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Chevy Express/GMC Savana Owners: Meet the Members

ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222
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  • 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
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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

  • 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 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 Posts: 13
    just received my GM factory service manuals (100 bucks) chock full of all kinds of info.
  • newsie23newsie23 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
  • 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. :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • still wondering extactly what the differences are in the h1500 to the h2500 for towing capacities, suspension and driveline?.
  • 1320jon1320jon 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
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