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Chevrolet Uplander Electrical Problems

rwallisrwallis Posts: 3
edited June 14 in Chevrolet
Would you current Uplander owners recommend them? We own an 01 Venture, and have had ongoing electrical issues, so we're interested in the past discussions about "flickering lights." Any recommendations...or warnings?


  • tjhsmithtjhsmith Posts: 25
    rwallis -- I have an '05 Uplander. It had a minor, intermittent flickering lights problem early on. Complained to the dealer about the problem and was told it was "normal." Flicker gradually grew worse so I complained again and the dealer then replaced the alternator under warranty, which completely fixed the problem.

    I have not had any other problems with the vehicle, electrical or otherwise. But we've only had it for 15 months and 17,000 miles.

    So far, I am very happy with the van and would recommend.
  • rwallisrwallis Posts: 3
    tjhsmith... Thanks for the response. I test drove an 06 today, and it was a nice ride. We'll probably go with the Uplander as I have found a good deal on a hardly-used 06 locally... Thanks again
  • tmcgee06tmcgee06 Posts: 10

    I purchased my Uplander June 30th. We took our new van on a trip to Myrtle Beach. Drove at night, the lights were flickering like mad when at a constant speed. ON our way back home it was raining, not only were the lights flickering, but we had water coming from the floor on the front passenger side and driver side. I contacted our dealer; and they told us to bring the van in. They have had this since July 24, fixed the water leak, but I was told that they were waiting for a voltage regulator for the flickering lights. In reading this post, this isn't going to fix my problem. But why would the dealer tell me that there is a TSB on that part, and they can't get it in? My Van has been in the shop for over a week now, and I hate this rent a wreck they gave me. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do???? :mad:

  • Let us know if they fix it. My alternator was replaced under the TSB, but it didn't completely fix it. My lights flicker under hard acceleration though, not at constant speeds. Some on this site say that the heavy duty alternator will fix it.

    also, be sure that it's not the a/c that is leaking water in.
  • tmcgee06tmcgee06 Posts: 10
    I will let you know if the light flickering problem is gone or not, I have a feeling that I will have that problem for ever!!!!! The funny thing is I still don't have my van back from the shop (July 24th).. When I went to pick up my van someone from the shop hit the front driver side. Mind you a brand new Van that I haven't had the chance to put a nick on yet!!!! They repainted the bumper, but I refused it because the color didn't match. I insisted on them finding me a new bumper, since the van didn't come into the shop with a scratch on it!!!! I also called Detroit because I feel that this wouldn't have happened if the parts were available to the service depts. There has to be an issue with the electrical systems in lots of GM's products don't ya thing!!!!!!

    Fustrated. :lemon:
  • Actually, it's just these vans with the 3.5 liter. GM used a new charging system that was supposed to reduce the amount of the time that the alternator charged the battery. A good concept, but it wasn't quite perfected. I'm thinking of calling my dealer and requesting that they put in a heavy duty alternator (the one that comes with the towing pacakge). Someone on this site said it fixed their problem.

    While the problems have been annoying, they've all been fixed under warranty, except for the light flicker. I think the van drives and rides exceptionally and I expect long term reliabiliy to be very good. It's just a shame that GM introduced these vans with so many issues that have taken up the consumer's time by requiring warranty work. Here they are: light flicker, air bag rattle, side moldings coming unglued, rear allignment problem, front a/c not cold enough unless on max (they just issued a TSB on this-software problem), horn springs too stiff-TSB issued. Cheap brake rotors. Again, the dealer has been able to repair everything except the light flicker which is minimal.
    The good news is that I haven't heard of any powertrain problems.
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    genmtrfan - can you give me some more info or the website where I can read the TSB on the "a/c not cold enough unless on max (they just issued a TSB on this-software problem)". I had noticed this in my van a few weeks ago and was not aware of this TSB. Thanks.
  • tmcgee06tmcgee06 Posts: 10
    Update to my Van.

