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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • THanks for your help guys! IT IS a 2001 and both the power ports and cig lighter do not work I will get to digging under the dash and see if I can sniff the rat!
  • lornlorn Posts: 2
    I have an 18' trailer I sometimes pull with various amounts of weight, and sometimes it bottoms out my baby.I want to raise it at least 4 inches, and beef it up front and rear. Any suggestions on where I can get mods to do this?
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    To remove factory "suspension" depth from your van, some folks install Air Bags and some folks install Timbrens. Air bags are pressurized air and by adjusting its inner lbs, one can adjust its ride comfort. Timbrens are like rubberized air bags without pressurized air inside them. Thus, no worry about possible air leak. If wondering, I have Timbren SES 2,000 lbs units on the rear of my 2001 Safari van. Installed them myself (within simple wrench) and its been good for life. Very pleased with this rear suspension improvement product. For more details on each, surf:

    If wondering, Timbren or RideRite Air bag system will reduce "factory mush" depth for van's rear cargo and when connecting trailer's that cannot accept a WD system.

    Note: Timbrens or Air bags don't "lift" the rear of your van. When properly adjusted, their reduce (eliminate) rear sag. Especially when used with a WD system (with properly sized bars).

    When towing large / heavy trailers, one should always use a WD system (with properly sized bars) as well. Many say that WD bars should be 13%-15% of the trailer's "average loaded" weight. For example, a 4,000 lbs trailer should use a WD system with approx 560 lbs bars. For example: bars for 500-800 lbs range. If wondering, a WD system (like REESE WD Hitch @ ) transfers the trailer's tonque weight across the entire Tow Vehicle (your van). Thus, better vehicle balance, better steering and reduction of rear sag. And less stress on your van's Hitch system as well.

    If wondering, both Timbrens (or Air Bags) and a WD system can be used together. When I towed my 19ft TT (4,200 lbs trailer), I used both Timbrens and WD system as well. Worked great - for my towing needs. For my needs, I'd buy the less expensive Timbren SES 2,000 lbs upgrade again.

    Hope this helps in your towing needs as well...

  • I would try the load leveler air shocks, all of the Astros I've seen have fiberglass leaf springs I believe. I knew a guy who pulled a 30 ft. cabin cruiser all over the United States and I believe he said he used the load leveler air shocks.I pull a bass boat with mine with no problem other than stopping so I started using the carbon metallic brakes pads like they use on race cars and that really helped that problem. I have a 94 Astro and it's started to sag in the rear with nothing on it and I'm going the cheapest route which is the load levelers. I've pulled this boat all through the mountains in tennesee with no problem those vortecs are hard to beat other than their inherant design flaws. DLM1
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    Just to add a few more towing experience feedback....

    If my memory is correct, before 1995 vans used a fiberglass leaf spring system. Above 1994 vans (including my previous 1995 RWD Safari van) had a steel leaf spring system. They are 3 steel leafs in the rear of the van. Some folks add +1 leaf to the rear of their van. This method raises the rear of their van 1.5". When the rear goes up, the front goes down. When front goes down, the van's "front end" will need an alignment - to save its front tires and steering parts. In addition to this adjustment, a steel upgrade solution (like +1 leaf or additional helper leaf springs) creates an upward rebound effect. With upper rebound, one gets higher risk of "road hop", Especially when vehicle is empty. Thus, rear end fish tailing. To reduce rear end hop, one then installs higher quality shocks (in the rear). With cost of +1 leaf, wheel alignment and better shocks, one would be better off to buy / install Timbrens or Air bags. Timbrens are 2/3 the cost of air bags. When upgrading rear suspensions, its best to go with Rubber Based solutions. Thus, no upward rebound is added to factory build.

    Some folks use air "shocks". These are shocks that allow presurized air inside them (which also create less suspension depth) but they also have risk of future air leaks. And, do put too much stress on the van's factory shock mounts. In my previous Dodge Diplomat, it has wide rear tires with air shocks. I hit double set of railway tracks, its upper shock mount broke and "down came everything". Talk about a mess. From that point on, I took many experienced towing folks warning to heart. re: Avoid air shocks because they put too much stress on factory shock mounts. Go with Timbrens or Air bags instead. And if wondering, Timbrens are same price of air shocks. Especially since even a grade 8 kid can install Timbrens themselves.

    For my future van (replacing my current 2001 Safari), I'll be ordering Timbren SES units for it as well. Install them. leave them and they create no additional stress on factory shock mounts. And best of all, no increase in upper rebound (aka: Road Hop) effect.

