Common Problems with H2's
Updated April 26, 2007
For us H2 owners there are three problems that appear to occur rather often.
- The key will not come out of the ignition and therefore not allow you to park the truck.
- The Truck will not shift out of PARK resulting in your inability to move or even easily tow the truck.
- The truck either discharges its battery when the key is removed and/or the truck will not crank over and/ or the truck will start and then just stall again.
Needless to say when any of these happen it's VERY aggravating. This article will offer you solutions to these problems which will hopefully get you out of a bind. You will find that it's pretty easy to fix the truck. These repairs can be done with either no parts or a special part that costs about $40 at the dealer.
Must Have Tools:
For emergencies all you need is a Phillips screw driver and a 1/8" drill bit. . KEEP THESE TOOLS IN YOUR TRUCK AT ALL TIMES. I suggest you buy a uni-tool / Leatherman and keep it in the truck.
- Phillps screw driver (the same as used for emergencies)
- An allen wrench set
- A knife
- Some tape or preferably some small butt splices and a crimper
- Some 24 ga. Stranded wire
Problem - I Can’t get the key out of the ignition!
There is a gold /silver button on the bottom of the steering wheel assembly that is just behind and under the key. This button needs to be pushed up to remove the key. This button is under the steering wheel column cover which is a gray-black plastic trim that covers the steering column between the wheel and the dash. It tilts up and down with the steering wheel.
You have two options to get to the button.
- Remove the bottom plastic trim from the steering column.
- Drill a small hole in the trim.
Removing the bottom trim cover
- Put the steering wheel tilt to the highest position.
- Remove the steering wheel tilt knob by pulling it straight out.
- Press the seam of the top and bottom plastic pieces of the cover inwards. You need to press hard enough to cause them to deflect enough to release the locking tabs on the inside which hold the halves together. Use this procedure on all sides, one at a time. They WILL come apart. If you can’t get them apart this way then you can break the part but it will cost you about $100 to get a replacement.
The Drill Method
Put the steering wheel to the full up position:
- Look under the steering wheel on the right side and look for an oval blemish in the plastic. This blemish is the spot where a plug was put into the plastic mold resulting in an imperfect surface finish.
- Use the drill bit to bore a hole into the exact dead center of the oval. You can be off center a bit but try to keep it close to center. Don’t worry the hole is on the bottom and you can't see it.
- Once the hole is drilled adjust the drill angle so that you can insert the drill it straight up (rather than perpendicular to the plastic which is a curved surface.
Once you have the hole drilled or you have the cover off:
There is a gold /silver button at the bottom of the steering wheel assembly that is either in direct line with the hole you drill or can be seen just behind and under the key. This button needs to be pushed up. Once pushed they key will come out.
If you have the drill hole you can use a tooth pick, paper clip or the drill bit to push the button. The nice thing is that the button is in direct line with the hole so you don’t have to fish around very much. You can feel when you are pushing the button as it has about ½” of travel and has a weak spring.
Now that the key is out, what next?
The problem will still exist next time you shut off the truck so keep the cover off or keep the drill bit handy.
To fix the cause the of the problem you need to do the work described in the next section.
I can’t get the truck out of park!
Park Problem – emergency procedure
This is a more serious problem as the truck is totally immobilized. You will have to do something if you want to get to where you are going. Fortunately, the solution is very easy. Note that The park problem can occur at the same time as the key problem so you may have to do both to get out of a bind . The repair of the shifter as described below will fix both problems.
Here's what you do.
Open the center console glove box and using the Phillips screw driver, remove the 4 screws that hold the center console "glove box" in place. The box is the tub right under the flip up door.
Remove the tub then stick you hand into the hole toward the shifter. While jiggling the shifter feel where the bottom of the shifter is. Somewhere near the bottom, you will feel a round mushroom shaped thing, with the round part facing the PASSENGER SIDE. If you press on this, the shifter can now be shifted out of park using the regular method. You need to hold the button down when you want to shift out of park. The lock is only for park so all other gears are ok from this point on. Remember- every time you go to park position, the shifter will lock and you need to access the “button” each time to get out of park.
What causes the problem?
One frequent cause is a broken wire that goes to the shifter (the break is located in the center console). These wires control both the key removal and the parking lock. If you have either of these problems then have the cable checked or you can fix it your self as indicated below:
Put the parking brake on
Make sure the engine is off
Put the shifter into 1 (farthest back position)
Remove the shifter handle. To do this you need to loosen the torx screw (it is actually a torx screw but an allan wrench works)
Loosen the screw on the front of the shifter.
Pop the shifter console off the center console. There are 4 very hard to release metal clips that hold the shifter cover on. To release, you need to pull straight up on the shifter cover. Beware, you might break the plastic around the clips so be careful. The cover does come off with a lot of effort. If you are worried about breaking it go to a dealer for the repair.
Once the cover is off you will see a cable and connector near a mushroom shaped button. This button is the one you pressed to release the shifter from park. Either the connector is off or the wires to the connector are broken due to the flex back and forth that occurs during movement of the shift lever.
Find which wire is broken and fix it. It is preferable to use a small gauge, highly flexible wire to extend the harness to connector cable length. It is also preferable to use butt splices rather then solder joints.
Test it and then put everything back together.
I start my truck and it stalls Immediately
OR The truck just turns over but will not start
OR I turn the key and truck wont turn over
OR I took the key out last night and the truck batteries are dead in the morning even though I didn't leave any accessories or lights on.
The problem is most likely a defective ignition switch. You will need to get a new one. The part number is GM# 15242754. It is a common GM part and most dealers will carry it as a stock item. Cost is about $40.
Remove the negative connection to the truck battery
Remove the lower trim cover from the steering wheel column as described in the stuck key problem procedure.
The key switch assembly can be seen on the bottom right side of the steering column. You need to unplug the switch and then press in the spring loaded tabs that hold the switch in place to slide it out. There are several cables that may have to be moved around a bit but DO NOT UNPLUG THE LITTLE WIRES THAT GO TO THE TOP OF THE COLUMN!!! If you do, the truck will think this is a theft attempt and set the security alarm.
Once the switch is out, get the new switch and make sure the gear of the new switch is in the same position as the one that was removed.
Put the new switch into the proper position and plug it into the connector
Hook up the battery
Test that the switch works. If the gear is in the wrong position, the key either won’t come out or the key will not move to the start position (the spring loaded start position). In either of these cases you need to remove the switch and re-position the gear.
Put the bottom cover back on making sure to have the pieces aligned properly so you don’t screw up the locking tabs.