Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Yes. One can easily remove the "factory mush" rear suspension. One method is to install Air Bags (like the ride right system) and the other method is to install Timbrens. If wondering, Timbrens are like air bags without air inside them.

    And if you want, you can also install Timbrens on the front - if you want to reduce suspension depth and ease of movement on its front. But installing Timbrens on the rear is a great first step.

    With Timbrens, your van's unloaded ride comfort is NOT changed. However, your van's rear sag (from loaded weight of onboard cargo or trailer tonque weight) is removed. And the best part is, the more downward pressure on the Timbrens, the more the Timbrens work. If wondering, I have Timbrens (2,000 lbs verison) on the rear of my 2001 Safari van, and don't leave home without them. Seriously, best suspension improvement product I ever bought for my van. I'd buy it again - without hesitation. For more details, surf:

    Hope this helps...

  • Just picked up van Astro yesterday evening. Did some driving last night and this morning and so far have not felt or heard anything. Unfortunately, mechanic would not tell me what he did (I guess he felt intimidated as I had brought along a buddy who has worked on diffentials it the past for some opinions. Last time I'm going to him for any add'l work). I did feel the brake pedal with less tension.

    Hopefully this is the end.

    Thanks for your time and input.
  • So installing the Timbrens will make the thumpimg noise go away? Any idea what's causing it? Please advise how much you paid for them? Any idea what someone may charge to install them?

    FYI, I reponded to rmccreary question with respect to the mechanic doing something else to try and fix the problem (see#1643)

    Thanks for your time & input
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Just noticed... My first post was a reply to "#179 of 1646 Beef-up suspension by drumcircle Aug 25, 2001 (4:29 pm)"

    Regarding the noise on your van....

    I don't know if the "thumpy noise" in your specific van is from bottoming out. If the rear of your van's suspension is bottoming out so hard that it's hitting its factory hard rubber "bump stops", then the answer is yes. 2,000 Timbrens SES softer rubber (that replaces the hard plastic bump stops) will eliminate that "bottom out" hard bump noise. I find 2,000 lbs rating is good upgrade for average passengers and rear cargo (in both Safari and Astro models). The 6,000 lbs Timbrens (for the Astro / Safari) are better for commercial vans. Cargo Vans that are loaded down with steel pipe and cement bags - where rear rider comfort doesn't really matter.

    For pricing of Timbrens, may I suggest you do an internet search. Like any product, prices do vary. I can state the purchase price for Timbrens SES units is less then air bags.

    As stated above, I have 2,000 lbs rated Timbren SES units on my 2001 Safari van and my buddy from Toronto has them on his 2003 Astro 2WD van. He pulls a Tent Trailer and I do lots of cargo hauling and utility trailer pulling. With Timbren SES units, NO more rear sag. Under load, the rear of the van is near level.

    If wondering... Some folks install Air Bags (like Ride Right) system. They are more expensive then Timbren SES units but you can adjust them. However, if the air bag gets a leak (most do over time), you have to get it fixed. Timbrens is an "install it and leave it" product. Big what every product works best for you.

    To determine if your van is bottoming out too much (as a short term test), remove its factory bump stops and try to duplicate that "thumpy noise". If no more noise, you found the cause of the "thumpy sound" on your van. Using a 1/2" or 9/16" wrench under 10 minutes, you can remove the factory bump stops yourself. Do remember to re-install these bump stops after your "noise investigation" test.

    Hope this helps as well....

  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I have a 1997 ASTRO that keeps burning up fuel pumps and wondered if anyone had a similar problem with theirs. I know it has something to do with the tank ventilation,because you you don't keep fuel cap loose it won't run.I figure it something to do with the emission control system but not sure and wondered if anyone has encounted this same problem.Usually these vans have the same little idiosencrities.Any help would be appreciated.
  • I had a bump noise also; my problem was a loose shock mount. The bolt was loose and when I hit a bump the shock would bang against the frame. As for the beefing up of the suspension, I had the springs re-tensioned and a leaf added. Hope this helps.
  • My 97 Astro has a starting problem. I replaced the plugs, cables, rotor, and cap. New battery also. The fuel pumps seams to work fine; it hums on startup for a few seconds and then stops. It sounds the same as it did for the last 10 years. When I step on the gas it does NOT hesitate. It runs smooth, fast and idles fine. After it has been running it starts fine until I leave it sitting for few hours then problem starts again. Tonight I changed the fuel filter, will test it in the AM. My last resort is the fuel pump, but everything points to the fact the pump is fine. Could it be the ignition coil, when it gets cold and damp?
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    My previous 1995 Safari van had simular "start / no-start" problems. When warm or hot, it would run great. Had the odd "burp and miss-fire" but overall, it ran great. In damp or extreme cold weather, it sometimes didn't start at all. Her starter would crank and crank but she would NOT fire up. I would place an electric heater under its hood, plug in its block heater and a few hours later, she would fire right up. Almost like water in the gas and it was freezing within its CARB or fuel delivery sytem. Very strange...

