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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    Hello all I have a 2001 Safari AWD with the crazy AWD grabbing problem. I have had the transfer case flushed out (3) times w/ the fluid according to the TSB from GM. The problem is after driving the vehicle on the hwy for maybe 10 minutes & then you exit the front wants to grab anytime I take a turn. Even after a fluid change the symptom still persists. The grabbing seems to die away once the vehicle cools down from the highway travels.
    My question is for others that own the AWD version 99 and after (do to the redesign) does your van have the same symptoms as mine? Just wondering to see if I want to strangle my dealership or if possibly it's normal.
    Thanks in Advance.
    Corey R.
  • Corey,
    I have had a 2001 awd Safari cargo for one year. It does have a slight grab or sensation that it in four wheel drive. It is only a fraction of the feeling you would get if you drove a regular four wheel drive on roads that were not slick. It has always been that way and has not given any trouble. But I have not driven any other awd vehicle. I do not think that mine does that when the roads are wet or slick, but I will try to notice in the future. And when I turn a tight circle you can tell it is not a two wheel drive van.

  • cubster1cubster1 Posts: 11
    Recognized you from the Land of Isuzus. Sweet vehicles by the way. If you want a real world test of the Astros here goes: Gone through a 98 and in the process of beating up a 2000. I sell construction products out of these babies and you can't break them. AVOID THE AWD !!! If there are ant problems, just take the repair cost and double it. The ride is worse and the steering response is sloopy after you get some miles logged on. My 98 had 155,000 on it when I traded it in Aug. of 2000. My 2G has 76,000 on it now with the only proble being the dreaded sticking gas pedal. Every GM service guy says a different solution. Love my vans like you love those "Suzys". Good luck!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    One of the reasons I was directing my dad toward the Astro/Safari was due to the AWD! We are a subie family and after driving em with AWD we like having that at our finger tips. Although he really like a conversion RWD version of the Astro as well.

  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    I have a 97 with 45,000 miles and the gas pedal sticks with the throttle closed and pops loose when opening. Is this the dreaded sticking problem? and what is the solution?
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    My 2001 Awd just clocked 50K and I couldn't be happier with it's performance. This is my 3rd AWD Astro since 1996 and it's another winner. 2 items have been repaired under warranty so far. The first was one of the catalytic converters went out at about 20K and recently the rear pinion seal was leaking and replaced under the extended warranty. That's it! I guess we can't count windshields, I'm on my 3rd.

    I've got to say that I haven't experienced the problems talked about with the AWD. The AWD, on all of my Astros has performed flawlessly. It has been invaluable in a number of situations. That has been the experience with the other AWD Astros in our company also. I can't say that about the transmissions. We have had problems with several of those in the past.

    That's my 2 cents worth.
  • grc4grc4 Posts: 15
    Hi Marc:

    I could believe that. I have two doors that are not working and two doors that are working. I really wish I had a schematic of the system. I have replaced the driver door switch, swap relays on the power locks and checked all fuses. By chance you don't know the PN# of the Actuators do you? Thanks
  • marcb4marcb4 Posts: 9

    This is what I have from my receipt:
    Front doors: FP Number 22020256, Description: Actuator 10.485
    Sliding door: FP Number 25664287, Description: Actuator 10.485

    Good luck,

  • astrosurfastrosurf Posts: 5
    The Astro Cargo van has only two seats. Has anyone ever added an extra seat and how did they anchor it down safely?

    - Astrosurf in NJ
  • jp33jp33 Posts: 1
    Hi all - does anyone know a good source for replacement weatherstripping for the dutch doors on a 97 Safari? I have the dreaded wet carpet problem and want to replace the seals (they're kinda torn up) b4 doing the caulking solution outlined by Dave in post #99.


  • mstrommstrom Posts: 4
    I have a'98 Astro That I bought last year. My first one and I love it! (how many 23 yr old do you see driving vans?)
    Anyway, I started having a "grinding" noise. At first I thought it was some new tires I had recently bought. After a couple of trips back to the store complaining about the noise, they finally had someone take a ride in it with me. Upon further inspection, we discovered that the left rear axle half was bent!?!
    The only way I know of to bend an axle is to hit something pretty hard. Hard enough that you destroy wheels, and I haven't hit anything, curbs or otherwise, and the wheel is straight.
    A guy I work with said that his 1/2 ton Chev pickup, and his Astro had a problem with the ring and pinion going out every 80k miles. He said that it would make the axle appear to be bent if inspected visually, and that he had found a TSB about the problem.
    I've looked around and I haven't found anything, or heard of it being a common problem, or even a problem at all.

    Has anyone else had, or heard of this?
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    I have a 97 2WD Astro, but I don't know anything about ring and pinion gear failures.

    GM does recommend frequent lubricant changes of the differential lube, especially if used for tow or heavy duty service. For this reason I use Mobil 1 gear lube in the differential.

