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Chevy Venture Care and Maintenance

My AWD Astro is fast approaching "front brake pad time". It's getting close to 30,000 miles on the originals and I won't go past 30k on them. My experience for these Astros is that they have just OK brakes, not really great brakes. I'm not much for national chains but Firestone does have a lifetime national warranty on brake jobs. Any experience with them? My last Astro "wore" brakes from a regional tire company, Les Schwab, but I was never really happy with the brakes after they installed them. They really went to a lot of work trying to make them work as well as they did when new but in spite of replacing the front calipers and pads twice and finally replacing the rotors, the van still pulled slightly to one side or the other. The problem was sometimes it stopped straight ahead too and you didn't know which of these options IT was going to pick for you.

I have a notion that I'll probably take it back to the dealer. I just want the best brakes possible for it and I really don't care if the pads are really hard and make a lot of noise(heh, heh I'm hard of hearing). I don't really care if they tear up the rotors, I just want the best brakes possible on my Astro.


  • Hi. I have been an Astro owner for the past 68,000 miles with my 97 AWD vehicle. Bought it new and I inspected the vehicle underneath when I got it home. Noticed oil on the side of the engine and immediately took it to the dealer. They replaced the front driveshaft since the grease from the CV joint on the shaft leaked and sprayed on the engine as the shaft rotated. Since the vehicle was under warranty, they replaced it for free. I hadn't had a problem with it since but I neglected to inspect the shaft after it had been replaced to see if the same thing happened again.

    Recently, the van has been experiencing a vibration and what I can only describe as a 'bucking'. It seems as though something in the drivetrain is binding up and then freeing again. This happens at all speeds and in all 'gears'. The dealer noticed that the CV joint on the front driveshaft was shot and replaced it for $1300. They thought that fixed the problem. Guess what? The problem is still there and the dealer cannot figure it out. One thing compounding the difficulty in finding the problem is that the 'bucking' does not occur consistently and the vehicle must be driven for about 15 minutes before it starts occurring.

    There are two major issues here as I see it. The first is that I believe the front driveshaft design is defective since I had 2 fail on me. I think this would go unnoticed in these vehicles until around 90K miles when the front driveshaft falls apart.
    Secondly, the bucking we are experiencing is a major binding in the drivetrain. Since it occurs at high speeds (as well as low speeds) and if the drivetrain locks up at these speeds it could send the vehicle out of control and possibly flip it. I believe it is a malfunction in the viscous coupling and asked the dealer for a schematic of the design to try and diagnose it for them (these trips to the dealer have cost me $1500 so far without fixing the problem). I am an engineer and I thought I could help out here seeing that the problem was not being fixed and that this 'binding' could potentially be life threatening. The dealer ignored my request.

    This is a warning of a potential problem with this vehicle. If the problem isn't solved and if this turns out to be fatal for me or any member of my family, then at least we've documented it here and warned others.
  • djnmisdjnmis Posts: 1
    I am having the same "bucking" problem with my 2000 Astro AWD. My dealer is suggesting a problem with the clutches in the limited slip rear end. Have you ever discovered the true cause of your problem?
  • mwcoxmwcox Posts: 13
    I have a 99 with 66,000 on it. Since around 28k, we have been hearing this poping noise in the drivetrain. Seems we hear it when turning into a driveway or sudden acceleration or deceleration. We took it to two dealers and they both heard the noise, inspected everything, and determined that it was normal. It does not always happen but is frequent. I'm not going to worry about it until it dies in the road. Like the van, have gotten great service. Just old platform, ie., squeeks, rattles, noisey drivetrain, but, does the job.
  • chugchug Posts: 1
    ring and pinion gear is meshed too tight load bearings are intern wearing out. also possible across the grain crack in rear drums mine came complete with both of these. luckily my warranty was through my insurance company. becaause it might not of been investigated with such detail at the dealership. rear end was replaced drums could of exploded needless to say were replaced
  • I recently changed the transmission oil on a Chevy Astro van and noticed that the magnet had a uniform coating of what looked like graphite. Is this from the factory? It didn't look like deposits.
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    The minute magnetic particles on the pan magnet just means that the magnet is doing it's job and picking up the magnetic contaminants. GM did a good job and installed a magnet in the engine and differential also.
  • The bucking and binding is normal. I have the same situation on my '99. Just about any 4WD vehicle will do this. I have had several and they all do it. Chevy has done a number of things to my Astro to minimize it, but bottom line is that it is not a problem.

