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Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Montana, Oldsmobile Silhouette, Van
#907 of 1617 99 Montana - confirmed troubles
Jul 26, 2004 (11:03 am)
I echo many trouble that others have had: air bag light (reset not yet tested), weeping intake manifold gasket (first identified at 75K miles - requiring appx 1/2 qt of coolant, now still weeping at 100K miles - but not very much at all, no troubles -- yet), fried passenger power window switch (dealer actually said the regulator needed replaced, est $500 vs the $ 30 switch!), oil level light on steady and off at times since 93K miles (we keep a very close eye on the oil on the dipstick, no indications of any trouble), various broken cheap interior trim pieces (the front seat cushions an materials are of not such great quality), second set of brakes at 94K miles (no rotors yet needed!), poor headlamp performance, and slightly slipping/squealing transmission since 75K miles -- up smaller hills and on tighter corners (I am sure its gonna give some day!).
All other items are continuing to work well, the paint/exterior has held up quite well compared to other cars we have had, as well its performance has been quite good: economy is near 22 mpg --combined driving, handling in the snow and icy conditions are quite good (good tires help emensely (sic)).
Our only major concerns now are the transmission and engine, we hope they hold out for a while. The 2005 looks like a Subaru - UGLY! How could a division like Pontiac have such nice looking cars (Bonneville, Grand Prix, Firebird, GTO,...) also have such ugly ones (2005 Montana, Aztek...)???
#908 of 1617 Rear Auto-Leveling Shocks
Jul 27, 2004 (6:18 am)
Read the posts regarding after-market replacement shocks for triplets with the auto-leveling feature. Gabriel and Monroe do not list any available shocks in their books for models with the above listed feature. However, I emailed Monroe Tech support, and they said their model MA824 was a direct replacement.
I ordered a pair and sure enough, they were an easy 20 minute swap. The hoses were a perfect match, and what a difference in ride with good shocks. For what it's worth, don't always trust your local parts guy to know what will work on your car.
Jul 31, 2004 (2:09 pm)
We still have 0 issues with our 04 Montana Sport. We bought because friends love their 99. 04 has a 5 yr power train so I'm not worried about the 3.4 really. Tranny should be rock solid.
#910 of 1617 Re: Good MPG, 2001 Silo [jrdwyer]
Aug 01, 2004 (2:54 pm)
Regarding your "Window Rattle" --
I recently bought a '99 Montana and about 30% of the vans I test drove (all used) had a window rattle/creak, including the one I bought.
After digging into the problem, I discovered the window on the sliding door was actually LOWER than it should have been -- just slightly. Kinda as if it was "sagging" ... Since the windows are recessed from the door beneath it, at times (usually during a bump) the glass would barely touch the metal where the recessed part ended and the main portion of the door below began.
You just need to readjust the window to position it a little bit higher. You need to adjust the inside lever which allows you to open the side window is mounted to the door. From inside with the door closed, look where this lever mounts. You'll need to hold back the door's rubber seal on the rear side to expose 2 bolts which hold the lever to the door.
I think it's best with 2 people (1 inside and the other outside) -- just loosen both bolts and have the outside person try to lift the window, then retighten the bolts. It took a lot of upward pressure for us to get the latch retightened only 1/8" higher than it was, but we eventually got it. Now, no more rattles or creaks and it didn't cost anything to fix it
#911 of 1617 Green VS Red Coolant
Aug 01, 2004 (2:59 pm)
I have a '99 Bonneville and a '99 Montana, both which use the newer "Red" coolant.
I've heard the red coolant doesn't cohabitate too well with GM's gaskets, and a common problem is antifreeze leakage into the crankcase due to gasket failure. (I need to occasionally top off the coolant in both vehicles -- maybe 1x or 2x a year, so I don't know if I have a gasket problem or not.)
Both vehicles need their coolant system flushed. I was wondering if there are any pros/cons to using the older-style green coolant after I clean out the system... ?
My Bonne has 100k and the Montana has 79k miles.
#912 of 1617 Re: Green VS Red Coolant [rustymutt]
Aug 02, 2004 (6:44 am)
Red Coolant = Dexcool
There probably isn't a good answer to your question. Certainly Dexcool isn't without controversy.
