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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro

145791035

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    obus99obus99 Member Posts: 2
    Hi folks:

    I have a 2000 GMC Safari AWD that I bought as a NEW left over in the spring of 2001. It now has 24,000 miles on it. The front end is pulsing and shaking when I step lightly or otherwise on the brakes.

    I suspect warped rotors. Before I start with the dealer on a warranty claim; is this common, --happened to any of you?

    Is this covered under warranty? Car has been in service for about 12 months now. NO problems other than this, but it is not getting any better. Has there been a service recall on this issue?

    Started about 500 miles ago and gets worse as I stop and go and they warm up.

    I have had no panic stops of any kind. I am the sole driver.

    Please let me have your comments.

    Thanks
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    marcb4marcb4 Member Posts: 9
    I have a 2000 Chevy Astro van currently with 29K miles on it. At around 24K miles the brakes started to squeal and grind. My Chevy dealer told me that I needed to turn the rotors and replace the pads - all for around $200! I contacted GM since, based on my other vehicles, I thought that 24K miles was a bit early to have such problems. According to GM, 24K is a pretty "normal" mileage to need new brakes on the Astro/Safari vans... And, of course, no help with the high price either.

    My dealer alleges that 24K is actually pretty good, since they've seen Astros requiring brake job swith as few as 10K miles. I took the van to an independent brake shop and had the job done for half of what the dealer wanted, althought the brakes still don't feel 100%.

    I believe that the brakes on the Astro/Safari vans are underdesigned, but I'm sure GM disagrees...
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    First of all, rotors can warp for a number of reasons, and heat is not usually the cause. Unless of course you drive into nice cold water while the rotors are heated up from that 70MPH exit you took off the freeway just before you hit the puddle. That can pretty much warp any rotor made. Another common problem is tire shops rotating tires and not properly seating the wheel before tightening the lugs. This is a fairly common problem and the warpage will show up shortly after a rotation, or new tires are put on, or any other time a wheel is removed. Realize that it takes very little warp to cause a strong vibration when braking.

    Now, about the brakes in general and the pads specifically. Saftros have very heavy brakes made to handle loads. From the factory the pads will wear out in less than 24K unless most of the miles are highway. Several companies have introduced ceramic based pads to give extended life. When the government determined that asbestos was going to be the end of mankind, it was removed from brake pads. This is another reason why the pads wear quickly. Stay away from the "lifetime warranty" pads as many have very high metallic content and will squeal like a pig as well as wreck havoc on the rotors.

    Having hauled a Safari down from 65MPH to 0 in a maximum braking condition on a Dallas freeway while towing a 2K lb trailer and the van fully loaded I feel quite qualified to state that the brakes can stop one of our beloved vans in a hurry. But to this day I still have no idea why the idiot on the freeway slammed on his brakes with no one near him. Maybe his cell phone shorted out and scorched his ear. One can only hope.

    Jim
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    topseatopsea Member Posts: 47
    My 2001 Astro just got back from the Chevrolet dealer today with roters turned and new pads. It now brakes just like it did off the showroom. Interesting, the service advisor pulled me aside and told me the next time that I might try a set of carbon metalic pads. He suggested buying them myself and having them install them or even going somewhere that will do the whole job with those pads. He said that they will stand a lot more heat and that they dissapate the heat faster and don't tear up the rotors as well.

    I got 31,000 out of these originals but I have been getting a shimmy for the last few thousand miles. I rotate tires every 5000 miles and Les Schwab torques the lug nuts every time. So the rotors just wear unevenly or I guess they may warp over time.

    Oh, the price for the front brake job? It's here in my hand: $230.76.
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    ahelmahelm Member Posts: 14
    Ditto on the brakes on our 2000 AWD. At 23K miles, one local dealer wanted to go the $200+ route while the other said turning the rotors would be covered until 24K miles. Took the later route. The original pads remain on the van at 30K. My limited research indicates reduced mass in the rotors which retains heat evenly is the cause of warpage. I think driving patterns have a lot to do with it. Perhap$ $taying with $oft pads and replacing them frequently would be the be$t $olution.
    The AWD has a different brake assembly to accommodate the drive hubs. Does the RWD have the same issue? This and maintaining alignment of the the rather complex geometry of the old tech steering system (idler arms) seem to be common problems.
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    My '95 RWD Safari has never had an alignment. I replaced the idler arm at 60K and had the alignment checked. It was within a half degree of perfect and the mechie said that considering the tires had even wear at 30K miles of driving, he wouldn't touch it. All I have done to the suspension on the van is the idler arm, shocks, and rotate the tires every 5k or so.
    I have been told that when replacing the idler arm to go with the replacement part made by TRW. Seems their design is beefier than the original. Unfortunately, at the time I did the replacement no one had the TRW in stock. BTW, replacing the idler on a Safarstro takes about 10 minutes using common hand tools. And, no, you do not need to "re-align" the front end after the repair no matter what the guy who sells alignments says. If you can screw up the alignment while changing the idler arm you shouldn't have been under the van in the first place.

