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Chevy Express/GMC Savana



  • rsmmacrsmmac Posts: 22
    Sorry to hear about the major troubles. DON'T TAKE THE DEALER'S CRAP! I can't comment on the window, but the problems you describe with your transmission sound EXACTLY like the symptoms I had. After driving at highway speeds, I'd get very hard shifts during stop and go driving once I got back on surface streets. Did your dealer open up the tranny and look inside? Mine did. They found metal shards and some cracked internal components (sorry, don't remember exactly what was broken). It took about 2 weeks to get it fixed, because a tech from GM had to come down and see that the tranny was indeed broken like the mechanic said (1 week wait). Then the dealer ordered a rebuilt transmission (1 more week). They got it, installed it, and had to replace it again after about 10,000 miles due to some problem with shorted connections. Now it runs fine.

    Be careful who's best interest is really being served. If they can keep you van from being in the shop for a certain # of days during the first year of ownership (or whatever time frame your state's lemon laws prescribe) GM and the dealer can avoid buying back your van under lemon laws and instead leave you to deal with warranty battles and ultimately (did you get the extended warranty?) your own hefty repair bills.

    One of my friend's neighbors had a lot of transmission problems on a 96 1500 conversion during the first year; one day they came home with a shiny new Suburban and a GM gag order. Wonder what GM didn't want them to talk about...

    Both the dealer and GM know EXACTLY what is in each of their best interests.

    Again, just my opinion.
  • If you like BIG motors, latest I've heard is the 2001 big gas engine will be an 8.1 liter. I'm hoping they will offer it in the G series. If you're really honest with yourself and consider all factors in computing your cost per mile to run your truck, there is really not a lot of difference between the 5.7 and the 7.4. When you step up to the 3500 you get the 4L-80 tranny, better brakes, more tow capacity, heavier axles, etc. with very little sacrifice in ride qualities. If you hook a 7000 pound trailer onto a truck rated for 7000 pound tow capacity for more than a short haul, you're in for grief. My experience has been to load no more than 75% of the rated tow capacity and my truck does great and doesn't break.
  • rsmmacrsmmac Posts: 22
    Good info. Could I ask where you heard of the 8.1L? Is it covered in the car mags already? Or are there other sources of info (besides GMC web page, car mags) that I could get to on my own?

  • wes16wes16 Posts: 4
    We just bought a new Express 2500 12 passenger.
    Trying to decide if we should go with an extended warranty. 7 year/100,000 mile will run about $1100. Does anyone have any recommendations on warranty companies and what experiences have you had as to durability on the 2500 series. We got the trailering package and 3.73 rear gear. We will not be pulling a trailer. How about any suggestions that will not void the warranty that will help gas mileage. (ie. cat back system or K&N air filter) So far the best we have gotten is about 12 mpg highway.
  • wes16wes16 Posts: 4
    Has anyone added a rear sway bar to a 2500 Express. When loaded it seems to handle a little choppy. Thinking it might help.
  • I bought a '97 Savana conversion van in '98 and find the driving on trips (20,000 miles a year) really pleasurable. So far the Savana with 35000 miles has had a new instrument cluster (speedo problems) and transmission plus minor odds and ends all under warranty. From what I'm reading I need to buy a shop manual now before the warranty runs out. Since GM had to replace the transmission and they advertise that MR Goodwrench will guarantee for as long as I own the vehicle anything they had to replace am I naive to assume this will hold true for a new instrument cluster and transmission? I now plan on towing(nothing big just a boat or jet skis)800miles at a whack should I instal a transmission oil cooler coil set or would it be a waste of my time. Any help?
  • vandalybay1vandalybay1 Posts: 43
    Starcraft1500: Just keep a copy of the repair order and the GMGoodwrench ad that says "for as long as you own it". Conversions are typically heavier than stock configurations. That leads to problems with tires and drivetrains. Hot transmissions lead to fluid failure leading to transmission failure. If you want to preserve the replaced transmission you would do well to get a transmission oil temperature gauge (attaches to pan or dipstick). You'll want that with or without a cooler. After watching that you can decide if you wish to get the cooler.
  • vandalybay1vandalybay1 Posts: 43
    9. Paint/finish. Metal flakes/burrs protruding up from underneath paint along gutters (near spot welds). And one spot 1/2"X1/4" where the spray guns missed near gutter on roof near driver's door.
  • vandalybay1vandalybay1 Posts: 43
    454ci (7.4liter) with 3.73 rear.
    Almost 12,000 miles after almost 12 months.

