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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    Hello everyone. Just bought an 85 Safari. I have been a Celica GT owner for many years. This is my first van so I am excited about the project. Van has new motor, new trans. new exhaust, cat, muffler. Was non opt and sitting mostly for a year. I hope he put some stabil in the gas tank. The a/c does not work, and the fan barely blows....Will take to a/c shop in the morning as soon as I pick it up. Floor is all rubber so I will probably put carpet in. The gas mileage will be pretty bad but I suppose I can install smaller needles in the carb to improve mileage seeing how I will not be towing anything. Anyways, I am sure I will be here a lot for a while so any advise for a new owner will be sooooo appreciated. Thanks!
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    I have a 91, 4.3 V6, and get a good average,like 19 MPG! My suggestion, use it first, as you will be surprised, as they are gas sippers, and freaking workhouses! .
    Damn, an 85?...still a pup at 25!
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    O.K. So this van was sitting for 1 year, the man spoke very little english. I thought it was ready to drive but I guess he had done nothing. I would have towed home. Too late now. So, I drove home. Not a good idea. Anyway, after flushing the brown water from the radiator, I need to change oil, spark plugs, etc. Cannot find screws that are supposed to be located under hood upper right and left corners. Have not even started with bolts inside van. What do these 2 screws look like? Book says use extra long screwdriver to reach.
  • bookra43bookra43 Posts: 3
    You get at these screws/bolts from the--- INSIDE--- of the van. There is 1 screw located at the UPPER Left Side & 1 screw located at the UPPER Right side at the very front (ENGINE SIDE) of the engine cover (commonly called the (DOGHOUSE)--

    You will need a very long screwdriver or a ratchet with about an 18" extension & I think a 9/16 scocket----those bolts ---JUST COME OUT--- THEY DO NOT & I REPEAT DO NOT COME OUT OF THE HOLES IN THE DOGHOUSE---just LOOSEN them all the way then take the glove compartment off -- then take the bolts out at the BOTTOM REAR of the doghouse

    My best suggestion to you is to go to an Auto parts store and buy a manual covering your vehicle--they give you pictures and better details.

  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    On the plugs, its a a good afternoon, if ya know what yer doing. And yes, GET A MANUAL. Chiltons is good enuf. Front plugs, wheels off, pull the flaps away, and there right there, long way in, but right there. Have many spare bandaids!
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    Thanks so much for the replies...been working on it 2 days now. Drain, flush rad., change oil, new air filter, etc. Yea, my son said are you gonna do the sparkplugs and I started laughing.....take a look at those will take an act of god to r & r those babies, removing wheels, and special tool #20163..... I will try on a 3 day weekend. I did order the original GM shop manual today. Found it on ebay 30 bucks.
    So, it failed smog check because a vacuum hose from one of those 2 little evap. saucers in front right was off. The smog tech said find where it goes and put it on. Well I found 1 line setting on the motor with nothing connected to it and I put it there. We will see tomorrow.

    There is a pipe about 3"diam. sitting open on the manifold. What the heck is that???
    There is also a small black plastic part with 2 spots for vacuum lines and a metal rod sticking out of the bottom just sitting on top the motor in a whole??? I could push on the metal rod and move it up and down. It must be broken off ?

    And I saw a piece of tubber tubing with a sparkplug stuck in it and attached to the radiator. Just behind the radiator cap. Was that my heater hose??? Thanks again for all the help. Gotta go back outside and figure out why I cannot open rear doors with the key.
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    So I have had this van towed home 4 times in 1 week. Fuel problem. Previous owner installed an electric fuel pump in front right side of motor. What was in this van originally? Autozone says the 1985 4.3 carburetted van had a mechanical fuel pump located in engine compartment. Auto repair technician and Repair shop owner showed me the computer screen that says the original fuel pump is in the gas tank per All Data I believe. So, I called Chevy dealer parts dept. and they said if the eighth digit of the vin is an "n" it is a carburetted 4.3 with a "mechanical" fuel pump. So what was the original fuel pump position? why replace it with an electric one?
    I can drive for 5 to 30 minutes fine and then van stops and wont start again until it sits for 20 mins. or so except today it would not restart after even an hour. Is the electronic fuel pump a bad idea? Tech says why would ANYONE put an electronic pump in front of a carburetor? And he worked at a carburetor shop for many years and knows them well.
  • bookra43bookra43 Posts: 3
    Call your friendly Chevy dealer up and see if this year & model has a FUEL PUMP INERTIA CUTOFF SWITCH---the switch is used so if you ever get hard it kills the electric to the pump--you can reset them manually and most of the time they reset when they cool down.

