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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • dgreggdgregg Posts: 1
    Bought a new 2000 Safari and like it overall, but
    it feels like it floats and doesn't seem to track
    smoothly in wind, curves, etc. This is during
    ordinary driving. This week I towed my 2000#
    pop-up camper and had to be on constant alert due
    to periodic fishtailing when changing lanes, being
    passed, crosswind, etc. I have pulled this same
    camper thousands of miles with two different
    Mercury Villagers and never had a sway problem.
    Has anyone had similar experience with handling on
    the Astro/Safari?
  • looramlooram Posts: 17
    I traded my 97 Safari in for a 2000 Astro AWD this past January. My 97 use to do the same as your 2000 does,sort of floating when being passed etc. I found that if I loosened up on the sway bars it corrected the problem. Of course if your not using sway bars then ignore this. In addition, I was way over weight, I was towing about 6000 lbs. I know thats alot but my Safari never overheated, nor did I have any other problems while towing. I bought my 2000 Astro because we moved to Nebraska from California. So far it has worked great in the little snow we got this past winter. The AWD though really sucks when it comes to miles to the gallon. I drove back to California this past summer and the best millage I got was 18 MPG, that was flat freeway,65mph cruise control, not towing anything. Not very good considering its a V-6.
  • digger9digger9 Posts: 2
    Own a 93 Astro CL. 4.3 engine seems bullit proof,
    now has 155k on it and is using a little oil, approx 1 qt every 1-1.5 months. Keep oil and other fluids changed regularly but the body is going south quickley. New York winters are tough!
  • jackm4jackm4 Posts: 1
    We purchased a '98 Astro LT May 1998. I had to replace the transmission at 41k, no dealer/manufacturer help at all. Buy it new and you get 36k mile warranty. Buy a new trans to put in it and get a 50k mile warranty. Explain that one to me. Also, our gas pedal sticks, tensioner arm for the s-belt broke off, fuel pump hums like crazy, squeaks and rattles everywhere. Has anyone else had similar problems? Chevrolet is totally unwilling to accept any responsibility for either a bad design or bad quality. Help!
  • Just turned over 90k on our 1996 Chevy Astro van this morning on the way back from a long drive. The ride is forgivable when you need to help move a family member halfway across the country. Acceleration is slow but strong. Going full-speed up the hills on Missouri's I-70 was a simple matter of natural selection.

    Between 70 and 75 MPH the wind noise coming through the driver's side pillar was really annoying, so to kill some boredom I stuck my fingers into the weather-stripping around the door. The wind noise varied greatly when I did this, so at our next rest stop I messed around with the weather-stripping, pulling and twisting and folding it. Back at highway speed, the wind noise level was actually lower, so my guess is that with the thousands of times that door has been opened and closed it has compressed the rubber seal to the point where it no longer makes full contact. All we need to do now (besides get the oil changed again) is head down to the local Chevy dealership and have them install a new seal.

    I said last week that this old truck has probably only traveled half the miles it's gonna see in its lifetime.
  • Question:

    I am looking at 1995 and 1996 Chevy Astro vans. All are listed as 4.3l V-6 engines, but some are listed as "Vortec" 4.3l V-6, or "high output" 4.3l V-6.

    Did Chevy introduce the Vortec V-6 in 1995 or 1996 (I heard it was 1995) and did all Astro vans of that year come with Vortec V-6 or was this an upgrade from an ordinary V-6?


  • henkelhenkel Posts: 1
    Hello. I am a big fan of Safari/Astro vans. Mine is up to 236000. I have had a few friends get over 200k as well. From reading town hall I get the feeling the newer vans are not as tough. I am considering replacing mine with another Safari/Astro. 1995 looks like a good year any suggestions? I have 2wd now and am looking at AWD. It is the best Van around if you don't mind putting new brakes and tires on constantly... I have had to replace the usual fuel pump and alternator by now, but drive train seems unbeatable. Just look around they are everywhere.. Max
  • Recently, our 1997 GMC Safari AWD completely shut-off in the middle of a 4-lane highway at about 60 mph. Luckily, my wife was able to maneuver to the berm of the road, without accident or injury, but it was a pretty scary situation for her and our three children. Since it was Saturday, our GMC dealer was closed for the weekend, so we had it towed to a M-Wards service center, where it was determined that both the alternator and battery needed replacement after only 41k miles.

