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Old 03-11-2017, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default Chevy Express transmission cross member

Haven't looked at mine yet (2003) but would there be any way to cut and splice the crossmember in two places with a doubler and bolts?
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:55 PM   #2
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Haven't looked at mine yet (2003) but would there be any way to cut and splice the crossmember in two places with a doubler and bolts?
That prospect was considered and discussed many more times than I choose to remember

I think it could be done, but it would be an "interesting" job. You will find the crossmember to be a fairly odd shape, mostly a C shaped forming with flanges, and some of the C having a full bottom. It would probably need flanged doublers do to shape, and likely some internal support to prevent crushing it with the drawbolts.

It would have to be done in place, also, as you can't get it out (which is the problem in the first place of course). The frame and crossmember appear to be made of a mid strength steel and are cutable with good sawblades, but it is a slow go and blades wear out quickly. If someone is really good with a cutting torch or plasma cutter (that wouldn't be in my description) and you had it on a hoist (with a couple of fire extinguishers) it would be much easier to cut. Abrasive cut would also work. The thin, 1/32 or 1/16 3" wheels on an air grinder cut pretty well on this stuff, but a bit slow. The crossmember is probably only .090" thick or so.

It will be interesting to see what you think when you crawl under yours, and at your year, it might not have the issue. If the change came with the redesign you are on the edge. The clue would probably be what engine you have. 6.0 would indicate the new style, 5.7 or 8.1 would be the previous design.
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:00 PM   #3
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I posted this issue on the Yahoo Roadtrek forum also, as it has lots more Roadtrek owners than here.

One poster with a 2010 said he had a trans failure and the RT had to go to the dealer for tank removal, to Chevy garage for trans warranty repair, and then back to the dealer for tank reinstallation.

The trans repair was free at Chevy, and he had to pay the $2000 bill at the dealer. Of course, he is also in the same condition as he started, and would have to pay the extra again if the trans repair doesn't last (which is more common than it should be).

It is unknown whether he had a 2010 chassis or not, and if it had the 6 speed, as he hasn't replied to that question yet.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:12 PM   #4
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.

2010?

Is that with the new 6 sp trans?
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:34 PM   #5
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.

2010?

Is that with the new 6 sp trans?
See one line up into last post
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:26 PM   #6
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"It will be interesting to see what you think when you crawl under yours, and at your year, it might not have the issue. If the change came with the redesign you are on the edge. The clue would probably be what engine you have. 6.0 would indicate the new style, 5.7 or 8.1 would be the previous design."

My 2003 has the 6.0L engine. I won't have access to it for a few more days but when I find out I will post. Thanks for sharing. For those of us that sell our vehicles by the pound it is an important issue. A trans failure will probably not happen close to home.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:03 PM   #7
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For those of us that sell our vehicles by the pound it is an important issue. A trans failure will probably not happen close to home.
Only those who do the same will understand that comment, which is oh-so-true for us also.

I guess for those that don't want to deal with it on the road, and don't want it right back to where it was if it does happen, it would more appropriately called "remediation" than modification.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:52 PM   #8
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Booster

Thanks to the board, March 2016 we finally we got a 2008 190 Popular with the six liter engine and four speed transmission. We enjoyed the vehicle very much over the summer, We made some modifications and upgrades before summer and during late fall.

The problem you described in regard to removing the transmission crossbeam on the Chevy Express version of the RT 190 Popular is of great concern to me.

I must admit I have not looked under our vehicle, as it is still stuck in snow and ice, however I expect it to be like yours.

I am wondering if it is possible on the Express van to have Chevy Service haul the engine and transmission together out the front of the engine compartment, without removing the crossbeam? If things could be done that way, it would still be very expensive, but at least one would not have to shuttle the coach from A to Z and back again, with delays and frustrations that would entail for everyone. Maybe some other engine work might be done at the same time to spread cost.

