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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • I own a 2003 Safari and I have the same problem exactly the way you described it in your message. If you find the problem before I do, please post it. I'll do the same. The dealer wants some $ 500.00 to replace the sensor. The same problem happened once before, back in 2005 and went away by itself after few days. Wondering???
  • Yes, richly917 is right. Just put fresh (synthetic) oil in the transfer case and the problem's gone. I thought I had the whole 'all wheel drive' gone on my 2003 Safari AWD because of the hopping and the GM dealer in Lewinstown, ID, fixed me up for $ 48.00. It only took an (transfer case) oil change. Good luck.
  • bookra43bookra43 Posts: 3
    Buy the WEATHER TECH brands --have bought their floor & cargo mats & window visor and the y fit like a glove-- to me and excellent company.
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    This has me baffled. I get only the second/middle speed where the HVAC fan will work on heat and vent, but any other, Blend, AC, Defrost, get all 3 speeds. Tried a new air box Resistor, but still no go. If I go from Blend, high speed fan, to Heat, it quits, only middle speed. If I go from high speed heat, not working to blend, it won't work either. Need to shut the fan off, and then back to high, and works. Any suggestions where to look next? Thanks in advance, Robby
  • chefred112chefred112 Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Safari...I put 229k miles on her before I bought a truck in 05 and basically let the Safari hibernate... fast forward to this week and I decide to bring her outta hibernation and let the truck sit (the tranny needs rebuilding and I don't want to deal with it right now). With a jump the Safari starts right up and idled beautifully...I've been using it for a few days and noticed when I come to a light and sit, the idle is low enough where you might think it might stall so i wonder if there is an adjustment on a throttle cable where I could bump it up a hair. A few maintenance things I have planned for the weekend are spark plug and oil change. Possible window motor changes since neither window will roll down or up). I changed the cap and rotor today which did help the idle (almost felt like it was missing). Also changed the t-stat out since it seemed like it never was getting to operating temps on the guage (stayed at 100 at 195 after change). I just found this forum yesterday and it already has helped with some vacuum issues I've been having. So anyways, anyone have any ideas if idle can be adjusted?

  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    The idle can't be adjusted on these newer vehicles. It's all electronically controlled. There is a physical throttle cable, but the idle and air/fuel mixture are all electonically controled via the OBDII computer system... at least as far as I know.
  • confused31confused31 Posts: 1
    I drive a 2003 Astro with the same exact problem. So far the dealer has checked and cleaned throttle cables and the throttle body. They have also replaced the idle air control motor as they said it was sticking wide open after a highway run. That was about 2 months ago. I thought the van was fixed but it just acted up again. I am begining to wonder if it is a poor conection or corroded wire or the ecm itself
  • jkumpire24jkumpire24 Posts: 17
    Well, to make a long story short, the cable that goes from the gas pedal to the throttle frayed and broke, or that is what the dealer said. It only cost about $500 to replace, including a new set of front brakes. Just something strange that happens in old cars, I guess.

    My next question is this; When do these things become to expensive to maintain? Just found out today I need a $300 set of front bearings in the van, and in the last 5K of miles I have pumped in a little over $1000 in repairs. My Patience is wearing thin!
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    think of it this way.... $1K a year to keep the thing on the road is still WAY cheaper than a $300-400 a month new car payment.... when you look at it from that perspective that 1000 bucks isn't so expensive.
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    edited June 2010
    Dude, I have had 2 Chevy vans, since 1986. The 79 G-20, lasted more than 10 years, and was a rust bucket when found, that I restored to a custom. Never touched the 350, motor, or trans, just built a custom old school "cool van". It finally gave up the ghost, from Illinois rust. Still ran fine, and STILL sold it for $300. For the 4 Bolt main 350. Then bought a 91 Astro, $5000, now west coast,,(no rust), 115,000 on it. 10 YEARS AGO. now way over 200,000. So far only tires, and did new front brakes, new rotors, water pump, and serp belt. That was $800. Retired, used once a week to get EXPENSIVE parts, for my 4 boats, and 5 motorcycles. Long story short, best darn van I EVER owned. NEVER left me side the road. Done some more to it to keep it on the road, but bet in 10 years, I have only $7000 in it total. Divided by 10 years, thats $700, a YEAR! No sympathy from me, and if ya think the guys who work on them are over charging ya? Pick up a tool, learn to twill a wrench, and do it yourself..I do, and have done for years.
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    Hello everyone. Just bought an 85 Safari. I have been a Celica GT owner for many years. This is my first van so I am excited about the project. Van has new motor, new trans. new exhaust, cat, muffler. Was non opt and sitting mostly for a year. I hope he put some stabil in the gas tank. The a/c does not work, and the fan barely blows....Will take to a/c shop in the morning as soon as I pick it up. Floor is all rubber so I will probably put carpet in. The gas mileage will be pretty bad but I suppose I can install smaller needles in the carb to improve mileage seeing how I will not be towing anything. Anyways, I am sure I will be here a lot for a while so any advise for a new owner will be sooooo appreciated. Thanks!
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    I have a 91, 4.3 V6, and get a good average,like 19 MPG! My suggestion, use it first, as you will be surprised, as they are gas sippers, and freaking workhouses! .
    Damn, an 85?...still a pup at 25!
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    O.K. So this van was sitting for 1 year, the man spoke very little english. I thought it was ready to drive but I guess he had done nothing. I would have towed home. Too late now. So, I drove home. Not a good idea. Anyway, after flushing the brown water from the radiator, I need to change oil, spark plugs, etc. Cannot find screws that are supposed to be located under hood upper right and left corners. Have not even started with bolts inside van. What do these 2 screws look like? Book says use extra long screwdriver to reach.
  • bookra43bookra43 Posts: 3
    You get at these screws/bolts from the--- INSIDE--- of the van. There is 1 screw located at the UPPER Left Side & 1 screw located at the UPPER Right side at the very front (ENGINE SIDE) of the engine cover (commonly called the (DOGHOUSE)--

