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Chevy Express/GMC Savana



  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    did you really think you'd get a good ride out of a 1 ton van? Any 1 ton van?

    Those leaf springs have to be able to carry much weight. Unloaded they are going to be rough. Really, the rides in newer vans, especially the GM's (and I'm a Ford-guy) have improved greatly. But you still have to expect a rough ride in a 1 ton.

    Good luck. Maybe removing a spring, or replacing all the springs with ones out of a 2500, would be your best bet.
  • I've got a few cases of water bottles in the back. I also monitor the tire pressure to match what's on the door tag. If the tires are over inflated the ride is especially lively.

    Pro's and cons for each fix of the hard ride.

    Weight in back--Pro: Keep trailering and cargo capacity. Cons: Possible flying load in accident. All the time worse gas mileage.

    Suspension adjustments--Pro: Tuned and softest ride. Cons: If done wrong, handling may suffer. If done right, trailering and cargo capacity sacrificed.

    Someday I'll get around to re doing the suspension because I don't need the towing capacity. The plan is custom springs and air bag suspension plus better shocks. I'll retain the ability to return it to factory specs. Until then, the kids enjoy getting air when hitting the bumps.
  • Does anyone know why GM switched?
  • Most importantly what transmission model?

    1. Conversion van?
    2. Trailer? If yes, what?
    3. Fluid changed at how many miles?

    I am surprised because, the one ton cranny's should be tough. The 4L80E in my 99 is one tough cranny.

    Even still, I have replaced the fluid in mine with synthetic because I was once inconvenienced by a cranny in a Chrysler/Dodge and don't ever want to repeat that experience.
  • Sorry about the spelling. Too much reliance on the spell checker and not paying enough attention!
  • 25,000 mile report. Subject vehicle a 1999 3500 passenger model with the 7.4 liter engine. Not used for towing. Mostly around town with 4 people in it.

    Front brake pads worn out. Replaced with fully metallic pads. Thanks to Edmunds this wasn't an unexpected occurrence.

    Rear cylinders showing beginning signs of leakage. Will see dealer about the rear cylinders under warranty.
  • vfeehanvfeehan Posts: 3
    I have 2000 3500 express cargo van,with 2000 lbs of equipment mounted in it.One set of brakes at 6000 miles,warranty upgrade kit free,Month ago wouldnt start,just turned over.Towed to dealer.They said theft mudule was bad,Well today 7/16/2001 van did same thing,towed to dealer for free 1800chevusa,Now they say the fuel injectors are all pluged,Ilive in california and there mtbe added to gas and all other crap.Service bozzo says i have used bad gas,The van has 9800 miles on it!I mean get real.My toyota truck has never had this problem.This is gonna get old when the van is out of warranty
  • vheean,
    Sorry to hear of your problem. Should be easy to verify. Did the injector service take care of the problem? Fuel filter replaced?

    I am also in California. 15 years ago, I had a bad tank of gas in my Toyota Truck. That was an awful experience. Never had a problem since...but now I keep my gas receipts! I am trying to say that if the injector, fuel filter, and fuel tank service fixes the problem, the problem is likely with the gas station not the vehicle.

    Please explain the warranty uprade kit free. Did you get new brakes?

