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GM's triplets Venture, Silhouette, and Montana



  • mjb56mjb56 Posts: 170
    I've been posting in the Montana board about a coolant leak related to a lower intake gasket that just cost $743 to fix (as the coils and plug wires were corroded as well). I just don't think these thing should be happening to a 2 1/2 year old vehicle with only 45K. We previously had a 1990 Transport that we sold with 120K. Had no engine problems and the thing is still running around with the current owner probably putting in less $$ than I am. What can be done about this poorly designed product?

    ps. the triplet board is a good idea. Lets keep it up!
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 274
    The lights (headlights, dash lights, etc.) on our 99 Venture sometimes fluctuate in brightness on about a 1/2 second cycle. This most often occurs the first few minutes the car is running. Anyone know why?
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    As I understand it from my father who is an expert in eletronics and has various GM cars, the GM alternator charges for a while, then it stops and takes a voltage check of the battery, then charges more if necessary. I belive the output of the alternator is varied depending on the voltage deficit of the battery. The cycling is somewhat normal, especially after a heavy current drain such as when you start your vehicle. However, if your battery is weak and requires a LOT of charging to keep its voltage, it could behave in the manner you describe for longer than normal periods of time and maybe about to die. Suggest you have the battery load tested at an autoparts store or shop if its the original one. The alternator could also be faulty.

  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    I have a 96 Cutlass Ciera that did this somewhere in the fir 10K, dealer replaced battery, and some other things. A yr later it was still doing this and the replaced battery, after warranty ran out the told me it was alternator and that if I did not replace the alternator ($450) I would be left on the side of the road. I on the other hand had read the TSB that stated this was normal and left. 3 years later it has the same alternator. I noticed that my 01 Silo does the same dimming as I come to a stop sign or while the vehicle is warming up. Most noticably in the Cierra, when turn signal and headlight are on evrything dims and the signal slows as I come to a stop. Once stopped everything goes up to speed. To sum up this rambling, the TSB states this is not a problem and will not hurt anything based on the fact that my 96 Olds is going strong with 90K and no problems.
  • offhamoffham Posts: 344
    Noticed that as I went over a bump got a new sound which was from inside the cabin. It seemed to coincide with the rear seat movement.

    I removed all the seats (3 middle and 2 rear) and sprayed the floor lugs with silicon spray as well as the seat release fittings themselves. This has cured the problem.
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 274
    Our youngest child is 10 years old. All of them have been opening the manual side doors on our 99 Venture. I'm looking at buying a second Venture; several come with the $770 list power door option. Is there any reason at all that this would be useful when all my kids can open the door on their own?
  • centarforcentarfor Posts: 22
    I have a 1998 Pontiac Montana and it is already starting to show its age. The Power Steering fluid started leaking a long time ago, the rear wiper/washer doesn't work, and just now the sliding door won't unlock when the other doors are unlocked. I have also had to drill the front light because water was building up inside and burning out the bulb. Is anyone having any of theses problems? If so, what did you do? Thanks.

    Igor Trninic
  • bcd99bcd99 Posts: 45
    The nice thing about the power door is that it's great for those who can't close the door well. Like when Granny goes for a ride. Also it's nice to push the button while running to the van in the rain.
  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    I had the rear wiper go on my 98 Venture. Got one on line for $150 and my mechanic installed it for $20.
  • mobilmacmobilmac Posts: 60
    for my wife, we underestimated its value, i feel it saved us depreciation on our van, usually when the kids or other riders unfamiliar with the amount of force needed to close the slider door, are overzealous and slam it to hard, or not hard enough, our experience has been, repeated times i had get out of my seat and close it again for them. After repeated, unneccessary door closures and repeated yanking on exterior door handles and interior handles, it takes its toll on sliders mechanisms and paint finish around door handle and interior handles. continue in next post.
  • euphorbiaeuphorbia Posts: 14
    My 98 Venture has 130,000 miles on it now. It has always had the engine knock and it is now getting a little more noticeable. It hasn't caused any problems and doesn't even use any oil between oil changes (per the book every 7500 miles). I think that this is the best vehicle I have ever owned. At least 40,000 of the miles was pulling a 4,500 pound trailer between Michigan and Florida over the last couple of years. The biggest problems have been water in headlights, power lock switches stopped working (at about 100,000 miles, right power window switch won't close the window. I've also had the hose to the rear window washer shrink and pull off the washer motor. Overall these are not big problems. The drive train on these vans are bulletproof compared to the competition. I had a 98 Windstar and got rid of it at 28,000 miles when the trans started failing. I will buy another GM mini when this one finally quits.
  • tomekktomekk Posts: 310
    Did you see any coolant pools under the van? I've noticed my coolant level is below "full when cold" mark, but there are no visible leaks.
    Thanks in advance,
    (2000 Venture, 27K miles)
  • yzfyzf Posts: 65
    Anybody have success turning the video/vcp unit in their GM minivan into a TV? I'd like to get some local stations while waiting in the minivan for the wife to finish shopping but can't find a way to hook in a tuner. Anybody got any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    what I did to fix:

