Chevy Express/GMC Savana Owners: Meet the Members

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  • vanownerazvanowneraz Member Posts: 9
    Hello, I am Brian from Arizona, US. I own a 2001 Chevy Express 3500 extended passenger van. Original seating was 8 passengers but have added a 4th bench to make it 12 passenger. The van has the 8.1 lt Vortec engine which to my knowledge this engine size was discontinued in the vans after 2001. Anyone else out there?

    Glad to introduce myself, please follow and introduce yourself too. :D
  • jodivanjodivan Member Posts: 11
    my daughter and her husband have 6 children and need a large vehicle. she test drove a 97 Savana 12 passenger, 4x2, F1 (what does that mean?), 114 miles, RWD, G25, originally sold as a fleet vehicle? 5.7 L dealer is asking 5988 for it which is high according to what i have found online. any suggestions? any warnings? any options or things we should look for? :confuse:
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    Now own a '03 Express AWD, 60-40 doors, LSD etc. Super vehicle! More practical (for me) than a pick-up or a suburban. I can carry 8 passengers, or a snowmobile - inside - not on a trailer. I also like traveling with the mid seat removed - true limo style, on long trips. I don't need wood trim, leather, and other luxury features; but I don't like the 'park bench' rear seats that don't recline or fold (but are removable). My wish list would also include diesel or deactivated cylinders, 6 speed transmission. Surely, GM has the capacity to offer these features on passenger and conversion models. The 08 models have Stabilitrak and Rear Airbags. If there was a 'GMT 900' update available, I would immediately buy another, as it hasn't been updated (other than mandated features, and current powertrains etc., from other GM lines) since the 90's. It is a worthy replacement fo my Aerostar AWD.
  • leroffleroff Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I'm Lanny. Proud owner of a 2003 Chevy Express G1500 Quality Coach Conversion. Can anyone give me any idea what this vehicle is worth? Sure would appreciate any feedback I can get.
  • vanownerazvanowneraz Member Posts: 9
    Larry, I just traded in my 2001 Express for less than $6000 so your conversion van being 2 years newer than mine may be worth between $8900 and $9900 depending on other options installed and interior quality.

    I am now a new owner of a 2007 Chevy Express 3500 15 passenger van with a smaller 6.0 liter V8 engine hoping to save a few miles of gas.

    Anyone else have a 2006/2007 Express with any comments about this model year?

  • dan98296dan98296 Member Posts: 1
    We are thinking about getting a 2000 Chevy express with a Regency prestege conversion. It is white with tan leather interior, High Top, 5.7 vortec engine, TV with DVD, 2 CD players, GPS,and everything else imagenable. It has 80,000 miles and looks to be in close to perfect condition.
    It is exactly what we are looking for.
    Before I travel 1000 miles to get it I would like other peoples opinion. You can't find one close to Seattle so before I commit I would appreciate any help.
    Problem is I can't seem to find the value of this Van anywhere.
    Dealer states 20mpg highway, is this true?
    Pro's and Con?

    I Appreciate your help

  • doitrightdoitright Member Posts: 1
    Hi Everyone :)

