1994 GMC Safari SLX XT 4.3 VIN Z w/ vortec heads from North America
Not an outstanding vehicle, but not a terrible one either
Well, in the short time I've had it so far:
Windshield (repaired under insurance coverage)
Interior fan sometimes doesn't come on, but usually turns itself on after a few minutes.
Instrument panel lights occasionally don't work.
I'm losing a fairly large amount of coolant from somewhere near the front left corner of the van. Leaky tank on the rad perhaps?
Leaks a bit of oil from somewhere, haven't bothered to look for the leak.
Rear heater hoses were removed sometime before I bought it.
Speaking of heat, there's not much heat in the van, even after I put a new thermostat in it.
Cruise control works, sometimes doesn't work. Sometimes it'll work just fine, then other times it'll drop 25-30 mph from the set cruise speed which makes me have to cancel cruise control and control speed myself.
A/C compressor makes a metallic grinding sound, I assume the clutch is seized. Darn, I really wanted it to work for the coming summer too.
Engine hesitates and idles a bit rough.
I broke 2 new sparkplugs trying to change the old ones last weekend.
Suspension is a bit bouncy.
Rear brakes don't work too well, I can do brakestands way too easily.
Intermediate shaft on the steering column is worn badly so there's a bit of free play in the steering wheel.
One of the little swiveling map lights in the overhead console is dead and I don't know how to change it, the owner's manual didn't really mention it.
Battery is weak.
Door hinges are a little sticky.
Oh, yeah, it burns lots of gas too.
I paid a grand total of 450 bucks for the van so obviously it had a few problems. The rear heater hoses have been unhooked, I'm going through a large amount of coolant, I have a small oil leak, shocks are a bit soft, steering is a bit sloppy, rear brakes don't work all that well and I don't think the A/C works. All minor problems really, except for the coolant leak. It's not leaking into the oil so I don't think the heads or intake manifold are bad. It seems to be coming from up front down by the radiator somewhere.
The ride is acceptable, it's a little bouncy, but then again it is a truck-based setup anyway. It's fine with me.
Fuel mileage is low, I didn't expect it to be as low as it is, but apparently it's pretty much in line with other Astro and Safari vans of the same vintage.
The engine has a pile of miles on it. 234000 so far. I was told the heads were new. I don't know if that means brand new, or just resurfaced or reconditioned and a new gasket installed. Either way, I should be able to get a lot of driving out of it before any head work has to be done again.
Transmission shifts good, I just wish the torque converter would lock up a little sooner and not unlock as easily as it does.
Seats are comfortable, but foot room is on the small side especially in the passenger seat. Lots of leg room in the middle bench with it pulled back, I haven't tried sitting in the rear bench yet.
The body and underside have held up fairly well in the 13 years and 233000 miles before I bought it. There is one hole in the left rear fender, a few small holes in the right side rocker panel and a few rusty spots.
Engine performance is generally good. Quick around town, but on the highway it's a little slow, slower still with a few passengers or a load. I wish the fuel consumption was a little less than it is, it's costing me 80 bucks or more to fill it and I'm only getting 340-375 miles per tank. I've been told that all vehicles burn slightly more fuel in the winter months, and they will burn less in the warmer spring and summer months. Hopefully my van will burn a fair bit less in the summer than it is burning now.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd February, 2007