    Generally pleased and do not expect to outgrow this vehicle.

    1. Wet (not leaking) fitting from engine block to
    oil cooler line.

    2. Wetness/film on outside of brake fluid
    reservoir (suspect cap gasket)

    3. Water in right rear tail-light assembly (being

    4. "rum, rum, rum, rum" sound at slow speeds (3-4 mph).

    5. Run A/C. Shut off vehicle 15 minutes. Restart
    then hear a growling noise for a few minutes.

    6. Plastic tabs to hold seatbelt tips break off.

    7. Sometimes double click of remote door lock
    opener doesn't work.

    8. Parking break can be pressed to touch the floor (being adjusted)

    See post elsewhere for gas mileage history.
  • mrh3108mrh3108 Posts: 41
    Replaced front brakes at 30,000.
  • lizzy9lizzy9 Posts: 1
    We are planniong on buying a Chevy Express conversion van from Santa Fe conversion, a company in Elkart, IN. Their conversions appear to be of a very good quality. Has anyone had any experience with them?
  • randanrandan Posts: 1
    I noticed that several have listed problems with their GMC vans. I too have had problems with my van. The driver side window has been the biggest problem. The window goes down but there is a problem with it going back up. The power window motor has been replaced several times, it has been adjusted several times, etc. Of course when I met with an arbitrator about the van he considered it just a nuisance and not really a problem. Maybe he should drive the van in zero degree weather when the window won't go up. I have had other problems also, the speedometer, gas gauge always read full, and brake pads don't last long. Just to let you know, I hired an attorney, GM is taking the van back under the Ohio Lemon Law. The sad thing behind this is we really like the van. It is our third van and probably the most enjoyable we have ever owned and we hate to see it go. I am not sure what to purchase next. Any suggestions?????
  • tradlandtradland Posts: 15
  • I am glad your Astro has been holding up. My 1999 Savana is holding up well. All my experiences have been relatively minor and I am a bit picky. 12 months and 12,000 miles so far. It isn't as plush as some Astro vans but no horror stories of wacky windows or transmissions coming from here. How do the warranties compare?
  • I recently purchased a 1500 Express conversion 350. It is a "Sherrod Grand Sport" conversion with ground effects. I'm noticing an odor from the exhaust when the windows are open, this odor is especially bad when I'm towing my travel trailer. could the ground effects be causing the exhaust to be circulating thru the car. Is anyone having a similar problem. Also any other info on this conversion would be helpful, I'm having a few other problems
  • rsavanarsavana Posts: 9
    Just curious. Does any one know how the name
    "Savana" was chosen for this van?
  • First alignment costs more than you might expect. Knock-outs need to be removed and something gets slotted to do full adjustment. Any other makes with this issue or is it just GM?
  • wes16wes16 Posts: 4
    Just got my Express 2500 12 pass back from the shop. After the 3rd trip to have the front end aligned (pulled left since new). The first time I made an appointment to have my "free" service and align it. There was an oil leak around the filter area I asked them to fix it when the oil was changed. When I picked it up they did not have time to do the alignment and would have to make another appointment to do that and fix the door panel that had come loose and fix the tail light that was full of water. When I got home and checked the oil leak it was still there. I made another appointment and left the van all day to have all of the above done. Picked it up and was told the alignment was ok that the tires were bad and that they rotated them and that should help. I asked what would happen next time the tires were rotated and the service writer did not answer. They did not fix the tail light. Said would have to order one and would call when it came in. I got home and looked at the back door panel and it was still loose. The oil leak was fixed. After they called and said the tail light was in I made another appointment to get most of the above fixed. I did go to a tire store and pay $25 to get an alignment check and print out on the alignment. The caster was out 2 deg causing the pull. Took it to the dealer (left it 2 days as the alignment shop was busy). Just got home, the alignment was done, tail light replaced, door panel fixed and all is well now. Alignment was done at no charge. I hope this is not how it will be next time.
    The guy that had the trans repaired because the dealer would not fix it under warranty I would not give up. If you have records and copies of complaints I would press the issue with GM and the FTC.
    Good Luck!
    (By the way I think I will buy that 7 yr 100M
    warranty for $1100 after all!!)
  • coltbcoltb Posts: 1
    I just read your comments regarding your Gran Sport conversion by Sherrod. We are considering buying a Gran Sport Express van conversion and would like to know what other problems you are having. The other conversion packages we are considering are Explorer and Annaheim. If anyone has any comments about any of these conversion packages we would really be interested in hearing them. Thanks.
  • I've just joined and have been reading the posts but I haven't seen my problem mentioned. I own a '97 Express LS 2500 with a 350 and the outside mirrors vibrate at highway speeds to the point of being useless and dangerous especially when pulling a trailer. These are the electronically adjusted, heated variety. I've had them replaced 3 times but it's exactly the same. I think the dealer just cleaned up the original mirrors and put them back on. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

