Transfer case leaves in "Auto" mode - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Transfer case leaves in "Auto" mode

Hi,

Living in the north I left my transfer case in auto mode for the last couple months (since I bought it). I am curious if it'll hurt anything because the manual said the front axle is engage, just no power to it unless it's needed. The thing is up here the main streets and the highway are fairly clean and dry. Mostly just the side streets and roads less traveled are icier. I'm new to 4WD system (Subarus for last few cars) and don't want to damage any components.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 08:02 PM
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No it won't hurt anything. It might cost you a little bit in fuel mileage, though.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 08:28 PM
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I have had mine in Auto for 2 months now, i will just leave it there till spring thaw. Can't hurt anything.
My fuel economy had dropped, but this is due to many factors from winter blend fuel, winter tires, elevated idle running, and been freezing here for over a month. But i am still getting 26 mpg ( 9L/ 100kms per tank down from 30mpg ( 7.8L/100kms)in the summer. Fantastic for winter. My buddies V6 Coloroado has dropped to 17 mpg (13.8L/100kms) from his usual summer MPG of 22.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 09:30 PM
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There is no rgood reason to have it in anything by 2WD on dry roads, IMO.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rkj__ View Post
There is no rgood reason to have it in anything by 2WD on dry roads, IMO.

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Your comment is correct. BUT....

It's winter. Roads have been wet,icy,snowy for awhile now. This is the nice feature of the AutoTrac option, you set it and forget it when there is any chance of traction loss. If we all waited to activate 4x4 when slippery then there would be no use for Autotrac. I like to be able to drive in the winter and not have to select 4x4 every time encounter a snowy/icy patch and not have to switch back to 2wd on sharp turns so axles don't bind.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:00 AM
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^^^Yep. And in Auto, the truck will be in 2WD unless the rear wheels start to spin, then power is sent to the fronts.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:27 AM
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I noticed under hard acceleration the truck sounds different in Auto, almost like it has an exhaust. I couldn't figure it out until I looked and saw that I left in auto since the last snow storm. I can only surmise that the front axle is engaging for improved traction, even though I'm not getting any rear wheel spin.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:28 AM
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If your roads are not clear it is fine to leave it in there. The Owners manual does specifically say to not leave the transmission in Auto for extended periods of time on dry pavement.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BeastStarr68 View Post
If your roads are not clear it is fine to leave it in there. The Owners manual does specifically say to not leave the transmission in Auto for extended periods of time on dry pavement.
Funny you mentioned because I was looking into it. In the 2017 Owner's Manual it does say do not leave in 4AUTO. But in 2016 manual it does not say anything about it
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Vincent907 View Post
Funny you mentioned because I was looking into it. In the 2017 Owner's Manual it does say do not leave in 4AUTO. But in 2016 manual it does not say anything about it

2016 colorados did NOT have the option of auto 4wd unless you had a diesel so that might be why it isnt mentioned in a 2016 manual. (assuming your screenshots are from the Colorado and not the canyon manuals)
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vincent907 View Post
Funny you mentioned because I was looking into it. In the 2017 Owner's Manual it does say do not leave in 4AUTO. But in 2016 manual it does not say anything about it

2016 colorados did NOT have the option of auto 4wd unless you had a diesel so that might be why it isnt mentioned in a 2016 manual. (assuming your screenshots are from the Colorado and not the canyon manuals)
I didn't screenshot it but a few pages down where I took the screenshot it does mention the auto mode so it's in the owner manual for the 16 regardless if it's a diesel or gas. The diesel, however, also comes with the diesel supplement
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 11:06 PM
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My thoughts are unless its AWD why even chance it.


Run it in 2 wheel and just do weekly function tests.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 10:04 AM
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If you run it in auto and the computer is frequently engaging the transfer case clutches it will cause accelerated wear, in a few years parts will need to be replaced.

I would rather put it in 4wd as required by myself when the wheels are not spinning and there is no shock to the driveline when the clutches engage.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:58 PM
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Whatever, you guys are overthinking/worrying about this. The Autotrac was designed to be selected and used . Its a well built system , use the option if you have it, that why it is there. I had autotrac in my 2002 Silverado 1/2 ton, put 350,000 kms on it used autotrac for 3 months at a time during winter, never had a single issue with the transfer case or front axle/diff assembly. If my truck has an option to select auto sensing 4wd, i sure as hell am going to make use of it. These trucks are not made of glass, use them for what a truck is to be used for.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 10:14 PM
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Ya, won't hurt anything. It's designed to be used. Ironic it's called "auto". On the other hand, no reason to have it on in perfect weather on roads. Was going to start my own thread but this should work. Mine makes a loud growling noise when in AUTO and a severe vibration can be felt in the floor boards when accelerating. Is that normal? I'd assume a little noise but it's pretty loud and the vibration feels ugly like someone forgot to put the gear oil in the transfer case.
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 10:54 PM
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Ya, won't hurt anything. It's designed to be used. Ironic it's called "auto". On the other hand, no reason to have it on in perfect weather on roads. Was going to start my own thread but this should work. Mine makes a loud growling noise when in AUTO and a severe vibration can be felt in the floor boards when accelerating. Is that normal? I'd assume a little noise but it's pretty loud and the vibration feels ugly like someone forgot to put the gear oil in the transfer case.

Gets louder in 4WD

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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Ya, won't hurt anything. It's designed to be used. Ironic it's called "auto". On the other hand, no reason to have it on in perfect weather on roads. Was going to start my own thread but this should work. Mine makes a loud growling noise when in AUTO and a severe vibration can be felt in the floor boards when accelerating. Is that normal? I'd assume a little noise but it's pretty loud and the vibration feels ugly like someone forgot to put the gear oil in the transfer case.
Is the growling noise noise continuous? I hear a pretty loud clunking noise when my rear diff lock in slippery condition in 2WD but that's it. When I'm operating in AUTO I never really hear any noise or vibration but I'm fairly gentle with the gas.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 09:13 AM
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Is the growling noise noise continuous? I hear a pretty loud clunking noise when my rear diff lock in slippery condition in 2WD but that's it. When I'm operating in AUTO I never really hear any noise or vibration but I'm fairly gentle with the gas.
It is continuous in mine. That is normal. It is louder and feels different to me even when the wheels are not slipping. Just having the auto activated gives a different tone and feel to me.

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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by COBRACON View Post
Ya, won't hurt anything. It's designed to be used. Ironic it's called "auto". On the other hand, no reason to have it on in perfect weather on roads. Was going to start my own thread but this should work. Mine makes a loud growling noise when in AUTO and a severe vibration can be felt in the floor boards when accelerating. Is that normal? I'd assume a little noise but it's pretty loud and the vibration feels ugly like someone forgot to put the gear oil in the transfer case.
If it won't hurt any thing why does the owners manual tell you to NOT leave it for extended periods of time in Auto on dry pavement??

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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 08:45 PM
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If it won't hurt any thing why does the owners manual tell you to NOT leave it for extended periods of time in Auto on dry pavement??
Were not talking about dry roads, we are talking winter in the north. It is not uncommon to use AUTO mode for a few months at a time. And it will hurt nothing. It is the much easier to leave it on and let traction decide weather to use 4wd or 2wd, rather than manually activating when you need it every time you need it , which is more often than not in the winter. Not all our roads are dry pavement and are covered with snow/sand for months. Hence the discussion.
We all know there is no use for Autotrac on dry pavement.

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