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Chevy Express/GMC Savana: Brakes



  • acts2_38acts2_38 Posts: 3
    edited January 2011
    Here's the link.

    You have to request a "Portable form" that is emailed to you. Weird but whatever.

    Upgrading to a heavier brake rotor and new tires does seem to have fixed the issue for us. Not sure which was the "trick" but guessing the brakes since rotating the previous tires didn't fix it (those tires were in great shape - just got paranoid and wanted the wife and kids safe so I traded it all out). No problems for about 3 months now. Maybe it's fixed for good? Pray so.
  • Wheels88 here. This is an update on my activities. I went ahead and upgraded my brakes at my expense. For $2,066.12, I got 4 new rotors that are slotted and dimpled. These are classified as performance rotors for people who need better brakes than original equipment can provide. I haven't had the opportunity to really test them as I won't be in the High Sierras until this summer. They work fine in the city, as did the original brakes did.

    The California Bureau of Automotive Repair wasn't able to do much for me but they did go to the Chevy dealership I had been picketing and stirred things up a bit. The end result was nothing could be done but the dealership realized I wasn't going to go away. The next time I showed up with my picket sign the General Manager came out. I told him about the upgrade I had made and offered him a copy of the bill it if he wanted it. He took the copy and said he would contact GM again and see if he could get a different response from them. I told him I would accept a 50% reimbursement from GM. I also told him to be sure to tell GM that I am retired and have plenty of time to picket and that I was not going to just go away, like I'm sure they were counting on. I also told him I was not looking for reimbursement from his dealership as this was a GM problem, not his.
    A week later I received a phone call stating GM would reimburse me my requested 50% as a good will gesture (something like that). One week later I received my check for $1,033.06. PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF! I know most people don't have the time to do what I did, but when you've been wronged don't give up. What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, and General Motors was wrong to supply us with brakes that are inadequate (according to their own statements). What is needed is a recall on all of those vans, 1500, 2500, and 3500 series.
  • What is the make of your upgrade; maybe Brembo??. I am driving with a Conversion GMC Savana 2500, extended wheelbase. I also have a lot of problems with the brakes. I am driving in the Netherlands, Europe. Its unbelieveable that GMC does not solve the problem. I already changed the rotors twice (EBC and Frozen Rotors Hawk) but still I have the problem. My car has only 20.000 miles on the clock and GMC pushes me to drive in only the first gear otherwise the brakes become to hot, its really unbelieveable.
  • wheels88wheels88 Posts: 11
    edited February 2011
    They didn't put the brand name of the rotors on the work bill. I can tell you that they came in a black box and that they were dimpled and slotted. The dimpling was done inside the slightly curved slots. I haven't had a chance to test them yet. That won't come until late July this year when I tow my travel trailer up to the High Sierras and then home. Coming home will be the real test. I'll be going back in September to do the same thing.

    When I asked them if I'm in 1st gear going down hill and my speed is getting excessive and my brakes shudder violently from earlier braking, what am I supposed to do? They had a great response..... "I don't know".
  • wheels88wheels88 Posts: 11
    wheels88 here. This info is directed to our friend in the Netherlands(reply #59), with the GMC 2500 Savana. I just located the box my new rotors came in. They were manufactured by aFe. Their web site is (capital "F").
  • d4belld4bell Posts: 2
    I am having a problem finding torsion keys to lift my 03 express 2500 6 lug awd. For tire clearance. I want to raise it without sinching down the bolts and making for a rough ride. Anybody know if aftermarket Danali/Escalade/Tahoe 1500 awd keys that were re-indexed will accomplish this? Any ideas
  • theodowtheodow Posts: 4
    Hello wheels88,

    Thanks for the info, I will check it.
  • theodowtheodow Posts: 4
    Hello wheels 88,

    Website aFe is not in use, please check the name: I suggest ATE (is a big brand name)

    Greetings from the Netherlands
  • wheels88wheels88 Posts: 11
    I called the performance shop that installed my brake system. They are EBC brand performance rotors. I went on the internet and found them quickly. The rotors they show on their home page are the ones I got. There are several positive comments about the rotors on the site. I hope this helps.

