Question about 1997 GMC Sierra K2500

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Today I started my 1997 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 and the little light that moves under the P R N D 3 2 1 shift indicator did not come on. Neither the speedometer nor tachometer work and the truck drives with considerably less power. All the other gauges work. It drives as if it's stuck in one gear: it takes a lot of gas to get going from a stand-still. It will not shift down to passing gear at high way speeds and it doesn't actually seem to shift at all.

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1997 GMC Subburban 1500 loses Tach Speedo and Trans sticks in High Gear. I changed the ignition Starter switch which I read was the problem but problem is intermittant and still exist? AMMCO told me to try changing the Neutral Saftey switch first, but didn't say why?

Posted on Dec 13, 2010

  • joevegas46 Aug 27, 2011

    Did you get this fixed? I'm at the same point with my truck. I thought for sure it was the ignition switch too.

  • Frank Diamond
    Frank Diamond Apr 07, 2014

    Hi guys, I own the same vehicle and it is not either switch! It is the Anti Theft device. When you Lock you vihicle it goes into theft mode. If you don't unlock it with the remote switch you will see exactly this and the check engine light will come on until 3 starts and cool downs before you can have no codes. IF your vehicle came with a remote switch or Key Chip then this will cure it. You are starting out in Second gear and this will ruin the transmission if you don't attend to it. I am a Master Tech and have changed both switches before I realized the Theft mode problem. Good Luck, this will cure it. PS: you can turn off the Check engine light by disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes.

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Gmc troubleshooting


More likely the shift cable is binding. Also make sure you fully apply the emergency brake when you park before shifting into Park. This will prevent loading the linkage by the parking pawl making it difficult to move the lever. Especially when parking on a hill.

Also make sure you are pressing the brake pedal when shifting our of Park. Sometimes the brake light switch can be intermittent and either the switch is bad or the switch is out of alignment with the brake pedal lever. This not the most common cause.

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  • 1 Raise each corner of the vehicle up with the car jack and place jack stands under the frame. Make sure the car is raised high enough so you can work under the car freely.
  • 2 Slide the drain pan under the transmission fluid drain plug. Remove the drain plug with a ratchet and socket, and let all the fluid drain out of the transmission. Remove the transmission pan bolts with a ratchet and socket. Pull the pan away from the bottom of the transmission, revealing the transmission shift solenoid.
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  • 4 Take the black lead of the volt meter and touch the negative battery terminal wire. Take the red lead of volt meter and slide the tip into the terminal plug you just disconnected from the shift solenoid. Look at the reading you get on the digital display of your volt meter. Determine if the reading is between 12 and 25. Readings below 12 or above 25 tell you that the shift solenoid is not working. Reattach the plug to the shift solenoid and pull the second plug attached to the solenoid. Perform the same procedures on this plug wire. Replace the transmission shift solenoid after determining it is bad.
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  • 2 Move the gear lever to another gear and look to see if the indicator lines up with the selected gear. Misalignment of the arrow will tell you if there is a problem. Moving the gear shift to "neutral" but having the indicator show the transmission is in "drive" tells you the gear shift indicator is not working properly.
  • 3 Try each gear position to determine how much misalignment is in the indicator. Slide under the car and check for a loose gear shift cable. Check all the gear shift cable connections to ensure they are all tight and are not missing. Tighten any loose gear shift cable clamps or bolts. Replace the gear shift cable if you find that this is causing the misalignment with the gear shift indicator.

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