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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    I also have a 2001 Safari AWD. Have you had any issue w/ the front end grabbing after driving on the hwy? I have had the front case flushed a multiple of times just wondering if it's inherent. Also what kind of mileage you getting? I only get 14 in the city & 17.5 on the hwy at 65mpg. Thanks in advance for any answers.
  • biggrbiggr Posts: 9
    thanks for the reply on the tires.i had factory steel rims with dogdish hubcaps.i just bought chrome trim rings and caps for them and im gonna put them back on.i only got the 17"s because they were in excellent condition and a great price off ebay.they also look really good.maybe when i can afford some new 17 tires,i'll put em' back.
  • obus100obus100 Posts: 7
    Hi again

    No, no grabbing. Is it the pumpkin or the brakes? I so have had a moan coming from the power steering pump since day 1 and the dealer says it is the cooler unit. What do I know....

    I get 16-17 in town and 18-20 highway and have since day 1. I checked the computer against actual and it is right on with the calculations.

    I did notice that the engine has to warm up for about 20 minutes or so to get the best mileage.

    Try some injector cleaner in the gas tank and be sure your air cleaner filters are not crudded up. I get the best mileage on flat highways zipping along about 65-70 and just the two of us I get 20-21 averaging. Seems the big 6 in this unit does best efficiency when the van is clicking along at higher steady speeds.

    And the unit cant be beat in snow handling and that is with the cheapo Tiger Paws that come from the factory. I have 30,000 on them and they are about 1/2 gone so I will have to wait until 50,000 to put on Michelins.

    I took out the center seat and may never put it back in. Lots of leg room for the back seat and lots of storage room between.

    I also bought a matching color storage console off the web and can email you a photo if you like. Helps a lot with waste paper, small storage, etc. We keep a waste basket right in the console.

    Wish I had a power seat on my side, however.

    Even so, it is the ONLY vehicle I have ever owned that rides so smoothly down the highway and my rear end never gets sore from the long sits. I went from Toronto to Green Bay last spring nearly non-stop for 13hours and no pain when I got home.
  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    Thanks for the response obus100,
    I do have the 3.73 rear end in my van and wonder if that might be addidng to my poor mileage? I have the same whine that sounds like a power steering pump but never had it checked out. The grabbing is from the pumpkin, it seems have a hwy drive & when you exit either off of the hwy or into a rest area & turn the front wants to grab. Guess I will have to grab the service manager by his neck & take him for a drive.
    Sometimes I wonder if I replaced the rear end w/ 3.55 or whatever the higher gear is that's std that my mileage would be much better. It gets pretty old getting 13.5 to 14 in the city & we are babying the thing & heck hwy at 65 & only 17.5 & the computer is always off w/ calculation. Guess your's is a middle of the week vehicle.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    We have a '95 model with the 3.42 rear axle. It gets no better than 21 hwy and 14 city and has done that since new. The 3.42 is, in my opinion, to tall a ratio for the van when doing stop and go driving. It tends to bog a bit when going into 2nd gear.
  • mwdreammwdream Posts: 91
    Car seems to be making popping sounds from the wheel wells, anybody have similar problem or know what this may possibly be?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Sounds like a stupid question, but did you rule out flopping mudflaps? (I actually had cheap metal ones that made weird noises at speed). May as well hope for the cheap and easy fix first :-)

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  • I am looking into getting an AWD Astro van. I live in the CHicagoland area, and will be towing my camper. Do people in the snowbelt areas really appreciate the AWD or is just a waste of $$$?

    Griffith, IN
  • We recently purchased a 1997 Chev Astro LT and the Day Time Running lights were operating fine at the time. Until now. It appears they may have been disabled. See posts #20 and #24. Is there a way to enable the DRL? I have a 30 day safety certificate, I could always send it back to the dealer and have them repair it. All the fuses have been checked and are OK. The previous posts are speculating the DOME Overide switch may have been hit 5 times. Could this be true?

    P.S. I do not have a manual any help you be appreciated. Thankyou.

    P.P.S. I know you all hate DRL but it is our safety requirement up here in Canada.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    If you go to and click on Astro owners, there's a link to owners manuals. I didn't follow the link, so I don't know how far back they go, or how different they are from the Canadian flavors of Astros, but it's worth a shot.

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  • I have a 1993 AstroEXT AWD that I bought new and have 102,000 miles on it now. I have written to this forum before, but have not found a solution to the problem of the dutch doors not opening. I have learned over the Labor Day weekend through my own personal trouble shooting and thought others might benefit for what I believe is the probable cause of this problem. I generally refer to Hayes repair manuals, but the dutch doors are not covered in this book.

