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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • cobcob Posts: 210
    The red wire from my brake controller is spliced into the white wire from the brake switch. Its a 1997 and should be the same as 1998.
  • cobcob Posts: 210
    When running my engine with the inside covers off I could hear a ticking sound. I am told the injectors click as they are firing. I can't hear it from the front of the van, the accessory belt and pullies must make too much noise. If you are hearing it with all the covers on it may be a lifter that is not getting oil. Try using a wooden handle and put it on the motor at the top and bottom to see where exactly the noise is coming from. Usually if you make it past 100,000 the engines don't throw rods. All the blown engines I have seen had 70-90k on them and most were the pre Vortec engines.
  • scott808scott808 Posts: 3
    I own a 1995 Chevy Astro with about 148K miles, 4.3 V-6, "W" engine. Over the past several months, the engine has developed a pronounced misfire. Gas mileage has dropped considerably from 20 to 22MPG to just over 16MPG with no change in my driving habits or distances. It's at the point now where it's almost undriveable.

    I've had it in to my mechanic who has replaced plugs, checked wires (judged okay), fuel filter, and replaced the oxygen sensor. When my mechanic pulled the plugs, although not abnormally worn, he noted that the 3 left bank plugs were "normal" in color while the 3 right bank plugs were very dark...he thought indicating a rich mixture on that side of the engine. I've seen the old parts and can confirm his observations.

    Previously, in late 1992, the following items were replaced (mileage was about 112K miles): fuel pump & strainer, fuel filter, throttle position sensor, EGR valve, plugs, distributor cap, distributor rotor, distributor ignition control module, ignition coil, plug wires, idle air control valve, fuel injectors and spider, and the engine control PROM.

    My mechanic now believes there may be a problem with the distributor itself and wants to replace it.

    I think he's guessing...while I don't necessarily mind that, he's guessing with my checkbook which bothers me in light of the possibile, never ending, perhaps un-necessary replacement of what can be very expensive parts. The mechanic has had the vehicle in his shop for over 2 weeks and there's no end in sight at this point.

    Is there anyone out there who might be able to give me an idea of what might be wrong here? What could cause the plugs on one side of the engine to look as tho the mixture might be to rich? The service engine light has not come on. My mechanic tells me that the vehicle "computer" has registered no problems.

    Previous to this, for the most part, the engine has run well inspite of high mileage.

    Hope someone has a few ideas besides finding a new mechanic!

    Anything is appreciated.
  • lind777lind777 Posts: 7
    Any one have a good path to connect the black battery wire of Prodigy brake controller to the battery? Is it drill a hole in the fire wall and snake one through or is the connection point under the dash?