    Regarding the 3500 with a 454... I considered that when I ordered my van but the dealer told me the 454 required premium gas. Is that true?

    By the way, my van is in the shop now having the front pads and possibly the LF rotor replaced at 38,000 miles. Obviously these pads don't have the old metal wear indicator tabs on them anymore. The pads on my '76 and '85 2500 vans sure lasted a lot longer. After reading this list and assuming I will have transmission problems in my future…maybe Ford does have a better idea….
  • I have a 99 LS 3500 with the 454.

    The mirrors are stable at highway speeds and are the heated electrics. Do you have a bug deflector? If so, that could be contributing airflow turbulence to your mirrors.

    The 454 requires regular gas which I run.

    Brakes checked at 11,900. OK per the shop.

    Worried about the transmission? The transmission problems may be associated only with the 1500's (half ton). In any case, change the tranny fluid and add a temp gauge. If it runs hot, add another tranny cooler.

    Make sure you change the rear-end/differential fluid.

    Run synthetic lubricants.

    If you do all that, I'll be surprised if you get to use your warranty on the tranny or rear-end.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks vandalybay1 for the information. I do have a bug deflector and I will remove it this weekend to see what happens.

    I picked up my van from the dealer last evening and drove home through stop & go traffic. When I arrived home I could smell the left front brakes burning. This morning I drove to work via the interstate I noticed a constant vibration at the steering wheel and the first time I applied the brakes from 65 mph, the van shook violently. I'll be taking it back this morning. I believe there is a problem with the ABS. Stay tuned.......
  • Vandalybay1, you are correct regarding the bug deflector causing the vibrating mirrors. I removed it this weekend and the vibration disappeared reinstalled it with it snugged up against the hood and it works fine now after 3 1/2 years of frustration. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Took the van back to the dealer regarding the brake problem around noon on Friday. I received a call from them about 3 PM saying the van was ready. They said they should have turned the rear drums when they did the front and there would be "no charge" for my inconvenience. Kudos to Sir Walter Chevrolet in Raleigh NC.
  • jeephardjeephard Posts: 3
    Purchased a used 97 2500 Cargo Van from a local Chevy Dealer here in Beaufort SC at the end of May. Parks Automotive Group. The van was in great shape but high mileage 80k, it was used for an A/C company out of Ga. Part of the sale was to have the factory tow package put on it. Oil cooler Aux trans cooler wire it up for the hitch it had etc.. And correct all problems found during the test drive and walk around inspection. Well this is where the problems begin.

