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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • n5445n5445 Posts: 28
    If Im not mistaken its the vacuum line that runs through the engine compartment.
    I know ive seen this problem on here before, so just do a search and the answer is in here somewhere.
  • bizzbangbizzbang Posts: 5
    I’ve had the problem and so did my brother. The heating system is designed to fail in the defrost mode. The problem is vacuum line runs through the engine compartment and over time it cooks and the rubber gets brittle and brakes. The line runs form the vacuum intake on the left rear of the engine to front right were it connects to a set of hoses and a vacuum storage sphere. It is about the size of a softball underneath the windshield washer reservoir. You will have to replace the vacuum line front to back. The part cost about $20.00 but the shop wants 2.0 hours to replace it about $150.00 in total. Get the vacuum line, (dealer only) Remove the engine cover form the inside, find a similar connector on the vacuum (driver side of the engine) intake and trace the hose to the front, you will find it near the top passenger side area with a few hoses linked together. Make sure when you run the new hose that it does not rest on the intake manifold so it does not cook again.

    Good luck
  • I have a 1998 GMC Safari that lost oil pressure on the burlington skyway bridge in ontario (probably the worst place in Ontario to break down!) I knew it was bad news, but getting rear ended is worse. I tried to make it to the top so I could coast down to safety, all the while watching the temperature gauge which stayed around 60C. Before I reached the peak I could hear the engine getting louder,and then there was a loud popping sound followed by a burning smell. I got towed home and filled the oil back up the next day. It started up but had a definate knocking/grinding type sound, but remained running. The oil spewed out all over the ground from the back part of the engine on the driver's side of course. The van's worth about $2000 but more to me as I've replaced a bunch of things over the years. Is this fixable? Did I blow a rod? Is it worth getting towed to a garage and spending a few hundred bucks to find out what's wrong? Or will they just tell me it's toast. It's still in pretty good shape overall. It sound expensive. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • ziemann1ziemann1 Posts: 3
    Hi, I have a 1999 astro. The running lights and low beam headlights just stopped working suddenly. The high beam headlights work fine. This seemed to happen right after my wife had to call a wrecker for a jumpstart. There is no voltage going to the low beam headlights. I replaced the headlight switch with one from a junkyard. That didn't change anything. Any ideas? Thanks, MZ
  • First to "thebigirl" two years ago I had a choice to either put in a NEW or a Junkyard engine or scrap my van and buy a new one.....MOTOR died big time on me from a problem which many chevy owners faced with this years motor......since a good structurally, nice interiored van with NO working engine is basically worthless.....I bought a NEW Jasper Complete engine which came with a 3yr/75,000 mile warranty as opposed to a junkyard 30 day warranty. Now Jasper has 3yr/100,000 mile warranty. It cost me approx. $6k, a bit more since I had to fix a tranny problem while the engine was out. IT SURE BEATS MONTHLY PAYMENTS AND SALES AND EXCISE TAX FOR A NEW VEHICLE OR FOR THAT MATTER A DECENT USED VEHICLE. If you know your van, why not fix it.....?

    NOW MY PROBLEM...........

    My '95 was "Built Like a Rock", but my 2000 was built like a "Pebble".....! Biggest piece of CRAP I have ever owned is this 2000 Astro.....!

    Heres my PROBLEM.......Intermittent starting problems, It is NOT the Cap or Wires or Rotor. Have NEW Alternator, NEW Battery, not the Key switch, all lights do what they are supposed to on Dash.

    It is like the OLD FORDS, when the starter solenoid would start to go it would click, click, click, on those you could jump the solenoid. Volts/Amps ok with Battery, No offense to woman, but this thing in the past four weeks has only turned on and started when it wants too......!

    I have checked all wires I can find in van for any shorts, checked positive wire from battery to starter solenoid, checked fuses, UNSURE how or if starter RELAY's can be checked....? I do have a mechanical background, the only thing is when I was employed as a mechanic it was the days I could sit in an old lady's 4dr chevy 327's engine compartment and take off intake, headers, heads etc......!

    I have had it in to have the codes checked, a battery load test, as well as Alternator/Stator output, diodes etc, etc..

