What models have AWD ? Tahoe / Yukon / Escalade

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j91z28d1

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AWD means all 4 wheels are getting power all the time. With the GMT900 trucks, AWD units do not have a switch for the transfer case. I have a small, useless hole in the dash of my Denali where the transfer case switch is located in 4WD trucks. AWD trucks have a third differential, to allow for tight turns without tire scrub.

4WD means part-time/selectable power to the front wheels. When engaged, you don't want to go faster that 65, nor do you want to be driving on dry pavement. If you try to make a tight turn while in 4WD, you'll feel the powertrain start to bind and the tires will scrub.



ahh. so you don't even have the selector knob on yours, so it's true all time awd. I didn't know that was a thing for these years. and yours in the denali huh. wonder if it was an option or if mine got the difference tcase because it's the hybrid denali.

very interesting. I'm guessing the 3rd diff you're taking about is a transfer case with a viscous coupler?

I have the knob. I got the feeling from the reading the owners manual there was one that had the knob but without the option to put the t case in neutral, so it couldn't be a tow behind. maybe they were talking about your style with no selection. which makes sense not to flat tow that.
 

j91z28d1

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Well, you have 2WD (RWD), AWD, 4WD Hi, AND 4WD Lo.

2UP or 2Hi: Rear Wheel Drive.Leave it in this mode, unless another mode is necessary.

AUTO: AWD is not really ALL Wheel Drive (as in Subaru / Porsche ALL Wheel Drive).
AFTER detecting that the rear wheels need help, THEN the fronts join in.
Once the front wheels determine they are no longer needed, they go back to standby.
(Costs an MpG more than 2WD-RWD.)

4UP or 4Hi: 4Hi is what Subaru / Porsche think AWD is: power is always being sent to all 4 wheels.
If grip is good enough for 2WD-RWD, unnecessarily using 4Hi wears out the front differential more quickly.

4DOWN or 4Lo: 4Lo is 4Hi multiplied by 2.72 (I think). Owner's manual says you may never need 4L0; I believe it.
This mode should only be used in snow, mud, sand, etc, when even 4Hi is not enough.
If grip is good enough for 2WD-RWD, unnecessarily using 4Lo wears out the front differential 2.72 times quicker than unnecessarily using 4Hi.


yeah I leave it in 2wd mode.. no reason to put extra wear on the clutches in the t case for nothing.

my 2wd comment was meaning I wish it was only rwd. I have zero need for a 4wd truck honesty but ended up with 2 of them and anytime I gotta work under them I curse it. especially on a ls that is known to need oil pan gaskets and pickup tube o'rings, rear main, basically everything sucks more to fix with a diff under the engine and a transfer case hanging off the tranny haha. luckily my 96 is just a sbc they never breaks, but still. be nice if they were both just rwd. no torsion bar nonsense either haha.
 

Marky Dissod

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Too bad there isn't more of a market for the stuff you don't want - otherwise you'd have good reason to remove it all ...
 

Geotrash

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yeah I leave it in 2wd mode.. no reason to put extra wear on the clutches in the t case for nothing.

my 2wd comment was meaning I wish it was only rwd. I have zero need for a 4wd truck honesty but ended up with 2 of them and anytime I gotta work under them I curse it. especially on a ls that is known to need oil pan gaskets and pickup tube o'rings, rear main, basically everything sucks more to fix with a diff under the engine and a transfer case hanging off the tranny haha. luckily my 96 is just a sbc they never breaks, but still. be nice if they were both just rwd. no torsion bar nonsense either haha.
You'd think that living in eastern Virginia I could get by with 2WD too, and like you I curse all the extra running gear whenever I work on it. But every year I seem to find myself in at least half a dozen situations where I'm glad I have AWD.

A few weeks ago I was out on a friend's property on the Shenandoah river and it rained while we were there and turned where I was parked into a mud pit. I'd have been up the proverbial creek without AWD. Last winter we did some winter camping and pulled our 7500 lb camper into a grassy campsite and it proceeded to rain all weekend. Without AWD we'd have been stuck for another week. As it was, we barely got out.