    1st off the trans has that infamous hard shifting once it gets hot (driving hwy speed for half hour or so) The fluid was changed as part of the 80k service as per the sales agreement prior to pick up. After a two week period and a trip up the east coast the fluid is burnt. Fuel gauge inop past half tank and the speedo sticks until it gets jarred by a bump in the road then it may read near the actual speed. Returned the van for its trans cooler instal and the instrument cluster repairs as per the sales agreement and as scheduled. This was July 3rd. Here we are staring August in the face and I have yet to get any clear word on the van. I am a little frustrated at making payments on a vehicle that I am not driving for the past two months. After reading several posts concerning the hard shift problems and the service engine light I read on here a solenoid or something somewhere in the electronic trans loop is triggering the high line pressure fault causing the hard shifts. Which will eventually break something inside I am sure since catching a wheel in a 3/4 ton van is not good on any parts at all. Even under easy acceleration.

    I bought the van to tow a Jeep on a trailer about 4000lbs GTW and haul a motorcycle inside to go cross country now I am having doubts as to the reliability of it.

    I told the service manager that if it was not 100% correct by next Friday I want a full refund of my money and will take my business elsewhere. That seemed to wake them up a bit.

    As per the sales agreement the items to be fixed were:
    Driver Door lock pushed in so the kay would not work REPAIRED
    Real Axle leak Pinion Seal Replaced
    Speedo and Fuel Guage repair. Instrument panel removed and sent to be repaired have to wait til I get it back to see if it is fixed.
    Trans Burnt fluid after 2k miles (empty no towing just hwy trip) and correct the hard shift problems. I am thinking a new trans in in the future for this one or at least a rebuild.

    I feel like these vans are perpetual clunkers almost from the get go. I may be wrong. But a young vehicle like this should not have these types of problems and a dealer re selling one should be thouroughly checking them out prior to selling them to anyone. I did spring for the warranty for the drivetrain and I am using it already and I only drove it two weeks! It has been in and out of the shop twice now to get the sales agreement work on it and I find more problems every time.

    As far as my satisfaction level so far. I am not. I feel there is no reason for a vehicle to be sold with these types of problems off a dealer lot period! If I got it from a private deal that is one thing. I will post the out come of the ordeal next friday when I pick it or my money up from Parks Chevy here in Beaufort. The service manager is giving me excuses about manpower and backlog as being why it sat for 2 weeks before even being looked at even when I scheduled it to have this work done after the sale. I am sorry but I worked with them for the past month and it is still not fixed nor do they have an answer as to what is wrong with the trans at this point.

    Am I correct in what I am doing? They made a deal with me took my money and now they are not upholding their end of the contract to correct all these problems in a timely fashion. To me that is breach of contract. Oh and seeing a commercial about customer satisfaction at the dealer on T.V this week made me laugh a bit. More to follow on this on. Thanks to all for the info posted on here. Knowledge is power.

    97 2500 5.0L
  • I am glad the deflector adjustment took care of the vibration. Clever of Commandorider to remove it and then try it on again in a different mounted position.

    About those brakes...Anyone ever try different brakes (brake systems or just brake pads) on their van?
  • I can't tell from here whether your problems are manufacturer caused or caused by the previous owners.

    Good for you to have the repairs as part of the sales contract. Smart to get a good value warranty on used vehicles.

    If it was my situation, I would have the dealer take it back if they didn't uphold their end of the used vehicle contract. If that wasn't possible, I would do all I could to get a new tranny.

    2 weeks without starting repair on the vehicle is too much. They could be trying to wear you down. Better yet, your repairs represent only an expense--and no revenue. If that is the case, they may only want to work your van when they don't have any paying jobs needing attention. And spend as little time as possible on it. I wonder if they supplied a loaner vehicle if they would be quicker at getting to fix your van.

