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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro

1356735

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    dtigerdtiger Member Posts: 1
    Recently purchased a 96 Astro Conversion.
    Tires on it were Cooper, wasn't happy with them.
    Discount put passenger one size wider on it. Bounced and sagged on the road. Do I need a truck tire? Thinking on Michelin LTX M/S. Any advise out there?
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    Yes, you need a tire rated for your increased load. This maybe a truck tire or a reinforced passenger style tire (rare anymore, but Michelin MXT special orders come to mind).

    Hard to quibble with Michelin's of any sort. Premium tire and premium price. LTX's are also available at Sears/NTB under the name XC. Nothing wrong with Cooper by the way. I've been pleased with them in the past. Still have a set of load range D-rated Mastercraft Courser R/D's on a van. (Mastercraft is a Cooper company.) Good set of tires at an incredible price. I'm approaching 40k with some moderately heavy loads. They still look brand new.

    But I have never been pleased with a passenger tire on a heavy van. Lots of swaying. Trouble with wind shear. Terrible ride. Not much traction in dirt or snow. And the thought of coming off the interstate--with the tires nice and hot--then cornering on the offramp, shifting almost the whole 4000-7000lbs onto that one front tire..... POP!!!!! Explorer/Firestone City. I don't know why anyone would put passenger tires on a van (or truck), except out of ignorance.

    Note that not all "truck" tires have an increased load rating. Shop carefully. The Chevy factory label on the door should provide a recommended load range, tire size, tire pressure, etc. Hopefully your conversion company has updated that info because of the increased weight. If not, maybe you can call them.
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    You may be able to get the tire store Cooper to replace the tire with a proper one, especially if the vehicle label calls for an increased load range tire.
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    topseatopsea Member Posts: 47
    Creid you get this warranty from the dealer.
    I didn't find it in the manuals. They first tried
    to sell me their own warranty. I've had GMAC's in the past and wanted it again. (It covers more stuff.) The dealer did say that it would be more than $2,300 if I waited more than 30 days to purchase the GMAC warranty. (GMAC wants your $ to start earning interest for them early in the warranty game.)

    Terry
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    yritcheyyritchey Member Posts: 1
    I have a set of these on my 99 Astro and I love them. Have about 15,000 miles on mine and they still look like brand new.
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    creidcreid Member Posts: 54
    After purchasing our 2001 Safari w/ 2nd row captains chairs we noticed that they are bolted to the floor instead of quick release. I wish I would have looked more throughly at them before the purchase. A friend of mine has a 2000 E150 Ford van & the chairs fold flat, come right out of the van & they even spin 180 degrees around facing the back passengers, heck the Safari/Astro's don't do any of the Ford vans seats what a waste of money.
    Does anyone know of a aftermarket company that possibly makes a retrofit that can be placed on the base of the seats & the van to allow the seats to be easily removed w/o the need of a socket wrench? I'm not wanting to impeed safety but a easy removal would be very nice when I have to remove them w/o fiddling with a socket wrench to remove (4) nuts.
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
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    lorarlorar Member Posts: 3
    I just bought a used 2000 awd astro with 22,000 miles on it and what's left of the warranty. I've had it in the shop already because of a ticking noise which they said was a tension pully and with my pushing the dealership paid for it even though it was not technically covered under the warrenty. I took it back today because of the same sound and now they say it is the serpentine belt and won't pay for it! Also, I have all but worn out the rear tires in less than 2 months because of the grabbing while making turns (normal turns). It grabs, vibrates and bugs the crap outta me. The dealership says it's the transfer case that needs to be serviced ~ Again, I refused to pay because when the salesman went with me for the test drive he said the "grabbing" was part of the awd system. This is a bunch of garbage as far as I'm concerned. Has anyone had this type of problems and could the transfer case being serviced really solve this problem ~ I doubt it and I suspect I'll be stuck with this problem. I've only had this thing a short time and I'm so unhappy and freaked out that I am stuck with it. I had a 96 awd that was great and no grabbing.
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    ahelmahelm Member Posts: 14
    Dito on my 2000, it had 18000 miles but no ticking. Flushing and change to an "improved" lubricant in the transfer case, according to a familiar TSB took care of the grabbing at GM expense. However my abnormal tire wear was on the front! could some one have rotated them? 3000 miles later,a late snow fall (AK) gave me a chance to test the AWD. I was disappointed to find that no power was going the the front wheels! I suspect 18,000 miles in this condtion glazed the clutches in transfer case. It is in the shop for this issue as I write. Some thing else which I was told is normal which I ?? is: stopped on an incline in "D" is rolls backward and requires some gooseing to overcome the rolling, the opposite is true in "R". Could be tricky on a the boat ramp!!
    I remain opptimistic. There is nothing else that compares to the AWD mid-size with decent tow capacity. I have faith that these issues can be worked through, but plan on getting an extended warranty before the factory one expires. Andy
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    The rear heater on my '96 Safari has never worked properly as the water flow could not be turned off, only the blower. Dealer actually told me it didn't have one, that the water always flowed through the rear heater core. Stupid me, I believed him. One day while changing the oil I found the valve just above the transmission. I finally found that it didn't work because the vacuum lines were pinched in the dash. Has anyone else seen this problem? After many years in this condition, the valve no longer will work. Replacement part is $78, so I checked the vacuum before purchasing and found there is still very little vacuum available. Short term fix is a manual valve to shut off the water to the core, but I still wonder if there is someone out there who has seen this and corrected it properly. Thanks