    In the right, rear compartment, where the jack is stored, there is a black plastic box (approx. 3.5"X2.5"X1") with a wiring harness plugged into it. I carefully opened this box and found a small circuit board containing two relays. One relay activates the solenoid to release the glass hatch and unlock the right dutch door. The other relay locks the right dutch door about 2 seconds after the the hatch is closed. The second relay had blackened contact points from arcing. It seemed that if the second relay failed to lock the right dutch door, then the first relay would not activate the solenoids to release the glass hatch. I carefully cleaned the contacts on both relays and also cleaned the the circuit board contacts where the wiring harness plugs into it. I have not had a failure since I did this, but if I do, I will replace the entire black box. I hope this helps all who have experienced this problem. Please write if you find the solution to this problem to be anything other than this.
  • I have a 94 Safari w/149,000 miles on it. The last couple of months it has developed a problem starting, after it has been running for a long period of time or even during short distances. It will start after setting for about a 1/2 hour. It also has a real foul odor during start ups and idling. The engine runs rough during idol. I think it might be the EGR but not sure..any suggestions would be appreciated..
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Like rotten eggs? Catalytic convertor. O2 sensors probably also bad (and may have caused the cat to go south)?
  • To posting #429 jeep_cj8: I have had my AWD Astro for than 9-1/2 years. The AWD option is fabulous and money well spent. It is great for pulling a trailer and getting around in the snow. With 102,000 miles, I have never had a single problem with it. I have a long (1/4 mile) driveway that is gravel and uphill. A brand new Ford F-150 could not pull my trailer up the driveway in dry weather, but my Astro AWD pulls it up without a problem, even when it's snow covered.
  • I am looking at buying a 95 Passenger Astro Van and taking the seats out and using it as a Cargo Van. Is there any difference between the Passenger and Cargo Astro Van in terms of suspension etc????
  • Much appreciated for your quick feedback. Thanks to you, I now a Manual for our 97 Astro. I could not find any info on re-enabling the DRL. I am taking the Astro back to the dealer to have it repaired.

    Thanks again,

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    One of these days maybe the manufacturers will put their factory manuals on-line as well. That'd be nice! Plus the dealers would make lots more money fixing stuff after amateurs like me read a few pages and start messing around, LOL.

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  • I have a 2001 Chevy Astro Van LT 2wd, and in one year I've had to replace the Stock CD/Radio under warranty 4 times. Chevy won't upgrade the CD/Radio to a different unit, nor will they replace it with an aftermarket unit.

    The replacement radios they're installing are defective, and Chevy Customer Service doesn't care!

    Please help!

  • I didn't get any response to post #394 so I just went ahead and removed the engine cover and inspected the butterfly/throttle valve. There was a lot of carbon on both sides of the valve. Sprayed the valve down with carburetor cleaner and it sure feels good not to have the jump starts, lurching, etc.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I guess I should have piped up since that's a pretty common problem with '99 and newer Quests. But it's usually described as more of a hesitation and sticky throttle off the line rather than lurching. The cure is the same - clean out the carbon in the throttle body. Thanks for reporting back!

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  • I own a 1998 Astro AWD. It's my first GM product since 1985. I've owned it since March 02 and if not for this problems which resemble "gremlins", I wouldn't be writing to this column. The problem with this van is at any random time, the van fires, then shuts down. I shut off the ignition and retry. Sometimes I get lucky and it will start on the next few tries. But there are times when I have to wait hours until it finally fires. When it does start, it's like nothing happened. Barely a turn of the crank and it fires up. I've replaced the fuel filter, used injector cleaner with still these intermittent symptoms. Last night I spent 3 hours trying to start it. I left it overnight and it fired right up the next morning, as if nothing happened. Those computer code readers indicate nothing is wrong, even when it doesn't start. I really like the versatility of this van, but it's getting to the point where it is frustrating to continue owning it with this problem (it has no other problems, it works very well when it is running). Any suggestions from anyone else who may have heard of this strange problem? Please shoot them this way, I hate to get rid of what I would consider an excellent vehicle if it weren't for this problem. Thanks...Bill
  • I don't have any answers, but, my elder brother always had an answer for a starting problem. To quote, it ain't getin no combustion.

    Does the 98 have the GM security key. I have starting problems occasionally with Oldsmobile's with the security key. But is usually a minor inconvienance.

    There are two things to check to start isolating the problem.
    Is it not getting fuel or spark? Or possibly neither.

    It is a strange one in that the check engine light doesn't come on.

    After checking for fire and fuel.
    My approach would be check plug in wiring connectors by unplugging and plugging back in. Possibly a corroded or bad connection.

