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Chevy Express/GMC Savana

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  • I have a 2003 12 passenger van and there is an electrical connector under the passenger front seat - any idea what this is? Mine shorted out last night and started a small fire under the seat. It looks like a puddle of water and a tour book may have caused the short. Any body have any ideas??

    Also, the dashboard lights have gone out three times - twice under warrenty the dealer fixed them but the warrenty is up and I'd like to fix it myself if possible.

    Thanks!
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    Hi everybody,

    Does somebody know how reliable are the 1500 Savanas with the V6 4.3 liter engines? How much trouble, let's say in 100,000 - 150,000 miles ?

    I plan to buy such a vehicle, customized as a Class-B RV. Installing the cabinets, sink, electrical, fiberglass roof, beds (one in the van, and one in the roof), etc, is pretty expensive. The roof raises like in those old VW Camper Vans.

    The price jumps up by about 40%. Is the GM van worth it (reliability wise), or I am wasting my money ? This toy is a lot pricier than a tent trailer !

    Thanks
  • jvettejvette Posts: 70
    I own a business and turn our Chevy Express vans at or just before 60k. We only use the V6 and they have been pretty much trouble free during the first 50k. If I were using the van as a RV I would look at the V8. The gas milage isn't any different than the V6. You may also want to look at the 2500 series.
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    Thanks jvette, I agree with you. I would have preferred the 2500 series (heavy duty transmissions), but because of unknown reasons (to me) the 2500 series, after conversion, become 84.5 inches tall. That's too tall to fit it in my garage.

    The 1500 series become 83 inches tall, which is exactly at the limit of my garage door. I just ordered the 5.3 liter V8 (optional on 1500 series).

    I plan to keep the van for the next 20 years, that's why I want to store it in my garage during the winter. I estimated about 5,000 miles per year of vacation and weekends. In 20 years that gives 100,000 miles.

    It's amazing that the V8 is not thirstier than the V6 !
  • I have a 99 chevy with the 5.7 mine is on the accumulator/reicver. look to the left of the motor. it is silver and partially insulated. if not follow the refrigerant from the heater core to it. hope this helps.
  • paleeds1paleeds1 Posts: 1
    Spark Plugs - What is the technique to install? - to install the spark plugs do we remove the wheels and hood cover inside. what else is required to "reach" the plugs. Special tools needed... Is it best to replace other things at the same time.Distr, PVC, wires
  • cmungercmunger Posts: 1
    Hi everyone, my odometer started reading very inacurate today fluctuating anywhere from 20 up to 100 mph, when actually going about 30 mph. Transmission shifts quickly to 4th gear (overdrive) Engine has no power because it is in 4th gear, So my question is do you think I have an electronical speed control problem or a serious transmission problem, van does have high milage but I never had a problem. I appreciate any advice that anyone out there may have to offer, and thank you in advance.
  • i found this '04 van with 76k miles. it was owned by enterprise which used to shuttle their employees around. the reason i am interested in this particular van because it has 10 individual hi-back seats with three-point seatbelts. do you think the mileage is too high? i have never own any chevy or ford big vans so don't know anything about them. thanks

