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Chevy Express/GMC Savana

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Comments

  • vguardvguard Posts: 78
    cammetan,

    You make some interesting points, particularly about the third row bench seat. I also noticed the rear reading lights in the E-150 are above both sets of captains chairs and behind the third row bench (cargo area), so your right, the third row bench does not have direct light for reading.

    It would have been nice if the "LT" had been on the showroom floor when we needed to make a decision. We were in a position, with my wife's promotion, where we needed to purchase a second car "today".

    As my buddy "xfiles" will confirm, the chevy does have several nice advantages over the Ford (his big one is front leg room). Perhaps when we are back in the market, the "LT" will be something we can consider.

    As for the third row bench seat, I can't help but think our kids will be ok, particularly since they are all young and sit in car seats anyway (Boosters for the two oldest). One thing for certain, our kids love the full size van !!!!

    On the Entertainment front.....You can purchase the same systems (DVD based) in the aftermarket for much less than you pay GM or Ford for a VHS based system.

    p.s. The only down side I have found with the Full Size Van concept is the amount of time it takes to wash and wax. I am pretty sure you will suffer from this issue, on either the GM or Ford version.....
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I was told by the rep at the Chevy display that the GM plant would be doing the install of the whole interior,but with the info from cammetan, I did the research and did find that Lear is doing the install after the van is built as a window van.


    Here is a part of what I found on Lear's web site:

    "Production of the luxury vans starts at the GM Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant. The vans are shipped to the new UAW-represented Lear plant nearby, where Lear completes installation of the electronic and electrical distribution system, overhead system, flooring and acoustic system, seats and door panels. After exterior enhancements are installed, GM ships the finished vans to its dealers. As a result of this innovative program, the luxury vans will carry GM factory warranty coverage and can be serviced at any GM dealer."


    If you would like to check it out for yourself go here:

    http://www.lear.com/net/html/lear_corporation.htm

    If it doesn't take you right to it do a search for Express, and it will find it for you. It is under General Motors-Lear Partneship produces...


    One other feature I like about the Express LT I did touch on before but did not explain is the re-configurability of the rear seating. You can removethe 2nd row captain chairs and replace them with the 3rd row bench, and install the captain chairs in the 3rd row position. I think you can even install the seats in the 3rd row backwards for a tailgate party or something, but can't confirm this, due to the other misinformation given to me at the auto show. But I do know you can move the bench and buckets, they did a demonstration, so I know at least that much can be done.

  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    Yup, I am a sucker for leg room on GMC/Chevy vans, but I also like the long wheelbase you get with extended models (what I have). The ride is unbelievable up front in an extended model, and I bet the extended wheel base has a lot to do with it. Not only is it smooth over bumps, but it almost seems to float over the bumps, like a larger boat smoothens out the waves you ride over. The ride on the 2500 extended passenger Savana I would say is close or equal to many luxury vehicles. I never took out a regular length model (except in cargo models), so I cannot say how much of an improvement an extended model makes, but I can say it is very smooth.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    Rollover characteristics of 15-passenger vans

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  • drew40drew40 Posts: 2
    I bought my van in Set. 2000. It has 5400 miles on it. Mark lll Conversion package. If I plug a radar detector or a cell phone charger in the cig. lighter the fuse blows after about 10 minutes. As I speak it in the shop for the second time. The outside mirrors flutter at highway speeds. Seeing that all I drive is on the highway, it drives me crazy. Dealer says get use to it.(in so many words) Any cures???
    The passenger front door power window button sticks at every other use.
    The rear door latch was defective at the first visit. Dealer replaced it but it operates about every fifth pull. Back in the shop for that reason. The interior light override system that kicks off the lights after so long does work. Dealer trying to find out why??? Concern about a sight pull to the left. Dealer says the alignment is fine. I wonder if they will replace the front tires due to uneven tread were.
    Love the drive!
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    Regarding that cigarette lighter blowing fuses, I would try replacing that lighter yourself since it is a simple job and the part is cheap. I cannot see a radar detector consuming hardly any power to cause a fuse to blow. This makes me think it is mechanical. Likely just inserting the plug into the lighter is jarring something in that piece to be enough to cause a short and then the fuse goes.