    Well here it is, I got my van back yesterday. (was tired of waiting for them to find me a new bumper since they dinged the first one) Took the van out on the high way and guess what, the lights are still flickering. I have contacted my dealer, and they are going to order a new alternator. I don't know how GM can't say this isn't a major issue because I had someone cut me off while driving; because my lights were acting up. This really has to be addressed, or someone is going to get hurt.

    :lemon: :cry:
  • I feel your pain, remember to keep us updated. I'd love to find just one case of a successful repair. I'm thinking of asking for the 125 amp alternator to see if it helps. someone on this site said that their van had the bigger alternator and had no problems. The funny thing is that the TSB on this said to replace both of the alternators, depending on which size came with the van.
  • Here's a website address to recent GM TSB's. The one you're asking about is 06-01-39-004C. It's a the end of the list. Print it off and take it to your dealer. It's good ammunition.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    <<Actually, it's just these vans with the 3.5 liter. GM used a new charging system that was supposed to reduce the amount of the time that the alternator charged the battery. A good concept, but it wasn't quite perfected. I'm thinking of calling my dealer and requesting that they put in a heavy duty alternator (the one that comes with the towing pacakge). Someone on this site said it fixed their problem.>>

    Tmcgee06 is correct. This has been a problem for a number GM vehicles since 1999. Take a look on the Intrigue forum and the Saturn L forum. A number of people (including myself)have complained about this issue.
  • tmcgee06tmcgee06 Posts: 10
    I was told by my dealer that they are not going to replace the alternator, GM is working on some software update. So in the mean time I have to deal with lights flickering in the night. Hope I don't get into any accidents in the mean time. Do lots of highway driving.....

  • Thanks for the reply. That is really good information. The replacement of the alternator doesn't seem to help according to most of the posts here. Our light flicker isn't bad enough to be too concerned. In fact, I asked my wife, who's the primary driver, if she'd noticed it. She had not. I'll be looking for the software update, but won't be getting my hopes up.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Exact same situation here (had our alternator replaced, no real effect).

    But I can honestly say that my flickering lights hasn't caused anyone to cut me off or been a danger in any way. It's not as if it looks like I had high beams on to blind anyone or anything, and they don't flicker enough to cause me to miss something I would see otherwise and cause an accident. Mainly just an annoyance..
  • cla1cla1 Posts: 27
    A response with our experience on the lights--after fairly servere flickering on a night trip last fall, went to the dealer with the TSB # on this. They replaced the alternator (at least that's what the service ticket said) and the problem has been solved. I still don't understand the voltage variation reported on the information screen, seems to go from low 12's up to mid 14's with no rhyme or reason. Also does anyone else have a wildly fluctuating instant mileage number. Ours goes from 15 to 42 to 22 to 38 to 16, all within split seconds. The overall mileage readout seems to be accurate but the instant is unusable. On both our Olds and Venture, the readout was steady and useful, and btw, much easier to read than this one. On a recent 500 mile plus trip, not heavily loaded, we got 26.5 which I thought was good. Mostly expressway driving about 70.

    Our tires were rotated by the dealer at last oil change (I never trust them to do it by the manual and not use their air wrenches to tighten them incorrectly) and of course they now have warped rotors so I have a shudder at high speeds when braking. We have about 25k miles.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Your observations on the voltage variation and the instant mileage readouts exactly mirror our own with the Terraza. I pretty much have taken to not even bothering with the instant readout, but the voltage variation was explained as part of the new electrical setup GM now uses to save fuel. Basically the engine drag by the alternator is somehow reduced when less current is needed, and a computer evaluates (constantly) the need. So the varying range is supposedly an accurate reading of what is going on. Unfortunately it may also have something to do with the flickering headlight issue (not the readout, the actual system)..

    Your mileage observations on the trip are pretty much in line with ours also, though we actually achieved nearly 29 on one leg of the trip home to visit my parents, and 26.3 on the way back. These vans are especially efficient highway cruisers for sure.

