Six Interesting Facts about the Chevrolet LUV
- The adorable name that perfectly suited the American mini-truck's fun size actually stands for "Light Utility Vehicle." It was the first Japanese-manufactured vehicle that bore an American nameplate. After obtaining partial ownership of Isuzu Motors, Ltd., General Motors bought the Japanese automaker's trucks and just slapped Chevrolet badges on them. The Chevrolet LUV was actually a variant of Isuzu Faster, which was sold exclusively in Japan.
- Despite the truck being labeled as "nothing special" by the press, the limited-release Chevrolet LUV sold well for the company. On its first year alone, the automaker sold 21,098 units. The following year, Chevrolet LUV sales rose to 39,422 trucks, urging the company to expand its availability to more Chevy dealers. Sales continued to rise by tens of thousands until 1980, when the automaker stopped making changes to the truck and disappointed a lot of fans.
- The addition of the four-wheel drive option to the LUV line for 1979 was so impressive that Motor Trend named the 4x4 vehicle as the magazine's "Truck of the Year." Motor Trend admired how the new variant handled its independent front suspension as if it were a small sports car. They also praised the quietness of its front-drive gears, among others.
- First sold in North America in 1972, two generations of the Chevrolet LUV were released in the market until 1981, the same year as the Chevrolet S-10 was introduced. However, production of the second-generation LUV continued in South America until 1988, when a third generation was released in the region.
- The third-generation Chevrolet LUV was based on the Japanese-market Isuzu Faster and Isuzu Rodeo pickup trucks, and it lasted from 2005 until the fourth and last generation was introduced. The last of the series, however, is now a rebadged version of the Isuzu D-Max.
- Motorcity, an animated television series about a group of hot-rod wielding rebels that is currently aired on Disney XD, originally had a character named Luv after the Chevrolet mini-truck. However, right before they released the pilot episode, the creators changed his name to Dutch Gordy. This character is known among the show's fans as the techie artist among the rebel group.
Chevrolet LUV Problems
The Chevrolet LUV is a mini-pickup truck sold in the Americas from 1972 until 1981 (North America) and 2005 (South America). Even though it bore the American automaker's nameplate, the truck was actually built by Isuzu Motors, a Japanese car company. As partial owner of the Japanese automaker, General Motors bought units of Isuzu Faster, slapped the Chevrolet badge on them, and sold them as the Chevrolet LUV. This was the American automaker giant's no-hassle answer to the rising popularity of Japanese vehicles in the United States. Even though the company already stopped selling the Chevrolet LUV, units are still sold in used markets. This is why owners of this model should watch out for the following common problems:
A huge issue with the Chevrolet LUV is the hard starting especially when it is cold. While this can be caused by various factors, it is better for owners to make sure that the spark plug is fully functional. Chevrolet LUV owners are also recommended to put their truck in a heated garage to keep its engine warm.
Many Chevrolet LUV trucks, particularly those from the first generation, have a problem with not being able to idle if the driver takes off his or her foot off of the throttle. This is usually caused by a faulty idle circuit. To fix this, warm up the engine and rev up to about 3,000 rpm. Hold it steady and slam the choke flap on the carburetor shut for about one or two seconds at the same time. Do this a couple of times to make the idle circuit work normally again.
Front suspension upper control arm
The front suspension upper control arm shaft attaching bolts may loosen on the Chevrolet LUV. This condition can result in incorrect front wheel alignment and a noticeable increase in steering effort. If this is not corrected, the attaching bolts may fall out or pull through the frame bracket. The unattached control arm shaft could chafe against the brake pipe and lead to the pipe's failure. Chevrolet LUV owners are advised to have the front suspension upper control arm shaft attachment replaced.
My trusty Chevrolet LUV skidded twice while I was driving on my way home. It was the first time it happened, and I almost lost control. When I arrived home, I noticed that the oil tank was empty. I refilled it. When I started the engine again, it was okay until I drove past about 20mph. I started hearing a knocking sound coming from the engine. What's causing the noise?
You are right that the skidding was caused by the empty oil tank. It is good that you've filled it immediately. The knocking noise, however, could be caused by a loose mechanical oil pump. When this part becomes loose, it tends to create a noise because there is no oil to pump. You just need to tighten the pump, and check if it will still make a noise. You may also check the belts and rods of your Chevy for signs of damage. If you find that these parts are already failing, you need to replace them immediately to avoid compromising your engine.
