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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Or lack of problems. Glad to see another satisfied owner. I was thinking this site was dead.

    I am surprised that GM is still building the Astro/Safari in 2004. I think a 2005 will be a maybe, depending on which side of the bed Bob wakes up on.

    I have a 97 Astro that I purchased in late 97 as a program unit with 26,000 miles. Only have 50,000 miles on it now.

    Fuel injector replaced under warranty.
    Serpentine belt replaced under warranty.
    Rear pinion seal replaced under warranty.
    Rear door opener broke and I repaired it at no cost. Dealer wanted $47.00 for the part.
    Replaced brake pads and shoes.
    Driver side power window acts up occasionally, indicating that I'll need the $75.00 circuit board soon.
    Throttle was sticking, cleaned the carbon from the butterfly with carburetor cleaner.
    Heard so much about the PCV valve and port plugging with carbon, checked this and it was clean.
    Replaced the spark plugs at 48,000 even though they were in good condition. But, one plug was different than the other 5 plugs.
    Replaced the Dex Cool with new Dexcool and replaced the thermostat.
    Changed fuel filter.

    Has a 3.73 differential.
    I run Mobil synthetic in the standard differential. Not limited slip.
    I use Mobil 1 5W/30 in the engine.
    I have changed the transmission fluid twice as I pull a 30' Award travel trailer. The last change I put in lubegard with Havolene Dexron III.
    Have a K&N air filter.

    We run about 21.5 mpg at 75 mph and summer fuel.

    Had a 94 company driver that I drove 80,000 miles and only replaced the plugs. It had 3.23 gears and would run 23 to 24 mpg. The gal that ordered that on must have been mad at me and ordered the 3.23 ratio instead of the standard 3.42 axle.

    The differential can be a weak spot as GM now uses a synthectic lubricant in the differential.

    In addition to changing the fuel filter regularly I don't run the fuel tank close to empty. The motors last longer if immersed in fuel for cooling, and has to work less to pick up fuel.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    hey, made me think about my ride. My van has 120K and been reliable, save the ride problems, so I made a closer inspection on my last oil change at the dealer. Both front shocks had leaked until near empty and the right rear had busted the lower mounting point. Need to stay on my service man a little better!! It's quite impressive how new shocks that are all attached make the van handle better;) Sorry for the premature bad info jpc47 !!!!
  • the Service AWD light started coming on 3 months ago. At the time I filled the front transfer case with fluid (it was almost empty). The light went out but started coming on again intermittantly. I had both front axle seals replaced to stop leaks. Light continued coming on with increasing frequency until now. Now it is mostly on. Any ideas??? Service AWD light???

    jpc47 you mentioned that your light came on and it was a motor that controled the distribution of the front and rear wheels. How much was it to diagnose and get it fixed??

  • Yesterday in the ALL DATA system I read that most intermittant problems are the result of faulty connections. I climbed under my van and noticed that the connection to the 'motor that controls the distribution of the front and rear wheels' was a little loose. I opened and closed the connection a couple times and the 'service AWD' light has not been on since.

    I did this after calling the dealer and finding out there was a $135 diagnostic fee and a potential charge of $500+ to fix something.

  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    Just got your message I was out of town. They fixed it on warrenty, don't know how much it cost.
  • I can't say that I'm not happier having gotten rid of that overpriced underacheiving piece of junk,formerly known as a GMC Safari 2001.I took a beating,trading it in for half the price of the two year old LEMON it was but the lack of headaches of not having to drop it off at the dealership bi-weekly and finding a ride to work is almost worth the lesson I got on the General Mistake Carmaker.(GMC) Says it all for me.
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Sounds as though you got a Monday morning Safari.
    I feel as though the Astro/Safari are akin to Mom's apple pie and baseball. Many owners feel that the 4.3 engine is even better than the 3.8 used GM cars for several years. I drove a 94 2wd 88,000 miles without a single problem. My 97 2wd has had about 4 minor problems. I do wish it had rack and pinion steering instead of re circulating ball. But like a rock.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 241
    I've got a '95 Safari AWD with a little over 100k, and it's been very reliable(bought the extended warranty, even...turned out to be a waste of money).
    Who'da thunk it?
  • Any oppinions or input would be much appreciated.

