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 Page 1 of 2 12
Username Post: Left stranded by my 4-wheel drive!        (Topic#234612)
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 07:57 AM - Post#1852780    

We had about 6 inches of snow and I needed to go out in it and the 4-high worked just like it should in my 1990 Chevy truck. When I got ready to leave the indicator lights for the 4-wheel drive would not come on and I thought just the light had blown but the 4-wheel drive would not engage at all. I thought maybe ice/snow had built up underneath and cause a problem so I got under the truck and dug out all the snow I could from around the transmission/transfer case thinking that it could be the problem but it did not help. What could be wrong? What should I check? BG



 
JeremyB 
Senior Member
Posts: 753

Reg: 10-31-01
01-30-10 08:58 AM - Post#1852815    
    In response to BG

Actuator on the front axle, it thermal actuated and can take forever to engage when its old and cold



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 10:28 AM - Post#1852844    
    In response to JeremyB

Thanks for the reply. Would that cause the lights at the 4-wheel shifter also not to work?



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 11:30 AM - Post#1852885    
    In response to BG

I have read that these are the thermal type and that it could be upgraded to a electric type of some kind, does anyone know about this? I also read that the ones for the 1995 model uses one that is better than the earlier ones but when I search the auto parts places it looks like they list the same ones for the 1990 and the 1995 models. It worked perfectly for me going until I started it back up. Is this the way they go bad or is there something else that I need to check when I crawl under it?



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 12:22 PM - Post#1852917    
    In response to BG

I just read that the transfer case switch sends power to the actuator switch, would this be my problem??



 
Randy_W 
None
Posts: 27804

Reg: 01-06-02
01-30-10 12:45 PM - Post#1852938    
    In response to BG

It's probably the actuator, they will usually go ahead and engage if you wait long enough, though they do sometimes quit altogether. There are good replacements, both electric and cable operated.

Randy

DON'T mess with Old Men, we didn't get old by being, STUPID!!!

"The veneer of civilization is very thin!" (Arlo)


 
JeremyB 
Senior Member
Posts: 753

Reg: 10-31-01
01-30-10 01:01 PM - Post#1852948    
    In response to Randy_W

Just test for power at the front axle actuator on the light blue wire with the ignition on and the shifter in 4hi(engine off), you should have 12v if the transfer case switch is working and that would indicate a faulty actuator. If you don't have 12volts check the 4x4 fuse.

The newer style actuators were first used in 97 or 98 and to retrofit the older styles to it you need a spacer that goes into the actuator port in the front axle and a wiring harness adapter that adds a wire to the actuator connector.

The 4WD light just indicates that the actuator has extended and made a switch in the front axle



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 01:31 PM - Post#1852983    
    In response to JeremyB

I have checked the fuse at the dash, is there any more for the 4 wheel drive to check?



 
Randy_W 
None
Posts: 27804

Reg: 01-06-02
01-30-10 02:39 PM - Post#1853034    
    In response to BG

Just for your info, it's snowing like hell, we got a foot on the ground and it's 17 degrees, I just got back from the store. When I left home it took about 2 minutes to engage 4hi, I had to move the truck and shift it in and out a couple of times. I basically consider that normal on these trucks with a few miles and years on them.

Randy

DON'T mess with Old Men, we didn't get old by being, STUPID!!!

"The veneer of civilization is very thin!" (Arlo)


 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 03:44 PM - Post#1853072    
    In response to Randy_W

I did try several times to get mine to engage and even let the truck warm up for a good while so I will test for power at the actuator tomorrow.BG



 
JeremyB 
Senior Member
Posts: 753

Reg: 10-31-01
01-30-10 04:11 PM - Post#1853086    
    In response to BG

  • BG Said:
I have checked the fuse at the dash, is there any more for the 4 wheel drive to check?



If you have a manual shift 4x4 that should be it on a k1500, on the 1 ton and possibly the 3/4HD there is a synchronizing relay in the circuit that might cause problems. Going in and out of 4x4 with the thermal actuator may actually delay the engagement more because it will turn the heating element off. Before I switched to the electric(98 and newer) I waited at least 30 seconds at a time for the thermal actuator to engage the front axle



 
aerosedan42 
Contributor
Posts: 359

Loc: Oregon
Reg: 07-20-08
01-30-10 05:52 PM - Post#1853148    
    In response to JeremyB

I am buying the cable operated replacement actuator. It is called posi lok and is $202 at summit. Other guys on this site told me they have used it and never had engagement problems, so I am switching. I need it to be reliable like it sounds like you do.



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 08:01 PM - Post#1853198    
    In response to aerosedan42

When I was under my truck last night it was hard to see everything but I did see some wiring and I did not see any vacuum lines. Does the 1990 Chevy use any vacuum for the actuator? BG



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-30-10 08:05 PM - Post#1853201    
    In response to aerosedan42

If mine is the actuator I might need to give the cable style system some thought! I saw that there are some comments/articles where people have designed their own cable assemblies. BG



 
rem788 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 43

Loc: New London, Ohio
Reg: 01-10-10
01-31-10 05:02 AM - Post#1853289    
    In response to BG

i made my own posi lock for two resons 1. couldnt for the life of me see why they could want so much for it! 2. yes im tight when it comes to money but the wife is tighter! there was no way she would have let me spend the money on it! and i wasint gonna spend my money...lol... when i want 4x4 i dont want to wait on it! if u do make your own make sure you buy a good cable that locks! i got less then $50 in mine and it works great! the actuator has npt threads.. pretty sure it was 1 1/4.. i have a few cars to work on today but if i get a sec. ill take some pics for ya...



