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Chevy Express/GMC Savana: Brakes



  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18
    FYI, I did a part trade with a denali owner for his Baer brakes. They went right on, baers aluma sport 14 inch rotors front and rear. My gmc awd van brakes went ringht on his 06denali. awd for trade in.

    So, if you need parts you can use denali awd brake parts, or if you want exceptional braking you can purchase or get lucky and trade like I did for a baer like system that is for the 1500ck trucks....all the same, and most of the suspension if its a torsion bar front end truck, like the awd denali, awd escalade etc...
  • I saw your post about replacing the intake gaskets on your 99 Chevy Express. I have a leak and wasn't sure if the intake gasket is the gasket between the water pump and the engine? Please confirm. Thanks.
  • I have a '03 2500 AWD Express cargo. I do land surveying and the truck has been wonderful in off-road applications with slightly over-sized Pro-comp MT's . I am fully aware that it isn't a full 4 wheel, and do not ask it to be one. I would like to put heavy duty shocks on it, however, it being a somewhat rare item KYB list their gas-matic only for the front, and state the do not have a shock for the rear. I have, on my own on the internet, cross-referenced KYB's applications, and it appears that the the Tahoe, 00-06, Denali 00-06 might be of the same front end construction. Any help on Bilstein, or KYB Monomax, heavy duty truck shock applications, and a 1"-2" lift system would be appreciated.
  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18
    The front ends are the same as all gm independant tortion bar front ends. You can not per say lift it....butyou can increase traval slightly by raising the tortion bar spring rate. All it takes is an adjustment.......I could do it in under 30 minutes for the front end, but I build and fabricate stuff for race cars. Any decent shop should do it for a pretty small charge. The rear can be raised also pretty easiliy but I d have to check into it. Problems could arise with driveshafts, yoke spline engagement etc...Ill have to look.

    Shocks, will not and do not raise the ride height, but may help aot with wheel control and ride. We have done shocks on a friends 04 awd, and a rear sway bar. The shocks helped, they are the strongest bilstiens we could get. Ill have to get the number. They work well, but for all around comfort and performance we were thinking of trying the edelbrocks on mine. A lot of shocks are made by one company and reboxed etc rancho's are really monroes I think. They are about 90% sales pitch and 10% good shock. The guy that owns the 04 I referenced is a suspension guy. I rely on him for alot of information.

    Since your using it offroad, if your worried about getting stuck, find out if your awd is equipped with a positraction in the rear. I think it was an option, but not sure. Id bet most are open anyways. Lots of options there, but costly also.

    I se you have a 2500 awd? I researche dit abit, and found that (I think) the 2500 is really just 1500 with options. It was unconfirmed but I think the "2500" gets different spring rates and thats it. The tow package gets 3.73 gears, and teh stiffere springs I think. A true 2500 should have gotten 8 lug wheels(or a 6lug 2500 diff), the 4l80 e trans with a 6.0 engine, but I m nearly 100% sure they never built such a van.

    Anyways Ill try to remember to talk to my friend, he has teh part numbers, interchangability etc all memorized somehow.
    He is sorta like an encyclopedia on allthings suspension/van and truck related. His back ground is very very heavily offroad, and rock crawling etc.
  • Thank you for replying, I appreciate it, I've gotten frustrated trying to research, find out suspension data on this van. It has the 6 lugs, therefore, I also think it is basically a 1500 with some extras. If you would be kind enough to provide me with Bilstein, Eldebrock shock numbers I am grateful. The idea of a rear sway bar is wonderful too, do you have a manufacturer #, or info on it? I had the truck on a lift and rotated one of the rear wheels, and the other rear wheel turned the opposite direction, therefore, I concluded that it is not a posi, I was hoping it was. Again thanks, for your reply. The other day I was at a job, and the owner pulled up in a diesel 4 wheel, looked at me, I said I'll follow you into the muddy field, I maneuvered a whole lot easier that him. He was slipping, and sliding, I was driving straight on.
  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18
    I talked with my best friend, that also owns an 04 awd. He actually got me into them. He isnt very computer literate, and said just call him. He can give you the part numbers etc.....just email me and Ill send you his number.
  • I can't see how to email you privately.
  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18

    I thought it showed it, sorry.
  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18
    the intake gasket is two large peices and two small bridges. The intake is the peice that is directly in the center top of teh engine. On a 99 the tbi bolts to it. The end gaskets are just rubber bridges that most mechanics never use. Most used permatex instead as a bead along the top of the engine block. I use "the right stuff"

    The side (actual intake gasket) sits on the cylinder heads on each side, the intake bolts down to the heads with the bridge of the block itself in the middle at teh front and back about 7 inches across.

