Chevy Express Keeps Ancient Truck Parts Alive in 2022

The Chevrolet Express is a workhorse van that’s been around since the mid-’90s. Available in both cargo and passenger configurations, they can be found everywhere from school parking lots to construction yards. While it has received increased modernization over time, the general nature of the van has not changed since 2003, when Express made its last major update. As the current generation approaches its 20th model year, the Express may well be the oldest new vehicle currently on sale.

2022 Chevy Express, in cargo and passenger configurations.


General Motors debuted the Chevy Express and its twin, the GMC Savana, in 1996. The first-generation van was based on a new platform called the GMT600, which was derived from GM’s fourth-generation C/K pickup truck. The body-on-frame van uses a full stair frame, with a box-frame front for extra strength. The platform was renamed GMT610 after the 2003 update, which brought substantial improvements including a more rigid three-piece box frame design.

While the 2003 update was fairly extensive, we haven’t seen many changes to Express since then, and some of the older components made it through the update without any changes. The platform roots in the Eighties C/K truck design can be seen in Express today—for example, replacement front shock absorbers such as the Monroe 32362 were interchangeable with GM trucks up to the 1988 C2500.

Brake components are slightly newer. You can find front brake calipers on current Express vans that were used throughout 1999 on the Silverado and Sierra 2500. These brake calipers were also used for several other GM products, including the Hummer H2 (2003 to 2009) and the Cadillac DTS (2006-2011). The front brake rotors and hub assemblies also come from those 2500 series trucks from 1999. The rear parking brake shoes are slightly newer, first seen on vehicles like the 2009 Silverado 3500.

2022 gmc savanna

We see the same theme on the suspension of the Express van. The 2003-to-present generation obviously took some inspiration from its predecessors, as the front stabilizer bar assemblies are interchangeable with what was found on Chevy Astro vans through to the late 80s, according to the swapping guide of replacement parts sold by Mevotech.

The story is pretty much the same once we get into the van. Looking at the Express/Savana’s interior, it’s clear this vehicle was built to be utilitarian, with wide swaths of gray plastic, no touchscreen to speak of, and a conventional analog instrument cluster. As you climb into the driver’s seat, you may notice the DOOR AJAR light on the dashboard, which is triggered by sensors in the door frames first used on the 1995 Pontiac Sunfire. Peek under the steering column, and you’ll find adjustment levers appearing on everything from from the ’90s GMC Sonoma to the Saab 9-7X. Oddly enough, while the steering wheel looks similar to what was found on nearly every GM truck and SUV during the turn of the 21st century, it’s actually unique to the Savana and Express.

2022 gmc savanna


From a power window switch perspective, the Express is a coupe, so GM dug in the trash and picked up the driver’s door switch panel from a 2006-2007 Chevy Monte Carlo. The headlight switch harks back to the same era, first seen on GM’s 2007 line of trucks and SUVs where it appeared on everything from the H2 to the Avalanche.

The powertrain options are a bit newer. Order a new Chevy or GMC 2022 work van, and you can opt for the 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel four-cylinder engine found in the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. If you prefer petrol power, your options are the GM 4.3-liter V-6 or the 6.6-liter V-8 — basically, punch-out versions of the 6.2-liter L86 that started its life in the 2014 Silverado and Sierra.

Express and Savana have remained close over the years. There’s a good reason for that, and why the last major redesign happened when George W. Bush became president. Sticking to the same basic design over the years has made life easier for those who use this van: If your first stop after leaving the dealership is to install racks, racks or accessibility gear, you want to make sure everything will fit without the fuss. . In a vehicle like this, it’s a virtue to stick with familiar and widely available parts.

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