There has been discussion touching on whether the cross beam could be cut, perhaps vertically, parallel to the longitudinal truss on the passenger side, and just clear of the remaining attachment to the truss? The latter might then be abandoned in place. The lowered cross beam might then be shortened by about another half an inch, so that a sufficient length of three or four inch angle-iron with quarter of three-eights thick walls could be bud-welled onto the new end. This might provide a surface to be drilled and attached via three or four tapped holes to the bottom of the truss, much like the other end of the crossbeam. Would this make an acceptable preemptive step and avoid having to remove the black and gray tanks?

Thanks

Gerard M
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:01 PM   #9
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Can the engine and transmission be removed from the front? Yes. However most shops could not do this.

The transmission cross member still has to come out to facilitate removal of the engine and trans, so it's really no different.

Quote:
Only those who do the same will understand that comment, which is oh-so-true for us also.
Funny story. Way back in the late 80's I had a 76 Civic that was destined for doom. So we drove it HARD to the yard. About 3/4 of the way there it started smoking. Shortly after we saw flames poking out the hood vents. Arrived, went in, got the cash and as we're leaving an employee says to us 'Your car is on fire". I showed him the receipt and said "Nope, YOUR car is on fire".
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:31 PM   #10
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Booster

Thanks to the board, March 2016 we finally we got a 2008 190 Popular with the six liter engine and four speed transmission. We enjoyed the vehicle very much over the summer, We made some modifications and upgrades before summer and during late fall.

The problem you described in regard to removing the transmission crossbeam on the Chevy Express version of the RT 190 Popular is of great concern to me.

I must admit I have not looked under our vehicle, as it is still stuck in snow and ice, however I expect it to be like yours.

I am wondering if it is possible on the Express van to have Chevy Service haul the engine and transmission together out the front of the engine compartment, without removing the crossbeam? If things could be done that way, it would still be very expensive, but at least one would not have to shuttle the coach from A to Z and back again, with delays and frustrations that would entail for everyone. Maybe some other engine work might be done at the same time to spread cost.

There has been discussion touching on whether the cross beam could be cut, perhaps vertically, parallel to the longitudinal truss on the passenger side, and just clear of the remaining attachment to the truss? The latter might then be abandoned in place. The lowered cross beam might then be shortened by about another half an inch, so that a sufficient length of three or four inch angle-iron with quarter of three-eights thick walls could be bud-welled onto the new end. This might provide a surface to be drilled and attached via three or four tapped holes to the bottom of the truss, much like the other end of the crossbeam. Would this make an acceptable preemptive step and avoid having to remove the black and gray tanks?

Thanks

Gerard M
I think there are a lot of possibilities of how to to modify stuff or address the issue on the road. That was the purpose of putting it on the board. The couple of truck places I talked to said the vans are too short in the hood opening to remove engine and transmission together out the front. I have done a couple of cars that way in the past, big hood muscle cars, and you have to have the car a long ways off the floor to get enough angle to lift it out.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:36 PM   #11
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All of a sudden we have two threads on the same topic here, and I think for the benefit of future searchers on this issue we need to get the information into one place if possible. This is, IMO, a big and expensive issue that needs to be easily found by all the search engines.

We can contact Janice and see if she can combine the threads, which would be best, I think, or we can link both to each other and then settle on which one to continue with, but spitting always seems to make stuff hard to handle in the future.

Opinions welcome.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:10 PM   #12
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Just leave the original one as it is. If the second one comes up with a solution, which it has not, then let's put the solution on the first one. I didn't want to pollute the first one, which is full of good basic info, with BS.The second one is just searching right now so let the first one, with info, stay as is.

So far no one has come up with a solution better than Booster's. I can do everything that he did except make the nut plates. Above my pay grade.

Also not mentioned is normal corrosion has made it difficult on my unit to remove the nuts on the verticle threaded rods that hold the tanks on the tank hangers. Every nut will have to be split or cut because torquing them will twist and destroy the soft metal rods. Something I learned the hard way.

Let this thread remain the BS thread and the other the info thread.
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:09 PM   #13
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Consulting others, the way to get the transmission out without removing the tanks is to cut off the bolt heads then cut off the welded in nuts. Cutting the transmission support member may be necessary. You then replace it with new.

