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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,441
    Thank you Dave (isis805); nice to see a coveted "century" post with such good info :-)

    Steve
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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Looks like you got the century post, Steve ;-)


    Drew
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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,441
    lol, quit messing with my head, Drew. Dave's excellent wet carpet fix was post 100 until you started deleting stuff :-)

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  • m2bm2b Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2WD 2000 Astro at the end of 2000, currently have 10,500 miles between lots of city and freeway driving. Big plusses and minuses, in my experience:
    The good:
    Very roomy, affordable (compared to other mini vans), good towing capacity, nice straight-line behavior on the freeway.
    The bad & ugly:
    Atrocious quality control - new squeaks, rattles, clunks and buzzes every day. Some go away spontaneously, some get fixed, some remain forever. Lots of wind noise, clunky transmission shifts, especially second to third ("normal" according to my dealer) and so-so mileage (about 16.5 city, 20 highway). Based on these issues, I'm concerned about long term reliability.
    I would look at the Astro for what is is: an inexpensive hauler with typical GM QC. I purchased an extended warranty through my credit union based on recommendations from other Astro owners.
    If you're looking for quality and tossability, I'd look elsewhere; if you're looking for a decent hauler with lots of people and cargo room, and are willing to take some risk, the Astro should be OK.
    Hope this helps.
  • danjk2danjk2 Posts: 2
    I am out of pocket nearly $5,000 in post warranty repairs on my 1997 Astro AWD. The latest is $2,200 for a new transmission at 78,000 miles, which was preceded last month by $800 to replace the lower intake gasket that was leaking coolant all over the engine. I have also replaced the idler arms, serpentine belt (twice), driver's door power window motor, rear liftglass struts and more ... much, much more.
  • roman40roman40 Posts: 1
    My safari has had a bad pull to the right since '98. Several dealers have looked at it but have been unable to fix it. Have had front brakes replaced twice in the last 3 years and it has had no improvement in the pulling. Some other bits and bytes.. am on third set of idler arms! Torsion bar broke on front drivers side. I have the wiper problem and will check the solder joint on cc board as suggested. The rear heater pipe has cracked. The rear brakes seem to wear out quickly. I love the space but the reliability...
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    Check the contacts that come from the circuit board to the commutator (shiny rings). If the contacts on the ends of the spring arms are badly worn, bend the arm a little further away from the board and you will change the contact angle and get more time out of it.

    Jim
  • billp10billp10 Posts: 2
    Hello,

    I have recently purchased a 1990 GMC safari. Unfortunately the heater fan does not work. Can anyone please suggest what i should consider checking into. Also does anyone know if the heater blower is under the hood, or in the dash.

    thanks
    Bill
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    I'll just put in my 2 cents

    After driving 1.3 million miles on business for the last 22 years, I just purchased my second new Astro AWD tonight. My old '98 has 128,000 and is still running strong. The 2001 has GM's 100,000 mile, 3 yr warranty. I'll be over 100,000 in less than the 3 years but for $2,300, it's worth it. In my winter travels these AWD Astros really grip the road. Of course the new Uniroyal Tiger Paws come off the new Astro and my new Toyo Z800 Ultras that are on 98 will go on the 2001 to make the gripping even better. I believe in taking great care of my "offices" and they seem to treat me right. Guess one of my biggest complaints about the Astro is it's abysmal safety record. They are sadly in need of an update by GM and they will probably change them now that I just bought one. Hey, I even got the optional Turn Signals on my Astro. (heh heh)

    Terry
  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    I also purchased a 2001 awd van but didn't see anywhere in the owners manual of of 3 yr 100,000mi warranty? Only the std. 3/36 Where did you find this information? Thanks.
  • dtigerdtiger Posts: 1
    Recently purchased a 96 Astro Conversion.
    Tires on it were Cooper, wasn't happy with them.
    Discount put passenger one size wider on it. Bounced and sagged on the road. Do I need a truck tire? Thinking on Michelin LTX M/S. Any advise out there?
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Yes, you need a tire rated for your increased load. This maybe a truck tire or a reinforced passenger style tire (rare anymore, but Michelin MXT special orders come to mind).

    Hard to quibble with Michelin's of any sort. Premium tire and premium price. LTX's are also available at Sears/NTB under the name XC. Nothing wrong with Cooper by the way. I've been pleased with them in the past. Still have a set of load range D-rated Mastercraft Courser R/D's on a van. (Mastercraft is a Cooper company.) Good set of tires at an incredible price. I'm approaching 40k with some moderately heavy loads. They still look brand new.