    Jim
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    ahelmahelm Member Posts: 14
    Jim, Glad to learn of your good experience and expertise with idler arms.
    When we got our 2000AWD w/18K miles on it took it to dealer for the transfer case fluid issue, The service dept. brought to my attention unusual wear on front tires, said the cords are breaking down internaly and referred me to Uniroyal. Where it was determined the toe-in was set incorrrectly. They rotated tires set toe-in. When I changed to new set of winter tires, about 8K miles later, the left front had excessive inside wear. The right showed no wear. Had dealership do an alignment. Practiclay every angle was out of spec requiring adjustmenet. It now seems to wander and doesn't feel quite right. 30K miles original Idler arms. Previous post seem to pattern their needing replacement. Wish you were here, I'd let you crawl under it.
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Drive the vehicle about 20-30 mph on a road with those little half dome markers glued down the center stripe. With no one oncoming (very important) drive with the drivers side tires hitting those markers. The sharp jolt to the steering linkage will cause a worn idler arm to "clunk" quite loudly. The noise will occur long before the idler is worn enough to be dangerous, but if you hear the clunk you can usually get under the vehicle and feel the play in the arm when pulling back and forth. Like I said earlier, a very easy repair.

    Jim
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    favikahfavikah Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 97 safari it is a month old. driving home from work my engine light came on what could this mean
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    gsgman69gsgman69 Member Posts: 75
    Yes, this is the only vechile he will buy. He says no minivan or SUV has the cargo carrying capability of these Vans. I've had absolutely no luck trying to get him to buy a Golf TDI(42/49mpg) or Passat wagon. Anyway we too read in CR that this would be the last year for the Astro. Does anyone know if there is going to be a replacement for it?

    On a side note my roommate has this really weird obsession with manual, i.e. windup, windows. He won't buy a vechile with them because he says they are death traps and that going within 200 miles of any body of water is just asking for a watery grave. He has a PHD, but he pays the rent on time and......
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Well, if he winds up with power windows, they make emergency hammers for automobiles to break out windows, and they often include a seat belt cutter built in. Would make a great Christmas present for him or your other paranoid friends :-).

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
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    coonhoundcoonhound Member Posts: 174
    Motor Trend forecast is that the Astro will still be in production for 2003, but is a little iffy about the 2004 future for the van. It is strange that the fuel mileage decreased in 2002 when they installed a normal fuel injector rail rather than the little plastic plug in nozzle assembly. I predict that the newly re designed full sized 1500 series van will have a better fuel mileage estimate than the current Astro.

    When they install rack and pinion steering, Bilstien shocks, etc. as they will have on the 03 full size 1500 van, then we will be headed in the right direction. An optional V8 would be nice also.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    #9 GMC Safari

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
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    73notch73notch Member Posts: 2
    Good afternoon everyone, I have a '98 Astro with the dreaded wiper motor pulse module circuit board problem. I have followed this forum for a couple of years now, but I never would have thought it would happen to me. The van is at the dealer right now with an unfixed circuit board that they want ~$200 to fix, I have totally burned my bridge with the extended warranty CSR that I told off about the wiper motor that was covered vs. the pulse module that wasn't -"exactly what part of "bumper to bumper" did I miss when I bought the warranty?", but the crux of the biscuit is this-exactly where is the pulse module located? My Haynes manual doesn't cover this part, just refers to it in the wiring diagrams. Is it in the column? the wiper stalk itself? in the dash? I hope to have this in hand by the time I get the truck back so I can be done with this all together. Please, please, *please*, can someone help me? Thanks, I'll settle down down now.
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    coonhoundcoonhound Member Posts: 174
    Check post #343 by jlflemmons on soldering the circuit board connections.

