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2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues

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MarineGrunt profile image

Dec 9, 2014, 6:21 PM

Post #1 of 10 (3254 views)
2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Hope everyone is doing well. Now that work has slowed down I decided to take a look at the wife's 2005 Envoy XL SLT 4.2L 105K. The 4 wheel drive isn't work properly. It's like the front lacks power or isn't engaging all the way.
The actuator was bad so replaced it. I also cleaned and replaced grease in the disconnect. The gears in it looked fine. I did notice one of the thrust washers was kind of cupped. I replaced it but have been wondering what would cause it to do that. It wouldn't engage while having it jacked up. I can hear the encoder motor working and the front driveshaft spins. I also hear the front actuator working. I read that if the disconnect bearings are wearing that the vehicle needs to roll a bit to engage it. The bearings felt okay and there didn't seem to be too much play in the shafts. I don't know if that's true though. I decided to take it for a spin to see. It kind of felt like it was engaged but not like it should. Got it home and jacked it up again. This time it was engaged. It still didn't seem right though. I went back to 2 wheel and then back into 4hi. The front tires would've start spinning until I really gave it some gas. Even while giving it some gas I can put my boot on the front tire and keep it from turning. It's like it's engaged but doesn't have any power in the front. Also, if I slam the brakes to stop it I get a clunking type sound coming from up front. If I ease the brake it doesn't clunk. It's fine in two wheel drive.
I'm guessing it's probably an internal diff issue but figured I'd ask before I tore into it.

(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Dec 9, 2014, 8:44 PM)

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Dec 10, 2014, 5:35 AM

Post #2 of 10 (3224 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Long time no see..hope you and your family are doing good Smile

Assuming you have the NVG226 transfer case under there. This transfer case is able to control the amount of torque to the front wheels through a clutch pack inside the transfer case. At low speeds it is able to reduce torque to the front end to prevent crow hop and binding while turning making you think the 4wd isn't functioning. If you stop one tire from spinning is the opposite tire spinning. If so, that might be caused from the open differential inside the front end.

Can you hold both wheels and stop the front shaft from turning?

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 10, 2014, 5:53 AM)

MarineGrunt profile image

Dec 10, 2014, 8:28 AM

Post #3 of 10 (3219 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Hey has been awhile. Things are going okay. How about you? You know, being winter you could always come up here, play around in the snow, and fix it for me. Cool I always get jealous of you and HT this time of year! I use top love the snow but the older I get the more the cold hurts.
Oh okay. That makes sense. I've been fortunate to where I've never had to mess with a 4 wheel drive system. I've never had an issue until now. T-case says GM226HD. When I held the one tire the other tire was still spinning. What do you mean about it maybe being caused from the open differential inside the front end?
I'll get it back on jack stands later on and see if I can hold both tires and stop the shaft from spinning. I'm guessing if I can the clutches in the transfer case are toast? When I had that pump rub issue with my Sierra I don't remember seeing any clutches in that t-case. Is the 226 a completely different design?

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Dec 10, 2014, 6:57 PM

Post #4 of 10 (3193 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Things are going pretty good down here. Getting all the Christmas shopping done finally.

If you have an open diff, the wheel with the less traction is going to be the one to spin and the other wheel isn't going to do anything. Be careful trying to hold both tires at the same time because if it has full engagement it is going to skin someone's hands.

Does your truck have the 263 or 246? Both 246 and 226 use computer controlled multi-plate wet clutches. The difference between the two is the amount of torque they can handle. The 263 is electronically shifted using a sleeve and synchronizer system. Much like a synchronized manual transmission.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