    I had a conversation with mechanic that swapped engine couple years ago, he thought it sounded like slush got into starter during a wet, warm slushy day because my son takes it to school and the first time it occurred was a day like this, then it got REALLY COLD and when he got out of school it was well below freezing, he tried and tried, we ended up towing(with straps). It sat in my garage overnight and the next morning it started. It went almost two weeks, then it happened after speaking a mechanic friend who said to me try and recreate it, I had no idea how I did it but I did then could NOT find the reason as to why or how.

    Checked the volts/amps in battery ok, chk'd volts from Positive of solenoid, OK, a bit of a draw when trying to start with the clik, clik, clik, do not believe the volts dropped below 9.6/9.8...? give or take. It sat for a bit, then couple hours later started right up.

    Then began several days of this, it may start five times in a row, sit for awhile then not start for two days. Tried to several other tests, but unable.

    Had apt. to get it on a lift to look at starter and put a load on it, however like going to the dentist, first time all ok, Next time last Friday set up another time for lift and it DIED. Saturday started ok several times, then Sunday Once and today Monday.....NOTHING but clik, clik, clik


  • Just read about the light switch on the Astro..........Better to test things first prior to BUYING and spending time replacing items. Not meant to be sarcastic, just that you can test the switch or take it out and have local parts shop check it for you prior to buying an new or used one, takes alot of time and money to troubleshoot a problem this way. ESPECIALLY with these ASTRO VANS.........I'd take back my '95 with 135,000 miles on it in a heart beat over the LEMON ASTRO I now own......I new two weeks after buying this thing it was the biggest piece of **** I would ever own......!!
  • gooddog1gooddog1 Posts: 2
    Thanks everyone, It was the vacuum hose,all fixed working fine.
  • n5445n5445 Posts: 28
    So are you saying that when the can doesnt start, the engine wont turn over at all??
    Just the click click click?
    If so, assuming you've checked the wires for corrosion from batt to starter and checked ground wires also It would lead me to check water in the oil that is freezing up the engine.
    My neighbors car had this type of problem and it was the battery cables that were corroded at the terminals. One time it would start and the next time it wouldnt.
    I took a wire brush and cleaned the cable contacts and good to go.
    My van would start intermittent, but Ive tracked that down to moisture in the ignition system. The van sits outside and at 167k miles the contacts arent what they used to be and allow moisture to get inside them.
    The fact that the van would start if you left it in the garage leads me to think moisture problem.
    When was the last oil change,coolant change??
    If the engine turns over when trying to start, I would then look at water in the fuel line.
    Overall, since it works and then doesnt work, I wouldnt go the route of replacing parts. Sounds like the parts are fine.

    1. start by checking corrosion on the starting circuit wires,+ and -.
    then check oil for moisture(sludge) then coolant(correct %),etc.
    If the engine compartment looks very "wet"(moisture) use can of moisture remover and hit all of the connectors/contacts you can reach

    This is the route I would take before spending money on parts that may not even need to be replaced.
    Or just wait till warmer weather and fix it before next winter.
  • Sorry I thought it was a funny screen name to be advertising, but I just chocked it up to the NEW World Order..:) Yes, I have been thru this thing with a fine tooth comb, I just went through the entire dash wiring tonight. I forgot how much I hate NEWER vehicles with all the plastic crap which covers the meat and potatoes of a vehicle. Even though I have had battery checked and rechecked with load tests, gonna get another try that first. I have done hours of research and on some, not all, but some Astro's if battery is off just a bit the computer and components tell the starter there is not enough juice when there is......computers! supposed to make our lives easier, but they make it worse as far as complexities go. Just another way for big corporations to sell products.