    I suspect that Jim will respond to your post with the info. According to Jim it's a piece of cake.
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Happy Friday. The pulse module is mounted within the wiper motor assembly. First, remove the locking pin on the wiring connector, then disconnect the harness. Remove the three torx head screws that hold the cover to the wiper motor housing. Remove the cover and you will be looking at the pulse module circuit board. This board plugs in, so wiggle it as you pull it from the housing. It will come out. If you look at the side of the board with no components (solder side) you will see where the connector for the wiring harness solders in. There are about five or six large solder joints for this connector. These joints need to be fluxed and re-soldered. If you don't understand the last statement, find a friend who does and has a good soldering iron. Check the joints for good solder flow, no solder bridges, and then reassemble the unit making sure the pulse module board is fully seated. If you have followed these instructions and used good solder techniques, your wiper problem will be solved for about 2-4 years. Then, you can do the same thing aqain. Good luck,

    Jim
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    scoughlinscoughlin Member Posts: 1
    After putting over 140kmi on my 1994 Safari SLE AWD I am buying the 2002 SLT. We love It!
    Yes I have had the problems some of you listed here, Idler arm replaced, the torsion support, fuel pump, EGR valve and a yr ago a front wheel bearing. What I can also say is that it has kept our sanity among three kids and wife for those long trips. I often go camping and hunting trips by pulling the third seat out and fill the back with all the gear I need. No need to tow a camper or trailer. I have filled the back with wood, I use cardboard to keep interior clean.

    About the EGR valve, rough starting or running maybe the EGR valve, $150. Make sure when it is replaced that carbon hadn't gotten stuck in the valve opening. If yes and the valve moves freely, it's not the valve but carbon trapped in the valve. The real problem is the carbon coming from the exhaust manifold flaking off and being trapped in the valve.

    The loose handling related to the idler arm maybe, a wheel bearing possible. Both could be expensive. I've replaced the idler arm, with no problem. The wheel bearing was back to the service shop.

    On my two trips to the Smoky Mt. I put the van in 2nd gear coming down and rarely had to apply the brakes, completely incontrol.

    Hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood or other material for the home projects was easy. No more strapping on top.

    New van has 7 seat layout with headphone controls in back. My daughters love it!

    As for tires, I recommend the Michlin LT, have had excelent service. 73000mi on last set. Besides, they are great for our winter snow storms and only $80 ea.
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    pbroekerspbroekers Member Posts: 11
    We haven't owned our 95 Astro too long. Do like the van. Van just stopped blowing cool air. Readings were high on the low side. Reputable a/c guy says pump isn't working in compressor...having compressor and other related items replaced for around $1000. Can hardly wait to spend the money. I guess at 140,000 something is likely to give out.
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    creidcreid Member Posts: 54
    I wanted to add a note of joy. I was at the 2002 Ichthus concert in Wilmer KY yesterday. I rained constantly all day long and the concert is held in a huge pasture field. After just buckets of rain the ground turned to absolute mud and every vehicle that was not 4wd was getting stuck and it required a tractor to pull them out. I own a 2001 Safari AWD and I tell you what the AWD feature worked like a absolute dream. I even pulled people out & never spinned a tire. I was climbing inclines that front wheel drive vehicles couldn't even get up & I went up w/ absolute ease. Just wanted to drop a quick note on how this 1% of having AWD actually came in handy.
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    747jockey747jockey Member Posts: 5
    Last month I had the head gasget replaced. Ever since then I have been having a strange problem. When I fill the gas tank the van will run like crap for about 30 minutes and then start to run better. It does not do this at any other time other then when you fill the gas tank. I was lucky enough to be by the dealer and it was running horribly when I pulled into the service area. The service writer came out and said something must be very wrong. When he started it up and took it to the back it started to run fine. Dealer could not find anything wrong and they said they need the van to do it in the shop before they can find out.

    I have had some strange problems with cars before but this one is a first. Any idea what might be causing the engine to run poorly when you fill the gas tank?
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    mtwagginmtwaggin Member Posts: 3
    Am going to "look" at a 2000 AWD Astro with 98K on the odometer. Will be getting an extended warranty on it for minimum of 2 years. Please, anyone with suggestions as to whether the high miles is a red flag or not with these vehicles? I put on about 15K a year mostly highway and will be towing a lightweight small camper (2000 lbs) with it. Anything specific to have checked prior to purchase?
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    jmarquettejmarquette Member Posts: 6
    I would not shy away from an Astro van with 98k miles.

    I am planning to buy an Astro and have heard nothing about good things about the engine. I talked to 2 people at work. 1 had his astro
    van for 275k miles and drove it to the junk yard with
    the original engine and Tranny. The other is still
    driving his astro with 206k miles with original
    everything.

