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View Full Version : new guy, 93 apv, 3.1



lurker
05-05-2012, 04:55 AM
hi, y'all.

i've read pretty much the entire forum and the yahoo list too, lots of good information here.

last month i bought an apv, 93, 3.1, gold, 140k. this van has had regular maintenance and is in pretty good shape, no rust.
spent $1500 on it, then another 100 on hatch supports and brake shoes.so far, so good. still needs rear shocks.
i'm very interested in maximizing fuel economy. apart from keeping the tune-ups and fluids fresh, any suggestions?

i'm a reasonably competent shade-tree mechanic, and worked in the auto parts business for 5 years. i have the haynes manual. my other cars are a 93 geo metro and a 90 jeep cherokee.

looking forward to learning, and maybe even contributing.

mark

officerpatton
05-05-2012, 05:08 AM
Welcome to the site! I myself had a 1992 Pontiac Trans Sport which would be very similar to yours. At only 140k that baby is just being broken in! ;)

RIPBARNBURNER
05-05-2012, 12:16 PM
Welcome! If that van was, indeed, well cared for, she has much more life to give. Be sure to share a pic or two! :D

lurker
05-05-2012, 01:27 PM
thanks for the welcome!

i suspect that this van had lots of life left in it, as i've read several accounts of them going well over 300k. the frame is rust-free, and the engine was dusty, not oily, so i knew it wasn't leaking. :) this van was bought new about 20 miles from here, and i stumbled on it at a shop, one of the best 3 or 4 best in town. fringe benefit of working in the parts business. he was replacing the motor mounts, and had done regular maintenance for the last couple of years. i'd looked at a couple of others in worse condition for more money, so knew this was a good van for a good price. i've put maybe 500 miles on it, even a trip across the border, into the nation of kentucky;).

i'll put up pictures just as soon as i figure out how. i gather there's no photo server here, and need to upload them to photobucket or some such?

RIPBARNBURNER
05-05-2012, 02:37 PM
Yup. Photobucket.

Mike
05-06-2012, 10:15 AM
Sounds Nice for the $$$ Welcome!

lurker
05-28-2012, 06:47 AM
have replaced the air filter and after a mostly highway 350 miles, my gas mileage is 24.5 mpg. i think it can do better, and considering how dirty the air filter was, it's probably overdue for a tuneup, plugs, rotor, cap, wires, pcv. not looking forward to the rear bank of plugs, will replace with platinum so i dont need to go back in there for 60k. but first, i want to talk with the mechanic who worked on it last and see what i can find about its' maintenance history.

it has no problem on the interstate doing 70 or 75.

also bought a bottle of mother's headlight polish and am very pleased with the result, just a little elbow grease and the lenses are clear and pretty.

haven't decided where to put pictures yet, but they're coming eventually.

lurker
06-13-2012, 03:20 AM
on the agenda:

tune up. have plugs, wires, cap, rotor. already did the air cleaner, pcv valve looks new, will make sure it's clean. is there an easy(easier?0 way to get at the rear plugs? i'm vaguely aware of the "pull the front dogbone" method, and have heard that some fwd vehicles can be done from underneath. anyone got any horror or success stories to share?

driver's seat. sags to the left. normal wear and tear, i assume, but it's bad for my back and exacerbates the apparent misalignment of seat and steering wheel (which was also a problem on my fiero.). i could just slap a foam pad in there, but so ugly. can it be fixed from underneath? i'm kinda not expecting to find anything better at a junkyard. is there anything on the aftermarket?

lurker
06-21-2012, 10:49 PM
boy, is this thing a pain to work on. i've been doing tuneups for 40 years, and never had so much trouble. broke a spark plug, and the dipstick handle, and messed up the plug wire order at the distributor because of the close quarters. haven't even attempted the rear bank of plugs yet, expecting it to be painful.

RIPBARNBURNER
06-21-2012, 10:56 PM
boy, is this thing a pain to work on. i've been doing tuneups for 40 years, and never had so much trouble. broke a spark plug, and the dipstick handle, and messed up the plug wire order at the distributor because of the close quarters. haven't even attempted the rear bank of plugs yet, expecting it to be painful.

