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4x4 Dash Switch: 3 Button vs. 4 Button

  #1  
Old 08-31-2012, 11:17 PM
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Question 4x4 Dash Switch: 3 Button vs. 4 Button

Hello,

I just had my 2001 GMC Jimmy (4 door) serviced for many things, the 4x4 system being one of them. Well, my mechanic got the 4x4 vacuum to work properly again, but he advised me that the dash switch is bad. The lights and switch cut out and only work when pressure is applied to the blue plug in the back (note: the t-case switches to 4x4/2x4 just fine whenever the switch is powered up and working). At first I thought it might be the plug or wires not making a proper connection, but it looks like the switch itself is broken inside. Applying pressure on the blue plug from the back or sideways is the only thing that will make the switch light up and work like it's supposed to.

Anyway, I went on eBay and bought a used 3 button 4x4 switch for under 20$ shipped. Big mistake... My old one was a 4 button switch with the "Auto 4x4" round button, so when I plugged in the replacement switch, it didn't work. The buttons light up, but the T-case doesn't shift into 4x4 from 2WD (pressing/holding the 4x4 buttons does absolutely nothing). When I press the 2WD button, the switch goes dead completely and will not come alive until I plug in the old switch and reset the settings back to 2WD again.


Question: Since the plugs for both switches seem to be the same, I am positive that there must be a way to make a 3 button switch work on the "Auto 4x4" Jimmy/Blazer model that originally came with a 4 button switch... probably by doing some simple procedure such as cutting off a wire on one of the plugs, etc... so any input on what needs to be done would be very appreciated! I don't care for the Auto 4x4 gimmick, I just want the t-case to shift between 2WD, 4x4 Hi and 4x4 Lo on my new 3 button replacement switch. I did a Google search on the topic, but came out empty-handed (it feels like I'm the first and only one with this issue, lol).

Thanks in advance for any help!

 
Attached Thumbnails 4x4 Dash Switch: 3 Button vs. 4 Button-4x4-auto.jpg   4x4 Dash Switch: 3 Button vs. 4 Button-4x4-regular.jpg  

Last edited by 762mm; 09-01-2012 at 02:06 AM.
  #2  
Old 09-01-2012, 02:54 PM
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Default Fixed it...

I guess it's quite a tricky question, eh?

Anyway, I fixed my old 4 button dash switch and it works again. I took it apart and looked at the reverse side of the plug connectors inside the switch (at the solder points). Well, the 4 pin plug area looked like one of the solder points had a microscopic crack, almost invisible to the naked eye. The 8 pin plug area looked fine at a glance, but who knows what was really going with that as well. We have cold winters here (Canada) and cheap solder sometimes has a tendency to fail in very low temperatures.

So, out comes my trusty 40W soldering iron and some solder. Once the iron was in operating temp, I heated each pin from the top first for 5-6 seconds, then melted the solder around it for 3-4 seconds in order to have it "sink in" a little bit into the pin hole on the board. I added some solder to pins which seemed to have less solder than others and did all 12 pins this way. Note: caution needs to be taken not to touch the solder from one pin to another... otherwise the board could short out!

Upon completion, the switch was reassembled, plugged in and... hooray! Now it works in all positions without any pressure being applied to the back of the blue plug. It's funny how solder points could fail like that though... as they used to work fine for many years (since 2001 till about last year). It is important to note that the switch was used very rarely (as the 4x4 is rarely needed since roads are always plowed in winter out here) and was never taken out of the dash previously. The solder points just failed by themselves with time.



This, coupled with the recently failed (and repaired) ABS control module and a defective fuel pump sensor are just a few of the ****-offs I seem to be having with this truck. Funny how my '99 Ford Explorer (roughly same mileage, but 2 years older) never has any electronics problems at all and runs like new day after day since I've owned it (2002). Maybe it's time for GM to pay a bit more attention to quality control with their electronics (and yes, I've had experience with other GMs such as Chevy Ventures, Pontiac Montanas and Outlanders too... all of them having had some funky electronics issues and "mystery lights" on the instrument cluster randomly coming on). That said, I still like my Jimmy for what it is: a body-on-frame RWD true and blue SUV, not some soccer mom FWD frameless abomination la Equinox/Terrain that only looks like a truck... except that I don't have as much faith in the Jimmy as I do in my '99 Ford due to crappy Chinese quality electronics. In all fairness though, the powertrain is problem-free and runs like a champ on the Jimmy, same as the Ford.


That said, the mind-bending question still stands : How would one go about making a 3 button switch fit on a 4 button Blazer/Jimmy and/or vice-versa? I have a feeling that the answer to this question will more than likely help quite a few other Jimmy/Blazer/Bravada owners who experience switch problems. Thanks!


P.S. I now have a 100% working, bright yellow LED 3 button 4x4 switch for sale (for a 98-05 Blazer/Jimmy/S-10/Bravada with 3 buttons). Comes with plugs too and about 1" of wires.

How about $20 shipped to Canada/USA? (my cost) Paypal only. Please PM if interested.

