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Old 06-08-2017, 09:39 AM   #1
bufmatmuslepants
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New Avalanche owner, questions

I bought a 2003 Avalanche Z71 with 165,000 miles, fully loaded for only $3250. It has a couple things the previous owner let me know about and now I'm trying to fix them. I have AAA free 100 mile towing so a quick call to AAA had them tow it home with only a white lie about not trusting it got it home without making my pregnant wife and 2 year old help me get it home.

The PO was an older gentleman and said the trans was replaced in 2011 at 130k miles right before he bought it. I crawled under it and the paint pen marks and darker painted trans case verify that. However he said that 4wd doesn't work. When I put it in 4hi, the lights do go to 4hi, and I can hear it make the noise as it shifts, however if you go to hit the gas or turn slightly (just feeling for the expected bind to verify its engaged, not enough to really bind it) you get a slipping, grinding kind of sound, like the front driveshaft isn't fully engaged. In 2wd I can spin the front driveshaft freely, and in 4wd or Auto it can't spin by hand, verifying the front diff is engaging, but it's not fully engaging at the T case. If I go to 4lo, it's definitely in low range, but if I turn I can tell it's not engaged with the front and it's not in 4wd. Is that the actuator motor not fully going through the full range of motion? My first guess is to replace the actuator for $100 but I wanted another opinion on what to look for or test before I throw money at it.

The front shocks are SHOT. Going down the road it's just bouncy below 65, but if I go 65 I get a wicked vibration like the tires are bouncing up and down and out of balance, or it's just losing control of the wheels, it's really bad. The tires are brand new, but they are some off brand like MERICA or something cheap, so if when I swap the new front bilsteins in if it doesn't fix it, I was thinking to pull the wheels and have them rebalanced. The tie rods look good, there's no play in the steering, is it possible it's just that the shocks are so bad they can't keep the front settled or do you think it's the pitman arm or idler arm or out of balance tires?

Someone tried to break into the truck at some point and jacked up the key hole in the drivers door so you can't get a key in it. Not a big deal, I use the fob, but I want to replace the key lock. How do I get a new key lock to match my key? Dealership?

It has horrible wind noise as you go faster. With the sunroof open I get awful buffeting, and I found the little flap thing that's supposed to go up has both arms broken. I am going to JB weld them back together, but sunroof closed it still has horrible wind noise. Next guess is removing the roof rack, but what the heck else could cause so much wind noise? Is that just inherent with the truck?

The oil pressure gage is pegged at 80, even key on engine off. My 05 Tahoe has the same problem, and I've been reading it probably needs a new oil pressure sensor and it's not the gage. It goes to 0 key off, so I don't think it's the stepper motor.

Other than that it feels just like my 05 Tahoe, and should be a great truck. It has a ton of hours on it, 6000 at 165k miles, vs only 3300 at 130k on my Tahoe, so I'm guessing it spent a lot of its life as a short commute DD, explaining why the trans went at 130k. It sounds perfect though, the PO used only Mobil 1, and the motor is great.
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 06-09-2017, 06:30 AM   #2
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

Replaced the front shocks with new Bilstein 4600s last night, 1 was completely blown and leaking, the other could be easily cycled with my hand but not leaking. The front end out of control shake is gone but there's still some vibration above 65mph. The tires are AMERICUS brand, and the road noise is still there. I can't tell if it's coming from the transfer case, the front diff, or the tires, it's completely dependent on speed, but doesn't seem to change going over different types of road surface, so I don't think it's the tires. Doesn't matter if I put it in neutral at 60 either and isn't dependent on throttle input, so I don't think it's the trans or T case. I'm going to change the front diff fluid tonight to look for shavings, any other ideas? I drive it to work today and now don't think it's wind noise
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:43 AM   #3
lsstreettrucks
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Start with balancing the tires, then my bet is ball joints (upper and lower).

On the 4wd my guess is the actuation motor is bad on the trans case, pretty common.

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Originally Posted by bufmatmuslepants View Post
Replaced the front shocks with new Bilstein 4600s last night, 1 was completely blown and leaking, the other could be easily cycled with my hand but not leaking. The front end out of control shake is gone but there's still some vibration above 65mph. The tires are AMERICUS brand, and the road noise is still there. I can't tell if it's coming from the transfer case, the front diff, or the tires, it's completely dependent on speed, but doesn't seem to change going over different types of road surface, so I don't think it's the tires. Doesn't matter if I put it in neutral at 60 either and isn't dependent on throttle input, so I don't think it's the trans or T case. I'm going to change the front diff fluid tonight to look for shavings, any other ideas? I drive it to work today and now don't think it's wind noise
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:11 AM   #4
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

I changed the front diff fluid with synthetic 75w-90 and the old fluid was really clean so I think someone else has chased this noise, but it didn't change. Next up is checking if the transfer case is blue Auto Trak II fluid and changing it. How hard is it to change the actuator? I'm debating barrowing it from the Tahoe to see if that fixes the 4wd before buying an actuator. Since it seems like it does shift enough to change the lights, I'm wondering if it's getting stuck near the end of the stroke, is that possible? Or is it possible if the transfer case has normal trans fluid in it that the clutches are not fully engaging?
__________________
1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:08 AM   #5
lsstreettrucks
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I've owned a few of these 4wd push button trucks. Typically the light will change and act like it's going into 4wd then it will fail and return to 2wd. Here is the thing it can fail in 4wd also...