    An intake gasket leak would be rare, and might be possle to fix just by tightening the intake down a bit. Most common is an oil leak from the back along the bridge area. I think the information regarding the fp regulator being in the intake is incorrect. Most are on the the intake, but on a tbi injected 99 model I dont think its even near the tb. It ma even be regulated in the tank.

    The gaskets are about 20-30$.......and it would take awhile to do. In my van I have to remove the front seats just to get the dog house off.......
  • jrg38jrg38 Posts: 6
    This will sound over simplisticbut double check your fuses there is one that says brake,. and one on the bottom that says stop.
  • jrg38jrg38 Posts: 6
    I have a 1999 gmc savana conversion van that I would like to convert the rear brakes to disc, it has 11in drums currently. does anyone know of a kit that will convert without mods??
  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18
    most of the stopping power is on the front. Itmat serve you much better to do the front first. There are many options, I know there is a 14 inch rotor kit for about 650$ that goes on the front. This will substantially improve braking. Drums actually work very well (even better then discs) when only used once. For one stop drums are fine. For repeated stops, racing, trying to slow a heavy load going down a hill is where drums fade, and discs shine.

    you do need atleast 18 wheels to clear the large rotors. I scored a bear brake systems aluma brake system from a guy with a denali trading it in. The bear system is (4) 14 inch rotors with 4 piston calipers, I ve never been into brakle systems....I build power for going fast. So far the bears have saved it twice from accidents....and the stopping is incredible. I run 20 inch wheel with 275 tires too.
  • jrg38jrg38 Posts: 6
    Does anyone know what conversion kit ( drum to disc rear) will fit this vehicle?
    It has a 10 bolt diff.
  • jrg38jrg38 Posts: 6
    What year was the denali & did the rear disc work without any mods?
  • mas1169mas1169 Posts: 5
    I have a 2002 Savana 3500 cutaway box truck with 5.7 L gas. The other day I noticed my speedometer seemed to be hanging up and not working correctly. When I got out of the truck with it still running my daytime running lights(which in 2002 is still part of the headlights) were alternating like an emergency vehicle. When I turned the actual headlights on at the switch the alternating stopped but when switch was turned off they started alternating again. This has happened only one time since but both times it involved the same symptoms with the speedometer acting up and the drl's alternating. Anyone have any ideas?
  • Hello,
    I have a 2003 Express 3500 with both the ABS and Brake light on. Before going to a dealer and paying 90.00 to diagnose, is there a fuse for the ABS under the hood? If so, location?
    Thank You,
  • Our 2003 van had the same problem. Turned out that the ABS brake module failed and had to be replaced... $700. Ouch. Make sure no after market electronics have been wired into that circuit as it can rob amps from the module causing the problem.
  • markee1markee1 Posts: 1
    Our 2005 Forrest River motor home has this same symptom. My mechanic said it sounds like over heating but I never ride the brakes and 99% there is no sign of vibration. It only shows up when you need good braking the most, going down steep passes even if I'm crawling. I have had the brake lines replaced because they collapsed and the antilock brake control board has been replaced. These repairs had no effect on this problem.
  • I have 2003 chev 1 ton dump that I replaced all the brake lines at that time the abs light was out but came on shorthly after and then i bleed the lines that go into the abs unit wich is under the cab now when you start it after runing the light goes out but then comes on and stay,s on can you help what do I do next and also checked the fuse it is good
  • I have a 2000 chevy express that has developed a shudder in the rear brakes. At a low speed the brakes will grab very hard causing a shudder in the rear end. It does not do it when stopping from a high speed just as you creep thru a parking lot at low speeds. The only way to stop it for a time is to drive in reverse and let them adjust themselves. I have replaced the rear shoes and installed new hardware kits. Still same problem. This van is used as a taxi and all 3 of us in the shop are stumped. Anyone have an answer for us?

