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Replacing Transfer Case Encoder Motor


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#1 seadoons

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 08:38 AM

I am sure many of you read my previous post regarding the 4WD problems I am having. The dealer tells me the encoder motor needs to be replaced. Part: $685, Labor: $285 for a grand total of almost $1,100. I just ordered the part from O'Reilly this morning for $180 and I will pay the dealer's $100 diagnostic fee and get it out of there.

I have done a lot of research and have a Haynes manual. This looks like a very simple installation (just remove the old one and install the new one.

Here is my question: the truck is currently in 4WD and will not come out of it. Supposedly these new encoder motors are shipping in the neutral position. How can I a) get the transfer case into neutral manually, or b) get the new encoder motor into the neutral position manually. I have one opinion that says I should be able to hook up the electrial wire to the encoder motor before installing it and put it in neutral through the dashboard switch, then install it. Will this do any damage to the new encoder motor?

Also, does anyone have the tourque specs for the three bolts for this part? I have read 15 ft/lbs but I am not 100% confident on that number. The Haynes manual doesn't have it (where I can find).

Thanks for all of your help on this.
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2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Z71 LS 5.3L - Forrest Green

Factory Installed Options: Autotrac, limited slip diff., painted fender flares, trailer towing package

Aftermarket Additions: BFG 285/75/16 All-Terrains, 16x8 Chrome American Racing Python Wheels, Bilstein 5100 Shocks, Westin nerf bars, manik brush guard, KC lights on the guard, spray in bedliner, Delta chest-style tool box, 2 10" Xtant subs in a thunderform box, 20% tint for the front windows.

#2 MikeyZ

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 11:43 AM

I've bought a few encoder motors from the J/Y and they always have a factory sticker on them that specifically say that they CANNOT or SHOULD NOT be operated unless installed. They apparently have a lot fo torque and move very fast and would be damaged if you operated them uninstalled. (that last part was just a guess)

#3 seadoons

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:19 PM

Interesting. So the plan B idea might not work. Any thoughts as to how I can get the transfer case into neutral manually???

MikeyZ - how have you installed the parts you got from the junkyard?

Edited by seadoons, 26 March 2009 - 12:19 PM.

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2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Z71 LS 5.3L - Forrest Green

Factory Installed Options: Autotrac, limited slip diff., painted fender flares, trailer towing package

Aftermarket Additions: BFG 285/75/16 All-Terrains, 16x8 Chrome American Racing Python Wheels, Bilstein 5100 Shocks, Westin nerf bars, manik brush guard, KC lights on the guard, spray in bedliner, Delta chest-style tool box, 2 10" Xtant subs in a thunderform box, 20% tint for the front windows.

#4 chevy27

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:49 PM

Removal Procedure

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1. Raise and suitably support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle in General Information.
2. Remove the transfer case shield. Refer to Transfer Case Shield Replacement .
3. Remove the front propeller shaft. Refer to Propeller Shaft Replacement - Front in Propeller Shaft.
4. Remove the motor/encoder electrical connectors.

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5. Remove the motor/encoder mounting bolts.
6. Remove the motor/encoder assembly.
7. Remove the motor/encoder gasket.

Installation Procedure

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Important

o If the motor/encoder assembly is being replaced because it is defective, make sure that the transfer case is in the neutral position. Manually shift the unit at the shift shaft. Use a crescent wrench if necessary.
o When installing the motor/encoder unit to the transfer case, make sure that the transfer case is indexed properly and it is flat against the transfer case before tightening the mounting bolts.

1. Install the NEW motor/encoder gasket to the transfer case.
2. Install the motor/encoder to the transfer case.

Notice.

Use the correct fastener in the correct location. Replacement fasteners must be the correct part number for that application. Fasteners requiring replacement or fasteners requiring the use of thread locking compound or sealant are identified in the service procedure. Do not use paints, lubricants, or corrosion inhibitors on fasteners or fastener joint surfaces unless specified. These coatings affect fastener torque and joint clamping force and may damage the fastener. Use the correct tightening sequence and specifications when installing fasteners in order to avoid damage to parts and systems.

3. Install motor/encoder mounting bolts. Tighten

Tighten the bolts, in the sequence shown above, to 20 Nm (15 lb ft).