    You will need a very long screwdriver or a ratchet with about an 18" extension & I think a 9/16 scocket----those bolts ---JUST COME OUT--- THEY DO NOT & I REPEAT DO NOT COME OUT OF THE HOLES IN THE DOGHOUSE---just LOOSEN them all the way then take the glove compartment off -- then take the bolts out at the BOTTOM REAR of the doghouse

    My best suggestion to you is to go to an Auto parts store and buy a manual covering your vehicle--they give you pictures and better details.

  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    On the plugs, its a a good afternoon, if ya know what yer doing. And yes, GET A MANUAL. Chiltons is good enuf. Front plugs, wheels off, pull the flaps away, and there right there, long way in, but right there. Have many spare bandaids!
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    Thanks so much for the replies...been working on it 2 days now. Drain, flush rad., change oil, new air filter, etc. Yea, my son said are you gonna do the sparkplugs and I started laughing.....take a look at those will take an act of god to r & r those babies, removing wheels, and special tool #20163..... I will try on a 3 day weekend. I did order the original GM shop manual today. Found it on ebay 30 bucks.
    So, it failed smog check because a vacuum hose from one of those 2 little evap. saucers in front right was off. The smog tech said find where it goes and put it on. Well I found 1 line setting on the motor with nothing connected to it and I put it there. We will see tomorrow.

    There is a pipe about 3"diam. sitting open on the manifold. What the heck is that???
    There is also a small black plastic part with 2 spots for vacuum lines and a metal rod sticking out of the bottom just sitting on top the motor in a whole??? I could push on the metal rod and move it up and down. It must be broken off ?

    And I saw a piece of tubber tubing with a sparkplug stuck in it and attached to the radiator. Just behind the radiator cap. Was that my heater hose??? Thanks again for all the help. Gotta go back outside and figure out why I cannot open rear doors with the key.
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    So I have had this van towed home 4 times in 1 week. Fuel problem. Previous owner installed an electric fuel pump in front right side of motor. What was in this van originally? Autozone says the 1985 4.3 carburetted van had a mechanical fuel pump located in engine compartment. Auto repair technician and Repair shop owner showed me the computer screen that says the original fuel pump is in the gas tank per All Data I believe. So, I called Chevy dealer parts dept. and they said if the eighth digit of the vin is an "n" it is a carburetted 4.3 with a "mechanical" fuel pump. So what was the original fuel pump position? why replace it with an electric one?
    I can drive for 5 to 30 minutes fine and then van stops and wont start again until it sits for 20 mins. or so except today it would not restart after even an hour. Is the electronic fuel pump a bad idea? Tech says why would ANYONE put an electronic pump in front of a carburetor? And he worked at a carburetor shop for many years and knows them well.
  • bookra43bookra43 Posts: 3
    Call your friendly Chevy dealer up and see if this year & model has a FUEL PUMP INERTIA CUTOFF SWITCH---the switch is used so if you ever get hard it kills the electric to the pump--you can reset them manually and most of the time they reset when they cool down.

    My ex-girfriend had a Bronco II doing the same thing you are describing---
    that nearly drove me crazy until I found about it---I just cut the wires and took the switch out & threw it away and soldered the wires back together and never had a problem again.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    This might help, might not. The 4.3 is basically a 5.7 (350) motor with 2 missing cylinders. I had an 1982 GMC sierra with the 350. It was carburetted with a quadrajet II 4-barrel or something or other. It had a mechanical fuel pump. The block could have been a 1986?? but I am pretty sure it was a 1982. Anyway, the mechanical pump is located on the passenger side down near the crank. It will be on the side of the block near the front of the motor. If there is not one there, it will probably have a blank/cover placed over the hole where it mounts. This could mean a couple of things. It could meant that the original owner is a hack (well, from what you're telling us, he is), and didn't know what he was doing and decided to cut out the manual pump and just installed an electrical pump, or there is an electrical pump in the tank and the blank cover is a factory installed part since the block was already cast for a mechanical pump and then the switch over happened. I don't know enough to know what you have, but take a look at the fuel delivery system. Is it a carb or fuel injected?? (how do you tell????????) Carbed, it's a mechanical pump. Fuel injected?? Electric in the tank pump.

    Anyway, problem is, he didn't install a pump large enough to feed the vehicle thus it dies and can't keep up with the demand. (I learned this the hard way too after I tried to install an electric pump in my Sierra. Mounted the electric pump to the fender and it just couldn't keep up).

    Anyway, look at the block, if you can. You might be able to tell where a fuel pump was mounted?? Or perhaps it's still there, just not hooked up. If it is a mechanical pump, replace with a mechanical pump. You'll be much better off. If the pump is electric in the tank, replace with electric in the tank. I am guessing it's mechanical though since the last owner tried to rig an electric one in the engine bay. Unless he was also trying to by pass the electrical one in the tank. But that would just be moronic.
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    Far as I know, all 4.3's were not mechanical pumps, but electric, in the tank..gotta drop it..
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