This truck is a nightmare. Every time we drive it, something breaks.

We had it in the shop about a month ago because all of the gas lines were rusted out and leaking. While it was there, they also took care of the transmission cooler lines because they were leaking too. We have driven it only a handful of times since then for fear of something else breaking.

My wife drove it on Thursday to a few different stores and when she got home we had to take our dogs to the vet so we piled them in the back and took off. On the way there, when we were stopped at a red light, we could smell something like burning rubber/plastic (I couldn't pinpoint the smell exactly). I said "I hope that's not us". So we get to the vet, which is only a couple miles from our house, and the smell is overwhelming...it was us because of course it was. When we got out of the car, there was smoke coming from the front-left wheel well.

So we went in to the vet appointment and while my wife was taking care of the payment I went out to the truck to do some inspection. I checked all of the tires and didn't see any noticeable burning anywhere, which is frustrating. So when my wife came out, I went to back out of our parking spot and everything was cool until I turned the wheel. As soon as I turned the wheel, the entire truck grinded to a stop and I had to give it major gas to get it to move. Once I straightened the wheel back out everything appeared normal.

So when I got it home, I jacked it up and took the front wheels off. Both of the calipers on the front were rusted very badly and the bottom slider bolts on both of them were missing the boot and were obviously seized. There wasn't any significant damage to the rotors, but I didn't want to take any chances so I did a full brake job on both sides (calipers, rotors, pads).

When I finished that up yesterday, I went to back out of the driveway and same thing. The truck seized up on me when I started to turn the wheel. It was getting late so I let it sit until today. This morning I took off the rear wheels and checked out the back brakes and everything seems fine there. Plenty of pad left, caliper boots are flawless.

So I put them back on and hopped in the truck to think. I looked down and saw the 4WD knob. The options are 2WD, Auto, 4WD-High, and 4WD-Low. It was on Auto because it was just winter and I've never had an issue being on Auto before. So I grabbed the knob and switched it from "Auto" to "2WD" and the whole truck LUNGED forward. Like, I thought I was gonna go through the garage door.

So after that, I turned the truck back on, backed out of the driveway with no problems at all, and drove it around the block. None of the symptoms I was experiencing are present in 2WD mode.

No check engine light, however, when I was driving home from the vet the other day I was getting the "service stabilitrak" and "service traction control" messages on the DIC. I don't even know where to start looking and I seriously can't afford to keep taking it to a mechanic every time I drive it.

1 Answer 1


As far as the 4wd thing goes, this is normal operation when on dry pavement. You are actually causing the transfer case to bind. This happens when the steering is hard over. The bind comes from the difference while you are turning from the front wheels to the back wheels. The transfer case is designed for the vehicle to go straight. You shouldn't notice it as bad in Auto4WD, but it can happen. You will really notice it when you have it in 4WD-HI or 4WD-LO.

When you switched it from Auto to 2WD, you released the bind which was in the transfer case, which caused the vehicle to lunge.

Really, if you don't need the 4wd (whether auto or full time), leave it in 2wd. You'll get much better gas mileage.

  • I'll definitely be keeping it in 2WD all summer, but I'm still concerned that something is wrong with the front drivetrain. I haven't climbed all the way underneath to inspect the inner CV joints, but I checked out the outer CV joints on both sides when I was changing the brakes and they looked flawless, almost brand new (at least the boots did). When I had it in the shop last, I had them flush the transmission fluid because it wasn't looking so hot. Could that have anything to do with it?
    – Joe
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 13:25

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