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GM's triplets Venture, Silhouette, and Montana



  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    Hey, I had just proposed this 3way forum just last week, I got beat to the punch.

    FYI - We just got a used '98 Olds Silo GLS EXT in December 2001, and its been wonderful. I have only had a few minor things to fix (normal on a used vehicle)and the van looks, feels and drives like a new one! With the steep depreciation curve (sorry folks, just a fact) these are excellent used values. This thing has very comfortable seats even in the back, every feature you could get at the time, and even in houston traffic we get 23.5 MPG on most tanks, and one tank I got 24.6. Its like a luxury car, a pickup and van all in one.

    I do have a few minor issues I need to address, such as a small coolant leak that I think is from the intake manifold gasket - that's one of the few known problems on this motor. Thanks to these boards I know its not just mine.

    Anyway, if in the future someone has a question for the service manuals, I forked over the $100+ and bought a set. I also am a weekend mechanic and can help diagnose problems.

  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    Glad to have on on board Dirkdaddy. I also will go along with the triplet suggestion. Only problem I have is the ticking on cold start. I don't like it, but I haven't heard anybody actually having a breakdown because of it. Will this problem get worse?
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    I answered this on the Montana board, so I'm reposting an edited version here for posterity.
    I don't have GM's info in front of me, but basically new motors like the 3.4 are engineered for gas milage and low friction. Piston skirts have been greatly reduced, piston rings are lighter and there are fewer of them than they used to use. This is part of the cause of the startup noise. Also, GM makes them a bit "loose" so they spin easier and you get better gas milage. This is why some new cars have "acceptable" oil consumption of a quart every 4-5k miles. On the 3.4, you certainly can't argue with the milage of these things. I get 23-24.5 around town/commuting by rolling into the gas instead of stabbing it.

    Also, I remember reading on this on a past message on the Montana list that basically a bullitin explains that a supplier got a tolerance slightly off on the fit of the piston, but when the motor heats up and metal expands, it fits just fine. I belive its just a noise issue and not a motor problem. Just think, you could have endless transmission problems or pulling to the right like a lot of Honda Ody owners, this noise is a non-problem in my book.

    If someone has the "official" GM line how about posting it?

    Hope this helps, DD
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    is actually called "piston slap" by GM and their official word on it in the latest TSB is "normal conditon". When I first documented complaint at dealers they noted on repair ticket "Customer states engine making a ticking/knock sound duriing cold start-up. (Reply) GM is aware of problem and is working on a fix". Previous TSB's admitted it as a problem with a fix in the works, now it's normal, I say GM is just covering it's butt at customer's expense. But if you complain about it you will get a extended component warranty for the engine only. You have to document complaint at dealership then file complaint with GM customer service.
    I have NEVER had a GM product or any other new engine do this, it is not normal. The only problem is time, how long after the warranty is gone will it last before major failure? No one knows, it's a gamble. I prefer GM to back up their claim in writing if this abnormal condition is normal in their eyes. I spend 30k on a new truck, which I normally keep for 10-12 years, I don't expect to hear lifters or pistons tapping right from the getgo, if you have a 3 year lease I would'nt be so concerned, but to each his own from one backyard mechanic to another.

    Ray T.
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    "No one can take advantage of you without your permission"!

    Truer words never spoken!

    Ray T.
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 268
    My rear washer won't spray. I hear the pump running, and there's plenty of fluid. I understood from an earlier post that someone had a kink in the fluid tube stop flow to the rear. Can anyone suggest where I might look for a kink in the line?
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    Add some fluid to the reservoir. Even though there is plenty of fluid, the pickup for the rear is mounted high in the reservoir so that you will have fluid for the windshield long after you run out for the rear.
    The kink is a possibilty as well, but I can't help you much there, except to say that I would first look at the rear door, thats the only area subject to movement.
  • If you go to the silverodo post on engine knock the same problem with piston slap is noted. there has not been any engine failures due to the knock. If your van is still in warranty and you make enough noise they will take your van and replace the pistons. That's what I hear. The last thing I'll do is have someone tear down the motor just to replace pistons. I don't have too much faith in dealers or repair shops these days. I agree you should not hear any noise from the engine especially after paying out $30K. I bought a 6 year/100K warranty, if the motor goes I'll get it fixed under warranty otherwise I'm not going to worry about it.
  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    Prior to buying my 2001 SiloI had a 99 VW Passat Wagon. Loved the car, sunroof, tiptronic tranny, great gas milage, fast turbo 4cyl. EverythignI expected from a German engineered car, ecept the repeated problems that made any American look like a gem. Every 1000 miles the check engine light came on, it lost oil (not leaked), it was in the service manager possesion more than it was in my garage. After 2yrs of repleacing eveything except the engine they said it was the gasoline causing carbon build-up. They said the oil comsumption was normal. Three weeks after it was changed by the dealer (2 yrs of free maint) there was no oil in the pan at all. So to sum it all up there can be a lemon from any carmaker.