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4. Install the motor/encoder electrical connector. Ensure that the retention clips activate.
5. Install the front propeller shaft. Refer to Propeller Shaft Replacement - Front in Propeller Shaft.
6. Install the transfer case shield. Refer to Transfer Case Shield Replacement .
7. Lower the vehicle.

#5 MikeyZ

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 01:34 PM

Interesting. So the plan B idea might not work. Any thoughts as to how I can get the transfer case into neutral manually???

MikeyZ - how have you installed the parts you got from the junkyard?


Well the write up with pics just above is pretty dead on. Also says how to shift your case into neutral.

I love boneyard parts. The places I buy from offer a warranty and are cheap. The encoder motors I have done were for the S-series chassis (Bravada & Jimmy) Cost me all of $50 each. Starters for $10, Calipers for $15, PCMs cheap, even got a K&N CAI setup for my 04 last month for $125. My first stop for anything that might cost over $50 at the parts store is car-part.com.

#6 seadoons

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 04:03 PM

Guys - thanks for all that information. Will the "shift shaft" be an obvious component? Does the encoder motor actually attach or somehow connect to the "shift shaft"? And how will I tell what position "neutral" acually is? I am going to be tackling this in a few hours...wish me luck.
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2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Z71 LS 5.3L - Forrest Green

Factory Installed Options: Autotrac, limited slip diff., painted fender flares, trailer towing package

Aftermarket Additions: BFG 285/75/16 All-Terrains, 16x8 Chrome American Racing Python Wheels, Bilstein 5100 Shocks, Westin nerf bars, manik brush guard, KC lights on the guard, spray in bedliner, Delta chest-style tool box, 2 10" Xtant subs in a thunderform box, 20% tint for the front windows.

#7 seadoons

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 10:27 PM

I changed this part out tonight. Still having the same problem. It actually wasn't too bad to do - take the skid plate off, remove the front drive shaft, take out three bolts on the motor and unhook the two electrical connections. Fortunately the new part was turned just right and I didn't have to make any adjustments to the transfer case.

Now - there are two reasons why I am thinking I am still having problems.

1. The intructions say above: Important

o If the motor/encoder assembly is being replaced because it is defective, make sure that the transfer case is in the neutral position. Manually shift the unit at the shift shaft. Use a crescent wrench if necessary.

I didn't do this. Now, if I were to manually adjust the transfer case to neutral then the new part wouldn't align - so how would that work? I am confused on this one. Maybe they say this is important as the new parts are shipped in the neutral position and they want you to put the t-case in neutral so things will line up?

2. The instructions that came with the new part say at the very end that if there is a transmission code that is still active - which there is (service 4WD) that the code must be cleared before using the motor. Not many places have the ability to clear transmission codes so I guess I will call around in the morning. I had the negative cable off for about three hours while I worked on it...I guess that didn't clear the code.

Any thoughts on this? I know this isn't really a commonly discussed subject.

Edited by seadoons, 26 March 2009 - 11:01 PM.

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2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Z71 LS 5.3L - Forrest Green

Factory Installed Options: Autotrac, limited slip diff., painted fender flares, trailer towing package

Aftermarket Additions: BFG 285/75/16 All-Terrains, 16x8 Chrome American Racing Python Wheels, Bilstein 5100 Shocks, Westin nerf bars, manik brush guard, KC lights on the guard, spray in bedliner, Delta chest-style tool box, 2 10" Xtant subs in a thunderform box, 20% tint for the front windows.

#8 bigredmariner

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 10:51 PM

Nathan, it is possible it could be the transfer case control module, but that thing is not cheap. You've already replaced the common items that fail. I'm out of ideas, maybe someone else will jump in and educate all of us. Good luck :lol:

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#9 MikeyZ

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 07:00 AM

The truck appears to be a 2002. Is this a 3 button switch or a 4 button switch?

Check the website I referenced and look up the TCCM (it will be listed at transfer case computer or something under computer) those are also fairly cheap at the boneyards and most often you just need your old OEM number. The switches are really cheap on eBay and fail a lot in the saller trucks. i don't know what the track record is though on the full size models.

In the service manual there is a testing procedure that gets you places when trying to figure out if the push button switch is bad. tells you resistance needed across several contacts. It may also tell you which wire going to the encoder motor should be hot at what times so you can test and see if that's really the problem still. On the 01 that I worked on the light went out when we started the car and we didn't need to clear anything, but that was a Jimmy and not a full size. I can't see it being much different.

