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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Just made a 500 mile trip with 6 adults and luggage in the 97 Astro. At 75 MPH full air conditioner, B12 chemtool, and Marvel Mystery Oil in the fuel, 18 mpg.

    The driver side power window had the stop and go problem. Replaced the switch and circuit board assy. This was not he problem and had to replace the window motor.
  • bnet504bnet504 Posts: 18
    I have a 1993 Astro LT and the drivers power window stopped working about a year ago, it still goes down all the way but when i try to close the window it goes up a little then stops, so it usually takes a few minutes for the window to go up all the way. the power door locks also stopped working about a year ago, now sometimes they just lock and unlock by themselves. and about last month the passenger power window stopped working completely. does anyone know what the problem is?
  • Your power window motor might need to be replaced. Same goes for the PDL switches. But check FIRST for corroded/broken wires in the door harness for PW & PDLs.

    Since your van is over ten years old, your problems are typical of the broken wire problem - wires in your door boots are in the process of breaking, or already gone. Usually driver side first then passenger side depending on door usage.

    To repair you have to access wire loom through side kick panels and door boot to recover some wire slack (there is lots BTW) and repair the broken ones. Takes a bit of time but can be done with a few household tools. Good Luck.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I don't know about the locks but the window switch sounds bad - your symptoms are similar to Quest owners, and switches for them tend to die young.

    But since the locks are out of whack too maybe there's a short in the wiring somewhere.

    Steve, Host
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    Sounds like the famous Siemens power window motor problem. The motor I removed from my 97 was full of grease from the gear box. The commutator and brushes were completely covered with grease. The motor is $50.00 or so at our famous Auto Zone. The door locks, I would go with a defective switch. The window motor is mounted with 4 pop rivets that are drilled out. The new motor comes with screws and nuts but you can only get a finger behind the mounting plate to hold one of the nuts. The other 3 I used 1/2" long sheet metal screws. I think they are about a #6. After removing the arm rest etc. the door panel is removed by lifting up, at least it is on the 97. But it takes two men and a boy to hold the panel in at all mtg. points when re- installing. I purchased a hand full of the nylon mountings at the dealer which made installation easier.
    I don't know when they started the ill advised nuisance auto down and the associated circuit board failure. I hate auto down!. But I had fixed several friends GM windows by replacing the board and switches. But my own Astro I wasted the cost of the board as it was the motor that would run in short spurts and progressively got worse.
  • john29john29 Posts: 20
    I have a 2004 safari and the OEM tires are bridgestone Dueler H/T 864. The noise is awful on some streets. I would like to install Bridgestone R-265 Hiway Rib tires because I installed them on my truck and they are really quite.
       Has anyone used the R-265 on astro/safari before?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    About time since GM has done nothing to improve them since introduction 20 years ago.
         Who does GM think they are fooling? My 1999 "Chevy" Tracker was a re-badged piece of Suzuki junk. The "Chevy" Aveo is even cheaper Daewoo junk. My 1980 real Chevy van was a reliable vehicle but the 2 Geo Metro's were cheap in every sense of the word. My current 2001 Blazer LT is okay but not as roomy nor as comfortable as a comparable Ford Explorer.
         Chevy pickups are no real competition with Ford. Toyota vehicles have been reliable but all current Toyota vehicles are too ugly for me to buy another Toyota.
         I also don't plan to buy another GM vehicle.
  • I picked up a 2004 RWD Astro LS w/9600 miles on it last Saturday at Carmax for $15,600. Wow, a lot of vehicle for the money, considering what new cars cost these days. I do some bicycle touring trips and wanted something I could carry a few bikes in plus other general hauling chores and the Astro fit the bill for a very reasonable price. The Carfax report says this one was originally titled by a major car rental location in Florida then was sold at auction. So I guess it may have gotten some rough handling as a rental but you wouldn't know it, and I have a good bit of GM warranty left and maybe I will get the extended warranty after that. We'll see. I have enjoyed reading all the informative posts in this forum.

  • I have 210850 miles on a 1995 Safari. Just had major work done, (intake manifold plus trimmings, tranny flush and filter, fuel system flush, etc). Near the end of 400 mile round trip, lost oil pressure, engine overheated. Got off highway after about two miles. Shop says oil pump is gone, and found metal shavings in oil pan. Recommended new engine. Figured I could at least install new pump, pickup tube/screen and shaft myself, but pickup tube/screen does not easily fit into pump. Does it need to be pressed on? Not ready to junk this vechile yet.