    My local mechanic waited until dark time, started its engine, let idle and sprayed the inside of its engine with a garden hose. Nice fine spray from bottom of engine and worked his way upwards. When he water sprayed its spark plug wiring, she "lit up" like a Christmas tree. Unseen by one's eye, my van had a bad batch of spark plug wires. Little micro-cracks and under the right cold / damp weather conditions, it would not carry the needed electricity. Spark energy to its attached spark plug.

    Perhaps doing the same "spray your engine with water at dark time" might determine if spark plug or some other wiring problem as well. Worked for my previous van.

    Hope this helps...

  • I had lots of similar problems. Replaced fuel pump, plugs, wires etc. Went through several starter coils until I finially replaced with a high performance coil and have not had the problem for two years now.

    The astro has a problem with the original coil where it arcs to the oil dip stick tube and causes all sort of electrical problems. The high performance coil is seal better and uses high temperature plastic for the shielding so it does not where out.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I seem to be having a problem with ventilation in the tank.I think it is creating so much vacuum from someting not opening in the vent lines until it burns up the pump.I have to leave the fuel cap off to get it to run,it has to be something in the emission control not opening a vent line properly I think.I just can't figure where to start looking for the right valve or switch that controls it.This makes about six fuel pumps in two years so something can't be working right.Any ideas!
  • bodreybodrey Posts: 7
    Hi All,

    New to the forum. Just bought a '92 Safari and can't unlock the rear door. The mechanism itself inside the door seems to work fine but when I insert the key it won't turn at all. Now, the rod that you pull on to manually lock/unlock the door has been replaced with a coat hanger so at some point it stopped working for somebody and they rigged up this replacement. Still, it doesn't look like the lock itself has been changed. I was wondering if there are any Safari owners out there that have had the lock seize up or break on them. If I have to replace the lock what is the best solution?
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I have all kinds of trouble with the side door on my 94 Astro but never had and with the back besides sticking and wd 40 usally breaks it right loose. The contacts for the side door electric locks get corroded all the time and have to be cleaned or they don't work at all.Stick the small tube that attaches to the can inside the lock and it will probally break it loose;you might have to let it soak overnight if it's gotten a lot of moisture to it.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    It could be the pump relay on the fire wall above the blower motor,their pretty cheap about ten bucks.I believe a fuel pump for that 97 van runs 300.00 to 350.00 dollars so I would try the relay first;and that's installing it your self.
  • :( i have a 2003 awd slt and for about a year now the abs light will come on and stay on sometimes for 10 minutes ,it seems that this happens when the van goes over a large bump does anybody had this with there van also .how does one get it fixed, the dealers don't seem to care. :(
  • bodreybodrey Posts: 7
    I tried a WD-40 type of spray in the lock already and it didn't work. I'll try again because you can't fit a tube on this one. Perhaps not enough got in where it was needed. I don't have electric locks but I do have a different problem with the side door. You can't simply open the door by pulling on the handle. The door seems to get "stuck" at the back. You have to pull it out at the back and pull on the handle at the same time to get it to start sliding; annoying. I think it has a slight sag to it and this is keeping it from sliding smoothly but I don't know how I would go about fixing it.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Sounds like a bad ABS sensor on one of its front hubs. With a proper code reader, the exact hub can be confirmed under 2 minutes. However, to replace that ABS sensor, do expect to open your wallet. Those ABS sensors are expensive. My 2003 AWD van blew one ABS sensor. When the guy changed it, he said the other ABS sensor goes soon after. Approx 4 months later, its other ABS sensor blew.

    The other problem could be its Braking computer. If the computer is gone, expect near $800 replacement bill. Most of the time, problems with its ABS is a front sensor. Which can be a $400 + taxes (per hub) replacement cost.

    The only way to determine / "confirm the problem" is to get someone to read its internal computer code. re: Code Reader for your specific van.

    For me, I pulled my 2001 AWD Safari van's ABS fuse, and drive it like a 60/70s vehicle. To me, my van never had better brakes.

    Due what you think is best for you.

