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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Standard center break doors. The small pivot lever that is operated by the pull handle came off the shaft. Apparently the lever is held in place by a washer that is held in place by brading the end of the aluminum support.

    By removing the two visible bottom screws on the famous plastic, I was able to pop the plastic retainers back from the latch side of the door. Was not fun trying to figure out an access route.

    Dealer quoted $41.65 +tax for replacement handle assembly, and was in stock. Option was to buy an $.89/5 #6 sheet metal screw and drill the support shaft, add a couple of washers and wala! works good. The design is poor and must be a lot of failures like this as indicated by the part being in stock. The repair will be permanent.

    Another concern. On one start the engine knocked, shook, rattled, and other noises for about 30 seconds. I thought of a leaky intake manifold with coolant going into a cylinder. But, 350 miles later everything appears OK.
  • bilkbilk Posts: 1
    I have a '99 Safari that I have been happy with so far. My current problem is with the A/C. It worked fine last summer (northeast) but when I tried it for the first time this year, no cool air. I figured out the compressor was not engaging. I can turn the compressor by hand but the clutch is not engaging. I checked fuses and relays but didn't find anything wrong. Then I checked for power at the compressor, no power. Any ideas where to go next?
  • woolfortwoolfort Posts: 1
    Hello Everyone,
      2 months ago we purchased a 2003 GMC Safari. At about 15oo miles the driver's side mirror started to wobble. At times it has gotten so bad that the image has been blurred. The wind, road surface, and speed impact this. We have had the mirror replaced once. We have brought the van to the dealer 4 times for this problem. The tire balance was checked and 3 out of 4 tires were not balanced correctly. They were rebalanced. Also we rotated the tires. The van does not have power windows. Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do?
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    I too, had the driver side mirror distortion problem on my 2001 Astro when it was new. I felt behind the mirror glass on the drivers side mirror and it wasn't attached the same as the passenger side. Took it to the dealer and they agreed and replaced the mirror which took care of the problem. As unlikely as it seems, could you have 2 bad ones in a row? And yes it was really bothersome at certain speeds and road conditions. Hope you get yours "unblurred".
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    I just found out that you can not reference Post #s as they are different than printed copies I have.

    I guess they get deleted post and numbers change or something like that.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    People can delete their own posts at any time, and likely someone did. You can "right click" "copy shortcut" and then "paste" to like to older posts. Like this:

    coonhound Apr 3, 2002 1:04pm

    Steve, Host
  • I hade to have the mirror replaced on my 2001 Safari soon after getting it. The mirror glass itself was falling out. The other side is loose in a different way and I am going to ask the dealer before the warranty goes next July. Also had the grill replaced the paint was coming off, mine is a cargo van. The dealer has been in agreement the parts need replacing. I have not had any serious problems, mine is two years old 20,000 miles. It is all wheel drive limited slip in rear. I did not notice that the manual suggested that the oil in the rear differential be changed at first oil change so I had that done at about 15,000 miles it was expensive oil. Best I remember it was about 150.00

    Sammy Castagna
  • aj1964aj1964 Posts: 5
    I bought a 2001 Astro in November of 2002. Had 18,000 miles on it. Shortly after the brakes started to grind and squeal. Took it in this past June, when I was able to be without it. Dealer said the rotors were warped at 25,000 miles. Said it was due to rotors being hot and hitting cold water. Seems fisht to me. Wouldn't all rotors warp if that was true? Shortly after that, they squealed worse than before, without the grinding. Sounded like a semi coming to a halt. My family knew I was at the end of my street by the sound. Then, the power door lock on the drivers door would fail occasionally. Had 30,000 on it. I was tired of all these little things going wrong. I wasn't use to it after being a Honda owner. So, last Saturday I traded it in on a Honda. No more headaches for me.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    Art, they weren't lying about the rotor thing. All rotors tend to warp when they are hot and you hit cold water. Some worse than others, but that's just the way it is. The classic example is to come off a freeway exit, brake hard all the way down, and then splash through the water at the intersection. Does a real number on the rotors, sometimes to the point that turning them won't true them enough to get rid of the vibration.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Never heard that one before, but who knows.

