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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro

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Comments

  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    I have a 2001 awd & get 13~14 in the city and 17~18 on hwy. The worst on hwy was 16 w/ head wind and hills. Seems w/ van fully loaded with family & luggage and going up semi-steep hill the van has to down shift to climb the hill. Mine has the 3.73 rearend which I'm unsure if I regret it or not. Seems to be pretty peppy around town but feel that hwy mileage is decreased due to the engine turning more rpm's.
  • ahelmahelm Posts: 14
    We have a 2000 AWD 3.42 axle 19-20 Highway 14-16 city acording to computer which seems pretty acurate.

     It would be interesting to see if the milage of the 3.73 can be improved by larger diameter tires. 235-75 15s can be accomodated by raising the vehicle acording to info at http://www.overlandvans.com/
  • In the 7 and 1/2 years of ownership we drove 61601 miles and it used 2976.5 gallons of fuel.
    On long trips it averaged 24.6, 23.9, 23.1, 23.6, and 23.8 MPG. I normally drive within the speed limit. The lowest gas mileage was for town driving in mid-December 1998 when we got only 13.3 MPG.
    We had digital instrumentation that started working intermittently after about 2 years. It would always work when we took it in for service. At 59,725 miles it had a coolant leak which required a $15.50 manifold gasket that took $335 labor and an overpriced $306.60 windshield wiper motor replaced that cost $67 labor. Never did require any brake pad or shoe replacement.
    Ironic? We got a NEW 99 GC SE after the repairs mentioned above and now the 99 GC had to have head gaskets replaced at 35,002 miles. If the GC needs any more repairs, I want to trade it in on a NEW 2002 Astro. I prefer the higher seating position of the Astro, panel doors to a liftgate, the 27 gal fuel tank to a 20 gal, the 4.3L V6 with 250 lbs Torque to our 3.3L with only 203 Ft. Lbs. and the much larger interior of the Astro in a vehicle that is a foot shorter in length.
    My friend drove Astros for an airport shuttle service. One had gone 700,000 miles and another one had 650,000 miles. Some transmission work was performed but he says those 4.3L Vortec engines are indestructible.
  • while I was driving Y-362 ('99 Astro LS), it got a constant 12-13mpg in city driving with the AC on all the time. Never did better than 15.5mpg on the highway. Of course, this is taxi severe service on a 2-year old van with 90K on it...

    other Dallas taxi drivers who use Astros report the same mileage, 12-13mpg during taxi duty...
  • dplachtadplachta Posts: 109
    Mega kuddos for fessin' up to problems with your Chrysler van. I remember how feverish you were in claiming their reliability.
  • Thanks to all about the mpg question. We do really like the van. (It replaced a 1995 Voyager).
    The 8 seats allowed both me and my brothers family to go out to dinner and not take two vehicles! So it sounds like on average we should see 18-19 in town and at least low twenties on the highway. It is going to the dealer with a rather long list of repairs needed. Actually, they are minor tweaks. Also a new metal on metal sound started two days ago. Possibly the brakes, allready? If it is, will take it someplace other than the dealer. And WILL NOT go to Brake Depot. (big rip off artists, they are in litigation in California, BIG SMILE). Thanks again and keep on truckin'
  • avro1avro1 Posts: 6
    OUr Astro also seems to have gotten bad fuel mileage (compared to our Windstar literally double the gas), it struggles at 120 and gets affected by crosswinds at 140. Not too stable on the highway. Solved the problem by replacing the Astro. Couldn't be happier.
  • Has anyone tried the Granatelli Mass Air flow sensor And K&N air filter? Has anyone installed an Aluminum differential cover? I sent an e-mail to Mag-Hytec, Inc. and they wanted more information.

    I have a 97 2wd Astro with 3.73 gears and 40,000 miles and pull a 4000 to 4500 lb. 30 ft. Award travel trailer. It gets about 14 mpg at 55 to 65 mph in tow. Solo it will run 20 MPG at 65 to 70 mph. It takes a strong tail wind and flat country to get 21 mpg.
    I am using a 10/30 Mobil 1 engine oil. Of course the fuel mileage is very difficult to check on this vehicle as you can add 6 gallons of fuel after normal nozzle cut off. The last 6 gallons are like filling through a straw, and not all pumps will pump at a low enough volume to permit topping off.

    I had a 94 2wd 165 hp company van with 3.23 gears and it would get up to 24 mpg. I drove it 85,000 miles with zero defects. I had one injector replaced on the 97 under warranty.

