Chevrolet Uplander Brakes and Rotors

uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,635
Our Uplander has 21K miles and while the brakes don't really pulsate very noticeably around town, they do when braking firmly at highway speeds and also when braking firmly going down a big hill. It's been this way for several thousand miles but hearing the retail replacement cost of these rotors in an earlier post, I was hesitant to having anything done to them right then. However, in the next couple weeks I think I am going to have my dealer resurface them, which I know is only a "Band Aid" fix. I'm almost certain this will be a warranty item. Has anyone on the forum gotten their dealer to REPLACE rotors under warranty yet (after one or two resurfacings)? I read pretty carefully the TSB on "Brake Warranty Service and Procedures", from the link in message #2683, and while it says that for pulsation concerns, rotors should be resurfaced not replaced, it also says "Important: If the scoring depth is more than 1.5mm after the rotor is refinished, it should be replaced."

Just curious.

Bill P.
Kent, OH


  • stan60stan60 Member Posts: 5
    I just leased a brand new 2006 Chevy Uplander with the good deals they are offering since they want to make room for the 2007's. It is a monthly saving on the lease by taking a 2006 but at what cost. I had 37 KM on the unit when I left the dealer and the brakes started to vibrate. Had to take it back that week and get all four rotors turned to solve the problem. This gives me less material on my rotors for future use. Also at some point before I received the vehicle the back window had been broken out. The new one is installed crooked and the dealer won't own up to who did this. They said it never was replaced but the pre delivery people never cleaned up all the broken glass from inside. I paid for pre delivery and got a vehicle with broken glass inside plus the seats were dirty. I am not sure who to blame, Dealer, Transport driver or the GM plant. Other than that I have 1200 KM on the vehicle so we are keeping our fingers crossed since the first couple of weeks were a nightmare.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,635
    Hey Claire S., what happened to posts 2746-2751 under the old Uplander/Montana/Relay board? They were all rotor-related. Also, why is this now called "Chevrolet Montana"? There is no such thing.

    Bill P.
    Kent, OH
  • ClairesClaires Member Posts: 1,222
    Hi, Bill,

    I moved them here to start the discussion -- they were here at the time, so I'm wondering if the server burped during the transfer. I'll try to find out.

    As for the name, ack... that's my error and I apologize. I've corrected it.


    Need help getting around? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Tell everyone about your buying experience: Write a Dealer Review

  • kthoelkthoel Member Posts: 2
    Had mine replace at 11,000 miles and now that it has 15 it is starting to have the vibration again.
    I am beginning to hate my GM purchase. So many issues... :mad:
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    The next time our rotors begin to pulsate I'll look for aftermarket rotors and pads and just replace the GM crap on our 2005 Terraza. It's acting just like the 97 Malibu we had- it eats rotors alive. So far in ~17k miles we've had the rotors resurfaced three times. The first two were covered with no hassle.

    The last one (at about 16,500) they wanted to charge us for. I made a big stink because I had already had them done twice in the first 12k (predictably, at roughly 5 to 6k intervals), and went to the trouble of calling the Customer Assistance number. After much deliberation they ate the cost for the last resurfacing, calling it a "goodwill" measure.

    Goodwill my foot! I've had four other vehicles during my time in this area, all driven in the same conditions and having all their service needs handled by the same dealership. The Terraza is the first to have any problems. Yet they insist that it's how / where we're driving that is causing the problem, not the design (maybe undersized brakes causing overheating in situations where that shouldn't occur? :mad: ).

    When I pointed out that three of the other vehicles weighed the same as or more than the Terraza (all had 4 wheel discs) but never experienced the issues all they could say was that different vehicles were designed for use in different conditions. I then mentioned that none of them were driven in extreme conditions- this is all highway (some mountains to cross, but no heavy braking on our part even then).

    No dice. So the next time I'm going to try to correct the situation for good with a complete replacement with non-OEM parts.