    Remove the lights by taking off the mounting thumbscrews, remove the bulb and holder together. Examine plastic lens housing. The glue that goes between the front clear part and the reflective part is defective and leaks. You can pry these apart carefully, then scrape the old glue out of the sealing area. I used "goop" to re-glue, but you can also try a polyurathane caulk. While you're at it, clean out the reflector and lens with windex. Let dry, then reassemble.

    Regarding power steering leak, you should be able to see where its leaking. If its the rack, replace it. Hoses are a easy fix if that's the problem and that's cheaper.

    The door lock sounds like you need a new servo.

    None of these is a major problem, the worst might the PS, but that's a must-fix in my books as its a potential safety item as well as a enviromental issue with the fluid leaking on the ground.

    I agree with the other poster, Ford, Honda and Dodge vans have consistant transmission problems. The GM vans are not everything to everyone but you do get 3-4 MPG better than even the Honda.

    Suggest you fix these items so you can start enjoying your ride again w/o reservations.

  • hawk27hawk27 Posts: 5
    We've owned our 2001 Silhouette for more than a year now (15000 miles). We have been very pleased. It is very comfortable, handles very well and has been trouble-free. Most of the miles have been kid-hauling local trips, and this van has performed exceptionally. We tested everything and our decision came down to the GM vans or the Odyssey. I was unimpressed by the acceleration of the Honda, but we liked it overall, and it was wider. However, the price tag was $5,000 more than the Silhouette. My brother-in-law bought the Odyssey at the same time we did, and he likes it. However, it's already been in the shop once for a door problem -- and they have only 10k miles on it.
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    Those who have had the dealer fix a manifold gasket problem, what was the solution? Is it the same gasket material as the failed one, a new gasket design, or permatex, or ??? Just curious.

    FYI - We love our 98 van, the transmission is great unlike many vans and the torquey powerplant makes the van pretty zippy. And its very comfortable. I'm happier than I was with a 1/2 ton 4x4 dodge pickup, even with the lesser ego trip.

    ps. suggest we all join the triplets list.
  • centarforcentarfor Posts: 22
    I had water build up in my from light, I couldn't find the place where it was leaking so I just drilled two holes in the bottom of the light. Now it is fine.
  • dlubindlubin Posts: 66
    I'd be interested in a TV option as well. We did add a DVD which works well though.

    Also, any way to allow the front speakers to play the radio while the movie plays in back??
  • DD- have a 98 olds also. 40k on it. have added small amount of coolant but can not find the leak. brought it to the dealer for an inspection and he didn't find any leak either. he did find a power steering fluid leak in the rack [non-permissible content removed]. that will be replaced soon. Talked to a mechanic who said that the Dexicool tends to leak through the gasket more than the regular green antifreeze. On the cars where he replaced gaskets, the manifold was tight, no loose bolts. as far as the lights go, the dealer drilled a hole on the bottom and siliconed the light case
  • Any news on the AWD Venture? I haven't seen any yet. Are they reliable?
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    They are out there. As with the Front Wheel Drive versions, the hard parts is finding the right color, equipment and seat combo. The All Wheel Drive hardware is the same that is used on the Pontiac Aztek and Buick Rendevous. I watch the Aztek posts here at edmunds and do not recall any problems. You may want to ask there.
  • hhua1hhua1 Posts: 41
    We took our 2000 SILO to the dealer anyway, and it was determined that the leak were from the oil pan gasket and the rear main seal...The deal replaced the the gasket and seal...We shall see if that fixed the problem.

    About the leaks from the lower manifold gasket (the dealer said it it oil, not coolant, leaks)...Since it is not really wet, the dealer won't work on it...We will have to keep monitoring it.