    One friend bought an Astro about 2 months ago and is having problems with the transmission with the car warms up. On the test drive be sure the have the vehicle warm up. Once hot, from a dead stop accelerate briskly. This will help find any potential tranny problems.
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    mtwagginmtwaggin Member Posts: 3
    Thank you for your input jmarquette! I brought the van home yesterday (a 100 mile trip one way) and am taking it in today to be "checked" out - especially the undercarriage parts (awd, drive train, etc.). Will let you all know if they find any troubles. Have a 3 day lemon law in our state and right now the dealer is very amiable to fixing things (even the nit picky things I found yesterday on the test drive). I WILL try your suggestion on the tranny issue and it will go in for that service and a general "tune up" (plugs and such). Will be towing my little trailer with it this weekend and will see how it does (my main reason for getting it).
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    jasonrupjasonrup Member Posts: 13
    Hey everyone, I don't own an Astro yet but I'm thinking about buying one for my business/personal use because it is the absolute best option available to me in my price range. I know that they do have their little quirks but are otherwise pretty solid vehicles. The only real question I have is about the suspension. I am young (23) and am coming from a car with a pretty solid euro-style suspension and I like vehicles with rock solid rides... pretty much the opposite of these vans. Are there any aftermarket shocks (frt & rear) available for a reasonable price to tighten up the ride a good bit??? I am also considering helper springs for the rear leafs... any suggestions??? I don't want a bone-jarring ride, but something other than the feeling of riding on marshmallows would be great.
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    jclettkojclettko Member Posts: 2
    We have a 99 Astro AWD with 68K miles. Bought it used with 28K miles and a Wynns warranty. We purchased it to tow a 20' boat and just drive around town and not have to worry about snow (we get lots of snow). I had the crabbing issue when turning in tight turns and have found a dealer that resolved the problem. The dealer needs to change the transaxle fluid with the "blue" fluid. It has an additive that is more slippery. The old fluid will cause the gears to stay locked up. That's what the service tech said and it seems to have worked. Every time I have the fluid changed, I have to remind the younger mechanics to use the correct fluid. You'll know in an instant if they don't.

    I had to replace the front rotors at 55k miles along with the pads.

    Last summer the drive shaft broke and destroyed the rear pumpkin. That resulted in a new axle assembly ($2600), which was covered under the Wynns warranty.

    I just had the two idler arms replaced due to the excessive play in them, when that was done I also had the tires balanced. I still have what feels like an un-balanced tire, the steering shimmies a bit.

    I also have the sticking accelerator. This is fun when teaching my 16 yr old how to drive. I have not found a remedy for that yet. Has anyone else?

    I have had the drivers' window that occasionally won't go up, and is stuck down, but only when it's raining or snowing out.

    My two questions for anyone has to due with the ABS and a tune up. I still have the original plugs, wires and cap. The van runs a bit rough and I want to give it a tune up myself but don't know how to access the engine compartment from the cabin. Has anyone done their own tuneup? And what are the steps for access and any other helpful hints. What did you replace and did it make a difference.

    Also my ABS seems to be acting up. When driving very slowly (like in a parking lot) once I step on the breaks I can feel the pulsating ABS kick in and the van does not slow down as fast. It only happens when I'm driving slow. Has this happened to anyone else?

    Other than the shimmy in the front end, the need for a tune up, and occasional sticky gas pedal, a drivers window that won't consistently go up, and the intermittent ABS problem when going slow, the van is a gem. For a high mileage van w/ AWD, in the snow it is incredible. As for a tow vehicle, it's great. Plenty of torque for a boat/trailer combo weighing in at #3960.

    Any response on the tuneup or ABS is appreciated.
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    coonhoundcoonhound Member Posts: 174
    I have a 97 Astro and really like KYB Monomax shocks on the front and Monroe load levelers on the rear. Makes the big sucker handle like a sports car. Well; that's a little exaggeration but it does handle well compared to original setup.

    jcletko: Just an opinion, everybody has one. Sounds like you may live in California, and, or, have been using premium fuel in the van. This will acerbate fuel pressure regulator problems, and or injection problems. The plugs, wiring, etc. should be good for 100,000 miles. The injector assy. list for $470.00 and GM does not break it down to parts.

    The plugs are best accessed from underneath. The driver side is more difficult than the passenger side. I usually jack it up and put it on jack stands then remove the front wheels.

    I don't have an AWD, but I would check that the tires are matched and inflated to 35 PSIG all the way around and see if this will help the ABS problem.

    That's all I know and possibly more.

    Good luck.

    Boyd
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    ad8ad8 Member Posts: 6
    This is in reference to the 2000 Astro Van. I currently have a 1999 Astro with 36,000 miles and I don't tow anything but these vans are usually very good. I really love this van and just sold a 1997 Astro with 170,000 miles on it. The only reason why we sold it was because the rear was shot. The van was great. That is why we bought a new one. Try to stick it out if you can.
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    ad8ad8 Member Posts: 6
    #351
    I had 1997 Astro with 170,000 miles and I wish I didn't get rid of it. I am hearing the some people have these things past 200,000 close to 300,000. I know it sounds crazy buy, it is possible. That van was great. The rear end went and someone bought it from me and is replacing it and going to use it for his business. I am telling you Astros don't quit.
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    ad8ad8 Member Posts: 6
    I have had two Astros and never had your problems. These problems sound like your dealer might not know what they are doing.

