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Chevy Venture Engine Problems



  • We had metal filings in the tranny and it had to be rebuilt.
    We had to change the tranny and engine at 114 000 km.
    The engine could not even be rebuilt had to buy all new.
    Good luck!
  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    As time goes on I am starting to believe that it is not worth trying to save money by avoiding dealership service and repairs. Modern vehicles are getting too complicated for general repairmen to keep up with all the brands. And if you have to sue the manufacturer it is probably easier if a dealer did all the work.
  • Hi, guys. I'm new here but I'm hoping someone will help me with my Venture '98.
    It all started about a month ago with a P0302 and a camshaft sensor fault codes.The van was running rough and barely stayed alive at idle. Long story short, I fought with it and replaced the CS sensor and spark plugs and wires.It ran fine for about 3 weeks until last week when it started with this Cylinder no. 5 misfire code.It is running like on 5 cyl. instead of 6, no backfire though.When I had the cyl. 2 misfire , just changing the spark plug seemed to make the difference.Unfortunately I would have to rotate the engine again to get to no.5.I remember I really made sure all plugs and wires on the back side were fitted perfectly, knowing that it would be tough getting to them again.
    Today I checked the air filter and it was not blocked or dirty; also did a vacuum test and came up with perfect results, which is kind of weird considering how rough it's running...
    Anybody have any ideas where I should go from here? Thanks in advance for any help...
  • My wife's 98 Venture overheated on a 150 mile trip about four months ago. We had a local shop change the water pump and the van ran fine until a week ago when it started overheating at red lights. As of two days ago the temp gauge fluctuates wildly and drops to cold on startup then back up almost to normal range.

    Anyone got any ideas?
  • chaseschases Posts: 41
    If your looking to a cheeper fix before you do a headgasket:

    Get your cooling system flushed professionally. The over-the-counter flush is ok but will not get the gelled stuff unstuck. The DEX-COOL in these vans gel when it gets old.

    I had to get my system flushed twice just to get all the coolant passages clear. This means changing your thermostat, inspecting your water pump and new/non-corrosive coolant.

    FYI: open your themostat to heat the rear too. Opt for an aftermarket water pump when you replace, don't go for the like/factory water pump.
  • chaseschases Posts: 41
    You have a air/DEX-COOL gel gap at the guage sensor.

    Flush your system or get the air out of the system.
  • chaseschases Posts: 41
    Look for a small coolant leak!
  • chaseschases Posts: 41
    These engines are very common. Look for one in a wrecking yard.
  • russ23russ23 Posts: 25
    I pulled the engine in my 1998 Venture and tore it down to find the source of metal shavings in the oil. Turned out it was the cam shaft bearings. Probably could have gone a bit further (132k miles), but did not want to take a chance. I am a mechanic (retired) so I was willing to take a chance on it. For those of you brave souls, I querried IATN (largest mechanic group) on how to pull the engine. Everyone (12) said you had to drop the engine by raising the car. Well I do not have access to a lift. I was able to pull the engine the regular way. A bit complex to list here, so if you want to know email me at It turned out to be pretty easy.
  • Hi,
    Similiar thing happened to me. I changed the water pump and after filling the radiator up, I started the van and let it warm up for a while. When the temp guage started climbing again, I loosened the bleeder screw on the thermostat housing and waited until some of the coolant squirted out. I closed the screw and by the time I checked the temp guage, the temp was down to the normal spot. The guy at autozone told me that I had an air pocket in the system and the air got hotter than the coolant, thats why the guage was fluctuating
  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    I am curious: What reason was given why your engine could not be rebuilt?
  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    Actually, I would not recommend going to a wrecking yard. I priced a rebuild recently and a standard rebuild is about $2,000 (Canadian), including a warranty. Such a rebuild will have all the changes applied (the TSBs), and all the parts should be "as good as new". If you are lucky, a wrecking yard engine might run for years, or it could die after the first trip around the block. We *know* that the earlier (pre-2003) engines had the DexCool issues, and most of the engines in the wrecking yard will still be pre-2003. So what is the point of all that risk? Are you going to change the gaskets before installing? Then why not re-do the heads while you are at it? Then if you are re-doing the heads, then, well, you are just a bit short of a whole rebuild anyway.

    Also, if you want to go higher than $2,000, you can specify specific changes to the engine, like superior wearing parts, or a performance boost (which I would not recommend unless you also re-build and upgrade the transmission).
  • I have a 2000 Chevy Venture with 90000 miles on it, it has been making a ticking noise and my husband assumed it was a bad lifter and he put new lifters in and the ticking was still there. He was given the advice to cut the oil filter open and look to see if there were metal shavings in it, well there is, and my question is, is it always doom and gloom and your engine is going bad when there is a lot of metal shavings in the oil filter. This is making me sick, we still owe 3000 dollars on it and now have to deal with possibly having to put a new engine in it. The thing is, it still runs great, just the ticking. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • russ23russ23 Posts: 25
    I just finished tearing down the 3.4 V6 engine in my 1998 Chevy Venture. It had the same symptoms: metal shavings in the oil each time I changed oil (twice), ticking lifter sound and high mileage 132,000 miles. Turned out the shavings were the outer coating on the camshaft bearings. The engine could "possibly" have gone a lot more miles, but the 3.4 liter engine is notorious for breaking camshafts so any metal shavings is a warning of things to come and it will not get any better.