    My name is John. I'm located in Round Lake (northern IL). I have owned many Chevy's including 87 Beauville & 91 Extended 15 passenger Beauville Vans. Currently I have a 2003 3500 Express Access van. These have all been used as work vehicles. I love the access package!
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    would like to convert my 4x2 express g25000 to all wheel drive.i dont see any problem with changing the stock front axle to a front drive axle.anyone have any info or tips or has done the conversion on this type of van?i know the 1500 is offered in AWD but does anyone have a 2500/3500 with AWD?
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    just received my GM factory service manuals (100 bucks) chock full of all kinds of info.
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    The H van, I believe, uses the Astro van AWD and is 'light duty'. I suggest you investigate the Quigley4x4 system, before you proceed. There was a H2500 AWD cargo van offered, with a GVW weight limit slightly above the H1500 My 03 is a 'super venicle', especially with MT treaded tires. My only complaint is the non-folding 'park bench seats'!
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    Thanks for the info.yes ive looked into quigley but they only convert new vans from the factory.They dont do conversions on older vehicles.quigley has an independent front suspension on their front drive axle wich keeps the curb height of vehicle nearly the same as stock.if a dana strait front drive axle is used it has leaf springs under it wich raises the curb height of the van about a far as i know,quigley is the only company doing a custom IFS front drive axle.Do you know if the astro van AWD uses a dana 44 or 60 front drive axle on the h 1500 model?also what are the MT treaded tires that you are using?My van is an express cargo 2500 that only has 2 captains seats in the cab and open rear area.Im slowly doing a conversion of the rear area to make the van a sport/industrial dual purpose vehicle.
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    is your o3 express a g1500 with AWD and do you know if you have IFS or a straight front axle on leaf springs on your particular model of vehicle?
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    My 03 is a H1500 - with torson bar suspension and AWD. The G1500 uses A -arm suspension and 2 wheel drive - similar to GM pickups, and ??likely the Quigley setup. Don't know, - but the front axle is more likely American Axle, not Dana (more often a Ford, not GM supplier). My MT treaded tires are Wrangler SA, (Silent Armor) - see on Tire Rack how these are better liked, than regular, old Wrangler tires! I have used MT tires for their winter tread pattern, that can be used in the summer (without excessive wear) and not having alternate tires on rims. Also, I have been trying to confirm if 01 - 02, LT model, mid row bucket seats would fit the 03 and later, seat brackets. I would like to carry drywall, plywood, etc., on edge, between the seats. The 'park' non folding, bench seats are a $%^&pain! I have installed tracks and Seat Belts (ala 'short 12 passenger versions) so that I can carry plywood on the seat backs in rows 2 and 4 ($%^&*the shoulder belt hump). The folding seats in my (old) Aerostar, worked better, for my needs.
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    I can look in my factory service manuals to see if the seats your looking for would fit your vehicle.give me some time to look into it..From 96 on when the new chevy chassis was introduced there has been little change in many aspects of the vehicle.In 2004 the stabilitrac was introduced into the vehicle.Glad i just happened to buy a used o4.Im still learning the variouse vehicle model codes such as h and g versions and name differences such as express/savanna etc.I know the frame and engine setup of the 04 express is the same as the 2500 silverado pick up.been very happy with my express van with no problems so far.Also like being in a 6000 pound tank in case im ever hit!
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    The only thing i see in the 04 manual regarding rear bench seats on 12 and 15 passenger vans is about the seat track replacement and floor rails.These mount to underside of vehicle with bolts and nuts and the vehicle has to be jacked up and heat sheilds removed to access bolts in order to remove or replace the floor rails that the seat "risers"mount to.The risers are the metal brackets that the bench seats themselves mount to.Whether you can change the position of the floor rails to accomomdate different seats from a different van i dont really know but anything is possible as long as safety is kept in mind.Customizers change seats all the time with the mounting rails and risers.
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    Came across some posts that discussed adding seats to the express cargo and they said they had no problem adding seats and person bolted his all the way through the frame with long bolts.not sure if that is required.Track placement could be made anywhere even if you had to beef it up with 1/2 inch steel plates on the underside of the floor and use grade 8 bolts.a person would be "ejected" out of the vehicle if the seat belt broke before that beefed up seat would ever come loose.I might consider adding a captains chair to the back of my express when i get done with the finishing of the rear cargo area.Im going to line the interior with tongue and groove cedar on the walls and ceiling.I have no windows in the rear.The floor is carpeted with commercial hotel carpet with a low pile so its easy to keep clean.I have a second optima battey back there wired off a battery isolator from the alternator and a 2500 watt inverter as well as a thermoelectric wine refridgerator,blue led lighting and want to place a 26 inch lcd tv running off the in dash multimedia system.Outside ive installed a surco stainless steel ladder and roofrack with 7 inch offroad lights.Next is a roofmount low profile ac unit and solar panel to keep engine battery topped off.Have i gone too far yet?
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    If your going to put a class 3 hitch on your van i would reccomend buying one from u-haul thats a 1-piece welded tubular frame rather than using an aftermarket bolt together hitch because some of them look cheesey.I installed the u-haul hitch in 45 minutes with the wiring and saved 167 dollars in labor.also surco manufacturing makes a stainless steel ladder that hangs off the back door that is made for the slope of the top of door so the only holes needed are on the bottom flanges of the ladder and it is solid.Surco also makes a roof rack that clamps to the vehicle gutters without any holes drilled and optional brackets for offroad lights and a floor for the rack is available.I also installed a valor reversing distance sensor for backing up as i have no windows in my cargo van wich creates blind spots.I installed a back up camera that displays whats behind the vehicle on the multimedia player in the dash.A company in michigan offers stainless steel fender trim that fits the 1500/2500/3500 vans as the stock vehicles have no trim and jc whitney offers stainless steel wide tape that can be used as base trim near the rocker panels for ding protection from road trash.
  • 1320jon1320jon Member Posts: 18
    I just got a 2003 gmc savana awd 1500. Im a hotrodder, and build cars for a living. I searched for a awd van specifically, in part becasue a friend has one too, and bacause of the drivetrain, I build gm ls gen 3 engines, which is what the 5.3 is. So for my job I do computer tuning on these engines for primarely camaros, ta's, vettes, trucks etc, but my software also works on the vans. I also liked the awd, and the conversion van luxuries for the family. Anyways, my friends awd express is getting a custom turbo kit that I build, and then we will do mine.

