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Chevy Venture Engine Problems

hi i have a 97 venture and for the last 2 weeks i have been trying to get the antifrezze temp up to bar when i drive it but its not warming up. it will only warm up when it sitts ther on idol. i have changed antifrezze and theromstate and it still didn't help if any one else has any ideas it would be a big help. thanks


  • Noticed a slow oil leak on our 3.4L, so I took it into the shop (non-dealer shop). They told me that the oil pans on this engine are porous as they are cast aluminum and they can develop a leak over time (almost 70k miles). They put a dye into the oil and want me to come back next week so they can put it up on the lift to see exactly where in the pan the leak is. Replacing the oilpan for this engine is something like a 7 hour job, resulting in a $900 price with parts. So we are going to put it off for now until about March when we are planning a long driving trip. Has anyone ever heard of this type of problem? I was hoping for a recall from GM, but the shop so far has not found anything to that effect.
  • hi i have a 97 venture and the temp is not warming up when you drive it. it will only warm up on an idol. i have changed antifrezze and thermostate. if any body else has any ideas it would be a big help .thanks
  • Is this a new condition? These GM vans are notorious for slow temp warm ups. They may take from 10 to 20 minutes to warm up.
  • i could drive the van for 2 hrs and it never getts warmed up to open the theromstate not even close to the temp. thank you
  • can anyone tell me the normal temp operating rangefor venture(1/4-1/2-3/4)when sitting in @ 25 degree temps.mine goes up to 3/4.afraid high temp may cause engine trouble.have had to add coolant at times and smell coolant from under hood.thanks for any help i can get
  • Have a 98 Venture. 98000 miles...I have multiple misfirings, under acceleration, seems to stop on coast. They feel like rapid 'hits', and shakes the whole vehicle; vibrations are throughout the vehicle. No codes thrown or showing. Does this sound like and injector-related problem?
  • Neustkg,

    Aside from being ASE & a GM certified tech, I own a Chevy Venture myself which has over 150k on it. Never have I heard of this oil pan being pourous, nor have I seen one leak that way. Although some oil pans out there do leak this way, yours having 70k on it, should most definitely not be leaking in this manner. It's more likely that it's your intake gasket leaking and trailing downward to the pan area. When the 3.4 engine leaks from the intake gasket, it's usually seen somehwere around 50 to 75k. By the way. The labor time (per Mitchell) shows 5 hours to do this job. 2 extra hours could mean the difference of $200 or more, depending on the shops rate.
  • rattlesrattles Posts: 4
    Hi, I am a fully qualified mechanic with 20 years plus experience, my chevvy venture van (160k) ran great and had no noises/rattles or issues. i am having no success in curing a severe top end rattle. If youre sitting comfortably , i'll begin. My wife was driving along and said the van lost power, then it picked up ok, then a bang and lots of smoke. she stopped and we had the vehicle towed home. When i tried to start vehicle for diagnostic purposes, it ran poorly and had a regular top end rattle, like a very loose lifter. After usual diagnostic tests i decided to remove the cylinder heads. The rear gasket was completely shot at #6 cylinder and i noticed #1 chamber was extremely clean, indicative of it leaking also. The sump was filled with coolant. I fitted an aftermarket head set ($270+tax) and refitted heads, new oil and filter etc. When i started her up she ran sweet, no misfire but a nasty rattle(same as before). After little success finding origin of noise i removed inlet manifold and double checked my work. No loose lifters, pushrods in correct place, etc etc. Was told it could be lifters damaged after dexcool entered sump, replaced all lifters($24+tax each), rebuilt and had exactly the same noise. Sent van to local garage to check over. He removed inlet manifold, compared my heads etc to a venture he had in for head gasket repair. He checked oil pressure, rockers etc found nothing, charged me $250 + tax and returned van without refitting any parts. Suggested the aftermarket gaskets may be thicker and i might try having heads shaved. Had the heads shaved and fitted new gm gaskets ($270 Heads + $160 for gm gaskets and of course taxes). Fitted heads again! (yes with another set of bolts). Guess what - still have the same rattle. still sounds like atleast 2 valve clearances are 40 thou too big. The van runs great. have even driven it up the road for a few k. lots of power, no misfires, rattle is audible whilst driving. Any one still awake after reading this and has any suggestions please feel free to respond.
  • sharkeymsharkeym Posts: 8
    I have a 1999 Venture, which I have owned for 8 months. (Was a gift from my sister)I have the same problems with it. Was told by one of them "Jiffy lube" guys that the back oil pan gaskets need replacing. Several shops have quoted me over a grand to fix this. (I have not had it fixed yet, cannot afford it) Now there is water & coolant leaking and it overheats! There is no warranty and my sister is still paying on it. When she first drove it up to me, it had a sensor light on all the time saying "low coolant." My sister said that the dealership told her that it was only a bad sensor and that it only needed replacing. She drove it off the lot anyway, because she was told that replacing the sensor is not very expensive. I feel my sister has bought a lemon for 10 grand.
  • neustkgneustkg Posts: 35
    Thanks for replying. It sounds like you probably have bad intake manifold gasket. I have a 00 Grand Prix and the low coolant light came on. I added some coolant not thinking I might have had a bigger problem. About 6 months later, I took it into the shop for another problem and they told me I had a warped intake manifold (as well as a leaking intake manifold gasket). Cost me about $1500. Luckily for me, GM issued a recall on the 3.8L V6 in that car and I got that money back.

