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Oldsmobile Silhouette



  • I have a '01 Silo GLS and wonder if anyone out there has or are experiencing what we noticed. When we shut off the engine, there is a funny noise coming from the engine compartment. It sounds sorta like water dripping on to a hot manifold. We live in Florida so we use the air conditioning almost all year round and though perhaps it is the condensation from the AC unit. Any thoughts out there?
  • I just got my Silo GL today. It is a 2001. Orginally purchased March 2001 and the owner decided he didn't care for a minivan so traded it on a sedan a month ago. It has 8000 miles. Original sticker was $29,100 and I got it for $20000. The extended warranty transfers for $35. I also got 6.25% financing. Edmunds TMV was over $23,000 so I feel I did okay.

    Even with the current incentives I couldn't see paying for new with deals like this.
  • Just got done prowling around on our Olds dealer lot, and noticed that there are 2 Silo's there with the AWD system. Haven't had a chance of test drive them, but it appears that the tires are 15 inchers. Hardesty, are yours 15's or 16's? These both appear to be GLS models. Perhaps here in SD it took our first major winter storm to get the AWD versions. ;)
  • I am talking with a Dealer in Mass that has an '01 GLS Silo. It has 17,000 miles on it and he's willing to sell it for 20,000. It has all the standard GLS stuff (Cruise, Keyless Entry, etc) but no additional bells and whistles. Donsell, what did your Silo come with?
  • Mine was a GL.

    In addition to the base it had:
    Traction Control
    Rear audio control
    Rear air
    backup assist
    Driver Info Center
    Universal Garage Door
    OnStar (standard I believe)
    Power sliding passenger door
    Updated stereo with CD/cassette and coax speakers
    Alloy Wheels
    Towing package
    Anti Theft Alarm

    The seats are cloth, but that is what we prefer (Ever sit on a leather seat in winter in Nebraska?) And the front seats are not power adjusted. Power front seat are about the only option I can see that wasn't added to the GL.

    Edmonds TMV lists a clean '01 GSL, black (didn't now your color, tried a neutral one) with 17,000 miles in Boston at $21,731.

    The one I bought was owned by the dealer so I had complete repair history. The only problem was a faulty airbag module.

    17,000 miles sounds like a lot in one year, but I suppose it could be almost a year and a half old now.

    I got the 6.25% financing by applying for 6.49% from Peoples here at Edmonds and asking them to beat it. Either rate is good. The rate the deal offers is negotiable. The original dealer rate offered was 7.25% so they came down a point.

    The first salesman I talked to at my dealer told me the extended GM warranty was not transferable. There was a salesman I had worked for before that was more honest and said he didn't know. It is transferable for $35 dollars so don't forget to get that.

    To me yours sounds like a good deal if it has been maintained.

    Good luck!
  • jackjtjackjt Posts: 178
    First--anyone have troubles with water leakage along the floor on the passenger side, starting up front and going along the automatic sliding door? Just noticed some rust spots the other day and it looks like water leaks?? Would appreciate any comments.

    Great deal on that 8K used Silo! I sure enjoy mine, except for some minor problems which have all been fixed. Worried though about the leak mentioned above??
  • hardestyhardesty Posts: 166
    Our AWD Silhouette Premiere has 225/60R16 Goodyear Integrity tires mounted on wheels unique to the AWD Silhouette. They are the same wheels shown in the 2002 brochure. There seems to be some more misinformation in the brochures. The picture in the 2001 brochure of a 15" aluminum wheel for the GL matches the picture of a 16" wheel listed as standard on the GLS in the 2002 brochure. Anyway, the AWD has 16" wheels that are unique and not available in chrome.
  • Looking at used GM vans. don't need gold plated seat cushions or anything, I'm going to use it for camping and hauling stuff from Lowes, soccer etc. Also, I'm a great mechanic, and we don't drive much on this 2nd vech. considering a used GM van like 94-98.

    dual air (texas)
    nice to have dual sliders

    what years are good and which to be avoided? when did the plastic go away? what year did the 3.8 become available? is the 97 a trouble prone new model?