    I haven't had a chance to test my new brakes in the High Sierras mountain range here in California, but will be doing so at the end of July while I'm towing my 7600 pound travel trailer. I hope this works for the both of us.
  • clintonaclintona Posts: 1
    When I apply the brake pedal slowly or gently, the pedal feels normal and the brakes apply as they should. When I tap the brake pedal quickly, as when somebody cuts me off, the brake pedal pushes-back on my foot noticeably before applying the brakes. I can get this symptom to repeat every time I 'tap' the brake pedal, as opposed to depressing it slowly.
    The mechanic has replaced my hydro-boost twice with re-manufactured parts, and the problem still continues. Any suggestions?
  • badchevybrakesbadchevybrakes Posts: 1
    edited June 2011
    My chevy van has almost killed us multiple times so I am very interested in this repair. Can you tell me if you used the sports or the ultimax EBC rotors? Also, it was recommended that I use the "green stuff" pads. Any thoughts on this? Thanks. Has anyone else had any success in getting gm to pay (or pay part of) this repair? My dealership went out of business. :lemon:
  • mikemuthmikemuth Posts: 1
    Hi Guys,

    I just happenned to come across this post and decided to contribute my 2 cents. I am from Canada and I rented a GMC Svana 3500 van last July to go to Florida. When we were coming back, just past Beckley on a down slope when I stepped on the brake, the whole van including the steering wheel started to virate very badly. I managed to drive back to Toronto by controlling the speed with gears. I mentioned this to the reental company.

    Again I rented another GMC Savana 3500 this month to go to Myrtle beach and just past Morgantown on I-68 the same thing happened. I was surprised to go through this again. I managed the whole trip by driving on low gear.
    And now I come across this posts. GM should be ashamed of this.
  • wheels88wheels88 Posts: 11
    I am one of those people who is not mechanically talented so I depend on the experts in their field to do the right thing for me. Hence, I couldn't tell you whether sports or ultimax EBC rotors were used or what type of brake pads were used. Contact They are very helpful and explained things to me so I could understand them. Ask for O-ney or Doug, and refer them to the fix they did on my van in December of last year. They'll remember. As far as getting reimbursement from GM and your dealership having closed down, don't worry about that. Persistance is the big thing. The dealership I was picketing was not where I bought the van. The van was purchased at a GM dealership 30 miles away from where I live, due to the van conversion I had done on it. It is located on a dead-end street, no traffic going by to see my picket sign, so I went to the nearest GM dealership to my house, 2 miles away. It is located on a very busy state highway...lots of vehicles going by. I was amazed how upset they got. "GM SUCKS" and
    "GM BRAKES SUCK" were not the kind of signs they wanted in front of their business. I was turned down by GM for any reimbursement. The picketing and persistance was the only thing that got me any reimbursement at all. I told them I would accept 50% reimbursement and gave the general manager a copy of the bill. Good luck. Be persistent. Don't just go away. They are counting on you doing just up!
  • praughpraugh Posts: 3
    Like numerous other people here, we have experienced the severe brake shudder while going down extended downgrades. We always have to downshift and still experience the brake shudder. If we don't downshift we'll experience extreme shaking that feels almost as if we have two flat tires on the front. As is typical for everyone else, the shudder goes away once the brakes have had a chance to cool. We have had our brakes and rotors replaced, but the problem still has not gone away. Has anyone found a real fix for this issue? Wheels88...have your new rotors been tested in the mountains yet?
  • wheels88wheels88 Posts: 11
    wheels88 here. Yes, my new rotors were tested coming back from the High Sierras on Sherwin Grade, a 10 mile, 6% downhill run last week. They performed like they should, slowing me down while towing my 7600 pound traveltrailer. I also had one more lengthy downhill stretch, the Cajon Pass. Everything was fine. Rotors were EBC brand and were slotted and dimpled, allowing the heat to disipate rapidly.
  • theodowtheodow Posts: 4
    Hello Everybody,

    I Bought Brembo sport slotted brake discs, r=2009&autoModClar=2500+8-Lug. I am very happy, these are oke, no problems with shuddering anymore. I already tried EBC and frozen rotors, both didn't work. Also now I know brake pads are not importand, i my case they are not responsable for shuddering
  • pete560pete560 Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with a 1999 express 3500. have you had anyone diagnose the problem correctly? have you fixed the issue? pleaseeeee let me know.THANKS!
  • I too have this problem on a 2000 Express 3500 Chinook RV. The previous poster indicated that EBC and Frozen Rotors did not fix the problem and, as of the writing, that Brembo rotors did resolve the problem. I assume all of those rotors were slotted? Apparently, Brembo does not supply slotted, drilled or dimpled rotors for the 2000 year model. I am concerned that the choice of rotor is critical and you could completely waste a lot of money on the wrong replacement. Since this problem is intermittent and usually triggered by a downhill grade, it seems that some of the folks here may not have had the chance to determine if the fix is for good. In my experience, the shuddering does not always happen. One test may not be sufficient as it may take a while for the replacement rotor to become warped.