    Regarding the mirrors fluttering, I have a 2001 model with only 180 miles on it right now and I did look at it the other day since a few others mentioned the problem. I never noticed anything other then the occasional vibration when I went over a significant sized bump. Likely they have improved them for 2001. The problem is if you order a new one it may be anything from a 96-2001 model you would get since they all are identical. In this situation you may not be any better off. Maybe you should try one from a 2001 model from a wrecking yard (check the date on the vehicle is 2001). At least you can buy one cheap enough for one side to see if the problem goes away, and if it does then you can buy the other one.

    Regarding the power door buttons sticking, that is a minor problem and cheap to fix if you do it yourself. Pick up a Chilton manual (I got mine at Wallmart). This will show you how. As for the handles not working, I really doubt the dealer replaced it. Did you see them do the work, I bet they lubricated it or something similar and sent you on your merry way with the same problem. If it was really replaced, that same problem would not have returned.....I don't think that is a common problem and I have never seen it on any Savanas I saw.

    Regarding the interior light not switching off. The dealer is pulling your leg and obviously does not care for whatever reason to repair it. Normally almost every dealer sends there vehicles out for electrical work to some other specialist. Dealers do not usually get involved in this type of work. Go see an auto electric specialist (yellow pages). They will find it fast, and replace the component...my guess a timer. They can track it down in a flash. I've had much more complex problems then that taken care of quickly, and the Toyota dealer even gave me the phone number and address of an auto electric repair place.

    The slight pull to the left by the way may be caused by many reasons....winter pot holes do not help. Depending on the company, I have had wheel alignements done and found my vehicle worse off (wrong specs used). I would trust only someone like a dealer, or someone that has the spec sheets to do the adjustments. I have had a friend return his vehicle to the alighnment shop just to have things returned to the old settings. This makes me think a lot of places do not have the specs and set things to a universal value that is only close (but not exact for that car). If your pulling only a bit, I would not worry about any major problems, it's just an annoyance. Could be the numbers are slightly off on the alignement and they did not want to bother with the labour. As you can see, I DO NOT trust any shops....so I do all my work myself.

    Hope I was of help!
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Mirrors-Have a 98 with the same problem, replace the mirror last time, about 3 months ago, and it is fine now. They said it had a new part number that "superseded the old one." Seems to have done the trick.

    Lights-The interior lights may be going off due to the battery rundown feature some of the new ones come with. After 1/2 hour it shuts down the accessory power until the ignition key is turned.

    Pulling- Take it to a front end specialist, dealers suck at checking alignments, and rarely even try, just say they did it to shut you up. Try rotating the tires to see if the problem goes away. If not take it in to the front end shop, and have the work done. Take the receipt and more importantly the before and after sheets from the alignment computer as proof. The dealer should reimburse you and turn it in under warranty. If the shop finds nothing wrong it may cost $15 or so for the inspection, a good shop takes a half hour to 45 min to do a good inspection.

    Locks-Tell them to replace the switch.

