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Chevy Express/GMC Savana



  • I have a 99 LS 3500 with the 454.

    The mirrors are stable at highway speeds and are the heated electrics. Do you have a bug deflector? If so, that could be contributing airflow turbulence to your mirrors.

    The 454 requires regular gas which I run.

    Brakes checked at 11,900. OK per the shop.

    Worried about the transmission? The transmission problems may be associated only with the 1500's (half ton). In any case, change the tranny fluid and add a temp gauge. If it runs hot, add another tranny cooler.

    Make sure you change the rear-end/differential fluid.

    Run synthetic lubricants.

    If you do all that, I'll be surprised if you get to use your warranty on the tranny or rear-end.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks vandalybay1 for the information. I do have a bug deflector and I will remove it this weekend to see what happens.

    I picked up my van from the dealer last evening and drove home through stop & go traffic. When I arrived home I could smell the left front brakes burning. This morning I drove to work via the interstate I noticed a constant vibration at the steering wheel and the first time I applied the brakes from 65 mph, the van shook violently. I'll be taking it back this morning. I believe there is a problem with the ABS. Stay tuned.......
  • Vandalybay1, you are correct regarding the bug deflector causing the vibrating mirrors. I removed it this weekend and the vibration disappeared reinstalled it with it snugged up against the hood and it works fine now after 3 1/2 years of frustration. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Took the van back to the dealer regarding the brake problem around noon on Friday. I received a call from them about 3 PM saying the van was ready. They said they should have turned the rear drums when they did the front and there would be "no charge" for my inconvenience. Kudos to Sir Walter Chevrolet in Raleigh NC.
  • jeephardjeephard Posts: 3
    Purchased a used 97 2500 Cargo Van from a local Chevy Dealer here in Beaufort SC at the end of May. Parks Automotive Group. The van was in great shape but high mileage 80k, it was used for an A/C company out of Ga. Part of the sale was to have the factory tow package put on it. Oil cooler Aux trans cooler wire it up for the hitch it had etc.. And correct all problems found during the test drive and walk around inspection. Well this is where the problems begin.

    1st off the trans has that infamous hard shifting once it gets hot (driving hwy speed for half hour or so) The fluid was changed as part of the 80k service as per the sales agreement prior to pick up. After a two week period and a trip up the east coast the fluid is burnt. Fuel gauge inop past half tank and the speedo sticks until it gets jarred by a bump in the road then it may read near the actual speed. Returned the van for its trans cooler instal and the instrument cluster repairs as per the sales agreement and as scheduled. This was July 3rd. Here we are staring August in the face and I have yet to get any clear word on the van. I am a little frustrated at making payments on a vehicle that I am not driving for the past two months. After reading several posts concerning the hard shift problems and the service engine light I read on here a solenoid or something somewhere in the electronic trans loop is triggering the high line pressure fault causing the hard shifts. Which will eventually break something inside I am sure since catching a wheel in a 3/4 ton van is not good on any parts at all. Even under easy acceleration.

    I bought the van to tow a Jeep on a trailer about 4000lbs GTW and haul a motorcycle inside to go cross country now I am having doubts as to the reliability of it.

    I told the service manager that if it was not 100% correct by next Friday I want a full refund of my money and will take my business elsewhere. That seemed to wake them up a bit.

    As per the sales agreement the items to be fixed were:
    Driver Door lock pushed in so the kay would not work REPAIRED
    Real Axle leak Pinion Seal Replaced
    Speedo and Fuel Guage repair. Instrument panel removed and sent to be repaired have to wait til I get it back to see if it is fixed.
    Trans Burnt fluid after 2k miles (empty no towing just hwy trip) and correct the hard shift problems. I am thinking a new trans in in the future for this one or at least a rebuild.

    I feel like these vans are perpetual clunkers almost from the get go. I may be wrong. But a young vehicle like this should not have these types of problems and a dealer re selling one should be thouroughly checking them out prior to selling them to anyone. I did spring for the warranty for the drivetrain and I am using it already and I only drove it two weeks! It has been in and out of the shop twice now to get the sales agreement work on it and I find more problems every time.

    As far as my satisfaction level so far. I am not. I feel there is no reason for a vehicle to be sold with these types of problems off a dealer lot period! If I got it from a private deal that is one thing. I will post the out come of the ordeal next friday when I pick it or my money up from Parks Chevy here in Beaufort. The service manager is giving me excuses about manpower and backlog as being why it sat for 2 weeks before even being looked at even when I scheduled it to have this work done after the sale. I am sorry but I worked with them for the past month and it is still not fixed nor do they have an answer as to what is wrong with the trans at this point.

