Question about GMC Sonoma

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Transfer case problems on a 2000 GMC Sonoma 4x4 sls 5-speed manual tranny -- 4.3 litres engine. 3-way switch. History -- over the past 4 years in winter, wouldn't switch into 4high setting for 4x4. Drove for a bit and then when warmed up or moving switched back and forth normally. Last winter ago, switched into 4 high ( 4x4) and terrible sounding gear noises resulted when stepping on gas. Down hill at a coast no noise ( only under load ). Jacking up vehicle and running all 4 tires ( 4x4 ) revealed no noise or issues -- works just fine. Disconnected drive line to front differential and noises all gone except for when shifting into 4x4 high -- rattling noises occurs but vehicle runs. For the past 4 months just been using the truck as a 2-wheel drive setting. Now, the rattling occurs of late in either setting -- sometimes less in the 4x4 setting than the 2-wheel setting. Also, it jumps into 4x4 setting by itself after a loud noise from the transfer case. Remember, this is all happening with no drive line attached to the front differental. I assume it is either a broken gear tooth OR the engagement motor is not fully meshing but only partially meshing the engagement gears. That's why it all ran fine when no load was present. Could replaceing the engagement motor do the trick or could there also be damage to the complete transfer case? Should I just replace it all to be certain? I found a used transfer case foe $250.00 with 145,000 kms on it. Perhaps that is the way to go? Thanks Chasrles

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  • charphil Jul 16, 2010

    Superb response time and the solution was understandable and relevant to the case. Thanks for your time and efforts.

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Since the noise appears only at load it means that the bearing supporting the front shaft is pretty much destroyed. There is no noise when there's no load because the few remaining ball from the bearing are still doing what they can to keep the shaft centered. When load is applied the balls are pushed aside and the shaft goes off center and starts to rattle in the bearing cage. The deviation of the shaft might be large enough to put sufficient pressure on the control fork forcing it to engage the 4x4 high.
The entire case has been severely damaged and your only reasonable action is to replace it. 
I found a used transfer case foe $250.00 with 145,000 kms on it - that's an excellent price, get it and replace your own.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010

  • charphil Jul 15, 2010

    Thanks, sounds excellent. Where can I get a schematic of the transmission and transfer case or some steps to replace?

    Is the transfer case separately lubricated from the transmission -- didn't see a drain plug for the transfer case apart from the transmission.

    Can it be removed fairly easily from the transmission?

    I am quite adept at repairing dirt bikes and have replaced bearings, clutches and engine components. Perhaps this is something I should not venture into?

    Thanks again

    Charles

  • Azrael SRL Jul 15, 2010

    Yes , the transfer case is completely separated from the transmission case, with its own lubrication.



    Yes. it can be removed quite easily without any special tools. Yes, you should try to fix it, if you have already bought a replacement part you can at least train yourself and gain experience on it even if it's beyond repair.
    Repair manual  http://www.haynes.com/products/productID...

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