MarineGrunt profile image

Dec 11, 2014, 7:28 AM

Post #5 of 10 (3179 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Anymore I do most of my Christmas shopping online. I'm a pretty laid back person and don't get worked up or stressed too easy. But, if I step into a Wal-Mart this time of year I instantly get all pissy. My daughter and I went there to pick up some Christmas lights last weekend. My wife also needed some makeup. It took 20 minutes just to make it through the isles to get to the makeup. You have all these people blocking the isle with their carts talking to each other. Grrr....drives me nuts!
My truck has the 246. I guess I didn't have it completely apart so I didn't see all of the internals. my stepdad has the 263, we pulled his apart for the pump rub issue and he had all kinds of internal wear. That's the one where I didn't remember seeing any clutches.
I didn't get a chance to jack up the Envoy yesterday. We're heading down to Kentucky to the in-laws tomorrow after school to do the Christmas thing with them this weekend. I'll probably have to put this on hold until next week.
I'm not sure if it's an open diff or not. I don't know if this will tell you anything but someone said that if I hold one tire the opposite will spin twice as fast. It does do that. When I do try and hold both tires I'll have to be sure to hold the first one and let someone else grab the second!
Someone mentioned that if the bearings in the disconnect are worn, and there's a little wobble, that the collared sleeve won't line up as it should and could cause this issue. Before I tore apart the disconnect, cleaned it, and put new grease in I had a grinding sound coming from it. This was only in 4 wheel drive. It kind of sounded like it could be a bearing. Now that I put new grease in I no longer have the grinding. Maybe the inner bearing is bad. Do you think a bad bearing could be the cause? There is definitely a little bit of plat in the cv shaft where it enters the disconnect. I wanna say too that when I put the disconnect on the intermediate shaft there was a little bit of play there too. I guess that could also explain why I have to gas it a bit for the 4 wheel drive to engage. It may be close to lining up and the faster spin of the front drive shaft allows it to mesh together but the slight wobble allows it to disengage at times. I guess for $30 I could go ahead with the 3 bearings and see what happens. At least we'd be able to rule that out if that's a possible cause.
I was thinking too, maybe the 4 wheel drive is working just fine. When driving it just doesn't seem like it's in 4 wheel. I was turning sharp trying to get the crow hopping. With my truck it hops and binds like crazy but it does have bigger tires. I was just expecting the same thing. Are they designed different to where the Envoy won't hop as bad? I do know it wasn't working at first because it had a bad front actuator. The plunger wasn't engaging. I took it out of the disconnect and watched for it so I know it was bad. It also wasn't making the whining sound. The new one is working just fine. Maybe I'll have to do a little off road adventure down by the river to find out for sure. Cool
Thanks for the help DS

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nickwarner profile image

Dec 11, 2014, 2:07 PM

Post #6 of 10 (3170 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Brian, long time no see.

It can throw you off when you drive a 4 wheel drive and it doesn't feel like the ones you are used to. With full size trucks, people expect the binding and hopping and are used to it. But with passenger vehicles more likely to be driven by a woman with her kids they have been trying to make them feel more like cars. So they know people used to a car or a minivan would be bringing their Envoy into the dealer complaining about how it drove the first time they hit snow and use the 4x4. What you or I would be calling par for the course with a four wheel drive SUV they didn't like. Thats why you see so many more creature comforts and features designed to make it drive like a car engineered into newer SUV's. They started getting bought by suburban moms instead of minivans and those girls didn't like the way a K5 Blazer or a full-size Bronco drove as those were directly based off of truck chassis.

One weird things they did with vehicles that have a CVT trans is to program it to make a simulated shift feeling. It doesn't shift, it is a completely different design on the same principal as a snowmobile transmission. But when people drove it they expected to feel a transmission shift through gears and it weirded them out when it didn't even though that was the design of it. So they engineered it to feel like it was so that people's perception matched what they expected.

I hate to say I'll have to venture into the madness to go shopping this weekend and not looking forward to it. I really don't like shopping anywhere but the SnapOn tool truck I guess. SO guy hooked me up with so hoodies and hats for the girls, everything else I have to go to the mall.

This time of year it isn't shopping. Its anarchy with a cart with Jingle Bells playing in the background. Thats why everyone drinks heavily on New Years, to try to forget about it.

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Dec 12, 2014, 5:22 PM

Post #7 of 10 (3156 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Here's a TSB on grinding noises from the T case:


Bulletin No.: 08-04-21-001B

Date: August 25, 2008

NVG 126/226 Transfer Case Grating/Grinding Noise When 4WD is Engaged, Service 4WD Lamp On, DTC C0327 Set (Replace Clutch Pressure Plate Bearing Assembly and Clutch Lever)

2004-2007 Buick Rainier
2002-2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer Models
2002-2008 GMC Envoy Models
2002-2004 Oldsmobile Bravada
2005-2008 Saab 9-7X

with Four-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive and Active All-Wheel Drive (RPO NP4) or Active Two-Speed (NP8) Transfer Case
Built Prior to September 18, 2007 (NVG 126) or September 21, 2007 (NVG 226)


This bulletin is being revised to update the correction information to include a procedure to reindex the transfer case encoder motor (actuator). This procedure is being provided to help reduce unnecessary warranty expenses. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 08-04-21-001A (Section 04 - Transmission/Transaxle).