    I also know that GM has a newly designed differential for the 2003 full sized vans. And I read somewhere that the van introduction and delivery was delayed due to getting the new differential, for some reason! This is an indication that there was room for improvement, or, cost reduction.

    I personally know of some Astros that have gone past 200,000 miles without a differential failure. Maybe a pinion seal leak. My pinion seal was replaced under warranty at around 30,000 miles.

    I assumed you were talking about the axle shaft housing being bent. How could a failed ring and pinion gear possibly make the housing appear to be bent???

    I had a 74 impala that had been wrecked and bent the housing. I couldn't keep the inner and outer bearings in the thing. Finally got another differential from a salvage yard and cured the problem.

    Good luck
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    One thing to watch out for on a Chevy differential: When putting the yoke back on, the nut is tightened down using a "crush washer" and the torque is very specific. Get a ham-fisted grease monkey who thinks tighter is better and you will be replacing the differential within 15K miles max. I learned the hard way, as did several friends. I had the seal replaced in my '96 C1500 at 35K miles (warranty). Started hearing noises a little while later and the differential ate itself up at 50K. The damage was severe before then, but once their ruined, might as well drive it till you can afford to fix it. Dealer swears up and down it wasn't their fault, independent mechie said the pinion nut was so tight they had to use a cheater bar to get it off. He was suprised it went so long without coming apart as the pinion bearing was almost crushed it was so tight. With the ring gear and assembly removed, it took a two foot cheater bar to turn the yoke. That's tight.
  • 73notch73notch Posts: 2
    73Notch here, sorry for the delay in replying but yes, I did the resolder fix on the pulse module and it works like a charm. Thanks for the help, it was a savings of ~$180 from the dealers solution. I've had some real nice discussions with the dealer's "technician" (DON"T call them mechanics) about doing my own repairs on the Astro. My right e-brake cable was about 3" too long from the adjuster back from since we bought the van new, he acused me of "stretching" the cable when I had worked on the brakes. I told him that brake cables don't "stretch" and that even if they did, how could it possibly be stretched 3" further than the limit of adjustment? He wouldn't or couldn't answer me on that one but I did get the dealer to replace the unit under the extended warranty. Score one for me. Now if I could only get them to eat the rear wiper motor that doesn't intermittent wipe or park any longer or the vacuum hose under the dash that failed and keeps the dash A/C in defrost all the time, then I'll be happy. Somehow, I guess I wasn't paying attention when we were talking "bumper-to-bumper" cuz' I sure did miss something somewhere. Thanks again, David Walters
  • mstrommstrom Posts: 4
    Thanks for the info on the rear ends! I took it to a different shop and the tech there said it's the carrier bearings. He was kinda surprised they were even bad. Said it was probably from the bent axle half (still trying to figure that one out!). He too, recommended changing the lube oil frequently, but said it's not something they see unless it's had the pee driven out of it.

    regarding the trans shift: I've had a few other GM vehicles, only one with a trans problem, and the check engine light will come on if there's something wrong with the tranny. If I remember right, Chiltons has a chart in the back that tells you had to pull the codes yourself and what they meaen. Try Napa or Schucks (could be called Checkers in your neck of the woods. It'll probably save you a few bucks from having the dealer run a diagnostic on it.
  • mwcoxmwcox Posts: 13
    Have the dealer flush it again. Be sure they are replacing it with the synthetic fluid. Had mine fixed late '99. It continued doing this for around 100 miles and stopped. If yours continues, I couldn't help but thing it has cause premature wear....
  • I just bought a 2001 Astro with 33500 miles. Got it from a dealer for $14,000. It's a lot of van for the money.
    Anyway, it did not come with a remote for locking and unlocking doors. I don't know if it's lost or maybe there never were any. I have searched on the net and some sites says that it was standard and other says it was an option. Now how can I find out if my Astro was born with the keyless remote or not?

  • mstrommstrom Posts: 4
    I had (still have) the same question. I bought mine from the dealer used. All I got were a couple of key copies. I too have not been able to find out.

    I went to GM's website and sent them an e-mail about two weeks ago asking them about it. I still haven't heard anything back. It'll probably be cheaper to get an aftermarket alarm that has keyless entry options anyway.

    If I ever hear anything back, I'll post their response here for you.
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    I don't have an answer but have an opinion.

    My 97 came with power locks but no remote entry. I installed a Clifford alarm with the remote entry option.

    But if the option delivery codes are still inside the glove box you can take these to a good friendly dealer and have him give you a summary of the delivered options.
  • I don't have any option delivery codes.
    I would think that if the van is equipped with the keyless entry, there should be some kind of box somewhere, to receive the signals from the remote and to get programming information for a new remote. Does anyone know if this is the way it works and where the box should be located.

