Available options for Savana conversion chassis ?

I'm interested in a GMC 1500 Savana Conversion, 5300 engine, 3.42 rear axle ratio. We may be towing a 4000 trailer. There are some options listed on gmc's web site for the conversion van that I'd like
clarification on. These are found on the www.gmc.com web site under Savana Conversion Van at the bottom of the page, then clicking on "see all features & options or get the specifications".
"Features and options - interior features" lists Defogger, rear-window, electric as being an option. Can this be obtained along with the heated outside side mirrors (which come standard) ? My conversion rep says no, something about the electrical system cannot supply enough current for both.
Can the external transmission oil cooler (option code V-14) be obtained with this engine ?
Can the locking rear heavy duty differential (option code G80) be obtained ?
The 1500 passenger van lists a GVWR rating of 7200 lbs (option code C5Z) as being available. I believe the standard rating is 6200 lbs. Is this available for this conversion van ? If so, what is changed on the van to obtain this higher rating - handling, suspension ?
Option Codes lists 9R5 as Suspension, rear multi-leaf. What is this ?
Two packages are listed, 1SC and 1SD. What is the difference ?
What is the YF1 RV Package ?
Thanks,
Steve
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Inline

Nope. I was told it was because of the upfitters using more juice in the interior and that most of the time the rear window isn't used due to curtains. (I can tell you that I have the curtains and heavy tint on the rear windows, you can see through them but only during a bright day)

Should be available, I know mine has the factory oil and trans coolers,plus and aux. cooler for the trans.

It can be BUT it is known for grenading itself, so I would suggest not getting it. But it's your choice.

Conversions generally are rated higher than the base van, they need the heavier suspension because of all the added weight of the conversion materials. I would also say that since you plan on towing with it you should start with a 2500 instead of the 1500. That way you can up the GVW and get a good transmission as well.

Just multi-leaf rear springs. Some are built with coil springs others are standard leaf springs.

1SD has more options, lighted visor mirrors, leather steering wheel, aluminum rims, remote entry. BUT a lot of those are also available as options from the upfitter as well.

A few extras due to it being an RV instead of a standard van. It includes a power block in the back and a seperate fuse panel and other items get relocated so the upfitter has power and room to work.

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I currently drive a mini-van with sun tinted rear window and find its defroster useful. No plans for curtains on this van's windows. So no way to get both heated side mirrors and read window ? With a heavy duty alternator, I'd think there'd be enough supply to power the few extra lights the conversion has.

Apparently only available with 6 L engine (and standard on it). http://www.gmc.com/gmcjsp/savana/specs_mechanical.jsp?vehicle=savanaconversion

How does one become aware of such issues - hang out in the newsgroups ? Is there info describing such things somewhere ?

I see conversions listed with and without the 7200 rating.
This would be the heavy duty version of the Hydra-Matic (code MT1) ?

Multi-leaf rear springs are standard. Would coil be desirable if towing ?
What's the Trailering Special Equipment package with weight ditributing trailing hitch platform ? Is it a platform or an actual hitch ? Better to get an after-market hitch ?
Steve
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Yeah you would think so but they want to make sure I guess. On my van if you add up all the lights and TV and VDP and the stereo plus the valance lights and reading and center lights the power couch your looking at about 40 amps just in add-ons. I would think it would be OK but they may be just making sure.

http://www.gmc.com/gmcjsp/savana/specs_mechanical.jsp?vehicle=savanaconversion
Then have a dealer add it before you take delivery, Believe me you need more cooling than just the standard cooler if your towing. Heat is what kills a trans faster than anything else.

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Well known if you do any service work on GM vehicles, also if you want more opinions about it just post a message asking about the G80 optional diff in alt.trucks.chevy. They just don't seem to hold up in a vehicle that actually gets used.

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Yeah it depends a lot on how it was ordered. The lower rated ones should not be used for towing because the brakes are not really able to handle it. Mine is a 2500 set up for heavy use and has an 8600 rating. The drawback with the heavy springs is that the ride is just a bit stiffer, but it also handles the wind and winding roads better.

Yes, that is the 4L80-E trans. Much better for towing than the 4L60-E and lasts a lot longer as well. The 60 has a nasty habit of breaking internally when actually used as a truck transmission.

this ?

Not really much difference, about the only thing a coil has an advantage on is if a spring were to break. On a leaf spring the leaves also align the axle and if (only seen it once on an abused truck) the top leaf were to break the axle will shift. On a coil system the axle is located with control arms. Ride wise they are about the same.

It is a regular receiver hitch unit bolted to the frame, they used to be Reese but I'm not sure if they still are.

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Steve W. wrote:

