Last post on Mar 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM
You are in the Chevy Venture
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Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Montana, Oldsmobile Silhouette, Van
#1306 of 1617 Re: 2003 Venture Thermostat problem? [raybo2]
Jan 06, 2006 (10:23 pm)
My experience (99 Venture LT) with low coolant and Dexcool was this: I began noticing my coolant level droping at the reservoir bottle. Filling it would be temporary. I suspected a leaking manifold gasket. When I took the oil filler cap off, there was a brown sludge that looked like applesauce on the cap and in the filler neck. I believed this to be due to the presence of water from an internal leak. I drove it to the Chevy dealer and they told me that it was normal, that water in the oil would look like white foam. I didn't believe them, although I knew about white foam. I asked if the Dexcool would account for the brown foam. They said no. I was leaving on a 500 mile trip the next day and reitterated my concern. They said don't worry. I took the trip and had to add coolant every hundred miles. When I got back, I insisted that they install a new intake gasket. I had 52,000 miles on it and had been expecting to replace the gasket since before I bought the van new in 1999. I had researched this forum in 1999 prior to buying the Venture van and was aware of the 3.4 intake gasket problem. I liked the van after renting one for a vacation, so I bought one, adding an extended warranty lasting 9 years and 100,000 miles. I guess that I would have been disappointed if nothing broke. They did a great job on the gasket, no leaks, no low coolant levels since. I now have 65,000 on the van. Oh, and the applessauce looking crap went away immediately after the gasket change. Imangine that. The problem that people are having with Dexcool is that it does not mix well with air inside the engine. It turns to sludge. When low coolant levels occur, the hose that runs from the reservoir to the radiator, draws air into the cooling system instead of coolant. Of course this happens due to manifold leaks such as is common in these engines. If the owner is dilligent and checks their coolant level every fuel fillup, this Dexcool issue would not be such a widespread problem. But, how many people change their oil anymore? Even I am getting away from that. It really is no big deal to lift your hood and look at your coolant reservoir. Whether you have Dexcool or the green stuff, low coolant levels will eventually cause a problem. Dexcool is just more sensitive. A coworker bought a used Venture van. I asked him if he checked the coolant level. He said no. We looked and found the coolant level below the pickup tube. I asked him what warranty came with the vehicke, he said 30 days. I told him to get it checked for an intake manifold leak. He did, it was leaking and he had it replaced under warranty. Sure, it was a GM design defect, but owners have to participate in the care of their vehicles. Warranty work to date on my Venture has been a front ABS sensor, two tie rod ends, one wheel cylinder, one fuel tank level sending unit, one leaking transmission gasket, the aforementioned intake manifold gasket and a blown turn signal fuse. The fuse blew because of a poor connection in a wire harness under the dash. It took a Gm mechanic 2 hours to find and fix. Seems like a poor connection draws extra current and blows fuses until corrected. The extended warranty (GM's Vehicle One) cost me $1500, and I am already ahead of the game and have 35,000 miles to go under warranty. My rear gate pull strap has not broke yet because I and my family know not to jerk on it. Just read this forum and absorb all the tips. My fuel mileage as per the data center says that I get 29 mpg on a trip. It is also off by using 1.5 more gallons of fuel per tank than my fuel used readout says. That means that I am really getting 27.3 mpg instead of the 29 indicated. On American cars, my philosophy is that if I see one that I truly like, I would be happier with it if acquired at a bargain price with an extended warranty than I would be with a much higher priced vehicle due to its better dependability and no extended warranty. So if you like one of these vehicles, get one with a factory warranty and enjoy.
#1307 of 1617 DRIVER HEATED SEAT NOT WORKING Q
Jan 07, 2006 (7:47 pm)
I have a 2001 Olds Silo. The driver's heated seat is not working. The light on the dash comes on and all fuses check out OK. Does anyone no what could be the problem? My haynes manual does not mention the heated seats at all. If it is the heating element, I noted from another post that this is a $45 part and 1.7 hours of labor. Is this a do-it-yourself job? Dealer gets $90/hour here. And you never know what you are going to get going some place else.
Also, I had the lower gasket replaced just out of warranty (that hurt). Then I noticed coolant leaking near the top of the engine in the vicinity of the water pump although I could not find the exact source of the leak. Oil has always checked out OK when changing it - no sign of any coolant in it at all. I went ahead and changed the waterpump (skipped draining the radiator step). Topped off the reservoir and bled the system. No more leaking and the reservoir has maintained a constant level for well over 1k miles now. I am keeping my fingers crossed on the intake gasket. The water pump was quite easy to change - a pleasant surprise. It was harder changing the battery!
Any way, we have really enjoyed this van and have had relatively few problems. I am thinking about trading out because it seems like more problems are starting to happen. In addition to the heated seat not working (and the wife loves that feature), I noticed that one of the power rear vent windows is not working. Any thoughts on that one?
#1308 of 1617 Re: DRIVER HEATED SEAT NOT WORKING Q [biggs2]
Jan 09, 2006 (2:17 pm)
This is a description of how it works:
"Ignition voltage is supplied the heated seat switches. When a heated seat switch is turned on, voltage is supplied through the heated seat switch signal circuits to the heated seat relay module terminals B and C. Battery positive voltage is supplied the heated seat relay modules. When the heated seat switch is turned on and the resistance through the heated seat thermistor is within acceptable limits, the relay module closes the battery positive supply circuit to the seat heater element supply circuit.