    Where did you have the vehicle serviced?
  • mpazosmpazos Posts: 42
    I'm considering the 2500 w/C6P and 6.5L diesel. Mostly because I've owned a '92 K2500 HD with the 6.5L diesel. The '92 has mechanical fuel injector pump and is near bullet proof (mine has never been in the shop 121K). The newest version is electronic and the cooling is improved. Don't sell this engine short. It's not a Duramax, but 430 lb. ft. (easily modified to 460+) of torque is nothing to sneeze at. Add the 4L80-E and 4.10 gears and look out. Anyone have this engine in their van? Mine will be going to Quigley for a Dana 60 (breathing hard!!) front axle.
  • lucey1lucey1 Posts: 1
    my injectors have clogged twice,once at 10000 then again at 20000.My dealer says that there is a service bulliton out for this.I have had them cleaned twice and the last time they replaced 2.I have spoken w/several people who have same problem but this is just the tip of troubles.ihave had a bad fuel pump,brake pump,power steering pump,alternator,over packed wheel bearings,power windows twice and is in the shop right now 4 a rattle in my ac compressor.they say it is a bad belt but i know better.I am in the middle of getting them to do a buy back and they are down playing problem to hurt my case.I have 26000 miles on van and it is in the shop for the 10th time for a grand total of 35 days
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    You live in California? Thank your envirowackos for all spotted-owl-friendly/injection destroying additives. I'm not much of a GM guy, but Cali seems to be the only source of this problem.
  • beezobeezo Posts: 1
    I have just purchased a 99 Chef Cargo van with 4000 miles on it. It had been set up for a construction worker like myself but no one had purchased it until I did. I have had it just over 2 months and twice it has been towed to the shop for not starting. The dealer said that the computer does not show any problem and they cannot figure it out. Motor turns over just fine it just never fires and starts. The last time they had it for 4 days, the first time or two it would not start for them but them every time for the next four days that they tried to start it, it would start. Anyone out there have any ideas where to start? I looked at a couple of sites for recalls and related problems but did not find any thing about this. Being self employed and depending on my van to get me and my tools to the job I cannot afford for them to have it for days on end only to say that they cannot find any problems. I had just picked it up from the dealer, drove to the job site, 2 hours later it would not start and had to be towed back.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Tell the dealer to replace the crank sensor, without a proper signal the computer won't fire the plugs. There were several posts on the suv board about the same problem with the 99 models with the 5.7 in them. It is a good starting point. Does the problem only happen when it's hot? If it does then try the ignition module under the distributor cap. Those are famous for going bad on those models. The ignition module will not set any codes, but will fail like described above. Good Luck, and let us know how it goes.
  • vfeehanvfeehan Posts: 3
    Well they replaced all8 injectors,now the check engine light is on.Took to dealer,code say all 3 catlytic conv need to replaced.Ordered them,instaleed today 8/7/01.Brakes are bad also.Front rotors need to be cut,I already replaced the back brakes at 6000 miles,turn the drums ,new shoes,unbielievable.The van has 9900 mile on it .Bought new 2/01.Van has heavy carpet cleaning equipment bolted down inside,maybe 2000lbs.When the van is down i cant work,so i have contacted a attorney,Ineed my money back,this van has horrible brakes,not to say the engine problems,fuel inj,theft module towed to dealer twice,The van haS 9900 miles on it .It is driven buy me,yes i do live in the hills but thaTS why i bought a 1 ton,guess that doesnt mean anything?
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I think you have a really crummy dealer working on the problems you described. It really sounds like they are just throwing parts at it. I have never heard of someone needing 8 new injectors, and 3 new cats at less than 100,000 miles. That is when the injectors start having problems, and they usually only need cleaning, not replacement. I know you are disappointed in the van, and really don't want it anymore., but GM really does a good job on the things, it's a stupid dealership that can cause way more problems than the factory ever could. Downtime for you is a real killer unless you have a backup unit to rely on, not saying after buying a new truck you should need one. What engine do you have in it? I don't like the brakes on the vans either, any size, GM undersized them for the loads they carry, I think the 1 ton brakes should be on the half ton model. Too much pressure needs to be put on to stop. With only 2000 pounds in the back there should be no problems at all, with the brakes. Look at the payload capacity of the van, it is way more than 2000 pounds.
  • vfeehanvfeehan Posts: 3
    5.7 votec v8 no power at all
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    My father has a 98 conversion, he has had no problems with it except for the starter, and front brakes. We have tried 3 dealerships before finally finding one with a good service dept. I really do think you need to try a new dealer. Before going to another dealer, ask for a FULL copy of the service records, take that with you for the new dealer to put into the file. This way they know what kind of parts and other BS was done by the parts throwing morons.
  • I have a '96 Savana Explorer Traveler conversion, it now has about 40,000 miles. I have had various problems with it; service engine soon light has been the most persistent this year, it spent 3-4 days a week in the shop for about a month. Had the fuel pump replaced (had been replaced after a failure in 2/2000), "rollover valve" recall done, power steering pump replaced, water pump replaced; re the SES light, the oxygen sensors (2) were replaced after the fuel pump didn't fix it (that was the initial code), a W-sensor was replaced. SES still came on; the PCM/VCM was replaced. Next SES was with running rough when cold, a fuel injector was replaced.

    As of today, the SES light is back on, when I started it, it was running rough or missing. I suspect this will be another fuel injector. I live in Phoenix, we get MTBE and ethanol fuel here; is that the problem with the injectors? and if this problem is another injector, i guess the other 6 will go also?