    Am I correct in what I am doing? They made a deal with me took my money and now they are not upholding their end of the contract to correct all these problems in a timely fashion. To me that is breach of contract. Oh and seeing a commercial about customer satisfaction at the dealer on T.V this week made me laugh a bit. More to follow on this on. Thanks to all for the info posted on here. Knowledge is power.

    97 2500 5.0L
  • I am glad the deflector adjustment took care of the vibration. Clever of Commandorider to remove it and then try it on again in a different mounted position.

    About those brakes...Anyone ever try different brakes (brake systems or just brake pads) on their van?
  • I can't tell from here whether your problems are manufacturer caused or caused by the previous owners.

    Good for you to have the repairs as part of the sales contract. Smart to get a good value warranty on used vehicles.

    If it was my situation, I would have the dealer take it back if they didn't uphold their end of the used vehicle contract. If that wasn't possible, I would do all I could to get a new tranny.

    2 weeks without starting repair on the vehicle is too much. They could be trying to wear you down. Better yet, your repairs represent only an expense--and no revenue. If that is the case, they may only want to work your van when they don't have any paying jobs needing attention. And spend as little time as possible on it. I wonder if they supplied a loaner vehicle if they would be quicker at getting to fix your van.

    I don't expect ex-company vehicles to have been treated well. I expect them to be: run low on fluids and overheated. Driven in the style of slam-on-the-gas-pedal-when-green, and lets-see-just-how well-this-thing-corners/stops/downshifts/etc. Poor vehicle care will bring on the need for early repairs.

    I expect a used car dealer to be the worst source of information because of conflicts of interest. A state department of consumer affairs may be of assistance regarding your concern over a possible breach of contract.

    I am sorry that you seem to have lost confidence in the van you have. Hopefully they will take it back or they (or warranty company) will fix the major systems that worry you.
  • gbouwgbouw Posts: 1
    We have a 98 Savana we bought in June 98. From day one the driver's window would go down, but not back up. It seems to be a common problem. A tech once told me that there's a dead spot in the electric motor (brush on commutator). Fortunately, right now it only happens when the window is all the way down. If I stop it before it gets there, it'll go up every time. If it does go down all the way it takes a bump or two before it'll go up again except, of course, in winter. ;)

    We just turned 45,000 miles and the air conditioner just went on it. The dealer want to charge $450 for a cracked aluminum casting atop the compressor. It's the junction where the lines to the collector, condensor, and feed to the rear air conditioner (which is capped as we don't have one) is. Has anyone had a similar problem?
  • Wow, I wish I could have read this kind of thing a few years ago. It may have helped.

    I have a '97 Savanna with a conversion done by MarkIII. Aside from some usual conversion minor things which MarkIII took care of very well I wanted to mention what I've experienced with the GMC side of the van.

    I relate to the front-end alignment thing. It was "realigned" at 30,000, rotated, and still has the problem of pulling. My "dealer tech" also said "nothing was out of alignment" and "I rotated the tires to solve the problem". Still paid for the alignment which isn't covered under GMC's warranty program.

    Have not experienced the mirror vibration, but I also do not have a hood deflector.

    I have however just experienced the transmission problem and I am really bothered. My searching the net for info on trouble codes, etc., led me to this location where I'm reading horror stories that have me looking at major transmission costs out of my pocket, since I am just over the warranty period. How well was this one planned by GMC? I'm going to call and write them and register complaints. I hope others have/will so perhaps we can get GMC to recognize a recall situation. Oh my, I can't afford this kind of problem now. I am getting the hard shift and the dash light on. I need it to drive but am afraid of metal parts self-destructing in it. Anyone have any more advice to give?

    Also, the absolutely pathetic service from the GMC dealerships is appalling. The dealer I bought from had done some canibalizing of parts from this new van I bought and I caught them and had them order and repair all that they screwed with. Then they left stuff disconnected under the hood when they did the complimentary free oil change. They screwed up ordering running boards from MarkIII and after finally getting the right parts I have an entire drivers side running board system (new in box) sitting in my garage courtesy of their screwups and MarkIII has pulled them from ever selling their conversions again. I then went to a different GMC dealer to have work done and that's the one who failed to align my vehicle right and also failed to order in parts before the warranty expired. I've written off this dealer as well. MarkIII has been VERY good to deal with, but GMC and it's dealers have NOT.