    Interestingly enough, the 2006 models of all the CSVs quietly switched from a 5 lug tire pattern to a six lug pattern. There was (and has been) no explanation available for why this happened. Now that I've had these issues with the brakes and read similar reports from others, I wonder if they haven't gone to a heavier duty setup, and that was a six lug (GM light truck / SUV) system.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,635
    Jerry, I made an appointment just this morning to have my rotors "checked out" (i.e., resurfaced) this Friday by my dealer. We have 22K miles and this will be the first time.

    Since my earlier posts to you, I looked again at that TSB and the warranty booklet with my Uplander. ONLY "Brake Pads/Linings" are mentioned in the warranty booklet as maintenance items. Rotors are neither pads nor linings, by anyone's definition.

    My dealer REPLACED rotors on both my '02 Venture and '02 Cavalier at 39K and 35K miles, respectively, a couple years back. Both were done under warranty (I never buy an extended warranty). I had had both vehicles' rotors resurfaced once by them, prior to the replacement.

    I gotta believe had you showed your dealer the TSB and asked where in the warranty does it mention rotors, you may have gotten some satisfaction. The Customer Service number, even my salesman commented on how hapless they are a few years back...he said once he had to explain to them what a "G" Van was (full-size Chevy or GMC van).

    I agree, long-term, it will probably be best to buy aftermarket. Too bad you will most likely be forced to do this before 36 K miles.

    Bill P.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,635
    BTW, that is very interesting (and observant!) about the six-lug pattern. I had never noticed this...although I always thought the '06 wheels and wheel covers I've seen on the Uplanders look like the '05. I have seen a couple '07 Uplanders on the lot where I rent cars for travel every week, and they look like they have a changed, more "upscale" wheel. I'll have to make note of the number of lug nuts. Sounds like an admission that something wasn't quite right!!

    Bill P.
  • genmtrfangenmtrfan Member Posts: 78
    I thought I knew everything about these vehicles, but I didn't know that either. I did notice that the base '06 wheel covers were re-designed, and I actually thought they looked worse. The '06 wheels look the same to me, but I haven't inspected the number of lug nuts. In '07 the same aluminum wheel is still available, but on the LT3 model a new upscale aluminum wheel is standard. I actually prefer the other choice better (the wheels from '05/'06). They are some of the best looking wheels I've seen on any vehicle lately. The wheels and the silver rails make the look of the vehicle (IMO).

    This brings up and interesting question. Are people having the brake rotor/tire wear issues with the '06 model since it has reportedly changed to a 6-lug design?
  • guestguest Member Posts: 770
    My dealer did resurface all four rotors on our '05 Uplander a few days back, as a warranty item. The work order showed that since it pulsated even with the parking brake on, all four rotors needed resurfacing.

    The work order also mentioned installation of shims. When I asked my Service Advisor (whom I know and like) what this was, he said it was something new to help alleviate brake pulsation. When I said "Hallelujah!", he said "let's hope for the best, I can't guarantee that'll make a difference"!

    I do notice more "dead pedal" before the brakes grab, then before, for whatever that's worth. I also noticed the steering wheel off-center slightly to the definitely was not like that in the morning before being dropped off, plus I had paid for a four-wheel alignment there only three months before. They corrected that aspect of the alignment for me, yesterday, free.

