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Chevrolet Uplander Electrical Problems

rwallisrwallis Posts: 3
edited June 2014 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: 2,918
    <<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.
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    Next problem with my 2005 Terraza - has anyone had a problem with the power sliding door suddenly opening back up when it was closing? I've noticed this happening a few times in the last couple months. When the passenger side sliding door is closing, before it latches, it suddenly reverses directions and opens back up. I have an appointment to take it in in a couple of days to get the flickering lights and service lights fixed, might as well add this to the list! Thought there may a TSB on the power sliding door as well.
  • Seen very few complaints about power doors. I'm not aware of a TSB. The doors are supposed to reverse if they hit something, but your door is reversing prematurely, perhaps an adjustment will fix it. Our Uplander's power doors have been trouble-free and it was one of the first Vehicles produced.

    That said, but careful not to open the driver's side door while you are pumping gas or have the cap off. My door ripped the gas cap off the attachment one time. But that was my stupidity.

    Where are all of the posts lately? Anyone have an '07 they'd like to report on? I predict the '07 models will be the most reliable and enjoyed since they have the 3.9 standard which gives more power and corrects the light flicker issue. Also, the other issues (stiff horn springs, air bag rattle, windshield noise) have been resolved. Our '05 Uplander has had the little stuff repaired and is doing great right now. I think these van's are excelling long-term. The 3.5/3.9 engines are proving to be very reliable with few transmission issues. After 1.5 years of ownership, our electronics have worked great so far. DVD is still the most appreciated feature. Go to the Honda Odd. forum and you'll see more significant issues, plus those people paid way more and have to park the beast (it's 5 inches wider than the GM vans). But it's a Honda, and the seats fold completely flat, so it's got to be the best. Not. How often do people fold and or remove the seats anyway? The Uplander's seats fold almost flat. In fact I've only needed to remove them all one time during ownership.
  • Did your warranty cover the gas cap repair? One of the safety features on the power door is to stop opening when the gas cap is open. They demo it for me when I purchased my Terraza. I also tested it.

    Regarding Honda. Yes you are spot on. When I read the Honda Odd forum, I am shocked on the major and continuing issues they have model year after model year. :sick:

    The GM Van issues are minor and few in comparison. :shades:
  • You asked: Did your warranty cover the gas cap repair? One of the safety features on the power door is to stop opening when the gas cap is open. They demo it for me when I purchased my Terraza. I also tested it.

    I re-attached the gas cap to the holder myself. I had no idea the doors were supposed to do that. Do you think the Terraza is the only one that does it?
  • Think the feature would be on all. Check you owners manual
    Dual Sliding Doors
    To open either sliding door from outside the vehicle, pull
    the handle out and then pull the door toward the rear.
    If you slide the door all the way back, the door will rest in
    a detent position.
    To move the door forward, you must first pull the door
    past the open detent position.
    The driver&#146;s side sliding door is designed to open only a
    little if the fuel door is open. If this ever happens, do
    not try to force the sliding door. Just close the driver&#146;s
    side sliding door. Then when the fuel filler door is
    closed, the driver&#146;s side sliding door can be opened
  • I am still fighting with our dealership about our 2006 Uplander. The light flickering problem is still there, took back to the shop, they told me that they could not reproduce the lights to flicker, but I can do it anytime, but they don't want to stay after hours for me to show them this is still an issue. My radio is still popping when I turn it on after intiial start up, my dealership replaced the radio with a refurbished one, but problem still there. Imagine that I have a brand new van and they put a refurbished radio in with out telling me... Anyway I am really upset with this dealer, and I have reported to the 1800 lemon law in PA, were going to see where this takes me.

  • Here's the TSB for the lights flickering. Your deal should honor this
    General Motors

    Posted: Tue, Jul 11, 2006
    Issued: Tue, Jun 20, 2006
    TSB Number: 05-06-03-003B
    Title: Lighting - Headlamps and or Interior Lamps Int. Flicker

    Here's the web address so you can print it off 03B/index.html
  • My lights flickered and my Saturn dealer said it was a bad alternator. Defect in manufacture. They replaced it no questions asked. It solved the problem.
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    I'm picking up my Terraza tomorrow after being in the shop 10 days awaiting parts. Service manager fixed everything asked with the exception of the flicking lights. Got the standard "could not duplicate the problem, even when driving it home at night". Frustrating to say the least. I printed out the TSB from the link that morewasabi left. I'm going to show it to the service manager tomorrow, and feel he will be seeing me again. What's confusing is the TSB states to replace the Generator Voltage Regulator, but rmacker states he had his alternator replaced? Which one has fixed the problem? Also, has anyone had an opportunity to remove their gas cap and see if they have a metal plate in there to catch debris? Can't believe this item would be left off when they built these vans. Thanks.
  • Regarding the Gas cap. Don&#146;t think that&#146;s an issue. Look at your gas cap. It&#146;s a different design and goes deeper than a normal gas cap. Also, has some kind of special venting. I don&#146;t have a metal plate, but do have a small metal arm. That is used to limit the size of the gas nozzle that can enter. The metal plate that you're talking about is not used for keeping debris out but is actually a splash guard. I think the gas cap design handles that function. At first the gas cap is also more difficult than most to put back on.
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