GMC Safari/Chevy Astro Electrical Problems



  • spike99spike99 Member Posts: 239
    My 2001 AWD didn't want to start last Sunday either. First time it didn't start for the last 3 years. Its battery cranked and cranked its starter, it fired a few times but it wouldn't start. Like an old tired frozon dog that didn't want to get out of bed. Left a portable electical heater under its hood and one under its engine for a 8 hours, and re-charged its battery. Even plugged in its block heater for even more good luck. Then, she fired right up under a 5 second crank. I'm thinking bad gas or frozen gas in its system. Might want to give your van better gas or change to a different gas station. Worked for my van.

    BTW: For the Safaris/Astros, it is recommended to keep above 1/4 tanks of fuel. Above 1/2 tank is best. And. park on hills facing downward. Thus, it puts less stress on their "weakly designed" fuel pumps. Works for me...
  • mklein1mklein1 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks, but the problem seems to go deeper than that. I always keep the tank above 1/2 a tank and have put fuel injector cleaner in it just about every fill. Living in IOWA it sees ethanol all the time also. It could be a weak fuel pump, but then why does jump starting it or leaving a charger on it help so much? Please reply if this further information helps, Thanks Mark.
  • spike99spike99 Member Posts: 239
    Last week, my van wouldn't start. Thought it was bad gas / water in the gas. Took to my van to local auto shop and they changed its rotor and distributor cap. Talk about electronic corrosion overload. They also changed its battery. Unknown to me, they said its existing 6 month old battery would only charge up to 90%. The 4.3L engine needs 100% charged battery for best cold morning starts - even when its 90% charged battery can easily crank its engine. So, they changed these 3 items. For the last 2 cold mornings, my Safari van "fires right up". As a suggestion, get your local auto shop to investigate these 3 items as well. Worked on my 2001 Safari van...

    Hope this helps as well...

  • nichunichu Member Posts: 2
    Hello, I have a 2000 GMC Safari w/ the Mark III conversion package. The issue I have is my reverse lights do not work. I've replaced the bulbs and it is not the bulbs. Where do I go from here? Anyone have any pointers?
  • themagicman1themagicman1 Member Posts: 3
    That would be the PCM and to get the part# you will have to get it out and look for it on the computer itself
  • themagicman1themagicman1 Member Posts: 3
    Check your neutral safety switch located on the driver side of the tranny
  • themagicman1themagicman1 Member Posts: 3
    Check the air box on the pass. side of engine compartment locate the blower motor the wires coming out of it follow them and it will lead you to the blower motor resistor
  • samgkdsamgkd Member Posts: 2
  • samgkdsamgkd Member Posts: 2
    I have a 92 Astro that you have to push the headlight switch several times to get the headlights to turn on. Before I tear into it, I was wondering if there might be a relay that the light switch turns on or does the switch carry all the current? If there is a relay, where would it be located?
  • falconjimfalconjim Member Posts: 5
  • falconjimfalconjim Member Posts: 5
    Hello, we have a 1995 GMC Safari that isn't getting any spark. The ignition module checked good, and we replaced the pickup coil. and still we can't get any spark? If anyone has had this same problem, and knows what the problem is, or has any suggestions, please email me. Thanks, Jim.
  • switch4switch4 Member Posts: 1
    My 2001 safari runs great and I love it, but after a few minutes running, the brake light and the ABS light come on at the same time. I have taken it to the shop, but it does not reveal any problems when connected to the computer. Does anybody have any ideas or similar issues?
  • denstardenstar Member Posts: 1
    Did you find anything out about this? My van does exactly the same thing.
  • veraraverara Member Posts: 3
    HI, I have a 98 chevy astro and today I noticed that when I applied the brake, my back up light come on. can someone please help me fix this problem? I appreciate any feedback thanks
  • egillettegillett Member Posts: 14
    Everytime the guys have worked on my engine, they put the center consule back without hooking up the wire for the lighter. They also screw up the vent hoses for the driver side dash vents!
  • egillettegillett Member Posts: 14
    Has some one been working on your wireing such as adding a trailer hitch harness? If so have that checked. What happens when you do put the vehicle in reverse? :(
  • veraraverara Member Posts: 3
    I have a 98 chevy astro and i noticed that :confuse: when i applied the brakes my backup light light up, can someone please give me information on how to troubleshoot the problem?
  • veraraverara Member Posts: 3
    no it's not a hitch problem, i had a blown blinker light so i replaced it and the van worked fine for a few day's i found out by a driver that was behind me that my back up light turned on when I applied the brakes. can you help me troubleshoot the problem ? by the way thanks for your help.
  • spike99spike99 Member Posts: 239
    I have a 2001 Safari AWD. Its orange ABS dashboard light came on as well. It would come on when I applied the brakes and a few times, it wouldn't stop. Almost rear ended 2 cars and hit 1 person - from slow response brakes. My shop replaced its master cylinder, replaced 1 front wheel speed sensor and said the other front wheel speed sensor would soon blow as well. It seems when one sensor is replaced, the other sensor blows soon after. Sure enough, 3 months later, its older sensor blew. - and its ABS dashboard light comes back on. And, back to slow response brakes. Out of cash and way too much frustrations, I pulled its ABS fuse. Yes, I pulled the ABS fuse - located in the under hood fuse box. The ABS dashlight is now on (plan to pull its bulb soon) all the time but I can tell you, my van's brakes are 100% better. Better then having defective speed sensors and putting others at risk.