It's FWD. It's gonna suck :rofl: I should know. The first time (before I learned of the shortcut) I did plugs on my Taurus, it took me almot 2 frickin' hours. Front plugs took me 5 minutes...

lurker
06-22-2012, 01:28 AM
It's FWD. It's gonna suck :rofl: I should know. The first time (before I learned of the shortcut) I did plugs on my Taurus, it took me almost 2 frickin' hours. Front plugs took me 5 minutes...
tell me more of this "shortcut". i used to have a pontiac fiero, and at least i could get over the top of the engine. and of course my 3 cylinder geo metro is a piece of cake.:) i actually considered removing the front motor mount and brackets to get at plug #4. i'm thinking of reaching up from underneath to get at the back.

RIPBARNBURNER
06-22-2012, 02:19 AM
Well the shortcut on my Taurus was to remove the cowling. Before that I had taken off the intake plenum. By taking the cowling off, I cut over an hour off my time.

But this is a Taurus. Your mileage may vary.

occupant
06-25-2012, 11:24 PM
I'm pretty dead set on using CarDomain for my images, I just go to my page, right click new tab on the image I want, copy the url, put the img tags around it, done.

Anyhow, was the 3.1L still TBI in 1993? That with the overdrive automatic would provide the best possible mileage. Other things you can do is run slightly oversize tires. You should have 205/70R15 on there if they're stock, and you can go 205/75 or 215/70 to gain a little bit. This will throw the speedometer off a bit but if you correct that when figuring the mileage you can see the difference. The speedometer in my Suburban has either already been flashed for the LT265/75R16 tires on it now (it's supposed to be P245/70R16 stock), or the original speedometer programming for the stock tire size was set at the factory to be too high (the more likely scenario). GPS over a 200 mile trip had me showing 200.2mi on the trip odometer so it's all of 0.1% fast.

OK, I'm rambling again. Other things you'll want to do, one also deals with the tires, keep them inflated to the max on the sidewall of the tire. Ignore the tire placard on the door jamb or wherever it is. If it says 35 on the tires, run that. If it says 44 on the tire itself, those I usually run at 40. If it says 51, I usually go 42 or 44. This may be different depending on the tire you choose. Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires may have higher or lower pressures than non-LRR. If the load index is higher, it may take higher pressures. Most 205/70R15 tires seem to have a 95 or 96 load index with 44psi as the max inflation rate. If you go with the 205/75R15 tire, the load index will probably be 97 and the inflation either 44 or 51psi, but those tires aren't as easy to find in that size. 215/75R15 is more common and will be 97 or 100 load index. They also sell a Goodyear Wrangler AT/S in that size (for, you guessed it, Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees) and that is a 106 load index and takes 65psi! But it's an all-terrain off-road tire and won't improve mileage, just load carrying capacity (if you have the springs for it) and dirt/gravel driving abilities.

There I go again. I would choose a good quality Touring or Grand Touring tire in LRR in one of the sizes above. Kumho Solus KR21 and KH16 come to mind as well as Hankook Optimo H727. They run in the $80's as far as price per tire and they are great for minivans. The KH16 Kumho tire is H speed rated. I'm not sure where I read about it, but the H and above speed ratings require a different sort of construction that makes for a stronger and more durable tire. S and T speed ratings are easy for any tire to achieve, but the H ratings and above are serious and need a good quality tire to get them. Whenever possible, if you're down to a few tire choices, and one of them is H rated, go for that one.

Other things you can do are to keep the van clean, waxed, and flushed underneath. That will prevent air turbulence. I know I sound like I'm wearing a tinfoil hat here but it's true. A dirty car will not get the mileage of a clean car over time. It's all the little things you can do that will make the concrete changes in mileage. Another thing about this is that as you're cleaning and waxing the car and rinsing off the underbody, you can see problems before they happen. A loose wire to the fuel pump caught early can be taped up in place or repaired and rewrapped before it leaves you stranded, costing you money in towing fees, diagnostics and labor, cab fares, hotel rooms, and more. A chunk of dirt in a spring can cause that tire to wear funny until it's broken loose, but if you knock it out of there, you won't see the bad wear patterns. A loose deflector or splash shield can trap air and water and dirt and make all sorts of mess under the hood, but if you get it clipped into place correctly, it will be beneficial.

I could go on and on, but the more attention you pay to the vehicle the better. Another thing is your driving habits. You've got a van there than can achieve 20-24mpg easily with good driving habits, but with excellent driving habits you can see upwards of 26, 28, maybe even 30mpg. You don't have to go all the way and hypermile and shut your engine off every half a mile, but the less you have to touch your brakes, the better. See a green light up ahead? Sure, maybe you can make it. You press down on the gas pedal and the engine winds up a bit and then it changes to yellow. How did it know? NO. Why didn't YOU know? Look at the crosswalk signal. You could have seen the red hand flashing, giving you fair warning that light was about to change. You see the white light of the walking person, fine, go ahead, cruise on through. But that red hand means take your foot off the gas and coast to the intersection. You do it right, you might still be moving at 20-25mph by the time it changes to green, and you can ease on back up to 30-35-40 or whatever you were driving at before.

