2001 GMC Safari SLT 3.8L from North America


A handy vehicle to have


I took my van to the local GMC shop for a "loyalty" oil change and 27 point safety inspection at 55400 miles. They did the oil change and inspection, and said the brake rotors were very rusty, but that was the only problem. I had the front brakes replaced & rotors turned based on that report.

600 miles later I tried getting my van NYS inspected. They (another local shop) said both idler arms would not pass inspection. Thinking they just wanted to stick it to me and wondering why or how they could have gone bad in 600 miles, I returned to my GMC dealer for another 27 point safety inspection, with questions of how and why did these idler arms go bad in 600 miles?? Now they have agreed they are unable to pass inspection and wanted $400.00+ to replace them.

I replaced them myself for under $100.00 But my warning is that the dealer told me they do not check these items on a 27 point safety inspection! So how many others believe their auto is in GREAT shape after getting a GM Good-Wrench safety inspection??

Here I was driving around in a vehicle deemed safe when the idler arms could have failed at any moment!.

Maybe the GM 27 point safety report should suggest that the owner go and get another opinion!

General Comments:

The van has been a great vehicle, with plenty of room. It is not too bad on gas. However, don't always trust your dealers service dept.

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

Review Date: 6th July, 2007

2001 GMC Safari SLT Vortec V6 from North America


Love them!!!


Idler arms at ~ 80,000 Km.

Front shocks at ~ 90,000 Km. (had all 4 shocks replaced.)

Front drive shaft at ~ 120,000 Km. (Broken C/V joint, during extremely cold weather.)

EGR valve at ~ 100,000 Km.

Engine oil cooler hoses at ~ 165,000 Km.

Ball joints just starting to show play at 184,000 Km. (I had them ALL replaced.)

General Comments:

This is my fifth Safari. I learned a lot about these models from my earlier units as well as from several friends who also own them.

I lived in Northern BC and their durability and winter handling is quite remarkable as long as they are maintained properly.

Like most vehicles in my experience, they have some flaws. However, I have learned how to eliminate most of them.

Front end components (idler arms and ball joints). The factory components do not seem to last very well, especially if the vehicle is not maintained properly. Using MOOG components here will solve these problem areas in my experience.

Tires have been no problem for me because as soon as the stock ones wear out, I replace them with Nokian Hakkapalita tires (in 215/70R15 size) and gain excellent tire life as well as considerably improved handling from the unidirectional tread pattern. (Size change makes speedometer read 3 KMH high at 100 KMH.)

When the front shocks started to go, I had all four replaced with Monroe shocks, using their SensaTrac units in front and their BEST Reflex gas-filled shocks for the rears. This also resulted in a considerable handling advantage.

I have discovered that switching to Bosch Platinum +4 plugs actually allowed the engine to run better and gave improved mileage (why, I do not know, but it has held true on two of my friends' GMC's also).

After trying one on my third Safari, I also always use K&N air filters to improve both performance and mileage.

I use only Castrol Syntec synthetic oil at every oil change - using 5W30 in the winter and changing to 5W50 in the summer to benefit from the increased viscosity in the hot weather.

Finally, although I did not list this as a failure because I have had reasonable wear out of the stock ones, I always use Monroe brake pads & shoes for maximum life as well as improved braking efficiency.

The result of these changes is that this van still runs like new and handles better than it did off the showroom floor.

My only regret, now that I know how to solve the minor weaknesses that I have experienced is that GM has discontinued a vehicle that has no equivalent in any other manufacturer's lineup.

It might be of interest for others to know that my fourth van (also an AWD SLE model - 1998), with all of these changes is still in use by one of my friends, now has over 350,000 Km. on it and is still running quite reliably.

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

Review Date: 29th May, 2006