    oh by the way, they want around $15k for it.
  • In 2004 I purchased a 2001 Chevy express 3500 with 74000 miles from Enterprise. It has 14 bucket seats. I'm very happy with it. Drove it to upstate N Y and back from Los Angeles with no problems. I did have to repair a rear axle seal leak recently. It will cruise all day long at 80 mph with 10 people. It can get up to 15 mpg on the road. I like it. When I bought it I believe the drivers side mirror heater did not work. I recommend it very much.
  • Wow. I found this van in LA too. May I ask how many miles is on your van now?
  • 99850 miles and runs strong.
  • sig88sig88 Posts: 2
    Express 3500 15 Passenger: My double side door is open and the latch is stuck in the closed position so the door will not close. I have tried closing the door as far as possible to engage the autolocks, but that does not help. How do I manually get the latch open?
  • sig88sig88 Posts: 2
    Express 3500 15 Passenger: My double side door is open and the latch is stuck in the closed position so the door will not close. I have tried closing the door as far as possible to engage the autolocks, but that does not help. How do I manually get the latch open?
  • 6xadad6xadad Posts: 2
    Are you referring to the side cargo doors? If so, take a small screwdriver or large nail or bolt and put it through the latch opening. Make sure the doors are unlocked and have someone pull the handle and pull out with the screwdriver. If you need a picture, I can provide one. This should release the latch.
  • 91accord91accord Posts: 1
    Hi, I just wonder, have you find out what wrong with your van yet?. If you had then please tell me what is the problem?. I have same problem with my 1999 3/4 ton van. Thanks
  • blirishblirish Posts: 1
    Any word on this? I am interested in doing the same thing.
  • ealvarezealvarez Posts: 7
    I would like to change tires on my 99 express 1500, I have 235/75/15 and would like a slightly taller tire. can anyone tell me how big can I go without having clearance problems. Also I have added rear leaf spring in order to be able to carry more weight.
  • adis8066adis8066 Posts: 3
    go to www.1010tires.com, go to "TECH".
    Under Tech, you'll be able to fing anithing you wanna know about wheels & tires.
    In this case, you go to "Tire Size Calculator",
    enter your stock tire size, then enter whatever size you gonna be changing, then hit "Compare Tire Sizes".
    It will tell you whether the size too big or too small ...and There you go ...
    You can also play around with "Options" to see the different in width of the tires.
    Have fun !!! :) :D ;)
  • adis8066adis8066 Posts: 3
    Has anyone ever seen a Chevy Express with a grille guard on it?? I'd like to have one installed on my Express. Is it Wierd??
    The reason i asked was someone keep either back-in or hit my front bumper where the license plate is in parking lot. I claimed insurance once, & i don't wanna claim the second time, or they may think i'm cheating on them !! :sick:
  • I am torn between buying the Express and the Sprinter. I like the Express because it is alot cheaper and I like the Sprinter because all its seats have shoulder belts. I went and look at an '07 Express and notice that the second bench actually has shoulder belt for its middle passenger. However the third bench looks exactly like the second bench but it only has a lapbelt for its middle passenger. So I ask the salesman if I could get another second bench and swap out the third bench. He does not seem to know the answer but said "why not."

    I figure you guys/gals here are the best people to ask ... So can it be done (i.e. same track ect)?

    Thanks a bunch!
  • amiles1amiles1 Posts: 2
    I have a 1996 chevy 1500 conversion van which I am having audio problems with when the vehicle is first started the factory systems sounds fine then few seconds later the sound goes down to a whisper and sound is only coming out of the passenger front and rear speakers at a whisper could someone give me an idea of what could be wrong is it a problem with my head unit or does the van have a factory amp that may be malfunction any help would be much appreciated
    thank you
  • Well, I went ahead and bought a used '07 Express over a Sprinter because it costs 12k less. Can't fight the math :).

    Anyway, does anyone here know if the emblems in the rear and on the front door have position holes behind them. I would like to remove them but don't want to expose any holes in the van.

    oh, to answer my own question regarding the swapping of bench seats...it seems the second and third row benches are similar in track length so maybe they are switchable.
  • As far as i know, all emblems around the vehicle are using very strong double sided tape instead of pin mounted like the old days.
    It is not easy to remove them, you should heat it up using a heat gun (not hair blower) to solften the adhesive at the back of the emblem, then peel it off gradually. Most of the time, it will left behind the residue on the vehicle, you can use glue remover to remove it.
    Body shop has a set of tool just for removing emblems before sanding the body of vehicles. For removing the glue residue, they're using a rubber wheel (they claimed it is made of air craft tire's rubber) attach to power drill, & spin the wheel against the glue area until it is cleaned; it won't damage or scratch the surface.
    You can buy these tools at your local body shop supplier. ;)
  • I am having trouble reading my 01 van computer.
    When I plug the code reader in it tells my it can not access the computer. Any ideas?
    There is something wrong the van because I do get a light but I can not read what it is.

    Thanks
  • 6xadad6xadad Posts: 2
    No, the second row seat doesn't fit into the third or fourth row slots. The 2008 Express has as standard equipment center shoulder belts for every bench.
  • Are you sure? I asked my Chevy dealer and they said the only new features that they know of are: standard curtain airbags for the passenger version and tweaked-up engines. He is not sure on the shoulder belts for all seats. Where did you find this info? I would be very bumped if it were true since I was, for the long time, torn between buying an Express or a Sprinter. I settled with a slightly used Express because of the huge price difference between the two.