    My actual problem was with one of those Fram easy oil change plugs (where you remove the cap and screw on a special fitting w/tube connected. Once in place, the fitting automatically opens up and begins draining the oil. This fitting was leaking around rubber gasket. I had the shop replace it w/a regular oil plug and so far have had no more oil leaks. What a relief as just under a year ago I had to have the intake manifold gasket along with the head gasket replaced ($2200). I'm very happy when it's something simple like that. The price was $25 labor plus cost for Mobil 1 Synthetic oil and a Napa Gold Filter (I purchase these and asked the shop to use them, which they agreed to). So just an expensive oil change.

    I would definitely take it in and hope it is just the intake manifold gasket and not something more (hopefully not head gasket). If you do it sooner than later, you may minimize the damage.
  • chukchuk Posts: 10
    I have a similar problem with a few drops of oil on the floor each morning from the oil pan. I can't see any trail of oil from high up, but this weekend I did see one of the pan bolt with oil on it, so I think it may be the pan gasket leaking around that bolt. . . I had wondered about the potentially porous cast aluminum pan, but that seems a little crazy.

    Other than the couple drops over night, the '99 van uses no oil at 104k miles.
  • chukchuk Posts: 10
    I also have a 99 Venture. I had a similar problem for years, where coolant level would slowly drop. But I never had any evidence that it was leaking into the engine. I finally spotted where it was leaking from the intake manifold gasket to the outside of the engine. It is a common problem to for the intake manifold gaskets to fail on these engines. I finally had mine replaced, for fear of a leak developing to the inside and ruining the engine. It cost me nearly $1k to have the job done.
    If the dealership told her it was a sensor problem, they were likely deceiving her. You can read about this problem all over this forum, going back a number of years.
  • overleeoverlee Posts: 1
    2001 Chevy Venture
    I have an oil leak in the front of the engine left side over the starter. The leak is only when the engine is running and is a solid stream ~ 3/16". It does not appear to be coming from the pressure sending unit. Does not appear to be coming from any gaskets or valve cover. Do the ventures have any exterior oil hoses, like to an oil cooler? Is the location of the oil pressure sending unit over the starter? It is very difficult to see exactly where it is coming from.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    Sounds like you got the head gasket problem resolved. You are very luckey you can do all your own work and order many of the parts "at discount" prices.

    For your "audible whilst driving" noise, the sound might be coming from 2 different areas. The one area to check is its front wheel bearings. If wheel bearings are going, the front end while hum - while driving. The faster one drives, the louder the hum is. In some vehicles, sound travels under the vehicle and echos between its body and ground. Thus, the sound may "sound like" its coming from the engine area but it might be coming from under the engine. Being a Mechanic, I'm sure you know how to check for worn out wheel bearings.