    My 03 has both side 60/40 doors, 3.73 gears, a reese hitch which I hate because its too low, a conversion with no topper, 20 inch wheels/ 275/45/20 tires.

    To answer a couple questions, that I saw above me, the front suspension is the same as the torsion bar 4x4 gm trucks. The van uses the 8.2 diff in the front that is indepedant. They use the same a arms, upper and lower as the 4x4 trucks, its the same diff as the ss truck. Same sealed unit bearing as the trucks as well.

    The engine in the awd's is a 5.3, 325 inch ls gen 3 engine, which is interchangable with the 4.8, 5.7, 6.0(364 inch) and now the 6.2. All exterior of these engines is identical. You can put a 6.0 in the same place as your 5.3. The difference is the bore in this case. You can also use stroker cranks to make engines well into the 400-430 inch area. The 5.3 is very durable, and responds well to the usual modifications that result in better mileage and more power. :)
  • 1320jon1320jon Member Posts: 18
    Sorry, I wrote 8.2 for the front diff, and i dont know how to edit it. The van uses a small 7.2 I think, which is the same as the s10. I think the astro might be the same, but somewhere gm made a 7.6 also.
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    Super vehicle! I use a Master Lock adjustable (about $75) hitch with a Master Lock multi size ball. It locks into the hitch with a slot feature. I believe the AWD IS the Astro van AWD system (not the pickup). I prefer MT cars over trucks, but need and like this one. Suits me better than a pickup. My 03 has only 16k miles. I would be interested in any "econo" posts, especially 'how to hold a gear and prevent 'rowing". I cannot stay in gear, going up a slight grade at 60mph - with the (adequate) torque of the 5.3 ! Also, would like removable and/or folding seats for the passenger van.
  • 1320jon1320jon Member Posts: 18
    The transfer case is the same as the trucks, and so is the front suspension. The rear is the same as teh truck also. The front is the astro/ s10 diff it looks like. The stub axle seals are different though. I rebuilt mine about two weeks ago and gm listed a different stub axle seal, that I had to order. The carrier bearing was the same as the s10 (front diff).

    To change the shifting, thats controlled in the pcm. Anything could be commanded depending on how you drive it. The same as the engine control parameters. I can do it for you if you want to send me your pcm...or get another one (about $100) if you need one. It should down shift and stay in 3 rd for most hills. 4th is a .7 overdrive and 60 is really low rpm for it to be able to use 4th.
  • tireman9tireman9 Member Posts: 8
    I have a 2007 3500 6L auto that is the chassis for my motorhome. I would like to add extra cooling for the trans and rear axle.
    I tried a deep pan for the trans but it looked like there would be less than 1/4" clearance as the exhaust crossover pipe runs under the rear of the trans pan.
    Anyone know if there is a pan that will fit?