    I don't expect ex-company vehicles to have been treated well. I expect them to be: run low on fluids and overheated. Driven in the style of slam-on-the-gas-pedal-when-green, and lets-see-just-how well-this-thing-corners/stops/downshifts/etc. Poor vehicle care will bring on the need for early repairs.

    I expect a used car dealer to be the worst source of information because of conflicts of interest. A state department of consumer affairs may be of assistance regarding your concern over a possible breach of contract.

    I am sorry that you seem to have lost confidence in the van you have. Hopefully they will take it back or they (or warranty company) will fix the major systems that worry you.
  • gbouwgbouw Posts: 1
    We have a 98 Savana we bought in June 98. From day one the driver's window would go down, but not back up. It seems to be a common problem. A tech once told me that there's a dead spot in the electric motor (brush on commutator). Fortunately, right now it only happens when the window is all the way down. If I stop it before it gets there, it'll go up every time. If it does go down all the way it takes a bump or two before it'll go up again except, of course, in winter. ;)

    We just turned 45,000 miles and the air conditioner just went on it. The dealer want to charge $450 for a cracked aluminum casting atop the compressor. It's the junction where the lines to the collector, condensor, and feed to the rear air conditioner (which is capped as we don't have one) is. Has anyone had a similar problem?
  • Wow, I wish I could have read this kind of thing a few years ago. It may have helped.

    I have a '97 Savanna with a conversion done by MarkIII. Aside from some usual conversion minor things which MarkIII took care of very well I wanted to mention what I've experienced with the GMC side of the van.

    I relate to the front-end alignment thing. It was "realigned" at 30,000, rotated, and still has the problem of pulling. My "dealer tech" also said "nothing was out of alignment" and "I rotated the tires to solve the problem". Still paid for the alignment which isn't covered under GMC's warranty program.

    Have not experienced the mirror vibration, but I also do not have a hood deflector.

    I have however just experienced the transmission problem and I am really bothered. My searching the net for info on trouble codes, etc., led me to this location where I'm reading horror stories that have me looking at major transmission costs out of my pocket, since I am just over the warranty period. How well was this one planned by GMC? I'm going to call and write them and register complaints. I hope others have/will so perhaps we can get GMC to recognize a recall situation. Oh my, I can't afford this kind of problem now. I am getting the hard shift and the dash light on. I need it to drive but am afraid of metal parts self-destructing in it. Anyone have any more advice to give?

    Also, the absolutely pathetic service from the GMC dealerships is appalling. The dealer I bought from had done some canibalizing of parts from this new van I bought and I caught them and had them order and repair all that they screwed with. Then they left stuff disconnected under the hood when they did the complimentary free oil change. They screwed up ordering running boards from MarkIII and after finally getting the right parts I have an entire drivers side running board system (new in box) sitting in my garage courtesy of their screwups and MarkIII has pulled them from ever selling their conversions again. I then went to a different GMC dealer to have work done and that's the one who failed to align my vehicle right and also failed to order in parts before the warranty expired. I've written off this dealer as well. MarkIII has been VERY good to deal with, but GMC and it's dealers have NOT.

  • rsmmacrsmmac Posts: 22
    Re: Jay Michalik posting # 94
    I have not spent the time to write GMC directly since my dealer was actually very helpful (the 100,000 mile extended warranty was even more helpful!) but I will now, based on your comments. I don't know what advice to give you; I am getting rid of my van before my warranty expires, because I know as soon as it does, I won't have much of a prayer with GMC. It is a shame - the van has otherwise been awesome.
  • After 4 unsuccessful alignments, and the mechanic's constant communication with GM office, the dealer's brake specialist was able to fix the pulling to the right while braking. In all it took 1 1/2 day's work. All work was done under warranty.
    I complained about the pulling from day 1.
    Headlamp was replaced because of moisture, the
    mechanic used the opportunity to crack the grill.
    The driver side window also does not go back up
    if down completely but I did not want the mechanic
    to open and break things again.
    The air con also stinks for the first 5 minutes.
    Despite all this I still like the van.
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