My 98 Montana came with Dexcool however I've changed it a couple times during it's 104K life. Personally I think the manifold gasket problem wasn't related to the coolant. When I changed the gasket (which was only seeping at the time) the coolant passages were very clean with no signs of corrosion.
Also in the recent past I found a link to a discussion on Dexcool that may answer some of your questions. I think it violates the terms of this board to post this link however if you do a google search and use "dexcool stant 10231" as your web search terms there's only a few hits. Recalling it was the article at imcool. In any case I did change the pressure cap to a Stant 10230 as recommended in this article.
#913 of 1617 RE: LCT1 - van troubles
Aug 02, 2004 (11:56 am)
It sounds like the vast majority of your troubles can be traced to a poor repair department at the dealer. The belt, the coils, the intake manifold problem, and more than likely, the air recirc door is not installed right. Heck, I diagnosed your belt trouble at the first time I read about it early in your message. This took them 3 trips?. No serp. belt wears out a 8k miles unless there is a major problem with the setup.
The AC issue - I live in Houston and can tell you about humidity. You MUST use Recirc with AC to get most cooling and humidity reduction, mixing with outside air will give that fog from the vents and/or warm air.
The smell? Like a drink can removed from a cooler outside in the summer, the cold AC evaporator becomes dripping with water from the air condensing on it when you use it. Leaving it wet when you park the vehicle can encourage mold and other things in the system. This is a common problem among cars with AC, its not only a GM problem. I turn off the AC about a block from my destination and let the thing warm up with air blowing over it to dry it off somewhat.
You can also buy a product that foams and is supposed to get sucked into the AC core. Perhaps if you sprayed into the compartment for the AC air filter it would get sucked in.
Too bad the dealer has such baffoons working on your van. I honestly think that is why people have trouble with vehicles after about 120k miles, is because of the things the "shops" have "fixed" start to accumulate and the vehicle eventually is unreliable and a rolling junk pile.
I do my own repairs and have 105 miles on our 98 olds van and its solid, gets 23 mpg has been paid for a long time. I just got new Michelin tires with a 60k warrenty, so I guess we'll drive this for about 4 more years!
Aug 03, 2004 (9:51 am)
my 02 venture ls, at 35,850 miles, is almost out of the window of opportunity to purchase the gm major guard extended warranty. while i am covered until 39,000 miles under the gm certified warranty, i am concerned about the long term past that. i plan on keeping this van for at least 4 more years and average about 15,000 miles per year. although i cannot really afford it, the intake manifold gasket seems to be a given future failure which would cover the cost of the warranty anyways. originally, i was not going to get the extended warranty and just chance it, but now i am having second thoughts. however, i don't have much time or miles left to decide! does anyone have any suggestions?
Aug 03, 2004 (1:45 pm)
If you can get the warrenty for the cost of the gasket job (750), it might be pretty attractive. I heard that GM changed the gasket as to not leak but I'm not sure when that phased in.
You might have some trouble with something else and then the warrenty might be good. BUT (big one) realize they have a deductible and some repairs are not considered covered like brakes or other wear items, so you'd need two failures to probably recoup the cost.
In closing I'll just say they make money on these. The majority of the time they come out ahead. If you consider you're only making like 2-3 payment equivilants, its sometimes worth it to forgo the warrenty.
Also, most folks have found these vans to be pretty reliable overall. That's why you bought it.
#916 of 1617 Re: Warrenty [dirkwork]
Aug 03, 2004 (2:07 pm)
i checked into the warranty today. i can get the 3 year/36,000 mile major guard, no deductible, for $1095. it's not as long as i would like, but cost is a big consideration at this time. i can put 10% down and pay the rest over 12 months with no interest. that's about $83 a month.
almost all items are covered by major guard, including some wear and tear items. the exclusion list is minimal. the new gasket was phased in february 2003 so i have the old one.
the biggest repair i had under the new car warranty was the replacement of the ac compressor. that cost gm about $900. my biggest worries are the intake manifold gasket, the ac system, and the transmission, which has shifted oddly only about 7 times in 20,000 miles.
i'll think about it tonight. peace of mind just may be worth it since money is tight. my venture is very reliable. that and because of previous excellent chevrolet vehicles is why i bought it. plus, it was priced very well. a comparably priced odyssey had twice the mileage. and it's now known honda's aren't perfect (auto transmission problems).