    A comment about the dealer work...We have to bring the van back the second time, for few minor parts weren't put back or fastened. It was a sloppy job from the technician. They also didn't do the alignment after the repairs, the steering wheel was off center, alignment was done after second visit.

    This was the second time that we have to take the van back to fix/correct the problems that were introduced from the first visit...We always nervous to have the car in for service and end with new problems when we get it back...And that's what we call quality services???
  • mizeumlmizeuml Posts: 50
    Good luck trying to fix the oil leak. I was in the dealer shop 5 times with under 26k miles trying to stop the oil leak on my 99 Montana. The dealer tried replacing the oil pan and gasket, but the problem came back. I tried to get them to take the van back under the Lemon Law, but they told me the problem was oil seepage and that it was normal. I kept taking it back and finally they quit trying to fix it. I then went to another Pontiac dealer and they tried fixing it. They replaced the rear main seal first and the problem went away for about 10k miles. Then it started again and the dealer tried the oil pan and gasket. This worked for awhile and then it started again. After about 8 attempts between two dealers, I have given up and decided to live with it. It does not leak bad enough to drip on the garage floor. I change my own oil and just clean the oil pan good at each oil change. I don't think it is normal, but just got tired of fighting with them. I now have 67k miles and it has not gotten any worse.
  • hhua1hhua1 Posts: 41
    It is sad to be told that oil seepage is consider as normal, and nothing we can do about it. Sorry to hear that your took many time to fix, although the fixes were only short live.

    The funny thing that I noticed is that, now a day, the manufactures and the dealers seem to concern and care more about the high service rating and customer survey, but don't seem to stand by their products and only provide marginal services.

    Like many people, we are more worry about our vehicle could have additional 'new' problems after a major repair from the dealer. And that is SAD.
  • dirkdaddydirkdaddy Posts: 313
    if it isn't dripping from your pan, your oil "leak" IS normal. main crank seals are not 100% seep-proof and 5x30 (esp. sythetic) oils are very slippery and will come past the seals a little bit. Although a oil-tight seal could be designed, GM is also watching friction, and to get gas milage they are opting toward the looser side for getting good fuel milage. The pan getting 'wet' (but not dripping) with Oil is fairly typical from the vehicles I've serviced.
    Unless you're going down between changes and its getting all over the underside of the van, I think you're asking too much. The dealer did more than most would do in that instance IMHO.

    Have fun and don't worry so much...

  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 274
    I support dirkdaddy's take on this. My experience with oil is that depending on ambient temps, engine temps, type of use, oil viscosity & car mileage, oil leakage and consumption can vary widely and still be no cause for concern.
  • offhamoffham Posts: 344
    GM Part CFC100C will cost $65 and up. Try and select the ATP product for $26.31 plus shipping.

    When going through the on line catalog need to select heat/ac
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    Dirkdaddy is right, if you are not getting any drips, just condensation on the outside of the oil pan over time this is normal. I have never worked on any vehicle of any make that did not do this.
    If the condensation bothers you, either pressure wash the undercarraige periodically or use an engine degreaser and a spray hose.
  • indrgbindrgb Posts: 115
    I agree with DD for the most, however I just returned from the dealer with my '00 Silo. I saw seepage from the intake manifold and seepage on the oil pan. Neither caused oil or coolant to leak on the garage floor. They replaced the intake gasket and oil pump seal (which I assume is the drive gear probably on the top rear of the engine like my car). Both replaced under warranty and I didn't ask how many hours, but they had the van for two days. For those of you with warranties about to expire, have your van checked for leaks because it will be big $ out of warranty.

    Another item I had the dealer check was the temp. gauge. This gauge never goes past the 1/4 mark. I've only had the van for 5 weeks so I don't know what it did when new, but 1/4 bothers me. Dealer said all is well. Gauge reads normal and engine operates at normal temp. I'm thinking either the thermostat opens a little early, or the gauge isn't calibrated correctly. Has anyone else noticed this?
  • mizeumlmizeuml Posts: 50
    I purchased my set of Cabin Filters from Auto Zone in North Carolina. They ran $32 for the set, but are only rated for 15k miles. I think the original set of GM filters are good for 25k miles. I called several places like Advance Auto Parts and others and they were +$60 or didn't carry them. If you have an Auto Zone in your neck of the woods, try them. If they can't find them on their computer, make sure they are looking for interior filters. One person at Auto Zone told me they didn't carry them and when I talked to another person there they found them. Some of the sales folks don't know much about these type of filters.
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