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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this idea has been tossed around, but I was curious if anyone might have insight on converting their push button 4WD to manual. I am sick and tired of dealing with the electronics and have invested thousands into the system replacing every component several times over and it is still unreliable. I was thinking if I put a manual transfer case in with a shifter and then wire the front axle actuator to a switch, it seems like it might work. I know I would have "SERVICE 4WD" on all the time since the BCM wouldn't have any communication, but that message is on all the time now anyway! Any thoughts?
 

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Who is doing the diagnosis & repairs when you have problems? The GM 4wd systems are very reliable, an occasional encoding motor or dash switch, rarely a front axle actuator. Those parts are not very expensive, and I've never heard of anyone replacing them more than once. So I'm not sure how you could have spent "thousands" replacing these components.
 

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2COR517;1704624 said:
Who is doing the diagnosis & repairs when you have problems? The GM 4wd systems are very reliable, an occasional encoding motor or dash switch, rarely a front axle actuator. Those parts are not very expensive, and I've never heard of anyone replacing them more than once. So I'm not sure how you could have spent "thousands" replacing these components.
Agreed, I have never had a problem in 16 years of GM push button 4wd.
 

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SnowGuy73;1704628 said:
Agreed, I have never had a problem in 16 years of GM push button 4wd.
I bought my 03 2500HD ecsb about 4 years ago, low mileage rust free truck with service history from the dealer. Plowed with the truck for three years and was always having issues with the push button 4wd, kept taking it back to the GM dealer, during this time I replaced 1 actuator, 1 push button switch, 1 TCCM, and 2 Transfer case shifter motors (First one was on warranty).

The push button caused me a lot of down time, ended up using my 85 K20 for three storms last winter while my 2500HD waited to be fixed.

This year I went with a Dodge 2500 with the manual shift T-Case, as for the 2500HD it just sits in the yard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am officially in the thousands on this one. I've had the truck for three winters. The first season, the front axle wasn't locking so I put in an actuator. Once the actuator was in the axle was locking, but the transfer case wasn't shifting. Found out the TCCM was fried and replaced it. I also replaced the switch because it was working only 80% of the time correctly. A week later it stopped going into 4WD again and said "SERVICE 4WD." I had my normal transmission shop (most reputable around) look at it and they found the encoder motor was getting stuck half way and costed me transfer case full of metal shavings. It was fine after this for that season. Last year I had to replace the encoder motor before the season since it seized up. Later in the winter, "SERVICE 4WD" came back and it got stuck in 4HI. Another TCCM was toast and one of the wire harnessed was melting. My mechanic re-wired everything to spec from the TCCM to the encoder motor. I was fine for the rest of the season and the summer. This year came and "SERVICE 4WD" came back and it initially go stuck in 2WD. I eventually got it in 4HI since I was screwed in the middle of a storm. Now it's stuck in 4HI again! I love the truck, so I'd hate to get rid of it just because of the 4WD. Thats why I'd prefer to just manually shift it for reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
CAT 245ME;1704775 said:
I bought my 03 2500HD ecsb about 4 years ago, low mileage rust free truck with service history from the dealer. Plowed with the truck for three years and was always having issues with the push button 4wd, kept taking it back to the GM dealer, during this time I replaced 1 actuator, 1 push button switch, 1 TCCM, and 2 Transfer case shifter motors (First one was on warranty).

The push button caused me a lot of down time, ended up using my 85 K20 for three storms last winter while my 2500HD waited to be fixed.

This year I went with a Dodge 2500 with the manual shift T-Case, as for the 2500HD it just sits in the yard.
CAT 245ME understands my frustration I had two manual shift Dodge that never had issues. I like to be able to feel that you're locking in 4WD rather than pushing buttons!
 

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It's not that big of a deal. Just install a manual transfer case and floor shifter. Buy the new wiring harness that goes from the transfer case to fuse box under the hood. The front diff will plug into it also. This will make all work like it should. You will have a service four wheel drive display. But just go to the dealer and get your DIC reflashed.
If I remember I will pos the gm part number for the harness . It's only like 100 bucks
 

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What truck do you want to do this to?
 

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I thought it should be an easy conversion. My brother bought a new 2012. It was one of the base trim models, reg cab, 8' bed, 1500 4wd that had the manual 4wd shift lever on the floor.
 

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2COR517;1704624 said:
Who is doing the diagnosis & repairs when you have problems? The GM 4wd systems are very reliable, an occasional encoding motor or dash switch, rarely a front axle actuator. Those parts are not very expensive, and I've never heard of anyone replacing them more than once. So I'm not sure how you could have spent "thousands" replacing these components.
Agreed. 9 times out of 10 the accuater goes out
 

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T-case

The encoder ring is usually the part that fails, it's inside the encoder motor assembly and it is a serviceable part, I have had to replace that in the electronic shift 2006 truck, never had any problems in the rock solid manually shifted t-case 2004 truck, both GM's. Haven't had an actuator go in any GM truck made since the early 90's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
BowTieDmax;1711048 said:
What truck do you want to do this to?
Its a 99 Silverado (new body style).
 

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2500 or 1500?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
2500, sorry phone wouldn't post my reply.
 

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Yup it can be done like I said . Need a transfer case. (Price ?? ) Wiring harness ( $100) , floor shifter parts at gm $130
 

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I have had my 2006 K2500 since 2009 @ 25000 miles had to replace the encoder motor. 36000 miles had to replace the TCCM unit. 40000 miles the actuator. Multiple "Service four wheel Drive" messages ever since, bypassed service temporarily by turning the truck off and on again several times. Have had to replace the encoder motor two more times. Have had truck in to three different Chevy dealers since. They can never fix the problem. Truck goes into the dealer with the four wheel drive inoperable, but in the morning when they start in to pull it into the bay the four wheel drive either works fine or is 4 wheel low and they push the button and it works fine again. Pick up the truck and it works fine four an hour, a day, a week or several months and then one day you go to use it and it won't work again. Love the truck but, every time I drive it I know it's a crap shoot as to whether or not it's going to work in four wheel drive or leave me stuck somewhere remote locked up in 4 wheel low. If Ford still made the Excursion I think I would make the switch to Ford diesel. The dogs likes to ride in the back of the suburban or I'd go with the ford pickup.
 

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is it worth it to keep pumping money into an older truck
 

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is it worth it to keep pumping money into an older truck
At $60,000 for a new truck spending a $1000.00 is no big deal. I'm just old fashioned an think that when you take a truck back to the dealer and install all new parts the darn thing out to be fixed for longer than a few thousand miles. I've had other brands of trucks than Chevy and never gave the 4-wheel drive a thought in over 200,000 miles. It's not like it gets used every day.
 

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60,000? i paid 32,000 for mine
 

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I just priced a 2017 suburban K1500 4X4 LT - Over $60,000. The K2500 is no longer available except as a fleet vehicle to the Government for conversion to armored. Even though the Ford Excursions had problems I wish Ford would bring them back but update them to the super duty grade. I need a fully enclosed SUV but may have to settle for the Pickup next purchase.
 
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