    Bill P.
  • stan60stan60 Member Posts: 5
    I purchased a new 2006 Uplander LT this past October and have already posted to the site about brake problems with 37 KM on the unit and now I have another issue. While washing the vehicle the other day I noticed the black moulding along the bottom of the rocker panel bulged out on the passenger side. I took a mirror and looked under the vehicle to find (from the factory) someone had put clips in the holes and the moulding already has the clips in it. So this left a problem of two sets of clips and this made the moulding bulge out. Also the battery red box cover was broken off for some reason and when the dealer fixed both of these problems that should of been done at pre delivery I find you cannot open the red cover enough to boost it if necessary. Their is a tube frame over the battery that goes to the front grill area and won't allow the box to open. Great American engineering and we wonder why the foreign auto makers are putting our products to shame. :mad:
  • uplandersksuplandersks Member Posts: 1
    We have owned a Chevy Uplander since early 2005. We are now on our 5th trip into the dealership fpr a brake pulsation problem. The rotors have been turned 3 times and replaced 2 times. Curious as to whether or not those of you out there who have experienced this problem, experienced it more than once?
  • lloftinlloftin Member Posts: 1
    I also have been having rotar problems from the get go. Mine stems further back though. Electrical, blinking headlights like there's a short. But this is what 2 other mechanics have told me about the rotors. They are too small for the size and weight of the Uplander. They will continue to have rotor problems for as long as you own it. I call the National Customer service line. They resurfaces warped rotars, Once warped how do you think resurfacing is going to fix them. Warped means out of shape. Resufacing thins them. Resurfacing them 3 times? Their like paper. I am making them replace mine. They wanted me to pay for them after they billed Chevy for replacement after they only resurfaced them. I said that is misappropriation of your funds. I'd be angry if I were you. So, they are replacing them for free and then I am selling it.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,635
    Is yours an '06? I think many on this site were wondering if the rotor problems were limited to the '05, since '06 and later Uplanders have a six-lug wheel pattern which could mean larger rotors.

    Bill P.
  • mw124mw124 Member Posts: 2
    2005 Uplander - same problem. Rotors turned at 10,500, 26,000 by dealer. I had to pay $135 to have them turned at 53,000 because the dealer claimed it was my 'driving style' causing the problem - YEAH RIGHT. I now have 64,000 and it is vibrating again. I read an article published 3-6-08 stating the dust shields are the problem; not keeping road debris/grit off the rotor. I am still under extended warranty so back to the dealer we go. Wish me luck, I can't wait to get rid of this vehicle!!!
  • hatemyuplanderhatemyuplander Member Posts: 1

    I had all of the brakes replaced and the rotors resurfaced June of 2007...the van is I bet it is the rotors again...does anyone know if the GM silver extended warranty pays for this resurfacing again.

    I hate this van...the door won't open remotely, the rubber is scrutch up, the gm service person tells me it is opens when it wants embarassing....the vcr constantnly winds itself....Hate it...

    Oh well, any help on the extended warranty would be appreciated!

    hatemyuplander! :mad: :mad:
  • mjt1959mjt1959 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 05 Uplander and had to have the front rotors replaced 4 times. The first 3 times it was done under the warrentee. After the second time I asked if there was a heavier duty rotor available since the ones that came with it couldnt handle the weight of the van. They told me no, which I later fount out was a lie. The 4th time the rotors needed replaceing was after the warantee expired so I took it to a local shop. I asked again if there was a heavier duty rotor available and what do ya know they said yes,and they were only 15.00 ea more than the stock rotors. They are twice as thick as the original rotors and the original calipers DID NOT have to be replaced. The total cost for the new rotors and new pads installed was 259.00 and no more break problems.
  • mjt1959mjt1959 Member Posts: 4
  • mjt1959mjt1959 Member Posts: 4
    The next time your breaks start to vibrate, and they will. Insist that the heavier duty rotors get installed. If your under warantee your dealer will probably try to tell you there isnt any available. This will be a lie. I went thru this and , the 4th time i needed the rotors replaced was after the warrantee expired. And of course when I took it to a local shop and asked about heavier duty rotors of course they said they were available, and only 15.00 each more than the junk ones the dealer kept giving me and the original calipers were able to handle them. So my cost for the 2 rotors and new pads installed was 259.00 and no more break headaches. So when you take you Uplander in for break vibration INSIST on heavy duty rotors or you will be going back for service over and over again.
  • mjt1959mjt1959 Member Posts: 4
    Don't waste your time resurfacing the rotors. The problem is that the rotors that come with the van cannot handle the weight of the van, overheat then warp. Heavy duty rotors are available for the uplander and your current calipers are made to handle them. This will solve the break problems.
  • pagermpagerm Member Posts: 1
    finally someone found them. Can you get the brand/ part number or even the auto shop that did the work and a city and state that ordered the heavier rotors. I have looked on all the normal auto parts sites and there are a few higher end ones but I would like to know they are going to fix the issue.
  • stanyhstanyh Member Posts: 4
    There are good news. I own a 2008 long base Uplander. I always heard of brake problems with GM vans. In the marketing sales literature, Chevrolet stated that the brakes on the 08 Uplander are ventilated and oversized. I doubted that. Well it is true. I just had my brakes checked after one year of use, and 30,000 km, and the brakes are not 50% used. The independant mechanic says the 6 bolts wheels have oversized disc plates that are also heavy gauge. He added these brakes can go over 80,000km.
    Thats about the same distance i did with my Sienna. However, the ABS system is quiet on the Uplander, where it was noisy on the Sienna.
    We need some good news at times, voila.

