Is just me or is 4WD basically useless?

TonyT

Original poster
Member
May 6, 2012
108
A minor slope going up a friends farm driveway with several inches of slush and me with not quite enough speed on from the country road. Rear wheels just spun and shifted me sideways. Front wheels did nothing. I saw that once before in six inches of snow and ruts but as it was flat I was able to get myself out. And yes I shifted it into 4WD as soon as I made the corner and it had stopped blinking before I started up the small slope. Indeed maybe the problem was that I slowed down waiting for the 4WD light to turn on. When I should've just accelerated like I normally would've.

Seems to me without some kind of transfer case/different locking, limited slip or traction control four wheel drive is relatively useless. Or am I mistaken?
 

djthumper

Administrator
Nov 20, 2011
14,950
North Las Vegas
Did you try 4 low? Do you even know if your 4WD is even working? There are several of us that use ours off-road.
 

jonbo2002

Member
Sep 27, 2012
213
I've had to use mine miltiple times this year and the 4WD works great from driving on snow covered roads to the 2 track nothern Michigan roads I use to get to my property. you might have a problem with yours are you hearing both parts engauge? and have you serviced the transfercase every 50000?
 

htseat2000

Member
Jan 25, 2013
62
i have never had a problem with my 4wd either. we had a foot of snow last sunday and i would play in 2wd till i got stuck, put it in 4wd high and walk it out of any place. 1st winter i have had 4wd and i love it.
 

BO TIE SS

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,497
TonyT said:
Rear wheels just spun and shifted me sideways. Front wheels did nothing.
Your front wheels should have been doing some pulling. Leads me to believe that something isn't working properly.
Even my AWD TBSS hasn't done what you're describing.
 

Playsinsnow

Member
Nov 17, 2012
9,727
http://gmtnation.com/f79/4wd-not-working-step-inside-107/

This saved me a lot of money. I could/would do 30-45 sideways up a half mile 4lane road if it was late and snowing with 4hi before I replaced my disconnect assembly. All about the tires and throttle. My ltx m/s' are superb for an all season. Never really notice the G80. Know it works just not something I rely on.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Another vote for something possibly not working right (suspecting the disconnect on the passenger side). I've used my 4x4 to pull myself through some nasty winter gunk uphill that the rear would just kick around otherwise.

How many miles on yours? Have you ever had that disconnect apart or serviced? They aren't designed too well and seem to need a rebuild every so often. If that malfunctions the power won't reach the front wheels.

Also, have you had the fluid changes on the transfer case done at the proper 50K intervals?
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
If the front wheel(s) weren't spinning, they can't have been engaged if you weren't moving. If you don't have a locking diff (or even an lsd as in the SS and the 9-7), you'd have a two wheel wonder at least..of course both rears can spin with an open diff on a slippery surface.
 

BoldAdventure

Member
Jun 28, 2012
1,634
No way, 4WD is totally useless. I barely ever use the stupid thing. I might even rip it out and throw it away. It's so stupid.
 

TonyT

Original poster
Member
May 6, 2012
108
djthumper said:
Did you try 4 low? Do you even know if your 4WD is even working? There are several of us that use ours off-road.
No, I didn't try 4 Low. It never occurred to me to try that. As I didn't think it would make any difference.

The motors whir, or at least did last summer, and the lights change as per the linked thread. But I didn't actually do any of the physical tests.

I've had it less than a year. The previous owner, who had it three years, told me the dealer did all the fluids. Yeah, right. So I had them all done including the transmission, front and rear diffs, transfer case and the coolant. Gotta do the brake fluid some time.

Sparky said:
How many miles on yours? Have you ever had that disconnect apart or serviced? They aren't designed too well and seem to need a rebuild every so often. If that malfunctions the power won't reach the front wheels.

Also, have you had the fluid changes on the transfer case done at the proper 50K intervals?
185K kms. Newish owner so the disconnect has probably never been apart or serviced.