I was driving my Chevrolet LUV one night when a traffic officer flagged me. I was surprised when he told me what my violation was. My brake lights were dead. I brought my truck to the repair shop and had the light bulbs replaced. I thought everything was okay until one night, I got flagged again. What's wrong with my brake lights?
If you already replaced your bulbs, then there must be a problem with the wirings. The wire connecting the switch to the brake lights must be loose. A quick fix could be done by putting a piece of electrical tape on the wire to keep it from moving. Do not use other kinds of tape, as they will just loosen up again. You may also opt to bring your truck to the repair shop to have it checked. There might also be a problem with the wiring or the switch; they might also need replacement apart from the bulbs.
My trusty truck turned into a smoke machine last week. A blue and gray smoke is coming out of the right side pipe. When I accelerate my vehicle, the smoke goes wild, and it looks alarming. I wonder why this is happening. It's the first time that I've experienced this with my LUV. What's causing the smoke?
While a smoke show may look alarming to you, it is usually caused by a small but essential part of your vehicle. Bring out your owner's manual, and look where the oil ring is located. Check your vehicle's oil ring if it got broke or cracked. Replace it immediately to get rid of the smoke. If the smoke persists, you might also need to check your piston for damages or holes. A hole in the piston would also cause your car to skip. When this happens, you should bring your vehicle to the technician, so that they can perform a compression test and find out the cause of the smoke.
How the People’s Love for the Chevy LUV Ignited and Eventually Died
During the 1970s, Detroit’s “Big Three” auto manufacturers were surprised by how the small imported pickup trucks took the market by storm. They were so unprepared for such turn of events that their only way to respond immediately to the small pickup craze was to import trucks from Japanese automakers, rebadge them, and sell these trucks as their own. That’s how the Chevy LUV came to life.
General Motors didn’t like the idea of American youngsters getting used to acquiring and driving Datsuns and Toyotas, so its low-risk and low-cost response to the Japanese truck challenge was to acquire part of Isuzu Motors Ltd, buy trucks from it, outfit the trucks with Chevrolet badges, and slot them on the mini-truck segment. This new mini-truck was named LUV (an acronym for Light Utility Vehicle).
1972 - 1980: First-generation Chevy LUV
The first-generation LUV got a conventional engineering and rode on a 102.4-inch wheelbase. It was powered by a 1.8-liter SOHC inline four powertrain rated at 75hp and paired with a four-speed manual transmission. The LUV fared well in the market during its first year, selling 21,098 units. Though the 1973 LUV was basically a carry-over of the initially released unit (except for the reshaped bezels of the headlights), sales of this Chevy pickup increased and by the end of calendar year, dealers turned over 39,422 LUVs to customer’s hands.
There were slight changes for 1974 such as the transfer of the vertically oriented tail lamps from the truck’s rear bumper to the fenders. A new Mikado trim package was also offered. Although sales for the 1974 calendar year dropped, the 1975 Chevy LUV almost remained unchanged. For 1976, the three-speed automatic transmission matched with front disc brakes and revised trim helped improve the sales to 46,670 LUV trucks. Sales of the LUV rose again to 67,539 units for 1977 with the introduction of the new bed-less chassis cab variant as well as the revisions done in the carburetor, thus boosting the truck’s horsepower output.
The 1999 model year was marked by the addition of an optional four-wheel-drive system. That same year, Motor Trend magazine named the LUV as the second “Truck of the Year.”
1981 - 1982: Second-generation Chevy LUV
The 1981 LUV was redesigned up front to a point that it looked so generic and ordinary. Under the hood was the same 1.8-liter four cranking out 80 horsepower. Overall, the new LUV received minimal changes, making it a no match for its rival imports, so it wasn’t a surprise when sales dropped to 61,724 trucks by the end of the calendar year.
For its last year in the industry, the 1982 LUV was almost unchanged. Its replacement, the S-10, was already marketed alongside it, making LUV’s sales plummet to just 22,304 units. There were even LUVs that stayed on the dealer’s lots until 1983.