    I bought it certified with 14,000 miles. It came with a 36,000 warrenty. I now have 94,000 miles on the vehicle and I am on my fourth set of rotors!! And on top of that I have the original brake pads. As a matter of fact from 14,000 mi to 94,000 my brake pads have not worn at all. Chevy gives you a print out of how much remaining brake pad is left and my brakes have not worn AT ALL in 60,000 miles. Every old school mechanic I talk to says this is a RED FLAG that my brakes are not operating properly. I had to cut the rotors at 30,000, and then at 50,000 they were warped and too thin to resurface. I Replaced them again. At 80,000 I had to have them cut because they were warped. Then at 85,000 I had to have them replaced again because they were warped. I live in Illinois but use the vehicle for a business that has me traveling from state to state. Everytime I take it in the rolling hills of Missouri, of god forbid the mountains of Colorado, after 1 hour of hills or mountains, I can feel that they are warped. Within 1 hour of mountain driving my rotors get to hot that when I brake, my whole steering column shakes and the vehicle swerves to hard that I can barely stay within the lines on the interstate. I seriously feared for my life the four times that this has happened. I have tried to have Chevy look into this and everytime they just slap new rotors on and send me on my way. I keep telling them there is something else wrong. They give a 12,000 mile warrenty on rotors and they are warping in half that time. Chevy has had to replace them for free under warrenty 3 times and I have had to pay once. I feel like all they want to do is slap new parts on instead of finding the problem or having a
    RECALL! As a matter of fact my dealer told me that they have a couple other customers that use their Chevy 3500 Express Van as a work truck and that the same thing keeps happening to them. They try to tell me it must be my driving/braking in mountains. First of all I grew up in Colorado and had a 1984 Dodge Ram Van and never put rotors on in less that 100,000. I know how to drive in the mountains. I have spoke to corporate, who agrees something else is wrong but they won't do anything about it. They say they've checked everything. But they won't check the pressure in the master cylander with a gauge. I finally got the service supervisor to admit to me that these vehicles have crappy metal rotors from China and that they have been failing in the saftey lane tests for their ability to brake and stop in the required distance. I bought the 3500 1 ton van because I believed it would last me for years as a work vehicle. I feel that my vehicle was overated to it's weight limit and it cannot stop itself if it has ANY kind of load in the cargo area. It's just really scary because I use it for work and I have to travel to these areas and I fear for my life everytime I drive in the mountains. I am going to be writing to all kinds of people at Chevy as well as the better business bureau. I have already filed a complaint with the US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTAION HIGHWAY SAFETY ADMINISTATION. THERE NUMBER IS 1-888-37-4236. IF CHEVY RECEIVES 3O OR MORE COMPLAINTS A RECALL INVESTIGATION WILL BE LAUNCHED. I am also going to contact a local Chicago newspaper writer who takes on stories like this when people are wronged by corporations. This isn't really about being wronged as much as it is about being safe.
  • I have the same problem. I've got a 2009 GMC Savana 3500 van conversion. I bought the HD model specifically for towing my 7500 pound travel trailer (fully loaded) in the High Sierras. Van is rated to tow 10,000 pounds with its 4.10 gearing. While descending Sherwin Grade, 10 miles, 6% grade, north of Bishop, California, in my new van with trailer, the first and every time since I have had the front end shake severely when applying the brakes. The trailer has its own brakes to assist in braking. The last time in September I had to downshift to 3rd, 2nd, & 1st gears. The grade was too much for the van and trailer, getting up to 40 MPH in 1st, and I had to use the van brakes to assist. The plulsating in the front end/steering wheel, was severe. Once I got off the grade and into town the brakes were fine, not used. Didn't have anymore problems with them on the trip.