    Thanks for the help. I appreciate the response, if this does not work I am going to pop in a new starter and see what happens. If it continues you may read about me in the paper......:)
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    Check the main wiring bulkhead that plugs into the fire wall just behind the battery. This plugs directly into the back of the fuse box and I've seen it cause a lot of problems. The main ignition wire oin this pulls so much power it will melt around the plug and get a bad connection, I've seen this before on Astro's and several other kind of vehicles ,especially full power ones. The main ignition wire pulls so much power it should hve been hard wired but since these vehicles are built on an assembly line they just plug in piece by piece, easier and cheaper to build but a big problem when the plugs fails because it wasn't designed to pull that much power. DLM1954
  • I finally found the problem after several weeks. I remembered today why I can't stand working on new vehicles and left the automotive mechanic biz years ago. There's NO ROOM to move anywhere..!! Even though I check the starter a few weeks ago with diagnostic equipment it pulled a fast one on me. It acted like a bad or weak battery plus a dozen other electrical/computer problems. I FINALLY got ticked off enough to pull out(the STARTER that is) and I could not believe the difference a few weeks make. It was like a sponge with all the rust on the solenoid and inside the starter. So off to the local NAPA store and sure enough my suspicions were confirmed. The (R) Terminal on the solenoid, which is the Positive terminal side was BAD!! All other tests on solenoid and armature were fine, which really makes my mind spin. A NEW Starter, put it back in, five minutes of charge time for the battery and it STARTED right up. Put it through my normal battery of tests for new equipment and no problems. So for anyone having similar problems DO NOT JUST GO BUY STUFF UNTIL YOU GO THREW A SERIES OF DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES. This problem acted like a dead battery, a starter relay, bad wires, bad connection, etc, etc, etc.. To ALL of you who responded, Thank YOU !! Thirty years ago, I would have known right where to look, NOW..? You can not even find the engine let alone the starer..!! This problem solved, OH yes......One last item for those of you who may have similar problems. Something very similar to this happened on my first day of vacation last summer just an hour and forty fie minutes into the trip. Thankfully I found a place and new how to temporarily fix the situation with a battery jump pack I carry with me, plus other tools. You learn to carry these items after owning a boat kept on the ocean, 50miles off shore there are no stations to pull into. Anyway the problem was the ALTERNATOR. So people DO NOT just go buy items until you check it out or have a Pro check it out! Me, when I can't go any further I do take it to a garage where they have the Newer updated equipment. Good luck everyone, again Thank You to ALL who left msg.....
  • sargetersargeter Posts: 1
    I just found this forum, so I'm brand new here.
    I'm on my 4th one - '85 Astro, '91 Astro, '96 safari, '01 Safari.
    I can't say enough good about them.
    I obviously haven't had the chance to read all the forums yet.
    I am surprised that some folks have had so many problems with them.
    I haven't had much trouble with any of them I've had.
    My current one is an '01 Safari SLT AWD with 70,000 miles on it and still going strong.
    The only problems I've ever had with it were the emergency flasher switch at about 62,000 miles and now the driver's side window motor is acting up, so I'll replace that.
    Other than that, no problems.
    I love them and wish I could buy another new one.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I'm the same way I've got a 1994 I bought new and haven't had many problems to speak of, but don't be fooled these ASTROS do have little idioscencreties that happen to most of them and usally its the same ones. I guess we've been lucky. DLM1954
  • astrovanastrovan Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Astro and i have a similar problem. The top glass door only unlatches on one side. I was going to take it apart and see if a cable broke or something but i read your post and decided to look for this box. I found a little white relay type aparatus that plugged into the wire harness. I don't know if it comes apart or not. It looks like it is all molded in one piece. It looks black marks from arcing or anything. I am frustrated and may end up taking it to a dealer. :confuse:
    I am waiting on prices for a new part. The part # is VPRD-35F14-Z01 and it is made by Siemens. Any ideas or thoughts? I may take a stab at disassembling the door panel but it will be hard while shut like that. Thanks
  • I will be rebuilding my wife's '97 GMC Safari engine & van this spring/summer. It has sat for 5 years without running so there is a lot of things that need fixed/rebuilt, etc. The last time I looked at it with an OBD scanner it said the MAP sensor was bad. I can jump start it, but as soon as I try to move in drive it starts missing and choking and dies. I was going to try to replace it and went so far as to tear into the engine housing under the dash last year but other things came up financially and I didn't want to take a chance on a $150 replacement sensor and that not be the fix. I want to restore it now and have the funds. Can anyone suggest my next step? I have the Haynes manual for it, and I am considering getting a factory manual if necessary.

