2001 GMC HD front end problems

Customweld

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I’m looking for some ideas. Here is the scenario: I’m hauling a load of fire wood home yesterday. The truck is loaded with wood racks and I’m pulling a loaded trailer as well. Came off the hill in 4 low, stopped on the main county road and ate lunch and checked everything over. I switched out of 4 low and back in to 2wd. Once I got up to about 35 mph, she starts drifting funny. I’ve driven this truck for 17 years, so I know it’s habits like the back of my hand. I stop and check everything again, but can’t see anything standing out. Continue on for about another 6 miles, 2 of which is pavement. She’s a acting real funny up front by this time so I pull over . I’m looking at the front driver side tire and it is chewed to beat hell. Not uneven, but chunks missing out of the lugs. Have it hauled in to the shop and the mechanic goes over everything and can’t find anything wrong. This is a good mechanic that has years of experience. The steering components are shot, but they have been for a while. He is redoing the steering components. Hopefully this is the problem, but I don’t think it is.
 

Randle

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So you were loaded up pretty good, do you feel the front end was too high giving you light steering and squirrely ness
 

come2elmo

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Sounds like to me something in the 4x upfront didn’t disengage correctly and caused your tire to drag on the pavement At some point it let go.
 
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My guess is you had a few different things all working together here. 1st being the worn out steering, which most likely attributed to your 2nd problem the tires with chunks missing. Or maybe just defective tires. 3rd would be the weight of the trailer squating the back end, taking weight off of the front, which can cause the wandering and a feeling of having to turn the wheel further than usual to make a turn.

Or I could be all wet. We'll see what new steering parts does for ya, thats probably the bulk of the problem.

Edit: I've also had tires go bad seemingly instantly and cause shaking so bad I drove straight to the tire shop for a new set. Drove away with a perfectly smooth ride.
 
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Customweld

Customweld

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So you were loaded up pretty good, do you feel the front end was too high giving you light steering and squirrely ness
I don’t think so. It was loaded, but wasn’t too heavy. I’ve had way more weight on it before. The thought definitely crossed my mind though
 
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Customweld

Customweld

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Sounds like to me something in the 4x upfront didn’t disengage correctly and caused your tire to drag on the pavement At some point it let go.
That’s what the mechanic was thinking. The idiot light said the transfer case was out, but maybe the front diff hadn’t disengaged.
 

Randle

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I am thinking light in the front, Front diff didn't disengage so the front tires were still being driven causing them to heat up and chewup.
 

D_Dubya

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Seems strange that you chewed up that much tire on only 2 miles of pavement. I have the same model truck (ranch truck now but I’ve had it 17 years) and one time a similar situation happened to me the upper ball joint had come out of the control arm.
 

Muley Buck

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That’s what the mechanic was thinking. The idiot light said the transfer case was out, but maybe the front diff hadn’t disengaged.
This is what I was thinking too.

New truck or old truck I ALWAYS disengage 4x4 in Neutral (whether coming from high or low) and then shift to reverse and let it roll a couple inches, then back to Drive. This helps with taking pressure off the front drive train to allow full and free disengagement. Its probably overkill on my part, but I've never had a problem doing it this way.
 

PaHunter86

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This is what I was thinking too.

New truck or old truck I ALWAYS disengage 4x4 in Neutral (whether coming from high or low) and then shift to reverse and let it roll a couple inches, then back to Drive. This helps with taking pressure off the front drive train to allow full and free disengagement. Its probably overkill on my part, but I've never had a problem doing it this way.

That's how I always done it too. My dad made a point to preach it to me and I've never had a problem.
 
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Customweld

Customweld

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This is what I was thinking too.

New truck or old truck I ALWAYS disengage 4x4 in Neutral (whether coming from high or low) and then shift to reverse and let it roll a couple inches, then back to Drive. This helps with taking pressure off the front drive train to allow full and free disengagement. Its probably overkill on my part, but I've never had a problem doing it this way.
That's normally my protocol as well. This truck won't shift out of or into 4 low without being in neutral. I didn't reverse though to take the bind out of it. I know the transfer case was out of 4 low.
 

Wrench

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I can tell the first corner on hardpack if I'm in 4wd. Wheel bearings can go down but not be obvious. Mine wagged a bit and then was fine. I swore it must have been a tie rod....then 2 weeks later it barked. I was able to get it to move at that point....but the tire was scrubbed.
 
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