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Check for power to the front differential actuator. This actuator slides a gear in position to lock the differential to drive the front wheels. If you have power and ground to the actuator when in the 4HI position, the actuator has gone bad.The 4LO is only engaging at the transfer case, but the front wheels are still not engaged if it is not working in 4HI.
There is an actuator located in the front differential " About 15 minutes to change " . By transfercase actuator , do you mean the Encoder Motor " transfercase shift motor ? 9 times out of 10 it is either the front differential actuator or the transfer case encoder motor
You need to replace the lockup servo mounted in the front differential housing. the light will blink to indicate that the lockup servo is not engaging/disengaging. you can get the servo at a local parts place. It is very easy to replace and is easily accessible.
when was the last time you've checked the fluid level in the front differential?
Try this, quickly. these gears don't last long when the fluid level is low, and it's a real big job to replace the gears/differential housing.
There is no electric solenoid set up for the S10's, the upgrade was for the full size SUV's from the early 88 to 98 that had a thermal actuator. There is a mechanical system that is made for the S10's but it requires drilling a hole through your fire wall, running a cable into your cab and mounting the cable lock somewhere under your dash for easy access to lock in your differential.
I had the same problem and i just locked up my front differential all the time, it's been like that now for over 10 years without any issues. The transfer case is not locked up so your front axle is still not synced with your rear axle and is still free to rotate at a different speed then the rear. Just make sure you service the front differential like your suppose to and you should be fine on running with the front differential locked.
Thank you for using fixya and check to make sure that there is no cracks i your vacuum line that is keeping your front actuator from functioning or a failed vacuum switch on top of the transfer case.
On the full size, the front actuator is electric, not vacuum.
When in 4wd mode, a switch on top of the transfer case conducts 12
volts out to the actuator. Wire #50 (brown) is the 12v feed, and it
conducts to the light blue wire (#900) to the actuator. When shifted out of 4wd, the switch opens up and no voltage goes to the actuator.
Check voltage at the connector for the front actuator (at the
front differential - it looks like a large bullet that threads into the
front diff.) If it has 12 volts, the actuator is the problem. If it
does not have 12 volts, check the transfer case switch and the power
feed to the transfer case.
I'll assume it is the actuator, if the plug to the actuator is getting 12 volts when in 4wd. The way this actuator works, is it is a sealed chamber that gets heated
by voltage. When it heats, the pin in the end swells and pushes a shift
fork in the front differential. The shift fork engages a spline on the
passenger side of the differential, and boom! you have 4WD.
GM offered an upgrade to this actuator that is a motor instead of a
heated device. However, it requires a small harness addition, a spacer,
and a new actuator. It is about a $150 to $200 option.
luck. The actuator is usually the problem 90% of time but recheck all
of the wire harness just to maker sure there is no short before
replacing any parts.
If it's a shift - on - the - fly 4wd, then call your local Chevy truck dealer. There was a recall on the Electronic 4wd on these trucks. (common problem). Try this just for the heck of it. With the truck stopped, put in 4hi/lo, then put it in reverse. Back up slightly, (about 5ft or so) and then put it in drive (or first in a manual trans) and go forward. Did it lock in? If it locks in but won't unlock, try backing up to unlock. Hope this helps.
i believe those are vacuum controlled on top of the transfer case is a plug with 3-4 vacuum lines going to it,you will need to take it out and see if the check ball is stuck if it is it needs to be replaced