Recall Alert: '03-'04 Chevy Express, GMC Savana

By Dave Lee

GM is recalling 9,389 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans from the 2003-04 model years because the fuel filler pipe might corrode, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall affects Express and Savana vehicles that are equipped with a left-side cargo door and originally sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

Water and road contaminants can become trapped in the conduit that covers the fuel filler pipe and may cause the pipe to corrode, NHTSA says. Significant corrosion could lead to a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire. If a fuel leak occurs, drivers may smell fuel, and the check engine light may illuminate on some vehicles.

GM will notify owners, and dealers will install a new fuel filler neck for free. Owners can call GM at 866-694-6546, GMC at 866-996-9463 or NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.


Don't manufacturers state a specific term for the corrosion warranty? Or is the fuel system supposed to be lifetime warranty???

Is it me or is it that trucks, regardless of the manufacturer, built during the early 2000's have some type of rust problem? I've also of heard severe rust problems for fire trucks too.

LJC- you are correct- oddly enough, 10y.o. trucks tend to have rust on them, especially in the "underneath" areas.

yep rust never sleeps, be it a fuel filler pipe on a Chevy/GMC van or a tacoma frame.

My friend runs a body shop and he has had the bumpers off all the makes of newer pickups and claims they all have rust on them after 3 or so years. Ever see Wheeler Dealer? They have had some cars on that program with what looks like the rust just flaking of a-arms and other under body parts. Its based in England.

@Peter - I agree. I've had some surface rust on my bumpers (2010 truck) and I've noticed that it isn't confined to one brand. I always prefered chrome to painted bumpers but I'm starting to think that paint is now superior to the thin chrome they now use.

True work horses these vans.
Least appreciated vehicles in the country.
I'm looking at one Chevy van out my window right now and it's a mess. That poor thing haven't had any kind of service in its life I'm sure.

@ Gregory J,

Yeah true with all fullsize vans Dodge/Ford/GM they dont get any love,dirty,dented abused and they never change the oil either !

Not like when I was a kid people took pride in their vans,the 70's custom vans were cool ! My old man customized his Dodge Tradesman 200 in the 70's lots of great holidays in that van.Most comfortable vehicles to travel in,walk around,lay in the bed,have a snack ,go to the can all when the driver is doing 75 mph ! We had the sidepipes and the sound was sweet,no smog junk on it either so the 360 4bbl really moved !

Today most people travel in a minivan and it is cramped,cant move around freely,a truck or suv,car you have to stop to stretch your legs ! Truly the best family vehicle is a full size van,you can still get them but GM will likely be the last for that as Ford is going to a Turkish Sprinter type of van in a couple years.Hope at least GM will continue to have a traditional American full size van,for work and play !

Glad I dont live in a rust belt.

My 03 Ram never had a spec of rust,nor does my 2010 Dodge the chrome has no rust ,even when under the truck looking at the back / inside of the bumper,the part where you cant reach nor clean has no rust .

Truth be told, I dont see any rusty trucks from Dodge/Ford or GM here but I dont do a real close inspection of their bumpers,something I am going to look at now .But for some reason Toyota's here are rusty ! I guess they dont like rain water !

My 1997 Ram is still rust free,my nephew now drives it and he doesnt take care of it like I did (he had it since 2003) I know when I buy old classics that are from the West Coast they are solid,even under the vehicles they usually look like new,no rust ! But a car from anywhere East of me is usually rusty.

I think the Chevy Express with the chrome front end is hands down the best looking van on the road. I don't like the painted black front ends. They rust out very fast too for some reason. The black paint they use must not be very good stuff. My thoughts just from renting one is the interiors are subpar. Very cheap plasticky like and the seats were really junky. The cushion just crushed down into a pancake after a 2 hour drive and the armrest seemed very flimsy. It drove very nice though and had great power. They just need some real serious interiors and freshen up the looks I suppose. I hope they don't go to the Eurovan look like everyone else seems to be doing. I hate those.

Lou:: the secret to long life for you bumpers, chrome or painted, is to either take them off, and use rustolium on the back or insides of them, or if you can just get behind them, to just put a good coat of rustolium on there back side! I have done this on every truck I have owned, and have never had rusty bumpers! As no factory seams to think that is a good idea? it would be so easy before the bumper is instaled! I expecialy do this on any after market bumper (that is not coated on the inside) from the manufacturer, and it's the chrome ones that are the worst offenders, they just leave the insides bare metal! not very good at all.

@sandman--Thanks for the information. It seems like more of the pickups are going to the body colored plastic bumpers with the styrofoam backs which look nice but are expensive to replace. Just recently I had to replace the rear bumper of my wife's Taurus after somone clipped her rear bumper in a parking lot. I got some of the dent out myself but it still looked bad and I had to get it replaced. The body shop gave me a little bit of a break and it cost $700. I would rather have the painted metal bumpers like my S-10 which cost me about $200 to have both repainted and have a small dent in the back bumper removed. The S-10 bumpers match the exterior paint but it seems that all the trucks that have bumpers matching the exterior now are all plastic bumpers. If metal bumpers in black are still available I will get that next time but I will try the rustoleum on the back of the bumpers. I just don't like plastic bumpers on a truck although I fear that eventually they will all have plastic bumpers. Plastic reduces the weight and it is cheaper to mold plastic.