  • scottg34scottg34 Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Astro that had a similar problem. The dash switch or the rear key switch opened the upper hatch, but the dutch doors would not open. The problem was in the controller that is located in the spare tire compartment. There is a black plastic box about 4 inches square with a wiring harness attached to it. I unplugged the wire and removed the box. By using two screw drivers, I managed to open it and remove the circuit board inside. There are two relays on the pc board. I assume one is for the upper hatch and one for the right dutch door. I simply forced a small piece of very fine sandpaper between the contacts on both sides of both relays, and cleaned up the contacts. The doors now open fine. I'm not certain this will solve everyone's problem. It could be that either switch is faulty. If this were the case, the other switch would still work. If a wire to the door or controller is broken, the same problem would occur. I believe in most instances however, the contacts in the relays are burnt or dirty. If this is the problem, it's not necessary to have the doors open to fix the problem. Good Luck!
  • salmineosalmineo Posts: 2
  • scott808scott808 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the heads up. I have one of the plug-in test units and the code sequence list but have not had access to it for a while. I'll give it a whirl. Can't possibly be any worse than it is now. I haven't come across any A/C compressors or bypass pulleys but I'll keep my eyes open.
  • garyvolgaryvol Posts: 15
    Hi Cob
    Thanks for pointing out the White wire from the brake pedal connector. I’ve completed the hookup, including power to the controller. Now I’ll have to attach the camper and synch. the controller braking.
    -gary :)
  • garyvolgaryvol Posts: 15
    Hi Don,
    I’ve previously thanked Cob for the white wire brake pedal info.
    I’ve got a ’98 Safari, so it should be the same. Sounds like your doing what I just completed. I’ve got the Voyager controller installed and just completed the installation.
    1 The path for the battery hookup is thru the Speedometer cable. You’ll see a black cable running down from the dash into the firewall. I used a fairly stiff feeder aluminum wire, (I think it is wire that holds up suspended ceiling). It took me 3 or 4 times (almost ready to give up) but finally fed it thru the grommet type hole that the cable is going thru. Under the hood you’ll have to see where the cable is to locate the feeder wire. I taped black and white wires to pull thru and eventually get enough to attach to the battery.
    2 The Napa friend sold me 2 battery cable replacement lugs. These plugs have screws on the end to attach wire connectors. I unscrewed the cables (you’ll lose the radio presets) and worked out the plug connectors from the cables and replaced them with the new connectors. This will allow a secure connection for the brake controller power wire.
    I’ll stop here to see how you do
  • garyvolgaryvol Posts: 15
    Hi Don,
    I reread your message indicating if there was a connection point under the dash. My Napa friend never told me of any accessory connection, rather fish the wires through the Speedometer cable gromet firewall.
    It would make the conection easier if there was such a connection under the dash for the controller. Maybe someone else will reply with an answer.
  • You can either remove the Engine out the front after alot of sheet metal removal or out the side pass door.
    These vans are one the worst to R&R an engine.
    If you need detailed instructions, you can goto and sign up for there automotive repair and diagnostic info on line, the cost for 1 vehicle is only like $20.00, and I personally have used alldata for approx 10-15 years now and it is a great site.
    good luck..
    Master ASE Certified Technical Consultant/GM Technician
  • cobcob Posts: 210
    Mine also goes through the firewall to the fuse block, used hole for speedo cable. Also FYI if you haven't already, install an aux trans cooler in line with the factory one that is in the radiator. It is an easy install and cheap insurance for keeping the trans from over heating while towing.
  • nightskynightsky Posts: 2
    Sounds simple, but CLEAN the key completely with alcohol and re-insert it a few times. If ANY grease or dirt enter the ignition, you will have intermittent issues as you have stated...try it...can't hurt
  • garyvolgaryvol Posts: 15
    My other vehicle is a ’98 Buick that has what’s called a (chip) in the ignition key. I have 2 of these keys.
    (I believe it’s only a 7K Ohm resister because I measured it with a meter) embedded across and 1/3 way down the key. This key will occasionally make the Security light display on the dash board. Nothing else is affected. The next time the key is used, it typically acts normal. Maybe it could be dirt / moisture interfering with the contacts of the resister of the key. My ’98 Safari does not have this type of (chip) key. Just a regular looking key, and had a couple of extras made at the local store, and are functional.
    Do some Safari vans have a (chip) in the key.????
    Wonder what security is being compromised for the display to light up, and also cause the door locks to go crazy.
  • I have had my 2000 astro for over 2 years. The compass will say ice or wet when it is 80 degrees and not raining. How do I set this for my region? I would really love for this to work! I am not sure the mileage is correct either. The directions are off too. Can anyone help? :confuse:
  • Hey guys,

    I was searching for help online and found this forum. Hope someone can help-- I have a 1985 4 cyl Astro, standard tranny. Recently it's become hard to start because I have to apply a lot of pressure on the clutch to be able to turn the key. I thought it was the neutral safety switch, but turns out those are only on automatics. Any ideas? Thanks!!
  • cobcob Posts: 210
    Manual trans cars also have a safty switch to make sure you have the clutch peddel pressed before the car will start. There should be some switch activated by the clutch peddel.
  • jstein1jstein1 Posts: 1

    I just bought a 2001 Astro cargo van. Theres a rattle in the drivers door when the window is up, when the door closes. Something is obviously loose in there.

    I removed the armrest, and the other piece by teh window crank. But couldn't figure out how to remove the main panel. It does not screw in, and I didn't want to pull on it any harder, for feart that there may be plastic clips that could break (like the ones I broke on my Nissan).

    Any ideas on how that piece comes off?

  • bsmoodhabsmoodha Posts: 17
    Well I trouble shoot it to the VCM ie: computer by the battery. The Computer has the anti-shosh circuitry in it. $500 for the VCM and then the Dealer must program it. for me I will wait till the gas needle stops working all together.
  • :lemon: hi there i am writting about my 90 safari which at this time is driving me NUTS. i have changed and fixed so many things on this van and as i fix something another thing goes. my heater is now blowing anti freeze into the van. even with the fan turned off. should i just unplug the fan or is the antifreeze comming from somewhere else? i cant afford to keep fixing the van and i need someone to help me decide should i scrap it and look for something other then a safari? any help would be appreciated
  • garyvolgaryvol Posts: 15
    i am not an expert, but it sounds like your heater core
    1. Has a lose connection fitting.
    2. Has a hole in the tubing and/or has a leak where the antifreeze, that is fed from the main radiator, is getting out into the interior heater section.