  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    Those side door tracks get a lot of debries in them and some time you have to clean the tracks and put some white grease or silicone spray in them.I've had to do this to mine several times; the lubrication attracts dirt and every thing else that will stick to it.
  • try pushing down on the door as you try and open it... thats how mine works on my 97
  • I sprayed some Jig-a-loo Super Grease along the tracks and onto the mechanism and that did the trick! The door slides open all the way now without getting stuck.
  • Richard - did you ever find the solution to your vibration? I am having a similar problem right now and don't have the $$$$ to throw into the wind! Josh
  • Has anyone replaced rear wheel bearings in a 97 safari.
    2 wd.
    What lubricant is used.
  • Hi I have a 2000 Safari that is draining me dry in maint. cost with all the stuff that it eats (brakes,tires,rotors,and fuel pumps) now I think the fuel pump is out again. This will be the 7th fuel pump I still have to do a pressure check but it acts like all the others only starts on hot days and it has to crank ANYBODY KNOWS WHY IT EATS FUEL PUMPS? I have a Sonoma that uses the same pump and I only have had to replaced it once in 12 years. This van is probadly the worst money draining car I had ever had. ALSO WHERE IS THE PRESURE REG. AT THANKS WILL
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Here's a few things to consider for your Astro/Safari van.

    - Astro/Safaris are known for blowing fuel pumps. To reduce fuel pump stress, its recommended to keep more then 1/4 fuel in its tank. Above 50% full is even better.
    * If the fuel pump blows in my current Safari, I would probably investigate the new Electric Fuel pump replacements. The same racing vehicle fuel pumps they use when converting a old technology Carb Engine into a new EFI intake system. Simply install new line (in and return), install a new fuel pump and if needed, seal the tanks existing hose intake system. Some time would be needed for hose install customization but from a while board perspective, it should work.

    - Astros/Safaris have "general grade" rear ends. If you tow or haul more then 50% of its rated pulling power (or is an agressive driver off the lights), use Symthetic oils in its rear end. During its next oil engine change, I'd install synthetic in its rear axle anyway (even if not over stressing its rear end). Thus, helping its rear end last longer.

    - Astros/Safaris have "general grade" tranmissions. As a suggestion, install an LPD Aux tranny cooler. Especially if you do hauling and/or towing more then 1,500 lbs with your van. LPD aux cooler size is matched to the MAX trailer load (including trailer weight) of the item you could pull. If wondering, LPD tranny coolers allow faster "warm up" and faster "cool downs" - compared to other designs of tranny coolers.

    - Yes. The brakes on the Astro/Safari brand are poor. Poor compared to many cars / cross-overs and larger vehicles on today's road. Probably explains why GM introduced rear disc brakes in the 2005 models. When buying replacement brake pads, ensure the brake pads are HD / Racing grade quality. Uknown to some, there's low, average and high quality brake pads on the market. For the Astro/Safari model, always go with High Quality brake pad replacements. This helps. Works for my Safari van.

    - If you pull a trailer, even a 1,000+ lbs trailer, ensure the trailer has its own brakes. I installed full electric bakes on my utility trailer (with brake controller in my Safari van) and braking distance was dramatically reduced. Like 1/3 off its average braking distance. Its distance was not as good as our previous Sunfire sports car but dramatic braking improvement - compred to same trailer without brakes. To me, any trailer over 1,000 lbs behind the Astro/Safari van must have its own trailer brakes. Full electric trailer brakes are the best.

    - Ensure HD shocks are installed on the front of your Safari/Astro van. During hard braking stops, the front of the van does an immediate now dive. If wondering, factory shocks do NOT last very long. With HD shocks (like Monroe's best model or Blistien "which are even better") dramatically eliminate front end dives. This helps the front brakes last much longer. Especically if hauling / pulling with your van. Installing HD shocks reduce front steering parts from wearing out "too fast" as well. Especially for its steering / idler arms - that are very expensive to replace.

    - Stock tires reduce brake wear as well. Some folks install larger size rubber (like 225s or 235s) for more winter traction or "mud playing" but due to their extra weight, the van's brakes wear out much faster. If you can, only use recommended Stock Size Rubber for your specific van. Some use 205, some use 225, some use 70 series and some use 75 series. If 75 series, and you haul/tow heavy items, reducing rubber size down to 70 series is a good them. Light tire and better on MPGs - when towing / hauling things.

    Hope these upgrade (better then factory) items helps as well....

  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    Oils to use are:

    Differential Oil - Mobil 1 75W90 (Synthetic Gear Oil)
    Transfer Case Oil - AutoTrak II, GM 12378508

    Hope this helps....

  • Thanks Spike99 for the advise and I have been using racing brakes since I have been doing the brakes myself and they have a lifetime warranty on them ( boy are they losing money) I have change them allready 4 times ! Thanks for your time
  • Bought a new one but the parts store couldn't tell me where it is. Found four that all look a like, two inside and two under-the-hood.

    The blow has all speeds except high, any idea which relay to replace?

    It's about a one inch square with five prongs.
  • The fuel pump on my 2000 GMC Safari is acting up. When looking for a replacement part, should I get the pump assembly with wiring harness or without? :confuse: Any other parts necessary to replace the pump assembly? Is it best to use a Delphi replacement part and not some other brand?
Sign In or Register to comment.