  • genmtrfangenmtrfan Member Posts: 78
    You may not believe this, but we have 55,000 MILES on the original pads. Granted, my wife is easy on brakes, but I told her that I was going to change them soon just for the fun of it. I have had the rotors rusurfaced twice, however. My van is an early 2005 model.
  • honza8honza8 Member Posts: 1
    Can you tell me where you bought those heavy duty rotors and perhaps part number?
  • schwangschwang Member Posts: 7
    Hi, we have a 2007 Uplander and we first had work done on them at 18000 km and now at 40000km we have to have them looked at again. we have had 2 other problems, a leak in the roof at 12000km and the rear main oil seal at 14000 km, i am probably going to get rid of this ................ :lemon:
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10
    Front Rotors crap!!!!!!!!!!
    I have put three sets on now in 95,000Kms
    the gm rotors are crap :lemon: and I am sick of changing them. Dont bother turning them they might last ten days.
    I am in Germany and having problems getting a good heavyduty rotor.

    Any help with a part number store that ships to Germany would be greatly welcome :
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10
    Heavy Duty Rotor part #
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10

    Can you forward the details on the heavy duty rotors for us to get as I cannot find them anywhere! I desperately need rotors and I am tired of buying the stock cheap ones from GM.
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10
    I need these 2005 uplander rotors

    Please help !!!!!!!!!! : :shades:
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    I don't have a part# but here's what I did: go to your local parts store and buy their premium rotors - look for a brand name like raybestos or wagner...also replace your brake pads.

    Here's the important part: Once you've installed them and put the wheels back on, you need to "burnish" the rotors...The procedure is listed in the GM repair manual. If you don't have the manual here's what you do: Go for a drive around your neighborhood. Accelerate to 30 MPH and then firmly come to a complete stop without "stomping" on the brake pedal. Drive a little bit (about 30 seconds or so) and then do it again. repeat this about 25 times. What is happening is that you are building up a layer of brake pad material on the rotors which will protect them once you go back to your normal driving routine. I did this 40,000 miles ago and still stop as smooth as the day I replaced the rotors. Problem solved. :shades:
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10
    tkx dude i will give it a try.
    i need to find a store that will ship to a PO BOX I have in Belleville ON.
    I'm military in Germany. From Belleville they can be shipped to me free.
    do you know of a good parts store in Canada.
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373

    I've had good luck with them and their prices are very competitive with your local store... :shades:
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10
    Thank you,
    They want to much money to ship them to Canada.
    They want the same amount to ship as they want for product.
    I guess I will have to find a store in Ontario Canada or have a friend ship them personal for me.