  • hardestyhardesty Posts: 166
    1995 was the last year for the 3.8L motor in the GM vans. In 1996 the 3.4L became the standard and only available engine. Dual sliding doors were never available on the 1996 and before GM vans (but the power slider was). It looks like 1992 was the first year for the 3.8L option, so if that is a driving criteria, your choices are limited to four model years. Dual air was available for all four 3.8L years.
  • I was reading the maintenance schedule for my 2001 Silho and at 60K miles they recommend inspecting the "engine accessory drive belt" but there is no mention of the timing belt. Does the 3.4L engine have a timing chain?
  • After doing more research, I think I may look harder at the newer models such as a '97 Transport for sale locally with 58k for about $8k. Looks clean and fairly well equipped.

    The 3.8, while a excellent engine, does not overcome the previous design shortcomings according to the reviewers. I have yet to get to test drive the latest generation GM van, but will this weekend. Many of the reviews say "fun to drive" which seemed mutually exclusive with "mini-van". I was also surprised to see the 0-60 of the 3.4 below 10 sec - the new Buick Rendevous for instance has same powertrain but is slow - 11 sec 0-60.

    I know the '97 does not have dual doors - a big drawback, but being cheap the lower price of this model is a plus and this isn't our main vehicle, our Maxima is.

    Also surprising is the excellent reliability rating from users like on - where the Transport gets all top marks. You look at Consumer reports and they give the GM vans great marks in everything but "integrity" and what they call body construction/trim (name escapes me now). I have heard complaints about wind noise. Have people tried soaping up the car and then running the vent on HIGH speed fan to see where the air is coming out (makes bubbles). I would think this would not be such a hard thing to find. Fixing it might not be easy, but usually some silicone on the rubber seals works wonders.

    The van I'm going to look at supposedly has only had the belt changed since it was new besides scheduled maint. - that is excellent. Our 2000 Maxima (supposedly one of the best cars) just had a oxygen sensor go out on it at 11 months and 12k into its life.

    The GM transmissions are also much better than the competitions, that is a big factor.

    I was looking at a extended cab full size pickup but I these vans get better gas milage and have a lot more people room - I'm wondering if a 4x8 sheet of plywood would fit on the floor w/o seats attached. Anyone try that?

  • All that blabbing and I forgot to mention that the CR buying guide rated the GM used vans as "models to avoid" even though the newer ones (97+) are very good on reliability - go figure.

    I have been impressed at the number of people who like these vans - you can tell a lot from these discussion groups (try a Dodge van group!) and it seems most of you are mostly happy with the vehicles.

  • hardestyhardesty Posts: 166
    Yes, with all of the back seats out and the fronts forward a bit, you can load and stack 4x8 plywood or drywall. If you have the load leveling suspension you can carry around 1500 pounds of stuff with ease. The low-end torque of the 3.4L engine helps a lot. You might want to look for a 98 or 99 as well, I think that some power train refinements were made for those years and later.
  • I bought a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long when retracted)last week at Lowe's, and it fits inside my van! The rear door was able to shut, but just barely. The other end of the ladder was up against the dash.

    Try that in your SUV...

  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    The 3.8 L engine in the older GM minivans is a sound engine. Speaking from experience, I have 180,000 miles on a 1988 Olds Delta 88 with the same engine. It burns about 1 quart of oil every 2K-2.5K miles but is still strong. It also tends to clog up PCV valves, but this is a five dollar easy fix with parts from any auto store. Also, aftermarket parts are very reasonably priced. For example, water pump-$20, O2 sensor-$18, etc. My Father-in-law's 95 Silhouette with the same engine has been trouble free.

    As far as the new Silhouette, our 2001 GL has been trouble free for 3,400 miles. Changing the oil myself with ramps was easy. It appears that other ordinary service such as spark plugs and longer life service such as alternators will be difficult due to the cramped engine bay. One note on hauling 4x8 sheets of material. The van gets narrower towards the top, so you won't be able to stack insulation board that high. Finally, I find the ride, handling, and quietness of this 2001 GL to be better than I expected.
  • I saw the for sale van - a 97 Pontiac. Short WB, white, basic model - no alloys, no cd, no rear air, no extra goodies, etc. Manual seat adjustment. Liked height adjustment even if manual. Dumbazz guy selling had told me over phone it had rear AC when it did not. He was as far from a "car guy" as you can imagine, so I didn't know to yell at him or not. Wife and I gotten stuck in traffic on the long drive to his place and I was a bit peeved at this relevation about the A/C. Live and learn.

    Drove the van in not the best mood, but it was smooth. The high-profile tires and soft springs (esp. in rear) did not make handling a strong point, but I'm not a van driver. The motor pulled acceptably, but seemed a bit reluctant to spin (rev) like the imports. Torque of course was reasonable. Brakes worked ok, but the "brake" light stayed on even with the parking brake released.