    My service AWD light is still on. It comes on almost every time the car is started know.

    I replaced the transfer case fluid with Auto trac 2 as suggested by the dealer.

    When driving on snow in my yard yesterday, only the back tires were spinning. Does this mean that the AWD is not working?? (The light was not on at the time.)

    Any ideas???
  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    Check the fuse under your hood labeled ATC this may be blown.
  • ficussficuss Posts: 541
    I just bought an '04 Astro cargo van, no bells and whistles, just air and radio. Has anyone regretted not buying the extended warranty due to high repair costs after warranty?

  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 241
    Tough question. I bought a '95 Safari AWD SLT with most available options(used), and bought an extended warranty, yet the worst thing that happened was the wipers quit and the dealer charged the warranty company about $120, so I lost my shirt on that deal. It now has 102K on the clock, and everything is still working...
  • ficussficuss Posts: 541
    thanks for the reply. I have been asking hard questions on Edmunds for a few years now. My other Chevy is an 02 Trailblazer. The question of an extended warranty on that car was a no brainer. The TB has 7 computers and is completly controlled by computer. The engine was replaced at 2000 miles. Deciding on buying the extended warranty was easy. The Astro cargo van is so simple compared to the TB that deciding on the warranty is tougher. What kind of track record do the 4.3 vortec and the auto trans have? Does the suspension hold up for 75 K miles before needing work. There isn't much else to repair, and yet the cost of the warranty is close to the same as the TB.
     By the way, your problem with wipers may have been a generic problem Chevy has been having with wiper motors. Do a search on other Edmunds Chevy forums and you will see many complaints about Chevy wiper motors. Many of the complaints have been satisfied by chevy at no cost to the owner.
  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    I got the hard sell on the warrenty from the dealer when I bought my used 2001 Astro LS. I bought the cheapest version, powertrain, and haven't used it. It's been a good van. Haven't had any problems yet. We've had it about a year.
  • ficussficuss Posts: 541
    Judging from the number of posts here relative to the number of posts in the Chev. Trailblazer/GMC Envoy/Olds Bravada forum, Either G.M. has sold far fewer Astros than the TB/Envoy/Bravada or there are far fewer complaints about the Astros. I hope it is fewer complaints.

  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I would have to think that GM has outsold the SafAstro twins with the TB/Envoy combo 10 to 1. I'm sure the SUV craze hasn't waned just yet. I have to say the feedback on the SafAstros is unfortunately like any other GM, some good and some bad. I've been a lucky one, but I have experienced some of the problems posted here. But, hey at least these vans are not as ugly as the new Uplander.....YIKES!!!
  • oomar43oomar43 Posts: 8
    Being my first time to consider buying a GM vehicle, I am looking for owners feed back on the reliability of GMC Safari or the Chevy Astro compared with Toyota Sienna or Honda mini vans, and their ability to tow a 3000 lbs. boat and safely launch it out of steep wet ramps.

    Thanks for your contribution
  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    can't beat the awd Astro for towing, pick the others for reliability.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 241
    I tow a 20' boat, total weight around 4000lbs including trailer, with a Safari AWD. Used to use a 2wd Astro, and I would smoke the tires on the wet ramps. I would recommend the AWD for this reason. Plus, if you drive in snow, the AWD is uncanny in it's ability. When we go to the ski slopes, often times it's the Subarus and me able to stay on the road.
  • ganze1ganze1 Posts: 7
        Has anyone changed the type of rotor they are using on their Astro/Safari? My 2003 Astro has warped rotors. I was thinking of trying some slotted or drilled rotors so they stay cooler. Has anyone tried them? If so, was there any improvement?

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