    I find it to be one tough truck, and the mini vans are a different breed. The 5500 lb. tow rating and hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood or wallboard set it apart. I ran out an Aerostar and a Voyager Co. vans and prefer the gusto of the Astro.
  • ....But when the dealer fixed it the next day under warranty and no cost to us for it, the oil change, etc. there is no anger yet at DC.
    We had never had a coolant leak in under 100,000 miles on any vehicle until the 91 Astro CL developed the leak from the manifold gasket at 59,725 miles. However, the Astro had that abominable digital instrumentation that started working intermittently after we had it a couple of years which made the coolant leak the final straw. I wish GM had made more improvements on Astro/Safari like quick release on middle row bucket seats and extending the length at front to provide better engine compartment accessibility and more foot room for front passenger and driver. They could still be shorter in length than GC, Odd, Windstar, etc. while having more interior room.
    The 99 GC SE had ZERO problems until the coolant leak and we love the separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger, front and rear A/C or Heating, Complete overhead console with outside temp, compass, and Trip Computer. If we have more than one more problem with the GC, we will trade it.
    My sister has a 2001 Odd EX which will make it easy to see how Odd are for reliability. I now feel it was unwise to trade off the Astro which had only 3 problems: Intermittent functioning of temp and oil pressure of digital instrumentation, and the failure of the heat gasket and windshield wiper motor at 59,750 miles.
  • Hi,
    Joseph here. New to list. 54 year old school teacher, 4 years from possible retirement.
    I just bought a 2001 Astro RWD passenger van. I like it. Going to tow a TT eventually but now I'm worried about winter and a trip from new York City where I live to Toronto. Right through snow country. I used to live (12years) in New Hampshire and have always had a front wheel drive car (my last rear wheeler was a VW Bus, also good in snow). So what can I expect from the astro??? Should I get four snow tires??? Currently have P2 15/75R all season radials which came with vehicle. Could use brands/names models you use. Blizzard by Firestone????

    Thanks
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    I own 2 AWD Astros. I have a 98 and a new 2001. In the last 2 years I have clocked 110,000 miles here in the northwest. They both have 3.73 rear axles and will get 19 mph on the highway if I keep them at no more than 65. As for tires, I'm a big Toyo fan, I believe I have over 600,000 miles on their Z-800 all season tires. It's the best wearing and driving tire I've found for these vehicles bar none. Last winter I put on a set of their Observes and I know they are even better on snow, ice and rain slick highways. They also are "softer" and won't get the 100,000 miles that I usually get on the Z-800s, but they are sure nice in the winter and that's the only time I drive on them.
  • Just finished with the dealer and it turn out the catalytic (spelled right I hope) converter was defective. It would explain the lack of power, low highway miles, etc. A replacement is on order. Will let everyone know if that helps. Thanks again for the help.
  • We live where we get snow anytime between October and May. We drove our 91 Astro CL RWD for 8 winters and had only one occasion when we could not go where we wanted to with UniRoyal Tiger Paw all-season tires. That was when we were going up a steep hill with about 5 inches new snow and the original tires were about worn out.
    Studded snow tires on the rear of a RWD Astro would let you go anywhere that you could go except with 4WD vehicle. I have been able to go anywhere in my rear wheel drive Impalas, pickups, and Astro that I could go with any of 3 FWD vehicles when all had regular all-season tires. I prefer the handling characteristics of RWD over FWD.
  • I just changed the differential lubricant on a 97 RWD Astro with 40,000 miles. I changed to Mobil synthetic, but the point is, there was a magnet trap attached to the differential cover. There were some metal particles on the trap.

    I recently changed the transmisson fluid to semi synthetic, and here also, there is a magnet attached to the pan. The metal particles had been collected on the magnet.

    The engine drain plug is also magnetic.

    The transmission filter is a real filter, not a mesh screen as some other manufactures use.

    Just crawl underneath and look at how the thing is built. The muffler is huge and looks as though it belongs on a over the road tractor. The exhaust piping is large for a 4.3 liter engine.

    It also has that high profile seating so that if you have the SUV mightier than thou syndrome then you may be satisfied with the Astro elevation. But, maybe not, you probably got to have those big oversized raised letter Firestones to really become obnoxious.

    Incidentally, my daughter had and older astro that had some problems. A water pump and an alternator. She gave it to the Salvation Army at 200,000 miles because it had engine oil leaks.