I like to say I drive in a manner that does not require other drivers to slam on their brakes around me. This also allows ME to drive in a manner where I'm not always hitting my brakes to slow down or avoid another driver, or worse, a collision!

lurker
06-26-2012, 12:24 AM
this weekend we did a roadtrip to east tennessee, maybe 650 miles round trip. haven't topped up, so don't have real numbers, but probably 26mpg.

and we had an adventure. cruising west into knoxville on westbound I-40, i was surprised to see a tire with rim sail over the concrete dividing wall, maybe 10' in the air. bounced in the middle lane (hubcap departed here), hit the wall on the right, bounced back into traffic. hit us on right front corner, damaged my bumper cover, smashed turn signal, produced a footlong tear in the fender. i next saw it in the rearview mirror in the left lane, hitting a white pickup where the tire came off the rim. pulled over, no critical damage, returned home to middle tennessee without incident.

yes, the 93 has the tbi 3.1, but not the OD trans. i drive with a light foot, coast when possible, get full use of lifetime brake pads. often sell my vehicles before i need to replace brakes. haven't tried messing with tire pressure or belly pans, but will consider. now i get to look into repairing/replacing body panels.

occupant
06-26-2012, 03:37 AM
I wasn't going to go so far as to recommend covering the underside with metal sheets, but you could. I was just suggesting rinse out any sticks, twigs, leaves, dirt, gravel, rocks, and caked on road grime.

lurker
06-26-2012, 12:06 PM
i see what you mean. i'm not compulsively clean about my vehicles, but since this one is so purty, i'm going to try to keep it nice looking. i've even thought about replacing the mirrors with cameras and stripping off the trim, but i don't want to mess it up.

I wasn't going to go so far as to recommend covering the underside with metal sheets, but you could. I was just suggesting rinse out any sticks, twigs, leaves, dirt, gravel, rocks, and caked on road grime.

occupant
06-26-2012, 12:27 PM
The drag coefficient of the 1994-1996 APV's was only 0.30, I don't think there's much need to improve, seeing as a Honda Insight is all of 0.25 and a C6 Corvette is 0.28. The Lumina has a 28.15sf frontal area, though. I don't think there's anywhere to make changes unless you want an eight foot long aerofoil on the back...

http://www.green-racer.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/boat-tail-geo-metro1.jpg

Or you could cut half the roof off and replace it with half a Charger Daytona spoiler...

http://hackadaycom.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/had_geo.jpg

I think the best thing to do is the rear fender wells. Wheel skirts over the remaining part of the wheel might do good.

lurker
06-26-2012, 12:41 PM
i've seen that picture! something like 75 mpg iirc?

i also own 2 metros, a '90 lsi and a 93 xfi. they're good little cars, consume about half the fuel, but carry a lot less than half the stuff, though i can get 8' 2x4s in there. i use them a lot for quick runs around town.

the van is a lot more comfortable to drive, so i tend to take it even if i don't need the space. fortunately gas is relatively cheap lately, but that wont last forever.

wheel well covers on the back, i like that.:) i'll look into it when i get the bodywork fixed.

Oklahoma
07-01-2012, 06:11 PM
When I do rear plugs on a W-body, I take off the dogbone and then winch the engine forward with tie-downs. That may help, or it may not. I've never tried a U-van but it sounds like a dicey job.

skdu8ow7
07-03-2012, 07:38 AM
If you put racing seats in an Oldsmobile minivan, yooouuuuu might be a redneck!


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Occhiali Ray Ban Donna (http://www.occhialidasolecarrera.net/occhiali-da-sole-rayban-c-23.html)

SexySilhouette
07-04-2012, 04:28 AM
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8004/7469946798_63f670a29d_o.jpg

Chaos
07-04-2012, 04:51 AM
I've seen a metro once with a "Lexus" conversion on it.