    My ex-girfriend had a Bronco II doing the same thing you are describing---
    that nearly drove me crazy until I found about it---I just cut the wires and took the switch out & threw it away and soldered the wires back together and never had a problem again.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    This might help, might not. The 4.3 is basically a 5.7 (350) motor with 2 missing cylinders. I had an 1982 GMC sierra with the 350. It was carburetted with a quadrajet II 4-barrel or something or other. It had a mechanical fuel pump. The block could have been a 1986?? but I am pretty sure it was a 1982. Anyway, the mechanical pump is located on the passenger side down near the crank. It will be on the side of the block near the front of the motor. If there is not one there, it will probably have a blank/cover placed over the hole where it mounts. This could mean a couple of things. It could meant that the original owner is a hack (well, from what you're telling us, he is), and didn't know what he was doing and decided to cut out the manual pump and just installed an electrical pump, or there is an electrical pump in the tank and the blank cover is a factory installed part since the block was already cast for a mechanical pump and then the switch over happened. I don't know enough to know what you have, but take a look at the fuel delivery system. Is it a carb or fuel injected?? (how do you tell????????) Carbed, it's a mechanical pump. Fuel injected?? Electric in the tank pump.

    Anyway, problem is, he didn't install a pump large enough to feed the vehicle thus it dies and can't keep up with the demand. (I learned this the hard way too after I tried to install an electric pump in my Sierra. Mounted the electric pump to the fender and it just couldn't keep up).

    Anyway, look at the block, if you can. You might be able to tell where a fuel pump was mounted?? Or perhaps it's still there, just not hooked up. If it is a mechanical pump, replace with a mechanical pump. You'll be much better off. If the pump is electric in the tank, replace with electric in the tank. I am guessing it's mechanical though since the last owner tried to rig an electric one in the engine bay. Unless he was also trying to by pass the electrical one in the tank. But that would just be moronic.
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    Far as I know, all 4.3's were not mechanical pumps, but electric, in the tank..gotta drop it..
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Very possibly true. I was just going off the fact that the 4.3 is directly derived from the 350 block which did use a mechanical pump for a long long time, so it stands to reason that perhaps in the early stages of the 4.3, it also used a mechanical pump? Not that I really know anything though about it.
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    edited June 2010
    O.K. Heres the scoop. 1985 4.3 V6 carb had a mechanical pump. Previous owner put a 91 (92?) motor in the van, also with carb, so there was never in intank fuel pump. New motor came from a van with an intank fuel pump, so it is not drilled for a mechanical pump.
    Tech said it was too much trouble and money to fix. After disconnecting several vac lines, fuel line, and the solenoid to carb he said come and get it. Charged me $85 and I towed it home. So, I am on my own. I spoke with autozone and they said as long as new motor has a carb and is not throttle body injected, I can make it work.

    Sunday morning my son and I will start. There are 2 knock sensors hanging off the 92 motor and the 85 only has 1 . I am going to start with replacing the canister in case charcoal may have been sucked up into carb as tech suggested, also will replace fuel filter in carb. Then clean carb. Elec fuel pump is doing its job per pressure gauge tech attached to it. Need to figure out how much pressure is coming from pump and how I can regulate that.
    Tech and owner said get rid of it. Well it is a little difficult to do seeing how it runs for 5 mins and quits. Plus, I really like this van. Guess a smoke test will help when I am finished with vac lines, If I can get it too run and drive to shop. Any and all help I am very thankful for as I hope to have this running Monday night.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    edited June 2010
    Check to see if that 91 block has a blank over where the mechanical fuel pump mounted. It is possible (unlikely, but possible) that it still has the holes to mount and the cutout in the block. If so, get a mechanical fuel pump. It will work better than a rigged electrical pump.