  • mwcoxmwcox Posts: 13
    Well, we traded for a new Nissan Quest SE. Love it. Had 95k troublefree miles on the Astro. Got a better trade on our Astro that my sister got on her equivalent Montana when she traded, $4k more for trade. Would have stayed with GM/Chevy had they updated the Astro. Didn't like the wimpy/old Venture, Montana, etc. Hope GM wakes up soon.....
  • My 2001 Astro with 40K miles is consuming approx. a quart of oil per 1000 - 1500 miles - NO LEAKS. I suspect it is passing behind valve guides and burning in exhaust manifold, but no smoke from tailpipe. Dealer states that a quart every 800 - 1000 is normal for this engine - "per GM". I don;'t buy it, this may have been normal in the 1950's - 60's but not in modern engines. Anyone having similar problems? Any thoughts on what it will do to my catellitic converter?
  • I have a 1994 chevy astro van with the 4.3 central multiport fuel injection vin w. I replaced the injector system 3x at $400 per time. Now I have a new problem. A few months ago I pulled into a gas station and it did not start. I had the van towed. When I go it home I had no spark. I checked all wires from the ECM to the distributor. I did not have any shorts. I replaced the distributor module. Still no spark. I replaced the entire distributor and I had spark. Must have been the pickup coil in the distributor. About one week later it died again. No spark. I replaced the distributor module this time and I had spark again. Now it has been about 1 month and I started it the other day and it is missing. I guessed that a spark plug wire was touching ground or a plug had fowled. I replaced all plugs and wires. This did not fix the problem. Any ideas. If a plug wire were grounded to the body would this destroy distributor modules. Could the module be only partially bad and only giving spark to some of the cylinders.?????
  • This is an easy one. 2000 Astrovan-I'm not quite sure which port to attach the "bottle" to. With the hood popped there seems to be two choices....One on the smaller line which is think is the high pressure line (a no-no) and the other on the side of the silver can-like thing. On other vehicles, the recharge port has always been on a line. Can someone prevent me from blowing my head off?
  • jipjip Posts: 1
    :sick: i recently bought a 1985 astro and cant seem to find the oil capacity on it anywhere..... its got a 4.3L v6 in it...any ideas?
  • I own a 1999 Chevy Venture. It will "chug" at any speed above 50mph. This is almost an everyday occurance. Sometimes even below 50mph! I have had a tune up and replaced the fuel filter twice. Two different mechanics couldn't fix this problem and I'm at my wits end. Any suggestions?
  • i also would like to find an answer to this problem - bought an 99 astro 2 years ago and have been tracking the bucking problem for a while now - mind you i had lost a bearing in the rear axle already - so i replaced them all except for the pinion bearing set - but as for the bucking - bare with my weak explanation please - in my opinion it seems like it is engine related - as the car warms up especially on a colder morn. the vechicle runs ok till the operating temp is reached - as far as i can tell during a warm up the computer uses look-up tables for some sensors to establish a running condition (not efficiency - emmisions only) so the vehicle runs ok, but 1ce warmed up the look-up tables go by-by and all sensors are polled - my seems to buck worst during humid/ wet days. As every1 in this predicament, i did replace cables, plugs, coil, dist cap/rotor, even the ignition module - no joy - then i followed up with mass airflow sensor and throttle position sensor and still no joy - but if you are experiencing a similar problem then try this, when the vehicle starts to buck - (my does it mostly when speed is reached and i am trying to maintain constant velocity) slam the throttle to the floor - in wide open throttle the computer again goes to bypass look-up table config, meaning that it will ignore some sensors because it cannot possibly maintain efficiency and pollution ctrl in wide throttle operation and the bucking may suddenly stop for the duration of acceleration. Well at least in my case it does. But the good thing is that i eliminated alot of technical mumbo-jumbo because during a hard acceleration we are using lots of fuel so the pump and filt are ok unless it starts to really bog, the ignition components must be ok unless it is still missing - and missing engine due to a plug, wire, or distributor really becomes evident when a vechicle is placed under load. So whats left ?? well i am stumped - need help, help, please - but from where i sit - awd - i dont think that the problem is in the axle [non-permissible content removed]. or the front drive shaft assembly. But since we all own an electronic transmission which also feeds the computer with a feed back i wouldn't rule that out. thanx for listening, and by the way - i am not a classed mechanic but am an electronic technologist so i did some research on engine ctrls.
  • check your exhaust - possible plugged converter - plugged muffler if a baffle broke
  • the gas gage in my 1997astro van does not read correct. can same one help repair it?please.
  • Leighanne,
    This sounds like what happened to my 1998 Venture. It turned out to be a clogged injector. Venture injectors are very prone to this if you use the wrong brand of gas. Do not use BP gasoline - it may be the worst for this. Marathon gasoline has worked very well. What fixes the problem is to replace the injector which costs about $150 for the part, and start using injector cleaner once a month along with Marathon gas or some brand that will not clog the injectors. My mechanic also tried a special machine to clean all the gunk out of the injectors. This worked for a while but the problem came back. Had to replace the injector and use the right gas for a long term solution. I'd get a mechanic who could figure this out. You may also notice that your gas milage really suffers when this problem happens. It's because that cylinder is not firing a lot of the time. You may also smell gas fumes too. Good luck.
  • yr.2000 venture,fuel line rusted,dealer wants 827.00 U S dollars to put in a new one,is this an okay price
  • I have a 2002 Venture that may have a heat problem. In the summer, the temperature guage is normally between 1/3 & 1/2. In the winter, the guage is normally between 1/4 & 1/3.

