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Chevy Express/GMC Savana



  • nlongnlong Posts: 1
    How is your gas mileage with the 8.1/496ci engine? Do you have 3.73 or 4.10?
  • I have a 98 Express van and have had the outside rear view mirrors replaced 3 times. Has anyone else had the same problem? The dealer ruined 2 sets of door pads during re-installation, and want to know if a definite fix to the problem before I have them replaced again.
  • I forgot to mention what the defect in these mirrors was. When driving they wobble/shake to the point that they are useless. The glass just shakes, the body of the mirror is stable. When driving at night the lights from behind me tend to flash me and catch my eye in the most annoying way. Right after they get replaced it gets better, but as time goes on it worsens.
  • I am looking for the tracks for the rear seat on a 2500 or 3500. I am trying to put the 4 seater to the back of my 1500 so I need the tracks that bolt on the floor. so if anyone has it please sent me an e-mail to I would like to get it off you.
    Thanks. p.c.
  • jgmilberg has had problems with vibrating side-view mirrors. Another Express/Savana driver in this forum had their mirrors replaced many times. The problem went away after the bug deflector was removed. Seems like the bug deflector redirected the airflow to the mirror or created turbulence causing the mirrors to vibrate. The turbulence doesn't affect a new mirror until after a while when it progressively gets worked more and more loose. jgmilberg do you have a bug deflector?
  • rsmmacrsmmac Posts: 22
    Dear Mr. Long:

    I got the 3.73 and I get just about 11 mpg (10.88 to date at 4050 miles) with a rather heavy foot. My old 1500 conversion never got more than 13.5 (it had a 350 and the 3.73), so I am not shocked, although 11 mpg is abysmal when compared to smaller vehicles. Depends on what you want. I've already had 2 "road / day trips" (300+ miles) with 9 other family members (my wife and our 3 kids, brother & sister in law & their baby, grandma and grandpa) & all our stuff. We all have great fun together, so being together for the trips is nicer than taking 2-3 cars.

    And I can't deny it - I like to drive, I always liked full-size vans, and I love the big V-8 torque and horsepower.

    Best regards,

  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I do have a bug gaurd, but had it put on after I had already had 2 sets of mirrors replaced. It was installed after only 14K miles, so I am unhappy with the design and think if a little thing like a bug gaurd would effect the mirrors in such a dramatic way they would figure out what was going bad and beefed it up. In all reality how many van conversion companies install them before it even hits the dealer lot.
  • txvanmantxvanman Posts: 2
    I have just ordered a Savanna 3500 with a full high-top Explorer conversion and the new 8.0 liter engine. I am told the van won't be delivered to the dealer until the end of April. While I'm waiting, I'm wondering if anyone else has taken delivery of such a van. The primary reason I ordered it was to tow a 7600 pound trailer over long distances. The Express 1500 we have now, with the Vortex 5.7 and 3:73 rear end is just not up to the job.

    I ordered the 3500 with a 3:73 locking rear miff. My wife drives the van around town everyday with kids etc. I'm worried that the 3500 will be too tall, too truck like and a beast to drive. Since the dealer can't actually show me one, I'm sort of left in the dark while I wait for this thing to arrive. Any experiences anyone? And if you do have one with the high-top.. how tall is it? The dealer is just not sure.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Here is the site with all the specs on the stock van, go to savana, then select specs. It is only 2.5"-3" taller that the 1/2 ton. The 3/4 to will do the job but the power of the 8.1 L engine is unmatched, and unfortunatly only available in the 1 ton model. By changing to a 4:10 gear in the rear of the 3/4 ton might make a difference, but no where near the difference of the 8.1L. The 3500 is a really stiff ride in the passenger van version, so I would imagine it would be the same in the conversion. The total height will be determined by your "bubble" top. If your current van has one on it add about 2.5" - 3" to the height. An easy way to do this is to drive it up onto 2x6's stacked 2 high laying flat on the ground, this should give you a really good idea how hard/easy getting in and out will be. Check out the SUV topic under trucks and Yukon XL for more feedback on the 8.1L performance. Find out from your dealer if the Allison 5 speed auto is available, if so for the sake of your wallet get it, it will pay for itself in fuel costs. Adds about 3-4 MPG over the 4 spd auto. Have you considered a Yukon XL? Can get a good ride in the 3/4 ton with the 8.1L and autoride. Just an idea.
  • txvanmantxvanman Posts: 2
    Thanks for your post John, I appreciate the help in determining the final height of my new van. The Explorer rep. did call back to say that the 2001 raised-roof is 3" lower than the 1998 raised roof I have now. So the net gain/loss in height for the 2001 3500 should be about zero. This is good, since it has to go under an 8 ft garage door.
    I did speak to the factory rep. about the Allison 5 speed transmission and was told it's not available in a van. Anyone know if that's correct?