    If all else fails find another dealership with a better service dept. Took me 4 dealers to find one. Good luck.
  • cammetancammetan Posts: 3
    Drew, Does your van just tend to wander one way or the other or is the pulling greater upon braking and acceleration? If it pulls significantly during braking and pulls worst when braking hard then it may not be as simple as getting a good alignment. We had a Astro van that pulled to the right and pulled pretty severely when braking. The faster you were going and the harder you had to brake then the harder it pulled. Not a very comfortable feeling! GM could not fix the vehicle and ended up buying it back from me after 20 some thousand miles. It is still out there somewhere since a buy back does not get labeled as a lemon. An engineer at the facility that designs the Astros said that they were having problems with sticking calipers. Anyway, I don't know if this is relevant to the full size vans and I may be off the subject but just a FYI. Not too long ago I recall seeing a bulletin that suggested the dealers adjust the brake proportioning valve to lessen a similar pulling problem. This just puts more of the braking power in the rear brakes and less on the front brakes. This does not sound like a fix so much as a band-aid approach and I wonder what that does to your stopping distance?
    Hopefully a good 4 wheel alignment will take care of you.
  • drew40drew40 Posts: 2
    Folks, didn't expect to hear from anyone. This is great!
    Cigarette lighter - X-files thanks for the idea. Went to replace the cig. lighter only to find out that the quick connect plug was very loose. Took a pair of needle nose pliers and firmly re-attached the connector. *Problem solved* The wire too was a little pinched!
    Power door lock, passenger side- I took off the conversion wood grain panel and re aligned it. Had to use the help of my son when tighten it back up. Seems the holes were not drilled quite where they should have been. You would have thought the dealer could of handled this one!
    Forgot to mention that the pin stripping was replaced. The dealer did take care of this. The adhesive gummed up and created lumps.
    The problem with the mirrors still assist. Definitely have to do something about this.
    Have a couple of responses regarding the pull to the left. Made appointment at another dealer.
    Cammentan - I did notice that after driving through the West Virgina mountains, having to apply the brakes several times the pulling to the left was much more noticeable. Possible caliper problem!
    Jgmilberg, This appointment a the other dealer, I going to inquire about replacing the mirrors.
    I appreciate all the responses. Great to know that I not alone and my wife thinking I am to picky!
  • dale4656dale4656 Posts: 1
    The side door hinges on my 96 Chevy 1500 van are shot. I saw one reference to a recall. Also heard mention somewhere of a service bulletin on this. The body shop guy says there not fixable since they're welded on. Any ideas?
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    There are fairly cheap ($.50) bushings available for the front doors. I think the side and rear doors are the same setup...
  • cs506cs506 Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Chevy Express conv. van and I'm going to install a class III hitch on it. Can you tell me the place where I should attach the trailer wiring kit to ?

    Thanks a bunch !

    Jay
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Please what ever you do DO NOT let the hitch installer hack into your wiring!! Insist on a kit that is designed for the van. I got one from Draw-Tite. It has the factory connectors and just plugs in. The one I got had one wire that ran from the drivers side to the passenger side to hook up the turn signal. It even has the converter for the turn signal and bake lights since they are separate. The part is called a T-One connector. Part number is 18377. Check out the site for more info on dealers etc. If you want to look it up, it is under current products, wiring on the site.

    http://www.draw-tite.com
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    If you have the mirrors replaced, after the work is done check the door panels. Right around the pod where the speaker is, if covered with fabric you won't see this, but if not a little spot lighter in color than the rest of the door pad may be there just in front of the pod about an inch. If you see it the dealer damaged the door panel. I had mine replaced twice because of poor dealer installation of the panel. Just an FYI.
  • madaxmadax Posts: 1
    My 1997 G3500 tranny blew up at 70,000 miles! It's $2500.00 to replace it with a Certa(newly rebuilt chevy certified unit 3 yrs/50k warrentee) I've owned it since new and this stinks. The milage is 10-11 max also. I love the van-it looks good and drives well. But, it's deisel for me from now on. To bad Chevy dosen't put Duramax deisel in Vans. But Ford does. Guess what Chevy?
    Brander@mediaone.net
  • tx3500tx3500 Posts: 2
    I have a new MC Savanna 3500 Conversion. It's a high-top Explorer set-up to pull our heavy trailer. Problem is, unloaded the ride is very bounty for those in the back. Can anyone recommend an after market shock/spring set-up that would allow me to vary the ride height and stiffness when not trailering? We love the van, but the bounce has got to go.
  • eska1eska1 Posts: 1
    Anybody know where the flasher unit is on my new used 98 savana 2500? I cant seem to find it by the drivers feet , unlike every other vehicle I have owned. Thank You Tim
  • deppdepp Posts: 3
    tx3500, Sorry I don't have an answer for your bounce problem. However, I am currently looking at the Savanna 3500 and 2500 Conversion, and am also looking at the high top Explorer. I will also be using it to tow, and am interested in any other experiences or impressions you have with the van, good or bad? What's this bounce like? I am guessing when you go over bumps, the trailer is pivoting on its wheels, causing the rear of the van to move up and down? Also, what engine do you have?