    Jim
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    lorarlorar Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for your feedback. I am already plotting in my head how to make these guys take care of this problem until it is fixed. I pick up my van today and hopefully all is well. If not, I have my bright orange window chalk that I plan on using across my windsheild to write the word "LEMON" and park it in front of the dealership until I get some resolve! You said your problem was taken care of at dealership expense and I was wondering did they say it was covered under warranty or did you pressure them to take care of it? I will be purchasing the extended warranty also but I am skeptical of all the things that will go wrong and will NOT be covered. I'll keep you posted. Lora P.S. anyone out there have any comments on the serpentine belt/tension pulley problem I'm having at 24,000 miles?
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    carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    And would get 23 to 24 MPG consistently on a 1400 mile reound trip to Disneyland with 5 adults and all the luggage. Digital instrumentation was the weak point.
    In 8 years, the only repairs were replacement of a leaky manifold gasket and replacement of windshield wiper motor. Probably should have replaced digital instrumentation but all worked but temperature and oil pressure. Since they had "idiot light" backup and we keep vehicles well maintained, we were not overly concerned about the lack of those 2 gauges.
    Too bad GM never made significant improvements in the 16 years. An easier removal/installation of middle Captain's chairs instead of the 4 bolts would have been one nice improvement. Extending the wheelbase 12 inches and adding 12 inches to driver and front passenger foot room would have been sufficient for us to buy another Astro. It would have been about the length of Grand Caravan, Odyssey, Venture but would been overall much superior to any minivan in our opinion. We love our 99 GC SE, but would have liked an Astro even better with those 2 improvements.
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    lorarlorar Member Posts: 3
    I wrote a letter to the owner of the dealership detailing out the course of repairs/problems I have had since purchasing my 2000 awd Chevy Astro. I called first to make sure he was in and then told him I would be faxing him a letter. About 1/2 hr. later he phoned me to let me know that they would take care of EVERYTHING no cost to me at all. He apologized for the runaround that I'd gotten and assured me that the things that have gone wrong are not indicative of a problem vehicle. He said servicing the transfer case with a higher quality lubricant would fix the grabbing problem and they will replace the serpentine belt too. I hope he's right about it not being a problem vehicle. In the mean time I've loved driving the Toyota Corolla rental car - makes me think twice about owning a big vehicle.
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    btorlvbtorlv Member Posts: 16
    At about 30-40 mph I get a slight metal rattel noise from the front of the motor g.m. cant find. 2 belts replaced 2 cats. all new exaust system in dealer 9 times. Went to arbiration and lost. g.m. states its the balance shaft and the noise is normal. any Ideas? I get up set every time I drive this pile of crap but my wife seems to like the van. Also pleast give yourself plently of room to stop the brakes stink. tire wear is another story.
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    snowyowlsnowyowl Member Posts: 3
    I have recently purchased an 89 chevy astro. I am very happy with it so far but was wondering if these have any little quirks I should be aware of or be ready for-thanks
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    Lots of folks maintaining old astros on www.vannin.com's forums. There's also some astro specific board, but I cannot find the link now. I would ask on that board.

    Quirks? It's GM. Don't forget to rotate the alternators. :)
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    mesabdbmesabdb Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know the code for axle ratios contained in the VIN number? Looking to buy a 98 Astro, but want to know the axle ratio for certain before we buy.
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    churchi11churchi11 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 93 4wd ext Safari which runs fine but has one exasperating problem; on hot days I have difficulty shifting out of park. if I run the a/c for 15 mins it shifts ok. I have discovered that a small switch, which is operated by pressing the brake pedal, controls the shift mechanism. It seems to expand in hot weather when the car is locked and parked. I have had this (vacuum) switch changed three times ! Any ideas for a quick fix would be appreciated.
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    drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    You must be referring to the shift interlock that requires you to depress the brake pedal before allowing you to move the gearshift lever. Look in your owner's manual for mentions of a shift interlock override. If your vehicle does have one (most do for emergency situations), then you can simply by pass the shift interlock.