Not sure what it did for its drag coefficient, but god it was ugly.

lurker
07-05-2012, 02:41 AM
i think you guys are suggesting i photoshop another APV nose on the rear of my van to improve the aerodynamics? ;)

that 3.0 drag coefficient, is that with or without windshield wipers?

lurker
08-02-2012, 05:23 PM
spent the morning at the junkyard. it's like the sahara out there.
got a l. f. turn signal, oil dipstick (broke the plastic handle off the old one), and plastic obd1 terminal cover, 15 bucks :)
he has:
93 white apv, fair int & ext.
94 red olds sil., fair int & ext, sunroof!
90 burgundy apv, good int & ext.
92 white apv, good int & ext.
91 white apv, good int & ext, roof rack.
i'm thinking about going back for some stuff, driver's seat, lf fender, roof rack, maybe sunroof.
i'd guess if i want the sunroof i should get the whole black panel?

and i found something on this that's actually not painful to fix. the headlight assembly is very easy (no tools!) to remove, and the turn signal is only 2 nuts on the passenger side. yay!

knighttony13
08-16-2012, 06:33 AM
welcome!

david_banks1330
08-16-2012, 09:26 AM
welcome along :D

david_banks1330
08-16-2012, 09:27 AM
hello and welcome along! XD

lurker
08-17-2012, 12:46 PM
hello and welcome along! XD

welcome!
it's always nice to be greeted by bots, don't you think? i mean, i'm relatively new here, only since april, and they're welcoming me to the forum. just kind of makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

lurker
09-05-2012, 03:04 PM
at some point when the weather cools i plan to go back and get a driver's seat (recaro? :p) and fender, and while i'm there i'm going to look at the sunroof. has anyone here pulled a roof panel? or would i be better off to go aftermarket, or maybe skip it altogether?

RIPBARNBURNER
09-05-2012, 03:21 PM
Personally, I would skip it. In my experience, aftermarkets will leak soon, if not right away, and pulling a roof panel can be a HUGE pain in the ass, more trouble than it's worth. Again, my opinion/experience.

lurker
09-07-2012, 12:59 PM
Personally, I would skip it. In my experience, aftermarkets will leak soon, if not right away, and pulling a roof panel can be a HUGE pain in the ass, more trouble than it's worth. Again, my opinion/experience.
well, at my age :rock: i find i want less and less to do with leakage and pains in the a$$, especially the huge ones. thanks:rofl:

lurker
11-15-2012, 01:21 AM
durnit. outside passenger door handle doesn't work. had it fixed a month ago, worked fine for a couple of weeks, now broken again. probably just a broken clip, but again, so soon? inside handle works fine. guess i need to pull the door skin and see what's going on in there. anything special i need to look for?

turbokinetic
11-15-2012, 02:02 AM
durnit. outside passenger door handle doesn't work. had it fixed a month ago, worked fine for a couple of weeks, now broken again. probably just a broken clip, but again, so soon? inside handle works fine. guess i need to pull the door skin and see what's going on in there. anything special i need to look for?

Probably just a clip, or the linkage rod needs a spacer or adjustment to it. The door should release when the handle is less than 3/4 of the way up. If the handle has to be ALL THE WAY UP before the door releases, the rod needs to be adjusted, or have spacer added.

That is a scarey story about the tire flying across the interstate!!! You're lucky that wasn't much worse than it was!
Sincerely,
David

lurker
11-15-2012, 03:14 PM
That is a scarey story about the tire flying across the interstate!!! You're lucky that wasn't much worse than it was!
Sincerely,
David
yeah, i was a little freaked out by it. i give credit to the tupperware bodywork that it wasn't worse.

lurker
03-17-2013, 05:03 PM
yesterday i saw a light slate bluish u-body in the parking lot at wally world, olds silhouette, looked to be in good shape. not so rare as i'd thought, apparently.

just up the road from me is the Repo Depot, where they auction off used cars. they are a mixed bag, some junkers and some nice. yesterday on my way past i did a double take, u-body van in the lot, same approximate age as mine, same color, lumina apv se. unlike mine it has the roof rack, so i didn't barge in and accuse them of stealing mine. i may just go up to the auction on april 27 to see what it sells for.

lurker
04-12-2013, 07:44 PM
the gas tank and guage on this thing is peculiar. i've never seen anything quite as sensitive to accelleration and angle as the APV. the only thing i've had that's comparable was my fiero, which has a long skinny tank, with the fuel pickup at the rear. going downhill, all the gas rushes to the front, starving the engine, but at least you're coasting until you level out and the fuel rushes back to the back.

with the APV, depending on whether i'm accellerating, decellerating, going up or down hill, i appear to have/not have up to a quarter of a tank. it's kind of confusing.