    Also looking for an aluminum cover for the diff. Anyone know who makes a good cover.
  • katoom400katoom400 Member Posts: 3
    could someone please tell me the differences between the h1500 and h2500 years 2003-2004. I've been looking for a 2500 awd and they are hard to come by. There are a lot of 1500 awd's available and some have suggested that only the rear springs are "beefier" I found a pdf spec sheet from gm which shows the same 6400lb towing capacity for both the h1500 and h2500.

    Also if I get one of these is there a small lift kit avaiable for them? could I use the same stuff from the pickups?


  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    The h1500 is the only standard model that comes in AWD.I have an 04 h2500 and looked into this for quite some time.The 2500 and 3500 are not offered in AWD,just the h1500.NOW,you can buy an aftermarket conversion from quigley motors in pennsylvania,they have used vans that are 25/3500 models and ford vans also.OR,you can convert your current 2wd to a 4wd or awd at a covnersion specialty company that puts in a front drive axle,brakes,shift componets,suspension etc.This will run you between 7500 and 10,000 bucks turnkey,meaning you bring it to them as 2wd,and drive away with an awd or 4wd for the cost of 10,ooo bucks.Dont even think of doing the work yourself,there are torsion rotation bars that have to be welded etc(messy) impossible.Check the web for offroad 4wd conversion companies that do vans if you want it done .there are many in most states.california,salt lake city,LA,phoenix are a few.Gm does not offer AWD for 2500/3500 vans from factory.In my opinion,GM has failed,and it is not an option other than the 1500.Towing capacity is both engine,rear spring and transmission related.Not just rear springs and shocks etc.
  • katoom400katoom400 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the quick reply. I'm currently looking at 2 different 2500 awd's both 2003's, I know that at least one has 8 lug wheels, the other I have not seen up close yet.

    I'm also looking at some other 1500 cargo and passenger/conversions and would like to know the real differences. I know you can not get the 2500 in AWD anymore, but the 2003's are the ones I am interested in.

    I would love to convert my current van to 4WD but 10k is out of the question right now.

    I wish GM made a 3500 155 wb AWD!...Too bad we can't get the Ford Transit in the states.


  • katoom400katoom400 Member Posts: 3
    still wondering extactly what the differences are in the h1500 to the h2500 for towing capacities, suspension and driveline?.
  • 1320jon1320jon Member Posts: 18
    I d like to learn more about the 2500 awd. When I researched it, I found all advertised awd 2500's to reall be 1500's. Even now, when I do internet searches I find 135 inch wb 2500's awd? Thats odd, thats what my 1500 is.

    I think if there was a true 2500 awd, it would have 8 lug wheels, a 6.0 and 4l80e trans instead of the 5.3, 4l60e. My 1500 awd also came with a tow haul mod, trans cooler, hitch. As far as I know of all the 1500vans came withthe 2 piston brakes that were an option on the denali and escaldes when they got the tow option.

