16th Feb 2007, 00:09

Wow, I was all ready to upgrade from my tired 94 APV to a 2000-2003 Montana until I read what problems they are for their owners and how angry people are about their vans. Thinking it was just a bunch of disgruntled owners I figured I would check this forum and find the same thing. Was I ever wrong! You all feel the same way about your APVs that I do. What a great van! I bought mine five years ago with 99k miles on it. I just turned 235k today. The 3.8 just keeps hummin along and no transmission problems. The mean streets of DC. completely wore the front end out. I've also had to replace front wheel bearings, engine idler pulley at $500!,rear gate latch,passenger door latch, and most recently the engine knock sensor after the engine started missing in overdrive. Strangely enough the transmission now shifts smoother so I guess the knock sensor had needeed replacing for quite some time. I've been run into three times and I just keep going to the junk yard for parts, but they are getting harder to find and the old girl is starting to look a little rough. So now my dilemma is what van can I replace this thing with that will give me this kind of service? I've been looking for another APV, but there just aren't that many around anymore. The 3.5 engine in the Montana and Venture seem to be plagued with problems. Anyone out there have a suggestion for a suitable replacement?

3rd Apr 2007, 03:31

Polymer not polyethylene, they're made of plastic. GM still produces vehicles with polymer panels, Saturn for example. Check the undercarriage because although it may still look good on the outside these vans will eventually rust out.

5th Aug 2007, 08:18

I have a '96 which has not been trouble free, mostly issues similar to those already mentioned. Unfortunately now the head gasket is blown (192,000 km) which may spell the end of it. Too bad there's nothing equivalent to this van out now. Bottom line, I like it, warts and all.

13th Sep 2007, 22:05

Hi all, I have a 95 and all my dash lights and buzzers are going off, and I got told to change the alternator, so I did, and it's still doing the same thing.

Then I got told to change the sensor in the distributer, and now it won't start at all. Can someone please tell me what the problem is, or problems are, so I can drive my trusty APV again.

Thanks to anyone that can help me out.

20th Sep 2007, 16:14

I have a 1990 Chevy lumina APV with 375,000 miles on it (not km, miles) My mom bought the van back in 1998 for $4,000 with 79,000 miles on it at that time. We have done the brakes twice, tune-up twice, regular oil changes, tie rods and tie rod ends, 1 alternator, 2 Serpentine belts, and just recently fixed an oil leak and an exhaust. We have had a couple door handles come off due to the kids pulling on them when they were locked. We live in Michigan, so the salt ate away the tie rods and exhaust. But, by far this has been the best vehicle we have ever owned. We have taken trips all over the U.S. in this van with no problems at all. The van still is running like a champ with no current problems and I have a feeling it will last a lot longer. If anyone gets an opportunity to purchase one of these... do so, they are well worth it. My man bought the 2nd van at 50,000 miles and is currently at 191,000 and the only things she had to repair are normal wear and tear maintenance issues. I recommend these vans to everyone.

20th Sep 2007, 21:41

I agree with everybody's oppinion on this nice Chevy Van. All the above repairs are similar to what I did since I bought the Lumina. Currently I have this problem with it: when I drive above 40 mph the engine starts to skip and it shakes the car as if not all the pistons are firing when they are supposed to. I checked the coil and is fine, the spark plugs look fine and the air filter too. I think it's something with the distributor.

Can someone that had this problem help me with some advice?

Much appreciated!

Radu from Saskatchewan, Canada.

21st Sep 2007, 13:02

Sounds like the knock sensor that somebody above mentioned. Do you get a check engine light or does it just run poorly?

20th Oct 2007, 16:33

Also agree with most comments. Pretty good van. I've had my '95 since '98. Other than those mentioned I had one weird problem a few years ago. A new alternator kept cutting out. After trying another ECM off a wreck it became apparent that an non Delco alternator didn't like the Alt on voltage from the ECM which was not true IGN+. I hot wired the harness to IGN+ and it has been fine ever since.

Unfortunately it probably has only a few years left. I really would like to find a wreck with a good rear hatch since mine has a broken handle, broke plastic, and a rather loose lock mechanism. This interior degredation is actually the weakest part of these vans. If GM had made the interior out of higher quality materials they would have been almost true classics.

Anyhow I'm mostly here because over the last couple years an oil leak has got progressively worse. I've just crawled out from under it and it looks like it is probably at least the pan gasket as per an old TSB. However it also looks like it may be from higher up as well, possibly the crankshaft rear oil seal. The costs of repair, particularly the latter, will be much higher than a half litre of oil a month. I guess my question is what has been people's experience on the 3.8V6? Now the oil pan (also the simplest to replace myself) will likely just drip worse; however will the other sources, like the crankshaft, tend to stay pretty static or is it going to haemorrhage on me one day?

2nd Feb 2008, 11:36

Hi, I own a 1994 lumina van with the 3.8 v6, I bought this van two years ago with 330,000 ks from the original owner, I really think it is the best mini van I've ever owned, but it has a problem that is really bugging me, a few months ago in a rain storm my wipers stopped in the vertical position, I almost crashed it, but managed to get to the side of road safely, I got out and if I pushed on the wiper it went down, but came up and stopped in vertical position again, I purchased a used wiper motor and installed myself, it worked fine for a couple of months, but now its doing the same thing. could it be a relay?

9th May 2008, 19:58

Heya! I purchased my 1993 Lumina van, 3.8L engine, 150,000 miles on it 3 years ago and have been totally satisfied with it.

One thing I did recently was add Marvel Mystery Oil to gas tank and oil as recommended. Doing this improved my gas-mileage and it accelerates mucho better and runs smoother.

I had a problem with automatic door locks running my battery down. Mechanic disconnected the relay to door locks and no problems now.

I want to overhaul engine when it goes out because I have never had a more trustworthy vehicle and I want to hang on to my Gem. Try some Marvel Mystery Oil, it does wonders for older vehicles.