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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I've learned that the SafAstro twins will grow on you like a bad fungus. I've got a 2000 model with over 150K on the clock. I just had the first tune up done (whew!, GM was proud of that work) and a fresh set of rubber. You'll see the highway ride is not to bad and for the space (as you're discovering) you get it's a nice little van.
  • Hi all,

    I've just purchased a '95 Astro with a version of the Gladiator conversion package.

    The middle (captain's) seats are designed to be removed, and they come out of the van easily.

    According to the Gladiator manual, the rear sofa seat was made in two versions: one that's designed to be removed, and one that's not. I have the one that's not.

    Trouble is, it'd be really, really useful to be able to take it out. I see that it's held down with four bolts (with 3/4" heads), and I've tried loosening them. But the bolt head just spins, without the bolt seeming to ever come loose. So it seems as though maybe there's a nut or other fastener on the other end of this thing that's also spinning and would need to be held down in order to loosen the bolts. That said, I can't see where such a nut would go. It's certainly not on the undercarriage of the Astro.

    So can anyone help me understand how I might be able to remove this seat? Surely there's -some- way to do it, otherwise they would have welded it in rather than using bolts (or so I'd assume).

    Thanks for your input!
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    You can fix your situation, but it is a pain or expensive depending on you mechanical skill. You have to either weld a nut to the underside of the van so the bolt can be installed or removed.I'd reccomend galvanized over stainless for strength. This requires dropping the gas tank. Or you can buy from GM the brackets that hold the rear seat in place and weld them in. The latter requires removing carpet, cutting holes in floor and welding in brackets that drop below the floor. You also have to buy the removable seat with the second option. A friend of mine owns an accessory shop and we looked at putting the factory seats in my cargo van- that is until I saw all that had to be done.
  • deacondeacon Posts: 3
    I have 2000 atro AWD with a service AWD warning light and 150K miles. A transmission shop indicated that a clutch assembly in the automatic trans transfer case may be malfunctioning. they said it could be from 600 to 1600 dollars to fix it. The van runs fine. Is this light just a ripoff tactic ?
  • novacanenovacane Posts: 1
    Hey all, Great posts and very informitave.
    I was hoping that someone could help me with my small problem. I have a '95 Safari with 87k miles. I just bought it and it has a squeel in engine compartment that developed about 4 days after i bought it. I don't belive it's the belt, it sounds more like dry bearing. it reduces at higher RPM's. the water pump was changed about 2 months ago. I was thinking it might be the belt tentioner. if anyone has seen/heard this problem I'd really apriciate suggestions on fixes
  • ingridringridr Posts: 20
    Hi All,

    I am looking at purchasing a Chevy Astro in the near future to serve as my "dog show" vehicle :-) I am looking for advice as to if there are any years I should avoid (looking in the 1998-2003 range) and what is the average lifetime mileage on an Astro before you start seeing major issues. I know that this is dependant on care of the car but I am used to Subarus that live forever and do not know if Astros are in the same category. I am looking at a 2001 that was used as a delivery vehicle and is in really good condition but it has 130K on it. I do long distance driving as I live in Montana and travel to several states for dog shows so I don't want to break down in the boonies :-) Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
  • grubergruber Posts: 1
    I had read in an early forum that someone purchased a used Astro that was a rental. I'm curious who rents these? I am interested in purchasing one toward the end of the year but I would I like to rent one for vacation this summer before I commit to one.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    That is an excellent idea, for any planned vehicle purchase, but especially for an Astro. I have driven a 98 Astro cargo van for work since 1999. It is the worst vehicle I have driven in 27 years with the company. I must admit it continues to have a reliable drivetrain at 125,000 miles, but thats the only thing going for it.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    Try to stay above 98 year models. The dash configuartion is more user friendly (95+) but the engine recieved a boost in power in 98. There were also emissions improvements and efficiency improvements (something about intake and exhaust ports) in that year. Obviously airbags and ABS are going to help your insurance rather than a van w/o these things.
  • kewldadkewldad Posts: 1
    Bought a used 93 Astro Van. The passenger side power window switch has never worked, we had to open or colse from the drivers side. Recently, the drivers side switch no longer operates it iether. The window is stuck down, how can I manually raise back to the closed position? It gets cold in Colorado.
  • Hi,
    The fuel gauge in our '98 Safari has begun acting up: It moves around alot as the fuel sloshes around (it used to be more stable) and the needle is vibrating, making it look blurry. Is it the gauge, or the sending unit/pump assembly in the tank?

    A related question: My understanding is in '99 the switch was made to the 27 gallon fuel tank. Is the 27 gallon tank a bolt in retro-fit to the '98 van?

  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    I drove a 94 Astro and own a 97. They have 27 gallon fuel tanks. The tank will take 6 gallons after a normal fill rate nozzle cut off. But this is a slow process to cram in the additional 6 gallons.