  • kilrbatskilrbats Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2010
    I have an '05 Uplander and need to replace front rotors...Can anyone tell me the name of the tool required to remove star shaped screw ( that what I think holds it to the hub) on the front rotors? Guess I got lucky compared to others as this is the first replacement since I bought it new, But I got them upgraded too. My new heavy duty rotors from NAPA have the hole this screw inserts to so it needs to be removed.
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    edited October 2010
    You need a "Torx head screwdriver" or a "Torx head socket" for your ratchet.

    I believe its a size "T20" but I'm not 100% positive - I did mine a few months ago.

    I have a set of torx screwdrivers that I use for removing taillights & such...its pretty tight so I used a wrench on the screwdriver to get it off. If you don't have a set of torx head screwdrivers, now is a good time to buy them as you'll use them more than you think...

    Make sure you put a little never-seez on the screw threads before you put it back in so its not too hard to replace next time you have to take the rotor off.
  • fixit12fixit12 Member Posts: 10
    :) the torx does not have to be tight when you re-install as all it does is hold your rotor in place until you put rim back on! So dont tighten the crap out of it.

    I have new rotors for mine and so far so good.
    Anyone else with 95 Uplander rotor problems do not replace with OEM parts.
    GM or AC Delco rotors are a waste of time and effort on this van. My forth set is now installed with only 102kms. This time i went with after market rotors and it did the trick.
  • ilmrebelilmrebel Member Posts: 1
    I have replaced the rear break pads in my 2008 uplander. I have bled them out until the fluid is clear. The breaks are not working and the traction control light has come on. I am clueless. Does anyone have any advise for me
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    Step 1 - You do not need to bleed the brakes unless you opened the brake line which you did not need to do to replace the rotors & pads.

    Step 2 -The Uplander ABS system likely needs to be bled using a scan tool if air made its way to the brake modulator.
  • ken1217ken1217 Member Posts: 1
    I had the front and rear brakes and rotors replaced after only 10,102 km. there was large grooves and lots of rust on them. The service guy said he has never seen this before. Now i need another replacement at 30,000km. So now i am thinking that this minivan was not a good purchase.
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    Replace the rotors and brake pads with an aftermarket brand like Raybestos (not the OEM AC Delco ones) and your problem will go away long term...Did that to ours 1-1/2 years and 20,000 miles ago and never had a problem since.
  • tommie_dtommie_d Member Posts: 3
    Do the brake caliper bolts have left handed threads? I would not think so but I can not get them broke loose on my 07 uplander. I have done about a dozen or more brake jobs in my lifetime but I'm not a mechanic, just a parts changer with basic hand tools. This should be a very simple job but using a brakeover bar with a 15mm socket and all my might I ended up splitting a brand new 15mm Craftsman socket down the side. Any suggestions out there on getting them loose?
    Thank You for your help,
    Tommie D
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    No - all are standard thread, did all 4 not so long ago on our 08 - they are REALLY tight and they use threadlocker to hold them in when they build them. I broke a 3/8" drive socket too. I used a 1/2" drive socket and a bar and a hammer and I was finally able to get them to move. Also - use a 6 point socket so you can put more force on it with less worry about stripping it. They tend to have thicker walls too...

    I'm just a parts changer too so I understand exactly what you're going through.
  • tommie_dtommie_d Member Posts: 3
    edited April 2012
    Well I went out and bought a 18" brakeover bar and a 15mm 1/2" drive socket and presto! they came loose but boy were they tight. The threads of the bolts were rusted when they came out, Not real sure if that was the problem or not but the fronts are done and next weekend I will change out the rear pads. So far I'm very happy with our uplander, 96,000 miles and this was the first time anything has been done to it besides regular fluid changes and the first set of tires at 79,000 miles.
    Thanks again!
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    Hey Tommie -

    When you change the rear pads, do yourself a favor and buy the special tool to back out the looks like a little metal back out the rear rotors by turning them with the special tool...not by using a c clamp to push them back in...

    You might already know this but I figured I'd put it out there in case you weren't aware of it...also, when you push them back in, before you do anything notice the orientation of the tabs on the pistons and make sure that before you put on the new pads that the tabs are in the same orientation...otherwise your pads won't self adjust...