    The other area to check for "audible whilst driving" sound is the AC clutch. My previous 2000 Sunfire had a weird humming sound under its hood. Sometimes it would squeek and sometimes it would hum. Most of the time, it would hum. My local mechanic used a doctor's stephoscope (no kidding) and placed its sound pickup end of every engine part. Really cool to watch because he would say, "nope - not the water pump", "nope - not the idler pully", etc. etc. as he put the sound pickup end on every steel engine part. Finally, he nailed it. Found it was the bearings (steel sleeve) on the AC clutch assumbly that was gone.

    If you can, try to use a doctor's stephoscope to hear that "sound under the hood" as well. Especially if you can hear the "audible whilst driving" sound while its tires are turning - while the vehicle is on blocks. And yes, do be very careful when turning tires - when the vehicle is on blocks.

    Hope this helps as well.

  • kayfusleekayfuslee Posts: 16
    I have had a slow intake manifold leak for the last couple years on my '00 venture. I have never seen any coolant in the engine oil. I keep reading about engines being ruined from this defect. Is it possible that my leak is only external(which it appears to be), or is the coolant destined to reach the engine eventually? How much should I expect to pay for this repair? Thanks.
  • neustkgneustkg Posts: 35
    I think you should get the gasket replaced soon. I had it replaced on my '02 Venture (may not have really needed it -- they later diagnosed the leak coming from the head gasket) and my '00 Pontiac Grand Prix. If you let it go too long like I did, you could end up w/a warped intake manifold (grand prix), which costs much more. I think I paid something like $1000 to $1100 for the intake manifold gasket on the Venture (can't exactly remember). There is quite a bit of labor involved to get to it (not as much as the head gasket, though). But I would get it taken care of. Keep the receipts as there might be a recall. I was refunded for the Grand Prix as there was a recall issued for the 3.8L V-6 fasteners. They refunded the cost of the gasket, new intake manifold, and labor.
  • sharkeymsharkeym Posts: 8
    Okay, get this. I had my back oil pan gaskets fixed, water pump replaced and new radiator put on. (Mechanic claimed that when he was tightening up hoses, the radiator tray fell & broke therefore I had to have the radiator replaced at my cost!) Now the, "Service Engine soon" light is on. I have a 1999 chevy venture. I took the van to have it checked at "Autozone" (for free) and the said it was registering a 4; meaning I either have a cracked hose (which they were also replaced by mechanic) or the seal on my gas tank top was broke. I replaced the gas tank top & the light is still on.Also, I had the brakes replaced in the front, one of the axels was broke off, according to "Brake Check." What a nightmare! I have only had the van for 9 months. My sister bought it as a gift for me but with no warranty. An, "AS IS" type of deal for less than 9 grand. Any mechanics out there that might have some advice? I am so upset. I just paid a total of 3 grand to have the above replaced & fixed and now the engine light is on. I am on a fixed income and the sole provider for my family with one vehicle....this piece of junk! HELP!!!!
  • godstergodster Posts: 3
    Was the "check engine" light on before the repairs?

    OH and there are 2 check engine lights on these cars, one is for the oil change. :D
  • sharkeymsharkeym Posts: 8
    No, the engine light came on a week or 2 after I had the repairs done to the van. The light comes off & on. Right now it has turned itself off.
  • mikayla10mikayla10 Posts: 2
    I read where someone had the thermostat changed and it still overheated. there are 2 bleeder screws one on the thermostat housing and one on the waterpump.they must be removed with the engine cold. take the radiator cap off and add water till it comes out the bleeder holes. this is a very slow process you will have to add a little, let it set then add more don't get in a hurry it will take time.
  • The check engine light (AKA service engine soon) light should not be ignored but as a rule of thumb always have it checked out ASAP. With the radiator repair, was the wiring harness properly re-installed meaning off of the top of the radiator and away from the fans??? I just had to have my Venture rewired because the harness clip that holds the wiring harness broke and the harness fell into the fan. It ran fine but no check engine light at all even at start up, I didn't realize this until I failed emissions inspection and there were several codes. Please at least take a look at the harness to see if it is supported properly. If not have it looked at but not a dealership. They wont "repair" a harness they will replace it at a quoted cost of $600.00 and up. Good luck.
  • hey this sound like my van.....
    after i bought mine like 3 weeks after i had it the check engine light would come on stay on for about a couple hours the i noticed it really didn't have lots of power and when i give it gas it would act like it was bout to shut off so i brung it into my job we scan'd it for the fault codes and it came back as a dirty air filter....
    got a new one and it still did the same thing so i did a re scan and it come back with the fault for a cyl misfire . ggrrrrrrrrrr .... then i sent it to team in vallejo come to find out it was a fuc*ing mass air flow sensor and now it runs like new after 500.00 .
    ************************* but *****************************
    The check engine light will come on for the smallest things also.. as per:

