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1996 GMC Suburban front differential won't disengage when transfercase is in 2WD

Front 4x4 actuator just replaced. transfer case will shift in and out of 4WD

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: 1997 Suburban Transfer Case stuck in 4WD Lo

most likely needs an encoder motor. That is the fancy term for the motor that switches the t_case through the gears. The flashing lights indicate a code had been stored and you should have gotten it serviced then before further damage. as long as you dont drive it in 4 wheel you should still be ok

Posted on May 10, 2009

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SOURCE: 1996 Yukon 4X4 Electronic Shift on Fly.

I had the same problem with the shift on the fly push-button 4x4 on my 97 Suburban. GM Shop manual indicates that it could be due to an encoder error on the actuator motor. Try pulling the transfer case fuse to reset the transfer case control module. Wait at least one minute. Re-install fuse then re-try operation. Did it last week and that saved me a trip to the dealership and extensive troubleshooting.

Posted on Jan 03, 2011

  • 202 Answers

SOURCE: 2002 Chevy 4wd

maby im wrong but if you rev up and only rear wheels spin that means that it might be 4 wheel drive but not constant 4 wheel drive or diff lock system ,,,, ,, in 4 wheel drive all wheells will turn together but if pressure of slip is bad enough or torque high enough only 2 wheels will drive ,,, thats why diff lock locks wheels together in each axle to over come this ,,, all wheel drive like in landrover locks all 4 wheels together to ensure all wheels rotate to give best grip

Posted on Feb 13, 2012

SOURCE: 1999 Chevy Suburban stuck in 4wd

Hi Dale, Sometimes the front diff becomes wound up. I am not saying this is the problem with your vehicle but what I'm about to suggest may work as it often does with other four by fours. Make sure you have a clear space to drive the vehicle backwards and forwards at a slow speed. As you do so select the two high position on the selector. You may need to reverse and go forward several times. Hope it works for you. Regards John

Posted on Aug 23, 2012

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1 Answer

1990 GMC suburban actuator and fuse location. There is not one on front differential and no place for fuse in fuse block. 4 wheel will not engage. No owners manual


The actuator will not be on the front differential or drive line, it will be on the transfer case, which is mounted behind the transmission. Follow the front drive shaft back from the front differential, and the component at the rear of the driveshaft is the transfer case. That is where four wheel drive is engaged/disengaged.
I'm not familiar with your vehicle, but if you have a separate lever to engage 4wd, there will not be a fuse for the actuator - it is a manual system. If the 4wd is selected electrically, check that all wiring and connectors on the transfer case are in good condition.

Sep 25, 2016 | 1990 GMC Suburban

1 Answer

2004 Tahoe 4x4 will not go into 4 hi or lo. Changed switch on dash and actuator on transfer case.


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

Feb 15, 2015 | 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe

1 Answer

2003 gmc envoy 4x4 problems. 4200 vortec engine. my front diff doesnt seem to be


The Selectable Four Wheel Drive (S4WD) Front Axle consist of the following components:
• Differential Carrier Housing
• Differential Case Assembly
• Inner Axle Shaft
• Intermediate Shaft Bearing Assembly (located on the right side of the oil pan)
• Electric Motor Actuator
The front axle on Selectable Four Wheel Drive (S4WD) model vehicles uses a disconnect feature mounted on the right side of the oil pan in order to engage and disengage the front axle. When the driver engages the 4WD system, the Transfer Case Control Module sends a signal to the electric motor actuator to energize and extend the plunger inside. The extended plunger moves the clutch fork and clutch fork sleeve across from the clutch fork outer gear that is splined to the right side wheel drive shaft to the clutch fork inner gear that is splined to the inner axle shaft. The locking of the two gears allows the axle to operate in the same manner as a semi-floating rear axle. A propeller shaft connects the transfer case to the front axle. The differential carrier assembly uses a conventional ring and pinion gear set to transmit the driving force of the engine to the wheels. The open differential allows the wheels to turn at different rates of speed while the axle continues to transmit the driving force. This prevents tire scuffing when going around corners and premature wear on internal axle parts. The ring and pinion set and the differential are contained within the carrier. The axle identification number is located on top of the differential carrier assembly or on a label on the bottom of the right half of differential carrier assembly. The wheel drive shafts are completely flexible assemblies consisting of inner and outer constant velocity CV joints protected by thermoplastic boots and connected by a wheel drive shaft.

How To Install Repair Replace 4x4 Front Axle Actuator Chevy Trailblazer...

May 11, 2017 | 2003 GMC Envoy

2 Answers

Having trouble with the 4x4 on my 97 GMC suburban. When I push the button for four wheel drive the transfer case shifts and the front drive shaft turns but the front axle will not lock in. The trans went...