    I'm sorry, we're only to come here to complain and bash GM, but there is another side to the story.
  • I need to Replace the lift supports on my 95 astro rear door. Is there a Trick to doing it. I was able to pop off the clips,but was unable to unscrew the support. Am I missing some thing?
  • apmapm Posts: 11
    I changed the lift supports on our '99GMC rear window. I used an aftermarket prod. Directions show a ball and socket type clip I think it was on the shock side of the support. I didn't take out the screws but rather pried the spring loaded socket from the attached ball on the van. The new supports were nominal ($20) and only a couple of mins. to install.
  • Thank You for the input. I will try again tonight. The directions on the back of the package were not written very Clear.
  • avro1avro1 Posts: 6
    My only complaint would be the quality. While my 2nd van had an unusual amount of trouble, I would certainly hope that it was the exception. The sad part is, that the van slipped through the cracks. The other part of the equation was the lousy treatment the dealer gave me. My 1993 had no problems except for some problems with the AWD system. My 2000, suffered a blown rad during its first 100km, it then had transmission failure at 3200km (before the hitch went on), had another transmission failure at 58000km before the warranty went out (purchasing dealer said it was our fault, that the class I, utility trailer was to heavy for the van, the second dealer fixed it), the block then cracked at 78000km, GM has resolved the problem. But I chose not to keep the van, in the meantime I have a 1992 beater I am using until I decide what to do. Kudos to Gm for admitting the van had problems, But I am hesitant to buy a 3rd one, maybe a Grand Caravan, my partner is going to get her 3rd windstar soon. I for sure will not buy a matching vehicle. I may swing to a SUV or maybe a wagon. The only major design flaw would have to be the narrow footwells, GM could fix that by extending the front end, GM you have no competition with this product, please continue to evolve it. Your shoddy quality lost my lifelong GM support. But I don't wish you bad luck, I hope you can get back on track so I can get back on the bandwagon. GM your other product (Yukon and company) is simply out of the question in terms of cost. The van is made of solid parts, now eliminate the rough ends. Also why does my 93 have nicer fabrics in it then the 2000, did you cut quality? I'd like too see if others think quality has waivered or if GM simply needs to weed out the bad units better?
  • pleempleem Posts: 1
    We purchased a new 8-passenger RWD Astro in March of '95. Still going strong 92,000 km (57,500 miles) later. Mostly light duty local daily use but occasionally long distance trips complete with heavy hauling and/or trailer towing. Other than requiring a new brake booster a few years ago a trouble free vehicle. Routine maintenance only. Reliable too although it has its quirks and idiosyncracies. Operating and maintenance costs are reasonable considering it's a truck. Despite the Astro's inherent drawbacks it has met our expectations and I've developed a certain amount of respect and affection for our 'mule'. Would I buy another? Probably not. I sense that build and component quality has slipped and our needs have changed somewhat. But, if GM were to update the design I'd consider it. Friends of ours bought an AWD 7-passenger Safari about the same time we got our Astro. Their Safari has proven to be a good vehicle too.
  • All the horror stories on this site sent me to the automotive supply house for preventative maintenance items for my 97 Astro. Unit has 40,000 miles on it.
    Mobil 1 10/30 for the engine.
    Mobil 1 75/90 for the differential.
    Quaker State semi synthetic with filter for transmission.
    K&N drop in air filter.
    Front brake pads.
    Rear brake bands.
    Fuel filter.
    TOYO ultra 800 tires that are rated at 44 psig.
    These have the hightest tread wear rating of 700 and a 100,000 mile tread wear warranty. This van runs straight and true as did the 94 without any unusual tire tread wear or cupping.

    Yes! those front brakes do need the silicone grease to allow free movement of the assembly and shoes. I got this information from this post somewhere.

    Now I expect it to run the 100,000 miles to get the tread off the tires. Or to at least go to 85,000 miles, like my Co. 94 driver did, without a problem. And I expect the highway fuel mileage to increase from the 20/21 to 21/22 mpg with all this TLC.

    I love this van and consider it bullet proof. The main reason for owning the van is to tow a 30 ft. Award travel trailer. Tows like a dream but I did buy the TOYO ultra 800 tires for the extra rated pressure from 35 psig to 44 psig. This should improve the slight sway induced by the 85 mph 18 wheelers. Incidentally, the fuel mileage in tow is 14+ MPG at 60 mph.

    When I get to feeling depressed about the fuel mileage I just go visit the Toyoto Siena, and Chrysler van sites and I realize that things could be worse and I feel better.
  • tkccetkcce Posts: 5
    I have an Astro van that needed the rear axle rebulit at 46000 miles. Now at 86000 it is make the same high pitch whine noise and is going back to the dealer this week. I suspect the rear axle bearings are scored again. Anyone else out there with this problem. Also I have noticed the abrupt shifting from first to second gear a few times over the last one to two years. This is supposed to be an indication of a transmission problem. Anyone with any experience on these two problems.
  • RE: Message from coonhound!! 219
    Could you or some one else elaborate on the preventative measures? I have a 2001 Astro van and just hit 3000 miles. Will bring it in for first "checkup" (do I have to go to Chevy? I wouldn't but post re. brakes and other hidden maintenance problems worry me).

    Should I have Chevy change all fluids to synthetic???

