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GM's triplets Venture, Silhouette, and Montana



  • veestarveestar Posts: 16
    Hello.....I'm driving a 1997 montana and I'm new to the forum. I'd like to know if anyone has successfully by passed the load leveling pump and installed regular air shocks? My front struts are also in need of replacements. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 274
    After almost 4 years of ownership I've decided to get a couple of things fixed today:

    Intake manifold gasket. It's leaked maybe a tablespoon or less a day for a year, I'd add coolant monthly or so.....I finally got tired of cleaning the garage floor. $700.

    Power steering pump. Works fine, but it's making a whiny sound that bugs me. $100.

    Corroded coil, also working fine so far. $35.

    Only other fix since I bought the car new was a new alternator....old one worked fine, but made a whining sound. $160.

    I was joking with my wife that cars are so reliable nowadays, I fix things that annoy me even when they still work.
  • offhamoffham Posts: 344
    I will have to replace second set of tires on Venture 2000. I went with Michelin Symmentry which were the hot ones at the time on this site, but frankly don't think they were that great.

    Saw the post #587 on the Bridgestone Turanza LS-T and will check out.

  • You can replace all 4 dampners with Gaberial gas charged jobs from Autozone and keep the autoleveler, just get the air shocks in teh back, open the box and then order the adapter kit for the GM auto leveling.

    It has a bigger spring for the aircompressor which puts more air when needed into the shocks, increasing load capacity before the truck sags.

    Total cost is under $200. The front struts are real buggers to install and the compressor change is a little involved.

    The change is amazing for the ride and handling.

    search on dirk daddy and you'll find my posts.
  • I have enjoyed my van a lot since bying used with 65k on it.

    We average 23 mpg in heavy traffic adn some highway - outstanding for as large as it is (we have the ext version)

    My wife hated the idea of a van but now its her choice vehicle. I love camping in it, last weekend went kayaking and drove through a sort of muddy road. Funny I almost thought I should be driving a SUV because of all of the commercials! If you know how to drive these vans can go through a lot.


    We have a problem I'm diagnosing - the battery ran down over the course of like 2 days but the "check engine" light for lack of charging never came on. Im thinking alternator.

    Also, the steering has some wierd clunks in it when going from left to right in a parking garage. I jacked it up and tested for slop, I think it might be a CV joint going bad.

    My old michelin tires are getting so hard I'm going to replace them with new michelins.

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    waddya mean they aren't great, they put them on cadillacs!!!
    which just goes to show , most people driving caddys couldn't give a ..... about tires!
    the only real problem I have with the OEM Firestones (one of which disintegrated in our 00 Venture) and the symmetrys (or most OEM minivan tires) is that the max psi is 35 and the recommeded psi for the vehicle according to Chevy is 35! You have zero reserve! I'm getting T rated Turanzas which have a 40psi max after winter! Dunno what I am going to do about the Blizzak snowtires which are also 35psi max, have to get H rated ones and pay $$ I guess!
  • What does the sticker on the drivers door say about recommended tire pressure? My 02 Silhouette says 32psi. You have a Venture don't you?
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    says 35 which is why I am worried!
    I suspect anywhere from 30 on up is probably fine,I know the dealer never pumps it up above 32, maybe Silos are supposed to provide a softer ride as its an Olds!! Us Chevy types like it hard on our rear ends! :-)
  • If you don't have a full load, you can go with less tire pressure - the rating for the max capacity is where you want it up to 35psi. I'd stick to 32 as a minimum.

    If you want a stiffer more controlled ride, replace the shocks/struts.

    FYI, I am having to replace some sears "michelin" tires at 98,000miles with good tread left, they are just getting hard in Texas heat and had a lot of nails lately, one blew out and had to be replaced. Heck, they were 1/2 used when I bought the van at 62k! They wear like iron, and grip well. I'm so satisfied I'm getting more michelins, they make the van handle pretty decently - I scare the wife. Drove a Pontiac van with el-cheapo tires and it was about the worst handling thing I ever drove. Yea, they make that much difference.

