GMC savana problems

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  #1  
Old 09-22-08, 04:56 PM
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GMC savana problems

Looking for any advice. We have a 2002 savana. In March it just died on me on the way to get my kids at school. The first garage said they couldn't fix it - they had no clue what they were doing. The second - the car place where we bought it used, did tons of work - $1800 worth - and said basically one thing lead to another and probably a small thing could have kept it all from happening. I am not surprised. My husband is the most non-mechanical person there is. He THINKS he knows what he is doing but has no idea.
Since they fixed it, they said you should get much better mileage etc. Well it seemed I did for a little bit. Then no difference. Now it is smelling "burnt" all the time. I checked the oil - seems fine. The water seems to need filling every couple weeks or so - I know this was never how it was before. And occasionally when you put it in drive and press the gas it kind of revs real loud like it does not go into gear.
My husband, unlike me and my children, can not seem to smell this burning smell that smells like there is no oil or something. He says we ran over something that melted onto our muffler. Yeah right.
Another thing I have noticed is that if you stand in front of the van after driving it - it feels extremely hot - and I mean WAY after you finish driving it. Even when it is cooling down at night here. I know this was never the way it was either. Oh also my gas seems to literally get about 1 mile to the gallon. I mean I know this is a big vehicle, but I can almost watch the needle go down as I drive a few miles. Really bad.
He will not believe me that it is about to strand me again while driving or picking up my 4 children, and insists we have no money to get it looked at. Is there anything I can do? Or somehow prove to him something is terribly wrong? Anything I can fix? Please HELP!! This is our only vehicle and I can not afford to lose it or have a major bill right now. Thank you!!
 

Last edited by notamechanic; 09-22-08 at 05:00 PM. Reason: forgot something
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  #2  
Old 09-22-08, 05:21 PM
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truck mech

does the check eng lite come on. how manny miles on it. If you smell a wired smell it can be the catalatic converter. but sounds more like a fuel pressure reg. problem and if you go throu a tank real fast it can suck gas in to the engine. take the rubber hose off and check for gas . have some one do a feulpress check. if the check eng lite is on you need to get codes and their meaning. the parts stores in my state will check codes for free. what year is the van. you need to give all the details of the van and its problems for me to help you.
 
  #3  
Old 09-22-08, 07:25 PM
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it should not need coolant every few days, you probably have a intake coolant leak on that engine unfortunately they are common on that engine. you will need to get it pressure tested to see for sure where the coolant is going before you burn the engine up. next the revving thing sounds like a misaligned shifter. someone needs to check the alignment of the shifter and cable to trans. if that is ok and it still happens you will need to see it the trans has any trouble codes. also has any one checked the trans fluid for full and burnt smell? just as little as 1/2 quart low can cause shifting problems sometimes. does your van have a temp gage or just a heat light? if gage does it show normal temp?

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies
 
  #4  
Old 09-22-08, 09:48 PM
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"does your van have a temp gage or just a heat light? if gage does it show normal temp? " I'm curious about this as well. Can you describe this "burning smell" more? Does it smell sweet?

When you check your radiator fluid, do you use what's called DEXCOOL? It would be an orange color. Or do you use the green radiator fluid?
 
  #5  
Old 09-23-08, 02:33 PM
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Okay I will try to answer all questions.
The van is a 2002. There are about 137000 miles on it. The check engine light is ALWAYS on. When we had it serviced for the $1800 in May, it was still on. I told them and the girl at the desk assured me it wasn't a big deal. She said she thought it was cause I didn't put my gas cap on correctly. She said try putting it on tighter and give it a few days. Which I laughed at. It never went off. We then left for vacation and my husband assured me it wasn't a big deal and not to worry about it.
The temp gauge is always quite low, and my oil gauge is about halfway. The smell is kind of like maybe when you spill oil in there? I am not sure. Just a burning engine smell. But I know nothing has been put in recently to make this smell appear. (except water) The revving used to only be when I sat in park with the air on for too long - like waiting in pick up lines at school. But sometimes it happens when we first go to leave in the morning. It just sounds like you are pushing the gas on a standard and havent switched gears yet.
Let me know what I forgot.
 
