1996 GMC Sonoma SLS 4.3 vortech from North America


Decent truck for the money


I have not found any problems yet.

General Comments:

This truck is a standard cab.

Step side with a Z sport package.

The 4.3 with standard transmission works well together, sort of quick.

I cannot find out how many were made like this. I do not see too many like it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th May, 2004

1996 GMC Sonoma SLS 2.2L I4 from North America


A decent, economical daily driver truck


Valve cover gasket needed to be replaced at 42000 miles due to leakage from original gasket.

U-joint needed to be replaced at 50000 miles due to normal wear.

Clutch needed to be replaced at 72000 miles due to improper installation of pilot bearing by previous owner.

Clutch master cylinder needed to be replaced at 89000 miles due to bad "O" rings on the piston within the unit.

Clutch slave cylinder needed to be replaced at 90000 miles due to the fact that the seals could not take increased pressure from new master cylinder.

Upper and lower ball joints needed replacement at 95000 miles due to normal wear.

General Comments:

The light weight of this truck makes the 2.2l I4 engine seem adequate, however, highway passing speed is nowhere to be found.

Brakes work well on dry surfaces, but the ABS kicks in too frequently during short stops on damp surfaces.

Seating is comfortable, but could use more protection on the exterior seat hinge area to prevent fabric being worn though during entry and exit of the vehicle.

Access to certain components of the drivetrain can be very difficult for the do it yourself mechanic. To remove the manual transmission for repair, the cab must be jaked off of the frame to reach 2 top mounting bolts. Also, the clutch slave cylinder is inside the transmission housing, causing more work than should be necessary to replace.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2003

24th Nov 2003, 23:51

Hi, I changed my clutch without raising the cab, you just need a really long extension with a swivel, and a strong impact wrench.

25th Apr 2004, 08:19

I bought my '96 Sonoma SLS used and thought I'd made a very good deal considering what I had to trade. In the two months that I've had it, I've had to replace the front brake rotors, upper ball joints, and am looking at replacing the water pump now. These are problems that I consider 'normal' with over 100,000 miles on the truck (and from the evidence, the previous owner didn't exactly 'baby' the truck).

I'm suprised at the performance of the 2.2L motor, just didn't expect much from it. It isn't ever going to be a good highway-speed 'passer', and I seriously doubt if it'll win any races, but for my use it's fine. Just remember to service the thing when it's required!

All in all, I'm happy with the Sonoma. I didn't 'skin' the dealer as bad as I thought, but he didn't 'skin' me either (for a change!).


16th Nov 2004, 13:21

Hi there.

I am having a tough time even seeing the top 2 transmission to engine bolts. How high do you have to jack up the cab to get to them? I have the drivers side up about 3.5" but I am worried about damaging brake and fuel lines if I go any further. Do you need to tilt the engine?

1994 GMC Sonoma 4X4 4.3 ext cab.

1996 GMC Sonoma SLS 2.2L from North America


Stealthy, trouble-free truck



General Comments:

I bought my Sonoma SLS extended cab new in 96', the truck has a 5-speed manual which was great for what I used it for, besides everyday use, and that was to pull an enclosed trailer hauling dirt bikes, gear, a cooler, etc. for racing Enduros, hare scrambles, and trail riding. I sold the Sonoma to a good friend, after I bought a GMC Safari SLT van, which is also used the same way. I am sold on GMC trucks and vans, never having a problem with either/or vehicle. If I could do it over, I would have never the sold the Sonoma, but the van is a great vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th February, 2003