  • rsmmacrsmmac Posts: 22
    Re: Jay Michalik posting # 94
    I have not spent the time to write GMC directly since my dealer was actually very helpful (the 100,000 mile extended warranty was even more helpful!) but I will now, based on your comments. I don't know what advice to give you; I am getting rid of my van before my warranty expires, because I know as soon as it does, I won't have much of a prayer with GMC. It is a shame - the van has otherwise been awesome.
  • After 4 unsuccessful alignments, and the mechanic's constant communication with GM office, the dealer's brake specialist was able to fix the pulling to the right while braking. In all it took 1 1/2 day's work. All work was done under warranty.
    I complained about the pulling from day 1.
    Headlamp was replaced because of moisture, the
    mechanic used the opportunity to crack the grill.
    The driver side window also does not go back up
    if down completely but I did not want the mechanic
    to open and break things again.
    The air con also stinks for the first 5 minutes.
    Despite all this I still like the van.
  • Well this evening will be intersting. I called the service Manager Wed. And they have rebuilt the trans and replaced the TCI Solenoid. They said that was went bad on my 2500. I think I have the 4L60E but since I only saw my van for two weeks in the past two months I am not sure just yet. They informed me that the instrument cluster was all hosed up it failed all the diag tests they gave it etc.. But it has not come back yet. Well they have until this evening to get it right or refund me. If not I am going to the Better Business Bureau and the local News agencies here in town and voice a few things. As well as putting a lawyer on retainer if need be.
    For Mr. Chalik I wish you good luck with the dealerships you find.
    Hopefully some one in the higher headquarters of GM will get wind of this site and read the postings. All I can say is talk to the head honcho of the dealership along with the owner I did and things started to get moving along after a long delay. If that doesnot get the ball rolling go above them to the regional manager or something. I am sure the fine folks who post here have some gouge for you.

    Until I see the dealer wish me luck!
    97 2500 Cargo.
  • According to the literature, the heavy duty transmission comes at GVW of 8,600 pounds and above. This GVW is on the 2500 extended and the 3500's.

    My sticker says my 3500 came with the code MT1 transmission. I suppose somewhere I can find the translation into the model number (such as the 4L80E).

    Mobil 1 transmission fluid exceeds the Dextron requirement of the warranty.
  • Well as of Monday I returned my 2500 Van back to the Chevrolet Dealer I bought it from. They were in breach of contract as per my sales agreement. After a month and a half they still had not repaired all the noted discrepancies it had wrong with it. I gave them deadline after deadline and they pushed me to another one Monday and I rebelled and asked for a 100% refund of my money. After hours of why fors and what nots I got my full refund back and left the dealership.
    I had a very bad experiance with this dealership and do not care to ever do business with them or Chevrolet in general again.
  • You got your money back, as well you should have!
  • Hi again. I've been so busy it's been hard getting everything done. My GMC is the 1500 chassis and the transmission is an electronic control 4-speed auto with overdrive (don't know the model #). I've got the 350 FI V8 (5700 vortec).

    The service dash light comes on and goes off with regards to the transmission. The trans will create the fault code with two consecutive failures and likewise go out with two consecutive passes under the same conditions. I've found that if I do a strong start so that the 1st to 2nd upshift is under some load the trans will shift okay and eventually the light will go out. If I baby it or if I let off the gas as I approach the 1-2 upshift it'll bang into place. No burnt fluid YET.

    I've written a complaint to the FTC. I tried to test the waters with GMC by an online customer care message on their website only to find out it wouldn't submit. Wrote the webmaster and he said they'll look into the problem but suggested I call in. That will happen Monday.

    It's a quandary going to the dealership(s). They have screwed up and know I'm onto them. And if I wanted to trade in the vehicle they would know it's got a problem on the trans and make a ridiculously low offer. I've also found out that hardly anyone knows how to handle conversion vans for appraising value. I went to a Dodge dealer to see what I could trade my van for. My sticker price was $40,363. They didn't know that. They offered a trade in value of just over $15,000! If I could find the same van to buy for $15,000 I'd do it in a minute and buy a whole new trans!

    So I'm hoping to skirt the dealerships and deal with GMC more directly. Anyone have a contact at GMC who may be helpful?