When in 4WD I have had the jerking mentioned in another thread I read a few months back while doing tight parking lot type turns. So I assumed it was working.

Stupid question. When the linked thread states left side do they mean the drivers side or psgr side? That is do you mean left while facing forward or backwards?

Jkust said:
If the front wheel(s) weren't spinning, they can't have been engaged if you weren't moving. If you don't have a locking diff (or even an lsd as in the SS and the 9-7), you'd have a two wheel wonder at least..of course both rears can spin with an open diff on a slippery surface.
I have no idea if I have a locking diff or not. What do you mean by open diff?

- - - Updated - - -

So is there some kind of locking differential or transfer case or some such? Should the front wheels have been spinning at least a little?
 

jonbo2002

Member
Sep 27, 2012
213
TonyT said:
I have no idea if I have a locking diff or not. What do you mean by open diff?

- - - Updated - - -

So is there some kind of locking differential or transfer case or some such? Should the front wheels have been spinning at least a little?

your rear would be locking if it has the G80 code in your list on the glove box door
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
BundyHill4-2.jpg


Yup, 4 wheel drive sucks on these.

Seriously though, check your glove box for the code G80 on the white build sticker. If you have that code you have a limited slip rear diff, which is a good thing. Go through the diagnostics that the link above tells you to do, that should help pin point where the issue is. I am inclined to guess that it is your front disconnect, but it would simply be a guess at this point. Good Luck
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
TonyT said:
So is there some kind of locking differential or transfer case or some such? Should the front wheels have been spinning at least a little?
In 4HI and 4LO, the transfer case is very well locked up front to rear. But the way torque works is like a fluid. If you have a hole in your garden hose, all the torque will leak out the hole and not much useful water is left for your watering nozzle. Same in tires. One spinning tire will take all the torque and leave none for you to move forward. If you have a dead transfer case with slipping clutches, or a bad splined disconnect on the passenger side of the oil pan, no torque will ever arrive at the front wheels, and it will leak out before it ever gets to the tires.

The lack of flashing lights on the mode control switch just means the two actuators have successfully actuated, not that the mechanical bits behind them are physically doing their jobs.
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
I don't think you will go up the driveway in slush an better in 4LO than in 4HI, just slower. 4WD works very well on these platforms.

What do your tires look like? Meaning the tread, how much left? What kind of tires are you running? 4WD won't do much if your tires are worn, snow needs to be in the tread for traction.

My bet is on the tires.
 

fishsticks

Member
Nov 21, 2011
433
TonyT said:
Stupid question. When the linked thread states left side do they mean the drivers side or psgr side? That is do you mean left while facing forward or backwards?


Left means driver. We lift the driver's side wheel as it is directly connected to the front differential (no splined disconnect) so rotating it and observing will tell us if other parts of the system are working or not.

If it binds in the front when you turn on dry pavement pavement, your 4WD is probably working.
 

keepontruckin

Member
Dec 5, 2011
82
fishsticks said:
If it binds in the front when you turn on dry pavement pavement, your 4WD is probably working.

keyword being probably...Mine would bind up on dry pavement while in 4WD but the disconnect was still shot and my bearings were blown to bits.

It's definitely worth pulling it apart and rebuilding it, as long as you can get it out of the oil pan without breaking the inner housing.

just my $.02
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
OK, I read that the front wasn't doing anything as in not pulling, not that it wasn't turning under power. My bad.
 

Jimmyz

Member
Jul 3, 2013
22
I only bought the 4x4 Envoy over the 2wd because I can put the transfer case in neutral and flat tow it behind my Motorhome. Can't flat tow a 2wd truck without adding an aftermarket transmission pump for $1200.

Other then that we really never use the 4wd.
 

IslandRunner

Member
Dec 4, 2011
316
I totally agree, 4X4 is worthless on these thing. I drive by wet grass and stuck. Should have bought a Jeep Liberty.....Or not!



[video=youtube;mluf3Yavyoo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mluf3Yavyoo&feature=player_detailpage[/video]
 

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