    As many of you know, when power is interrupted to the radio, the Theft-Loc system kicks in and must be re-set using existing codes when power is restored. Some of you may already know where this story is going...the Theft-Loc feature was already active when we picked up the new van, the codes were never recorded anywhere, and our ever-so-generous dealer wants $33 to re-set a code, even though the warranty book says to contact the dealer if the code is lost or forgotten. I followed the procedures in the manual, but can only get the LCD display to show "inop" If anyone has the codes, or knows a way out of this, I would be grateful for the solution. Kind Regards to All.
  • In spring 1997 we purchased a new Safari van (97 model). Problems that followed: Power driver window would not go up. We fixed that ourselves after the dealer had it twice. Sticking accelerator. Wipers work whenever they want. Leaking on driver side on upper part of windshield when it rains. New transmission at 55k miles. Transmission went out at 12midnight on a family vacation on interstate 75--not fun!! Alternator and battery replaced at 60k. That went out at a stop sign at a busy intersection. My only warning was about 15 seconds of the battery light being illuminated and then no power in my vehicle. We are so fortunate that we were not injured during these equipment failures. We are ready to trade in for another vehicle.
  • We have toughed it out with our '93 Safari AWD (bought used few years ago). We've had mixed success, but overall we've been pleased. Now at 116k miles. Love the size, acceleration/power, towing capacity, high profile on the road. Get fairly good gas mileage (20mpg hwy). Big problems with electrical circuits to windows, rear Dutch door. Annoying problem with paint... lots of peeling. Anyone else have that issue? I've heard it was a poor GMC paint selection. I wonder if they'd correct it or try some other remedy (cash?) and how to go about prodding them to help out. It seems like a real quality blunder. We've got the only '93 van on the road with skin cancer!!!

    Now looking around for a replacement. Leaning heavily towards the Odyssey, but I will be sad to give up all that space and height.
  • We just purchased a 2000 Safari (not AWD). It was 'new', but the dealer had manage to put 2000 miles on it. Hmmm. Anyway, the sliding door rattles...and rattles...and rattles! Have not had this problem with any other van.

    We were suspicious that maybe the dealer had managed to get it into a fender bender and had fixed it themself. Anyway, we brought it back to get it fixed, and their "fixing" did not do much good.

    My husband did talk to a guy with an identical model sitting at a stop light, and his doors rattle, too. But needless to say, the conversation was brief!

    I can't find any "recall" information, so thought I would post this.

    Any comments?
  • apmapm Posts: 11
    We currently have a '99 Safari which is our 3rd safari/astro over the past 10 yrs. Both of our previous vans had the inside door panels loosen and would cause some racket. Inner door panels are attached securely at top and with crummy little plastic pop clips at the bottom. Maybe you have a flopping door panel. Or, maybe your spare or jack has loosened that'll make noises that seem to come from everywhere. Good luck and I hope you like your Safari as well as we like ours.
  • crarycrary Posts: 1
    Have had both Astro and Safari Vans ABS computer go bad. 1st thing when its wet they grab and put you through the windshield than later the computer goes out all together, I saw a recall bulletin once in a car magazine but now can not find it.
    HELP any one know what the Service Bulletin Number is for this problem my dealer is playing dumb...if any one knows e-mail the number of it to me.will help me a bunch..
  • Does anyone have information of problems with the 1998 Astro van's gas pedal sticking? Is this a documented problem? Have there been any recalls?
  • gregl1gregl1 Posts: 1
    HI, I'm a 1991 Chevy Astro owner with 300,000km
    on my engine My car consumes no oil ,but the engine
    doesn't run smooth no more. I replaced the plugs in it and the problem persisted. I would like to know whether it could be the plug wires? And how often should I replace them?
  • I have a '99 Safari scheduled for an arbitration hearing soon. Would appreciate hearing from anyone who has gone through this experience. How did you present your case,etc.?
  • I had a 90 and 97. Both ate tires and brakes. The trick to the brake problem is that the calipers need to be greased. I got this as a smart#$@ answer from my dealer after I changed my pads twice on my 97 before 30K. They said if I had them do the maintence on the Van, they would have included this as part of thier normal checks. (ya right)

    To my disbelief, the shop manual does state that the slides between the movable and stationary
    haves of the calipers do need a coating of silicone grease. This should be done at every tire rotation.