Some customers may comment on a grinding type noise in the transfer case when 4WD is engaged in either AUTO or 4WD mode. This noise may also be accompanied by the SERVICE 4WD lamp being illuminated and DTC C0327 set.

This condition is more prevalent on vehicles where 4WD is continuously used.


This noise may be caused by a faulty clutch pressure plate bearing.


A more robust clutch pressure plate bearing, inner plate and clutch lever has been released for service. Replace the clutch pressure plate bearing, inner plate and clutch lever. Refer to the Transfer Case Disassemble and Transfer Case Assemble procedures in SI. Former and new parts should not be intermixed during transfer case overhaul and they are to be used in sets only.

DO NOT replace the transfer case assembly unless extensive internal damage has occurred.

When the clutch pressure plate bearing fails, it causes the clutch lever to over-travel, allowing the transfer case encoder motor (actuator) to rotate to an invalid position. Engineering has developed a tool and procedure to reindex the transfer case encoder motor (actuator) so it can be reused. Use the specific procedure listed below.

I see quite a few hits in IATN for blown out front differentials on the Envoys and Trailblazer, so it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to go into it and see what is going on. Absolutely important to make sure the tires are all the same diameter.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 12, 2014, 5:23 PM)

MarineGrunt profile image

Dec 15, 2014, 9:31 AM

Post #8 of 10 (3128 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Hey Nick....How have you been? Ready for another winter as bad, if not worse, than last year? That's what we've been hearing down here. I'd love to follow you around the mall while you're shopping. That would be a comedy skit all on its own! You might like this story. When I got out of the Marine Corps I worked at Menards while I was going to school. The day after Thanksgiving they started playing Christmas music over the store speakers. There were only 10 songs and they would play over and over. Every employee in there was at the brink of meltdown within a week of it starting. I know management had to have overheard everyone complaining about it. You would think that if they were going to give each employee something for Christmas corporate would give everyone a gift card to use at the store. But no, those freaking idiots had the nerve to give every employee a copy of that cd as a Christmas gift. I knew exactly why you talked about leaving when you worked for them.
I see what you're saying about not getting near the crow hop as our trucks but this thing isn't crow hopping at all even in 4 lo. I figure I'd should be getting some. From what I've read other Envoy/Trailblazer owners get some crow hop. I do remember reading exactly what you said though about the soccer moms and how they designed it mainly for that reason. I wish we'd get some snow or some slick roads so I could at least see if the front wheels are turning under load. Is there any other way to really tell?
DS...that grinding I mentioned was definitely coming from the front and I was 90% sure it was the disconnect. There was no noise coming from the t case. The old grease in the disconnect was hard and packed so I assume the bearings had no lube at all. Once I replaced the grease in it the grinding stopped so I assume it was the disconnect bearings. There is some play in the intermediate shaft and the cv shaft. I ordered some bearings and they'll be in today. Since the gears are good I figure either way it's a good idea to replace the bearings. I've heard the bearings are the reason the unit fails. Those disconnects are $400 to replace! It would be nice to rule out the bearings if that could even cause it to not fully engage. I can see where the collared spline might not line up right if there is play in the shafts but I wouldn't bet money on that it's the problem.
Now that we're back from Kentucky I'm going to investigate a little further. It's raining today so I might try and find some slick pavement and watch the front tires. I could hit some mud but I don't wanna mess with cleaning the darn thing.
I guess pulling the front diff and taking a look would rule it out. I've heard it's quite the job to drop it though. Right now, we really need both vehicles. I get a lot of tube leaks this time of year so could get a call to work anytime. I guess my wife could get lift from a teacher friend if she had to. If it ends up being the transfer case clutch pack I'm having issues finding a new set to buy. I did find a whole transfer case with 36K on ebay for $150 + $40 shipping. I also found a used clutch pack and drum for $69. No sense dropping the money on anything until I get it figured out though. For $190 I'm half tempted to buy that t case though. With only 36K it would be nice to have it laying around if I ever did need it. Heck, Nick spends more than that at the bar on a Saturday night! Cool
You know, after looking a little closer at the front diff oil there are some small metal particles mixed in it. I don't think it's anymore than what you would find on the magnet of a rear diff though. It's that normal for a front diff? I just haven't messed around with a 4 wheel drive system to know what to look for.
Once the wife gets back from shopping I'm going to get it back into the garage and see what I can figure out.