    In summary, the driving experience was not enough to make me further consider getting a van, but I bet some better tires and wheels/shocks rear springs/airbags. would make a world of difference.

    The van w/o rear air in Houston is not worth even considering. I think only the longer ones had it a option, going off the web site info for the new ones. I guess I'll have to look at some extended wheelbase models if I keep looking at them.

    For a value of a used vehicle for load carrying and only occassional trips with lots of passengers (like camping etc.) I'm going to look at some of the old style. They practically give those away. Anything I need to look for on one of these old vans? Any cool options I should attempt to find? I'd like load leveling if they had that, and the 3.8 auto.

    Anyway, that's it.
  • My 2000 Silo has 22,050 KM.

    Just had an Oil Change at the local GM dealer.

    Also had them look at my "Air Bag" warning light as it was coming on now and then for the last month or so. They found the driver side "ground" to be the problem. They cleaned it up and applied some grease to it.

    Now on the way home...., I noticed the engine idle to be a little "off".

    Immediately reminded me of when you turn on the AC and load is applied to the engine.

    Upon checking, found the AC to be off.

    Anyway, a few minutes later, turned on the front defroster. Heard a C L I C K.

    Again, thought the AC must be on... nothing. Same symptom, it clicks and the idle goes up a bit and settles down.

    Ok, I tried turning on the AC..... worked, but, as usual, heard the ever so familiar "AC" click that I normally would, complete with the idle increase. No problem, expected on this setting.

    Now, without the AC, when I do notice the above symptoms, the AC light is off.

    Another thing, this ONLY happens when I have the settings @ defrost.... warm or cold.

    Do not hear the click or see a difference with the idle on the vent settings.

    Have never had this happen until today.

    Any ideas?? Thanks,

    P.S. sorry for the long post !!
  • I'm sure someone here can confirm this, but I'm under the impression that the AC Compressor runs when you run the defroster. It dries the air so it won't fog your window. If that is true I'm sure that explains the clicking you're hearing.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    you are right, it also is run to keep it lubed as in the old days the people who have winter and don't use their air for 6 months were having a lot of problems with leaks due to the seals drying out.
  • Yes, that theory makes sense. In-fact, my Honda Civic does that. However, on the Civic, the AC light comes on and remains that way until you change the setting to anything other than the defrost mode.

    Also, I NEVER had this happen prior to today on the Silo. Not to mention, the AC light does NOT come on.

    Here is an idea........ can you guys (2000 owners) check your vans and let me know if you have the same "Clicking / RPM" shift with yours.

    Would be great to pinpoint this without getting the dealer involved. Better yet, if it's something they messed up, then they need to correct it quickly.

    Thank !!!!

  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    All the way back to my 84 Olds Cutlass Ciera, it has been the case that the a/c is utilized by the defrost function. As already stated, the a/c takes the moisture out of the air to prevent fogging on the inside. In my '96 Cutlass Ciera and the '01 Silo bothe do the same thing with defrost on.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    You should be able to duplicate the clicking with the hood open, have someone switch it to defrost and vent. You will see that it is just the compressor kicking in. Also if it is warm enough to run the air conditioner that it will also click on and off as the inside reaches your set tempiture. It is more noticable on some vehicles than others depending on the sound deadners used.
  • Hello -

    I'm shopping used and I was wondering, since I don't remember seeing exterior badging on the EXT vans, is there a easy way to tell if the van is EXT or regular? Someone like me who is not super familiar with them would be hard pressed to tell right away.

    Looking at a 98 with quad captains chairs and leather. Are the captains chairs a pain the butt for kids, or are they fine? my kid now is 6moths.