    As for the Yukon, my wife really loves the van. We've had three full size Explorer conversions since 1992. They have all been good vans and excellent on long trips with our 3 kids. The 1 ton should be even better with its ability to tow our rather heavy 26ft camping trailer.
    I'm sure you are right that the 3500 will be much stiffer than the 1500. I wonder if it is possible to change the ride height with a different shock/spring set-up to make it a little lower and easier to get in. Time will tell. We have until April to wait for ours.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    It is probably correct. The trucks just started useing them. Test drove one today, man what a difference! The truck had an 8.1L in it and on the freeway at 55 MPH the tach was only reading like 1300 RPM!!!! A friend of mine has a truck with the same combo and claims to get 14 city/18hwy. All of the other posts I have read say to expect about 10-11.5 city and 13.5-14 hwy. Wish the 6.0 L was available,I have one in my YukonXL and it has great power for hauling stuff, decent mileage too, 13 city 17 hwy. 320 HP 345 ft. lbs. torque. I know about the tv in the back, keeps 'em quiet for sure. There are tv's available for the YukonXL that go on the roof- flip down of course.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    You can now get a ceramic pad material from aftermarket manufacturers for the the brakes on a Savanna (or most anything else) Reports are that the cost is about $50 for the pads, they put off very little "dust", have little to no fade and more than double the mileage. For those of you who wonder why the newer vehicles don't get nearly the miles on brakes as the older vehicles, don't forget that asbestos is no longer used in brake pads. That is one BIG reason pads do not last as long.

  • tunapetetunapete Posts: 1
    My 2000 Express 1500 has had two apparently common problems since the day I purchased it. The mirrors tend to flutter at highway speed, particularly in a crosswind. It is a low top conversion van with no bug deflectors or the like. I've seen several posts about this, but no solutions. Replacement with the same type of mirror seems fruitless. The more annoying problem is with the drivers side power window. It occasionally sticks in the down position, often during high humidity. It behaves as if there is a faulty electrical connection, rather than a mechanical problem. I've taken it to two different dealers, and either they've done nothing, or they can't trace the problem due to its intermittent nature. I've called Chevrolet customer service, and have been told that there is no technical bulletin for this problem. Any ideas?
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    I purchased a 2500 savana passenger extended (still on order), but for the test drive only a 3500 extended passenger van was available. I was really surprised how smooth the ride was, I expected the ride you get on a Ford F250 Heavy duty pickup truck where you feel every single bump. It coasted over rail way tracks smoothly. and bumps on roads didn't bother me guess is the extended version makes a difference. Never did try the regular length.
  • drddinkydrddinky Posts: 4
    My 96 had the same problem with the window. The dealer went straight to a connector behind the drivers seat, and replaced it. (I have a Mark II conversion, but I assume all the panels are located in the same place.) I haven't had the problem since. As for the mirrors, I haven't heard of any fix for them. It's just a poor design. You somehow get used to it.
  • cammetancammetan Posts: 3
    Has anyone seen the new Express LT yet? Any word on when they can be expected to start showing up at dealers? My local dealer says that many are "in transit" to this area but he thinks this may mean they are out of the factory but at the finishers (Lear Corp.?) for the interior installation. If this is so does anyone know if there is a hold-up at Lear?
    Thanks for the info.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I saw both Chevy and GMC versions at the Detroit auto show. My dealer says to expect them in early to mid April. It is 100% built at a GM plant, no outside companies are putting them together. Some of the parts may be from the aftermarket suppliers, but it all goes in at the plant. This is GM's attempt to get in the "conversion" business, and I like it. The new front engine cover, dual overhead TV's, Bose surround sound, and most of all the 4 bucket seats and the re-configurable seating in the back. A really good showing and all in all I think they will be taking quite a bit of business from the conversion companies. The real bonus is that everything is covered under factory warranty. One other side note that I like about it is that when you see it the thing just looks like a regular passenger van and is less likely to be broken into for the add-on's The conversions advertise with the big windows, and side graphics.

    I asked the guys at the dealer about the ride and handling, and he said it will handle like a regular window van, but expect to get a quieter ride.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Not to mention a solid metal roof and safety glass on the rear windows. The seats and seatbases will also be factory-engineered to work properly in the event of an accident. Major improvements in safety.
  • vguardvguard Posts: 78
    It seems Chevy is following Fords lead on this one. I purchased the Econoline "Chateau", complete with quad captains chairs (less the leather and entertainment system however), and love it !!

    Doubt I could have gotten my wife to go along with the "full size van" idea without those captains chairs.

    Ford also has the "Leather" version, it's called the "Traveler" , and it also has the entertainment system.

    The only thing I did not like about the onboard entertainment system was the fact it was VHS based. For that kind of money, you would think it would be DVD (both Ford and Chevy).

    About the only major difference I can find between the Ford and Chevy version, is the fact Ford sells the "Chateau" in both half and full ton configuration while Chevy only sells the LT in the half ton size.
  • cammetancammetan Posts: 3
    Looks like Chevy has a good idea here for a niche market. We had a Astro LT in the past but with the amount of travel we do with 4 kids and 2 dogs there was not enough room or weight capacity. We always thought that one of the Big 3 should do something like this and take some of that conversion van market. I would not buy a conversion van but am ready to buy an Express LT since it is factory backed. GM is not installing the interior and exterior cladding. Lear is doing the interior for GM so lets hope they can handle the installation. I believe they already produce many of the components for GM's interiors but the production arrangement is new. For more info see the press releases at Lears website.
    The real problem with the E150 is that the rear bench seat is just an old bus seat. No head restraints or support to encourage proper sitting position when traveling and falling asleep. Not worthy of my childs safety. That is besides the lack of rear reading lights (at least on earlier model years). The configuration of GM's rear seat is excellent, reclines and encourages a upright seating position rather than falling toward the middle or to the side.
    If only GM would offer the heavier duty version and DVD.
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