    But I have never been pleased with a passenger tire on a heavy van. Lots of swaying. Trouble with wind shear. Terrible ride. Not much traction in dirt or snow. And the thought of coming off the interstate--with the tires nice and hot--then cornering on the offramp, shifting almost the whole 4000-7000lbs onto that one front tire..... POP!!!!! Explorer/Firestone City. I don't know why anyone would put passenger tires on a van (or truck), except out of ignorance.

    Note that not all "truck" tires have an increased load rating. Shop carefully. The Chevy factory label on the door should provide a recommended load range, tire size, tire pressure, etc. Hopefully your conversion company has updated that info because of the increased weight. If not, maybe you can call them.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    You may be able to get the tire store Cooper to replace the tire with a proper one, especially if the vehicle label calls for an increased load range tire.
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    Creid you get this warranty from the dealer.
    I didn't find it in the manuals. They first tried
    to sell me their own warranty. I've had GMAC's in the past and wanted it again. (It covers more stuff.) The dealer did say that it would be more than $2,300 if I waited more than 30 days to purchase the GMAC warranty. (GMAC wants your $ to start earning interest for them early in the warranty game.)

    Terry
  • yritcheyyritchey Posts: 1
    I have a set of these on my 99 Astro and I love them. Have about 15,000 miles on mine and they still look like brand new.
  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    After purchasing our 2001 Safari w/ 2nd row captains chairs we noticed that they are bolted to the floor instead of quick release. I wish I would have looked more throughly at them before the purchase. A friend of mine has a 2000 E150 Ford van & the chairs fold flat, come right out of the van & they even spin 180 degrees around facing the back passengers, heck the Safari/Astro's don't do any of the Ford vans seats what a waste of money.
    Does anyone know of a aftermarket company that possibly makes a retrofit that can be placed on the base of the seats & the van to allow the seats to be easily removed w/o the need of a socket wrench? I'm not wanting to impeed safety but a easy removal would be very nice when I have to remove them w/o fiddling with a socket wrench to remove (4) nuts.
  • lorarlorar Posts: 3
    I just bought a used 2000 awd astro with 22,000 miles on it and what's left of the warranty. I've had it in the shop already because of a ticking noise which they said was a tension pully and with my pushing the dealership paid for it even though it was not technically covered under the warrenty. I took it back today because of the same sound and now they say it is the serpentine belt and won't pay for it! Also, I have all but worn out the rear tires in less than 2 months because of the grabbing while making turns (normal turns). It grabs, vibrates and bugs the crap outta me. The dealership says it's the transfer case that needs to be serviced ~ Again, I refused to pay because when the salesman went with me for the test drive he said the "grabbing" was part of the awd system. This is a bunch of garbage as far as I'm concerned. Has anyone had this type of problems and could the transfer case being serviced really solve this problem ~ I doubt it and I suspect I'll be stuck with this problem. I've only had this thing a short time and I'm so unhappy and freaked out that I am stuck with it. I had a 96 awd that was great and no grabbing.
  • ahelmahelm Posts: 14
    Dito on my 2000, it had 18000 miles but no ticking. Flushing and change to an "improved" lubricant in the transfer case, according to a familiar TSB took care of the grabbing at GM expense. However my abnormal tire wear was on the front! could some one have rotated them? 3000 miles later,a late snow fall (AK) gave me a chance to test the AWD. I was disappointed to find that no power was going the the front wheels! I suspect 18,000 miles in this condtion glazed the clutches in transfer case. It is in the shop for this issue as I write. Some thing else which I was told is normal which I ?? is: stopped on an incline in "D" is rolls backward and requires some gooseing to overcome the rolling, the opposite is true in "R". Could be tricky on a the boat ramp!!
    I remain opptimistic. There is nothing else that compares to the AWD mid-size with decent tow capacity. I have faith that these issues can be worked through, but plan on getting an extended warranty before the factory one expires. Andy
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    The rear heater on my '96 Safari has never worked properly as the water flow could not be turned off, only the blower. Dealer actually told me it didn't have one, that the water always flowed through the rear heater core. Stupid me, I believed him. One day while changing the oil I found the valve just above the transmission. I finally found that it didn't work because the vacuum lines were pinched in the dash. Has anyone else seen this problem? After many years in this condition, the valve no longer will work. Replacement part is $78, so I checked the vacuum before purchasing and found there is still very little vacuum available. Short term fix is a manual valve to shut off the water to the core, but I still wonder if there is someone out there who has seen this and corrected it properly. Thanks

