Life of Engine and Transmission

Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby briscomill [OP] » November 19th 2015, 6:05pm

Hi. I new to this forum. I m looking at purchasing a '97 GMC Safari cargo van with 170,000 miles. Wondering what the "average" life of these engines and transmissions might be? Are these vans known for good engine life?
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Re: Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby Big_kid » November 20th 2015, 2:11am

They're as good as the maintenance they receive. 170,000 well maintained miles are better than 70,000 miles of neglect.

My 95 has 178K on it, and I have no intent to replace it any time soon.
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Re: Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby Mmusicman » November 20th 2015, 4:58pm

I have about 175,000 on my 2000 AWD... original trans shifts perfectly and engine doesn't burn a drop of oil!
I got 282,000 from my 92's 4.3 engine! It used to be a work van. Always used cheapest oils! I'd say I got my money's worth!

The 4.3 is known to go to 300,000+ miles!
Uncertain about the trans... but it really will depend on how hard you push it too.

A van with 170,000, I'd say has attained the middle age of it's life! (if it's been taken good care of)
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Re: Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby AstroWill » November 20th 2015, 5:03pm

Way too many variables to really estimate. I have seen engines fail by 40,000miles, and some as long as 400,000. It really just depends, could fail tomorrow or could last another 100,000. My 03 has almost 300,000 on it but it won't make it to 400,000 I am positive of that ;)

There is a good reason that these vans with less than 70,000miles on them go for a premium and that finance companies normally don't finance vehicles over 100,000.

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Re: Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby Lumpy » November 26th 2015, 5:17pm

I have over 300k on my 700R4 with no signs of a problem. Almost 100K of those are mine, the previous owner hauled at least one kid (based on the hidden evidence found under seats etc) and lived in Bend.

My engine went 271k before it's death.

Both are presumably the original assemblies from 1989.


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Re: Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby Meterpig » November 27th 2015, 8:25pm

briscomill wrote:Hi. I new to this forum. I m looking at purchasing a '97 GMC Safari cargo van with 170,000 miles. Wondering what the "average" life of these engines and transmissions might be? Are these vans known for good engine life?



Hot or cold climate? Has the PO used it for towing? If he has, is there a big *** cooler in front of the rad? If not, the transmission will die at some point.

Engines...same thing. Heat kills them.

Remember, the "old" gm built our vans. It may have been a good day or a bad day for building. One van I had was built in Canada..that thing broke often. My current van was built in the states. No problems.

It's an old GM. Buy a set of tools, the book and be ready to fix often. You should be able to get a rebuilt trans for that van around 800 bucks and installed around 1500-1700 with warranty. If you are looking for perfect, by a new car with warranty.
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Re: Life of Engine and Transmission

Postby kenk » November 27th 2015, 10:45pm

i`m at 215,000 same engine and trans, still key tapper, runs strong, did an extensive check only thing that comes up compression not as strong as new
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