But to confirm what others have said, the Escalades and Denalis with AWD have a little coin cubby where the transfer case selector knob would be. I was initially bummed about that, but I've literally never needed low range and the system is trouble-free.
 

Doubeleive

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my 18 is 4wd it has selectable 2wd/auto/4hi/4low
I leave it on auto because: i drive like a crazy person in 2wd it just does burnouts, in auto it does not
leaving it in auto is "similar" to awd it splits the power 60/40 (on demand) and puts less strain on the rear axle
there is no logical reason for me to leave it in 2wd unless I am maybe highway traveling a long distance and perhaps want to get maybe .04 mpg better mileage
if leaving it on auto puts more wear on the front diff, so be it I can grab a replacement front diff for cheaper than replacing a rear end any day.
I have to note I have in the past broken just about everything there is to break, keeping it in auto has benefits in my opinion. contrary to popular opinion of 2wd/auto mode
you will not find any gm documentation stating to leave it in 2wd, you will find documentation stating auto should be used depending on the road type/driving conditions
 

j91z28d1

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my 18 is 4wd it has selectable 2wd/auto/4hi/4low
I leave it on auto because: i drive like a crazy person in 2wd it just does burnouts, in auto it does not
leaving it in auto is "similar" to awd it splits the power 60/40 (on demand) and puts less strain on the rear axle
there is no logical reason for me to leave it in 2wd unless I am maybe highway traveling a long distance and perhaps want to get maybe .04 mpg better mileage
if leaving it on auto puts more wear on the front diff, so be it I can grab a replacement front diff for cheaper than replacing a rear end any day.
I have to note I have in the past broken just about everything there is to break, keeping it in auto has benefits in my opinion. contrary to popular opinion of 2wd/auto mode
you will not find any gm documentation stating to leave it in 2wd, you will find documentation stating auto should be used depending on the road type/driving conditions


I thought I read somewhere in auto it keeps like a slight engagement in the clutch disks. everyone saying that seems like a waste made sense to me.. but yeah can't say I've read gm docs on it. I don't think the ring and pinion in a front diff is going to wear out over using it, more like your t. case burns up the clutches and needs refreshing. I will say I changed my diff fluid at 135k and I gotta say it was the worst looking fluid I ever saw. surprised it didn't blow up haha. I figured it was from the previous owners driving in auto. but I guess I base that on nothing.

I enjoy sliding and have done drift days in the past. if mine ever slide around, even in the rain it might be more enjoyable to drive haha. to much stability control and all that stuff for anything like that. I think it's spun a tire once for about a foot before the rear diff locked and it stopped, and just squeeled a bit while pulling out while turning. race car it is not haha. I feel kinda silly if I'm even close to half throttle very long.
 

j91z28d1

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You'd think that living in eastern Virginia I could get by with 2WD too, and like you I curse all the extra running gear whenever I work on it. But every year I seem to find myself in at least half a dozen situations where I'm glad I have AWD.

A few weeks ago I was out on a friend's property on the Shenandoah river and it rained while we were there and turned where I was parked into a mud pit. I'd have been up the proverbial creek without AWD. Last winter we did some winter camping and pulled our 7500 lb camper into a grassy campsite and it proceeded to rain all weekend. Without AWD we'd have been stuck for another week. As it was, we barely got out.

But to confirm what others have said, the Escalades and Denalis with AWD have a little coin cubby where the transfer case selector knob would be. I was initially bummed about that, but I've literally never needed low range and the system is trouble-free.


maybe it's just my location, deep south, it never snows and I don't plan road trips to places when it's cold. the only off road it's seen is driving on the beach. maybe I'll feel differently if I ever get to use it haha. my 96 I've shifted it in to 4wd twice in almost 20 years, once when I test drove it to see if it worked and once to see if it still worked after 10 years. I don't think it did haha. Actuator going bad is pretty common

that's interesting thou, it's like they put the base tcase in the hybrid denali's instead of the normal awd setup of reg denali's
 

Doubeleive

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I thought I read somewhere in auto it keeps like a slight engagement in the clutch disks. everyone saying that seems like a waste made sense to me.. but yeah can't say I've read gm docs on it. I don't think the ring and pinion in a front diff is going to wear out over using it, more like your t. case burns up the clutches and needs refreshing. I will say I changed my diff fluid at 135k and I gotta say it was the worst looking fluid I ever saw. surprised it didn't blow up haha. I figured it was from the previous owners driving in auto. but I guess I base that on nothing.

