Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For Chevy Roadtrek Owners - Replacing a Broken Sun Visor Clip

This article is going to be of interest to just the owners of Chevy Roadtrek owners with the newer Chevy Express 3500 or 2500 van - that would be Roadtrek 170, 190, and 210. This applies to years from 2011 on - and MAY also apply to earlier years.

It should seem like it is no big deal to replace the clip that holds the sun visor in place over the windshield. This is something that is in all vans, trucks, and cars - and usually is held in place by screws that screw the clip into the metal roof line under the headliner. That is how many of these are installed - but not on the Chevy Express vans. In fact, doing a search for how to do this on the Internet comes up with results for just about everything else but the Chevy Express Van.

When we first got our Roadtrek in 2011, during the first trip I went to move the sun visor to help to block the sun in my eyes while driving and I noticed that the clip that holds the sun visor from moving and in place to flip down, was loose. I carefully moved the visor out and the clip came down. I tried to push it back into place and it did not stay. On our next trip to dealer service - not knowing if this was a Roadtrek part (as this sits right below the curtain track for the front windshield curtain) or if it was a Chevy part - I asked the Roadtrek service tech at the dealer if he could put it back when he was doing the other work that we were there for. He said he would and when the work was done and we were given the Roadtrek back to leave he said to me that he had never seen a clip go in as this one does and he was not sure that how he got it back to stay would hold for very long. The clip seemed tight, but not exactly in the position it should be in. It actually lasted there until this past summer.

Again, while on a trip, I had glaring sun in my eyes and I went to move the sunvisor and the clip came down in my hand. This time, if we were going to continue on with the trip, we were not going to have time to find any type of dealer and spend time there to have this fixed. So we finished out the trip with a sunvisor that moved with every turn of the van and never really stay in the right spot to block the summer sun.

When we got home I went on the Roadtrek groups for help and was informed that the clip was not from Roadtrek - that Roadtrek does not touch the headliner (though we know that it has to be touched to install the curtain track) and that the part comes from Chevy. Well, at least I knew now where to go to for the part. One kind responder - another Chevy Roadtrek owner - shared the part number that he had been able to find - but no one seemed to know exactly how it installed. I had no problem getting the old one out - it was sitting on my desk.  I started searching for both the part and the method of installation. The part is available from a number of sources - some say that what they are selling is original GM, others say it is a used part from a van, GM sells the part in their service department. The part number is GM# 25840046.

I called the local Chevy Parts Department at the Chevy dealer that I have bought several of our cars at and asked about the part. I was told that it was a two day order and I could order it on the phone. I asked if I could come in and show them the part I had that had fallen out for them to see if it was broken and if I really needed a new part - and if so I would then order it there in person. He said sure and the next day, off we went with the part to Chevy.

I showed the part to the man at the service desk who I had spoken to. He looked at it and told me he had never seen anything like that before. He had no idea how it went in, and he was not sure if it was broken or not. He called over the parts manager who said, "What's that?". They suggested that I walk it over to the service department - which I did. I saw a service manager who I have worked with in the past on my car. I asked him to look and tell me if he thought that the part was broken. He, too, admitted that he had not seen one of these before - apparently they don't come loose or fall out too often (which is a good thing - but when they do it seems they are a mystery). He looked at it and thought he could see parts of it that looked broken or cracked. That was enough - and I knew that I would order the part. Before I walked back to the parts desk I asked the service manager if when it came in, would he have one of the service techs put it in for me - I was not asking him to do it for free - I was willing to have them do it and pay the dealership for the work. His answer was "We'd rather not. We don't want to take the chance that it might break when we try to put it in." Well, that was a surprise! Chevy did not want to repair a broken visor clip in a Chevy van with a Chevy part. As I was walking away, he asked what the part costs. I told him what the parts department told me - $25 including State and local sales tax! He said, "Wow! For that?". Yep...

Online the part is much less - but it is uncertain if you are getting OEM GM and if you are getting a new part. So it was best to order the part from Chevy - have it the next day and not have to have the visor flop around any longer.

