1997 GMC Safari 4.3 vortec from North America


It is a shame they stopped making these


Power Steering/Brake Pump - One unit ($250) controls both, as in most vans. This was apparently the 2nd replacement since new - not too bad.

Transmission - It had a recent rebuild ($1500) when I bought it - it lasted 75,000 miles. Then I put a Jasper re-manufactured in it ($2800).

Alternator - This was the 2nd alternator since new ($200). There was a short in some A/C wiring that had something to do with this.

Cooling fan thermostat - Apparently these only last 3-4 summers with heavy use ($45).

Brakes - Anti-lock does not work. Brakes have pulled to the right when slightly worn through 3 services in 2 years by 2 different repairmen. Thus includes replacing a caliper and rotor once, and just a caliper once. Previous owner had same problem. Latest theory is that the brake lines from the anti-lock control unit to the front left are pinched just enough to confuse speed sensor.

A/C - This vehicle has front and rear a/c - I recently replaced the dashboard control unit ($113), the rear fan switch ($35), and the front blower motor ($75). Although the system is properly charged and in excellent condition, it will not keep the vehicle cool when sitting still, even when out of gear.

General Comments:

I use this vehicle for a delivery business, as did the previous owner. The original owner used it as a personal family vehicle, and sold it to the previous owner with 65,000 miles in 2001. The ergonomics of the front driver/passenger area are the worst I have ever encountered. It would seem the interior and exterior of this vehicle were designed for two different vehicles from two different car companies. The engine is original and runs very strong. I get 21 mpg at 70 mph on the highway (no a/c on), 17 or so around town (w/ a/c on). From a practicality point of view (cargo capacity, mpg) it is a better delivery vehicle than the Dodge Dakotas I used before, but sitting in this thing for long periods of time actually hurts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd April, 2006

1997 GMC Safari SLT 4.3L V6 from North America


Got more miles from this AWD GMC than expected


Electrical stuff has died - both electric window motors, fuel pump, gas gauge, A/C controls, CD player replaced.

Early on, seemed to eat brakes and rotors with all that weight on front end.

Seems to get knocked out of alignment easily.

Front diff. leaked in year 2, but fixed at dealer under warranty and no problem since.

Rebuilt transmission needed at 145,000.

Rear heat died at about 150,000.

Both front and rear A/C still work although some of the controls are a little uncooperative.

Leather on driver's seat ripping at 170,000 - all others holding up including 3 dogs in car regularly.

Side windows useless for air flow.

General Comments:

4 capt. chairs comfortable over long hauls (pass side front could use more leg room). 3rd seat weighs a ton and pain to remove.

Surprisingly, body and under carriage has held up very well. Also still have all original exhaust on car.

Pulled several different utility and car trailers (max rated at 5000 lbs) and it pulls with no problem.

The many interior lights combined with kids provide ample opportunity to kill batteries on regular basis.

Religious oil changes at 3000 miles and regular replacement of all fluids help get this to 175000 miles and counting without any oil leaks or burning of oil.

I thought combining American made quality along with AWD and minivan I would only get 100,000 miles from this van. I've been pleased to get close to 175,000 and routinely still take it on 500+ mile trips.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th July, 2005

11th Jan 2006, 23:30

I've driven the last of 145,000 miles of a total of 203,469 before my dad paid $1200 for a used vortec 4.3 to be installed, I love this van and drive it for work on construction sites every day of the week and am very happy at how little down time it has given me, but now at 207,506 miles the front differential is making a bad noise and even though the A/C lasted 196,000 miles I can't suggest putting any more money into this van. The suspension is just odd now even with brand new shocks. GMC really got it right when they mated their vortec 4.3 with AWD and this utilitarian van. I feel I got more than my money's worth driving this vehicle for work over the last 8 years, but everything is consistently breaking now, including: window controls, rear hatch release, glove box latch, wiper sprayer, rear defrost and the service engine soon light always draws many questions. When your van goes let her go gracefully and sell while she's still worth something...