    What was most interesting was the engine was almost as clean as the day it was built. I used Mobil 1 synthetic 5x30 oil. I also inspected the crankshaft and rod bearings and they were okay. I did not pull the heads (leave well enough alone).
    I did NOT change the lifters as they seemed to be okay. In otherwords there was no obvious wear or damage on them and when I pushed down on them, they held pressure. One of them was a bit suspicious, but after soaking it in oil, it pumped up.

    The engine now seems to run quieter and I feel confident it should see me for another couple of years.

    This engine also has what is called "piston slap" which mimics the lifter sound. Chevy says it is not a problem. It is found on several GM engines to include new 454 V8s. A design problem where the skirt of the piston hits the side of the cylinder wall and makes noise. If the noise you hear goes away within a few minutes during warmup it could be the slap, but DO NOT count on it. Chevy may say it is okay, but I would like to see if a Chevy executive drives one with that noise!!! A neighbor of mine had a new 2000 Chevy/GMC big dually truck with the noise and it drove him crazy.

    So what would I advise? First, if you have high miles (75k++, then you should expect to make some repairs. Second, are you using any coolant? That is a symptom that the intake and/or cylinder head gaskets are leaking. This is almost guaranteed to happen on this engine. Mine went out at 115k (previous owner took the hit). It allows anti-freeze to get into the oil and start to ruin the bearings. It may have ruined my cam bearings. You may have a problem checking the coolant level since it is read at the coolant recovery tank on the driver side of the engine. Most of the tanks are filthy dirty so you can't see the level. It comes off real easy. Clean it out and refill. Mine was filthy and it looked okay from the outside.

    Next, when was the last time you changed anti-freeze? GM dexcool turns to mud if not cleaned periodically. GM says 5 years. That is a stretch. Take off the radiator cap and look at it. If it looks like it has chocolate on it, it means your anti-freeze is gone and should be flushed out (to include heater cores). In reading the internet, NO ONE likes dexcool. I took the advice of some and went back to good old green anti-freeze. GMC says it will only work for 2 years. There is a lot of data that seems to support that dexcool eats gaskets causing problems. GMC says it is lack of maintenance and not dexcool. It is your guess, but if you see dirty dexcool you will not be impressed. I never had that problem with old green.

    So do you take your chances with a noise and metal shavings? You are probably looking at $3000 to rebuild the engine (not at GMC dealer) and maybe $2000 to pull the engine, tear it down like I did and fix what can be fixed short of a rebuild. The cost of an engine rebuild parts kit is about $800 and that does not include cams and lifters. So the cost of labor is not that unreasonable.

    If you run it till it goes. At least use synthetic oil 5 x30, change the anti-freeze NOW (and flush the old), get the coolant system pressure checked.
  • My wifes van was overheating, so i changed the stat. runs fine at normal temp in the garage, and on 30 minute trips, then on the way home it starts to heat up. The fans werent working but now work for a while, shut off then start up again. I bled the system of air(but not when coolant was cold) Have no clue what else is the prob. The thermostat wasnt gelled up with coolant, and ii dont think the manifold gasket is bad yet.
    Any suggestions?
  • zeke41zeke41 Posts: 1
    Wife hit a curb...Check Engine Light came on...I rechecked the O2 sensors (just replaced within 5 mos) and mechanic checked O2 and said it was fine...They think it is ECM/PCM. Any thoughts or am I out $500 when I have to go get an emissions test to replace?
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Try this if you haven't already - disconnect the negative Terminal on the battery for about 15 minutes & reconnect (resets the check engine light) see what happens. Strange things happen when you hit things...but hitting a curb shouldn't knock out your PCM...
  • gwen5gwen5 Posts: 1
    Hi, I've had my van for about 2 yrs. Its a 1999 Venture and i haven't had any issues with it until now. One day the gauge just went all the way to hot. As long as i am going relatively fast, it stays cool but as soon as I slow down via a light or stop sign, it over heats immediately. Also the heater blows semi warm heat while at high speed but as soon as i stop it blows cold air. I was told it was just my thermostat which I can hopefully fix myself, depending on where it is, but after reading this forum I am concerned it might be something over my head. Just wondering if these symptoms mirror those others have had?
    Thanks, Gwen
  • The auxilliary fan which runs at low vehicle speeds or when stopped may be bad or fuse may be blown.
  • I have a 2000 Venture and have been battling an overheating problem for 2 years. I was having coolant loss and was getting air in the system which would cause the vehicle to overheat. I would then have to bleed the air out by using the air bleeding valve located on top of the water pump side of the engine. I replaced the lower manifold and upper manifold gaskets, the water pump, the thermostat, overflow tank hose and the radiator cap. I still have the problem of air getting into the system. If the car sits in the cold for more than a few hours, you have to keep bleeding the system until it is at full heat. It seems the colder it is, the more this happens. It almost seems that when the enging cools off that rapidly, air is getting pulled in from somewhere. When the temp is warm out like 20 to 30 degrees, the system doesn't have this problem. There is never any visible leaking under the vehicle either. I have tried everything I can think of, if anyone has had or heard of this problem, please HELP!!!
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Have you considered hand checked for a head gasket failure?