Hi,
They both are very good transmissions -- GM makes some of the best transmission in use. I believe that Rolls Royce uses, or did use, a GM transmission.
The 4L60-E (M30/M31) is a very good transmission and is used in huge range of vehicles from Corvettes and Hummer H2s to the 2500 series Sierras. Some specs:
Maximum Engine Torque: 360 lb-ft (M30) (As found in Corvette) 380 lb-ft (M32)
Maximum Gearbox Torque: 670 lb-ft (M32) 610 lb-ft (M30)
Converter Size: 245mm, 280mm, 298mm & 300mm (M30) 300mm (M32) (reference) (Diameter of torque converter turbine)
Fluid Capacity (Approximate): Dry: 7.9L (8.4 qt) (with 245 mm converter) Dry: 10.8L (11.4 qt) (with 300 mm converter)
Case Material: Die Cast Aluminum
Assembly Site: Toledo, OH Romulus, MI Ramos, Mexico
APPLICATIONS Chevrolet S-10 GMC Sonoma Chevrolet Blazer Chevrolet Trailblazer GMC Jimmy GMC Envoy Olds Bravada 1500 - 2500 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup and Chassis Cab GMC Sierra Denali GMC Yukon XL Denali GMC Yukon Denali Chevrolet Tahoe GMC Yukon Cadillac Escalade Cadillac EXT Chevrolet Avalanche Chevrolet Suburban GMC Yukon XL Chevrolet Express GMC Savana Chevrolet Astro GMC Safari Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet SSR HUMMER 2
The 4L80-E (MT1) is a stronger transmission, generally is used in the 2500 and 3500 series, but shifts more like a truck transmission. Some specs:
Maximum Engine Torque: 440 lb-ft (MT1) 460 lb-ft (MN8)
Maximum Gearbox Torque: 885 lb-ft
Converter Size: 310mm (reference) (Diameter of torque converter turbine)
Fluid Capacity (Approximate): Bottom Pan Removal: 4.0L - 6.0L (4.2 qt - 6.3 qt)
Case Material: Die Cast Aluminum
Assembly Site: Ypsilanti, MI      APPLICATIONS Chevrolet Avalanche (MN8) 2500 HD & 3500 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL (MT1/MN8) Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana (MT1)
I think the MT1 is a better choice for serious towing, but the M30 shifts more smoothly (it gets used in Cadillacs as well). If one has noticed more M30s needing service, it could be due in part to the vastly greater number of them in use as well as the more rugged nature of the MT1.
Last year I bought a new 2003 1500 cargo van with the 4.3L, M30, rack and pinion steering (standard), and 7,200 lb GVW (the 7,200 GVW option was about $50 for the 1,500). For a cargo van (lighter than a conversion), it leaves about a 2,500 lb payload, which is plenty for me.
If one goes to a 2500 series, it has a 2,736 lb payload, MT1 and recirculating ball steering. If you are doing serious towing, than I would think about the 2500 series -- the price is very, very close between the two series.
However, if you are doing a good deal of "normal driving," I would consider seriously the 7,200 lb GVW 1500. It shifts "like a Cadillac,' and steers like it has rack and pinion (well, it does have rack and pinion). The ride also is more pleasant and is less likely to result in squeaks and rattles one gets from driving around in an overly stiffly sprung truck while unloaded/empty.
The 2500's typically come with a 3.73 or 4.10 rear axle while the 1500's come with a 3.42 or a 3.73. Again, here the trade off will be towing/hauling ability versus gas mileage and engine speed/wear.
As you go from the 1500 to the 3500 series, they just get heavier duty and more "truck-like," and there are very real costs and benefits to becoming more truck-like.
I only have had my Savana for about 14 months now, but it is a treat to drive. As of 2003, all models all have much larger four wheel disc ABS brakes that work great, and a tow/haul switch on the dash that reprograms the transmission into a later shifting, higher revving mode that makes it feel like you dropped the rear axle ratio by a half click. The tow/haul mode ought to also take a good deal of torque load off the M30 when hauling or towing, and lead to greater longevity.
Either way you go, I don't think you will regret a new Savana/Express.
The 2003 and 2004 models are very good vehicles. You might want to read the marketing blurbs:
http://www.gmfleet.com/us/about/news/articles/030202d.html http://media.gm.com:8221/division/2003_prodinfo/03_gmc/03_savana/index.html
In 2003, they went through a major resdesign -- the 2004's are pretty much the same vehicle.
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Oh, I just wanted to add that while the van was only a few weeks old (1,800 miles on the odometer), I checked the gas mileage on a high speed drive (mostly 75+ miles per hour) from Los Angeles to Monterey, and it averaged 20.2 MPG over the 800 mile drive -- I was very, very pleased as it was not even broken in, and is not the most, ahem, aerodynamic vehicle to be driving 80 MPH. ;)
I have not checked it since, but I believe that a 1500 series can average 20 MPG on the highway. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs 4,700 lbs empty and has a 2,500 lb payload.
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So the 7200 rating is more than beefier suspension to handle the extra weight. It also has larger brakes to stop the extra weight ? I have to say again - how does a customer learn of these details ? No dealer or conversion rep I've spoken with has any knowledge of this. Frustating to someone trying to learn before buying.
We would tow a 4000 lb trailer and its gear max. Occasional (1 or 2 week trip, once a year perhaps) towing in mountains. Live in flat Michigan otherwise. I don't care if I'm the first one up the mountain, so I don't mind if the vehicle won't pull it fast as long it's not strained/stressed to the point of damage going slow. Most of the vehicle's use will be non-loaded driving. We've pulled pop-up trailers with minivans (2500 lb with a 3.3L and a 4000 lb with towing pkg 3.8L) and were satisfied with that. So would a 1500 5.4L with 3.42 rear (for better overall gas mileage) be ok (taking advantage of the tow/haul mode) ? The 12/16 mpg of the 2500 with its 6.0L seems a big price to pay for such occasional benefit. Dirtbeard, your 20 mpg would be welcomed.
All's we're really after in a conversion is 4 captain's chairs. Just want buckets in the middle row. GM doesn't offer that anymore. Anyway to purchase a passenger van and have such seats installed ? That's be a way to get heated side mirrors and rear defrost for example. Upfitters aren't interested in that due to liability concerns since the vehicle hasn't been crash tested in that configuration.
Any idea of the dealer cost for the chassis with YF1 RV package ?
Steve
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