    The 2500 chassis, was never a torsion bar front end that I know of either. The frames are different.
  • ballinger19ballinger19 Member Posts: 2
    I was driving the other day and my bright light indicater came, I couldn't click it off. When I stopped I turned everything off and took the key out lights won't go off.
    Had to disconnect the battery ground cable to turn them off. . Any info appreicated
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    Your headlight switch may be defective,the rotary switch on the lower left of the steering wheel.You may also have a headlight relay module thats defective.Those are located under the hood i believe.refer to manual for replacing.Since your lights are stuck on,that means the circuit is staying activated,and not being broken when you turn the lights off by the switch.
  • williejack1williejack1 Member Posts: 2
    Hello to all , newbie on this site ,have a ? i own a chevy express 1500 mark 111 conversion 1998 5.0 vortec just did a motor swap out had a wiped cam so i found a good deal on e-bay for another 5.0 vortec with a LT1 cam the cam being the only difference of course with new rocker arms ,springs,locks,gaskets now that we finally have the motor in it does not want to start,now the snap -on scan tool reads out no injector pulse width so i am a little worried [,have had trouble in the past with no injector pulse],of course the dreaded pass lock issue,now i did by-pass the pass lock system a little while before i did the motor swap,but i wonder if the pass lock is my whole issue again,or could there be another solution here or how to go from here,any suggestions would be appreciated from the tech heads out there.
  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    Sounds like the onboard computer isnt recognizing the new engine.Have you reprogramed the computer with the new engine code number.I think that has to be done on all swaps due to epa standards and emmissions,or the brain from the old engine has to be replaced to stay with the old engine
  • williejack1williejack1 Member Posts: 2
    sorry for the long delay in responding,thought the computer might have to be done here but before laying out that kinda cash wanted to get the motor to fire up at least,found out that this cam was actually a lt4 hot cam which by talking to summit they say wont work will never run,now every now and then it will stumble sputter for maybe 10 seconds seems like timing and i know computer takes over timing as long as you are tdc after about 2 seconds but this should fire up with starting fluid if only till it burns off,guy i bought motor from swears that this combo will work,after talking tom summit i want to get a stock camshaft only because the top end of this motor is new as i posted so looking for a good price on a 305 hydralic roller cam for the vortec,trying to get the a- hole who sold me this to at least split the cost with me.sorry for the ramble just at my wits end with this .
  • cndworkercndworker Member Posts: 2
    Hello, not sure if this is the right place for me,

    I'm a worker with a 2007 chev express 2500. This van works for a living, as do I.

    Would appreciate any experience regarding the best tires and any related info about tire pressure and front end issues.

    Feel free to e-mail me

  • jgarnaasjgarnaas Member Posts: 13
    I put 17 inch wheels with 265/70/r17 tires on my 2500 van.I used goodyear wrangler silent armor tires,and like them alot,no problems.It raised the van height up an inch more from the ground.Use a load class E tire for light duty trucks and suv.
  • tireman9tireman9 Member Posts: 8
    There are two different things to consider.

    Tire load capacity and Performance

    Load capacity is controlled by size and inflation pressure. With a 2500 (3/4 ton) I suspect you plan on carrying some loads. Your van came with a Tire Placard that specifies the original tire size and the recommended inflation for the expected load. You should not run a smaller size tire or less inflation unless you have put the van on a scale to be sure you are not overloading the tires.