    Last of all- the last time I let the dealership rotate the tires we ended up with shuddering brakes. That led to a nightmare of visits back to them. The first time to turn the rotors- no good. Second time to fix again, worked, but left van sitting outside in a hailstorm.. third time attempted to address hail damage (no body shop at our dealership so they contract a local shop). Fourth time to correct the overspray all over the front from the previous visit..

    If the dealership hadn't been going out of their way to address all these issues without a penny from my pocket (including loaner vehicles, and a step up to a larger loaner when my wife complained about the dealership's Cobalt), I may've given up on them. As it stands they finally managed to rectify everything. But they won't be seeing our van for rotations ever again. And I watched the Wal-mart guy do the job like a hawk, as I mentioned earlier (used a torque wrench to make sure the lugs weren't overly or unevenly snugged down).
  • tmcgee06tmcgee06 Posts: 10
    Update to the Electrical problem.

    I have been in contact with my dealship's distric manager, they so much as told me that GM has no fix for the flickering light problem. Since I have posted this, they won't even bring my van back in to attempt anything, a stall tatic on there part. (Lemon Law) Other dealerships have tried to replacing the alternator and in most cases this has Not fixed the lighting issue. So NOW I am trying to get them to buy this nightmare back; and put my wife into an 07 with the 3.9 engine, since I heard that this fixes the problem... Anyone have any other input on the new 07 models...

    Joe - PA
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    I have been reading past posts, and was wondering if a firm remedy has yet to be made on how to fix the flickering light issue? I just noticed it in my 2005 Terraza this week. Not that bad, but enough cause for concern. Also, any fixes for the front a/c coolness? When it got hot this summer, the front a/c just didn't seem to be cooling enough. I have the 2005 with the 3.5 engine. Many thanks.
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    It was never a big problem with me, but I mentioned it to my dealer and he replaced the alternator at about 5,000 miles (I think). It's been fine since (I have about 21,000 miles on it now). The A/C works best in MAX for the front, but the rear can freeze over 1. Even in the really hot sun this summer (in NYC), I didn't find any problems. After driving a while (1/2 an hour, or so), I'd move it out of MAX. I did notice that when the sun was shining on the windshield the heat transfer through it was very hot...sometimes I'd just move it to DEFROST and it kept it very cool. No, I never mentioned it to my dealer...maybe I'll have him check it next time I'm there.
    Overall, it's a great car. I'll probably buy a 2008!
  • Here's the scoop on the lights. GM noted this as a problem on the 2005 vans and issued a TSB to "fix" the problem by replacing the alternator in February 2005. Unfortunately this did not typically solve the problem. In July 2006 GM issued a revised TSB which called for the replacement of the voltage regulator. I've had both done on my Uplander. What I've noticed since having the voltage regulator replaced is that the flicker is much more infrequent. I'd say that it occurs 80% less. The interior lights no longer flicker at idle. The exterior headlights don't flicker under light acceleration. However, when you punch it enough to make it upshift and the RPMs temporarily jump greater than 3,000 I still notice a slight flicker. Unless you're on a really hilly interstate (I was between Nashville and Knoxville on I-40) and need to upshift a lot, you'll rarely notice the flicker. I also noticed that the Voltage stayed at 14.4 for the entire 2.25 hours of the trip. I don't think it used to be that high before the regulator was changed. There will be some who aren't satisfied, but the frequency is low and the amount of flicker is slight. As far as I'm concerned it isn't an issue anymore.

    A/C-GM issued a TSB sometime over the summer 2006. We too notice the rear a/c cooling much better. The TSB requires a software download which is supposed to correct any problems people are having with changing modes. As far as the coolness issue, it says that further instructions will be issued soon on how to re-calibrate the temperature control. We had the software update done, but I don't know if the air is any cooler. It hasn't been that hot lately.
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