    Hope this helps as well...

  • your problem is bad valve guide seals. allows oil to leak into combustion chanber while parked. thats why smoke at startup and not all the time.
  • I've just been going through the same thing with my 2000 Astro. Remember, when the starter/solenoid clicks, that means that the rest of the starting electrical system(switch, relay, Pass key security, fuses, etc. ) is doing it's job; the 'signal' to start is being correctly sent to the solenoid. Then, if the engine turns over and doesn't start, then you'd look at things like the cap, rotor, coil, etc. With our problem, the only items that are in play are the battery, positive batt cable, negative batt cable, cable ends, solenoid, and starter. The small solenoid simply acts as a switch to allow the high current from the battery to turn the starter which turns over the engine. The cables used on our vans are an amazing size AWG #1 to handle the high current. Checking these cables for continuity or voltage transmission is not nearly as important as how well they handle the current; a small amount of corrosion, as an example, has quite an effect on this. So focus your search to these few items and you'll find your problem.
    -load test battery (also wiggle posts while testing to check for damage internally)
    -carefully check cable ends (both ends, pos and neg) taking them apart if nessesary looking for corrosion or damage (also wiggle these to see if they might be almost broken)
    -be sure that these cables are tightly fastened into place.
    -the starter will have to be checked out; probably best to remove it first (quite easy with so much room under there, and the starter being so small. 2 small wires, and 1 large cable) Take it to an auto parts store where they can check it for you. All GM starters have two parts; the solenoid which 1)acts as a switch for the big current 2)energizes the bendix with the starting gear, and the starter itself which is just a strong little motor.
    -check for corrosion between starter and engine block (causes a poor grnd or neg)

    In my case, the problem was with my positive batt cable, which I replaced. Believe it or not, it was corroded INSIDE and UNDER the insulation. The cable looked fine from the outside, but!! I changed it as a process of elimination because I'm not sure how to check it properly for it's high current carrying ability. Most of the time it's the positive cables that have corrosion.

    Here's hoping that you find your problem. Good luck!!
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I thught they told me all these Astros had fiberglass springs, but as usual you can't believe what anybody tell s you anymore' and your right the air bags are probaly mor e efficiant I just don't work on them much anymore because my health, I still love to turn a wrench but the body pretty well stops me anymore.My Son builds show cars and trucks and uses those air bags on everything, he's been trying to get me to let him put them on my 1968 FORD RANGER SHOTBED PICKUP for years, and I won't let him I like the street stance instead of the lowered look. It has a 428 SHELBY,CAM, MALLORY IGNITION, PERFORMER INTAKE, HEADERS, 950 DUEL LINE HOLLEY, EMRON PAINT. the whole nine yards I just can't see putting a four link and air bags under it to make it sit two inches off the ground.

  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Early 95 model and older of Astro/Safari vans had single fiberglass leaf system. Mid 1995 and newer years (like my 2001 van), their factory build was 3 leaf steel spring system. For early 1995 and older leaf spring conversion kits, surf:

    For 1999 AWD, one can install +1 leaf (mid length leaf) in the rear. This firms up the rear's suspension but it also lifts the van's rear 1.5". Because the rear goes up, the front slightly goes down. To raise the front by .5" (for better looking & balanced stance), one can adjust the front torsion bars. And to reduce factory mush "depth" in the front, one can also install Timbrens in the front. Wish I had spare dollars to install Timbrens in the front of my 2001 AWD's front. Perhaps one day...

    For 1999 RWD, one can install +1 leaf (mide length leaf) in the rear. This firms up the rear's suspension but is also lifts the van's rear 1.5" Because the rear goes up, the front goes down. To reduce factory mush "depth" in the front, one can install Timbren SES units in the front. Or, install HD coil springs in the front - for better looking & balanced stance.

    For more details about Timbren units, surf middle page of:

    Some folks pick Air Bag upgrades, some folks pick Timbren upgrades, some folks pick +1 leaf upgrades and some folks pick a combination of each solution. Each product has its own pros/cons/cost and "ease of use".

    Hope this helps as well...