    I have had minor problems but, they have fixed them.
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    ad8ad8 Member Posts: 6
    When I bought my van I thought we contacted the conversion company because no one else will know this information.

    Then we had to get a copy of that and send it to our insurance company to make sure these extras were covered.

    Do you know the name of the conversion company? Our name is Rocky Ridge.

    I hope this is some kind of help.
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    rbritlandrbritland Member Posts: 11
    I have a 1993 AstroEXT w/AWD and "dutch door" tailgate with 99K miles that I bought new 9 years ago this month. The "dutch door" setup became available in '92. This is opened electrically with either a key outside rear or a push button on the dash. In '99 they added a mechanical push button on the outside rear to override the electrical circuit. This indicates to me that there must have been problems with the electrical circuit. I do not have this "button" and sometimes the tailgate refuses to open. The problem is getting more frequent as the van ages. It is tremendously inconvenient when I go to a home center and fill the van with sheetrock or plywood and then I can't get the tailgate to open when I get home with the goods. Sometimes I have to drive the loaded van for weeks until the hatch release decides to work again, delaying my project and making the van not usable for carrying people. I assume it is a poor electrical connection somewhere and has been a problem with this model van in the past, hence the addition of the mechanical override button added in '99. Can anyone shed some light on where to look for this poor connection? I checked the continuity on the switch in the dash and that seems to be OK. I took the inside window frame off and applied 12v DC to the release solenoid and the solenoid releases the window but I still can't get the short double doors to open. Please HELP!!!
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    rbritlandrbritland Member Posts: 11
    Purcahased new in May '93 my AstroEXT AWD, now has 99,500 miles on it. Only problems I've had: engine smokes at start up (started at 55,000 miles, valve guide seals?); transmission shift lever gets stuck in park (I disabled the brake pedal locking solenoid to fix this, you can now start it without holding down the brake pedal, but at least you can put it in gear); wipers swipe windshield while turned off every time I hit a little bump in the road; tailgate intermittantly won't open (haven't found a fix yet); replaced the idler arms at 85,000; I don't think the ABS works anymore since about 85,000; plastic trim pieces on bottom of seats always breaks, finally left off. Things I like: largest, roomiest van in it's class (4x8 sheets lay flat on floor); better gas milage than most competition (19mpg highway); excellent towing capacity; 8 passenger (not 7 like most competition); more power than most competition; excellent traction (One snowy day a Ford Ranger slid on an icy road, went down an 8' embankment and stopped with the wheels straddling a 9" dia. tree trunk in a foot of snow. I pulled that truck over the tree trunk, through the snow and up the embankment and onto the road with a tow chain while I had all four wheels on ice with the original Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires) And I don't even have the limited slip differential! Things I don't like: not enough leg room in front seats; hasn't changed much from '85 to '02 (just grill and dashboard); too difficult to work on engine and can't get transmission pan off to change the filter. I can change the rotor, distributer cap, wires, and sparkplugs in my Geo Metro in 15 minutes. It takes me 4 hours to do that on my Astro! Never had any engine, transmission, or drivetrain problems with almost 100,000 miles on it, and I occasionally pull a 3000 lb. trailer (usually overloaded). Would I buy another? The only other vehicle that can compare for room and power with 4WD is the Suburban (which I would rather have) but you have to shell out an additional $10-15 thousand. Also I don't like spending close to $30,000 on a vehicle that looks like a 1985. I wish they would totally redesign this thing (long overdue) because I don't like the FWD vans and the Express/Safari doesn't offer AWD. I'm trying to hold out for a Suburban, but if I can't afford it, I'm sorry to say I might buy another Astro. Since a new one looks the same anyway, I'll drive this one till it dies.
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    jclettkojclettko Member Posts: 2
    I too have just recently been experiencing the intermittent failure of the Dutch Door Window push button switch failure. Now that I know it is not uncommon I won't feel so bad. With all of my problems with this van, I can still tow my 20' boat, 8 people with the AC on (front & Rear) and all the stuff for a long day on the water and not even have to think about it. It tows the boat almost like it's not there (until I look in the rear view mirror). I have an appointment for the ABS on Tues. I'll let you know what I find out.
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    coonhoundcoonhound Member Posts: 174
    If you happen to see an old 97 Astro towing a 30' travel trailer heading West on I70 looking like someone's looking for the promised land, it's not Gerald McRaney. But just and old Geezer and an old gal checking out the 5 US National Parks in Utah. If it has smoke coming out from underneath and moving slowly, please throw out a line for a little tug.