  • hhua1hhua1 Posts: 41
    You may have the same thing we had for 00' Silo...refer to message #578.
  • My son has an Oldsmobile Intrigue and was experiencing a clunking sound that could be felt through the steering wheel. I turned out to be his strut bearings. When you would turn the steering wheel back and forth it would just keep clunking every time you turned the steering wheel.

    Good Luck
  • Thanks, I'll have to check it out.

    for those of you who don't know what one is, here's a neat diagram.
  • Anyone here have any experience with 93 era dustbusters? I picked up a 93 Silhouette for a decent price. It has 93000 miles and has the 3800 motor. The mechanic gave it a clean bill of health.

    I'm just curious if there is anything I should look out for in the months and years to come...

    Any advice/pointers/words of wisdom??

    Thanks :)
  • I too get a clunk type noise when I turn the steering wheel on my second car a 1997 Buick LeSabre. The diagram in the link does not show a part called a strut bearing. Could you point it out using the numbers as a reference.

    Secondly, regarding the rear air shocks you replaced on your Silo. Autozone says that they have Gabriel Hi-Jackers for my 2000 Silo that includes the air tubing that connects to the compressor. I remember that you had to buy a separate tubing connection kit that include changing a pressure regulating part in the compressor. I'm lead to believe that the change to the compressor is optional. Is this true?

    I recently bought my 2000 Silo with 73000 miles and am not happy with the bouncey rear end compared to my old 1998 Town & Country. Your posts about installing Hi-Jackers is making me think of doing the same.

    I assume you are still happy with the performance of your Hi-Jackers????

    Otherwise, I am very happy with my Silo!!!!

    TIA..... Paulie9
  • If I remember right, Oldsmobile said that the strut bearings are located in the top portion of the strut. The strut bearings cost something like $120.00 each. Now, the strut has to be disassembled to install the bearings, so if you need new struts you should have them installed at the same time. Labor is the big cost if you can't do this yourself. No sense paying for the labor to replace the strut bearings and a year later replace the shock struts and pay again.

    Good Luck
  • n7donn7don Posts: 188
    I replaced the original leaking load leveling shocks on our Montana @ 67K miles with Gabriel hijackers #49230. There was some kind of adapter kit that was required to connect the original air line to the Gabriel shock. There wasn't any info that the compressor pressure had to be increased. Since the load level is determined by ride height I assume my compressor is putting out enough pressure to maintain the correct height. Also we pull a popup trailer weighing about 2800 lbs and the trim height is maintained.
    I get a rear noise that sounds like loose lumber rattling. Nothing apparent that's loose but there have been some cases where shock valving can cause this noise. Somewhat annoying but not ready to blame the Gabriels yet.

    Next summer plan on replacing the front struts. Anyone with experience with Monroe's sena-trak units? or other recommendations?

    Overall I've been satisfied with the Montana. Repairs have been minimal @ 93K miles. Still have original water pump and alternator. Did change the plugs and wires @ 87K but believe the original plugs would have been ok at 100K.... or more. Still use 5W-30. Oil consumption is minimal.
  • So you did need an adapter kit to connect to the compressor. Was it difficult to install - Hijacker and adapter kit?

    How is the ride with the Hijackers versus the old factory installed air shocks????

    The ride on my 2000 Silo with 74k miles is a bite too soft and bouncy. I would like to get a firmer ride like I hade in my 97 Town & Country that I traded in for this Silo. Otherwise I love my Silo....
  • n7donn7don Posts: 188
    The Gabriels have a different connector than the OE shocks. I just spliced about 12"+/- of the kits ends onto the existing lines and routed the lines appropriately. Overall not too difficult a job.
    As mentioned in original post I have an annoying loose lumber sound in the back at lower speeds that may be shock related. Just haven't taken the time to determine if it's shocks or not.