    Any signs of antifreeze in your oil?
  • I had run a hydrocarbon test on the system before and it came up negative. There is no mixing visible in the coolant or it the oil and it is not burning off coolant as if there was a manifold leak. I am wondering now if it could be a cracked head. When it is cool, the crack could be bad enough where air is getting sucked in, but when it warms up, the meal expands enough to where it re-seals itself. I don't know!! The only way to accurately check this from what I hear is to strip the engine again, but this time go down farther and remove the heads th have them cleaned and pressure tested. A basic pressure test won't tell me where I have a problem though will it?
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Hmmmm..hydrocarbon test is usually a pretty good indicator.

    I don't want to shot gun answers at you so I have to defer to someone who is a real mechanic on this one - I'm only a "shade tree" - I'm hoping that you're not on the right track with the cracked head - hopefully its something less...hope you get it straightened out...
  • mrcadomrcado Posts: 2
    I have an '02 with the same problem. It just started to run hot. I changed the thermostat, radiator, checked the water pump (fine), and a couple other things I thought might be related, but they weren't. I see a lot of people at work and occasionally run into a decent mechanic, so I keep getting sent back to the head gaskets.

    From what I've seen here, it's gonna be expensive, and I sure can't drop 2k+ just to fix the darn thing... if that's "all" it's going to cost. I am willing to do it myself, I just don't really have the place to put it, so that's holding me up.

    If it is the head gaskets, aside from the hydrocarbon test, is there any other indicators of them failing? Like the other guy, I don't see any oil/coolant leaks and until you drive it, it seems to be OK except for the air always returning to the cooling system. I thought maybe a leak in the heater core might be creating a vacuum to keep letting air in, but...
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    There are several ways to check for a head gasket. Start the engine cold with the pressure cap off the pressurized surge tank. Watch the coolant in the surge tank for signs of bubbling or "false boilling". If so then it may be a sign that combustion pressure is entering the system through a failed head gasket.

    Pump up the cooling sytem pressure with a cooling system pressure tester pump. Hold it at 15psi for several hours. Keep pumping it up if the pressure drops. Pull the plugs in the mean time. After several hours holding pressure rotate the engine with the starter with the plugs out. Watch for coolant spewing out the spark plug ports as a sign of a leaking head gasket.

    With the cooling system full, apply 120psi shop air to each of the combustion chambers, one at a time, thru the spark plug port. Make an adapter out of an old spark plug shell and run shop air to the port. Rotate the engine so that the valves for that cylinder are closed. Watch the coolant in the surge tank for bubbling. If the chamber holds the 120psi with no bubbling then chances are the head gasket is fine.
  • jodyrjodyr Posts: 9
    Does anyone have a Chevy Venture who lifes in a hot climate such as Phx. Az? Upon moving here from the Midwest, my temp. here in Az rises a great deal in the summer and I was wondering how I could resolve this problem? Thank You.
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373

    Its pretty normal for the coolant temp to get hot when its hot out...does the needle move all the way to "H"?

    Since its so hot where you are, you definitely want to take good care of your cooling system - If you haven't done it, you're at the 5 year mark, get your coolant changed and the system flushed.

    The other thing to check is that your cooling fan comes on when you have the AC on. If a fan fails it will certainly cause your temp to go high.
  • chaseschases Posts: 41
    I live in the Northern Mojave desert in CA and it gets plenty hot here!

    I agree, have your cooling system flushed with new thermostate soon. Also either you or your shop that you trust should pull the fan temp switch, located right next to your thermostate. It has a two wire plug on it. The switch gets a layer of crud on it that increases the time before the fans comes on by increasing the temp of the fluid before the switch see's it. If that makes sense.

    You should also clean the radiator out of dirt and bugs.
  • Guys - high mileage is not 75k +

    I have 225,000 miles on a 1999 3.4 V6. I ran 10W-30 during the winter, and straight 30W during the summer, once the mileage hit 150,000

    You dont need to run synthetic with these engines. Its about viscosity, not the base oil, especially if you change your oil at less than 10,000 mile intervals

    5W-30 gets you fuel economy, but you lose life.

    This engine has had a tick since 100,000 miles. It still starts well, and runs about 30,000 miles per year.

    If you are worried about the noise, run a higher viscosity oil . It will limit the noise and provide a higher level of protection for your engine

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