  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I have an '04 Astro with a 101K miles 2WD. When I pull to a stop at an intersection or stoplight, sometimes the tranny seems to stick in 3rd and when I start going again I can feel it downshift into 1st. It seems odd that it would do that. It has happened a couple of times before, although not frequently. What could be causing this? Fluid level is normal. No other indicators that I can think of. It shifts fairly normally, although a little rough sometimes, but I think that is typical of this transmission (4L60E).
  • n5445n5445 Posts: 28
    Ive got about 176k miles on my astro 2wd and have been adding supplements to the fluid since 75k. Fluid my look fine, but its effectiveness my be little to none.

    Throw some tranny slip-fix in there and see what happens. I personally use Lucas transmission fix to top it off regularly.
  • fixer5fixer5 Posts: 5
    :( hi anyone can tel mi wat is the problem make shifting from first to second gear kiking and takes to long then shift jump to secon gear on mi chevy astro van? thenks josef
  • pwelkapwelka Posts: 1
    I got a 99 GMC Safari. Since about one week the rear upper door want open. It seems like some kind of electrical problem ´cause there is no sound after pressing the door button. There is some kind of lock mechanism inside which normally have to move both strings inside to unlock the door. the mechanism is working fine, I connect 9V battery and the mechanism moved. Is just problem with the button. I also sprayed WD40 an conntact cleaner inside. Nothing works. I checked already all fuses and relays-all fine. Maybe someone had the same issue. PLZ help.
  • bob4374bob4374 Posts: 3
    I have a 200 GMC Safari 140K miles on it. We had one snow storm drop 13 inches of snow on us in Indy. The van did great in it but every since, when ever it rains or is wet out It wont run. I've changed the fuel filter, dis. cap, rotor, wires, plugs, O2 sensors, and cat. converter when the peoblem first started and it was spitting out the P0420 code one week after that big snow storm melted. I had the fuel pump changed for the 3rd time while it was still under warrenty about 1 month before the storm. Now it's stranded out in front of my house it has spark all the way to the dis cap but nothing from there. I tested the Cam Poss. sensor last night by backprobing the connector with the connector attached to the sensor and I got a pulse reading so I guess that sensor is ok. This is supposed to be the last wet day untill this weekend. So it might run tommoro
  • egillettegillett Posts: 14
    Sounds like you have spent a lot of time and money. Have you put any "dry gas" in it? Moisture / dampness could be the problem. Good luck.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Posts: 57
    I would check for a bent exhaust pipe, my wife caught my tail pipe backing out of my driveway in all that snow and tore it off. If it had bent it,it would not have run right or at all. If you have fire intermittently at the distributor it also could be a bad wire on the coil that's not getting a good connection. I just replaced one on my motor home last year from sitting, the wire connectors had a coating of corrosion which attracts moisture. But that code is usually associated with an exhaust especially converter problem, I would check for bent pipes first; a bent pipe would play havoc with the O2 sensor I would think and I've seen it before. Their's also a main wiring bulkhead that plugs into the fuse box through the firewall that sits behind the battery the main ignition wire pulls so much power it will melt in that bulkhead and loose connection in damp weather, I've had a lot of problems with that on my ASTRO, it should have been hard wired but about every vehicle made is the same way, the wiring bulkhead plugs into the firewall into the back of the fuse box.
  • asullyasully Posts: 1
    I had this same problem. I ended up changing the coil and the ignition module and it fixed the problem.

    As soon as it was damp outside if wouldn't start. I hope this will fix yours.
  • xander3xander3 Posts: 1
    Hi.I`m the 94 GMC Safari owner.
    For a last couple of month i`m experiencing a rough idle problem.When engine starts RPM goes very high and when i`m shifting from P car jumps forward like crazy.Since I`m from Europe it almost impossible to find a good mechanic for an american car here.I changed an Idle Air Control Valve since the old one was dead but it didn`t help much.Now when engine starts it runs smoother but when i shift to D - same story and when i shift back to P the RPM goes even higher than before.
    Can anyone help me?Thank you.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    My previous 2001 AWD Safari van did that. re: It too had consistant idle. My local mechanic investigated and discovered its throttle body was "gummed up" with too much dirt and crud. He cleaned this area with engine cleaner spray and it worked great afterwards. As a suggestion, remove your van's inner cabin engine cover (aka: "dog house") and do a good visual inspection of the engine's throttle control body area. If needed, do clean this engine area with lots of engine cleaner stuff as well.

    Hope this helps...