    Based on increase braking performance (with its ABS fuse pulled), don't think I'll every replace its ABS fuse again. Other then putting the fuse back in - when it comes time trade the vehicle in.

    Hope this "hint, hint" helps....

  • egillettegillett Member Posts: 14
    Very dangerous situation pulling the fuse. Yes you can stop but if you are in a bad accident, your screwed if they find the fuse pulled. Have the front wheel sensors cleaned and that will usually fix the problem.
  • spike99spike99 Member Posts: 239
    Thanks for your concern.... For your records, there's a known problem with the ABS system on the Astro/Safari vans. There's an official TSB but NO recall. Still amazes me why no formal recall. For details....

    Bottom line is... Defector sensor (which needs to be replaced) or the existing sensor is too "rusted up" to work properly...


    .... Basically, dirty sensor mounting surfaces cause the signal to drop out at low speeds, which fools the ABS system into thinking that it is experiencing an ABS event when it's not.

    Antilock Brake (ABS) Activation At Low Speeds (Clean Wheel Speed Sensor
    Mounting Surface) #02-05-25-006A - (11/26/2002)
    Antilock Brake (ABS) Activation At Low Speeds (Clean Wheel Speed Sensor
    Mounting Surface)
    1999-2000 Cadillac Escalade

    1995-1999 Chevrolet Silverado (Old Style)

    1995-2000 Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe (Old Style)

    1995-2003 Chevrolet Astro Van, Blazer, S10

    1995-1999 GMC Sierra (Old Style)

    1995-2000 GMC Yukon, Yukon XL (Old Style)

    1995-2001 GMC Envoy, Jimmy

    1995-2003 GMC Safari Van, Sonoma

    1995-2001 Oldsmobile Bravada

    This bulletin is being revised to change model information. Please discard
    Corporate Bulletin Number 02-05-25-006 (Section 05 -- Brakes).

    Some customers may comment on ABS activation at low speeds, usually below 8
    km/h (5 mph). Upon investigation, the technician will find no DTCs set.

    The cause of this condition may be an increased air gap between the wheel
    speed sensor and the hub reluctor ring due to rust and debris built up on
    the sensor mounting surface.

    Measure AC voltage and clean wheel speed sensor mounting surfaces.

    1.. Raise the vehicle on a hoist.
    2.. Disconnect both the front wheel speed sensor harness connectors.
    3.. Place a DVM across the terminals of each sensor connector.
    4.. Rotate the wheel with hand speed and measure the ACmV's. The reading
    should be at least 350 ACmV's.
    5.. If the reading is between 200 and 350 ACmV's, remove the wheel,
    caliper and rotor in order to gain access to the speed sensor.
    6.. Remove the wheel speed sensor and plug the hole to prevent debris from
    falling into the hub during service.
    7.. Clean the speed sensor mounting surface on the hub to remove rust and

    Make sure that the sensor sits flat on the hub. If the sensor flange is
    distorted, replace the sensor.