    Just an opinion.
    Good luck
  • This problem happened again today, it fires up then shuts down. I can smell fuel being burned from the exhaust. After reading through all the messages on this bulletin board, I noticed message 174 that is somewhat similar to my problem. A strange thing is the security light blinks three times after the van won't start. I have talked to supposed GM expert mechanics and when diags were run when I had it in the shop, the codes indicated no problem with the Passlock security system. On the Passlock system, it reads the teeth on the key, it has no electronic chip model embedded on the key. They also told me the van wouldn't fire at all if the security system was activated. The fuel pump wouldn't run (which it does when the key is turned). Today I left the van and came back to it later, and once again, it fired up immediately after the first turn of the starter. When it starts, it runs so smooth, you can barely tell it's running. It's kinda funny, the owners manual advises that if the van won't start and the security light blinks, shut the ignition off and retry....I'm closer to looking for a new truck, or a beater with none of these electronic gizmos that make it difficult to troubleshoot without a $20,000 computer program....
  • I too have the same problem.Van starts in morning and after sitting for about an hour.I could not hear fuel pump kick in either.I took my van to well known dealer yesterday and he put it on the machine..It was the fuel pump..I am dropping the tank and doing it myself next weekend..Parts are only $40..Dealer wanted $300 to fix..I had to change the fuel pump at 94,000(which dealer did. Now i have 150,000 on my 94 Safari..I also have a bad motor informed me i needed 2 new motor mounts..I too will change them only, $11 a piece..Good luck and hope that fixes your problem.
  • I appreciate the help you all have extended to me on my Astro problem. My fuel pump is still working as I can hear it when the key is turned on. Also, when I had the code reader on it, it indicated no problems with the fuel pump, although I'm not sure if it can check anything besides an on and off condition....does the code reader measure fuel pressure/flow? Anyhow, I have two possible causes now (see msg #174 and now yours). I wish this van was as easy as troubleshooting my 67 Firebird.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    You may already know this, but let me give you some hints. Obviously, get as much fuel out of the tank as possible before you start. Then, take your jumper cables and clamp one end, red and black, to a known good earth ground. If you are working in the driveway, drive a piece of rebar or such well into the ground and clamp to it. Then take one of the other end clamps, say red, and clamp it to the frame of the vehicle. Take the other clamp, black, and clamp it to the gas tank. This way, you cannot have a voltage potential between the gas tank and the van when you seperate them, and therfore, no spark. Since the tires of the vehicle insulate it from the ground, the clamp to the frame will offer the added protection of bleeding off any charge on the body of the vehicle.

    I know you probably already knew this, but any spark when removing a gas tank is not going to turn out good. Be careful.

  • I have a 1998 Safari, the "service engine soon" light comes and stays on the moment I fire the engine and starts blinking as soon as speed goes higher than 30mph. Autozone diagnostic shows "O2 sensor heater circuit malfunction" and "cylinder 5 misfire detected". Don't have problem firing the engine, but it does vibrate while idle. The sensor part seems obvious, but I am clueless about the cylinder issue. Any ideas?
  • The code sensor picks up misfire almost immedietly
    I store my 97 a lot and get misfire on startup after 1 to 2 months.

    There are three (3) count em O2 sensors at $70.00 per ea. at Auto Zone. Which one????? good question. But if you have 70,000 miles or so on the van What's $200.00 or so.

    I would also buy the special socket at about $7.00 and go to work. The anti sieze is on the new Bosch O2 sensors.

    All three are easy access from underneath. But a little van elevation is recommended.

    The heart of the system is the O2 sensors at GM. Let an O2 sensor malfunction and GM shuts you down. If you have been using premium fuel. Shame on you. the fuel pressure regulator tires out. the assembly including all injectors is about $550.00 material cost. The injector system is an assembly. The problem component is the fuel pressure regulator. But it is replaced by removing the top intake manifold, there are two, upper and lower.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of modern technoligy.
  • GM has a TSB out (00-06-04-003A, dated December 2001) that describes the misfire/rough idle and SES light problems. It's due to a stuck poppet valve in the fuel injection. The service manager I talked to said that the fix (which is a cleaning procedure) is covered by GM up to 100K miles, since it's a known problem on the V6 4.3 and V8 5.0 and 5.7 engines. He recommended using different fuel brands (switching brands on each fillup) and adding a fuel injector cleaner every 5K miles or so.
  • I have that problem when the van is not started for a month or two. But it's OK after warming up a bit. And I reset the computer and go on my way.

    I have been hesitant to use extra injector cleaner due to the plastic injectors and the known problems with the fuel pressure regulator. But perhaps the cleaner is the solution to all the problems. That would be wonderful. I know that California fuel, and premium fuel cause fuel system problems.

    Anyway, I'll try some injector cleaner and see if it helps.
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