20th Jun 2002, 00:06

Hi, I have a 1995 Safari AWD and have a terrible bucking problem right now. The front end feels like it will fall off and slowing down doesn't correct it until I stop. Then it's fine again for a while. Thanks for the advise of changing the transfer case oil. Although this is not a repair, I feel that I will be able to drive the vehicle at least. Sounds like the oil spec may not be correct or that a bit of dirt in the oil will create a big problem. I've had mine for 7 years and this is the 1st problem, so that's not bad overall.

7th Nov 2002, 18:20

I have a 2000 GMC and experience the "stutter" during parking maneuvers and low speed turns at up to 13 mph. I also experience a series of "stumbles" under moderate acceleration. This feels much like going over three small evenly spaced cracks in the road - but only with the rear wheels. I too have been told that this is all "normal operation" at 35,500, just prior to the witching hour on the warranty. Both idler arms were found out of spec at this time and were replaced, with no improvement in stutter during slow maneuvers.

20th Dec 2002, 10:26

Upstate NY - I have a 97 GMC Safari AWD with 38K on it. The idler arms went at 5000 miles. and the transfer case fluid was changed (USE SYNTHETIC FLUID) at about 15K for that low speed turning shudder problem. I was told GM issued a notice to change the transfer case fluid to synthetic to solve that shudder problem. The transmission was fully serviced at the same time. The transmission (4L60E) just went the other day at 38K (reverse band broke and possible valving problem) and of course they don’t want to cover the cost $3000. I told them of transmission noises and vibrations in the past, but they heard nothing on road tests. One of the warranty folks at GM told me, "Next time you should get an extended warranty." What brilliance …the saga continues…

7th Jan 2003, 16:52

I have a 1999 Chevy Astro AWD. When under warranty, "many" small-to-medium sized repairs where made to the vehicle, but we still generally like it, with it's ability to carry my family of six and its great traction in the NH snow. Anyway, at about 40,000 miles, we began hearing an occasional noise that sounded like we rode over a rumble strip. Brought it to Chevy dealer and they replaced the transmission with a Serta (rebuilt from GM) for $2,500. Then, the same problem (noise) starts a month later and they replace a part in the new transmission. We just got it back, and it sounds like the noise is already starting up again! In addition, I just checked the idler arms, and both are completely gone; my job tonight is to replace them. Also, I should mention that shortly after I bought the vehicle (brand new) I noticed the front fender had been replaced, and was told by GM that they most likely replaced it at the factory due to a small accident; they could have done a better job.

14th Jan 2003, 05:43

I have a 1996 Chevy Astro purchased new. I have had all of the previously mentioned problems as well (and some others). I've gone through several sets of idler arms, a rebuilt transmission, and now a transfer case. With mine, the transfer case went suddenly and no rubble-strip or shudder type of warning. Just a nice loud bang followed by grinding noises. I am debating now on whether to have this repaired or just give up on this vehicle. I like it's size and towing capacity, but am very tired of all the problems. As to the other party who had GM tell them to buy and extended warranty... not necessarily good advise. I had one to 60K miles and the trans went at 61K. GM refused to accept any of the cost.

6th Feb 2003, 20:54

Feb 6 2003


I had a '91 Safari SLT-AWD as a work vehicle and the only problem I had with it before it was replaced in 2000 was a broken power lock on one side. It was so good that I bought it from the dealer for my wife when I picked up my new 2000 SLT-AWD. With that experience I didn't even take a test drive when picking out the 2000. I wish I had seen this page before I made that decision.

At about 20,000 km, I had just arrived on the 4th floor of the airport-parking arcade when there was a loud thunk from somewhere and the power brakes and steering were gone. I struggled into a spot and wondered how I was going to deal with this after my return flight. The exit is a spiral ramp so I didn't think a tow truck could pull me out of there. What a struggle getting that thing down. GM towed and fixed it under warranty. The power steering and brakes are both pressured from a single unit and the pump shaft is common to both and it snapped. Good thing it didn't happen on the freeway at rush hour.

Then I started having the problems that have been described by the others before me at about 40,000km. I think what happens is when the vehicle turns a corner, the inside wheel should travel slower than the outside wheel. As the fluid in the transfer case breaks down, it forces the inside wheel to travel faster and that tire actually spins if you are on loose gravel or snow. Even on dry pavement, it gives the sensation that the back end is slipping, as if the road was icy.

After driving like this for about 10,000km more, I started to get the same noise problem like the others have described. The dealer replaced the transfer case fluid after much prompting, but it is starting again after about 12,000km.

I have a work colleague with the same model 2002 and he has had even worse experience. AWD broke. Dealer said there was nothing wrong, that the AWD wasn't supposed to kick in until the vehicle was going about 20kph. He finally pestered them so much that they replaced the transfer case fluid again and replaced a part and now it works like normal. Our company has enough GM vehicles that we get a fleet discount when we buy. After these experiences, I don't think we'll be dealing with GM any more.

25th Feb 2003, 11:12

I have a 1999 Sonoma high rider. I have had the transfer case rebuilt at 64,000 km. and the transmission built at 70,000 km. and now Iam having trouble with the transfer case again. Is this a common problem with these GM's.The dealer would not do anything for me.

8th May 2003, 10:12

I own a 1997 GMC Safari AWD with about 67,000 miles on it. While I never got the "bucking," the front shaft on the transfer case went out at about 50,000 miles. The transmission had a hard shift, and it is now out at 67,000 miles. It is my understanding that there is a cheap aluminum valve in the transmission which sticks, causing the hard shift and eventual failure. I can see no reason why the front shaft of a transfer case would fail unless there is some defect. GMC should be forced to do a recall for these problems.