You can push the button to kick it in and it will kick in but it sounds like a chain sliping or axle sliping it still pulls alittle but sounds bad. this is in a 2001 gmc sierra 1500 auto push button z71.
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There are 2 models here the push button will flash if the system is not engaging or disengaging properly . If front drive shaft is turning. That is with car raised and supported . if front drive axles do not turn then the axle actuator is not engaging axle shaft passenger side. Remove actuator and manually engage shifting collar with a screwdriver still does not turn then inner axle is twisted.
If it is a push button four wheel drive system there should be a soft vaccum line the runs to your front end where your axle shafts are connected. There is a little box there which is what controlls your two wheel and four wheel. It's possible that the line is dry rotted and won't hold enough pressure to switch out of four wheel or also possible that the sensor there has gone bad as well.
Depending on the year, it is not posted, it may be a bad transfer case motor. The clicking you are hearing is the motor trying to engage transfer case & front axle. It looks like a windshield wiper motor & when it gets power & works properly it engages front wheels. Again, depending on the year, may be 4 wheel drive actuator or switches bad on front axle or transfer case.
Start out with buying yourself a $25 book from the Parts House. The I would go to the front HUBS, secure & safety vehicle before you do anything, Clean, Inspect, Lune & Repair front Hubs as required, get the brakes while you're there. Check your drive line, axles, u-joints etc. Clean , repair , replace as needed. Check for Tranfer case Operation. Is there power going to the front Axle when 4WD is engaged? do you feel a change when you engage the Transfer Case? Have you checked the Power on the circuits? Have you Manual or Auto-locking Front Hubs? Answer all those Questions & read before you do anything.
Sounds like yoou have a short either in the switch pod or in the 4wd electrics. Check for pinched wires or bare wires grounding out at the front axle and at the transfer case.