    Thanks in advance,

  • hardestyhardesty Posts: 166
    Probably the easiest way to tell a regular from extended wheelbase (without measuring) is to look at the channel for the passenger side sliding door. On short models, the channel extends all the way to to the tail light. On long models, the channel stops a good 8 inches before the tail light.
    The captains chairs are great for kids. They hold child seats and boosters well, and will be the most comfortable when those are outgrown. We have a 2002 Premeire AWD with 6 captains chairs, one six year old (in a booster) behind the driver, and two 3 year olds (in toddler seats) in the back. We normally leave the seat next to the passenger side slider out of the van to provide a staging area (really helps in winter).
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    I've got a 99 Silhouette with 77k miles. It has a tow pkg (relevant for larger cooling system). We notice the temp. gauge swinging from about 1/8 up to about 1/2. When idling with the heater on it gets even hotter. The problem is the heater is very eratic. Seems to take forever to warm up (not the temp. gauge - just the air coming out of the vents). We bought the car used - so this is our first winter. Had the thermostat and water replaced recently. Anybody have any ideas?
  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    Sounds to me like there is a posible problem with the heater core. I've had an 84 Cutlass Ciera, 88 Cut Supreme, my current 96 Cut Cierra and 2001 Silo. The heat gauge rarely goes above 1/4 on my Cierra, and I get all the heat I could need. Just had thermostat and all the hose replaced at 88K mile mark. I would check heater core and the fan to be sure they are working correctly
  • bcnabcna Posts: 1
    Condensation builds up inside of the roof top right where the upper console is located,causing a leak to develop.Does anyone else have this problem with their 2001 Silhouette.Any suggestions?
  • Ok, I drove another one and liked it a lot lot better. Its a sister vech - a '98 oldsmobile GLS, the one with all available options. Am buying it from a private party seller. This will be my first van, something I never thought I'd get, but after evaluating alternatives (extended pickup, SUV like Tahoe/Expedition, surburban) this option has much more room, fits in my garage better, gets better gas milage (a big factor) and is easier to get into and out of. We considered the Buick Rend. (a lot more dough but a nice ride), the Mazda/Honda/Ford/Dodge SUV and van alternatives but I grew up with GM cars and its obvious from reading the boards these are basically reliable vans, and Gm makes the best transmission in the world. The thought of having to do major drivetrain repair on a HONDA or Dodge steered me to toward the GM models. My sister had a Ford Winstar that was good but blew a tranny at 75k, and that is not that unusual from what i hear. Anyway, hope for the best with this one.

    The '98 GLS didn't have view screen thing like so many of you have but it has about everything else - dual doors, load leveling, leather, dual air, dual power seats, side air bags, etc etc. My kid is only 6mo old and I can add a aftermarket view screen, I'm pretty handy.

    It was much firmer in the rear with the air shocks than the poncho I drove w/o them and good tires like michelins really make a huge difference in one van being terrible handling and one being decent. And the leather power seats are very pimped out and super comforatble. This is a road tripping baby I tell ya! The thing is super clean and runs straight, brakes straight, great motor condition, etc. I agreed on the purchase wth the owner but will have to get the wife over to see it while I get some money together. The van is super clean even rugs are still new looking, no dents, 60k miles. I got it for $10,900 - a steal in my opinion given the prices on new ones. Blue book ranged from 10.5 to 12.9k, and given the great condition of the van, I'm doing ok. I didn't want to screw the guy at Christmas and he didnt' have to sell right away either, so we compromised. The new vans with 0% and the new features were tempting but for me this is a better use of capital on a depreciated asset, and we won't be driving it all that much.

    I'm going to upgrade to some aftermarket mags to make it look cooler, as the prev. owner has whitewalls on it! Ughhh!!!!!! Puke!!!!. Has anyone gone to a +1 (16" wheel) and if so how do you like it? I figured the base wheel / tire combo the base poncho was the reason I was not sold on the Poncho I drove. PS. You can see what it looks like with different wheels at BTW

    Would also like to add a subwoofer that is out of the way. The van has 4 captains chairs, so it rules out under the second seat -- Any hints appreciated.

    Also, I'm sort of a tweaker on suspensions - I think this van needs a rear sway bar to keep it more neutral handling (not pushing through corners). Has anyone tried this? I've added Addco rear anti-sway bars to my last two vehicles (shadow turbo and dodge truck) and it really helps roadholding and is cheap at like $120.

  • You must be in a cold weather place. A few thoughts -

    this problem is sort of like drinking a cold beer. The cold can will condense water vapor in the air. A can coozie both keeps your beer cold longer and greatly reduces the condensation. So does drinking it in very low humidity environment.

    Using this analogy -

    1. you can remove the plastic and make sure the metal roof is insulated - go into your house attic and get a handful of insulation and pack it full, then reinstall the console.

    2. you can run the AC more and take the moisture out of the air in your van.

    3. both 1 & 2

    I have not removed the part you're talking about but I'm guessing based on prior experience.

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