    You also said the second row wouldn't fit into the third row. I haven't got the time to actually remove these two benches to try them out. From just looking at the legs and latches, they seem to match up pretty well. Have you actually try them out? Another bump for me since I thought I could try a junk yard or actually buying new to get the extra shoulder belt and two child LATCHes :( Thanks
  • I had the opportunity to really check out my '07 Sprinter and found that most of the interior trims don't seem to fit tightly and have big gaps. I took it back to the dealer and they said that is the way it was built. I know it is a workhorse but the quality seems so inferior. For instance, the area around the belt holders on the headliner doesn't seem to attach to anything. I keep pushing it up hoping it would click onto something but no. The plastic trim around the lower glass in the rearmost bench has huge gap between it and the glass. I could see some sort of attachment of the window glass but the trim, again, does not seem to click onto anchor. Lots of 'give.' The bench floor anchors don't seem secure (the pins that say L and R) but I am sure they are. Plus all mine anchors look rusty or very reddish in color. Let me know what yours are like since it is hard to get hold of another passenger express for comparison. Thanks
  • johnscjohnsc Posts: 14
    The only difference I can think of is the passenger side shoulder strap that allows you to get by the first row. I didn't really examine it that well. You could probably rig a middle shoulder harness by attaching it to the top seat frame. I think they didn't have one for the third seat because the seat in front would be soft? Or just carry 11 people instead of 12, or whatever it carries.

    I had a Dodge 97 and it was a nightmare. The Sprinter looks ok, but like you said, it is over 10k more. And has that small V6. Not sure how well that is going to hold up. But the 22 mpg is impressive.

    This is my second Chevy Van, the fisrt was a 2000, this on is a 2006 3500 passenger.

    Just make sure your tires are properly inflated when hauling that many people and you are good to go. 85 in the back and 55 in the front. Van's and SUVs can roll over when the tires are low. (especially the extended van)
  • johnscjohnsc Posts: 14
    Did you mean your 07 Express? I have the 06 passenger, which is the exact same. I thing the he trim is fine, but I know what you are talking about. I just took mine apart to install speakers, run wires, etc. All the trim pieces snap in and out. It's like that on all the SUVs, even a hummer. Most of the peices have a small clamp so you have to be careful to line it up. But that back one is loose at one end. Doesn't bother me. The side panels and doors all have insulation. IMO you get the most bang for the buck with the passenger van. I wouldn't want to add all that in to a cargo van.

    I had the same issue with the seat belts when I disconnect them from the seats. I did manage to push some of them in to the slot. Or you can purchase a screwdriver to disconect them from the ceiling.

    As far as the pins. No mine aren't rusty at all. One of them had a slight vibration when going over a bump, but that could be fixed by using a small wedge or something. I'm pleased with the ease of removing the seats, instead of having to use a bolt mount. Maybe the dealer should offer you non rusted latches if you bought it new? If not they should be cheep, if they bother you. Or paint them. My seats had a slight amount of rust but I got mine used and it doesn't bother me. They must have been taken out and left in a storage unit.

    It's not perfect for me either. I wish the seats folded down flat. There was more room in the front leg wells, and the drivers seat wasn't so close to the side.

    I would like to keep comparing notes with the rest of you.

    So far I'm getting 15 mpg with the AC, city and highway. I hope it goes up a little, but that's a little better than my 2000. And the V6 Dodge only got about 16 or 17. The other much smaller SUVs only get about 15 - 17 also.
  • johnscjohnsc Posts: 14
    About your seat belt. You could order the second row harness from the dealership in the parts department. They can look it up for you with your VIN number. Should be reasonable. I don't think you will find it at a salvage yard, but good luck. It appears to be attached to the top seat frame (duh!). But you would have to also attach the other end at the bottom. The second row has a bolt, so you would need to order the strap as well. Then bolt it on. I don't have the third seat at my house (already put that in soreage) But I'll bet they are the exact same seats. There is already a slit down at the bottom. You can also pull the fabric out from the plastic, but I would try and cut a small vertical slit in the fabric then bolt on the strap and sow it back up. The top part has a star screw so you will need to buy that scewdriver from an auto parts place. (the GMC one) I'll bet it just bolts on to the top frame, but you should take apart the second row one to make sure, before cutting into the third row. (to take apart that top seat belt plastic housing, start with the small plastic around the stap, there is a star screw inside, then the the rest of the casing staps off and you should be able to see how it attaches to the top seat frame.

    Good luck!

    (edit: I just took another look at the bottom fabric and you don't have to cut it. That plastic cove pulls right off and back on)

    (Also, about the Sprinter. That van has a higher profile and will get blown around by the wind. The 3500 Chevy doesn't get blown around like all the other vans I have owned. Finally! That really bothered me most about driving a van and I even put bigger tires and heavy duty gas shocks on my 2500 Chevy, which helped, but nothing like the new 3500.)
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