Service 4WD Message May be Displayed on Chevrolet Suburban 1500

The 4WD transfer case encoder motor position sensor or the selector switch may fail causing the service 4WD message to be displayed. Fault code(s) stored in the transfer case control module will be of assistance in determining the exact fault causing the message to be displayed.

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Average mileage: 123,445 (38,000–202,000)
Drive Trains affected: 2WD, 4WD
9 model years affected: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, more2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
49 people reported this problem
19 people shared problem details
4WD Service light came on intermittently. 4WD/2WD indicator lights would indicate Neutral or 4WD-L and the engine would bog down until it shifted out of Low. "System Stability Disabled" warning would also come on. Took to a mechanic that want about $570 to instal the new 4WD Transfer Case Postion Sensor. this really seams to be a manufacturing defect, but it past warranty.
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2002 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD180,000
service 4x4 light on
On 4 wheel drive indicator panel, light goes from 2WH to Neutral, service 4wheel drive is displayed and Traction Control System is disabled.
2005 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD130,000
Service 4 wheel drive message information center and sometimes the switch is disabled with no orange lights and disabling the control.
2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD118,000
sometimes when driving my truck will shift into 4wd and when i push the button to put it back into 2wd the light just flashes. i have to restart my truck several times before it will switch back.
My truck automatically goes from 2wd to 4wd then stays in neutral
2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD135,000
shifts it self out of 2 wheel drive, lite blinks and will not engage and go into gear. Works later after a few minutes. When in 4 wheel , it will not in engage sometimes and message comes on to service 4 wheel drive. From research it seem that it is the transfer case sensor. It has done one or more of these things in the last 30 days and then run ok
I replaced the 4wd transfer switch in 2007 and now again it is not working, this would be the second switch I would replace, all GM parts
I had been driving my suburban and parked. Went into store and came back out. I started my suburban and the service 4 wheel drive message showed up. It was making an awful squealing noise and my suburban didn't want to let me back up, but I could drive forward no problem. Luckily I got it home and it is parked. Have had lots of rain here.
2005 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD130,000
Tranny went out at 128,000 miles, spent $2000.00 (at Aamco) for a rebuilt transmission. Now it will not go into gear unless I put it in 4WD Auto. Aamco now states;" it needs a new Transfer Case and Encoder motor at $800.00. It doesn't pass the smell test for me!!!!! Elston Howard
2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD154,000
Service 4WD has come on intermittently forever with no issues and no known cause. Suddenly, it was in 4WD low when I started it. I could get it back to 2WD or Auto but it made a clanking sound. Now it sticks in 4WD low every time I turn off the engine. I had the codes ran and it pulled 9 of them! It could be anything from the speed sensors to the encoder.
2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD157,000
Service 4WD lite will come on, lites on 2wd, 4wd hi and lo indicator will come on simultaneously in a dimmer mode or one will have a red lite. Vehicle will behave like it is shifting into 4WD but won't fully engage. Engine will become sporadic and will sometimes have an effect of the transmission shifting up and down in the gears. Acceleration is severley limited and engine while in gear will remain at a low rpm with full throttle on the gas pedal. Only way to stop it was to stop and restart the motor. Shift into neutral, then push one of the 4WD buttons, then the 2WD button, which you could then hear and feel the transfer case shift back to 2WD. Then it would drive fine until the next time it would do it. About every 50 to 100 miles it does this.
2005 Chevrolet Suburban 1500- 4WD180,000
Vehicle shifts without warning from 2 wheel drive to 4WD. Currently can not get it out of 4WD.
the "service 4WD" notice goes on, the stability system will not work and the lights go off on the selector for 2 or 4WD HI and LOW; the car cannot be used in 4WD and it gets very scary. I has not been fixed.
service four wheel drive
service 4 wheel drive message p01837
At approx 30000, SER 4WD message, dealer said it was a bad transfer case motor, replaced motor. At 65000 same problem same solution. At 105000 same problem, now wondering if outside moisture is causing problem. Dried transfer case motor out and problem seems to be gone. Recall last times problem occured was raining and damp for prolong time. Another Suburban owner stated he cured problem by sealing around transfer case motor with HD sealer. Might be worth a try.
Had the 4wd service come on at 55,000. Boss had an 2003 Tahoe that did the same thing. Both vehicles had sensor replaced. Now it is back on with 88,000 miles. Will try cleaning grounds.
I had to take to dealer who replaced sensor and charged me 1800.00 to fix 2 years later the kight is coming on again but it isnt locked in 4wd this time like last time
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