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nickwarner profile image

Dec 16, 2014, 2:33 PM

Post #9 of 10 (3024 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Keeping busy. I don't know if you go near Hardin, KY on your travels but there is an old bridge on Kentucky Lake getting replaced with an arch bridge. I've been working 6 days a week on it to get it built.

I think DS is onto something with your issue. Indeed, some snow would help and looks like some is coming. Its freezing up again here with flurries and ice on the roads. I got a sweet deal on an old John Deere snowblower so I'm good to go. Thing is a maneater.

We always got nothing but store gift certificates or crap that wasn't selling in the store when I worked there. I miss that place like I would miss a boil on my nut sack.

Shopping with me is fun. I found the trick is to wear my grubby work gear. Everyone at the mall wears $100 shirts and crap like that. They see me and are terrified of brushing against me and getting a stain. I also don't shave for a week before I do it so I look like Chewbacca with mange. When I walk through the crowds scatter while looking on in fascinated horror. I'm like Moses parting the seas. If I wear clean clothes I get stuck behind some kids who feel they have to update their facebook every ten steps and I have to explain to them that while rectal thermometer isn't an official app for their phone I will assist in the conversion process.

Don't spend much in the bar anymore. Have to behave. Get my license back on the 22nd of January for the first time in 9 years. Have to get a permit and retake the driving test too. Guess the DMV is the new fountain of youth, I just became 16 again. At least I get a new picture. The last license I had my picture looked like a mug shot of a serial killer. I won't combine my DMV attire with my shopping attire this time.

MarineGrunt profile image

Dec 17, 2014, 1:50 PM

Post #10 of 10 (2892 views)
Re: 2005 Envoy front 4X4 issues Sign In

Lol....that's awesome. Good deal on the license. I bet you're happy to get that back. The in-laws live in Eddyville which is about 45 minutes south of Paducah. We jump of 24 on Route 62. Looks like Hardin is on the other side of the lake. I have fished near Land Between the Lakes so have probably been close to Hardin without realizing it. I really like it down there. It's a whole different world but a lot more laid back. My wife's sister lives in Eastern KY. Eastern KY would be an even better place to live. It's even more laid back with less people.
I put new bearings in the disconnect so it should be good to go. I think it was fine anyways after I packed new grease in it and replaced that messed up thrust washer. I had it jacked up and made sure it was locked into 4 wheel drive before pulling out. It rained yesterday so took it in the side yard to get the tires to spin. The front tires were spinning while jacked up, but under load, nothing. The rear tires were spinning but the front didn't seem to lock in. When I had it jacked up and put in drive I was able to keep both front tires from spinning by holding them. If I let go they would slowly start to spin again on their own. When driving on pavement I'm getting no crow hopping at all. It's like I'm in 2 wheel. That's even in 4 lo I don't get crow hopping. I can feel a little bit of something, but once I give it gas, it turns like it's in 2 wheel. It's like something is only partially engaging.
So, is it more than likely worn clutches in the t case? The front diff spins even in 2 wheel drive, so if it was jacked up or gears stripped, wouldn't I hear some sort of grinding while driving? I'm 100% that original grinding was the disconnect. There's a used clutch pack and drum on ebay for $69 with free shipping. What do you think? Do I need to pull the front diff and take a look or is it more than likely the clutches in the t case?
Actually, I just found a whole transfer case on ebay for $90 with free shipping from Cedarburg, WI. The vehicle it came from has 89K on it. It has a 3 month warranty. Not bad at all.

(This post was edited by MarineGrunt on Dec 17, 2014, 4:11 PM)

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