OK so we order and pay for the part and go back the next day to pick it up. The part comes in only one color - beige which matched the one in my Roadtrek.  The part has a button that comes down in the middle of the bottom. It appears that the button locks a clip that secures the visor clip to the hole in the metal ceiling beneath the cloth and padded headliner. When I had tried to put the old one back, that button looked like it pushes two sides of a clip apart that lock the visor clip to the metal. With the old one those two sides did not spread very far and the clip just fell back down when touched. I was hoping that the new one would lock in.

Here is what you find when you look up through the head liner where the clip once was -

Here is what the clip looks like and you can see the button below the base behind the part that comes down to clip onto the sun visor -

 Here is the clip from various angles and you can see how it works to go in.

 You can see in the photos that there are actually two mechanisms that hold this in place - the upper part that spreads into the hole and below that just above the base there is a spring clip on each side.

As I examined where this has to go and how it has to go in, I used the old one to see what happens when I push the part up into the hole and where the springs on the side seem to go. It seemed that all of that went up into the hole. I found that I had to push and hold the headline all the way up to make sure that the part went as far up as it could to lock in. I also found that the maneuver to do this and get the button in was awkward.

I also knew that once it went up - if it did not seat properly, there was no taking it down without breaking it and spending another 25 bucks for another one. I measured the depth of the hole - there was enough room above for the whole clip assembly to the base to go in. I started my attempt at this.

I pushed the headliner as far up as I could. I made sure that I had the clip in the proper direction and orientation - VERY IMPORTANT - check twice so that it does not go in backwards! Over the years I have learned that check and "measure twice and cut once" is an important lesson to learn. I had it in the proper direction and I pushed the clip up toward the hole in the metal ceiling though the headliner - making sure that the base was on the outer side of the headliner where it belongs.

I then pushed with some force up and into the hole to sandwich the headliner between the base of the clip and the metal. I pushed it up as far as it would go and I started to push the button up to lock the clip in place. The button went halfway up and then there was a LOT of resistance. It took a lot of effort to push that button into place with the fingers of one hand, but I could not let go with the other hand in case the clip came down before it locked. I got the side of the palm of my hand on the button and got it to go the rest of the way up and as far as it is supposed to go. When I let go, there was a deep impression of the bottom of the button in my palm. It was up and it did not move when I took my hand away.

Now, I very gently touched it - was it going to come down? No, it stayed in place. Next I gave it the acid test and I pulled on the clip - it was solid. Good. So far it seems that is is fixed and secure.

It may be that this is the only instructions on the Internet on how to install a visor clip on a Chevy 3500/2500 van. There seems to be nothing else like how this one goes on. I looked at the visor clips on my 1996 Chevy van and they have screws that hold them in place. I looked at the clips on my 2013 Chevy car and that clip is completely different than this one.

So if your visor clip comes down, now you know what part to get and how to install it!


  1. Good information. However the little piece that fits in the clip is broken on mine. Do you know where I can find a new visor or how to get a new piece?

    1. I would start with the parts department at any Chevy dealer. Bring the year Chevy, that is is a 3500 Express Van (or 2500 Express Van if it is an RT 170, and the VIN number. They tend to use the Vin to get an exact match. They would not likely have just the tip but the complete visor assembly - which on the driver's side includes the light on the back of the visor - and the mounting bracket. Search the Visor online first to get an idea of who else sells it and what the price will be.

  2. The clip has fallen out, but it does not appear to be broken. However, when I look inside the headliner, there is only a hole & no metal for the clip to attach to! Any ideas about this?

  3. When I look into headliner, I don’t see a metal piece as in photo above. There’s just a blank hole. Any suggestions?

    1. The metal above is the van body and the rectangular hole in the photo is what the clip goes through. Put your finger into the hole in the headliner and feel around (gently) for the hole. The headliner may have moved out of place when the clip came down. The clip on the visor bracket has to anchor into something solid - and that rectangular hole in the metal is perfectly sized for it - and is there from Chevy. Beyond that I do not know - I only know what I found when I got the old visor bracket out.