    I am also confused about people who are saying it is the rear brakes that are shuddering. In mine, it does feel like it is the rear that is shuddering but I also can feel the warped rotors pulsing the front brakes at times - particularly braking downhill when the shuddering is not happening. My steering wheel does not shake violently. I can believe that the front rotors are the problem even though it feels like the vibration is coming from the rear or through the drivetrain. Before I experienced the shuddering problem, I had already decided that my rotors should be replaced.

    I also get some vibration at higher speeds that feels like out of balance wheels. I had my wheels balanced. Can these warped rotors add to the wheel vibration? Was your ride smoother after replacing them?

    So: Is there a separate rear brake problem? Or is all of this really about front rotors?

    How sensitive is the choice of replacement rotor? Is a quality brand slotted or slotted and dimpled rotor sufficient?

    What brand of rotor should I trust? Obviosly not the GM OEM.

    It would be great if anyone can update us on how their repair has held up.
  • For us, there were times where the shuddering came from the front and the rear, but I agree, it did seem focused on the front. Your front brakes do most of the work so it makes sense most of the vibration would come from there. We replaced the front and rear rotors at the same time (wish I had "kept" the old ones to verify the warping amount). We didn't go with the high end Brembos, instead with the best rotors offered by Pepboys that didn't have the slotting (I'm paranoid about them cracking at the slots - just me). No idea the brand - I think the key is mainly upgrade from OEM. However, as an RV you are running heavy. I'd tell you get as nice as you can. If Brembo offers a non-slotted that might be ok. Their quality of materials is high.

    I think the issue may be a combination of brakes and suspension design.

    Regarding your comment about feeling out of balance while driving normally - we ran into this some.

    We saw two types:
    #1: a all-the-time mild shake at highway speeds. This occurred even after we had the wheels computer balanced at two different shops.
    #2: About once a month it would actually begin the violent front-end-shaking just with normal driving (without braking) where we would have to slow down to <10mph for it to halt. I think it to have been a combination of harmonics of bumps in the road coupling with a possibly warped rotor lightly touching the pads at just the right time.

    We verified it wasn't a alignment/caster issue - again checked at two different shops/companies using computer alignment equipment.

    Only after changing the brake rotors have these issues resolved.
    We've not had the problem for almost a year, with lots of miles. Not one time. I have no doubt the issue is with the rotors (and some collision with the suspension design).
  • meg19meg19 Posts: 3
    UPDATE: My Chevy Express Van now has 130,000 miles on it and it still has it's original brakes to date. I was at Chevy today and during the multi point inspection they specified that my brakes are still at 5mm. Yet I am on my 7 set of rotors.....and Chevy thinks there is nothing wrong with least corporate does....any mechanic you tell this too will say your brakes must not be operating correctly but when it was evaluated by corperate they told me there was nothing they can do. I can't believe how many similar stories I have heard and yet they haven't done anything....remember the GM at my Chevy has admitted to me that these vehicles are failing in the safety test they are aware of it. You can do your part by contacting 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. We have more than 30 people here who have posted a similar story....we can force them to change this....PLEASE FILE A COMPLAINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I have a 2000 Chevrolet Astro, the brake and ABS warning lights come on every once in a while when there is a bump or dip in the road. Can anyone help me with this problem?
  • praughpraugh Posts: 3
    Just an update to my 04 Express brake issues...I found 1 guide bolt on each of the rear brakes completely corroded and inoperable. So, my front brakes had been doing almost all the braking. After replacing the original rotors, brake pads, and guide bolts my brake issues have gone away completely. I did the repair last summer, and all is still good!
  • I've got the same problem when I rented the Savana 3500, but this time from Toronto to Montreal. So I swore never again rent a Savana even if is very comfortable. Few months ago I decided to rent a cargo Van Ford E350 and it was the best decision I ever made.
    670 Km in few hours, no break problems. Specially the rental company gave me a lot of confidence.
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