    Don't see anything around Town Hall unless this rings any bells:

    nuyorkah "Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Oldsmobile Bravada" Mar 5, 2003 8:56pm

    Try asking in Stop here! Let's talk about brakes.

    Steve, Host
  • billzadokbillzadok Posts: 2
    My 99 Safari whine is due to the fuel pump. Try listening closely when you are stopped & turn off the ignition. If the whine keeps going for a few seconds, then it is the fuel pump. You can also hear it well if you remove the fuel cap & listen. Keep the engine off & have somebody turn the key to the ON position only.
  • billzadokbillzadok Posts: 2
    Has anyone other than myself had to replace their ignition coil? My 99 Safari is on its 3rd or 4th coil.
  • baker48baker48 Posts: 3
    I have purchased a1999 Blazer after owning two Chrysler mini vans since 1984 when they first came out. I like the Blazer and the four wheel drive option, BUT it will not carry the long/big items I frequently need at the local home improvement store. My question is this? Is the drive train in an all wheel drive GM van the same as the drive train in a Blazer. Is the mileage in the van comparable or better than the Blazer?
  • I am on my third coil wire. The first went out at 37,739, 1700 miles out of warranty. The second was at 55,666. The dealer says there is not a problem with the technology or the design. I never feel safe when I am on a trip, knowing the coil wire has failed in the past and will probably fail again. I posted the information on the NHTSA web site over 6 months ago and have not heard anything. When the coil wire fails then engine cuts off and all power steering and braking is lost. Guess it will not be an issue with the federal government until several hundred people are killed. It has become apparent to me that GM dealerships continue to stay in business because of their repair work. GM continues with the 3 year/36,000 mile warranty while other manufactures have increased to 7/70 or 10/100. This tells me that GM does not have faith in their products to up the warranty and even though I only have 65k on the van that it is time that I start looking for another vehicle.
  • Hey gang, remember with these Safaris (as with any vehicle) your dealer can make or break your ownership experience. My 2000 has 108,000 on it with very little to complain about. My dealer changes my oil every 3,500 for @$24.00 and gives it a quick once over. The only thing happening now is rear brakes are getting a little weak. Hey, drum brake hardware does fail eventually. As far as aj1964 goes, I understand the feeling of not trusting your car, but my neighbor owns a $38,000 Honda Pilot that can't seem to keep oil pressure(read: 6 times in shop in 2 months). Which is worse, your engine shutting off at 55 mph or your engine locking up at 55 mph.....right neither, but it goes to show that anyone can have a bad one come down the assembly line. And getting 2 Astros for the price of one Pilot, I'll take my chances with GM.
  • Just bought 2002 Safari w/4k miles (not a typo). So far so good. However, the oil pressure gauge seems a little busy. It sweeps from over 60 psi during normal driving to below 35 at stops.

    I'm curious about what readings are common. Any one know expected nominal readings for idle and 2500 rpm?
  • My 2000 reads right under the "40" on my gauge and right around the 55 mark at speeds. I thought the same thing you did but my old Toyota truck runs from around 40 to almost 80. This is reading through an Autometer gauge I had put in. Granted the Toy is a 4 cyl. but I like to see good pressure getting to my engine.
  • Thanks for the info. I thought a 35psi to 60psi sweep might be a wider than normal range, but based on your readings it sounds nominal.
  • I hate to say it, but I am unsure if my 2002 Safari Cargo (conversion) has the 3.42 or the 3.73 axle. How can I find out for sure? Thanks in advance.
  • apmapm Posts: 11
    I was curious about ratio on Safari. Asked the parts man at the dealer. He entered VIN into computer and seemed confident that I had 3.73.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    You may be able to tell your ratio by a stamp on the housing of the differential. Also, the 3.42 was sometimes an option, so if your van came "loaded" you may have that ratio in your pumpkin ;) Halloween- couldn't resist the reference
  • Hi, Can someone help me? I have had this problem since my first tire rotation. I took it to the dealership and they rotated tires, re aligned the front, and balanced the tires. They said the wear was too bad to get another rotation out of them. I have now noticed it is time to buy new tires for the front. I only have 21,448 miles on my van. I had to get the front brakes replaced at 18,000 miles. When I washed it the other day and noticed the bad tire wear I also noticed the really dirty hub on that right front tire. The other hubs looked shiny still. Can this be a symptom or related to my tire wear? I have to get to the bottom of this before I replace those front tires. Thanks!
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    A few things to know about astro/safari. They have really good brakes, but with premium pads you will still replace them about every 30K. And the idler arm will need to be replaced about 50-65K miles, but it is a simple job that takes about 10 minutes with hand tools.

