GM isn't so bad!

Messages
694
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
Introducing my 2001 Pontiac Montana(the one on the right). The other is also an 01 but not the focus of this thread.  - And here's why I think alot of GM's products arn't as bad as some people make them out to be:  - That's 608,000km or 377,000 miles! A little history on this vehicle: -bought new in late 2000, immediately put into service as a taxi in my fleet. -0-250,000km: mostly city driving. 5000km OCI with dino+WIX filters. Service performed by my mechanic. -trans flushed every 50k with dino ATF -250k-present: mostly hiway driving. 40,000km OCI with XD3 0w30 and Amsoil BMK-13 bypass kit. -Amsoil ATF installed along with a BE-90 bypass filter. ATF and filter changed once at 450k. All other fluids changed every 100k. Parts that are factory original: -engine -trans -radiator, condensor and fans -windshield -cat-back exhaust -alternator -PS pump -a/c compressor -water pump -all tensioners and idlers -steering rack -O2 sensors -PCV valve -heater motor and core I could list alot more but basically anything you wouldn't think of as a wear item has not been replaced. She's alwyas made it home safe, never been on a tow hook! Parts that were replaced once: -ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, shocks, struts @300k -brake calipers @ 500k -axles @450k -fuel pump @300k (never failed, replaced as preventative maintenance) -catalytic converter @250k -intake gaskets(duh!) @160k Stuff that sucked(to be fair) -some actuator for the windshield defrost that cost $800 in labor to replace. -wheel bearings that cost $450 each! They're much cheaper now though. -ABS harnesses strung underneath like christmas lights. I fixed broken wires a couple times and then cured the problem forever with a piece of electrical tape over the ABS light in the dash...lol! -power window regulators made out of tin foil. After a couple replacements, I went in with my mig welder and reinforced them. No problems since. -all the crappy plastic trim that always breaks. -replaced the thermostat several times and it's not an easy job. -I'd like to slap the engineer who made the air filter, oil filter, battery, rear spark plugs, headlight bulbs and many other things difficult to service. I've done all of them so many times now that I find it easy but the first few times are a nightmare. This van is still in my fleet doing 1000km/day. Still runs like a champ, gets the same fuel mileage as new and consumes about 1L of oil/10,000km. She'll be going into semi-retirement at the end of the month though. I budget for 500k on these vans so this one doesn't owe me anything. It'll stay in my fleet for the next 12-18 months as a spare/backup vehicle incase one of the others breaks down or gets in an accident and can't be repaired for several days. None of my other 4 vans have this high of mileage yet but so far, no issues have popped up except the ones listed above. I'm not a GM fanatic, just a fan of stuff that does it's job cheaply and reliably. Considering I can now buy these at auction(just off lease) for $10k CDN, I'll probably keep using them for the next several years.
 
Messages
13,233
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
It's nice to here your success. My father-in-law had purchaced new, a '99 Venture,(same vehicle). By 70,000 miles, couldn't wait to trade it in. Had more problems. Water pump at 55,000 miles. Water pumps and lower maintenance were the whole reason behind DexCool. Numerous interior switches(p/w, locks, outside mirrors) had gone bad. Intake manifold, wheel bearings and finally at around the 5 years and aprox 70,000 miles, the tranny was acting up, and it was serviced every 24,000 miles by the dealer. In 2004, he purchaced another new Venture. This one is worst than the '99! Squeeks and rattles, switches again, horns don't work, rear wiper quite and it aint the fuse. And this is only the begining. Glad to here about your success though! I see alot of these vehicles on the road so I know that someone is having good luck. A friend of mine has an '03 OLDS version of the same vehicle. Not much better! Rides terrable and is loud on the highway where it is used the most.
 

olympic

Thread starter
Messages
694
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
I did replace the drivers side window switch, but not long ago and it was just plain worn out from use. No other switch or electrical problems have come up. I know the factory wheel bearings arn't as good as they should be, but I'm getting 200-300,000km out of them. Only had one fail sooner. But whatever brand my mechanic has been replacing them with seem better. Squeeks and rattles are always annoying but there's some things you can do to reduce them. Apply silicone spray to all the window/door weatherstripping to reduce squeeks. Adjust the latches and stops on doors/rear hatch to stop rattles. Tighten screws on interior panels, etc. The rear hatch on this van rattled right from new. A washer under each bump stop fixed it. The trannys in these things are extremely sensetive to any dirt or wear material in the ATF. At 250k, the trans in this van was also acting up and I thought a rebuild was inevitable. Turns out the pan was full of sludge and wear material from using cheap dino ATF and T-Tech flushes(no pan drop). Once I installed Amsoil ATF and the bypass filter, everything returned to normal about 10,000km later and has been good ever since. I removed the pan at the 450k ATF change(200k on fluid) and everything was spotless.
 
Messages
9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Olympic: Very interesting post. IMO, GM has done a great job pulling themselves out of the hole they'd slipped into. They're not all the way out, and they've got looming financial problems that could spell disaster, but if they can pick their way through these, I expect only better. Products like the latest Impala, the Ecotec engine, of course the 'vette, and others demonstrate that GM is well capable of making outstanding products.
 
Messages
1,104
Location
Mobile, AL
I firmly believe that GM is STILL the worst of the US automakers. It seems to me that through all the companies that they bought such as Isuzu, Saab etc... they should have "borrowed" the best technology from each of these companies. Instead, GM ported their existing technology over to the ones they aquired effectively killing them off. [I dont know] GM has a LONG way to go to even think about becoming more than a rental car manufactuer.
 