i mention this because i was driving around in a hilly area of north TN, and had in excess of 5 gallons by mileage calculation and guage., started up a steep hill, and it dies. nearest gas station was about a mile away at the top of the hill. so i trudged up the hill to buy a gas can and walk back with some gas, but they had no cans to sell. luckily there was an empty antifreeze jug in the trash, which i illegally filled with gas, walked back down the hill, borrowed a funnel and it fired right up and drove up the hill without a problem, where i bought some more gas. worst of all, lady lurker gave me that "i told you so" look, even though she hadn't actually said anything as we drove by the gas station 5 miles back, an hour earlier.

occupant
04-13-2013, 03:01 AM
I had that issue with the blue '89 Century I got on eBay for $250 out of Erie PA. I ran out of gas between Powell and Worthington OH and had to walk to get some. Going downhill it showed a quarter tank of fuel. Level ground just under the quarter mark. Going up a slight hill on 315 along the Olentangy it said, that's enough of that, and promptly died. Even though I coasted over the next hill crest, it wouldn't restart while coasting down or at the bottom of the next hill. BP wasn't far ahead of course and I got there and back using a coolant bottle in the trunk. I picked up a 99 cent bottle of HEET just in case there was some condensed water left in that bottle. One gallon, not enough. Went back, two didn't do it. Third gallon was good enough, got to the station, filled up, got lucky it didn't leak at the seam or something. Continued on to Texas.

I never let it drop below a quarter tank ever again and would fill up at the halfway mark for the next 8000 miles until the apartment complex towed it away for lack of current tags.

lemons bob
05-06-2013, 04:50 PM
I had that issue with the blue '89 Century I got on eBay for $250 out of Erie PA. I ran out of gas between Powell and Worthington OH and had to walk to get some. Going downhill it showed a quarter tank of fuel. Level ground just under the quarter mark. Going up a slight hill on 315 along the Olentangy it said, that's enough of that, and promptly died. Even though I coasted over the next hill crest, it wouldn't restart while coasting down or at the bottom of the next hill. BP wasn't far ahead of course and I got there and back using a coolant bottle in the trunk. I picked up a 99 cent bottle of HEET just in case there was some condensed water left in that bottle. One gallon, not enough. Went back, two didn't do it. Third gallon was good enough, got to the station, filled up, got lucky it didn't leak at the seam or something. Continued on to Texas.

I never let it drop below a quarter tank ever again and would fill up at the halfway mark for the next 8000 miles until the apartment complex towed it away for lack of current tags.

That is odd, cause my 89 Ciera has been emptied to past empty and didn't run out. I wonder was it the original tank or did someone replace it. On the stock the pickup is in the middle of the back of the tank. There is also some pretty serious baffles back there so even hard left or right turns should leave some gas in the middle.

lurker
08-10-2013, 06:31 AM
my apv runs well, so not much to talk about, except minor stuff. spent about $800 (ouch!) getting the a/c fixed, new compressor, drier, flush 'n' fill, check for leaks. runs about 50*.
front passenger door opens from inside, not from outside. the latch has a plunger which floats in a hole in a flange, and if everything goes wrong, it pops free. i've fixed it twice, and have to do it again. "we need a more permanent solution to our problem".
sliding side door has the opposite problem, opens from the outside, not from the inside. haven't figured out how to get the inner skin off yet.
hit the outside passenger mirror on a fencepost, glued it back in with jbweld, broke it again.

all minor annoyances.

lurker
10-07-2013, 07:35 PM
immediate problem is this: trying to change LF brake pads, but i'm having trouble determining what the caliper bolt head looks like. i've tried every hex and torx bit in my spotty collection and nothing fits. anyone know?

i've got a grindy squeak in my left front wheel, and the brake pads are used up, so i've got the rim off and am looking at changing pads and rotor. while i'm in there i want to look at the wheel bearings. my local parts store doesn't sell just the bearings so it looks like i need to replace the hub assembly. $89, on top of $21 for the 34 mm hub nut socket. ouch.

occupant
10-07-2013, 08:46 PM
I used a 3/8" hex/Allen socket on my Ciera calipers. I've also been told a T-50 or T-55 Torx socket will work. May also be 10mm if they went metric on the vans. I don't know for sure I just tried several until one fit without wobbling much.

lurker
10-07-2013, 10:43 PM
you are correct, sir! 3/8ths" hex. between 8 and 10 mm. caliper appears seized, may just replace the whole thing, see if the noise goes away.

lurker
10-09-2013, 03:58 PM
all done. new pads, driver side rotor, 2 reman calipers. ~$120, plus a couple of new toys(tools). :)