    Where did you get your trailer package, was it part of the Explorer package or like that from the factory? My dealer told me that Explorer would not put in a trailer wiring package that was mounted to the hitch and wired from the underside, it instead had to come from inside the van and hang out between the floor and you then just slam the rear door on the wiring. They said this was because Explorer did not want to drill a hole in the floor. Mind you, I don't know much about it, but this does not sound like a quality setup for towing to me. So how is yours setup and how did you get it that way?

    Thanks for your time
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    I drove the Savana 3500 extended and the ride was quite good up front, similar to my 2500 extended. All full size vans are going to be rough riding in the back when 2500/3500 series.

    One alternative is to check your leaf springs in the rear, perhaps you can remove one and get it down to what the 2500 uses. However, even the ride on the 2500 you may still not like, and softening it further could create a handling problem when you need to tow. The ride on my extended 2500 is not bad when I sat in the first row of bench seats and likely is fair until your over the rear wheels.

    Your vehicle is built for leaf springs, not for springs and shocks in the back....there will be NO WAY of attaching them to the rear. The only thing I can see is a different brand of leafs for the rear (aftermarket), or removing one leaf to make it close as possible to a 2500. I would leave the front springs/shocks alone, since they are not what is effecting your ride.

    To bad you never test drove the extended models, the 3500 extended I test drove was impressive up front (don't know about the back).A longer wheel base always improves the ride.

    Under the chevy/savana reliability forum I remember others discussing the rear ride quality. Two people mentioned putting between 700-800 lbs of weight to the back. One used water bottles, and other sand I think. Not what I would like to do, but perhaps you can find ways of adding some weight to the rear. Perhaps the trunk could be fitted with a 1" piece of plate steel from a wrecking yard (bolted down for safety) which likely would add lot of weight, and then can be covered over by carpetting so it is not visible. It would also not take up any space laying flat. A 1" thick piece 3x3FT has to be quite heavy I bet (or go for a 2-3"piece). This might be your best and cheapest choice.

    My friends wife was driven to the airport in a 3500 extended, and even then with a full load she mentioned the ride was a bit rough in the back except for smooth hiways. Perhaps there is no solution to get rid of all of it, but adding weight will always help (with one less leaf in back).
  • tx3500tx3500 Posts: 2
    Thanks for your post. My van has the 8.1 liter engine. The bounce problem is most pronounced when not towing anything. Just the kids in the back. When crossing railroad tracks or just going over uneven pavment sections on the highway, the rear seat passengers get quite a ride. With the trailer hitched up the problem is still there, but not nearly as bad. I am pulling a 7200 pound trailer using a very good equalizer hitch.

    I ordered the van with the hitch and the basic wiring in place under the van. After getting the van from the dealer I took it to a trailer service shop and had the light connector and brake controller installed.($280.00). There are no holes in the floor and the connector is mounted up under the the bumper out of sight. Mounting it in any other position would have put it below the hitch and made it easy to tear off on a curb or driveway.

    I have tried putting extra weight in the back and it does work. Just hoping I could find a better solution. Right now I've got about 300 pounds of water back ther in a "Phat Sack" used for weighing down a boat to create a larger wake. I like the idea of using a piece of steel bolted to the floor though. I'll have to check that out.

    Since the dealer did not have a van like this in stock and Explorer said they had only ever built about 5 of them, I was unable to test drive one before ours arrived. All in all, we love the van and it can really pull. The new 8.1 liter engine is amazing. Fantastic power. Thanks for the posts. We'll be leaving next month to pull the trailer from Texas to Utah. I'll let you know how our experience with the van progresses.
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