    Thanks in advance!
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    sounds more like cap and rotor problems for the stalling, map sensor could be bad but i don't think it would cause it to stall that bad.sitting for that long didn't do cap rotor and wires much good and usally big culprit in stalling. also these vans are notorious for injectors and regulator problems i have one i just redone and have seen the same problem with most of them. but if i were goig to rebuild it anyway stalling is the least of the problem. dlm1954
  • dlm,

    Thanks. That actually makes me feel a little bit better. It's been so long I can't remember what it was doing when we quit using it. Good point on the deterioration of the wires, etc. If the MAP sensor were completely dead (no output), how would you expect it to act?
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    It would stall and idle rough but most map senser codes are created from a differant problem,bad connection, vaccuum leak and so forth and it sounds to me like you have some carbon sticking your egr valve open which these vanss are notoriuos for from the bad design.My pickup which is a ford had a bad map sensor and ran fine until it hit second gear and it just flattened out no power.These Astros have serious problems with the multi port injection design which makes them run like a 350 but you really have to stay on top of them. I put new injectors,regulator, nut kit, and screen egr valve gasket in mine a few months ago and it runs better than it did when I bought it new. If you do it yourself you can save 2 to 3 grand and do it right and clean out egr ports and plenum to remove all the carbon that falls directly in the egr valve on these.I went from 13 to 14 mpg to 19 to 20 which was well worth the effort just for that.,and it has never idled or ran better.So if you plan on doing the job yourself make sure you clean plenum and egr port good more than likely that port is probally mostly if not all the way clogged up.,and use the screened gasket when putting it back together. GOOD LUCK DLM1954
  • Thanks dlm. I am going to do all the work myself (I've got two other vehicles lined up behind it waiting or me to work on them as well). Any ideas what other sorts of trouble I'll run into with it having sat so long without running?
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    If you are doing it yourself which is a very good idea, because you'll know what's been replaced and what's not you should be ok. If you plan on doing the basic tune up along with it you shouldn't have any problems, I'm disabled and I let mine sit over a year until I felt like doing it myself, but I would make sure I cleaned the plenum and egr port real good because more than likely the egr port is probably completely stopped up. The nut kit or regulator is probably the fuel leak smell, my regulator and nut kit both were leaking that's usually the culprit. The nut kit is a dealer part but the injectors can be gotten a lot cheaper at auto zone or advance auto. I would make sure and put a screened gasket back on the egr valve port this will save a lot of idle problems in the future,I used to use stainless screen before they started making those to bad I didn't trademark it. With a oil change and a few hours running time to dry out every thing where its been sitting and it'll run better than when you bought it.
  • I have a 2000 Safari that I just had the engine and transmission rebuilt. The van sat for around a year before I got the up the energy and money to tackle this job. I have very little automotive experience but know a little. This may seem like a stupid question, but here it goes any ways.

    I have put the new motor and transmission, which almost took an act of congress to accomplish, and now I am doing the last simple adjustments to it. I have brought the number one piston TDC, but what about the distributor? Were should the rotor be at when I put the distributor in. Should the metal piece on the rotor be facing the number one spot on the distributor cap?

    The last time I tried the number one piston was TDC and when I put the distributor in the gears which meet with the cam gear made the rotor, the metal piece, face cylinder three on the distibutor cap. What am I doing wrong? I know there is a simple solution because I have always seen my Dad do this job very simply.

    Hoping someone has a suggestion.