    P.S. This triplet section is great, would be great if there were fewer threads instead of honda oddity this and honda oddity that.
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    Just FYI, when I noticed my used '98 Olds wasn't getting rear wash fluid either after filling the tank, I had someone hit the switch while I was looking at the tank and saw fluid was spraying out of a unattached hose behind the tank. Seems GM used a short peice of special hose to adapt from the pump (mounted on the tank) to the hard plastic line. Mine had zero slack and was not really long enough to reach deep inside the rubber adapter hose , so the pressure would blow it off. I found some small dia vac hose worked as a conversion, but it required using some small wire zip ties to keep it from leaking around the small dia plastic hose.

    We love the van and its a excellent vehicle. I like the highway gearing the best. The transmission works very well, and the passing gear at highway speeds is almost un-noticable to passengers but moves the van well.

    My latest problems are the squealing brakes in the front and disappearing coolant. I will look at those front brakes soon, but all the parts are new, must just need some of that antisqueal TLC. The coolant - I can't see where its going but not in the oil. I'm guessing the intake gasgets are to blame, but letting it get worse for now. Will pressure test it to see if I can find the leak. Maybe try some of that glow in the dark you put in the coolant.

    The procedure in the GM service book for replacing the intake manifold gasgets is pretty involved but not rocket science. A lot of stuff has to come off the motor such as the valve covers, alternator, thermostat, throttle body, coil packs, EGR, upper and lower intake manifold, pushrods(!) etc. I'm guessing (book didn't say) that in practice the mechanics take loose the front motor mounts and tip the motor to the front to gain access to the rear.

    If I felt better about dealers doing the same quality work I can do, I'd take in into them, but I'm thining of doing it myself all in one day. I have to use my air tools and garage for something to justify it once in a while!

  • mjb56mjb56 Posts: 170
    I've been posting in the Montana board about a coolant leak related to a lower intake gasket that just cost $743 to fix (as the coils and plug wires were corroded as well). I just don't think these thing should be happening to a 2 1/2 year old vehicle with only 45K. We previously had a 1990 Transport that we sold with 120K. Had no engine problems and the thing is still running around with the current owner probably putting in less $$ than I am. What can be done about this poorly designed product?

    ps. the triplet board is a good idea. Lets keep it up!
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 268
    The lights (headlights, dash lights, etc.) on our 99 Venture sometimes fluctuate in brightness on about a 1/2 second cycle. This most often occurs the first few minutes the car is running. Anyone know why?
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    As I understand it from my father who is an expert in eletronics and has various GM cars, the GM alternator charges for a while, then it stops and takes a voltage check of the battery, then charges more if necessary. I belive the output of the alternator is varied depending on the voltage deficit of the battery. The cycling is somewhat normal, especially after a heavy current drain such as when you start your vehicle. However, if your battery is weak and requires a LOT of charging to keep its voltage, it could behave in the manner you describe for longer than normal periods of time and maybe about to die. Suggest you have the battery load tested at an autoparts store or shop if its the original one. The alternator could also be faulty.

  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    I have a 96 Cutlass Ciera that did this somewhere in the fir 10K, dealer replaced battery, and some other things. A yr later it was still doing this and the replaced battery, after warranty ran out the told me it was alternator and that if I did not replace the alternator ($450) I would be left on the side of the road. I on the other hand had read the TSB that stated this was normal and left. 3 years later it has the same alternator. I noticed that my 01 Silo does the same dimming as I come to a stop sign or while the vehicle is warming up. Most noticably in the Cierra, when turn signal and headlight are on evrything dims and the signal slows as I come to a stop. Once stopped everything goes up to speed. To sum up this rambling, the TSB states this is not a problem and will not hurt anything based on the fact that my 96 Olds is going strong with 90K and no problems.
  • offhamoffham Posts: 344
    Noticed that as I went over a bump got a new sound which was from inside the cabin. It seemed to coincide with the rear seat movement.

    I removed all the seats (3 middle and 2 rear) and sprayed the floor lugs with silicon spray as well as the seat release fittings themselves. This has cured the problem.
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 268
    Our youngest child is 10 years old. All of them have been opening the manual side doors on our 99 Venture. I'm looking at buying a second Venture; several come with the $770 list power door option. Is there any reason at all that this would be useful when all my kids can open the door on their own?
  • centarforcentarfor Posts: 22
    I have a 1998 Pontiac Montana and it is already starting to show its age. The Power Steering fluid started leaking a long time ago, the rear wiper/washer doesn't work, and just now the sliding door won't unlock when the other doors are unlocked. I have also had to drill the front light because water was building up inside and burning out the bulb. Is anyone having any of theses problems? If so, what did you do? Thanks.

    Igor Trninic
  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    The nice thing about the power door is that it's great for those who can't close the door well. Like when Granny goes for a ride. Also it's nice to push the button while running to the van in the rain.
  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    I had the rear wiper go on my 98 Venture. Got one on line for $150 and my mechanic installed it for $20.
  • mobilmacmobilmac Posts: 60
    for my wife, we underestimated its value, i feel it saved us depreciation on our van, usually when the kids or other riders unfamiliar with the amount of force needed to close the slider door, are overzealous and slam it to hard, or not hard enough, our experience has been, repeated times i had get out of my seat and close it again for them. After repeated, unneccessary door closures and repeated yanking on exterior door handles and interior handles, it takes its toll on sliders mechanisms and paint finish around door handle and interior handles. continue in next post.
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