    Good luck!

    Drew
    Host
    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
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    billtungbilltung Member Posts: 255
    Just received a recall letter from GM Canada regarding safari/astro vans between 1996-1999 fail to conform to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard,"Occupant Restrain Systems in Frontal Impact." Now I have to make appointment to install a new alarm module on my Safari. For those who didn't receive the recall letter, pls contact your Canada GM/Chevrolet dealer.
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    kk2400kk2400 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1991 Safari that we really enjoy, but now have an idle problem. The van runs fine until we came to a stop and it idles very rough or dies. Have had tune-up w/ new plug wires, new egr valve & new catylitic converter. Have also tried fuel injector cleaner and hi-test gas, but problem still exists. Anybody out there with an idea of what problem and solution might be.
    Thanks
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    Have you already replaced your O2 sensor? You don't mention miles, but if enough miles that your cat was bad, the sensor probably is also. These are cheap and easy to install.
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    billp10billp10 Member Posts: 2
    I have recently purchased a 1990 Safari and was hoping someone could tell me what the towing capacity of this vehicle is. I contacted gm's website and they say the towing capacity is only 2000 pounds, my compact car can tow that much for gosh sakes.

    thanks for your assistance
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    occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    I'm driving a 1999 Astro LS EXT RWD with the 4.3V6 and it's a taxi. 84,000 miles on it, and the only complaint I have is the rattling and sqeaking of the plastics inside. I have tried to adjust every piece of plastic inside but the noise won't stop. Maybe it's something I'll have to live with! Drives nice, I like the transmission because I can hold 2nd gear from a dead stop by putting it in "2". Didn't know GM put out a transmission with that feature...I'm used to it in Fords and Hondas.
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    pvillapvilla Member Posts: 12
    Hello,I kind of need some help.My mother left me her 94 Astro for the week.Yesterday my
    2yr old son stuck pennies in the cigarrette lighter and for a brief few seconds I saw very small
    sparks, before I quickly took them out .Anyway, I thought nothing of it until the evening,when i realized my headlamps,dashlights,and horn didn't work.Everything else works , brakelights,gauges,signal lights,etc..I also checked all the fuses and there all o.k.,so i'm starting to fear the wires burned out, i'm really lost,i've never had this happen to any car i've had.
    Has anyone had this happen or is there any info you can help me with before I take it to the mechanic?? Please help,my mother gets back this Saturday and i want to try to fix it before she gets back,thanks........
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    Look in the owners manual and it should give you a diagram of the fuse location as well as the location of the fuse box. Go buy a mixed combination of fuses from walmart or any auto store if you don't have them already. Use a set of pliars or even the special plastic fuse puller that they probably sell right beside the fuses to pull the old fuse. Don't pay anyone to do this. Find a friend who is even the slightest mechanical inclination if you cannot do it yourself.
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    countd4countd4 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 99 GMC Safari (4.3L 2wd) that has recently (last 2 months) developed a serious starting problem usually in the morning. On the first start, it seems as if most of the cylinders are not firing - severe shaking and runs very rough. I turn it off, restart. Maybe as bad, may be less shaking. After several of these restarts, it seems to now have one mis-fire - rough running, some shaking, loss of power. If I drive it for 5 minutes, the problem seems to go away and stay away as long as the engine is warm. And of course the service engine light comes on.

    Dealer replaced all 6 fuel injectors. It ran ok for 2 weeks, now thr problem is back as bad as ever. I have seen references to TSB 00-06-04-003 which mentions rough starts. Dealer seems willing to help, but can't figure this out.

    HELP!
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    countd4countd4 Member Posts: 3
    "clinthed" - If you read this board again, please let me know how things worked out (countd4@arkansas.net). I posted on this topic and I'm interested on what you know.

    Thanks!
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    occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    this taxi I'm driving ('99 Astro LS EXT 2WD) has no owner's manual and I wanted to reset the computer in the overhead console to figure MY mileage, not the last fifty people who drove it. How do you do that?
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    countd4countd4 Member Posts: 3
    Select the milage display. The press and hold for a few seconds BOTH buttons. The display should clear and reset all the numbers.
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    occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    I appreciate it. Now I know what I'm getting as opposed to the last fifty drivers...