    When I got home I took the van to the local Chevrolet dealership. The local GMC dealer had gone out of business. I explained what had happen. They checked it out and put the following information on my invoice..."SEE BULLETIN NOTE WHEN BRAKES ARE HOT WILL PULSATE THEN WHEN COOLED NORMAL
    #843615 PER TAC NO REPAIRS AT THIS TIME CASE #71-877103556 DAVE COPELAND. Wow, what a cop out. They know these brakes are dangerous and won't do anything about it. The owners manual in section 4, item 15, states that "if you don't shift down, the brakes could get so hot that they would not work well, You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash." Unbelievable, but true. Service Manager says this is all my fault due to the upgraded tires and rims on the vehicle. General Manager looking for ways to blame me for this also. Had the tires checked to see if they were the same size as original tires. They were. He wanted me to take trailer back to the High Sierras and use original equipment rims that he would furnish and see if the problem was still there. Initially I said I'd think about it but after see the acknowledgment in the owners manual I felt that would be a waste of time and called back and left a voice mail saying that wasn't going to happen and I would have to try other alternatives. You should of seen all the bees coming out of the hive when I showed up with my picket sign saying "GM SUCKS". I was told the GM would be calling me today.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I would like to set up a case for you and have someone look into this further for you. Please e-mail me with your complete contact information, VIN, current mileage, and involved dealer. I look forward to your response.
    GM Customer Service
  • I have a 2004 Chevy Express 3500 with the same problem. I have driven the van since new and it now has approx 42,000 miles. I had the discs turned a couple years ago. On only two certain hills in our area, when I have to pump the brakes, a slight vibration will start and increase with each pump until the steering wheel shakes uncontrollably. This is a dangerous and severe condition. I called one dealer one time to ask about this and got the same corporate type response. I do not have time to go through the BS. I just avoid these two hills for now. The brakes work fine otherwise, even on bigger hills. Even before reading this blog I was sure that other people were having the same problem. I am also sure that the solution is known. I am not looking for anything for free. I would just like to know what the solution is so that I can resolve this issue on what is otherwise a great vehicle.
  • Update as of 11-7-10, 0612 hrs: General Manager at Chevy dealership tells me he has been talking with headquarters about the problem. The 2011 trucks are coming out with larger brakes and they are checking to see if they will fit on my van. Will update this post when I hear something..........wheels88
  • This is an update dated 11-18-10, of #50 of 50. I filed a complaint with General Motors. Their regional representative has called me twice since then telling me they won't correct my brake problems. Gee, what a surprise. Then, later in the day, the service manager at Delillo Chevy in Huntington Beach, CA., called to tell me the same thing. Since they can't duplicate the same driving situation here (6%, 10 mile downgrade towing 7500 lb. trailer) they can't help. (The brakes situation exists even when not towing, per owners manual warning, chapter 4. section 15. When asked about the bigger brakes on 2011 trucks he said that is only for trucks. The last time I checked a van is a truck! I asked if they are upgrading the brakes in trucks because the brakes on current model in insufficient. He said they upgrade things all the time, but wouldn't comment on what I said. He agreed with me that I was back at "square one". I then told him that I would have to start over my "square one" activities by picketing again with my updated picket sign of "GM BRAKES SUCK! " He asked what good would that do. I told him it would let the 1,000+ cars that drive by his location hourly know about the brake problems with GM vehicles. I'll bet he was in a full sprint to the General Managers office when we hung up.....wheels88
  • We have a 2004 Chevy 3500 15 passenger that is having this same violent shaking while braking at speed going down a mountain highway. However, we've seen this problem at other times as well. We've seen it during general driving at both high and low speeds over flat terrain - though it does tend to be "triggered" by applying the brakes. The only way to stop the violent shaking is to slow down so to < 10mph and it self-resolves and then we can go again.

    Talking to people that were driving next to us they tell us that it looks like it's bouncing so violently that it's going to rip away from the van. Seems focused on the front left side. We've had wheels rotated, brakes done, alignments from several shops. Still having problems with this.

    Quite scary when it happens.
  • Your brakes are getting hot. The rotors are warping when the get hot. When they cool down they (unwarp) and start functioning properly. That's what they printed on my work order, but not in as much detail I have listed here. Slotted, drilled, or dimpled rotors help disapate the heat better than standard rotors. File an official complaint with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Here in California, I'm also filing a complaint with the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Also file a complaint with General Motors. If we can get enough people having this problem file complaints we could get a recall. You can file on line with NHTSA and BAR. You speak with someone at GM. I've picketed a local Chevy location twice because the local GM dealership went out of business. "GM BRAKES SUCK" is a great picket sign, don't you think? wheels88
  • O4 Chevy Savana 3500 with same problem. Have taken it in and the only thing the shop has told me is warped rotors. That can't be cause I've replaced them twice. It always comes right back within a few hundred miles. Is something causing the rotors to have too much pressure on them when not applied that could cause these suckers to warp? I don't know, but the shake is violent and dangerous. I guess we need a death first?!
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