    Even though I think these are great Vans, I traded mine off for a full size Ford Van and a Jeep.
    The Astro is good at everything but not the best at any.
  • My new 2000 safari had a very annoying rattle.
    I found several un-installed screws in the roof rack track. They were black and very hard to see!
  • jplojplo Posts: 1
    I currently own an '87 astro w/ 227K mi. (refuses to die-knock on wood) and am considering buying a late model astro w/ AWD.
    Has anyone had experience driving an AWD astro in a snow storm, maybe on mountain roads? I frequently drive to the Sierra Nevada mountains in Calif. and I have no idea how they would handle.
    I cannot take another winter installing chains!
    Thank you for your info, Jeff
  • ryoy1ryoy1 Posts: 1
    I have a 99 2WD with a sticking gas pedal. I was told by a dealer service rep that it wouldn't be covered by warranty because it's a maintenance item. According to him, it's normal to have carbon built up and needs to be cleaned at dealer for 52 bucks. I have owned many vehicles up to 200k miles but never had to deal with this kind of problem. It seems to me like a design problem. Anyone had a similar problem and had GM pay for repair?
  • eric_ceric_c Posts: 2
    I have a 97 Astro AWD. I was amazed at all the common problems I've had with everybody else posting on this site. Drivers power window failed out of warranty. Transmission failed at 32,000 miles, luckily it was still under warranty. Accelerator sticks, making the van surge from idle to half throttle, it makes people at stop lights and parking lights think your driving like a 16 year old kid. Engine stalls in morning at least 3 times a week, I'm getting good at throwing it in neutral and restarting it while it rolls along in traffic.
    The front end is starting to shimmy very badly between 60 and 65, wheels have been rebalanced numerous times, alignment checked numerous times also.
    Whats next?? I am not sticking around to find out. For a vehicle that cost $27,000 this is ridiculous. This is the second bad GM experience I've had........Guaranty it will be the last!
  • tbmlctbmlc Posts: 1
    I have a couple of issues with my van. The passenger window no longer works at all. 1. I have found the switch on the drivers side for the passenger window is messed up and believe that is the problem. 2. The windshield wipers work occasionally. I had been able to pop the hood and tap on the motor to get them to start working, but this no longer works. Is it the motor or the computer board? I have been checking around the local junk yards for a wiper motor that will work, but nothing that new is available here. Ideas or parts would be greatly appreciated
  • I bought my Astro a year ago when it had 124,000 miles on it. At first I was very worried about the high mileage, but the body and interior were in such good shape that I decided to take the plunge.
    After one year and 13,000 miles I am still happy with it. One personality quirk of mine is that I like everything to work and so I fix what I can or pay to get fixed small things that other people would just live with. My only real gripe is poor underhood access. It is impossible to see most underhood components let alone work on them. The driver side spark plugs severely tested my patience and mechanical ability.
    The AWD is great, no levers, buttons or anything, just good traction all the time. I had 4 BFG All Terrain tires size 215/75R-15 put on and the performance in snow is great. It doesn't have the ground clearance for off roading, but here in the upper peninsula of Michigan sometimes ON road driving can be difficult in the winter.
    I've spent a few bucks on repairs, mainly standard wear items such as tires, brakes, shocks, also fuel pump, idler arm. Had to decarbonize the intake manifold, was causing EGR valve to hang up. This was done by using a decarbonizing compund that is sucked into the engine while its running through a vacuum line on the intake manifold. It smokes terribly for a few minutes, then you replace the spark plugs and O2 sensor.
  • Like all you other sufferers I also had the CMFI injection system problem..Thanks to you I was able to present the dealer with the fact I knew about the special warranty up to 100K miles. I also was able to let him know I knew about the CPI injector assembly and EGR valve. All of these
    problems were my symptoms. Of course, once they had my vehicle and I wasn't there I had to give up on the dealer fixing my EGR for free so I had to pay About $500. I didn't feel too bad, being a women and having not had to pay for the rest.
    Just wanted to let everyone else know this injector system is for Astro vans with a W in their VIN# and that it reoccurs about ever 60K miles. Have fun (pulling your hear out, that is if you can breathe through the gas fumes).....
  • ahelmahelm Posts: 14
    I just moved this from Astro AWD post this one seems more active:

    From : Jan 18, 2000 [ Just bought a 2000 AWD Astro with 18,000 miles from Alamo fleet. Seems to have the transfer case fluid issue. Noticed when fully warmed up and making tight turns as into parking. Just wondering if any one could update me: as to this being resolved with flushing and fluid change. Expected fuel mileage for the AWD 3.43?

