fluid changes on old 2000, 1500 savana van? - GMC Savana Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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fluid changes on old 2000, 1500 savana van?

Its been one thing after another on this old Se 1500 Savana van, at its age, but looks clean, no rust top or underside, and few miles! Drives and handles like a dream! I love driving it!

The problem, since I bought it 5 months ago, its needed, fuel pump, fuel filter, starter, belt tensioner ass'y, coolant leaks! I'm afraid to drive too far from home, since having to have it towed twice for repairs in such a short amount of time, owning it!! Its getting a little costly yet I only paid $1,000 for it from relative and is why I'm trying to keep it healthy lol. So as long as it just needs minor maintenance, I'm fine with that, since we're retired and we'll just drive it locally. But I still want to keep up with the services like fluid changes and such.

My question is: could Trans, coolant changes cause problems of loosening rust/scale/crust, that might clog system? Only 89,000 which means its been sitting a lot since 2000. Should I bother with those fluids changes, and if so would you recommend me tackling it myself, My service manual doesn't warn caution against owner doing these fluid changes. i'm pretty handy, but with all the flushes and pressure needed to thoroughly dissolve/eliminate/flush out unwanted crud in system, is that wise for me to do? or would it be better to leave it go, or try to do one and not the other.... or have it serviced by dealer or transmission specialist? I've read where removing trans fluid, even professionally, replacing with newer fluids, might cause problems in itself? I'm so lost trying to figure out the right path here, and was hoping one of you might have a better solution, or have done some of these services yourselves.
Really appreciate your opinion
Thanks, Steve
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 06:49 PM
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I don't think I would hesitate to change all the fluids.
Brake fluid can be flushed by yourself by bleeding the brakes with a hose from the nipple into a clear jar. Upend a container of brake fluid in the brake fluid reservoir and it will self-fill as needed. Start at the furthest wheel from the master cylinder and pump until the fluid comes out clean. Then the next nearest wheel and so on.

I would pull the tranny pan and replace the filter and gasket. Buy a case of good ATF. Refill with fresh ATF. Add one additional quart. Disconnect the return line from the radiator and use a hose to direct it's output into gallon clear container. Start and run the engine while you WATCH the car container. When the container has about 3 quarts in it - shut off the engine and put three fresh quarts into the tranny. Start the engine and repeat. When the fluid coming into the clear contain comes out clear - you're done.

I would change the oil in the rear axle too.

I used to work for Mobil Oil - Research, and I am a fully convinced advocate of synthetic oils.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Charles Edward View Post
I don't think I would hesitate to change all the fluids.
Brake fluid can be flushed by yourself by bleeding the brakes with a hose from the nipple into a clear jar. Upend a container of brake fluid in the brake fluid reservoir and it will self-fill as needed. Start at the furthest wheel from the master cylinder and pump until the fluid comes out clean. Then the next nearest wheel and so on.

I would pull the tranny pan and replace the filter and gasket. Buy a case of good ATF. Refill with fresh ATF. Add one additional quart. Disconnect the return line from the radiator and use a hose to direct it's output into gallon clear container. Start and run the engine while you WATCH the car container. When the container has about 3 quarts in it - shut off the engine and put three fresh quarts into the tranny. Start the engine and repeat. When the fluid coming into the clear contain comes out clear - you're done.

I would change the oil in the rear axle too.

I used to work for Mobil Oil - Research, and I am a fully convinced advocate of synthetic oils.
I am sooo ashamed/apologize and admit....I've been away from this Forum since last visiting in 2019, which also was my only posting/asking advice, since joining 11/19 when I first bought this 2000 Savana van 1500 5.7 !

I asked questions then about ways to keep my Van healthy just after buying used, and never returning back here, assuming there was no response, my ignorance, got caught up with many other home projects n other vehicles to work on! I also think (what might have happened....in my defence lol) where I might not have received an Email notification? Sorry if that were the reason!!

Thanks for the advice Mr Edward, I have spent weeks on line/You Tubeing, day n night, with very little help, asking how to totally flush out Trans w/ new filter/oil! I almost gave up, then after waking up this morning, ready to throw in the towel, and have a Trans Shop do it for me, then decided to give it one last try at finding another Forum....THIS ONE lol then shockingly discovering you had answered my question in great professional detail way back then, on how to fully flush out the system until clean n clear!! That's exactly the main service procedure I was looking for, and it was here all along!

Just a few quick questions, please, before I attempt the trans fluid n filter job! Things I saw/read/thought about comments/procedures this last couple weeks.
#1 question: I have no drain plug on pan, but on You Tube, seen where it was added by using a shallow/short 1/2'' sheet metal screw, drilled into the bottom of the pan, near the front, drivers side, or in the indent that must be designed that way for a drain plug, that he used to drain fluid by unscrewing it after installing it, with fluid still in pan, eliminating the nasty spills from emptying from the top of the pan! But for some reason, GM eliminated adding the drain bolt, maybe as a cost savings? Is that a safe way to help drain pan? Then after dropping the pan cleaning it, then resecuring the bolt back with threadlocker Blue, to be use for future servicing/draining? Took pic of pan from internet showing drain bolt in pan indent, but would it be better not to tap there but next to it instead, getting a better/more complete drain from the very bottom of pan, and a little further down from trans tender underside?

My trans fluid is on the pretty side of lite Pink, lol Not dark, and not too thin, pretty oily to the touch, feeling between finger/thumb, but vehicle has 90k mi's on an elderly 2000 yr. model and unknown when or if ever changed? Its reading barely 1/4 '' on tip of dipstick with engine hot, after a long ride. Is that too hot to ck fluid? When trying to read it cold, there's so much fluid covering the full length of the stick, from it grabbing fluid from tube walls, that it's unreadable. Question about that: could I eliminate the dipstick and plug the top of the trans inlet, where the tube fits into trans, in order to fill, and check the fluid level better there, from under the van, know knowing the proper level is at the gasket depth in pan, hope that's correct? I dug a 5'' deep trench in driveway in order to scoot comfortably under the van for repairs/cleaning/inspections. This van is so heavy it's nearly impossible to jack it up high enough to be able to ''just barely'' squeeze in there lol Plus this keeps the van and fluids level!
Best thing I have ever done for servicing vehicles, was the gravel driveway trench excavation!!! In comparison, My E250 is so much higher profile, I never need to raise it for most servicing! Love both vans! Normally use the Ford van as Toy Hauler/Camper for Polaris Sportsman ATV on several long trips out a year.

#2 question: if fluid looks the right color and no burnt smell....in your opinion....possibly just add more fluid till it reads mid way to full on the stick? This was a comment left, to be safer not to over fill, but ck often, after refilling, for awhile?

I bought 11 qt's of fluid/deep pan style filter (Autozone recommended Castrol Transmax Dex/Merc) Is that ok? I don't mind exchanging for another type if advised! If that's fine, just to add enough to top off? and would it mix well with whatever fluid is in there?

Thanks for advice already given, and in advance for needed info at this time!
Steve Grinke
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