  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    If you removed the distributor during rebuild, bring up number one on compression stroke, it will blow you thumb off if you hold over cylinder on a compression stroke then drop distributor in on number one cylinder that way you won't get it 180 out. As far as fine tuning I believe you'll have to have it done on a computer since it's probaly got a probe tube instead of timing plate.I personally like a compound gauge better goverment controlled timing is best for fuel economy supposedly not best for running. If you get it on number one you should be able to mess with it a couple degrees at a time for good running and starting by itself. DLM1954
  • rene007rene007 Posts: 4
    I found a coolant leak on my 2001 Safari and I decided to chek it out. Found out it was the intake gaskets. I went ahead and took it apart to replace them and clean everything out. I used throttle body and intake cleaner on the injectors or poppets. When I put it back together, it would not start, only crank. Checked fuel pressure, had 56 psi and spark. Both present. I marked the distributor before taking it off and put it back together the same way. I also replaced the cap and rotor. I don't know what to do after this. I would appreciate some help on this issue.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    Did you take the injectors out one at a time to make sure you put them back in the right cylinders, and if memory serves me right those injector poppets are made of plastic and and that cleaner is probaly acetone and it melts plastic. I would pull a couple plugs and make sure it's getting fuel in the cylinders,see if plugs are wet from flooding because of maybe firing problem. Unless you damaged the injectors or maybe mixed them up there's no reason that it wouldn't start from replacing gasket. I would check to make sure everything was plugged back in by regoing through what I unpluged to take it apart you might have missed a plug that keeps it from starting.I know there is a few electrical connectors that have to be disconnected to remove that plenum. GOOD LUK DLM1954
  • 4.3 V6, 2003 Astro, any suggestion on how to increase the mpg?
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    These 4.3 multi port vortecs get crapy milage all of them,I tried every thing to inprove mine and it wasn't until I replaced the injectors and nut kit myself to stop what was mostly fuel leaking I believe that I went from 13 to 14 to 19 to 20.When it was still under waranty I took it back time and time again over the milage and rough idle and they kept telling me that was the design. The nut kit which is the internal fuel lines under the plenum which are made of plastic with rubber o-rings start leaking fairly soon after you put a few thousand miles on them. Why their called a nut kit I have no idea, my theory the designer was a nut. After I redone mine it ran better than it did when I bought it. These vortecs run great but was a poor design because of the EGR valve problems and injector problems but they run like a 350. I've had very good luck with mine,I've pulled a bass boat all through the mountains in Tennesee with no problem whatsoever. DLM1954
  • rene007rene007 Posts: 4
    Thanks for responding, you are the second person that suggests that it is a connector that is not plugged in, but I checked all of the connectors that I took off, I double checked and triple checked they were all plugged in. I checked the spark plugs to see if they were full of gas or at least smelled like gas and no nothing, my next step was to take the injector assembly out and plug it in to the connector and crank the engine to see if they are actually moving or clicking or at least doing something. Nothing happened, I checked power to the injetor at the connecto while cranking, and yes there is signal. My next guess was that since I cleaned the injectors by spraying that throttle body and intake cleaner at the poppets and then left the spider looking thing with the legs up over night, the carbon that dissolved went right into the injector and seized them. I am going to take a really expensive chance and replace the injectors and see what happens. Thanks for your help.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I think I would check the injectors to, because most of those cleaners are fine for throttle body injectors but they have a metal jacket around them and I know those multi port poppets are made of plastic.there's actually not much to an injector in the first place it's just a solinoid type unit.,that opens and shuts with electrical current but I'm like you they probaly seized from the cleaner. dlm1954
  • I finally got the van running. It turns out that my 2000 Safari has two timing marks on the timing cover, 90 degrees apart. When both timing marks on the harmonic balancer and the the timing marks on the cover line up piston one is TDC. The interest part was the distributor. There is an arrow on the distributor with a number 6, meaning six cylinder, located around 2 to 3 o'clock. The rotor has to be pointing at this mark when cylinder one is TDC. In order to make the rotor alien with this mark the rotor has to be pointing just clock wise of the hole were the bolt for the distibutor cap is located. When you drop the distributor in the gears will cause the rotor to rotate to the arrow with the 6 which is the alignment mark. I had my wife's friend who come to find out is part owner of a repair shop fax me the instructions. Runs good, have to stop one small oil leak, get it smogged, and it will be back on the road. Thanks for the help.
  • I just finished getting my 2000 Safari running after putting in a rebuilt motor and transmission. I drove the van around the block, it runs great now, and then I put on the emergency brake. The pedal went straight to the floor. No resistance. I don't remember if the emergency brake pedal was always like this or not. The van sat in my garage for over a year. If it is a problem what could it be? I believe the van has self adjusting rear brakes, so how would you make an adjustment to the emergency brake?

    It is amazing how much difference a new motor and transmission make. The van runs good and STRONG!!! When I had the smog test done on the van it barely registered. It is nice to have a good running van that is paid for.

    If you have any advice on the emergency brake I would appreciate it.


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