    The van started stalling a couple nights ago and it's fixed, must have been a dirty fuel tank, they changed the gas and air filters and it doesn't stall anymore. But I figure 86,000 miles of dusty Texas highway construction will clog a gas filter. Wonder if it had been changed at all before...???
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    occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    I have to say, it's nice to see someone who actually takes the time to look around their car for the cause of a problem instead of giving the dealer $300-$500 to not fix it right.
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    by dusty conditions. Fuel system is sealed.
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    textruckrtextruckr Member Posts: 22
    How about when you remove the gas cap to fill up? It gets pretty windy here in Texas at times, and the dust blows a lot too.
    Or, maybe the dusty air is drawn into the underground gas station tanks as the gas vapors contract when it cools off here (usually in late December).
    Just throwing some ideas out - like Judy Tennuta sez, "it could happen".
    Texas Truck - r
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    howardh1howardh1 Member Posts: 1
    Recently purchased a 2001 Safari. We had been towing our 18 foot boat with a 79 MC Suburban. Now, with the Safari, we have noticed a swaying back and forth while towing. Have been told that my wheelbase is shorter and I need to get more weight on the tongue. I got a higher receiver, moved the boat forward on the trailer and changed the tires on my trailer. Any other ideas?

    Also, has anyone noticed unusual wear on their front tires? My front tires tend to follow the groves in the highway. I noticed that with only 4,000 miles my front tires are wearing out.
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    drumcircledrumcircle Member Posts: 17
    Looking to purchase a 2000 or 2001 Astro w/ AWD...Can anyone be so truthful/kind and tell me how it drives in the snow???? Also,how is the drivability while towing something like a 14' aluminum boat? Any comments would be appreciated...

    Thanx
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    mrnimmomrnimmo Member Posts: 271
    Cannot help much with the snow info. All the Astro's I've driven have been 2wd. But I've heard many good reports about the AWD's surefootedness. I'd be more concerned with reliability.

    There are issues with the fluid used in the transfer cases. See the board for this info. Apparently it is supposed to be changed immediately after you buy it. Dealer will do it.

    But overall the astro is solid and proven. Allbeit not the most modern vehicle.

    As for a 14' alum boat (jonboat?). You won't know this thing is behind an Astro. Towing will be no problem. Towing loads or stuffing the van full of kids and camping gear is one area where a midsize (Astro or Eurovan) or fullsize van really shines over one of those frontwheel drive momivans (that are little more than high roof station wagon versions of Camry, Taurus or Accord).
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    drumcircledrumcircle Member Posts: 17
    In your opinion,,,is the Astro a reliable vehicle???? The last thing that I need now is a money pit for a vehicle....My question about towing was to find out if anyone has had rear-end clunking while towing a 2000-4000 lb class trailer...I had owned a full size Blazer for a long time,,we had a canoe on the roof,my 14' v-hull,3 adults,@5 30 packs,food,luggage,etc..and let me tell you,,,it drove like it wasnt under any load...I also had the best mpg.during that trip,,,a WHOPPING 14 MPG...We have a Venture now...Great drivability on that thing....I would like to get another full-size P/U,,,but fuel efficiancy is an important factor here...Thanx for the reply,any other suggestions would be great..
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    The first and most common problem with a trailer swaying behind a tow vehicle is low pressure in the rear tires of the tow vehicle. Make sure you are at the max pressure as shown on the sidewall of the tire. Next, the tongue weight at the ball should be 10% of the trailer weight. So, if the boat is 3500lbs, you should have ~350lbs tongue weight. Typically, boats will be a little light on this due to that motor hanging off the back. If you still have excessive swaying, Reese and others make a sway control that mounts from the trailer tongue to the hitch. This is a really worst case solution for a boat, more typically seen on travel trailers. Good Luck,

    Jim
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    topseatopsea Member Posts: 47
    I drive all over the Northwest putting on 30 to 40 thousand miles per year. I'm in a 2001 AWD with 15,000 on it now and if they are maintained, I don't think there is a better vehicle on the road, especially in the winter. I haul quite a bit in it(I'm in sales) and I never tow anything. This is my third AWD Astro. I still have the '98 but sold the '96 years ago. Snow and icy winter passes are just not a problem with the AWD Astro.
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    donthomasdonthomas Member Posts: 1
    I just want to say thanks to JLFLEMMONS for his input on the wiper motor problems in Astro vans. I took your advice and checked the solder and sure enough it was cracked all the way around the pin from the wiring harness. I re-soldered that and adjusted the contact springs and it's working like new. You probably saved me $60-$80.