    Jim
  • lorarlorar Posts: 3
    Thanks for your feedback. I am already plotting in my head how to make these guys take care of this problem until it is fixed. I pick up my van today and hopefully all is well. If not, I have my bright orange window chalk that I plan on using across my windsheild to write the word "LEMON" and park it in front of the dealership until I get some resolve! You said your problem was taken care of at dealership expense and I was wondering did they say it was covered under warranty or did you pressure them to take care of it? I will be purchasing the extended warranty also but I am skeptical of all the things that will go wrong and will NOT be covered. I'll keep you posted. Lora P.S. anyone out there have any comments on the serpentine belt/tension pulley problem I'm having at 24,000 miles?
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And would get 23 to 24 MPG consistently on a 1400 mile reound trip to Disneyland with 5 adults and all the luggage. Digital instrumentation was the weak point.
    In 8 years, the only repairs were replacement of a leaky manifold gasket and replacement of windshield wiper motor. Probably should have replaced digital instrumentation but all worked but temperature and oil pressure. Since they had "idiot light" backup and we keep vehicles well maintained, we were not overly concerned about the lack of those 2 gauges.
    Too bad GM never made significant improvements in the 16 years. An easier removal/installation of middle Captain's chairs instead of the 4 bolts would have been one nice improvement. Extending the wheelbase 12 inches and adding 12 inches to driver and front passenger foot room would have been sufficient for us to buy another Astro. It would have been about the length of Grand Caravan, Odyssey, Venture but would been overall much superior to any minivan in our opinion. We love our 99 GC SE, but would have liked an Astro even better with those 2 improvements.
  • lorarlorar Posts: 3
    I wrote a letter to the owner of the dealership detailing out the course of repairs/problems I have had since purchasing my 2000 awd Chevy Astro. I called first to make sure he was in and then told him I would be faxing him a letter. About 1/2 hr. later he phoned me to let me know that they would take care of EVERYTHING no cost to me at all. He apologized for the runaround that I'd gotten and assured me that the things that have gone wrong are not indicative of a problem vehicle. He said servicing the transfer case with a higher quality lubricant would fix the grabbing problem and they will replace the serpentine belt too. I hope he's right about it not being a problem vehicle. In the mean time I've loved driving the Toyota Corolla rental car - makes me think twice about owning a big vehicle.
  • btorlvbtorlv Posts: 16
    At about 30-40 mph I get a slight metal rattel noise from the front of the motor g.m. cant find. 2 belts replaced 2 cats. all new exaust system in dealer 9 times. Went to arbiration and lost. g.m. states its the balance shaft and the noise is normal. any Ideas? I get up set every time I drive this pile of crap but my wife seems to like the van. Also pleast give yourself plently of room to stop the brakes stink. tire wear is another story.
  • snowyowlsnowyowl Posts: 3
    I have recently purchased an 89 chevy astro. I am very happy with it so far but was wondering if these have any little quirks I should be aware of or be ready for-thanks
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Lots of folks maintaining old astros on www.vannin.com's forums. There's also some astro specific board, but I cannot find the link now. I would ask on that board.

    Quirks? It's GM. Don't forget to rotate the alternators. :)
  • mesabdbmesabdb Posts: 1
    Does anyone know the code for axle ratios contained in the VIN number? Looking to buy a 98 Astro, but want to know the axle ratio for certain before we buy.
  • churchi11churchi11 Posts: 1
    I have a 93 4wd ext Safari which runs fine but has one exasperating problem; on hot days I have difficulty shifting out of park. if I run the a/c for 15 mins it shifts ok. I have discovered that a small switch, which is operated by pressing the brake pedal, controls the shift mechanism. It seems to expand in hot weather when the car is locked and parked. I have had this (vacuum) switch changed three times ! Any ideas for a quick fix would be appreciated.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    You must be referring to the shift interlock that requires you to depress the brake pedal before allowing you to move the gearshift lever. Look in your owner's manual for mentions of a shift interlock override. If your vehicle does have one (most do for emergency situations), then you can simply by pass the shift interlock.

    Good luck!

    Drew
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    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • billtungbilltung Posts: 255
    Just received a recall letter from GM Canada regarding safari/astro vans between 1996-1999 fail to conform to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard,"Occupant Restrain Systems in Frontal Impact." Now I have to make appointment to install a new alarm module on my Safari. For those who didn't receive the recall letter, pls contact your Canada GM/Chevrolet dealer.
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