  • ahelmahelm Posts: 14
    I went by the owner's manual saying it is standard equipment. Ditto on remotes not coming with the used vehicle. Bought two remotes on ebay (searched for "astro keyless"), for $10 or so. Programing Instructions came with them. They work great!! -Andy
  • This is my first post to this board, but I feel the need to ask some questions. First off, I have a 97 Astro with over 115,000 on it. Just this week, the plastic tank radiator blew up. I noticed upon my inspection that the "knowledgeable" dealer had used regular antifreeze, not dexcool during a warranty replacement of the water pump. I only paid attention after buying the new plastic tank radiator and I noticed the sticker on it saying not to use with alkaline coolants. This is the fourth item to blow out in the past three months. So far. it's been one starter, one alternator, two idler arms, and now the radiator. Eleven months ago, we had to replace the all the fuel injectors, and the pressure regulator. The steering wheel vinyl is peeling and the drivers side power window is jamming intermittently again after we have had it replaced once already. The fuel pump was replaced when the van had about forty thousand miles on it.
    My question is "Where does this end? Is this just dumb luck, supposed to happen, or what?" I always take good care of my vehicles, and I have always used Mobil 1 in this van. Any input would be appreciated.
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Differential pinon shaft seal.
    O2 sensors, and there are three of them.
    If the van has been used in heavy duty service or towing, and the transmission & differential fluids were not changed every 30,000 miles or less, then there may be tranny and rear end failures.
    Serpentine belt.
    Radiator and heater hoses.
    Air conditioning compressor and hoses.
    Wiper motor circuit board.
    Possibly another fuel pump as they are about an 80,000 mile item.
    Some have reported door lock solenoid problems.

    By the cracking vinyl on the steering wheel, sounds like you live in a warm sunny climate.

    I have a 97 2wd Astro, but I only have 45,000 miles on it. I had the fuel injector assembly, serpintine belt, and pinion seal replaced under warranty. I also run Mobil 1 in the engine and differential.
    These are all normal wear items that start to show up after or around 100,000 miles on American iron. But, replace the few items an run another 100,000. Ain't no deal.

    Just hang in there and make a few repairs and enjoy the ride.
  • I called the Chevy parts department and asked for prices on the remote. He got my VIN# so he could find the right one and I asked him to confirm that my van was born with keyless entry. He looked it up and it was. Yeah!
    The chevy price was 70$ for the remote, but I got a brand new one on ebay for $25 incl. shipping.
  • biggrbiggr Posts: 9
    hello every one,this is my first post to this board.i have a 96 and a 99 chevy astro question is this;i bought some used but excellent condition rims and tires.they are 17x8 fronts and17x9.5 rears.on the 99,the van experienced severe body sway at about 35mph.i suspected the tires (bf goodrich 255/50's all around)so i took them off.i could still feel a very slight sway,but only on rough roads at high speeds.i purchased the 96 back in feb and put the wheels developed the same sway,but at 50mph.i have since changed the shocks and it now only does it under heavy acceleration at about 70mph or over rough roads.i suspect the tires are only part of the problem.any suggestions as im on a tight budget and i'm trying to avoid parts-changing.btw the 99 has an aftermarket rear swaybar,but didnt help at all with these wheels.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Welcome to Town Hall. In addition to responses you may get here, check out the Tires, tires, tires discussion.



    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

  • biggrbiggr Posts: 9
    i,too, purchased my 99 astro used and about a year later,after changing a flat,upon returning the factory jack to it's space,i found a bag stuffed in was two keyless entry remotes!you wouldnt believe how surprised i was.try looking in that panel and maybe you'll get lucky too!
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Wrong wheels and tires for the job. Low profiles aren't the thing for vans. In fact, I've found that the BEST ride you'll get on a mid or fullsize van are load rated tires. C rated would be good enough for an Astro. Today, that means AT style tires. (In the old days you could get "reinforced" passenger style tires for fullsize cars, trucks and vans). I know it's tough to be a pimpin gangsta without the low profile tires but those 50's don't have enough load range for a van.
  • obus100obus100 Posts: 7
    Hi all. I have a 2001 Safari AWD with about 29,000 miles on it.

    The front end has been pulsing during braking since about 25,000 miles and I finally took it to the local Green Bay Wi dealer (Gustman's).

    They diagnosed it as warped front rotors. They ground the fronts disk rotors, ground the rear drums, and had the car back to me in 1.5 hours.

    All under warranty, all at no charge.

    I know a lot of people gripe about the quality of some of the dealerships but I have nothing but good to say about this one.

    This is the first real problem of any sort I have had on the unit and it has been in service for 18 months.

    At 29,000 miles 50% of the front pads and 60% of the rear pads lining is still left.
  • obus100obus100 Posts: 7
    One more post:

    My 2000 came without the power driver seat. Anyone know where I can find a good used one and retrofit it? Are the harness connnections there already?

    I am 6'5" and by redrilling the front seat mounts I gained 2" back movement of the manual seats on BOTH driver and passenger seats.

    I did this on my wife's Ford Explorer and on my 95 'Stang. Fords seat frames are intented for other hole locations, GM equipment is not.

    Helps those of you with leg room complaints, but cant do much about the foot room, especially the passenger side.
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