As a long-shot maybe the thermistor has failed now allowing the module to activate the heater.
Power rear window:
Might try pushing on it gently while someone depresses the switch. Post back if this causes it to open.
#1309 of 1617 CHeck ENgine Light & Right passenger seat belt light
Jan 10, 2006 (11:14 am)
Lately, these two lights come on intermittently and goes off on my 2000 Olds Silo with 38,000 miles. I took the vehicle to the local Buick,Pontiac,GMC dealer and they said the module shows malfunctioning for the seat belt light. EGR valve and gasket and also pressure control solenoid for the check engine light needs to be replaced. To do both repairs will cost in the range of $1300 plus labor. Does this seem reasonable and has anyone experienced this problem. Would appreciate hearing from someone.
#1310 of 1617 Re: Possible Ground Problem on Silhouette [campmi]
Jan 11, 2006 (7:20 pm)
My 98 Silhouette had fast flicker rear lights and ABS/TCM light that would come on. After replacing the rear bulbs, I figured out that it was the rear light "plates" the connection to the plates was short. It cost about $50 for each plate and $50 for each connector, total $200. Good luck.
#1311 of 1617 Venture air intake manifold gasket problems
Jan 13, 2006 (10:38 am)
It seems I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to buying cars: think twice before you buy American. Better yet, think twice before you buy *anything*.
Two days ago (1/10/06) I stopped to pick up the mail and noticed smoke coming out of the engine compartment of my 2000 Chevy Venture minivan, which has only 65,000 miles on it. Stopped driving it immediately and had it towed to the Chevy dealer. The air intake manifold gasket had failed and engine oil was all over the place. I have an extended warranty (the repair will cost the insurance company $750), but my exposure is still $525. This is EXACTLY the same failure I experienced two years ago (which cost the insurance company $900 and me $600).
Mean time between failure (MTBF): 25 months.
Mean miles between failure (MMBF): 18,000.
Good thing it didn't fail when I drove it to the coast a couple weeks ago. Put 300+ miles on it on that trip.
I researched the matter online on google and in addition to hundreds of hits on this topic also noticed a sponsored link at the top of the page that deals with this problem (my search terms: chevy venture defect air intake manifold gasket). The sponsored link directed me to a law firm that is investigating chronic air intake manifold gasket problems on certain GM engines. Including mine. It seems GM has redesigned this gasket THREE times already. The problem is also associated with DexCool (the engine coolant), which has been dubbed by almost everybody "DeathCool". Pretty funny. Sort of.
At $1400 every two years, I figure the car costs about $2 a day to drive. Or, another way to look at is almost 13 cents a mile. Pretty expensive.
#1312 of 1617 hot seat/power vent windows
Jan 15, 2006 (4:58 pm)
thanks for the info but that might as well have been russian to me! do you think it is the heating element and,if so, how involved of a repair is that. I would hate to go buy, put it in and then find out it was some other part that was causing the problem.
Power vent window fixed itself!!!
Thanks again. we are really wondering whether to trade this van in. Up to now we had planned to keep it till 100k miles but I am a little worried after reading all the posts. Other than the lower intake gasket (which I already paid to have fixed) are there those out there that have had vans into the higher mileage range with relatively few problems?
#1313 of 1617 Re: hot seat/power vent windows [biggs2]
Jan 15, 2006 (5:50 pm)
High miles, yes. 153,000 on a 1998.
Relatively few problems depends on your definition of relatively few.
The intake manifold gasket was replaced at about 125,000.
Head gaskets were replaced at about 150,000. Head gasket replacement is not all that common, but the manifold gasket has been.
About $1500 total in repairs which didn't upset me a great deal. I sold the van at 153,000, but I would have had no qualms about running it another 50,000 miles.
FWIW, I'm just dumb enough I bought another one. They look good, drive good, handle good, ride good, hold lots. We liked the 1998 enough to buy a used 22,000 mile 2004. The manifold gasket is rumored to have been upgraded some time in 2003. I hope that rumor is correct.
#1314 of 1617 Re: hot seat/power vent windows [biggs2]
Jan 15, 2006 (7:11 pm)
I don't have heated seats so can't advise you on buying a heating element. In fact I'd advise not until the problem is found. The "thermistor" mentioned in the write-up is just a resistor who's resistance varies with temperature. Probably it's a safety element so the seats won't overheat. The same type device is in your electric coffee pot and often is the reason many throw away their coffee pot when it quits. To know what failed would require your measuring some voltages in the circuit. I thought the write-up may give some clues where to start.
#1315 of 1617 Cabin air filter
Jan 17, 2006 (1:03 pm)
I found a cheap alternative to replace the cabin air filter of my 2000 silhouette. The Cabin air filter is 60$ca. up here in Montreal Quebec area.
Just take a home air changer filter ( i use a 16"x20" 3M Filtrete from Canadian Tire store for 17$ca) you will have enough material to replace both filter 2 times.
Just replace the filter element inside the plastic housing of the old filter and sealed it in place with bath silicone on both side, it work very well! See the result: