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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2009, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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GM Montana/Venture/Silhouette 3.4 change

I have a memory that NEVER remembers ALL of anything...


I DO remember that I own a 2000 Pontiac Montana.
I DON'T remember where I found this... but
I DO remember that I have this how to for pulling the engine out the TOP, rather than out the bottom.
I DON'T remember WHO I was talking to, but
I DO remember that sometime on this board here in the last 2 years I posted some history about my Montana, and discussed with someone the difficulty of pulling this engine.

Well, in the process of looking for something else in my Inbox, I found the instructions!

These are NOT!!! my instructions! I did NOT write them, nor did I dirty my hands in ANY of the work gone through to do this work.

I have NOT modified the instructions EXCEPT to remove the person's phone number and e-mail address - his name will not be removed though, to give proper credit.

If anyone feels this should be taken down, or that the extra info should be posted, please let me know.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2009, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!

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Pulling a Venture/Montana/Silhouette 3.4 Engine (Out the Top)

For the Shade Tree Mechanic

One look at the engine bay and you would swear GM built the body around the engine with no provision for removal!!! Do not be intimidated. You will be pleasantly surprised that GM actually did a technician friendly design on this series of minivans. I have also pulled a 4.3 V6 engine out of a 1988 Chevy Astro van and a 4.9 out of a 1992 Cadillac STS and this is much easier, especially on your back.


Dealerships and most shops drop the engine and transaxle cradle out the bottom using a car or power pack lifts home shops do not have. That was my situation. I have a cheap cherry picker (boom) lift. Necessity being the mother of invention I made it work. I pulled the engine out the top; saving time disconnecting axles and steering linkage.

My engine had the typical overheating condition caused by a combination of cylinder head and intake manifold gasket leaks. It later developed a mystery oil leak that was probably a recurring cylinder head gasket leak. I attribute all of this to Dexcool anti-freeze. Dexcool has problems, see Court Ruling at the end of this article. As a result, I went back to regular green antifreeze (extended 5 year). Ton of stuff on internet about bad Dexcool. Apparently it eats gaskets and is tough to flush out. Even flushing the hell out of my coolant system, it was still dirty. Replacing the radiator and cap should be seriously considered if you had a overheating problem. At least send the radiator out to get cleaned.

I am the second owner of a 1998 Chevy Venture. I acquired it at 125,000 miles. The previous owner got hit with repairing the intake gaskets at 86k and then at 115k he had to replace the cylinder head gasket. Repairs both were done at a dealership. Given the short distance between the two major repairs, he probably should have replaced the cylinder gaskets at the first repair. At 132k, I found metal shavings in the oil and a lot of brown mud in the coolant system. This did not occur in just 17k miles. It was probably there at 86k and the techs did not properly flush the system. The last one also left a couple of the intake bolts loose so there was obvious lack of attention to detail.

If your Dexcool is old (or you do not know when it was last changed), your reservoir is dirty, your radiator cap has brown mud on it and/or the engine is leaking coolant, it is time for a SERIOUS flush. The ONLY WAY to flush the system properly is to pull the thermostat, flush until the water is clear. Then use a extra heavy duty radiator cleaner, drain again and refill again until clear, drain one more time and refill with 50/50 anti-freeze. Since many Venture type vans have rear heaters, I disconnected the heater hose connections at the firewall, opened both heater controls and flushed out the heater with a garden hose jammed into one of the heater inlets. If you do not do it, you WILL regret it and probably find yourself having another coolant leak. I would recommend flushing the engine before you pull the engine.

You need a cheap hydraulic boom lift they sell everywhere for about $100-200. They are all over the place on Craigs List on the internet under tools or auto parts sections. The smaller the boom arm the better since the area above the engine where you attach the boom to the chain is limited. You will note on this van the metal apron under the windshield comes way forward giving the impression it is mission impossible to pull the engine out the top. I was pleasantly surprised that you have a bunch of room. If you have a bigger boom you can still use it, but you may run into a clearance problem during the lift. If this becomes a problem, you can make a smaller metal insert to fit onto the nose of the boom. Another approach you could rig the chain over the top boom instead of under it.

Other tools needed are the 1/4" and 5/16" fuel line disconnect tools available at parts houses. This takes a bit of practice to overcome the internal spring tension. The only real problem I had was getting the heater hoses disconnected. I suppose there is a special tool, but I could not find one. I landed up using a small screwdriver and a lot of special words to get the white plastic lock loose. It would be worth asking a parts house for the tool. I never found a tool for it.