    Dirty Air filter
    Loose Gas Cap
    Low Coolant
    Low Oil

    i hope this was helpful for you
  • ul00173ul00173 Posts: 3
    We have had this issue in 1999 Chevy Venture for about last 4 years. Fuel injectors are our problem. When the light comes on, we add a fuel additive for about $10 that cleans the injectors. Wait a few gas tanks and the light will go out. Sometimes if very badly gunked up injectors, we will add two bottles of additive....This is all a whole lot cheaper than the fuel injector cleaning we did the first time for about $200......hope this helps you..
  • :( Why would a van with a new thermostat, continue to overheat?
    I just spent over 2 grand having the waterpump replaced, thermostat replaced, radiator replaced. Yesterday my husband had to pull off the hwy, because the van overheated & the engine shut off. When he opened the hood, he said there was water dripping out of 2 bolts/screws on top of the radiator. Does this mean it needs replacing again? Have had the van only a year and it has been in the shop like 4 times so far.
  • coloniccolonic Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with my 2001 Venture, but my symptom was a fluctuating temp gage. The problem was intake manifold gasket was leaking causing the change in temp. Sounds like yours went undetected resulting in overheating. This is a known problem and I would have the dealer fix it under good faith.
  • We get a stinky smell coming from under the hood again, like antifreeze burning. The van overheats even more when the ac is turned on. Husband thinks it is the heating coil. Smoke pours out from under the hood, even when ac is not turned on and that stinky smell appears. Anyone ever heard of this?
  • Are these vans worth buying? My sister paid ten grand for a used, 1999 chevy venture as a gift for me. I had it for 1 year & it has been in the shop 5 times & counting.
  • ahowlerahowler Posts: 1
    Ok I have a driveway that is at about a 50 degree angle when I back down and park on the incline to hitch up my boat I have a bad oil leak. I took it to the shop spent $900.00 for oil pan gasket, sensor, rear seal, and filter seal. Took home and I still have the leak. Anyone else have this problem and did you fix it. By the way it has a 120,000 miles on it.
    Thank You
  • Oh my. I have a 2001 Venture with 107,000 miles on it. I purchased it in 2001, with about 15,000 miles on it. I got about 18 months of warranty out of it, and had myriad problems with the a/c and transmission. The tranny really went south around the 50,000 mile mark, and I had it replaced at about 60,000 (rebuilt,about $1,800). After that the problems intensified: various a/c issues; lots of brake/rotor issues; intake manifold gasket; water pump and water pump housing. For the last year it has run hot hot hot, I've had it in and out of the shop, replacing various hoses and parts and finally the radiator (and less you think the mechanic is taking me for a ride, he's my BIL and a superb mechanic and the ONLY reason I've kept this car for so long.) It's been 2 months since we replaced the radiator and it's overheating again on rides longer than 15-20 minutes, and I sure as heck can't idle anywhere. We have both given up on it and I am now shopping for a Nissan or a Honda. After much Internet research I am finding that the burning coolant problem is very widespread and seems related to some sort of problem with the DexCool coolant system GM liked to use in these vehicles in the last 90s and early 2000s. Another problem is the way the engine compartment is laid out -- everything is jammed in there so tightly repairs are pricey because the mechanics have to dismantle the dang engine everytime they want to work on anything of any importance. So. My advice is to dump it as soon as possible! I LOVED this van, the way it rode, and comfort and styling, and I'm thankful to have driven it for as long as possible, but as I said, without a relative to do the repairs, it would've been in the junkyard long ago!
  • Will soon need to swap out my 98 Venture engine. It runs great, but has metal filings in the oil every time I change oil. This is probably from coolant and oil contamination from an intake manifold leak that was not caught in time.

    Does anyone know the interchangeability of Venture engines? I would like to get a newer, lower mileage engine.
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