    OR..... get a tank from a van with an in-tank pump. You'll prolly have to run some lines, but that might also work too. Go to the junkyard and pull the fuel lines and tank from the van with the in-tank pump. You might even get lucky and have the pump still be there and workable. But it might just be best to get a new in-tank pump if that is the route you go down. See if you can find a late 80's early 90's van with a carb'ed intank pump. That will be closest match.
  • cbharobbycbharobby Posts: 19
    Good reply, but if there is a block off, I bet the cam lobe for the pump aint there either, as major money, machining a Cam, for a lobe not needed. Rest post, spot on!
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    I replaced fuel filter, previous one did not look too bad. Carburetor is filthy. Cleaning it in the morning. I replaced the crankcase vent filter which looked about 20 years old. Air cleaner was 1/4" thick with grease, dirt, oil, so I took a can of seafoam to that. (PCV system?) PCV valve rattles o.k. If a car needs air and fuel to burn, could this filthy air cleaner be part of the problem? I noticed a couple of air control valves on unit and cleaned , checked for proper operation. There is a temp sensor in there that has a 3 vac lines and one little square line. What is the square line? It does not have any elec. in it but it looks like something broke off. Tech disconnected the solenoid to the carb and the van started and it would not start before so he thought that had something to do with it but it stalled after 5 mins. of driving again, what does that mean and where does it hook back up to? Fuel pump says E8012SX and AU2635, 5.5 to 9psi. The 91/92 motor that was installed in this 85 van does not have fitting for mech pump. My son says I have to move fuel pump to underneath van in front of gas tank so it doesn't get hot. How has it been running in current position? Maybe it wasn't and that's why it was non opped and sold?
  • I have a 1999 Chevy Astro, had to replace radiator crack in plastic under top hose connection.
    I have a P0118 code showing - Engine Coolant Temp Circuit High Input.
    Replaced the temp sensor and reset , code is back in less the 5 mins.
    Does anyone have any ideas where I can start to chase this down.
    Dan in Alabama
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    Replaced fuel pump. Van running again.
  • eblaumeblaum Posts: 1
    runs fine until the engine gets warm.... new fuel pump and filter... kept getting worse... no engine light.. now i have fuel at the pressure release aqnd spark.. but it will not start.. regulator??? fuel pump bad again? cant figure it out and im not rich so i cant just start replacing stuff.... any help would be much appreciated...
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    O.K. So anelectric fuel pump in the engine compartment is not such a good idea. Too much heat. California temp. hit 107 and fuel pump cut out several times. So, I moved it to underneath van. Seems to be fine in high heat now.

    Now working on vacuum lines. What a mess! I guess some people just disconnect them and say "Oh well". I cant rest until everything is put back together. Anyone out there familiar with the layout on a 85 to 94 1st gen. carburated, v.6
    4.3 engine? I have GMC factory service manual but its not much help with vacuum lines other than emmisions.
  • bpress54bpress54 Posts: 2
    OK, I know there's a lot of info already posted regarding air circulation problems in the Astro van, but I can't find anything that pertains to my particular issue. I'm not able to get air to flow out of the dash vents; regardless of where the selector lever is placed, air only flows out of the heater and defrost vents. I removed the inside cover of the heater case and discovered two doors inside which are not moving when the selector lever is operated. It appears that ll the vacuum hoses are connected, however, the service manual shows that there are 3 cables which are supposed to be connected to the control unit: a defrost cable, a temperature cable, and a vent cable. It appears that my van only has one actual cable coming from the control unit, and it's attached to an actuator which lives right above the heater case. I was able to get air to come out of the dash vents by propping the doors open, but this now means I have no defrost. Can anyone tell me what exactly controls these doors and how I can get them to work properly? This is a 1993 Astro CS, 2- wheel drive with front heat/ac only. Thanks
  • nu85nu85 Posts: 9
    Did you check the line that runs over your engine? The line that comes from control unit you saw goes into a harness, thru the firewall and comes out of harness to connect to a ball on front pass side. Almost impossible to see ball under water bottle area...usually people say it comes apart over engine...but mine doesnt cross engine.85 safari.
  • bizzbangbizzbang Posts: 5
    Funny that I should get notified of your post, I just fixed my AC blowing air, this afternoon. I had multiple problems with the air not blowing out the front vents.
    First problem was the line that provides the vacuum, as mention in the previous post, it goes across the engine from the vacuum intake, look for it about half way behind the AC compressor and rear of the engine on the driver side.. It is a very thin hose, it get brittle over time and cracks. It goes to the front of the engine just behind the large can (I don’t know the name) that is used for the AC at the front of the engine, on the passenger’s side. The cost of this hose is about $12, replace this first, GM part number 15967970, on the bag. The second problem was the flexible hoses near the area of the first hose. They also got brittle and cracked, lost vacuum, I also replaced the hose that goes to the round sphere that is just to the left of the right front wheel. Get some 5 / 32 hose and replace all of them. Good luck....
  • r2h2r2h2 Posts: 1
    1997 GMC Safari runs rough under slight loads

