Push button 4wd vs Stick 4wd ~ Chevy Silverado

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by ChevyFan, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    What's your preference, the push button 4WD or the stick 4WD? I'm looking at a truck with the stick 4WD and at first I said no way, now I'm not so sure.

    Here's the 2007+ NBS 4WD rotational shifter/knob.

    Here's a 2012 4WD manual floor-mounted shifter.

    Looks like it's possible to purchase the button components for older Silverados. Maybe NBS as well?

    Looks like you can also purchase the shifters as well. I wonder how hard of a conversion it is?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  2. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator

    Manual transfer cases are the way to go. The electronics on the feminine 4x4 are common failure points. There is no more effort involved to use a manual case than there is to shift your automatic transmission from park to drive.

    Why have you been against it up to this point?
  3. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    It's totally a matter of preference. Some people feel that you gain reliability out of the stick -- which is true in a sense because you're mechanically engaging the t-case instead of pushing a button and relying on wiring and a shift motor to do it. Thus, there's less to go wrong.

    Unfortunately that's seldom the failure point. More common is a failure to engage the front diff ... which is electronically actuated in both the stick and push-button systems. It could be a sensor failing to signal the actuator or the actuator, itself. You get the idea ... it's a common point of failure for both systems.

    So it boils down to whether you want a stick or push-button system. It may also boil down to resale implications, as the stick is usually found ont WT's and LS's whereas the push button is found on the higher trim levels that tend to hold higher values.

    I personally wouldn't let it be a deal breaker if I liked everything else about the truck, but that's me.
  4. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Main concern is the position next to my foot and the loss of leg room up there on the tranny hump. At first it felt like it was up against my leg, now I'm not so sure if i wasn't being to sensitive.
  5. barefoot greg

    barefoot greg New Member

    The main advantage of stick over pushbutton is the ability to swap it out with a pistol grip with the word HURST on it:lol:
  6. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    That's just wrong...
  7. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 New Member

    I would rather have a stick. When I need 4X I want to know it is in. And when you shift it in with a stick you can feel it engage and usually hear a clunk or some other noise letting you know it is in. My last company truck had a stick and in no way did I feel my leg hit the lever. I would tend to believe Steve you are somewhat sensitive to it. With that being said my truck is push button. I like SurrealOne would not let that be a deal breaker.
  8. paracutin

    paracutin New Member

    I have the push button and I always hear a noise and feel the front diff engage. I have never questioned if it was working or not. As mentioned earlier, the diff is electronically engaged regardless of the shift method. My Wrangler had a manual transfer case and the front diff felt exactly the same as my 2500HD when it engaged. Definitely not a deal breaker. I like both.
  9. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 New Member

    one thing i dont like on my new truck is the twist 4x4 engage. i liked the push button 4x4 in my old 05 better, i kinda wish the floor shift was availible on more trim levels, i like the feel of the manual better, plus its less things on the dash. if i remember steve, you are fairly tall, so maybe your knee/shin might tap the lever from to time, but a accidental engagement it fairly difficult, and the dash will light up if its engaged, so you will know its its on if that is something you are worried about.

    something else to consider is how you use the truck, gonna have gloves on alot, the floor shift may be better (easier to get ahold of) if you dont use it much, the twist knob might be fine. drive em both, use em both and see what you like better. as far as switching from one to the other, im sure it could be done, but i bet i wouldnt be cheap.

  10. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

    I've had both the floor shifter and the electronic dial. I offroad often and on a couple of occasions I've tripped the sensor on some very aggressive obstacles and it got stuck in the mode I was in (both times it was 4wd low). Luckily, I had my programmer (which I always carry actually) with me. I just reset my computer and was able to get it to work again. I'm not sure what caused it but it could have been a huge inconvenience if I did not have my programmer with me. However, that has not happened to me again in a couple of years. ...And yes, I do hear the clunk when switching modes.

    Other than that, I like the extra floor space it gives me. I added some molded carpet that gives that area a tray, and I use it often. Even though I had a couple of issues with it initially, my preference is to have the dial vs the floor because of the additional space it provides me.
  11. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Well, I did some thinking about it and I went and sat in that truck again. I've got mixed thoughts about this.

    Why I want a lower trim level
    First off, I'm looking for a lower trim level, this is so I can add accessories myself. I'll talk about this in the other thread I started on this topic.

    Reasons For NOT wanting a floor-shift 4WD.
    Really, 95% of the time I do not need 4WD. When I need it will be 1) bad weather, 2) when I start to look for land out of the city to build a homestead on, 3) going on vacation up in the mountains a couple of weeks each year, 4) we plan on getting into more stuff next year like camping, boating, etc. That will take me to places off the beaten path more. So, the idea of a push-button or rotational-dial 4WD 4x4 selector means that I get that floorspace back.

    Reasons For wanting the floor-shift 4WD.
    Well, just because it is manual and if I do decide to do more off-roading in the future ... which may be a real possibility, then I'll just have to reach down and throw it into gear. I've read antidotes from people on both sides of the issues on this so there can be failure in both systems, but they're rare in post-2001 Silverados. However, there are less parts and electronic components that can possibly fail with a manual system.

    Thoughts on upgrading later?
    In theory, if I got a less-expensive and less-equipped truck, say a WT work truck with all power options except for the 4WD selector. Wouldn't you think that if leg and foot space really did become an issue that I would be able to buy the parts to turn it into an electronic 4WD system? I'll check with my people at the GM Dealerships that I go to ... and I could be hopelessly naive on this, maybe it takes a module or controller upgrade, I don't know. Essentially they're the same systems except there is a solenoid system that is activated by the dial (and a module I'm sure) that will control the transfer between 2WD N 4HI and 4LO.
  12. Boonduff

    Boonduff New Member

    I may be wrong, but aren't the electric shift transfer cases all Auto-Trac cases, and the manual shift cases are part-time.
  13. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 New Member

    When I put my truck into 4x I don't hear anything. I knew it was in casue I was on the beach and punched it both front and back dug.
  14. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Could be, I'd like to learn more on this. I just asked a contact i have who runs a GM parts department said he has no idea ...

    Edit: typos
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  15. the phantom

    the phantom New Member

    How does he ruin it???:lol:That was kind of a funny mistype.
  16. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator

    I have replaced shift solenoids on 3 different trucks and a switch on another one this year.
  17. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    You've seen more fail in one year than I've seen fail in a lifetime. Yikes!
  18. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

    I've had both electrically switched and lever actuated, cant say one has left me stranded more than the other. I do prefer a lever though, nothing says low four wheel drive better than shifting the lever and hearing the gears engage.
    Now if they'd just come back with locking hubs too.
    On newer trucks swapping from lever actuated to electrically switched isnt as easy as putting in the switch's, it's a transfer case swap along with having the computer programmed and a few additional servo's and wiring. About 2 days labor all together.
    The final drive gear ratio on the two cases is slightly different too, so you have to take that in account also.

    One other issue with the electrically actuated case is if you ever decided to build an extreme off-road truck you cant use any of the doubler or expander T-cases on the electrical switched case, theres compatibility issues and you need to swap to a lever actuated case to do that.

    Not that you'd ever think of selling your truck but one with an electrically switched case has a little better resale and is easier to get rid of, people have gotten lazy and dont like to reach down and shift anymore.
  19. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator

    I won't buy ANYTHING with "Feminine Four Wheel Drive" unless it is SOOO cheap that I can't pass it up!
  20. RAV52202

    RAV52202 New Member

    I prefer the Stick over the electronic. I do like the 4 auto, that was nice when i had it. I miss the center console though, because of the stick.

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