I enjoy sliding and have done drift days in the past. if mine ever slide around, even in the rain it might be more enjoyable to drive haha. to much stability control and all that stuff for anything like that. I think it's spun a tire once for about a foot before the rear diff locked and it stopped, and just squeeled a bit while pulling out while turning. race car it is not haha. I feel kinda silly if I'm even close to half throttle very long.
I don't mind it burning out, it's just I want it to go and putting it in auto eliminates the loss of traction.
I change all my fluids annually with the exception of the rear diff that I prefer to do every other year.
a front diff used runs about 650 same for a transfer case or even less, fully rebuilt is around $1200, $650 is just parts cost for a rear end.
there are lot of these floating around out there and lots of crossover years, part of the reason I bought the 2012 and the 2018
the gm transfer cases in general are usually pretty stout it's less likely to break than any other powertrain part, people have had case rub and had all the fluid leak out and the things still work, the encoder motor's or transfer case motor can fail but that's a $160 part and easily replaced.
 
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petethepug

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Bummer, sorry your truck was totaled. I hope everyone is all right alongside the emotional trauma of it all. The GM Gen 4 / NNBS / 900 / 07-14 are a good 300k mile vehicle and gladly sacrifice themselves for their occupants.

All 07 & 08 Escalade (403 hp) & Denali (385 hp) are AWD 6.2L w/o AFM. In 09 Denali & Escalade were optional 2WD w/o AFM and GM bumped up the Denali hp to 403 matching the Escalade. In 09, for one year, both Denali & Escalade were the only full size SUV with the 6.2 to run e85 without AFM.

For 10-14 all Denali & Escalade offered the 2WD or AWD as the only options with the 6.2 equipped w/ AFM to run e85.

Shop them based on the level of features & options you want. In 07/ 08 the Burb had a lower MPG, not as pleasant 4SP Auto. 09 GM gave it the 6SP Auto like the Yuke & Esky. All Burb’s will have the 310hp 5.3L AFM motor with 4WD or 2WD and the Escalade / Denali’s Z55 active / air (in back) suspension on the LTZ trim.

In 09 all Escalade went to Z95 MagRide suspension with all others keeping the Z55 Autoride. 09 / 10 is the only year in the Denali & Burb (LTZ) to option air conditioned front seats. Escalade offered it 07-10. After 10, it was vented only front seats.

Drive the 09-14 Escalade Platinum 1st. Then the 07-14 Denali and then the Burb. You’ll be able to choose vehicles Orig priced from $90-$70k for $30 to $15k prices that will run for another 100-200k miles. We went from an AWD 08 YXL Denali from 14-20 to a AWD 09 Platinum Esky since then to get the non AFM e85 motor. AWD is a must for rain + 400hp. The cost saved on e85 vs 91 has almost paid off the price of the truck here in CA ($2.59 vs $5.40 x 30gal).

Escalade headlamps are LED (Plat) or HID. They’re superior compared to the Denali unless you upgrade to the new $1k aftermarket replacements that make the Escalade look dated. Start at the top, work your way around. There’s huge value to be found still. I flew to a TX Lexus dealer from CA to get mine and drove back.

Happy Hunting!
 
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tbone911

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If yours was totaled in the back end, you should try and keep the motor! My '11 Denali motor finally gave up the ghost after 205,000 miles and GM doesn't have any new ones. I ended up going with a Jasper reman but man, you'd think the 6.2L block is made of gold or something.
 

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