You DO NOT HAVE TO REMOVE THE HOOD, just rope it back tying it off to the luggage rack on the top of the roof.

Drain coolant (recommend flushing the system now), remove coolant reservoir and support bar under it. Notice how dirty the reservoir is, needs a lot of cleaning. Your radiator is also probably clogged.

You DO NOT HAVE TO REMOVE THE RADIATOR. Just be a bit careful during the pull and the engine will clear the radiator.

fuse box and support bar under it

battery and washer reservoir. The fuse box stays

intake hose, and air filter. The air cleaner box stays. The engine computer is inside the air cleaner box if you do not know that.

Cruise control and mount

Entire wiper assembly AS A UNIT (arms, motor, linkage)
BLADES, they come out as one unit. I disconnected both of the
Linkage arms so I could wiggle the parts out. Only 6 bolts. You will now begin to see there is a larger amount of room

Accelerator cable

Disconnect fuel lines (need disconnect tools two sizes)

Disconnect heater hoses (real bear to do, did not have special tool for this) I used a screwdriver which is not the right tool. Possibly use bigger fuel line disconnect tools or maybe even a couple of popsicle sticks under the locks.

Serpentine belt (leave tensioner in place)

Pull spark plug wires on coil packs, coil packs (2 - 5.5 mm
screws hold each pack), sensors and coil
mount plate, also 2 studs that hold the coil mount plate.

Remove upper intake manifold only (need it out of way to get
alternator off and to get enough clearance to install lift chain and
have enough room to lift engine.

DO NOT remove the radiator, the dip stick tube (wasted a lot of time on it, not in the way), steering linkage or the cv axles.

Alternator. Do not remove the big front alternator bracket (with steel plate). There is enough room to leave it on (need it to lift engine). Remove the 2 back brackets on the alternator.


Both front engine stabilizers (above radiator), both radiator fans,

power steering pump (suck out fluid first or you will have a huge

Radiator hoses

Unbolt 3 A/C compressor bolts. DO NOT OPEN SYSTEM, pull
compressor toward radiator.

Exhaust shields, exhaust crossover and the front exhaust. You
will now have a lot of work room.

Remove all wiring, hoses and vacuum tubes as they become accessible.

Jack up front of the van, set jackstands so you can get under it. This allows you to get to back side of the engine. Also remove passenger front tire and the plastic splash shield that hides the lower passenger side of the engine in front of the crankshaft pulley.

Remove starter, torque converter cover and torque converter

Unbolt the exhaust pipe from the rear exhaust manifold. Best to remove the 2 exhaust pipe studs that go into the rear exhaust manifold. It takes a 8 mm socket. This gives you a lot of extra work room and keeps the exhaust pipe from hanging up on the engine during pull and installation.

Remove rear exhaust shield and manifold. You can wait on this until you are lifting the engine, but it is safer to do it now. I pulled it during the lift to get more clearance to pull it, but a bit risky. You can pull it either on your back from below or from the top just by reaching around both sides of the engine. Makes a lot of room.

Remove the engine to transaxle bracket located on the back side of the engine near the crank pulley. You can see it when the passenger tire is removed.

REAL IMPORTANT. There is a hidden engine to trans bolt that you can see after you pull the above bracket. Put a 18mm short socket on a 3 foot extension and you can reach it easier. I did not know this and spent an hour trying to get it off with a wrench blindly. YOU MUST REMOVE THIS BOLT BEFORE YOU PULL THE ENGINE. DO IT NOW.

BEFORE pulling engine, reinstall the passenger tire and drop the car back down so the wheels are on the ground during the lift. This is necessary so you do not overstress the cv joints.


This is the secret to pulling the engine out the top.

Run a small chain (3/16 or ” link) straight between the top bolt on the alternator bracket to the lift bracket on the driver side of the engine. Get it as tight as possible. You need a couple of long bolts [size 10 mm x 1.50 mm 50-70 mm - [3" ] to substitute for the originals to attach the chain. Attach the nose of the boom to the mid point of the chain so it sits right on the chain and attach it as close to the nose so you have maximum lift.


The engine pull consists of 4 steps:

1. You cannot pull the engine away from the bell housing because the front motor mount is in the way and the oil pan will hit the cradle side rail. To overcome this, lift the engine (with the transaxle still bolted to it) till the oil pan bottom just clears the rail THEN REMOVE THE FRONT MOTOR MOUNT. It is held by 2 nuts on the bottom and 3 screws in the front. You can remove the nuts and screws before the lift to make it easier. Comes out easy.
2. Put some type of jack or wood block under the transaxle extension arm (behind engine) to keep the transaxle from dropping. Keep the transaxle in this position to allow for installation of the engine and prevent damage to the axles. DO NOT OVERLIFT THE ENGINE TO PREVENT OVER STRESSING THE AXLES.