Messages
10,836
Location
Nokesville, VA
quote:
Originally posted by Gilitar: I firmly believe that GM is STILL the worst of the US automakers.
I think Chrysler could've taken that title before Daimler bought them out.
 

vad

Messages
1,856
Location
So Cal
quote:
Originally posted by ekpolk: IMO, GM has done a great job pulling themselves out of the hole they'd slipped into.
IMO, you're mistaken. GM just hired Jay Alix of AlixPartners, a so called “distressed company financial advisor.” His firm's consulted Kmart, Dana, Enron and WorldCom. Does it ring any bell?
 
Messages
1,432
Location
Virginia
quote:
Originally posted by Char Baby: It's nice to here your success. My father-in-law had purchaced new, a '99 Venture,(same vehicle). By 70,000 miles, couldn't wait to trade it in. Had more problems. Water pump at 55,000 miles. Water pumps and lower maintenance were the whole reason behind DexCool. Numerous interior switches(p/w, locks, outside mirrors) had gone bad. Intake manifold, wheel bearings and finally at around the 5 years and aprox 70,000 miles, the tranny was acting up, and it was serviced every 24,000 miles by the dealer. In 2004, he purchaced another new Venture. This one is worst than the '99! Squeeks and rattles, switches again, horns don't work, rear wiper quite and it aint the fuse. And this is only the begining. Glad to here about your success though! I see alot of these vehicles on the road so I know that someone is having good luck. A friend of mine has an '03 OLDS version of the same vehicle. Not much better! Rides terrable and is loud on the highway where it is used the most.
He had so much luck with the '99 that he bought another one [Duh!] THIS is how GM has remained afloat so long...
 
Messages
2,435
Location
Mizzou-land
I am very satisfied with my 2005 Montana SV6 AWD, but time hasn't had her shot at it yet. I still dislike the fact that GM doesn't make a manual transmission for these things.
 
Messages
1,043
Location
Central IN
Manual transmission in a mini-van? So I assume you dislike all the other manufacturers of mini-vans also because I don't believe that ANYBODY makes an manual trans in a mini-van. [Confused]
 
Messages
3,833
Location
NEPA
My cousin had a Montana. Luckily, she had extended warranty. It was in every month for repairs, some quite expensive. It holds the distinction of being bottom of it's class in safety. I mentioned when it was for sale to another Soccer-Mom I know. (who is CLUELESS about vehicles) Montana?! she scoffed, those things are junk!(true story). For reference, I think it's best to compare to other similar vehicles, rather than compare to itself. btw- she sold it to her sister who is reporting trans failing.
 
Messages
12,385
Location
Northern CA
Olympic, I believe that rather than proving that Montana's are good vans, you have proven that careful maintenance on a small fleet by a mechanic on an owner operated fleet that knows the vehicles well makes them last a long time. Congradulations on your fleets long life, but you get at least as much credit as GM.
 
Messages
1,043
Location
Central IN
I'm a big GM fan, but even I know that GM's mini-van's aren't anything to brag about. My sister has an '03 Venture, and thankfully she hasn't had any problems with it besides warped rotors (another common problem on them). I do all of the maintenance on it for her so I keep it running good [Smile] . I consider these vans "pre-turnaround" GM. When Bob Lutz came on board back in like 2002 or something, he started to change things for the good. I'm not saying that they have fixed GM by any means. But, they are getting better. You can't turn around a company that has been dead for two decades over night...it takes time. Over the past couple years, GM has been making good strides at improving their product. Example: Impala, Avalanche/Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade, Solstice/Sky, Lucerne, STS, DTS, etc. These are vehicles that are already on the market. Some of the vehicles they have coming through the pipeline look to be great vehicles (Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Camaro, etc.) Plus, they are starting to finally make some pretty good engines and have come up with some other great technology. Example: E85 vehicles (no cost option) in both V8 & V6 engines, Active Fuel Management system (shutdown half cylinders) again in both V8 & V6 engines, two-mode hybrid system in '07, new 6-speed auto and manual tranmissions for FWD & RWD. Even though they drink a lot of gas because of their size, the new line-up of full-size SUV's continue to be class leading when it comes to MPG. Their Ecotec engines seem to be very good. And now they are introducing direct injection in the turbo version Ecotec(Solstice/Sky). Direct injection will also be added to the DOHC 3.6L V6 in eithe '07 or '08. Again, I'm not saying GM is fixed or anything like that. I just think they do deserve SOME credit for waking up after being dead for the past couple decades. I believe they are making some good changes in their products. Personally, I look forward to seeing what they come out with over the next few years.
 
Messages
10,836
Location
Nokesville, VA
quote:
Originally posted by mshu7: Their Ecotec engines seem to be very good.
I like the cartridge oil filter they have. Makes changing the oil a breeze, and it can be done without getting any oil on the engine or on my hands. Just have some newspaper ready to grab the filter off the cap with.
 

vad

Messages
1,856
Location
So Cal
quote:
Originally posted by mshu7: Again, I'm not saying GM is fixed or anything like that. I just think they do deserve SOME credit for waking up after being dead for the past couple decades.
No it wasn't dead. It was profitable! And during the SUV craze decade GM was literally swimming in money. Now it's on a brink of bankruptcy, loosing money every single month, to the tune of $10 Billion just during the last year alone. I don't know how some of you guys just refuse to accept seriousness of the situation.
 

vad

Messages
1,856
Location
So Cal
The most of the product you listed falls either into the truck/suv or the low volume niche categories. GM gambled and dumped tons of money in the supposedly easy profit segments. Not very wise decisions with today's gas prices. GM got lucky in the 90s, and as a result of that as a company has become lazier, fatter and even more arrogant. The times of easy profits are over. Can GM transform itself without going through great pains? I highly doubt that.
 
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