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goodwrench9124, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chevy
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2003 Chevy: 4x4 ( automatic )..four wheel drive..manual lever

Customer Question

I just purchased a 2003 Chevy 2500HD 4x4 (automatic) but it didn''t come with the owner''s manual. What is the correct way to put it into four wheel drive. It has the manual lever for the 4x4 system.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  goodwrench9124 replied 9 years ago.

Hello, and welcome to JA!!! here is the instructions for shifting 4 wd, this is per 03 owners manual.

I hope this info is helpful!!

Front Axle Locking Feature

The front axle locks and unlocks automatically when you shift the transfer case. Some delay for the axle to lock or unlock is normal.

Manual Transfer Case

Object Number: 809235  Size: B3

The transfer case shift lever is on the floor to the right of the driver. Use this lever to shift into and out of four-wheel drive.

Object Number: 868147  Size: A1

A 4WD indicator light will illuminate when you shift into four-wheel drive and the front axle engages.

Some delay between shifting and the indicator's lighting is normal.

Recommended Transfer Case Setting


Transfer Case Settings

Driving Conditions




















Vehicle in Tow*






An indicator on the bezel near the lever shows you the transfer case settings:

2-Wheel High (2HI): This setting is used for driving in most street and highway situations. Your front axle is not engaged in two-wheel drive. This setting also provides the best fuel economy.

4-Wheel High (4HI): Use 4HI when you need extra traction, such as on snowy or icy roads or in most off-road situations. This setting also engages your front axle to help drive your vehicle. This is the best setting to use when plowing snow.

Caution: Shifting the transfer case to Neutral can cause the vehicle to roll even if the transmission is in P (Park), or if you have a manual transmission, even if you are in gear. You or someone else could be seriously injured. Be sure to set the parking brake before placing the transfer case in Neutral.

NEUTRAL (N): Shift to this setting only when your vehicle needs to be towed.

4-Wheel Low (4L0): This setting also engages your front axle and delivers extra torque. You may never need 4LO. It sends maximum power to all four wheels. You might choose 4LO if you are driving off-road in deep sand, deep mud, deep snow and climbing or descending steep hills. You can shift from 2-Wheel High (2HI) to 4-Wheel High (4HI) or from 4-Wheel High (4HI) to 2-Wheel High (2HI) while the vehicle is moving. Your front axle will engage faster if you take your foot off of the accelerator for a couple of seconds after you shift. In extremely cold weather, it may be necessary to stop or slow the vehicle to shift into 4-Wheel High (4HI).

When Using the Manual Transfer Case


All shifts should be made using quick motions. Slow shifts may make it harder to shift.
You may notice that it is harder to shift when the vehicle is cold. When the vehicle warms up the shifting will return to normal.
While in 4-Wheel High (4HI) or 4-Wheel Low (4LO) you may experience reduced fuel economy.
Avoid driving in 4-Wheel Drive on clean, dry pavement. It may cause your tires to wear faster, and make your transfer case harder to shift and run noisier.

Shifting from 2HI to 4HI


Shifts between 2HI and 4HI can be made at any vehicle speed.
It is easiest to shift the transfer case when maintaining a constant speed or a slight acceleration. If possible, avoid shifting while slowing down, as it will may make it harder to shift.
Shift your transfer case lever in one continuous motion into either the 4HI or 2HI position.
In extremely cold weather, it may be necessary to slow or stop the vehicle to shift into 4HI until your vehicle has warmed up.
While in 4HI, your vehicle can be driven at any posted legal speed limit.

Shifting In or Out of 4LO


Notice: Shifting the transfer case into Four-Wheel Drive Low while moving at speeds faster than 3 mph (5 km/h) may cause premature wear to the transfer case, and may cause the gears to grind. To avoid causing premature wear, and grinding the gears, do not shift the transfer case into Four-Wheel Drive Low while the vehicle is moving faster than 3 mph (5 km/h).

Shifts into 4LO can be made with the vehicle at a stop, or while slowly rolling about 1 to 3 mph (2 to 5 km/h).

Shift the automatic transmission into NEUTRAL (N), or with a manual transmission, press the clutch pedal, or shift into NEUTRAL.
Shift the transfer case shift lever in one continuous motion into the 4LO position.
When in 4LO do not drive faster than 45 mph. This will reduce wear and extend the life of your transfer case.

Shifting In or Out of NEUTRAL


  1. With the vehicle running and the engine at an idle set the parking brake.
  2. Place the transmission into NEUTRAL (N).

Shift the transfer case in one continuous motion into or out of the NEUTRAL (N) position.

goodwrench9124 and other Chevy Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Awesome. Thanks a lot dude. I appreciate your help.
Expert:  goodwrench9124 replied 9 years ago.
you are very welcome!! thanks for using JA!!