    Just an opinion but I think the fuel tank sending unit or rheostat is worn and or corroded and not making good contact. Or possibly the wiring connections are corroded.
  • bosma64bosma64 Posts: 2
    I bought my first Astro van 3 days ago. A 2004 AWD Astro LS, former rental w/23000 miles. The van is amazingly nice for the price I paid. ($15.5K vs. new at $24K & up)

    TONS of power, huge improvements over earlier models! Question is I am trying to find a ladder rack for my passenger van that is removable and does not require drilling holes. I would like to get a genuine GM luggage rack as a permanent rack also.
    As well, I am trying to find a window-shade type of cargo area cover like you see in the back of Jeeps and Subaru wagons. After reading some of these posts, I am crossing my fingers that this van is a cut above the older ones. So far I am impressed!
  • cobramancobraman Posts: 3
    I have a 2002 Astro LT that spends probably 90% of its time carrying only a few passengers. However, the rest of the time it's loaded to the roof with camping gear, including a huge Thule roof pod and a Hitch Hauler full of fire wood. I want to add some help to the rear suspension, but don't know which way to go. I'm looking at either airbags or a helper spring kit. Which will provide the least amount of disruption to the ride of the empty van? In other words, when the van is unloaded I want the ride to remain stock-smooth, but I want the beef when it's loaded down for camping. Thanks
  • cobramancobraman Posts: 3
    I had a 94 Astro that I bought with 37K on it in 96. In early 2002, with about 125K on the clock it started costing me literally $600 a month to keep on the road. First it was a starter, then a water pump, then ball joints, then tie rod ends, and on and on. I know that wouldn't have gone on forever, but I traded it for a new 2002. The 94 cost me nothing in service prior to 90K -- just tires, brakes, and oil changes. At 90K I gave it its first tune-up and all was good until about 125K. I'd be very wary of that one if I was you -- you might be getting it right at the point it starts costing a bundle to own. BTW, my 02 now has 44K on it and has cost me nothing to own except for brakes, tires, and oil changes. It hasn't even been back to the dealer once.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    Sorry, my man, no dice on aftermaket racks without drilling. The Astro doesn't have drip rails to mount anything to. You have to buy the factory rack and drill, or buy an after market (WeatherGuard makes a great one) and drill. Take your poison and figure how much you want to tote poundage-wise as to which rack- remembering the factory is only good to around 120lbs. If you buy both, you'll have to drill twice as many holes.

    As far as the cargo cover, I'm assuming you're looking for the kind that pulls out over your cargo and then retracts. There isn't anything factory or aftermarket that I have seen.

    cobraman- there used to be a company that made a "helper spring" that attached to the top leaf spring and when loaded, would keep the springs from bottoming out. I don't know of they are still around. Any towing supply house would be able to hook you up. Air bags are super sweet and super expensive. I would think the helper spring would get the job done.
  • bosma64bosma64 Posts: 2
    thanks for the info dadoftay. I'll check out the WeatherGuard rack. I was just concerned about rusting, leaking, etc. Very interesting information about the 'helper spring' too. Great source, this forum!
  • jcreedjcreed Posts: 1
    I have a 1992 Astro van. Probably over 50 times the past couple years, it will not start.

    You can turn the key, and you can't here any click, and the starter is not turned over.

    I think every time it is jumped it will start.

    Sometimes, if you just wait a few minutes, it will start.

    Ever since we have had the van (for five years), it always turns over a few times before starting. It is not quick to start (like a weak battery).

    Sometimes, I can unhook the battery terminal and scrape the connectors clean and then tighten it back on and it will start. But this only fixes the problem about half the time.

    (On that note, I wonder why there would be so much dark gray junk on the connector to scrape off.)

    Also before the connection direct from battery to the starter was loose on the starter, I tightened it as much as I could.

    We have replaced the battery a couple times since over past couple years.

    A couple weeks ago, the battery and alternator were checked by a shop. They said the alternator was fine and the battery was bad. We bought a new battery. The charging meter on the dash was now slightly higher.

    ... But within a few days, the car would not start again.

    Any ideas on what can be checked?

    By the way, we like our Astro van and plan to buy another astro van soon (like 1999, 2000 or 2001 model). It is the only small van, we have found that allows us to have six car seats/booster seats in use at a time. Do you know of any other minivans that accomodate 6 car seats?
  • pbroekerspbroekers Posts: 11
    We have a 1995 chevy astro cowboy conversion van. The sliding door's lock seems to be sticking. We have to double click the power locks on front doors to get it to disengage lock. Any ideas? May have to sell the van with gas prices rising. Great vehicle; tight engine. 18mpg on hwy; not so good in town.
  • bob60bob60 Posts: 1
    Hey folks,
    need help, we have a 1999 GMC Safari w/vortec v-6, it was not set up for towing, but I have my eye on a Bigfoot 17' trailer. The owner said it weight about 1875lbs and I should install a class 3 receiver.. Think My Safari can handle it?
    The new guy....
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    The Astro 2wd with standard 3.42 differential is rated at 5200 Lb. tow rating. The 1875 lbs. should not be any problem at all. Of course, you should have trailer brakes and an equalizer hitch. I tow a 30' Award RV trailer at around 4000 lbs. with a 97 Astro. My Astro has 3.73 ratio differential.
  • Hey all, I need to know the general variances of the later model Astro's and what to look for.

