04 Avalanche will not shift into gear

Jeff Leonard

Asked by May 26, 2016 at 01:54 PM about the 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Not sure what's going on... My fiancé has an 04
Avalanche (5.3, V8, 4x4). She said that she was
driving down the road, stopped at a light, and
when the light turned green, it wouldn't move.
She turned the truck off, and when she started it
back up, she was only able to drive about 5' and
then it would stop moving (it would coast, but it
was no longer in gear).

She kept doing this until she got it into a parking
lot so she could get it towed.

She claims that while she was in the parking lot,
she could continue doing this, but it would
either go into drive or reverse, without the
option of switching gears back and forth, and
no matter which gear she was in, it would only
go about 5' before it started coasting again.

That all happened yesterday... Today it doesn't
want to go into gear at all. The fluids are good
(clean and at the right levels), all the fuses
check out good, it doesn't go into any of the 4-
wheeled gears, and all it does is rev up the
engine when she gives out gas.

The service engine light was on so we rented an
ODB tool, and all the codes were for the evap
(because she lost her gas cap... Ugh). I put the
gas cap (off of my 01 Grand Prix GT (with a
blown engine)) on her truck, and erased the
codes. We're now not getting any codes to
come through to see if it'll tell us anything

A friend of mine told me that it could be a
transmission solenoid, and the ODB tool would
tell us which one it is, but we're not getting any
new codes... Ugh!

If anyone could give us some advice, that would
be awesome! I'm a VERY "shade tree"
mechanic, but I don't mind dropping the pan to
change a solenoid if I need to.

I'll wait for your questions and advice... Thank
you VERY MUCH in advance!!! :)


6 Answers


Being somewhat familiar with cars and trucks in general I might have a solution for you. or at least a place to start. Put the truck up on some jack stands and have a look at the linkage under the trans to see if some debris has gotten hung up on anything first. Second have someone shift the gear selector to see if there is free movement. And the transmission has a safety mechanism to prevent shifting in to gear without putting your foot on the brake first. And last. Just checking, Is the parking brake on?? Oh. And check to see if any of the brakes are locking up. These newer vehicles have so many things that can go wrong. With safety features its not funny. It also could be stuck in what they call "Limp" Mode. That happens when something is dangerously close to catastrophic failure. Good luck.


The generic type scan "tool" you tried will not indicate a Transmission module solenoid code! This is not a "limp mode" issue ..Find a facility with a OEM scan too even the OLD (GM tech 2) scan tool will work, scan for codes. NO need to guess. Regards

Jeff Leonard

Had the truck towed to a transmission shop that does free transmission analysis. Hopefully they will give me a solution that I feel comfortable enough to repair myself. If not, then they get to do it... I'll keep everyone posted for future reference... Thank you for the replies! :)

Jeff Leonard

The transmission shop said that a clogged filter could cause the problem. Had it towed back to the house today. Have the new filter and 12 QTS of tranny fluid (only need 11.2 QTS) in hand... I'll be trying the new filter to see if it works... Again, I'll keep you posted. :)


It will be difficult to remove the entire 11.2 qts. without the proper machine, remember the torque converter holds a few quarts. I'm interested in your vehicle because I don't see this as the the cause! I want to be wrong! let us know if this corrects the trans issue.

Jeff Leonard

Well, it seems that the new transmission filter fixed the problem (for now anyway)... Although the tranny pan was a little difficult to get down because of the bracket that holds the linkage cable, I came up with a "plan" (that involved removing the linkage cable from the bracket and using a clamp to get the bracket out of the way). It worked! That was the most difficult part. Ugh Hopefully there won't be any issues in the future, but I'll keep everyone posted, and thanks again to everyone who responded! :)

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