    For "Performance" or Ride, Hanbling, Wet, Dry and Snow traction. The first question I would ask as a tire engineer is "What do you like about your current tire and What do you not like?"
    Once you have identified the performance characteristics that you want then the tire engineer or sales person has the information needed to fill your wants.
  • cndworkercndworker Member Posts: 2
    thank you
  • flaroadwarriorflaroadwarrior Member Posts: 1
    Hello, This is my first time here and sure won't be the last. I own a 2003 GMC Savanna Pro AWD 2500 3/4 Ton Cargo Van purchased new at a dealership in Orlando, FL. My van listed for $35,500 new ( less than 5,000 miles ) and after watching the dealer sit on it for almost a year I picked it up for $24,000. The milege was put on by the dealer, after seeing it in a GMC- CHEV Vehicle Show somewhere in the Northeast, purchasing it, driving it back to the big O and thinking they would make a killing on it. Only problem, no one in the area wanted a full size AWD Van. I did. Lived in the Pacific Northwest for 17 years. Grew up around 4X4's. At the time in 2003 gas was $1.45 in Central Florida. The 31 gallon tank was perfect until it went to $4 after the multiple hurricanes and now at $3.50 with no end in sight. I'm a master finish carpenter and carry about 800-1,000lbs of tools at any one time.This thing is the cats meeeooow! At the time construction was BOOMING! While all the other trades where fighting to park in front of the homes we worked on ( 8,000-32,000 S.F. ) I pulled around to the back through the DEEP sugar sand where only 4X4 ventured and unloaded. Loved IT. The PRO package consists of 12 volt lighting throughout and the 3 sections where windows would be ( 2 on driver side, 1 on P.S. ) they are solid panels which open, pop out and lift up with a push button FOB without even leaving the drivers seat. All I do is push them close and the automated locks keep them shut. I built real nice wood shelves to hold tools, I can pull out through the panels when open. First thing I did was put a 3,000 watt inverter under the passenger seat. Took out the factory AM-FM stereo to make room for a JVC MP3 CD-RW head unit ( I burn my own MP3's) connected to a 2,500 watt 5-way AMP going to 4-250 watt mono amps pushing 4-12"Subs, 4-8"Drivers, 4-6.5"Mids and 4-3"Tweeters. When the sub-thumpers pull up next to me I drown them out with Classic Rock N Roll. Put a back-up camera system in with a 5"monitor. Ran out of money with the custom hood & window deflectors, carpeted dash cover and a Reese V 5 Hitch that stays flush with the full-size rear underside tire (above the axle) battery isolator with another group 27 battery for the accs. These vans come with either an 8.6", 9.75" or 10.5" Limited Slip, Locking or AWD rear axle. The transfer cases are all the same, Borg Warner model 4473 RPO NP3, a one speed full time AWD. The transfer case is a planetary differential gear set which provides a 35 percent (front) 65 percent (rear) split, full time. The brakes and rotors come in 3 sizes the JH5, JH6 and JH7. All are the same diameter but have different thicknesses. The calipers also have either single or daul cylinders on all 4 wheels. Only the 10.5" rear axle comes with the eight lug step-up. Must go. My bad. Suns coming up. Don
  • jimmyz2001jimmyz2001 Member Posts: 2
    New to this fourm. Just saying Hi! We have a 2001 Express LT (factory conversion van). This were great vans from the factory, but we changed it up alittle. Added 4 Leather Captains Chairs and a rear fold down bed from a 2005 Conversion van. Also took the GM track system seat tracks out. Added a DVD to the factory entertainment system.
  • russian2russian2 Member Posts: 1
    Hello everyone, sorry fore my bad english. I have GMC Savana cargo van 1500 avd 2009 year. Can enebody help me, i want to make lift on this car, i want litle body lift and litle suspension, i need link where i can buy, without any problems, when parts come to Russia, i want this parts install correct with any surprises, maybe i can buy from different chevy or gmc car, more important fore me suspension lift, whithout problems fore front suspention, simple and relieble. I understand this truck, not jeep, but i am use this car in Russia, we have bad roads sometimes, sometimes no roads. I hope somebody undestand me.
  • roaddaisyroaddaisy Member Posts: 2
    New here. Own a Chevy 3500 with 6L disguised as a Roadtrek. Weight is 9650 lbs. so I am constantly testing the tires, suspension and then everything else in the mountains. Replaced the brakes at 52k miles because of the famous "shudder" problem down long mountainsides.
  • 05savvan05savvan Member Posts: 1
    hello - i figured its about time to post my opinion of this van since buying it new in 05. as of this day i have 89,000 on odom. the van has the 6.0 vortec w/auto and tow/haul in color,hand crank windows,2 seats and nothing much else.
    1st id say the paint sucks..must have been industrial style and applied by a chimp tho when new it looked shiney as hell. roof paint is faded and looks the color of a broke in pair of jeans.
    2nd all the glass in the van absorbs all the crap mother nature can throw at it. if you let the glass go and dont clean regular it will take an act of gm god to get it clean again. im replacing windshield soon.
    3rd replaced the whole throttle body on engine at 38,000 miles because of built in sensor that couldnt be replaced by itself (gm paid for this one) but the 2nd time i replaced throttle body from same issue at 64,000 miles i had to pay half cost.
    4th brakes started squealing early on but performance aftermarket brake pads solved that with no issues even after turning rotors at 55,000 miles.
    5th o2 sensors and comp gave up the ghost at 72,145 miles but gm was fair and replaced all with my cost of $168.
    i bought 20 inch rims at 10,000 miles for the van and had no issues with drivetrain,shifting etc..i replaced the muffler and had true duals installed with magnaflow and had no issues. the motor has always been strong,sounds great thru duals and trans has worked great whether easy takeoff or stompin the go pedal. rearend has had no issues.
    id buy this van again in a heartbeat if my dad hadnt left me a 2002 chevy express conversion with the 5.3 and only 56,000 miles.
    let you folks know when either dies but i expect it will be a few yrs yet.
    later -
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