubby checked the switch and when he pulled it out the lights flickered. No shifting going on as far as we can tell. We test drove it with me holding the switch/wiring to keep the light lit and we still had intermittent steering issues. We'll replace the steering sensor or have it checked before we do. Might replace the 2X2/4X4 switch.

    When I accidentally engaged the 4WD for the first time we had NO CLUE what was going on. I took it through a car wash and it sounded like something was grinding in the wheel wells, it was hard to accelerate, and it steered poorly. I took it to our mechanic (literally across the street from the car wash) and after putting it back into 2WD he checked our transfer case. He drained it, replaced the stripped aluminum fill plug, and checked it out. He said it's in great condition. How can we check if the front hubs are locking? We'll look at sensor and switch replacements in the mean time. Thanks y'all!
  6. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    I would srart with the 4x4 selector switch. You are having 4x4 problems and, the switch is a known problem. Change it.

    You already have.

    If there is turning bind when in one of the 4x4 positions and your truck is on a dry hard surface, the front hubs are locked. If the hubs are not locked, the wheels turn freely and there is no binding.

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