Looking at the pictures the difficult thing would be to cut off the bolt heads with so little space. I don't know if it can be done but I'm told that would be the technique.
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:28 PM   #14
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Consulting others, the way to get the transmission out without removing the tanks is to cut off the bolt heads then cut off the welded in nuts. Cutting the transmission support member may be necessary. You then replace it with new.

Looking at the pictures the difficult thing would be to cut off the bolt heads with so little space. I don't know if it can be done but I'm told that would be the technique.
That can be done, and likely would work. You still would need to replace the bolt head side by the tank with some sort of nut from the inside and be able to hold it at installation. The top one would be quite tough to do. I think the only way is to over the frame from the top.

What I hope someone will do is put a big impact wrench on the weldnuts and see if they will break off with the bolts still in them, either tight or cut off. I was able to break them off fairly easily, with the crossmember out, with a big crescent wrench, wiggling them up down side to side until they popped off. If they can be done in place, it would certainly be easier.

Of course you still would have the issue of how to get it reassembled with it so close to the tank, which would need to be nut side.
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Old 03-27-2017, 09:01 PM   #15
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Well, Mr. Booster, I can match you and raise you one. Mine matches yours with even less space to play with on the passenger side. I can't even see the top bolt head but the kicker is the weld bead to mount the threaded rod for the tank hangar overlaps onto the cross member welding it in.

Too bad we can't find out how the 2004 did it without an extra charge. Where did you get the weather proof connector for the sensor wires? I might start with that.

It does appear that the welded nuts could be broken free with a breaker bar and extension. So far I don't see any way to cut the bolt heads off on the passenger side.

Perhaps it is time to copy your last post here to the other thread and close it out.
Harry 2003 C190P
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:29 PM   #16
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Ouch, I do feel your pain, for sure. I haven't had a chance to do it yet, but I need to go around to a few independent transmission shops to see what they say about it. On the Yahoo board there have been a couple of folks that said they had their Chevies done without extra problems. The guess would be that they are able to cut off the long stud on the trans mount so they can lift the trans up enough to move it rearward, or unbolt the mount from the trans instead of the crossmember. If they get it back a ways, then they might be able to tilt the front down enough to take it out at quite severe angle, nose down, clearing the crossmember and the exhaust. This is strictly speculation, though. If you have a known good shop, it may pay to go and speak to them before doing too much else.

I bought a connector kit from here:

https://www.diyautotune.com/shop/wir...her-pack-kits/

and a generic crimper from somewhere I don't recall right now, but there are lots of them around.
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:49 AM   #17
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Is it possible there are a lot of transmission problems that can be resolved without removal? Perhaps those that didn't incur extra charges didn't have it removed. That is my bet.

For me, I am gonna have to roll the dice for the next year at 110k miles. Worst case, ship it home, but that is a terrible option. I would expect it has to come out by 200k miles.

Breaking the welded nuts loose should work for the driver's side.

I will try to come up with a better solution next winter. I just had the fluid changed by my mechanic. Next time we will take it to a transmission shop and have a discussion.
Harry 2003 C190P Roadtrek
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Old 03-28-2017, 03:20 PM   #18
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Is it possible there are a lot of transmission problems that can be resolved without removal? Perhaps those that didn't incur extra charges didn't have it removed. That is my bet.

For me, I am gonna have to roll the dice for the next year at 110k miles. Worst case, ship it home, but that is a terrible option. I would expect it has to come out by 200k miles.

Breaking the welded nuts loose should work for the driver's side.

I will try to come up with a better solution next winter. I just had the fluid changed by my mechanic. Next time we will take it to a transmission shop and have a discussion.
Harry 2003 C190P Roadtrek
I don't know that I would write that tranny off at 200k. It's a pretty stout unit unless it gets run hot. And they will tend to get hot climbing grades. I pull over when the temp reaches 220* running synthetic Dexron 6 fluid. That happens quite a bit when pulling a trailer with my fun stuff in it.
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