    And if it makes it through the scenic country we will drop down into lost wages and maybe see a show.

    But this is the Acid tow test over the hill and through the dale.
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    jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    Actually the button they added is just another electrical switch so you can open the back glass with the key, not having to use the remote or the lower door lock. It is not connected in any way mechanically with any of the lock rods or the latches. On both models if you lose battery power you lose the rear doors.

    It sounds like you have a bad wire in the door conduit from the body to the door. This happens from repeated opening and closing of the door. You have to get into the conduit and pull on the wires looking for a broken wire, it happens internally so the insulation will look like normal. If you have those contacts like on the sliding side door, make sure they are clean, use a pencil eraser to get them cleaned up, if the spring loaded contacts in the door are weak you need to replace them to keep a good contact.
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    Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,150
    A journalist is looking for someone who bought one "twin" over another where the manufacturer offers two or more vehicles based on the same basic platform. (a Maxima vs. an I35 (or I30) or the TL vs. Accord)
    Did you know it was basically the same vehicle as the other?
    Why did you choose it over the other?
    Please submit your response to jfallon@edmunds.com no later than Wednesday, May 15.

    MODERATOR /ADMINISTRATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

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    ad8ad8 Member Posts: 6
    I currently have a 1999 Astro. When I first bought the van I noticed a problem with the license plate frame. I asked dealer to please change it because I thought water would get into the door. Well the was the worst thing I could have done. The fools changed it and at the point I could not open my doors upper and lower. I mentioned it to the dealer they told me to bring it back. We made an appointment. Well 2 days before this appointment the van was involved in an accident. I called the dealer to tell them I could not bring it in to have the doors fixed because it was being fixed from an accident. Anyway we had the van fixed from the accident and
    we brought it back to dealer and they gave me the hardest time about this problem and tried to blame it on the accident. They refused to fix it.

    Anyway I brought it to another dealer and they found the problem in 1 hour. It was a cut in the wire that runs along side of one of the dutch doors which the other dearler most likely did when they tried to replace the license plate frame. I have not had a problem since.
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
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    danielcomerdanielcomer Member Posts: 1
    I've purchased my first Astro -- a 2002 model. It's a Pewter LS with trailer package (including the 3.73 rear end), front and rear air/heat, dutch doors, keyless entry, cassette/radio/cd, etc. List -- $28,100, purchase price $20,400. It was used slightly by the administration for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics (2200 miles on vehicle). It's in excellent/new shape.

    I've been evaluating vans now for over a year, and currently own a 1989 Dodge Grand Caravan (and a 1998 Chev Cavalier). My wife and I, who are in our late 40's but still have 2 younger children (ages 14 and 8) still wanted a van, but were torn between the Kia Sedona and the Astro. I knew that if we purchased the Sedona, the day would come when we would want to pull a trailer over the 3500 GVR capacity of the Sedona or want to have more internal room for hauling items. Living here in the rocky mountain states, the all wheel drive is something that would be useful. As my 14 year old son said -- "Dad, this is great! We now can go where we can do some really good snowboarding."

    When I saw the ad for the Astro at Murdock Chevrolet in Woods Cross, Utah, and that the price was a minimum of $3000 less than the Sedona, I went for it. Dealers weren't discounting much on the Sedona, and the Astro had a few extra features the Sedona didn't have such as AWD, dutch doors, etc.

    I also contacted a close friend of mine who has now owned two Astros during the past several years. He has a business, Parson's Lock and Key, and uses the van extensively. He has been using the 2 wheel drive, but has now purchased his third, an AWD. An employee will be using this van. He is extremely pleased with the Astro, and they have been and continue to be very dependable vehicles.

    I appreciate the information that has been shared in the Astro Town Hall. A number of you who have contributed have given a great deal of attention and focus to you comments. By the way, if any of you live close to the Wasatch front range of Utah -- go see the Jason Brough at Murdock Chevrolet in Woods Cross, UT. He's been selling Chevy's for over 11 years now and he treated myself and my wife very well.
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    bonneluvrbonneluvr Member Posts: 6
    I too own a 93 Astro CL EXT (RWD only). It has been an exceptional vehicle. I have 93k on mine now.

    I get a puff of smoke when it's cold but I was told by the dealer not to worry about it. It's done it since it had 36k on it (of course right after the warranty expired)!