    There seemed to have been a problem with brake calipers and uneven brake pad wear in some later models, was this resolved by the 2000 model? Thanks for your help. Our first CM, changed
    after the Windstar experience. ]

    Today post: Since previous, I ran across info on a NJ litigation settlement for "faulty brake caliper guide pins" (Don't know if they are bending or what.) Astro/Safari not named in suit, but possible related to uneven pad wear/braking.

    Also, we killed a electric window switch on the Windstar by too frequently confirming it closed by pressing the button. (Vans have more wind noise and this is a subconscious habit to break yourself of.) The switch seems to stop the window motor by sensing build up of resistance when the window comes against the stops. It has a little circuit board inside. Could this be the problem with window motors/switches?

    Also ran across something on a Canadian recall for the wiper motors on many GMs. There is a defective solder joint in the "circuit board" where the wiring harness connects to the motor.
  • woobywooby Posts: 2
    Bought my 96 new , no problems till 37k miles when the tranny went. Dealer replaced with brand new tranny. gave me a loner while work was performed. Since then I have done the following repairs myself. Winsheild wiper motor because of fault in "intermitted" function ($80). Complete brake job at 40k new rotors , pads , drums ($300). The vans brakes were surging when stopping and I feel the aftermarket drums/rotors were worth the expense. New water pump at 55k miles ($60). Both windows quit working within 4 months of each other...65k miles. I replaced both motors after extensive trouble shooting ($250). Installed new Monroe Senna Trac shocks and Michelin tires ($600).... nice investment it really perked up the ride. Astro had 77k miles on it and the air quit working late last summer. I expect this to be a few hundred at least to fix and am not happy but the rest of the van is great. She is a great tow vehicle/kid hauler/grocery better. Mine is 2wd , 3.42 gears , 16 to 18mpg. Having had an 92 AWD Ford Aerostar that vibrated at various speeds I felt the 2wd would be adequate with less moving parts. Mine is great... no vibrations. I do put aggressive snows on in the winter and it works fine. This is a mid size van... not mini van. The high driving position and visibility are super.
  • After 5 attempts to get the rear differential fixed by an authorized dealer , my 1999 astro still cannot tow my trailer for more than 2 hrs without burning up the rear end. For anyone who is looking for a van that can tow Astro is clearly not the choice to be.
  • woobywooby Posts: 2
    Depending on the year and gears the ratings seem to vary from 4500 to about 6000 lbs. tow weight. I have a 96 Astro with trailer package , 3.42:1
    gears and 215-75R15 tires. The rating on mine is 5000lbs. I have towed that figure with no problem on 90 degree days for over 500 miles in that day. The temp. gauge barely moves. Some thoughts on rear end differentials burning up would be the following. Try Synthetic gear lube. Make sure the shop setting up the gears is reputable as this is is a precision measurment for pinion spacer crush and ring gear mating. Make sure you are within the tow rating for your specific Astro. Try a finned aluminum differential cover. That type cover is offered by after market companys at about 200 dollars. It will shed some of the heat in the differential and prolong fluid life. Good luck on your Astro rear differentials.
  • The G.M. dealer is the only one who has touched this vehicle , this problem started long before i had even towed anything . As I write this message with a loaner car in the garage because my van has alass expired another differential. My trailer is 4000 # in weight no problem for any other component on the vehicle so why only the rear end, synthetic fluids are already in it . I have been told by a source that the machining process of the gears has been changed as of lately and this could quite possibly be the cause of this overheating,burning scenerio. I personally had to tow it home with my 81 chevy 4x4 and that was a 4 hour tow ,when I reached home I touched the rear diff cover on my truck and it was hardly even luke warm. No rocket scientist writing this but a person who knows when he has a piece of junk Astro van
  • ahelmahelm Posts: 14
    Sorry about the problems with your rear end. I have recently bought a 2000 AWD and was planing to outfit it with a Class III hitch and tow at the max tow rating. Your have giving me some reservations. My brother lost a diff in a similar fashion in a 1/2 ton Chev (unknown late 90's model) when it was fairly new. Any thing to look for as warning signs? Noises, etc? Any other major issues? Brakes, tranny, transfer case? Hang in there and let us know of your resolution.
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