    With summer coming you can disconnect and bypass the heater core, typically disconnect the tubing into and out of the heater and join them together with a fitting and clamps (buy you some time). If the heater core leaks, it will probably needs to be replaced. Finally, although never used the stuff, stores sell a radiator plug gunk that might do the trick of plugging the hole.
    I'll stop here for others to respond.

    keep motoring.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    While surfing historical posts, I noticed a few questions about removing the "factory mush" suspension.

    If you are thinking of removing the "factory mush" suspension, here's how we did it on our 2001 Safari AWD:

    - Installed +1 leaf in the rear suspension. This removed the "top end" mush, raised the rear of our van 2.0" but its also made our van do nose dives. Especially when slamming on the brakes.
    - Raised the front end van 1.0" by adjusting its front torsion bars. Since this changed its steering geometry, I had to get a front end alignment done.
    - To remove "bottom end" rear suspension depth while towing, I installed Timbrens (2,000 lbs) on the rear. Due to raise rear end, I modified the Timbren base by 1.25".

    For pictures, surf:

    If wondering, I'm currently saving my limited dollars to install Timbrens in the front of our van. Thus, eliminating its factory mush suspension "depth" as well.


    If you have a 2WD or 4WD and don't want to raise its rear (or front), simply install the Timben Rear Suspension Improvement product. If you want to eliminate its "factory mush" suspension, install Timbrens on the front and rear. Or, Timbrens on the rear and HD shocks on the front. For more info, surf:


    Hope this helps others who want to improve their Astro/Safari suspension (for towing and/or firming up factory ride) without using Air Bag products.

  • wberthinwberthin Posts: 1
    On mine I have a White wire ground, dark green right signal, yellow left signal, brown running lights. There is also a Blue, an Orange a Light Green and a Second White and I do not know what they are for. Let me know if you figure those out.
  • astromanastroman Posts: 1
    Did you ever get the bigger exhaust system or sway bar.
    Helwig makes ones for the front and rear. Most Astros come with a front one but no rear.
    I have both and it improves handling alot.
    I also have a Gibson 3" exhaust I am not using. It was on my 2000 for a short while but am selling the van so I took it off. Bought a 2005 and my wife doesn't like the health rumble. I did! But, oh well.
  • Hello. My husband is currently deployed and serving in Iraq and the turn signals on our Safari are not working. I have already changed the fuse and still nothing. Where is the flasher and how do I get to it so that I can change it myself? I am hoping to save money by doing it myself. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • cobcob Posts: 210
    There is another fuse/relay box under the hood above the battery location. I believe you may find the flasher there and also all the large fuses and relays. I assume the fuse you replaced is under the dash by the drivers feet.
  • Thanks Cob, yup, the fused I changed was under the dash. I am going to go and have a look now over by the battery.
  • clewis1clewis1 Posts: 6
    I am new to this board, so please bear with me.

    I have a 95 Astro, that has been just giving me a complete headache for the last four years. It will not pass the curb emissions test, as it is producing too many hydro-carbons (however, the treadmill test is passes). You name it... it has been done and I feel like I am in a money pit. No codes are being thrown and no mechanic can seem to diagnose and fix it. The problem is the van starts no problem, idles up and down for a few seconds (roughly, like it is going to stall), the exhaust stinks (rich) and gas mileage sucks. Also, on a cold start, when I place my foot on the brake to shift it into gear, it will 60 percent of the time stall. It does however start up again, with a little bit of hesitation. The van runs great other than that; however, tends to lack some guts.

    The van is presently on a conditional emissions pass as it it needed (according to the GM mechanic) a new cat converter, which has been done. It has had a complete tune-up, new O2 sensor, MAP sensor checked, Air idle control valve checked and cleaned, vaccum check, fuel injectors cleaned, it has been diagnostic checked up the whazoo, Fuel line filter, EGR has been checked, throttle body sensor replaced and then some more.

    SO... anybody have any suggestions... I could really use the help.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Our previous van was a '95 Safari. Before it went in for emissions tests, we used to run 3 takes of mixed gas/ethonal through it. When it got tested, it would pass with flying colors. The numbers were very impressive. As a suggestion, consume 3 "full" tanks of ethonal mix and see if it 100% passes the E-Test after that.

    Hope this helps...

  • biffoonbiffoon Posts: 8
    Have you had the fuel pressure checked? If not get it checked and if it is low get the fuel pump and the "pulse dampener" changed, its right there next to the pump that is inside the tank. My 96 has 330,000 on him and on the 6th fuel pump, they are notorious for eating fuel pumps. :shades:
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