Pontiac Montana

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Auto Defects > Pontiac

January 2000

Dear GM Minivan Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your General Motors (GM) Minivan. CAS has received thousands of complaints on defects such as stalling, brake problems, engine failure, transmission breakdowns, and door malfunctions.

Safety defects top the list of problems on GM's Minivans. Crash protection is inferior on the Astro/Safari. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 35-mph frontal crash tests, the 1996-98 models produced a 25% and 34% chance of life threatening injury for driver and passenger respectively. Earlier models were even worse with drivers of 1985-92 Astro/Safari vans having a 78-96% chance of death or serious injury in a 35-mph frontal crash while passengers fared little better at 61-86%. The Chevrolet Lumina APV, Venture, Oldsmobile Silhouette, and Pontiac Transport/Montana, while doing well in NHTSA's 35-mph frontal crash, had poor crash occupant protection in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 40-mph frontal offset crash test.

In July 1999, GM announced it would conduct a "special policy" service recall to modify antilock braking systems (ABS) on 2.4 million sport-utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and vans including the 1992-95 Astro and Safari vans. Door malfunctions have plagued GM Minivans. The sliding doors and liftgates on all of the minivans have had serious defects. GM issued a special return program, GM Bulletin (33-10-55A), for defective power sliding side doors in October 1993, for the 1993-94 Lumina APV, TransSport, and Silhouette. This program was in effect through August 31, 1994. You may be able to still get GM to fix your defective power sliding door for free if you were not notified or if you take GM to small claims court. At CAS' request, GM has agreed to pay for complete repainting for paint peel or delamination through six years and unlimited mileage, but in March 1995, GM cut this back to 5 years.

You'll find more information on these and other GM Minivan defects below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against GM on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

GM MINIVAN DEFECT FACT SHEET
Chevrolet Astro Lumina APV Venture, Pontiac Trans Sport Montana, GMC Safari, Oldsmobile Silhouette
Technical Service Bulletins are indicated in brackets below

Automatic Transmission: Astro, Safari: delayed engagement, 1995-96 (67-71-48); transmission leak/replace transmission, 1996 (57-71-24); transfer case exchange program for AWD, 1989-93 (06-74-01); rattling noise on accl/trans. in 3rd gear, 1993-94 (56-65-01). Lum/TP, Silhouette, Venture: intermittent neutral/loss of drive, 1995-97 (67-71-64); transmission fluid leak, 1995-96 (57-71-26B); cold start rattle, 1991-97 (57-71-06A); grinding/growling noise in park on incline, 1992-95 (57-71-13); transmission fluid seeps around clamps, 1992-94 (53-71-01); new drive link assembly, 1993-94 (37-71-07A); 2nd gear vibration @ 3-5000 rpm, 1991-93 (37-71-38A); harsh upshifts, 1991-94 (47-71-02); intermittent loss of drive/erratic shifts, 1991-94 (47-71-21).

Body/Electrical: Astro, Safari: rear window washer fluid spray, 1996-98 (76-82-11); (AWD) fluid leak near front, 1997-98 (86-43-06A); unintended release of rear hatch, 1994-96 (66-90-03); rear cargo door hinge binds, 1988-97 (36-10-14B); sliding door window may self-release, 1985-94 (76-15-02); inoperative speedometer/vehicle shifts down to 2nd gear, 1993-94 (46-82-03A); rear end gate window releases w/o activation, 1992-94 (46-82-04); erratic gauge & MIL operation, 1993-95 (56-82-03); stepper motor on cruise control will not resume, 1994-95 (56-90-02A); seat belt inoperative after child seat use/power seat blows fuse, 1989-90 (90-413-10); sliding door effort, 1989-91 (91-253-10); power lock diagnosis, 1985-87 (87-T-17); bench seat squeak/rattle, 1985-90 (91-179-10); antenna wind noise/replacement, 1985-93 (26-15-11). Lum: wipers will not turn off, 1995-96 (73-82-04). Lumina APV, Trans Sport, Silhouette, Venture: inoperative power locks, 1991-97 (63-10-14B); rattle from 2nd & 3rd seats, 1994-96 (73-16-07); remote keyless entry range inadequate, 1997-98 (73-90-09A); w/s wiper blade chatter, 1997-98 (83-82-05); high effort to sound horn, 1997-98 (83-82-04); loose lumber noise from rear, 1997-98 (73-34-06); intermittent electrical conditions, 1992-95 (23-81-06); p/ sliding door may not open, 1993-95. 1994-95 (63-10-30, 53-10-25); front window inoperative/jumps, 1990-95 (63-10-24); windnoise at roof , 1990-94 (53-15-21); excess fuel gauge movement, 1994-96 (63-83-10); gradual loss of power/low voltage reading, 1993-95 (43-81-41); battery runs down, 1993-95 (53-12-02); partial rear wipe/wash, 1990-91 (91-205-8E); sliding door problems, 1990-91 (91-41-10, 90-381-10); p/ sliding door return program, 1993-94 (33-10-55A); loss of locking feature in liftgate, 1992-94 (33-10-68). All: aluminum wheel refinishing, 1990-95, 1991-96 (53-01-01, 53-17-03A), fuel sensor replacement procedure, 1997-98 (83-83-07); fuel gauge responds slowly, 1996-97 (73-83-15); Delco audio exchange, 1996 & Prior (62-96-01).