There is a front differential actuator on the side of the front axle housing .. select 4x4 inside the cab and check for 12 volts with a test light at the plug for the actuator. If you have power and ground when in 4x4 the actuator has failed ( common ) . If there is no power it is possible they did no plug everything back in on transfercase and left a harness unplugged or damaged. Let me know what you find and I can help further.
Good luck.

Sep 04, 2010 | 1997 Chevrolet Suburban

2 Answers

Four wheel drine willnot work front end making noise


Fuse is located at the end of eh dash on drivers side and the Actuator is located at the front differential and on the passenger side.
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.

Good 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. The actuator may not be fully engaged or disengaged and the fork to the spline may be what is causing the grinding.

88-UP C/K ACTUATOR UPGRADE
VEHICLE SERVICED: 88-99 CHEVROLET FULL SIZE
PURPOSE: IMPROVE AXLE CONNECT ENGAGEMENT TIME AND
COMPONENT RELIABILITY.

SYMPTOMS: NO FRONT DRIVE AXLE ENGAGEMENT WHEN SHIFTED INTO 4X4.

Obtain the following GM part numbers:
(1) 26060073 Actuator
(1) 88959465 Harness/Spacer Kit

Mar 06, 2010 | 1996 GMC Yukon

2 Answers

Wont shift into 4 wheel drive


Check the fuse to the 4x4, if the fuse is good then check the 4x4 electric motor actuator on the transfer case. You should hear it work from 2wd, 4hi to 4low and back to 2wd with the push of the switch. if you don't hear it working then check the wire harness at the actuator motor, look for any damages like corrosion or cracked wire connector clips. If the 4x4 actuator is working on the transfer case, then the front hub 4x4 actuator may have gone bad and that's located on the front differential. It's common for the clip there to corrode and break and is an easy fix with a new collar pin, at worst it's the diaphragm on the vacuum actuator that is located under the battery tray. There is a vacuum switch on the top of the transfer case, driver side but when that fails, your front hub stay's locked in the on position. Good luck and keep me posted and hope it's a simple fuse that has gone bad. You can pick up all these parts at Auto Zone or Parts Source and they will have the step by step instructions for you to get the job done with common tools.

Jan 03, 2010 | 2003 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab

1 Answer

1996 sonoma when i shift into 4hi or low light comes on but front wheels wont engage. But the transmission does. any help to solve this problem


Check the fuse to the 4x4, if the fuse is good then check the 4x4 electric motor actuator on the transfer case. You should hear it work from 2wd, 4hi to 4low and back to 2wd with the push of the switch. if you don't hear it working then check the wire harness at the actuator motor, look for any damages like corrosion or cracked wire connector clips. If the 4x4 actuator is working on the transfer case, then the front hub 4x4 actuator may have gone bad and that's located on the front differential. It's common for the clip there to corrode and break and is an easy fix with a new collar pin, at worst it's the diaphragm on the vacuum actuator that is located under the battery tray. There is a vacuum switch on the top of the transfer case, driver side but when that fails, your front hub stay's locked in the on position. Good luck and keep me posted and hope it's a simple fuse that has gone bad. You can pick up all these parts at Auto Zone or Parts Source and they will have the step by step instructions for you to get the job done with common tools.

Dec 10, 2009 | 2000 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab

2 Answers

The 4x4 is not working on my jimmy. I already replaced the swithc that goes on the dashboarda and still not working. Any ideas??


Check the fuse to the 4x4, if the fuse is good then check the 4x4 electric motor actuator on the transfer case. You should hear it work from 2wd, 4hi to 4low and back to 2wd with the push of the switch. if you don't hear it working then check the wire harness at the actuator motor, look for any damages like corrosion or cracked wire connector clips. If the 4x4 actuator is working on the transfer case, then the front hub 4x4 actuator may have gone bad and that's located on the front differential. It's common for the clip there to corrode and break and is an easy fix with a new collar pin, at worst it's the diaphragm on the vacuum actuator that is located under the battery tray. There is a vacuum switch on the top of the transfer case, driver side but when that fails, your front hub stay's locked in the on position. Good luck and keep me posted and hope it's a simple fuse that has gone bad. You can pick up all these parts at Auto Zone or Parts Source and they will have the step by step instructions for you to get the job done with common tools.

Dec 08, 2009 | 2000 GMC Jimmy

1 Answer

Electronic 4x4 will not disengage


Sounds like the shift motor on the transfer case is bad. You replaced the actuator on the front differential right?

Mar 18, 2009 | 1997 Chevrolet Suburban

1 Answer

1996 Yukon 4X4 Electronic Shift on Fly.


I had the same problem with the shift on the fly push-button 4x4 on my 97 Suburban. GM Shop manual indicates that it could be due to an encoder error on the actuator motor. Try pulling the transfer case fuse to reset the transfer case control module. Wait at least one minute. Re-install fuse then re-try operation. Did it last week and that saved me a trip to the dealership and extensive troubleshooting.

Nov 15, 2008 | 1999 GMC Sierra

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