    Luckily I have a 6 year/72,000 mi. warranty.
  • I've read quite a few posts on this board concerning the premature wear/replacement of various brake components. As a point of reference for express/savanna owners, I have a 1999 E-350 passenger van with disc brakes on all four wheels, and with 50k miles has not required any brake maintenance at all. However, I have never towed anything and generally don't carry a lot of heavy cargo, so this may help to explain why they have lasted this long. When carrying heavier loads (2000lbs worth bricks etc.) I noticed that that the brakes still perform well without a significant increase in brake pedal effort, although the overall stopping distance is noticeably greater.

    When it comes time to replace the E-350, I will be looking at both Ford and Chevy/GMC, so hopefully some of the brake-related problems currently being experienced by some express/savanna owners are corrected in the future.
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    The fact that you had to replace all the fuel injectors and your having catalytic problems suggests to me bad fuel. I had a good engine ruined by staying with one gas station (water problem and a ring seized up). This may be your problem, bad gas from your repeat visits to one station all the time.

    As for brake problems your 3500 express is a huge vehicle, and brake life will be a lot less regardless of the brand of full size van. The fact that your living int he hills makes a big difference, and probably makes a bigger difference when the vehicle is so large. For example, I travel a lot through mountain country on my holidays taking pictures, and my brake life on my Tercel is as low as 15-23,000 miles in comparison to about 50,000 miles or more of just flat country driving where I live. By the way, 5 new improvements were made for the 2001 model year, one was improved longer lasting brakes all around, improved torque converter on the 2500/3500 series 4L80E tranny(smoother shifting), improved door handles, improved radios, can't remember the last one).

    Good luck!
  • Hello all!
    Is the '01 Express LT good or not? My mini-van is rough riding besides hard to fit into;
    However the LT is on a 1/2 ton chassis;
    We won't be towing with it, however, just hauling the family around;
    Would a conversion van from a decent converter be better/not?
    Thanks for the time;
  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    I would also like to get consumer inputs on the 01 Express LT or Savana SLT. We currently have a 01 Safari SLT AWD but wanting more room. We currently get about 14 in the city & 18 hwy. It seems the full size van would achieve about the same. We borrowed one last night to see if would fit in our garage & it fit but was pretty darn long. It was very comfortable inside & very large plus the entertainment system was really nice. The dealer has tried to sell his Express LT with Ebay but no luck. They are trying everything to move these vehicles due to car purchasing slump & gas prices. Any input on these vans would also be appreciated.
  • I compared the cost and utility of minivans vs. the full sized vans. The mini vans offered more options and accessories and better gas mileage. The full sized vans offered more room and greater comfort for each passenger. For essentially the same price (or less) I got the bigger van. My preferences are for comfort and perceived safety over getting a few more miles per gallon. I haven't regretted buying it and we really enjoy having the larger van.
  • apmapm Posts: 11
    I have a '99 gmc safari van and I posted a message in the astro/safari column about my problem. The shop I went to found service bulletin no. 00-06-04-018. Peculiar problem that involves plastic filler neck that may allow gasoline to extract compounds from plastic that will clog the fuel injectors. It caused difficult starting problems when the engine was cold. A new filler tube, fresh gas, cleaned fuel injectors solved the problem. GMC service didn't help with costs. The service bulletin refers not only to astro/safari vans but to your vans and c/k models of specific yrs. ranging from '97 through '00. No recall involved as of yet.
    Good Luck.
  • I have a 1500 that has had both the Catalytic converter and the muffler replaced twice. So counting original equipment, I am on my third of each. I do not haul or tow anything. It has 38000 miles on it as of this date. I have changed the fuel filter, used different gas etc. I am fed up with this van. My previous van (believe it or not) was a 1991 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.0 that never had a single problem.
    Right now there is again an intermittant rattle from the exhaust and I am again dropping it at the dealership. It has been about 3000 miles since the new muffler was put on. I could not recommend this van.
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    I got a feeling your letting your vehicle run at idle too long while parked. A vehicle should never be run very long at most 10 mins. Otherwise you overheat the catalytic converter. I wouldn't be surprised if the muffler problem is related. I guess a lot of heat is created and not enough air flow is passing through the system. That likely leads to more moisture at the muffler end causing rusting from the inside out.