    My 97 GMC Safari runs rough after it warms up if I have the brake pedal depressed and the AC turned on in Drive. Or at slight accleration at any speed will run rough some times. I have replaced both o2 sensors, Mass Air Flow sensor, EGR valve, TPS sensor, IAC motor, PCV valve and vacumn line. I have replaced the fuel pump and filter about 6000 miles ago. The fuel pressure when turning the key to on positon and at idle is 56 PSI. Snaping the trottle increases fuel pressure to 62 PSI. When it starts to run rough fuel pressure will flucuate 2 PSI. The spark plugs
    and wires are fairly new. Any help would be wonderful!!
  • doodndoodn Posts: 1
    I've been having a problem with my electrical system. The alternator gauge fluctuates from 9 VDC - 13.5 VDC. I bought the alternator at Autozone and replaced it 3 times. Also, today my wife drove over a curb, the battery instantly discharged, the car died and it had to be jumped to get it started. Is there anyone out there that has an idea I can try?
  • They are 15mm, and you will need a "long" extension.
    The bolts stay in the 'doghouse so they are no worry.
  • nothingnothing Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    Our alternator sounded like it was full of rocks, lovely sound when your driving. Of course after the shop quoted me $280 to replace it I decided to do it myself for less than half the cost.

    I followed procedure as with any electrical repair, disconnecting the battery, then all the wiring to the alternator, and then removed and replaced it.

    The van ran just fine, the ammeter was just over the halfway mark. We went to town, and on the way home turned on the headlights, the battery light came on…. So of course I eliminated every possibility and ended up exchanging the alternator for another as faulty, replaced it with the same procedure, again the ammeter was just over half and no obvious issues. Then the gauge panel dropped, voltage dropped to 0 from the alternator and of course the battery dropped dead leaving me stranded on the off ramp of the highway with no such thing as a good Samaritan to help out. I got it down to where we purchased the alternator and they claimed it was a “pre-existing” condition and not caused by either alternator…. However other than awful bearings the old alternator worked fine, so I am arguing the point with them, one of theirs is a result of my new issues.

    They are claiming I have a short, that the battery wire from the alternator through the fuseable link to the battery is burned out/melted and shorting my entire system. How exactly would such have occurred when I merely replaced the alternator? Where should I even begin to look for this “short”? the symptoms are as follows.

    The 20 amp fuse that protects the gauges burns only minutes after starting the van leaving no instruments working. An ammeter connected to the positive battery terminal and grounded to the vehicle reads the same voltage as the battery, there is continuity on each of the 4 fuseable links, however none to the battery cable that connects to the back of the alternator leaving me to believe there was a weak spot on that wire that burned through and has shorted it all out? The only issue prior to this is misreading oil/gas gauges, and an intermittent check engine light. Prior to the fuse burning on the gauges, the headlights “on” buzzer would continually chime even when the vehicle is running.

    Any suggestions? It is a 1991 Astro, 4.3L, 2wd.
  • I just purchased a 93 astro also and blew white smoke, it was not the fuel injectors, but it was the fuel injector pump regulator, which I ended up replacing the injectors and regulator all as a unit for good measure, no more white smoke, it was the unburnt gas evaporating in the exhaust, if you small gas odor your pump regualtor is spurting out too much gas, or also timing could be off and running way to lean
  • This might sound stupid.....but my 92 chevy truck just stopped one was the ground for the motor, from the block to the firewall. Hope it helps, if not....good luck.
  • Any one have any info on this pump. I have a 2004 astro; not an LS or LT, but that is what the pump is for, an LS or LT.
    My question is will or could there be damage done if I continue to use it in my standard astro?
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    The fuel pump will be the same for all trim levels. They all used the same driveline and fuel system. The base, LS, LT designations were used for trim levels denoting whether or not the vehicle had power windows, locks, leather, rear entertainment, etc. etc...

    The running gear all stayed the same. The only difference would be between AWD and 2WD. But even then, the fuel requirements for the 4.3 motor probably stayed the same and so the same pump was probably used.
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