    My 95 Safari has 82K miles on it and has had one very slight alignment change. Rotate the tires every 5-7K miles and they will wear a lot better. These are not mini-vans and that 4.3L cast iron V6 does put cornering loads on the front end.

  • Hi Jim, Thanks for the advice. Would you get the front end re aligned with the purchase of the new tires if you were me? I won't go to the dealer though, they really do not care that my tires are wearing uneven.
    Someone said the ball joint may be bad? I am a very easy driver on the van, I can not see that the joint would be bad? I panicked and decided to trade maybe...???
    We went to test drive a CRV yesterday and the Honda place did not want to give me but 10,000. on my trade....
    Came back home with my super clean Astro and moved all my stuff back in and decided to keep it. I have got to get this balding problem corrected. Looked at the Xterra's too and I get better gas mileage than they do. Ha! Plus I have a lot more room.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    Here in my home town, the NTB store has a guy who really knows what he is doing. He has checked the alignment on the safari twice over the last four years, and has shown me the readings. It is about a half degree off on one side camber, and he wouldn't touch it.

    You really need to keep the tires rotated, though.

  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    Tires on your van kidtotingmoma need to rotated every time you change your oil...if you want maximum life. The wear is from the van being top heavy and your dealer setting your tire pressure at 30-32 psi, you need to be at the 35 psi mark. As far as the hub grease it would be from the brake job. The mechanic will repack your bearings and the extra grease around the lip of the hub dust cap can come off. It's usual, don't panick. If you do mostly in-town driving you will go through tires and brakes more frequently because you are harder on those items. As far as ball joints go, your mechanic can tell you that at your next alignment. Also, please pinch yourself for that joke about looking at an Xterra. Try realistic mpg around 12 in the city with less than half of your interior room and more important- a horrible ride.
  • Also essential to NOT overtorque the tire rims on stock GM M & L vans. If you or your mechanic neglect this, your brake component life will be poor. The correct wheel nut torque is 140 N.m (100 ft.lbs.). Honest.
  • Hi kidtotingmoma -
    Have you check the idle arm on that side? I had this problem as well, but at 84K.
    Hope this helps.
  • Had my 99 Safari at the dealership for repairs about 8 months ago. When I got home and tried to open the back hatch I could hear the motor engageing but the right side would not release. I took it back to the dealer and they fixed it without charge because they said the tech failed to check it before replacing the cover. Had the same problem last weekend so I removed the 4 screws and 2 bolts and found the plastic clip was missing that holds the arm in the release. Both sides have a plastic retainer clip which will fail over time. Replaced with a metal E ring and it works fine. Probable dealer repair cost $50. actual cost of E ring .46 and 45 minutes of my time of which 20 minutes was spent going to the auto parts store.
  • The 'Service AWD' Warning Light went on in my '99 Chevy Asto van. I checked and added amost 1/2 quart of lubricant to the front axle and some to the rear axle. I disconnected the positive battery terminal. Then re-connected the battery, the 'Service AWD' light is still lit. I can also hear 4 clicks with I first turn the ignition key. Can anyone tell me how to shut the light off or help diagnose my problem?
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