  • Almost all of the transmission problems I have read about here sound too familiar. I have a '96 1500 (before they put EXPRESS on it.) At about 40K on it, the service engine soon light would come on intermittently. At first the only problem was that the van would hesitate and almost stall for the first 5 minutes. The dealer said it was an oxygen sensor(so the code said). He replaced it. Still had the same problem, but now the tranny started to bang occasionally when shifting. Brought it to another shop, they claimed wires and it needed a fuel injector flush (I don't run bad gas.) Guess what? Same problem, but now it was ANOTHER O2 sensor. Had it replaced. You guessed it, same problem. Now they tell me the code came up with a tranny slip (no kidding), but they could not reproduce the code or the malfunction. The dealer said I may need a new valve head. What has that got to do with my tranny?
    I paid darn good money for this conversion van, and have dumped a ton of money into repairs that haven't done a thing for me. I still have 2 yrs left on the loan and only have 55K on it. I don't know what I'm going to do, but monthly payments on another manufacturers vehicle are starting to look better than putting money into this one.
    Any body have suggestion on recourse with GM? (no I did not buy the extended warranty, and no the dealers have been of no help whatsoever)
  • I am new in here, but have read a lot of the postings. All these problems sound exactly like mine, except I've had jusy about all of them! Balding tires, failing brakes, air conditioning and heating, transmission, service engine soon, loose panels, and on and on. The worst part is how many times I need to take the van in for repairing the same things over and over without success, despite trying different dealer service depts.

    It's a 1996 Savana Hi-Top Traveler Conversion by Explorer. We love the van except for the GMC part of it. It's great too when there aren't problems. We've had the engine rebuilt at 28,000 miles under warranty as they could never fix the service engine soon light which stayed on constantly, even after numerous servicing attempts. The O2 sensors were replaced at least 6 times prior to that. Tranny is hard shifting at times, and loses power frequently.

    Our heated side view mirrors vibrate incessantly, and yes, I do have a bug/wind deflector. The driver's side window often would not go back up when put all the way down, until we had the motor and switch replaced. Rear air conditioning blows heat, very day 1, if the front is set to anything but top vent a/c. Even put on front defroster, bi-level, or floor air flow, the rear shoots out burning heat which the dealer said was normal!!!!! Also had a time when the rear fan control did not work unless I pulled and held the emergency brake release out...not easy when you are driving.

    On premature brake replacement and tire replacement at about 26,000 miles, the dealer again said it is normal because it is a truck, a heavier vehicle than a car. Therefore, not a vehicle problem and not a warranty item.

    Like I said, when things are working fine, I love it. But too often, there are problems. With only 47,000 miles on it, I am glad God gave me the sense to purchase an extended warranty!!! Typically, this is a stupid thing to do for the consumer. I just know I will never make the GMC Savana/Chevy Express mistake again in my life. Screw me once, shame on GMC. Screw me twice, shame on me!

    Oh yeah. Traveler/Explorer conversion has been superb.

  • I have 35,000 on my Express and will be taking it in this week or next week.

    The power antennae just stopped working. The only other repair was the alternator at 15-18K and a fuse for the break lights. Brakes made it to 30K.

    Sounds like I will have trans problems shortly but the van is showing no symptoms at this point.
  • I'm interested in getting a 2001 extended Express 3500 LS. I'll be doing some towing and I'd like either the 8.1L or the 6.5L turbo diesel.

    Some questions:
    1) When will they offer the Duramax and/or Allison trans in the vans?
    2) Any problems with the ext. 3500?
    3) How much more does it cost to maintain (i.e. does the dealer charge more to work on a van vs. a truck due to the restricted space)

  • I just bought a 2000 Express cargo 2500 with the 5.7. As I work out of a van I was hoping that this one would hold up better than the 97 Dodge I paid off that was constantly in the shop. It was a nightmare, and I was treated like dirt, as South Carolina has the worst lemon laws and I suspect that lemons get dumped in our state for this reason.

    Anyway, I did notice the hard shift from first to second in the Express. Should I have this repaired, or is this normal? My experience is that the dealership will do anything not to come clean and I would only be waisting my time, with them telling me "we cant duplicate the problem" I think I got lucky with a heavy duty trans and diff. and can only hope this one holds up, as I need reliable transportation. I also noticed a heavy click when the ac was turned on. There is also a minor squeek in the front wheels when driving down a dirt road.

    I paid to have speed control added when I bought it, but they sent it out to have it installed. So I wondered why the factory didn't install the speed control.

    So far with 5,000 miles it is a pleasure to drive and the only problem is the hard shift at times from first to second.

    I am also very careful not to back into anything because with all the new electronics on modern vehicles, one good knock could, i suspect, cause a lot of problems.

    So, what problems should I expect from the 2500 5.7 ? Should I get the extended warenty?
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