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
01-31-10 05:29 AM - Post#1853301    
    In response to rem788

If you get a chance I would like to see the pictures. Thanks, BG



 
aerosedan42 
Contributor
Posts: 359

Loc: Oregon
Reg: 07-20-08
01-31-10 06:53 AM - Post#1853347    
    In response to BG

Not to hijack, but I would like tosee how you did it. Wher did you get the parts? I could like not spending all that money too. Thanks




 
MustGoFaster 
Senior Member
Posts: 4725
MustGoFaster
Loc: Oregon
Reg: 11-28-03
01-31-10 11:16 AM - Post#1853541    
    In response to rem788

  • rem788 Said:
i made my own posi lock for two resons 1. couldnt for the life of me see why they could want so much for it! 2. yes im tight when it comes to money but the wife is tighter! there was no way she would have let me spend the money on it! and i wasint gonna spend my money...lol... when i want 4x4 i dont want to wait on it! if u do make your own make sure you buy a good cable that locks! i got less then $50 in mine and it works great! the actuator has npt threads.. pretty sure it was 1 1/4.. i have a few cars to work on today but if i get a sec. ill take some pics for ya...


yes! the only reason i didn't buy the posi-lock is the outrageous price.... and my thermal actuator just keeps going. though it can be a little delayed in the snow.

pictures and a parts list would be awesome!

Al

91 K1500 EC/SWB, 322k original miles
79 Jeep Cherokee Chief, off-road toy
07 Mazdaspeed3, bolted track rat


 
BigBlackchevytruck 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 84

Reg: 01-18-10
01-31-10 04:21 PM - Post#1853750    
    In response to MustGoFaster

Yeah making your own would definately help out the wallet! Could you fill us all in on how you did yours? Thanks



 
BigBlackchevytruck 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 84

Reg: 01-18-10
02-01-10 04:03 AM - Post#1853994    
    In response to rem788

Sorry I replied to the wrong person but I was just wondering if you could give us some details on how you made your posi-lok? Did you use like a manual choke cable or something of this sort? Thanks



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
02-01-10 09:13 AM - Post#1854164    
    In response to BigBlackchevytruck

I just checked for power at the actuator and it has power so I guess I need to decide if I want to replace with stock actuator or see how the cable style is designed. BG



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
02-01-10 03:22 PM - Post#1854355    
    In response to BG

When the actuator is bad will it keep the shift console lights from coming on? BG



 
nickmac 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1113
nickmac
Loc: Tennessee
Reg: 02-13-07
02-01-10 04:33 PM - Post#1854417    
    In response to BG

Yes, because it hasn't engaged.

Dan
'16 Chevy Traverse 3.6 FWD
'04 Chevy K1500 Silverado 5.3 4x4


 
rem788 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 43

Loc: New London, Ohio
Reg: 01-10-10
02-01-10 05:13 PM - Post#1854455    
    In response to BG

ok yall... sorry but ive tried to get some pics posted... but i cant figure it out! if ya want i can email them...

Scott



 
patgizz 
Senior Moderator
Posts: 8590
patgizz
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Reg: 01-30-00
02-01-10 06:17 PM - Post#1854504    
    In response to rem788

scott,

email them to chevylumina at gmail.com and i will post them for you



 
BG 
Contributor
Posts: 728

Reg: 09-12-07
02-01-10 08:47 PM - Post#1854615    
    In response to rem788

It looks like it would be easy to make something similar to the Posi Lok! BG



 
rem788 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 43

Loc: New London, Ohio
Reg: 01-10-10
02-02-10 04:53 PM - Post#1855156    
    In response to patgizz

got pic sent... thanks for postin them for me... i also see that were only a stone throw away from each other... i live just north of new london ohio... thank again!

Scott



 
rem788 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 43

Loc: New London, Ohio
Reg: 01-10-10
02-02-10 05:13 PM - Post#1855169    
    In response to BG

yes it was very easy to make it.. i sent patgrizz the pics so yall can see what i did... i had everything in my cave but the cable. the pipe plug i used is (i think) 1 1/4" npt... threads in good were actuator was with no force. use 3/8" bolt with head cut off (prob could left on). the metel i used was from an old truck door i think. youll want to use a good heavy cable.. choke cable not strong enough! try to find one that locks! if ya got any ? let me know! ill try to get back to ya as soon as i can...

Scott



 
aerosedan42 
Contributor
Posts: 359

Loc: Oregon
Reg: 07-20-08
02-02-10 06:01 PM - Post#1855201    
    In response to rem788

PLease post pics, I desperately need to do this. Any ideas where to source a cable strong enough that locks? I really want to do this and want to do it right.



 
rem788 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 43

Loc: New London, Ohio
Reg: 01-10-10
02-03-10 03:30 PM - Post#1855799    
    In response to patgizz

patgrizz ive sent them pics to ya...but they keep bein sent back... dont know whats goin on! ill try to post them on here again... if not does any one else have any ideas?



 
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