    Happy with vehicle. Only problem so far was rear door misalignemnt which was corrected by dealer.
    Hope to keep this vehicle a long time.
    Joseph
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    Since 1996 I have logged a little over 300,000 miles on 3 AWD Astros. My current a 2001 LT just clicked over 22,000 miles since I bought it new in June. The 1998 AWD is sitting in the driveway with 95,000 and has not had a serious problem in it's life. My most serious maintenance problem was with the '96, and a transmission that went out. Yes, I've have water pumps and alternators and brakes, of course, go out but that's about it. I'm religious about changing oil every 5,000 miles and all the other fluids except radiator every 20,000. I've learned that the dealer knows the most about my vehicle and that's where it goes for the 20,000 mile check. I just don't have many problems with these vehicles. I owe it the the maintenance. Oh, and I rotate tires at every 5,000 too.
  • RE: Jcastine:
    No, I would not change the fluids to synthetic until after the original factory warranty period. And I doubt that the dealer would add any lubricants except Delco by GM.

    The GM specification is to change the differential lube at 15000 miles if used for towing. Transmission at 30,000 when used for towing. And there are other severe duty conditions where these intervals apply.

    Good luck, you should not have any serious problems. It is one tough truck, yes---like a rock.

    My 97 Astro was a program vehicle that I purchased with 26,500 miles in early 1998.

    Under warranty I had a Serpentine belt replaced, one fuel injector just after I bought it. The sliding door adjusted, and some ignition wiring routing recall. I just received the second notice about the seat belt buzzer recall. I guess I'll meet the government specification.

    I also pulled the DRL fuse to shut off the daytime running lamps. The 97 does not have auto on. I hate those lights being on all the time.

    The brakes are not a problem area with these vans. I drove the 94 company driver 85,000 and the only repair item was spark plugs and serpentine belt. The brake caliper slides on a small bushing that slides in rubber inserts, probably O-rings, and this is on of the areas that needs the silicone lubricant at each tire rotation, so I hear. They were binding when I removed them.

    I like the synthetic oil, Mobil 1 especially due the the higher withstand temperature before degradation starts.

    It's a good idea to go to the dealer for the first couple of oil changes at least. As long as you keep maintenance records there should not be a problem with warranty.
  • I need to replace the drivers side power window motor on my 97 Astro. I have a shop manual and it does not look too hard, anybody have any insight or things too look out for on this job?
  • Thank you all. Could not get to dealer for 3000 mi oil change. Had jiffy lube put in synthetic. Hope that's OK
  • RE: Jcastine:
    You done good. There is a site on Edmunds where a lubrication Engineer says that not all synthetics ar really synthetics. He is connected with some synthetic lubricant supplier or marketer that I've never heard of, but he reported that Mobil 1 is a Synthetic. He posted a lot of good information, but at the moment I don't remember how I got to that information. An I even use some Castrol, but he said that it is not a synthetic. I don't know! It is worth your time to go find the info. as it is rather in depth and informing.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,312
    I think you are referring to "bobistheoilguy". I've seen his posts in Engine Sludge?.

    There are several other discussions about engine oil, synthetics, and oil analyzing over in the Maintenance and Repair Board.

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • it developed a coolant leak at 59,725 miles when it was over 7 years old. The problem was a leaky manifold gasket that cost $335 labor to replaced a $15.54 part. While driving it in to get that item repaired, the windshield wiper motor quit. I feel $306.60 for a small, cheap motor made in Mexico is exorbitant and so was the $67 labor to replace the wiper motor. When those 2 things happed at the same time, we got scared and traded it on a 1999 GC SE. GM paint is greatly superior to the paint of DaimlerChrysler. Our Astro never got any rust spots with NO waxing...just washing. Meanwhile, after 1 and 1/2 winters, our 99 GC SE has little rust spots all over each side that can be taken off/covered up with Turtle Wax and MUCH labor.
    We had the rotten, doofluss GM digital dash that had defective coolant temp and oil pressure that started working intermittently after a couple of years. However, both always worked when we took it in for service until about 7 years old when neither worked any more. Due to exorbitant cost of a new instrument module and labor, we did not get it replaced. Meanwhile, our daughter got a well used 91 Astro RS EXTD and the digital dash in it with 188,000 miles on odometer still works perfectly.
    My good friend drove Astro vans for a airport shuttle service and one had gone 700,000 miles and the other one 650,000 miles with original engine in both. He says the 4.3 L Vortec
    engines will last forever.
    Would I buy another Astro? YES. If GM would take the advice of Avro1 and extend the front to provide decent leg and foot room for driver and front passenger.
    Our 91 Astro got 23 to 24 MPG on trips and overall average for 61,600 miles was 20.7 MPG. I loved the great gas mileage with the large 27 gal fuel tank, the great visibility, and overall excellence of the Astro.
  • I have a 1999 Safari SLE. When it rains, I can hear water sloshing around. I find a lot of water in the cavity of the sliding door area at the bottom of the body. There is a small area under the step when the door is open. If you open the sliding door after it rains, water will come gushing out. I checked the sliding door seal and it looks okay. Any other suggestions on how to remedy this problem?
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