    Today was the 1st cold day in the area, around 20F. When the vehicle is up to full running temperature, the guage never got above 1/4 & spent a fair amount of time bouncing a little below 1/4, which it never has before.

    Now, before the really cold weather hits, should I change the thermostat? Is this something a simple DIYer could do? Took a quick look & it didn't seem too easy to access it.
  • I just bought a 99 chevy venture van. Im having problems with the liftgate it open when i first got it now 1 week later i cant seem to open it at all. Also the speedometer wont show more then 10 miles an hour. I replaced the speed sensor and still same problem. All other gauges work please help.
  • Just creaped past my 3000 mile oil change with the dash light for change oil coming on, when a lifter started to clatter when the engine first starts up. Did a engine flush and then a oil change. I also added a oil detergent to the oil to help reduce the sludge that builds up. Now all gone.

    Just a reminder to change you oil with cold weather season comming on I guess.
  • I have a 1997 chevy venture. I just had a tune up done and a fuel injection cleaning service done. It bucks at 50-60mph, The shop told me this will cause the bucking it might be the injections starting to get plug. This is starting to become a real head bannger. :sick: It does not do it alot but it does it once in a while. Can someone help me please.

    Thanks Happy Holidays to all
  • Thanks for the information. That what happen to my and did a oil change and it stp the knocking. Thanks for the information
  • bought '94 astro conversion 4 months ago-have found all fluid fill tubes/reseviors except power steering-is canister on wall between engine compartment & cabin(has belt routing diagram on it)the p.s. resevior?-van came w/no manual-i'm clueless-thanks
  • hwy70hwy70 Posts: 2
    I have a 99 astro 2WD and suffering from the bucking problem.
    I have had the following done.
    Engine bucks at 65mph, 45 mph
    1. fuel system change
    2. Fuel pump change
    3. new wires,cap, rotor and spark plugs
    4. New Injectors
    5. replace wire connector to dist. (Cure idel problem)

    Will a bad crankshaft sensor cause this.

    I am stump to the problem and wondering if anyone else has cure the engine bucking problem.
  • mark103mark103 Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Astro LS but don't have the owner's manual.
    Does anyone know the procedure to replace low beam headlamp? Or...where to get that info??
    Thanks for your help..
  • dkproffdkproff Posts: 1
    Did you ever get a response? I have a 2000 Astro LS and the owner's manual, but it has the wrong pictures/instructions for the LS with the lowbeam 9006 headlight.
  • mark103mark103 Posts: 2
    I figured it out and then found the manual of course. (also an on-line manual at GM) Haven't looked in it though to see if it was correct!
    Thanks for the response..
  • avtechavtech Posts: 1
    Did you ever find the problem with this 99 astro van bucking problem?
  • homermedichomermedic Posts: 10
    I have a 2002 Venture. Ever since changing my heads & gasket, same thing. No leaks on the engine. No smoke out the tail pipe? Went back to the mechanic, he said it was "stuck rings". Put some "anti-stuck ring" stuff in the spark plug ports, let it sit for awile to free it up.
    It didn't work.
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