Last post on May 14, 2011 at 8:19 PM
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Chevrolet Venture, Car Selling, Transmission, Van
Sep 11, 2008 (5:21 pm)
I have a 2003 3.4 that "clacks" upon start-up when the engine is cold. Have read many posts on many forums about it and some have recommended the following:
1) Get it checked by a good mechanic to ensure that it's not camshaft bearings or something significant.
2) If the check-up is OK, some have suggested switching to a synthetic oil because it keeps all parts slick with lubricant while oil drips down into the pan quite quickly over time.
3) Others have suggested an aftermarket oil additive, Lucas, which essentially will do what #2 above will do. I have also read that the after market stuff was all snake-oil!
4) And still another group of owners apparently puts a higher weight oil into their vehicle(s) year round.
Can anyone give us some real life alternatives that worked for them, please?
#4 of 12 Re: [tonys45]
Sep 22, 2008 (8:04 pm)
I run Mobil 1 in my Venture so cross out # 2....
I'm not big fan of oil additives that make all kinds of claims...IMHO - cross out # 3
You can run 10W-30 all year round unless you live near the Arctic Circle...maybe it will help? Its easy enough to try...
I've also read about the crankshaft bearing check - I'm skeptical that it would be the case for most people...I've heard lots of 3.4 V6 engines with high miles that sound exactly the same and they just keep running...of course it never hurts to have a good mechanic check it out just to make sure.
Its just the "nature of the beast" If I was you I wouldn't sweat it...I'm at 100,000 miles and mine has always made the same clacking when its cold.
Sep 23, 2008 (4:59 pm)
Thanks for the reply, 442dude. Your advise/experience is noteworthy. My new-to-me Venture only has 47K miles so I think I'll:
(1) Change out to 10W30 for a try. Will post my experience. Not going to worry about the clattter on cold starts anymore.
(2) Drain/flush out the Dexcool and replace with the generic yellow stuff to avoid potential future coolant problems.
(3) Run a ground strap from the base of the regulator to the alternator to eliminate periodic flickering dash lights.
Then I'll just drive, maintain, and enjoy the van. The used price of this van was very reasonable, so I'm already happy but adding a 100k more miles will really cause me to smile.
#6 of 12 Re: [tonys45]
Sep 24, 2008 (5:58 pm)
Hi Tony....You're welcome!
# 1 & 2 sound good to me. I'd be curious to find out if changing to 10W30 makes any difference. Don't know why I never tried it myself, I just kept putting in the 5W30 at change time and didn't worry about it.
For # 3 - mine flickered for a long time, I got tired of looking at it and I just replaced the alternator...no more flickering. Cost me about $ 200.00 and the 4 hours to figure out how to get it out and back in but no more flickering.
#7 of 12 Stuff happens!
Mar 16, 2009 (6:03 am)
(1) Had my trusted mechanic, who by the way does not think that the 3.4 is any more trouble prone than any other engine if you monitor the gaskets and NEVER allow the engine to overheat, flush & change the Dexcool to old faithful green coolant.
His opinion is that Dexcoll does cause premature gasket failure but does not have any scientific or engineering data to support the statement --- just fourty years of mechanical experience running a large multi-bay shop.
(2) Had our Buick and Blazer also flushed & changed to green. In the meantime our daughter's car, '99 3.1 Lumina with 89k, clogged up completely and cost $$$ for a new radiator, hoses, heater core, etc. because of coagulated Dexcool.
(3) Also, the mechanic told me not to worry about a little noise on start-up with the 3.4. Have not accumulated 3K miles yet for an oil change but will try 10W30 when I do.
(4) A friend had his Cadillac overheat and blow a head gasket which resulted in him replacing the Northstar V8. Ouch! Told him to Google Dexcool but his engine is not listed as one that is included in the settlement. He is furious about the $$$ for a new engine but he didn't change his coolant although the quickie oil change place where he has been going for oil changes have told him for a couple of years that his Dexcool had turned BROWN and slimy! Live and learn, eh?
We really like our 2003 Venture (fingers crossed)!
#8 of 12 Progress Report #2
Jan 09, 2010 (2:03 pm)
Progress Report #2:
Venture SWB van has now accumulated about 5k more miles. Had the intake manifold gaskets replaced with Fel-Pro metal gaskets. For preventive maintenance, had the thermostat and plugs replaced as well while to top end was off. This van will remain in our family for years to come so it was worth the extra bucks to do the work.
Flickering dash lights stop flickering! I know, I know. things don't fix themselves but if it isn't broken, ...
Mechanic refused to change out the oil to a heavier 10/30. He's stubborn but very good. After installing the new metal gaskets, he re-flushed the cooling system because some Dexcool residue was forming in the overflow resevoir.
Family loves the van. Must just finally be my turn for good luck.
#9 of 12 Re: Progress Report #2 [tonys45]
Jan 10, 2010 (8:48 am)
Good luck with your Venture - we really liked ours and had great luck with it...
BTW - the flickering lights go away for good if you replace the alternator, but its an expensive repair (lots of labor charges) because of all the stuff you need to do to get to the alternator. If you're able to do it yourself, plan for about 4 hours and some skinned knuckles but you'll put a permanent end to the flickering.
Jan 05, 2011 (6:20 pm)
It's called cold carbon rap. Just ride the van a little harder every once in a while. Really accelerate getting on the Highway, and get that carbon out. you may see a trail of black smoke in your trail. that's carbon that accumulated on your rings & in the head. the tight clearance in the cyl head on a 3.4 makes it prone to this. have fun feeling the power of the 3.4!!
#11 of 12 Loud startup noise
Jan 31, 2011 (10:32 am)
I have a 2003 Venture, bought it new 8 years ago and presently have 160,000 miles on it. Other than general maintenance, i e., batteries, tires, brakes have never had to spend a dime on it til the past week. Had to replace both front wheel bearing hubs. Simple enough however, also within the past week it has started making that loud clacking on startup. It usually goes away after 4-5 seconds. Not anymore. Lasted 10 minutes or more. Checked the oil but not a problem. I have always used Castrol GTX 10W30 both winter and summer. Any other suggestions as to why it is doing this now (suddenly)? We do plan to trade it off come September but am concerned now that it will develop serious problems.
#12 of 12 Re: Loud startup noise [dsandy1d]
May 14, 2011 (8:19 pm)
Well I have a 2003 venture with 165,000 and it just started the tapping sound, however mine was constant, tour apart the top of the motor today and found it had a collapsed lifter on the number one valve, the computer will not show codes nor will there be a check engine light so you need to have a experienced tech listen to it.