Brakes: Astro, Safari: power brake feel, 1985-88 (88-346-5); front noise, 1985-89 (89-164-5); anti-lock misdiagnosis, 1988-89 (89-113-5). Lumina APV, Trans Sport, Silhouette, Venture: clicking/squeaking front brakes, 1997-98 (73-50-11A); ABS diagnostic assistance & parts return program,1992-97 (31-50-13C); rear brake freeze-up in cold weather, 1992-93 (93-37-5); ABS light on, 1991-97 (73-50-26).

Engine/Driveability: 3.1 V6: fuel tank thud/clunk, 1990-95 (43-63-03); right axle oil seal leaks, 1992-94 (47-71-33); cold engine tick or rattle, 1990-94 (47-61-15); squeak noise in front of van, 1990-94 (23-66-02A); knock in front of engine, 1992-94 (30-60-01); miss/hesitation, 1987-93 (92-T-117 & 376517); poor driveability , 1994-98 (77-63-04A). 3.4 V6: fuel tank thud/clunk, 1990-95 (43-63-03) &1997-98 (83-63-16); cold engine tick or rattle, 1994-95 (57-61-24A); ticking in ambient temp, 1997-98 (87-63-02); poor driveability, 1994-98 (77-63-04A). 3.8 V6: continuous spark or excess oil use, 1993-95 (57-61-13); coolant leak, 1993-95 (57-61-04); oil leak at oil pan sealing flange, 1995-97 (77-61-22); 4.3 V6: premature main bearing failure, 1996-98 (87-61-22); accessory drive belt noise, 1996-98 (77-60-02); engine doesn't start, 1993-94 (56-63-05A); cold engine knock, 1990-94 (37-61-05A); valvetrain/lifter noise, 1992-93 (37-60-06); blue smoke on start-up, 1985-93 (37-65-14); oil pressure gauge, 1991-94 (47-61-49); (AWD) engine noise, 1994-97 (67-61-14B); GM Goodwrench remanufactured engine, 1994 (77-61-23); rear oil leak diagnosis/crankshaft replacement, 1987-88 (88-10, 88-59-6A); hesitation/low power/rough engine, 1993-95 (67-65-37); no upshift, 1995-96 (57-65-08A); (AWD) rough idle after start, 1996-98 (87-65-07A); driveability/exhaust odor, 1987-88 (88-235-6E); lack of power/hesitation, 1992-93 (93-289-6A). All: engine hard or no start, 1992-96 (66-63-09); low voltage/dim lights, 1990-95 (43-64-07); all 2.5, 3.1, 3.8, 4.3 Chevy/GMC engine overheats, 1990-95 (56-62-01).

Other: Astro, Safari: insufficient heat to drivers side & cold air, 1996-97 (66-11-04A); insufficient A/C , 1994-95 (63-12-16); front seatbelt too short, 1992-93 (36-10-11). Lumina APV, Trans Sport, Silhouette, Venture: no A/C or cooling, 1992-93 (93-208-1A). All: tire replacement, all years (60-05-01A); contaminated A/C refrigerant, 1994 & prior (43-12-23); A/C odor on start up in humid climates, 1993-96 (53-12-12A); exterior lamp condensation, 1993-97 (63-82-06); headlight lens distortion, 1996 & Prior (63-81-11).

Paint: Paint peels due to omission of primer layer. For more info., go to GM Paint. All: bumps or rust colored spots in paint, 1994-99 (43-17-01B).

Steering/Suspension: Astro, Safari: reduced p/s, 1994 & prior (03-32-06); p/s gear hiss, 1985-93 (36-32-01). Lumina APV, Trans Sport, Silhouette, Venture: steering wheel wobble 1990-91 (91-376-3B). All: intermittent steering column snap or click, 1994-96 (56-32-02B).

MAJOR SAFETY RECALLS
Copies of recalls can be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Automatic Transmission: 38,540 1998 Venture, Trans Sport, Silhouette - broken shift cable (98V-131).

Engine/Fuel System: 6,772 1995 Lumina APV, Trans Sport - throttle sticks open (95V-214). 3,037 1995 Astro, Safari - loose fuel lines (94V-188); 235 2000 Montana, Silhouette, Venture - Inoperative fuel tank rollover valve (99V-268).

Seat Belts: 1,238 1994 Lumina APV, Venture, Trans Sport, Silhouette - retractors allow rear lapbelt extension (93V-212). 157,740 1992-93 Lumina APV, Venture, Trans Sport, Silhouette - rear belts lockup on pulling (94V-027). 22,862 1994 Lumina APV, Venture, Trans Sport, Silhouette - retractor lock up on less than 15º slope (94V-015). 5,294 1993-94 Lumina APV, Silhouette - 2nd row right side belt retracts improperly (94V-100). 18,972 1996-97 Astro, Safari - outboard belt on right rear bucket seat separates in crash (97V-057). 2,090 1996-98 Astro, Safari - retractor clutch &/or pawl spring missing in integrated child seats (99V-009).

Seats: 1985-91 Astro, Safari - seat back suddenly reclines (93V-187). 125,990 1997-98 Venture, Silhouette - seat latch injures finger (98V-145).

Steering/Brakes: 26,741 1985 Astro, Safari - steering gear housing attachment breaks (85V-160). 6,523 1995 Lumina APV, Venture, Trans Sport, Silhouette - brake pedal breaks (95V-048); 55,154 1997-98 Venture, Silhouette, Trans Sport - w/s wiper linkage wears holes in brake line (98V-072); 55 1999 Venture, Montana, Silhouette - steering shaft separation (99V-071).

Other: 95,897 1990-91 Sil, Trans Sport - glove compartment door opens (92V-012). 676,535 1990-91 Lumina APV, Venture, Trans Sport, Silhouette - rear cradle bolts on subframe pull through (97V-058).

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