    I replaced the idler arms at 90k. I was lucky to get that out of them from what I hear. Alternator went out at 85k (typical GM thing I think).

    Has anyone had problems with the door handles breaking? I'm very fussy with my vehicles and I was shocked one cold morning when I pulled on the door handle and it snapped. I've already replaced the sliding door handle once.

    Also, I went to get in it one morning to find the battery dead and the driver seat all the way back. I charged the battery and moved the seat forward. As soon as I let go of the power seat control, it moved back all by itself! Could I have a bad switch? I finally just got the seat where I normally have it and disconnected the wiring underneath. I'm the only driver so I can't figure out why this would suddenly go bad.

    Other than what I've mentioned, it's been a very reliable "grocery getter"! (my mother had an 89 Astro and my younger siblings refused to drive it because "its what old people drive to get groceries". Lucky for me, Mom had a red 72 Olds 442 when I first started driving!). I was 27 when I bought this van. I guess they think I'm really old now!
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    triumphertriumpher Member Posts: 58
    I have a 98 Safari (50,000 miles on the clock) that is starting to develop funny windshield wiper problems. If the wipers are turned on, they may or may not operate. If they do not operate, I am able to hear a buzzing type sound (which means that the switch is working);I am not able to stop them manually if they operate (which I think would exclude any slippage in the system). Has anybody out there any advise on how to tackle this mystery problem?
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    jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Good afternoon everyone, I have a '98 Astro with the dreaded wiper motor pulse module circuit board problem. I have followed this forum for a couple of years now, but I never would have thought it would happen to me. The van is at the dealer right now with an unfixed circuit board that they want ~$200 to fix, I have totally burned my bridge with the extended warranty CSR that I told off about the wiper motor that was covered vs. the pulse module that wasn't -"exactly what part of "bumper to bumper" did I miss when I bought the warranty?", but the crux of the biscuit is this-exactly where is the pulse module located? My Haynes manual doesn't cover this part, just refers to it in the wiring diagrams. Is it in the column? the wiper stalk itself? in the dash? I hope to have this in hand by the time I get the truck back so I can be done with this all together. Please, please, *please*, can someone help me? Thanks, I'll settle down down now.

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    #344 of 370 Re: De'Lemon by coonhound Apr 18, 2002 (08:16 pm)
    Check post #343 by jlflemmons on soldering the circuit board connections.

    I suspect that Jim will respond to your post with the info. According to Jim it's a piece of cake.

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    #345 of 370 73notch by jlflemmons Apr 19, 2002 (09:01 pm)
    Happy Friday. The pulse module is mounted within the wiper motor assembly. First, remove the locking pin on the wiring connector, then disconnect the harness. Remove the three torx head screws that hold the cover to the wiper motor housing. Remove the cover and you will be looking at the pulse module circuit board. This board plugs in, so wiggle it as you pull it from the housing. It will come out. If you look at the side of the board with no components (solder side) you will see where the connector for the wiring harness solders in. There are about five or six large solder joints for this connector. These joints need to be fluxed and re-soldered. If you don't understand the last statement, find a friend who does and has a good soldering iron. Check the joints for good solder flow, no solder bridges, and then reassemble the unit making sure the pulse module board is fully seated. If you have followed these instructions and used good solder techniques, your wiper problem will be solved for about 2-4 years. Then, you can do the same thing aqain. Good luck,

    Jim
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    coonhoundcoonhound Member Posts: 174
    I have a 97 Astro RWD and completed a a trip towing a 30' Award travel trailer. Trip was through Denver, Southern Utah national parks, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and on to Lost wages, and back to OKC on route 40. The Astro performed flawlessly on the 3300 mile trip. Fuel consumption was 237.012 Gal. at a cost of $313.11 or $0.094 per mile. The Avg. mpg was 14.0035. The best tank run was 15.91 mpg, the worst was 11.79 mpg.

    The vehicle mileage is only 44,000 miles, but I now notice that the throttle sometimes sticks in the closed position and pops free causing a lurch. Is this the condition of carbon build up as mentioned on some of the post.

    In some western states and at Flying J they sell 85 or 86 octane instead of the standard 87 specified fuel. I used the stuff and did not notice any difference in performance, or any detonation knock. With the sensitive injector system being sensitive to high grade fuel, I thought cheaper may be better.

    The KYB Monomax front shocks, Monroe load leveler rear shocks, and Toyo 800 Ultra tires made the unit handle well in cross winds and big rig passing. Still reserved about the K&N air filter as to any benefit.

    There was no noticeable oil consumption of the Mobile 1 10/30 tri synthetic.