  #6  
Old 09-23-08, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mobile_man View Post
"does your van have a temp gage or just a heat light? if gage does it show normal temp? " I'm curious about this as well. Can you describe this "burning smell" more? Does it smell sweet?

When you check your radiator fluid, do you use what's called DEXCOOL? It would be an orange color. Or do you use the green radiator fluid?
sorry missed this question before.
Um where does radiator fluid go? In the big white reservoir I only put water cause that is what my husband said went in there. Is there a spot marked radiator fluid?
I know I sound stupid - and basically am when it comes to engines. But my husband is almost worse and I need advice! Thanks
 
  #7  
Old 09-23-08, 07:13 PM
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you should be adding a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze to the big white reservoir, never just water unless you are going to have the coolant system serviced soon. many parts in your engine are aluminum and will corrode severely with just water in system. sorry but that shop ripped you off, they should have fixed the vehicle including the check engine light or told you exactly what needed repaired to fix whatever made the check engine light stay on. the revving noise that you hear is probably the fan clutch locking up to make your fan pull air through the radiator. with the engine off and cold see if the fan rotates easily or is locked. also check to see if the fan wiggles side to side, if it is locked when cold or wiggles side to side it needs replaced.

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies.
 
  #8  
Old 09-24-08, 04:53 AM
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Well the repair place said there was a guarantee on all stuff done and if any of this is a problem to bring it back. But I don't know if I would still have to pay labor or anything.
Here is a list of what they did supposedly:

W Coil 69.37
Distributor 319.00
Gasket 1.22
Lubricate,inspect drive belts
221 CPQL 7.20
Filter 4.50
Oil
Air Filter
Element 47.63
fuel system service
221 CPM 50.00
Fuel Kit 41.67
Spark Plug 44.82
221 CPM 175.00
Wire Kit 158.90
Transmission flush
trans kit 23.63
fluid 87.00
221 cpm 50.00
Belt or belts
221cpm 25.00
belt 50.44
plus tires (2)

Oh and don't forget the 555.00 labor!!

maybe this helps??
 

Last edited by notamechanic; 09-24-08 at 04:57 AM. Reason: forgot something
  #9  
Old 09-25-08, 07:28 PM
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The big white reservoir is where your coolant (antifreeze) would go. Specific to the coolant question, I wanted to determine if you had a proper level. If the temp gauge is running more towards C (cold) then I would say you're fine there.

To your problem, two thoughts:

1) Is there an Autozone near you? If so, they can get the "Check Engine" trouble codes for you from your van at no charge. They can tell you what it means or you can look it up on their website. Heck, post it here. While you are there, ask them nicely to show you how to add radiator fluid and in your van. Won't solve your problem but knowing how to do this will help you in the future.

2)I agree with speedwrench. The shop took advantage of people who didn't know any better. I hate to see that. After autozone tells you what the codes mean, you may want to take the van back to them or another shop. If it's another shop, tell them that you have some concerns about what the other shop did and you're looking for a second opinion. No shop should let you go back out the door with a check engine light still on with a accompanying smell!

The fan makes sense. Be careful when checking it as they do come on their own, so don't go losing any fingers.
 
  #10  
Old 09-25-08, 08:29 PM
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wonder why they replaced the distrubtor, that van is awful new for that to have enough problem to need replaced. or can't you buy things like pick up coils anymore? i would assume that the wire kit is plug wires, but did the shop run a diagonstic on the veh. not mentioned in the invoice. i would insist that they tell you what trouble codes they found.

are you going to cowboy up or just lay there and bleed?
 
  #11  
Old 09-26-08, 06:18 AM
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Why nothing on the bill about checking engine temperature? Sounds like it's plum running hot. Infrared thermometer test be good on the stat housing ($40-50 tool, nice to own).

You can't run just water, as it will boil sooner and cause terrible problems. You also may have cooked the tranny fluid from it not cooling go enough in radiator.

DO you mix 50/50 coolant?, or have you been adding water to save money, figuring you would be wasting the coolant? If you are, you instead could be wasting the engine. Proper coolant mix also helps lube the water pump. 50/50 coolant with pressure cap boosts boiling point of water to about 265F, and that could have been saving your engine til you got the real cause of your problem fixed. Now you might have really damaged it with bad intake or head gaskets, burning tranny and ?.
 
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