Just YouTube a video on the actuator not hard but there are some specialized instructions. Like having it in certain gear or drive, but I can't remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bufmatmuslepants View Post
I changed the front diff fluid with synthetic 75w-90 and the old fluid was really clean so I think someone else has chased this noise, but it didn't change. Next up is checking if the transfer case is blue Auto Trak II fluid and changing it. How hard is it to change the actuator? I'm debating barrowing it from the Tahoe to see if that fixes the 4wd before buying an actuator. Since it seems like it does shift enough to change the lights, I'm wondering if it's getting stuck near the end of the stroke, is that possible? Or is it possible if the transfer case has normal trans fluid in it that the clutches are not fully engaging?
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:48 PM   #6
BR3W CITY
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

My 05 Yukon makes a similar noise in 2wd when taking off from a stop, lets say 2-11mph. Does yours ever put the "Traction" message up when you hear the noise? Mine with 1 in 20 times it occurs.
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Old 06-15-2017, 07:14 AM   #7
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

It doesn't make any noise in 2wd, but 4wd hi it does between 2 and 10ish like you describe. My theory is either there is not Auto Trak II fluid and the clutches are not grabbing, or the actuator is not going full stroke and not applying full force to the clutches
__________________
1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:20 AM   #8
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

Digging around in the glove box I found a receipt from jiffy lube where all fluids, trans, transfer case, diffs, oil, were changed with synthetic but a note for "special fluid" for the t case, I don't know if that means Auto Trak II. A note says the t case was empty when they did it. Looking under the truck the t case is wet, so now I'm suspending pump rub has caused a leak and I probably have no fluid, and that's where the noise is coming from. The battlefield fix is JB weld on the hole, which if I find a hole I'll try, if that doesn't work I'm probably going to be hunting for a new transfer case. Damnit.
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:51 AM   #9
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

Checked out the pump rub repair better and it looks like JB weld under the RTV, like the RTV is just there to protect the JB Weld. Filled it with new fluid, took a drive, got home and it was pouring guild out the rear seal. Going to replace that seal now and see if it's good.
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:48 AM   #10
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

Replaced the output seal with an autozone seal, still leaked. Pulled it out, RTV, still leaked. Now suspecting it's coming from the top of the case, dripping down onto the seal. Haven't had time to look harder, hoping there's not another pump rub hole on the top of the case and it's just a ****ty seal.
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 07-25-2017, 06:15 AM   #11
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

Started looking around the case for another pump rub hole and found one on the top of the case, only visible via cell phone camera. Sprayed it down with some cleaner, light sandpaper hit to rough it up, and covered it in JB weld. Hoping this cures my leak, and hoping a full case of fluid will quiet it down and lubrication between the clutches will fix my 4wd. If it does, I might buy a new rear case shell and the merchants fix, if not, I'll have to source a used case. Time is ticking on me, my wife is due in 4 weeks, and time/energy to work on this will not be available anymore.
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 07-25-2017, 06:17 AM   #12
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

Pictures, going to do a 2nd coat tonight as the hole spot kind of sank in a little.
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1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:22 PM   #13
bufmatmuslepants
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Re: New Avalanche owner, questions

She holds fluid now, still sings a bit. At least I've bought myself some time since my wife is due in3-5 weeks, I'll try to find a new case and swap when I get time. Moral of the story, check all 4 corners for pump rub, and always check for blue fluid under your truck.

Oh and the shake, I rotated tires and found there's a rock or something rolling around inside a tire. Probably my bad vibration.
__________________
1979 K10 reg cab short bed 33x12.50s - GONE
1988 4x4 reg cab long bed 337k miles - GONE
1995 Z71 GU6 G80 F44 ext cab short bed 149k 305/70/16s - GONE
1995 NZZ GT4 2dr Tahoe 3" lift 14 bolt sf 155k 305/70/16s - GONE
1994 Z28 M6
1995 Z71 GT4 G80 ext cab short bed 215k GONE
1997 GT4 G80 Yukon 4 door leather, sunroof 168k miles GONE
2003 Avalanche Z71 GT4 G80 165k miles
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