 

Last edited by 762mm; 09-01-2012 at 03:27 PM.
  #3  
Old 09-01-2012, 09:50 PM
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More Information for DORMAN 901061 How about $19.42 for a new one with a lifetime warranty.
 
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by spittybays View Post
More Information for DORMAN 901061 How about $19.42 for a new one with a lifetime warranty.
Yup, perhaps... but the one I have is the original GM, comes with replacement plugs in the back and shipping's included. Thanks for the heads up though!

By the way, any idea on how to make a 3 button switch work in an "Auto 4WD" GM truck?

 
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:30 PM
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It wont you need a 4 button . Well I dont think it will I dont see any way possible.
 
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:10 AM
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If your hard earned fixed switch does fail, knock wood, my three button from ROCKAUTO "Dorman" has three years on it and they have the four. Same price.
 
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by xgiovannix12 View Post
It wont you need a 4 button . Well I dont think it will I dont see any way possible.
Well, that's a bummer... I was under the impression that, since they look so similar and have the same plugs, it would've been a simple matter of cutting off a wire or two from the plug or perhaps soldering two or three wires together. I've heard of similar things done to Ford Explorer 4x4 systems for guys who want to engage the TC into "neutral" (as the stock auto 4x4 switch doesn't have that option). It was called the "brown wire mod", where one would put an on/off switch on the brown 4x4 switch wire in order to engage or disengage the TC into neutral. It was a good anti-theft device too (as the truck would not move even with the engine running and the tranny in drive, lol).



Originally Posted by spittybays View Post
If your hard earned fixed switch does fail, knock wood, my three button from ROCKAUTO "Dorman" has three years on it and they have the four. Same price.
Awesome, thanks for the info. Too bad Rockauto charges a minimum of $33 USPS shipping to Canada... or I would've ordered from them to begin with. What I don't get is why the eBay guy can ship it to me USPS for $4 and Rockauto for $33? (both from the USA)

I also forgot to mention that while I was inside my old 4 button switch, I have cleaned all the button connection points and removed all the black deposit... and now it's all nice & shiny in there. I also switched the 4x4 Lo rubber grommet connector that goes behind the button with the 2WD one... since the 2WD one seemed to have had most use and was the darkest of the bunch.

Interestingly, after my re-soldering operation, the switch seems to light up brighter than ever before (the LEDs really come out and are clearly visible for the first time ever). My guess is that the plug pin solder points have been failing steadily ever since I got the truck in 2007 and, lately, they finally gave up the ghost altogether.

Anyway, I think now it'll last without any further incident. It works so good now that I don't foresee any further issues with it... at least not at the plug connection point! Furthermore, seeing how many of my issues on this truck seem to be widespread on the forums/net, I'd be willing to put money on the fact that MOST of these switches fail in an exactly same way. In other words, if your switch goes dead, re-solder the pins before spending money on a new one. That's what I should've done to begin with...

 

Last edited by 762mm; 09-02-2012 at 03:50 PM.
  #8  
Old 09-02-2012, 03:51 PM
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Here's what I think about the switches.
If you hhave a 3 button, the 4 buttom will sub. If you have a 4 button, only the 4 button will work. Has to do with the computer/slip differential/what-not difference the Auto portion of the 4x4. Remember, there are different cases in the 4 button vs 3 button front transfer cases.

Regardless of what I think, I bought a 4 button Dorman on e-bay for $25.00/shipped. Crapped out immediately upon install, but the parts house I bought from (A1) replaced it, NCNR.
Lifetime gaurantee too.

I still got one in my toolbox. Don't know if it's the good one, the bad one, or the ugly one (original, which was not the problem. My TCmotor gear split in half, and blew out all the electronics because it constantly ran)
 
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:02 PM
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^

Yeah, I hear you. I checked out a few Dorman switches offered on eBay prior to buying the used one and they just don't look right... even in the pictures, the letters on the buttons seem like a cheap decal and the buttons seem to be loosely fitted due to all that empty space around them. The original GM ones are nicer looking based on the photos I've seen, which is probably indicative of the overall Dorman quality. Hence why I got the 3 button "used" switch off eBay... that, plus Rockauto's $33 USPS shipping to Canada being a total ripoff!

So, how did you know the TC gear had exploded? It threw a CEL or a 4x4 dash light, I presume? Anywho, it must've been a major pain in the *** to get that fixed... unless you have a friendly scrap yard not too far away with reasonably priced spare TCs. I don't and the local junkyard charges almost like a freakin dealership! (and they won't even pay you a dime for your old car or truck if you bring it in...)

Luckily for me, my Jimmy seems mechanically sound. It's just the electronics that seem to be crap on it (cascade failure of the ABS module, blend door actuator, fuel pump sensor, some evac system CEL code, the 4x4 vacuum and dash switch, as well as a few other things I don't even want to remember... all pretty much having failed within the last year or so).
 

Last edited by 762mm; 09-02-2012 at 10:41 PM.
  #10  
Old 09-02-2012, 11:58 PM
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Just FYI the board on the windshield wiper module goes on these all the time. SOS, cold solder joints. Fix is easy that one will save serious $$$.
 

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