3. Remove the engine to bell housing bolts. REMEMBER 1 bolt is on the backside see above. Pull the engine away from the bellhousing. You only need an inch of movement to the clear the bell housing. You have about 5 inches of room.

4. After clearing the bell housing, pull the engine forward toward the radiator
until the dip stick almost hits the front cowl. You will be amazed that there is
plenty of room. It will take a bit of twisting to clear the engine bay, but it
works, just go slow. I did it all by myself, but another set of eyes and hands

I think I covered just about everything, might have missed something, but you get the main idea- IT CAN BE DONE. Frankly I think this is easier than dropping the cradle. The only trick to reinstall is making sure you get the front engine mount back in when you need it. You have to keep some tension on the engine so you can line up the engine mount bolts.

Everything went okay, until the re-install. Somehow or other, when I hooked up the battery cables, the starter energized itself (no keys in the ignition). Turned out the starter was bad, but had never given me any trouble before. Not sure what went wrong. I got a great deal from Novastar on the internet for $68 versus $200 locally. Then the water pump started leaking and the low coolant level warning light came on.

Remember I said the original cause of engine problems (leaking gaskets) was related to Dexcool. GM of course denies it. Well the low coolant sensor problem helps to emphasize the Dexcool problem. After flushing and cleaning the hell out of the coolant system the final result was the low coolant sensor was still coated with brown Dexcool mud. I pulled the sensor, cleaned it and the warning light disappeared. The point I am trying to make is that it is tough to clean Dexcool so GM’s dispute that owners did not exercise proper maintenance is bogus. Owners of green anti-freeze vehicles do not exercise any more or less maintenance and they do not have the same engine gasket failures.


PUSHRODS- are not same size. Those closest to the center of the engine (closest to cam are the shorter 5.75 inch, those further away are the longer 6 inch. To remove them you may be able to pull the pushrods without unscrewing the rocker arms. Not sure how to do it, may just require pliers. I drilled holes in a wood 2 x 4 and set the rods in order to prevent this problem.

CRANKSHAFT PULLEY- I pulled the crankshaft pulley to teardown the engine and had a terrible time reinstalling it. I tried to install it with the original bolt. That did not work., it strips the threads. I landed up using an air hammer that pounded the hell out of the pulley. Not sure what went wrong or if I may have problems later. It should not have been that tough. To keep the pulley opening from leaking you are supposed to use a sealer on the crankshaft nose, maybe the sealer worked too good. I would recommend if you run into this, to take more patience and just do a little bit of filing to make it a better slip on fit.

REAR CRANKSHAFT SENSOR WIRING HARNESS- On the backside of the engine below the rear exhaust manifold is a crankshaft sensor. The wiring harness goes to the coil pack on the top of the engine. It has to be carefully routed to ensure it does not touch the exhaust manifold. It is a bear to install if you do it after the engine is fully assembled. On my engine the dealership tech screwed it up and misrouted the wiring harness so it touched the exhaust manifold and burned it up. It shorted out the wiring harness, causing my van to cut out randomly for several months until I found it by pure dumb luck when I removed the coil pack to change spark plugs. It is attached at a couple of points and routed under the exhaust crossover pipe. Just beware.

FRONT CRANKSHAFT SENSOR WIRING HARNESS PROTECTOR- This is a 3 “ piece of metal that protects the sensor wiring from chaffing on the crankshaft pulley. It is held in place by a bolt that is hidden by the crankshaft pulley and has to be installed BEFORE the pulley goes on. I forgot that and had such a terrible time getting the pulley on, I did not pull the pulley off to install it. I rigged another shield to protect it. But I am keeping the protector incase I get a chance to install it.

LOWER INTAKE MANIFOLD GASKET SET- Some folks say to get the GM OEM gasket set and some say to get the Felpro set. I bought the Felpro set. Not sure which is best. Felpro has several sets and no one could tell me which was best. Given that GM parts and Dexcool let me down in the first place, I am not sure they should be rewarded. Your call. After my repair I called GM and found that they sell a complete intake manifold gasket set with bolts for $65. I spent $118 for Felpro and did not get any bolts. Check out GM first.

REAR MAIN SEAL. This engine is a leaker and the rear main is probably the source of a lot of leaks. Recommend always changing it out. Felpro sells one that comes with a plastic installer tool that fits onto the crank and the seal is slide onto the crank DRY.