    Could have used a little more HP in the mountains and may be looking at a new full sized 2003 GM van, if they make the short version. The short van is not all that much bigger than an Astro and with the new rack and pinion steering, heavier differential, etc, etc they sound interesting.
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    ahelmahelm Member Posts: 14
    How did that ACAR receiver hitch hold up?

    I believe altitude reduces the need for octane, hence the 85/86 octane in mountain states.
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    coonhoundcoonhound Member Posts: 174
    I always wondered about the 85 or 86 octane being a thing in western states. Have also wondered about regulations permitting the sale of the lower than spec. octane. I don't know of any vehicle that specifies less than 87 octane. Oh Well!

    The ACAR hitch must have done OK. I didn't have the socket, I think 15 mm, for the four small bolts so I never even checked the tightness on these. I did check the two front big bolts and they were still tight. I have thought about having the center piece welded in place to stop the thunk noise inside the two outside brackets.
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    accesstooaccesstoo Member Posts: 3
    A few years ago I was a part owner in a Airport Shuttle business. We used Astros as part of the fleet due to the decent gas mileage as well as the hauling capabilities.

    The wiper motor issue comes up regularly. Turns out more often than not, the connector (covered in rubber) tends to come loose. We used tie-wraps (no kidding) to hold them snug. It works, don't laugh and it saves about $200 in repairs.

    The circuit board going out is usually a lot of nonsense. By the way, if you are really thinking of getting a Mini-Van for the long haul think again.

    We ran them all and believe me, we ran them. We routinely put 10,000-15,000 miles PER MONTH on them in Atlanta's traffic. They usually get 300,000 miles on each engine before we pitched the engine and put new ones in (2k per).

    Here is the lineup based on RELIABILTY in REAL WORLD, REAL USE. The full size vans are still the best when it comes to reliability and value but if you need something smaller here goes:

    #1: Astros: Great power and mileage, overtly reliable overall, easy to drive.

    #2: Windstars: Not a bad second, you just won't get the same life out of the engines and transmissions. Edges out the now no longer made Villagers due to room

    #3: Villagers or Quest vans: Great Van, just have to watch out for the exhaust manifold bolts breaking...they are flimsy and thin. Other than that, this thing drives like a car, and moves well. Small on room...good for 4 adults plus gear. Maybe 5 adults in a pinch

    #4: Dead last, don't buy it no matter what the wife says ("but it looks nice"...)...Chryslers. Transmissions suck, electrical sucks, the engines give up the ghost quickly. AC is unreliable. Rear Hatches break, or worse the glass blows out when you shut them! Suspension is okay. Engines are tempermental. DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE if you are looking for the longhaul...lease it if you have to and keep the lease short.

    Good luck
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    marcb4marcb4 Member Posts: 9
    The power door locks on my 2000 Astro (33K miles) are starting to go. First was the driver's side after an unusually hot (104F) day in the parking lot. Things were back to normal the next day just to start going crazy on the following day: First driver's door, then passenger, then back to normal for a couple of days. I'm taking the Astro to the dealer since it's still under warranty, but I'm wondering if anybody out there had a similar experience. I couldn't find any Service Bulletins on the subject. Thanks.

    Marc B.
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    dresdentimdresdentim Member Posts: 1
    Hi To All

    I recently bought a 2000 Astro Conversion with 25000 miles. We really like the vehicle with its room, ride height and comfort, and versatility.

    I have noticed that when braking sometimes there is a single knock or "klunk". The dealer stated that they changed the front brakes but not the rear, stating they had 50% left. Anyone had a similar experience with brakes?
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    bigorange30bigorange30 Member Posts: 1,091
    Well, I just sold a 1995 Astro in January that I bought brand new. I had this same trouble with not being able to release the hatch window. My problem turned out to be the solenoid itself. I took it to one dealer who took it apart and could not find the problem. I got rather angry with them since it was a Chevy and this was a chevrolet dealership. They wanted me to pay for taking it apart and not being able to find the problem. I took it to another dealership who found the solenoid had failed and was not operating and they replaced it. I was making a sound like it normally did when releasing but it didn't release. Needless to say, I didn't pay for the first dealership to just take it apart and not fix it.
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    90zcrx90zcrx Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Safari AWD with 44K miles.Coming back from vacation a vibration started in the van(not from tires or allinment)first thing I had checked.took van into the dealership under extended warr.at about 45 mph you can feel the van start to vib.all the up to what ever the speed limit is.It is not a earth moveing vib. but a annoying one.tried two different dealerships(both can feel the problem)but because of AWD can not figure out how to diagnosis where the problem is coming from.Has anyone else had a problem with vibration?
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