    Like I said, you might know this already, just wanted to throw it out as a tip since I've already done the rears on our Uplander....

  • tommie_dtommie_d Member Posts: 3
    Wow I wish I would have seen your post before I started on the rears today. Guess What! I pulled the right rear caliper off, switched out the pads, grabed the C-clamp to push the piston back in and..... No Joy! It was even a pain to get the old pads back on. So the piston screws back in with the special tool? Is this a dealer only item or might one of the part stores have this tool?
    Thank you again!!!!
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    You can get the tool at any parts store, no need to go to the dealer. I got mine at auto zone, it was under $ 10.00. I think they call it a GM rear disc brake tool. Its basically a square metal cube that fits on the piston. You have to screw the piston back in with a ratchet and the tool and you're good to replace with new pads.
  • 647hotord647hotord Member Posts: 1
    any idea what happens if you don't get the brake tool, and manage to compress the piston anyways? does my dad need a new caliper?
  • 442dude442dude Member Posts: 373
    Yikes!..How did you get it to compress?

    I can't say for sure but if it took an extreme measure to compress it I would say it should be checked out by a professional at the very least. Most times people can't get it to budge without the tool...
  • labaker1960labaker1960 Member Posts: 3
    I made the tool out of the old pad, by cutting off one side of the pad. and taking off the remaining pad material.

    I had a 2006 and just got tired of the brake issues. The van was the family vehicle and I hate to say it but it is the worst GM vehicle I have ever owned.

    I have worked on cars since I was 7 years old and have done all my own work. This vehicle has the worst designed brakes that I have ever seen. I changed the front and back brakes at the same time and within about 6 months the rear brakes were gone but the fronts were fine. I also had multiple issues with the sliding doors and the brake dust the covered the wheels was bad. Wash the car and within the week the wheels were black with dust again.

    I traded it off and got an import.
  • labaker1960labaker1960 Member Posts: 3
    I had a 1985 and a 1999 Astro and they were great, but I wanted a van that got better gas milage, so I got the Upland. The tag said it was estimated at 28 MPG highway, 3.5L. What a joke, it got about the same as the Astro's had less room and could not pull as heavy a load. The Uplander I had was fully loaded and and had 100 times the issues in the 57K miles and 5 years of owning it.

    Example: my 85 Astro needed a new starter when it had 157K and new brushes ($3.15) for the altinator at 175K. It started smoking when I started it up after it sat for 3 years while I was stationed overseas. It never gave me any real trouble, except for the paint. The breaks on the van worked well and lasted for about 2 years front/ 4 years rear. I loved my Astro and wish I had never traded it in. The 1999 Astro was starting to have transmittion trouble so I decided to get the Uplander.

    I have always bought Chevy, currently I have a 1967 3/4 ton pickup, 1979 El-Camino, 1984 S10 Blazer, (work in progress 1940 PU) and my first car was a 1968 Chevelle, 327. Then I bought the POS 2006 Uplander, this van has changed my mind on the way I buy cars.

    2. Safety: the car must have a good safety rating.
    3. Warranty: a long warranty indicates to me that the company believes in their product.
    4. Fuel economy: Gas prices are high and Chevy does not have the best MPG ratings
    Electric cars do not have the range I need, but KIA has plans for one that
    not only has the range but does not take forever to recharge, 8 -vs- 24
    hours without special equipment.

    These two are the first four categories I am looking for besides styling and comfort. I don't know why MPG is still so low, I had a 1983 Pontiac J2000 station wagon that got 39MPG and would drop to 36 when the plugs needed to be changed. My 68 Chevelle would get 16City and 21 highway. I also had a 91 GEO Metro that averaged 48 and the best I got was 53.9MPG.

    Now I have an import and feel good about my purchase because I am not worried about making it safely to my destination.
  • joelowryjoelowry Member Posts: 2
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