  • minjonminjon Posts: 1
    I've read through previous posts but none seem to exactly match my problem. It is:
    1) Intermittent crank/no crank condition.
    2) May crank 6 times successfully, then no crank condition.
    3) After leaving the vehicle overnight it will crank 1 or more times, then no crank condition.
    4) Battery, cables, connections ok (including at starter).
    5) When no crank, I do have lights, hear fuel pump run to pressurize fuel lines, etc.
    6) When no crank, the solenoid is silent (no click, click, click).
    7) When does crank will immediately start engine
    8) Replaced the ignition switch already.
    9) Starter/solenoid assembly about 1-1/2 years old.
    10) Is there a mechanical relay between the ignition switch and the solenoid? If so, where is it located?
    11) I have purchased a new starter, but hesitate to install it if there is a bad relay. This Astro does not have a fuse block under the hood as later models did.
    12) What have I missed???
  • dsieverdsiever Posts: 5
    Hi Everyone,
    I have found the problem with this van and the bucking issue that it was having. First, I would have to say, that there were actually two problems. I replaced the air mass meter (found a brand new one on ebay in January for $60). This did correct the issue that I was having with bucking at 55 mpg or faster, however, I was still having a problem with starting the van. Up until about 2 yrs ago it started on the first crank everytime (I've owned this van for over 120k miles and 5 yrs)--however since then it has always been that I had to give it one crank, turn the key back then hit it again and it would always start. Last week, however, the van began to miss very badly on one particular morning and it then stalled and would not restart. It turns out that there was no gas flowing--the fuel filter was good--problem was that the fule pump was shot. I replaced that and it starts like it did when I first bought it--on the first crank, everytime.
  • navybluenavyblue Posts: 4
    I'm pulling code P0152 high voltage on Bank 2 sensor 1. Any ideas on what would cause that? Also how in the world would you get a 7/8 wrench in there to remove it? All books call for three sensors, 2 upstream and one downstream of the convertor but the drawing I'm looking at clearly identifies three upstream and is verified on my van? ^*$&# Any experience? Thanks
  • mauialiimauialii Posts: 2
    I just went thru the same thing.All 3 were the same # Go to a Bosch web site fornd on Goggle and get the #.Call Advance or Auto and they will match the low price with a print out.Takes a special socket with an opening on 1 side.Got mine at Harbor Freight fo $4.99.
  • Steve_01Steve_01 Posts: 42
    If your 97 Safari is like my 97 Astro you might want to take a look at the guide that I very recently posted on this forum with a link to some photos I took during the disassembly/reassembly process.

    My 97 Astro has two "upstream" O2 sensors, and two "downstream" sensors. The first of the two downstream sensors is the one just before the catalytic converter. Each set of sensors has a different type of connector on it. I didn't bother trying to get to the sensors with the exhaust in place because I was replacing the cat as well. As near as I can tell, your best bet is to drop the exhaust down by removing the three bolts on each side that connect the pipes to the exhaust manifolds. You don't need to completely remove the exhaust, but just drop it down in order to access the sensors. The thing to watch out for is that one or more of the studs could break off while loosening the nuts. This is not all that uncommon. If one does break, then your in for a headache trying to remove the broken stud. Have a back-up plan ready. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Good luck.
  • navybluenavyblue Posts: 4
    Excellent documentation. I unbolted the exhaust at the manifold, screw jacked the tranny to hold in place, removed the "cross brace" and dropped the exhaust to get decent access to the sensor. A couple of the bolts were a little tricky but all in all, not a bad job. A whole lot of work for a two minute replacement of the actual O2 sensor. Putting it on a lift was a great help. Thank you Navy MWR! Thanks for the help.
  • navybluenavyblue Posts: 4
    I did the same thing with Advance Auto and got a military discount on top! Life is good. I could get the socket on but couldn't get any leverage so I dropped the exhaust with little difficulty. Thanks for the tip.
  • Steve_01Steve_01 Posts: 42
    Love to hear a success story. Good for you. Nice to have access to a lift, wish I could say the same. Go Navy!
  • rayoconrayocon Posts: 1
    I'm trying to replace the passenger side inside door handle on an 03 Astro. I've gotten down to the broken handle and there is a metal pin going down the center. I need to remove this pin in order to install the new handle. Problem is there are 2 pieces of metal protruding at the bottom (like a cotter pin) which prevents me from removing the pin. Anyone know how to remove this? Thanks.
  • What is the easiest way to replace the idler pulley on 95 Safari? It is the pulley that is right below the alternator, and the tension pulley. Hope I'm giving the correct name.
  • The eastiest way is to pay a mechanic to do the job for you while you are having a beer :)
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