It's actually pretty easy to check the motors too as you should hear a clunk or a loud click from under the vehicle when you push the button. if you are pushing the button and don't hear at least the click in the interior I would suspect push button or TCCM.

#10 chevy27

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 08:35 AM

Did you disconnect the battery before the install, also check your ATC fuse under the hood, it could have blown. Last i would check for a bad ground or connection.

#11 seadoons

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 11:48 AM

Update: it is currently at the dealer. To answer your questions above - it is a 4 button system and yes, I did have the battery un-hooked when doing the repair. I also left it un-hooked overnight hoping that the code would clear.

I took it to the dealer because I think it is the TCCM. They have done some prelim tests on the electrical system and the current code is:

-C0324 T-Case Lock Circuit High.

They are telling me that either the TCCM is bad or there is a short in the wiring between the TCCM and the encoder motor. I don't really understand all of the electrical stuff so I am leaving it to them. They are tearing into it as I type in order to further test it to see exactly what is wrong. Surprising, they were willing to print out a whole bunch of wiring diagrams to give to me and tell me which specific wires to test out and then they were even going to tell me how to tell what the specific problem was so that I could do it myself.

If it ends up being the TCCM it will be $800 for the repair - $500 for the part and $300 for labor. As for the encoder motor that I already replaced, he told me that there are not any codes currently showing that there is a problem with that motor. It was a different dealer that told me that yesterday - and they are thinking that maybe the computer / wiring problems fried the old encoder. Who knows. If it is the TCCM...this entire ordeal will have costed me about $1,100. New dash switch, new encoder motor, and new TCCM. What a nightmare.

I am hoping they just fix it - I don't really have the time or patience anymore to keep throwing parts at it, and I don't think I can get a TCCM from my local auto parts store.

Thanks again for all of the help!

Edited by seadoons, 27 March 2009 - 11:49 AM.

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2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Z71 LS 5.3L - Forrest Green

Factory Installed Options: Autotrac, limited slip diff., painted fender flares, trailer towing package

Aftermarket Additions: BFG 285/75/16 All-Terrains, 16x8 Chrome American Racing Python Wheels, Bilstein 5100 Shocks, Westin nerf bars, manik brush guard, KC lights on the guard, spray in bedliner, Delta chest-style tool box, 2 10" Xtant subs in a thunderform box, 20% tint for the front windows.

#12 seadoons

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 12:27 PM

Another Update - just got the call from the dealer. It needs a new TCCM (transfer case control module). $880 plus tax. OUCH. Well, I tried everything I could do on my own. I called the local parts store and they don't carry the TCCM so I think it is a dealer only part. Yes, I could order it from that boneyard parts places but I don't really have the time to wait for it to ship and I won't have time next week to install it myself. In addition to all of that, I would have to pay the dealer for all the work they have done up to this point today which would almost be as much as the labor charge I am incurring for them just to fix it. They will also be able to clear out all of the codes too.

What a mess. I might be truck shopping soon.
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2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Z71 LS 5.3L - Forrest Green

Factory Installed Options: Autotrac, limited slip diff., painted fender flares, trailer towing package

Aftermarket Additions: BFG 285/75/16 All-Terrains, 16x8 Chrome American Racing Python Wheels, Bilstein 5100 Shocks, Westin nerf bars, manik brush guard, KC lights on the guard, spray in bedliner, Delta chest-style tool box, 2 10" Xtant subs in a thunderform box, 20% tint for the front windows.

#13 chevy27

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 12:56 PM

Have you ever had the tccm reprogramed? Maybe as a last resort before you replace it would be to have it reprogramed if there are any updates.

#14 MikeyZ

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 01:12 PM

Wow dude that sucks. $800 for a part that the boneyards want $50 or less for. I hope the dealer is right on this one.

#15 DofD

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 01:17 PM

What a suckpoo situation there Nathan. All that work and still have pay the dealer $$$. Now if the dealer had told you to begin with that the TCCM was bad rather than the encoder motor. Or maybe they both were bad at the beginning and they only looked as far as the encoder motor. Yep a messy situation. Hopefully once this is done all will be good for a while.
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