    Try another brand! Good luck!
  • oak4oak4 Posts: 5
    I'm in the HVAC service business and purchased a new 2000 Savana 3500 van in 4/00. I drove Fords for 8 years when working for someone else, but I'm a GM man so I chose the GMC. I took the van in at 12k miles for a front end alignment but you had to pay $175 because it didn't happen in the first 7k. A few months go by and my front pads need replaced at less than 20k. I'm now at 37k and noticed my brake fluid getting low. I check my front pads and there at 50%(I used Carbon/Metalic)so I pull the rear driver side and find an axle seal is leaking and the shoes have oil cooked in them. I take it to the dealer and offer to pay them for other services while its in the shop(transmission service,fuel filter)so they could make some money on the job. I told them to call me if the seal couldn't be replaced under warranty. They call me and say for $50 they could repair the seal, but they say I need a new engine belt $81, front brake service$141, rear brakes cleaned and adjusted(their seal failed)and rear end fluid replaced. I paid for the rear end service and other repairs for $350. What bothers me is that I know at 37k I'm out of warranty but that seal had to be leaking for some time and I think they should have serviced the rear end and replaced the shoes. The van also backfires at times when first started, outside mirrors are useless at speeds over 35 because they vibrate so much the Firestone tires will only last to about 40k and rear brakes will need replaced at 50k. I purchased the 1 ton van thinking it would last a long time. The Fords I drove (E250) would get over 70k on rear brakes and no less than 50k on the front. Ford will not give you any crap about a front end alignment at less than 36k. Tires were good for 60 to 70k.
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    Making a general comment that Fords are better, only because your dissatisfied with the brakes and alignment is insufficient evidence for a comment like that. Yes, others have complained in edmunds about the short life of brake pads, and in 2001 this was one of 5 upgrades GMC made (longer brake life). Tires now for 2001 used are Michelin, not Firestone....perhaps that solves that problem. An axle seal leaking could happen to any vehicle depending on what you drove over or through. That is a hard one to comment on, I have not come across that complaint. I have seen as many complaints for Ford as for GMC and Dodge. It is hard to say which is the better vehicle in my book. At least Fords and GMC/Chevy ride and handle well, and have more modern design, that leaves Dodge in the corner. After that it is personal, I for one love the tons of leg room on the GMC, and the slight differences in reliability between GMC and FORD are in my book negligible when leg room is what matters to me (and easy access to the rear of the vehicle).

    Bottom line........ I wouldn't hesitate to buy either GMC or Ford except for my preference for leg room. So I oredered the GMC 2001 Savana 2500 extended passenger van, 5.7L, 3.73 axle, loaded, a few months back.

    Improvements for 2001 on GMC include a improved torque converter on the 4L80E heavy duty tranny, improved longer lasting brakes, more robust door handles and ignition lock, upgraded audio, quieter alternator, introduction of 8.1 L, and more advanced powertrain control modules for the other gas engines. This was the biggest year since it's introduction for changes!
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Did they fix the mirror vibration problem that has plagued the van from day one?!!! oak4 - does your van have power or manual mirrors? I am trying to figure out if the power heated mirrors are the only ones with problems like this.

    What do you mean more robust door handles and ignition?!! They look and feel the same to me. My mother in law just got a '01 Savana SLT on the 6th, it all looks ant feels like my fathers '98 conversion as far as the handles and ignition, unless they changed the key to the one with the big head on it and I didn't notice. That key head change would force an ignition switch change, besides GM probably only changed the key because it was the only vehicle left with that style of key, and it's cheaper to have all or most car lines use the same type of key cylinder, they get a better volume discount. I work for GM so I know how they think. I do like the van other than the mirrors, my fathers conversion has only had the front brakes done once and he has 65k on it, rears are at 70% roughly. We do our own work so I know for sure, not just what a shop tells me.
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    The term more robust door handles is the exact wording I read in a one of the articles on the net, unfortunately I cannot remember the source. I think they are referring to the inside mechanism, because I see no visible surface difference either. I guess this same reasoning applies to the ignition lock.

    I have heated mirrors and so far their is a very slight vibration on rough roads, and I was aware of it only because of the reported problems I read in the past. I do not consider it to be a problem at all, although time will tell. It only has a bit over 4000 miles now.
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