    Thanks. glebeaux
  • dave_ddave_d Posts: 3
    I'm looking for a 2002-2003 Astro, and can't find one near TrueMarketValue (TMV) as listed by As a point of reference, I just finished buying a 2002 Prism, and ended up getting a (and finding several other) Certified Used vehicle for thousands of dollars less than TMV.


    Any opinions on whether the Astro TMV is too low (and I should bite the bullet and pay more than TMV), or whether 4 vans is too small of a sample (and I should hold out and wait for a much better deal). The van doesen't have to be purchased for another few months. Thanks in advance.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    I would definitely not over-pay for an Asstro.

    Maybe sellers think they are more valuable now that GM has finally decided to stop producing these things
  • dave_ddave_d Posts: 3
    Thanks, 97xpresso. As opposed to my normal rush buying to replace a vehicle that just died and isn't worth repairing, it's nice to have some time to seek out a better deal.


    And I thought the reason the Prisms were so cheap was beause *they* were out of production. Go figure.
  • I have been trying to find a way to disable the Daytime running lights (DRL) on my Chevy Astro, I have a good deal of extra electronics running ,ie. computer, phone and video equipment and while in city traffic it just drains the battery down, Is there a simple and safe way to disable them.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Although Edmunds TMV is THE best, most reliable, accessible to the public source of pricing data, many argue here in the Town Hall that TMV is inaccurate.

         Some claim it is too high for DC minivans while others claim it too low for the Odyssey and Sienna. Most newspaper ads have DC minivans selling for significantly above TMV. One reliable Honda salesman writes that the market itself is the accurate indicator of value.

         Apparently the 2002-2003 Astro is really worth more than TMV.
  • dave_ddave_d Posts: 3
    Thanks, hansienna. The jury is still out on how accurate TMV is on the Astro, as none of the ones I was considering has sold yet. I probably won't find out for sure until I go out and talk to a couple of salesman to find out how much it would really take to make a deal.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    Just push the interior light switch (round button located next to the headlight switch) four times and they will go to "manual mode". Only downside is you have to do this every time you turn the van off.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I was having my oil changed the other day at my dealer and he has 2 '04s on the lot. One was Pewter (most popular color, I think, in GA) with all the goodies and 9K on the clock. Sticker was 15,999. I made a joke and told him I wanted to upset the soccer Mom crowd and I'd give him 13,000 out the door. He actually went and asked his manager and they wanted to close the deal. The salesman told me outside the office that no one but companies buy these vans anymore due to their lack of family friendly features, but the Astros haul people and are cheap to maintain. Both of his used vans were turned in by a Holiday Inn right around the corner for new models. I'm thinking TMV is going to be dependant on where the dealer is located and who understands what these vans are good for.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    GM has made NO improvements in the Astro/Safari since introduction as a 1985 model.

        Did they feel their design was as "timeless" as the VW Beetle that Dr. Porsche designed to be the "people's car"?

        Now GM is destroying their rapport with Chevy owners by placing the Chevy label on Daewoo junk made in Korea. I will not buy another GM vehicle and GM will continue to lose market share to more innovative companies (all other automotive manufacturers).
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    No offense hansienna but GM couldn't care less about you not buying their "junk". Trust me, I tried the same tactic and was pretty much assured that GM would live. The Korea rebadge is going to make them money and all the people over here buying trucks, SUVs and even cars are going to keep the General around awhile. Besides, there have been plenty of changes over the years (brakes, engines, dash layout, emissions). If you notice there are no additions of family friendly features. I had the Safari summed up best by a service mechanic one time:

    What other vehicle can you name that you can put 8 people in, load their stuff, tow their toys and do it without question? The Safari is simply a work truck in van clothing. GM never changed it because they probably couldn't keep up with Toyota or Honda (Chrysler for that matter), but if you look at service vehicles, remember I said SERVICE VEHICLES, there isn't another vehicle that can do what the Safari does. Besides, what kind of wierdo (besides me) buys a cargo van for personal use? With the removal of the Safari from its fleet, GM can focus on what makes them tons of money- trucks and SUVs. At least the Corvette is still kinda cool?!
  • I use a 98 Astro as a service vehicle. It has to be the worst driving/handling vehicle I have ever driven. I'll admit it's rugged and dependable, but every time I drive it I feel like I'm being punished for doing something wrong.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I didn't think it was THAT bad. I'd say the only thing about mine ('00 cargo) is when the wind gets up it can push the van around at freeway speeds. But the same thing happens to my buddies $36K Toyota 4Runner. I have a little over 150K and I noticed that the ride quality went south around 110K. It wasn't until a post made me re-check my suspension that I noticed my shocks were leaking(one was nearly out of fluid). Once I had them replaced the van rode like new again- ok, well just alot better ;). Now, you can't compare these vans to a Tahoe or an Odyssey. Like I said, GM hasn't kept up with the technology. But, there is somethig to be said for if it ain't broke don't break it. I'm sure GMs focus is on their SUV/truck line and not the minivan line. Let's face it, given the chance, Moms of the world are going to pick an SUV over a mini probably 8 out of 10 times. Look at how many Suburbans and Expeditions out number the vans in a school or soccer field. I'm not saying the Safari is the end-all tell-all of vehicles, I'm just explaining how I think GM views this particular vehicle. From my stance, if you want a good vehicle that you can steal off a dealer lot, you're hard pressed to come up with another bargain like the Safari.
  • The most disturbing part about the Astro is the close proximity of the gas and brake peddals. I don't have large feet, but once rear-endded someone in a panic stop because the right side of my shoe depressed the gas pedal when I applied the brakes.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I agree that the footwells are cramped. I guess I'm used to it after being in a 98 for 2 years and a '00 for 5 years. I've kinda grown used to it. I've been looking to replace my Safari with something with seats (wife has the only family friendly car with her Murano) but everything I research has too many trade offs that I don't want to give up. I've looked at Tahoes, Pilots, 4Runners, Tacomas, Odysses, Quests and even a 1500 CrewCab Chevy. I'm not keen on leaving my stuff exposed with a truck and a camper shell is just a poor excuse for not buying a van. I really liked the Pilot but I don't think it will tow what I want. The Safari is cheap, easy to maintain and does the job. I guess if I could live with the turning radius I'd get a CrewCab 1500, but I need to keep manuverability at a high priority.
  • Did you ever see the very poor crash ratings on the Astro/Safari?
  • I also have been driving an Astro van for 11 years, but I never considered crashing one to check the crash ratings. i just think I'll just continue to drive sensibly and enjoy the ride
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    How do they crash test a car and what is it compared to? Yeah, I've seen the commercials and those vehicles all seem rather destroyed after hitting that wall. I figure if I hit a truck, SUV or car in my van- the airbag blows, the seatbelt tightens, the motor drops and the fenders fold downward. Maybe they think the small footwells will hurt your feet(hahaha). I do know one thing- a concrete mixing tray (about 3' x 5', yes feet not inches) fell from a crane hoist 4 stories above the street onto my van and only dented in the roof about three inches. I also had a Volvo S60 traveling 48mp hit my drivers door. I had the door,fender and the footwell replaced and went on. No frame damage, no front end component damage. The van was still in alignment specs! The Volvo had the front end body pieces replaced and the radiator support replaced (we were in the same body shop) and she went on. My point is my "poor" crash test rated van seemed to hold up pretty well against one of the "excellent" rated cars on the road. I probably paid half the sticker she did too!!!
  • jgd65jgd65 Posts: 7
    Just picked up a '93 Astro.
    Thus far most seems well, with exception of wipers activating when hitting a bump with wheel turned, windshield leak, and rear hatch will not open with key from outside.
    Any advice welcome

  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    As far as your wipers go, my 92 S-Blazer did the same thing. My tech said that it's a wire crossing over inside the steering column so when you turn the wheel the wires make contact and you get the wiper action. A bump in the road would give the same contact. As far as the windshield goes, you know the answer-replace it. The rear hatch problem, (I'm assuming you have the lift gate rear) make sure the key you are using is cut for all the locks. You may have a valet-type key or a re-cut that doesn't work in that lock. Also, the easier way, spray silicone (Gunk or the like) into the lock cylinder. NOT WD-40. With the rear always getting sprayed with dirt and road grime, it may have clogged the lock tumblers up. Make sure you have a rag handy as you don't want the silicone on the paint. Good luck!
  • jgd65jgd65 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the far so good on my rAstro!
    I am already addicted to the room in this what if she has a few rattles and quirks :)
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