OIL PAN LEAKS. In addition to the rear main seal, the oil pan seal is crap. Recommend not using it, just use RIGHT STUFF instead. Also the instructions for oil pan, front cover and rear main seal installs are very confusing when you only change one without the other. It appears you are supposed to seal the rear main bearing cap with RTV in addition to the oil pan gasket. Not sure how, but just be aware that area is a problem to seal.

Anyway, just thought you'd like to know.

- Lloyd Ballard
Sequim, WA
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2009, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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And since the above document mentions the settlement, for what it is worth, I will post it here... personally, I think this is old news and not applicable, but I could be wrong.

Copy of DexCool Court Settlement

We are pleased to inform you that we have reached a tentative nationwide settlement with General Motors.
1. You will have the option to be included in the settlement if you incurred out-of-pocket expenses for any of the following repairs:
1. A replacement of the nylon/silicone lower intake manifold gasket, made within 7 years or 150,000 miles of the date of initial delivery for 1995-2003.5 Model Year vehicles with 3.1-liter V6 and 3.4-liter V6 engines, where the vehicle was originally equipped with Dex-Cool coolant.
2. A coolant sealability repair (including, but not limited to, throttle body gasket, upper intake manifold gasket, lower intake manifold gasket, etc.), made within 7 years or 150,000 miles of the date of initial delivery for 1995 - 2004 model year 3.8-liter V6 engines (RPO L36), where the vehicle was originally equipped with Dex-Cool coolant.
3. A Dex-Cool sludge repair, made within 7 years or 150,000 miles for 1995 - 2000 model year S/T light trucks and sport utility vehicles with 4.3-liter V6 engines and originally equipped with Dex-Cool coolant.
The settlement will require you to provide proof that you owned or leased the vehicle at the time of the repair and that you paid for one of the repairs described above. If you do not have a receipt, ask the auto repair shop that did the work to provide you with one.
The terms of the proposed settlement are confidential while we work to finalize the settlement papers for court approval. If the court preliminarily approves the settlement, the parties will publish, mail, and email a notice that describes the terms of the settlement and your legal rights. We hope to obtain court approval and get the notice out by February. At that time, we will be able to answer inquiries regarding the specifics of the settlement and how to file a claim. In the meantime, you should retain all receipts you have for repairs to your vehicle's cooling system. Also, if your mailing address, or your email address changes, please notify us by email.

Girard Gibbs llp
601 California Street, Suite 1400
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 981-4800
Fax: (415) 981-4846
Girard Gibbs LLP - Nationwide Class Action Attorneys, Securities Attorneys and Employment Attorneys.

This message is intended only for the addressee, and may contain information that is privileged or confidential, and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient or agent of the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited; and you are asked to notify us immediately by return email, or by telephone at (415) 981-4800. Thank you.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!

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Did anyone remember discussing this with me? If you do, did you read this? heheheheh

I wanna say it was either Dan or TFC...
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 09:53 PM
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I read/used this post and wanted to add a few things. I pulled the 3.4 out of a 1999 Chevy Venture and the post was very helpful. I did and would do a few things differently. My biggest change is I would either pull the radiator or protect it with some 1/4 inch plywood. I didn't and it ended up costing me $83 to patch and flush it. The flush would have been about $50 so I cost myself another $33. Everything went well before that part of the pull but I would leave the aft/right exhaust manifold attached to the rest of the exhaust. Taking all the exhaust manifold bolts out of the cylinder heads will help clear the engine compartment. I didn't block the transaxle up but should have. My engine was seized so I was unable to rotate the flywheel to get at the flywheel to torque converter bolts so I had to pull the engine with the torque converter still attached. Unfortunately, the transmission drive splines grooved the torque converter bushing and that cost me another $50 to get a new one pressed in. During the pull the passenger side lift bracket bent. On engine installation I left more slack in the chain and prevented any major bending. You kind of need to eyeball how much play because there's only up to get that deep engine out of the engine compartment. I didn' really find it necessary to remove the passenger side front wheel. I did it for the removal but not the reinstall. I put a junk yard engine in and I too used the Felpro gaskets. Overall probably twice or more time consuming as pulling a small block out of a Chevy Caprice. My apologies for adding on here, but this was the only blog I found with this out the top description. Thanks for the post the point outs made it smoother.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2011, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!

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Wonderful! Thank you for your feedback and fleshing out this thread. I have a 2000 Montana waiting for me in Iowa that is going to get this pull and swap possibly over the summer.

I'll try to take and post pictures as I do my work.

Again, Thank you.
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