    Ride? Couldn't tell any difference. The Montana has a trailering option which included FE2 handling option. Ride was firm. I changed the shocks because the rr was leaking. It's near the resonator muffler and I'm thinking added heat from pulling the trailer may have overheated the shock. FWIW I cut out the resonator and replaced with a short section of pipe. No difference in sound.
  • Regarding the lumbering sound. Did you check that your spare is cranked up tight under the rear end. Also is your jack fastened securely in the rear compartment on the passenger side? This compartment has a small well on either side of the jack. Make sure there is nothing in them that might move around. Good luck.....
  • n7donn7don Posts: 188
    I've taken everything out of the rear compartment mentioned. Spare tire isn't loose to the feel, e.i. can't move it.
  • jeberjeber Posts: 91
    if you go to this nhtsa website,

    you can find TSB's and recalls for your vehicle. I noticed, when looking at 01 silo, there is a tsb (maybe two) for rattling...don't remember specifics, but maybe worth a look. Good luck.
  • Hello All -

    Had my 2001 Olds Premier (32K) in for routine service at the dealer and ended up w/having having the intake manifold gasket replaced, under warranty. When I dropped the van off I asked them to check the coolant level because the resivor seemed low. The charge under warranty was about $850.

    My family like the van and we plan to keep it, but I am curious know is their any type of GM extended component warranty out there for this issue? and should I be concerned about the longevity of the van due to the coolant leak?

  • If you look at Honda, they are concerned with transmission problems/power sliding door, MPV's are having hard shift engagements ect.

    Each vehicle is having it's own set of problems. People mostly come here to complain about their problems not to praise their vans.

    A person can get real concerned about the reliability of their vehicle when they come here and read of all the problems people are having with their van. This board is not representative of anything as far as reliability goes. Can't even be certain that the person really has the vehicle they are complaining about, might just be slamming to cause trouble here.

    Relax and enjoy.
  • I have a 99 Venture with 76k miles. I just had my gasket replaced. My understanding is that there is a new gasket design which has been out for about 6 months which is intended to prevent further leaks. I have seen this issue discussed on other boards for a few years and have not heard of anyone having the repair done more than once.
  • tomekktomekk Posts: 310
    My technician tells me the problems with mainfold coolant leak are caused by the assembly moving to quickly and the engine being started too quickly for seal / bonding compound to set properly. I'm not sure if he's not making it up, but he says if the repair is done right (i.e. they let the van sit overnight letting everything cure etc.), you should not see another problem... BTW, I have '00 Venture with 42K miles (wife's bus) and I'm kind of waiting for this to happen - but neverless with love this van. Super utilitarian! (My two friends with Honda Odys had major problems, one tranny replacement, another one engine-related).
  • Thanks all -

    This is actually my 2nd Olds Silhouette, fist one totaled out by a falling tree in a windstorm. I have always been impressed by the comfort of the ride and handling.
  • Now we hear about another theory as to why some leak and some don't. Not enough time for the gasket to cure before starting, Dex cool is eating away at the gasket, these are all guesses.

    What is the percentage of GM motors that have this problem? A few people who come here and tell their horror story is not enough to say this is a general problem.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    My Silhouette got the problem about 40k and finally started leaking the coolant into the crankcase about 50k. Fixed the problem for about $550. Asked GM for 50% help as it was out of warranty, got no for an answer, and was told not a known issue. Yeah right, wonder why there are at least two websites on this single problem, and one has thousands of petitions signed. This was my first GM car and otherwise was a good vehicle. But with no customer support or admittance of the problem, it was also my last. Once again GM had a chance to keep a customer, and they say no thank you. Now wonder why there market share continues to drop.
  • The fix cost 550.00. Was that fixed at the Oldsmobile dealership? Most people are paying more (around) 800.00.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    It was an Oldsmobile Dealer. I received a little sympathy from the dealer; none from GM.
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