    For example, I understand at some point the AWD system went from permanent to 'real time' or similar where it's normally RWD. I don't want that.

    Also how about the best engine power? Brakes?

    I've got my eye on a 98 AWD LT for 7500, or possibly an 01 LS AWD at about 9900. Is mileage a real concern on these?
  • johnson3johnson3 Posts: 5
    I;ve been told that we might have legal recourse about this and hope that someone here can help me better understand the brake process. We just returned from a vacation to Florida (we drove our 93 Astro Van.) In Georgia we heard some squeaking coming from the left front, took it to a 'nationwide reputable chain' at which time it was confirmed we did need a front brake job. Fine, break job was completed. When they went to lower our van down off the alignment rack it dropped from approx. 4 ft. in the air. One tire punctured, and they said they check it and we were 'okay' to go. Approx. 400 miles later we enter another state, hear squeaking in the same front area, bring it into ANOTHER dealer from the same chain and we are told that our left hub nut is loose. They tightened the hub nut and said all was fine.
    On our return trip home 3 days ago, we were on an interstate going about 70 mph and instantly the left front tire freezes. State trooper advised as she helped us 'force' the van to the side of the interstate that she saw our left front tire being dragged as we got to the side.
    We were towed to a THIRD dealer of the same chain and were told we needed a new hub assembly - $840. questions are, Does the hub nut need at all to be loosened on a astro van when dealer #1 did the break job?
    If so, who would be to blame - dealer #1 for not re-tightening it or dealer #2 for not checking the origin of the problem instead of just tightening it and telling us all was ok?
    Also, when our van was dropped, what should they have checked to confirm we were safe to continue our trip?
    We have had no problems with this van until this trip and then all problems began when the brake job was done. We are safe - but I'll never forget the sound of our 3 daughters crying in the van when we locked up on the interstate in the middle lane with cars going around us at 75 mph. We had no way to get out of the van because of the fast moving traffic on both sides of us and more than once in waiting for the trooper were almost hit from behind. Some people tell me one dealer is negligent - others say 1 and 2 are....PLEASE ADVISE!!!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    johnson3, I'm sorry to hear about the problem you experienced, and I'm sure it was very scary for you and your family.

    However, you really need expert legal advise, and we can't provide that for you. If you choose to pursue action in this matter, you will need to contact an attorney who will be able to get the full details of your situation, and help with expert advice.

    If you want to ask a question about the braking process in general, the best place is in our topic titled Stop here! Let's talk about brakes.

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  • cobramancobraman Posts: 3
    First off, let me say I'm glad no one got hurt when the hub seized. Second, I would be on the phone with my lawyer if I were you. And the Attorneys General from all the states where the shops were located. File claims wherever possible. Also, I would have the van inspected by a QUALIFIED shop locally. Tell them what happened. I would be concerned about damage to spindles, shocks, and motor mounts after a four foot fall. I busted both motor mounts on my 94 one time going too fast over a covered-up old railroad crossing. Astros aren't made for landing, if you know what I mean...

    Coonhound -- Your Astro will tow that trailer fine, just make sure it has brakes as already stated. Also, the factory receiver hitch is worth the price and very easy to install yourself. Mine took me less than 2 hours and 2 beers :) Remove the bumper, mount the hitch, and re-attach the bumper. All in factory holes.
  • I've got a 1998 Astro and lost the Original Keyless entry remote. Bought 2 off of e-bay, with the original part and FCC #'s on them. Need to find out how to program them to the truck. Dealer wants about $50 to do it. Can't see why I should pay that for 5 min of work. Programed the remote for my Grand Am in 5 min but that program doesn't work for this van.
    Somebody help!!
  • johnson3johnson3 Posts: 5
    Cobraman thanks so much for your advice! We just returned from our 'trip from hell' on Sunday but I'm already getting all papers, invoices, etc..ready to go for the attorney. GREAT advice about reporting to the attorney general also. (Sorry to hear about your starsky and hutch jump over the railroad tracks!)
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    It's a little more than 5 minutes to program remotes, but you might try a dealer with a lower labor rate. They should charge about .3 hours labor (roughly 15 minutes).
  • bungybungy Posts: 2
    I am about to obtain a 1994 Astro Starcraft. I have been told that the electric rear seat that folds down to a bed is inoperative at this time. Apparently there are 4 nylon runners that traverse the threaded links and they are completely worn. Can somebody please give me a link as to where I can obtain replacements.

    Many thanks

  • robcarobca Posts: 1
    Hi everybody. I just bought a 1994 Astro cargo van. Plenty of dings and blemishes, but the mechanical components are in good order (used to be a fleet van for NAPA, the parts store)

    I would like to buy a maintenance/repair book, to take care of the non working things myself (mostly doors sticking, lights not turning on, etc). I saw manuals from Chilton and Haynes.

    What manual would you suggest? Is there anything online that I can use (resources, forums, etc)? I tried searching around, but didn't find much on the Astro beyond this forum...

    Many thanks in advance, Rob
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