@sandman4X4--Never thought of that, thanks for the tip. On trucks I prefer metal bumpers but it appears that trucks are adopting the color matching to body plastic bumpers with styrofoam backs. These bumpers look nice but any kind of damage to them and you have to replace them along with the styrofoam. My old S-10 has metal color matching bumpers which cost me a couple of hundred dollars to have both repainted and have some dents removed from the back bumper. The Tacoma, Frontier, Equator, as well as the color coded optional bumpers on F-150 and Ram are now plastic. Next time I get a truck I will opt for the black metal bumpers if they are available and use your rustoleum tip for the back of the bumpers.

Sorry Mark my first post had not posted and I reposted Sorry for the double posting.,

@Canadian Dodge RAM Owner--What part of Canada are you from where you do not have the rust issues? Just curious because where Lou is from it seems to be pretty bad along with the extreme cold causing damage to the motors.

I think a lot of these rust issues might be caused by those liquid de-icers that a lot of cities use these days.

@Big Bob--De-icers do a number on metal surfaces. The last few years it seems like they have been using more of them where I live. With a painted metal bumper it can at least be sanded and repainted. I am with Lou on that I would rather have a plain painted metal bumper than chrome or the plastic bumpers with styrofoam behind them. Trucks need to have more durable bumpers than cars. At least the vans in this article have metal bumpers and the ones with black metal are easy enough to paint.

@Jeff S- I believe that Canadian Dodge Ram owner is from the area refered to as "the lower mainland". That would be Vancouver BC region or also refered to GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District). It is very mild and they do get a fair bit of rain. I think that it would be similar weather to Seattle. Saying that area is not part of the "rust best" is all relative. They do not see extreme cold and rarely do they get snow. The high humidity and moisture is conducive to rust. It just isn't as bad as areas where it gets colder and there is extreme use of de-icing chemicals. A friend of mine lives in Nanaimo which is also very mild climate wise. Snow is uncommon. There is an area along the BC coast known as "the Sunshine Coast" because of the milder weather. If one heads north into the southern Interior the climate is very arid. It has many similarities with California. The coastal mountains act as a very effective moisture barrier. If one was from say Osoyoos BC or Penticton BC, then I would buy into the argument that one does not live in the rust belt. British Columbia due to its size and geography has an incredible range of biogeoclimatic zones. I live at least 500 miles away from where Mr. Canadian Ram lives. If I left my home, I'd have to drive 1,300 miles just to reach the Alaska border via the Alaska highway. I could knock close to a day off that figure by taking secondary roads. It also would be 2 days drive from Prince Rupert to Alberta. The whole province is 3 - 4 times bigger than California.

@Lou-Ok that makes sense. As you have said before that living in a warmer climate can make a vehicle last longer. Even in Houston, TX which has high humidity a car body can last indefinitely with moderate care. I take excellent care of my vehicles but salt and liquid melters can do a real number on any vehicle. My wife had a 77 Accord which she bought new in Northern California before we got married, then she lived in Houston where I met her, and then 25 years ago it was loaded on a moving van and came with our furniture to Northern Kentucky. Even though it was rust proofed and I kept up on the rust the bottom of the car was rusted badly. She had the Accord for a total of 17 years and 150k miles (she more than got her money out of it but it was a great running car). Of course the older Japanese cars as US cars did not have the anti corrosion treatment that today's cars have.

@Big Al from Oz & Robert Ryan--Thanks for the pictures, they were great. As I have previously stated and as from the comments you have read the resistance to these vans as to any downsizing of full size 1/2 ton pickups. This again is similiar to the downsizing of the land yauht size cars of 70s. This is more of an Evolution than a Revolution as those manufacturers who make the change sooner face more resistance as those that delay any changes. The Dodge Sprinter vans made the change first so Ford Econoline gets more sales as well as the GM twin vans. Now Ford will adopt these Euro vans and the GM twin vans will experience a temporary boost in sales after all the leftover Econolines are snapped up. Once businesses use both the new and old versions then they make a comparison and then accept the new van.

A comparison from full size cars of the late 70s is that once GM came out in the 1977 model year there were consumers who rushed out and bought the remaining 1976 full size GM cars. Ford held out till the 1979 model year to downsize their full size LTD, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Towncars. After the remaining 1976 GM full size cars were bought out then some of the consumers went to the full size Ford products. At the time I worked for a contract drilling companies in Houston and had access to all these cars. I drove the larger LTDs and Marquis and the downsized Impalas and Olds 88s. The downsized cars were much better handling and acceleration which before driving them I would have chosen the Ford products. Most consumers after experiencing the downsized full sized cars then adopted them and GM sales went up.

The vans though are a little different because businesses are less concerned with looks than payload and these vans appear to be more efficient cargo haulers, but then they will meet resistance as well. Some of these vans will change as well after they have been on the market because there will be certain features or even possibly motors that will not work in NA but for the most part they will be accepted.

Use a good undercoating (oil spray) ( I use Krown, shameless plug I know). I sold my 01 Dakota, with 160K km and you could still read the sold bar code sticker on the outside of the frame. Minimal under carriage rust. I lived in Northern Ontario, Montreal, Ottawa and Trenton with that vehicle. Tons of salt snow and sand.

I have a 2003 chevy express 2500 with only 67000 miles and the front frame is rusted out so bad the chevy dealer told me today it was unsafe to drive, and would cost at least $6,000 ti fix . anyone else ever seen a front frame behind the plastic splash guard that looks like a shark took a two foot chunk completely out?

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