    I have one other pesky problem that maybe somebody can help me with. The ventilation will only come out through the defrost vents. The blower works through all of the speeds and the air conditioning and temperature control still work but all of the air is coming through the defroster vents on the dash. I suspect a vacuum problem but do not know where to start. Any suggestions?
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    creidcreid Member Posts: 54
    On the ventilation problem; I bought my 2001 Safari around 3/01. It had the same problem you are speaking about & it seems the vaccuum hose that connects to the Vaccuum canister had come loose so maybe try there first. Mine would get ventilation when I was idling but anytime I accelerated it would shift the air to the floor & the vents. My vaccuum canister was under the hood.
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    drumcircledrumcircle Member Posts: 17
    Thanx for the info..My most important question was the winter handling,and like yourself,I have spoken to 2 other people that I have met during the course of the work day and they say the same...thanx again
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    drumcircledrumcircle Member Posts: 17
    The Dodge vans have the same problem as well..Especially during the colder/winter months..The floor heat does not seem to work when you need it most..
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Your welcome. With the cost of repairs these days, I do what I can to help

    Jim
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    drumcircledrumcircle Member Posts: 17
    What can be done to resolve that ol saggy back end in the Astro's...Seems like if you put a bit of weight back there,,,it becomes saggy...I see it everywhere...Beef up the suspension???? Need some input here,,looking to purchase a newwer model..
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    ahelmahelm Member Posts: 14
    In earlier post, I recall someone installing an ACAR hitch receiver purchased from Sam's Club and being pleased with it. I just did the same, and found the installation wanting. The instructions for this universal hitch require re using the factory 10mm (approx 3/8") bumper bolts (other vehicles use 1/2" Grade 8 bolts) and drilling another hole through the frame to install one 1/2" Grade 8 bolt on each side. The instructions are impossible to follow as you cannot install these 1/2" bolts as instructed on the extended frame. Also the 2000 Astro frame still shows it was adapted from the pre-extended frame with an extension attached to the main frame with spot welds. The hardware is probably adequate for the tow rating, my concern is the forces being transferred through a few spot welds. Anyone have any issues with hitch receiver installation? I plan to tow near the max 5000 # rating for the AWD.

    Also I don't have a wiring diagram. Just wondering where to find the wiring for brake controller? the rear wiring harness is nicely done.

    In regard to DRUMCIRCLEs sagging problem. I'd install a set of the oversprung weight carrying rear shocks by Monroe or Gabriel.

    Andy
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    for the Astro/Safari that is a good fit. Are we talking Class III or IV? I have seen Astros with C IV hitches, but never crawled under to check.
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    ahelmahelm Member Posts: 14
    The hitch I now own and have installed is an ACAR Industries Class III Rated at 5000 WC/7500 WD. I plan to tow a fairly light (<2000) boat trailer mostly but occasionally a cargo trailer rated at 7000 but loaded at <5000 with a weight distributing hitch.

    Looking under the Astro, the anchor nuts intended for mounting the bumper on the non extended frame are present and appear much more secure. I'm considering tying it all together with a piece of angle iron. It's attaching everything to the spot welded extension that concerns me.
    Does the Valley Hitch pick up the other two bumper mounting captive nuts? If not I would still be concerned.
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    carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    Ironic. We traded in our 1991 Astro CL that had 61,600 miles on March 20, 1999 on a new GC SE. Our Astro digital instrumentation was defective and coolant temperature and oil pressure gages did not work. The digital instrumentation on theirs works flawlessly.
    Now our daughter and son-in law get a 1991 Astro, same color, both with 7 passenger seating. BUT, their Astro has 187,000 miles. It was purchased NEW by the selling owner. The seller got a NEW Yukon to replace the 91 Astro when they got a larger pop-up trailer.
    Our Astro had 1/3 the miles but was just a regular length CL whereas this one is EXTD RS with 4.3 HO engine, tow pkg, P245/R6015 tires while ours had P205/R7515 tires. My friend drove Astro's for an airport shuttle service and one had 700,000 miles on odometer and the other had 650,000 miles. Original engines on both. The Vortec 4.3 is a great engine for long life, reliable service. I was stupid to trade in the 91 Astro with only 61,600 miles since the only problems it had were the damnable defective digital instrumentation (would cost over $1000 to replace), a manifold gasket replacement in December 1998 and a windshield wiper motor replacement in January 1999.
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