    8.. Apply a thin layer of bearing grease to the hub surface prior to
    sensor installation.
    9.. Install either the original sensor or a new one in the hub and secure
    the sensor. Ensure that the sensor is seated flush against the hub.
    10.. Install the rotor, the caliper and the wheel.
    11.. Place the DVM across the sensor terminals and recheck the voltage
    while rotating the wheel by hand. The voltage should now read at least 350
  • hawk24hawk24 Member Posts: 4
    My '99 Safari, for the last week or so will not start in the mornings and even longer into the day if it's rainy. I have had it on a scope and all systems, fuel pressure, and spark checked out ok. There was however signs of moisture under the distributor cap. I had new cap, rotor, cables and plugs installed but the problem occurred again last morning after a hot day cool night. Once the sun comes out I have no problems starting up.
  • spike99spike99 Member Posts: 239
    A few months back, my 2001 Safari van didn't want to start either. Turned out to be bad distributor cap and bad rotor. After they replaced these items, it still wouldn't "consistantly" start. Especially on wet days. After some more testing, they replaced its battery. Funny thing was, that other battery was only 8 months old. They replaced the battery with higher cranking amps. Since then, my van's engine has started every time. Seems the other battery had enough "registered" power but not enough to fuel its starter and electrical system at the same time. Thus, it might or might not start. For my van, higher "cold" cranking amps in replacement battery seems to work. Been starting great ever since. Hopefully, new (stronger cranking) battery in your van helps as well...

  • hawk24hawk24 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for that spike99...I have read that solution before but the problem was not similar to mine. Your issue however, seems to be exactly what I am experiencing.
    I will make the switch. Thanks.
  • captainjerrycaptainjerry Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 GMC Safari had the same problem, The dealer replaced the Crank Sensor and found wires in the bundle that had heated up and fused themselves together. However, after over $1500 in money paid to the dealer, when they restored the spark, they found that that the Autozone Spark plug wires, when sprayed with a water mist while the motor was running, lit up like a christmas tree. They replaced the wires, the distributor cap (Autozone) and said they fixed it. The next rain, it would not start, back to the dealer. They said the Computer was bad and the cost for the compuer would be over $400 plus labor. I called GM and they said the computer is warranted for 80,000 miles, and after a long and angry discussion with the Service Rep, I called GM and they called the dealer. Computer + labor free!
    The next rain It would not start again, I pulled the dog house off and checked, Gas, good, spark not good. Removed the Distributor cap and removed the Rotor, well it had more burn marks on it than if it had been in a fire, and it was still the autozone one. It seems that the GM Dealer did not replace that a way to pump more $ out of me? About a year and a half later the problem reappeared, so I removed the dog house, dist cap and the rotor was again burned and very dirty. I used the air gin and blew out the distributor and paid special attention to a recess and a hole in the bottom which was plugged. I even poked a small wire in it to see if it was open. No more problems yet, but If it does I know to replace the rotor with a genuine GM.
  • pops9pops9 Member Posts: 2
    changed the battery in my 2002 Astro van because it was 5 years old had no starting problems ever since I changed it the power locks & dome light go on & off when I hit a bump & the front bounces or make a turn the battery is secure and the cables are tight & clean at the battery & starter all I did was replace the battery I even took the new battery back thinking it had a loose plate but it does the same thing with the second battery any ideas
  • jrekjjrekj Member Posts: 5
    My 1997 GMC Safari has dim headlights when on low beam. I have checked fuses (all ok), replaced both bulbs, and I;ve cleaned up numerous electrical grounds. The alternator is only a couple of years old. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • billerbobbillerbob Member Posts: 2
  • billerbobbillerbob Member Posts: 2
    2000 Chevy Astro cargo 170k+ runs great but everyday while driving my gas guage needle, charge needle, temperature needle show a false reading also everything that can light up such as abs, security, etc. lights up like a Christmas tree
    does not effect the performance of the vehicle any ideas?
  • nena2nena2 Member Posts: 1
    I am loking for help with my safari 2000,control lamp of battery charging is coming off and on i checkall conections what can be please??
  • gr8dv8ergr8dv8er Member Posts: 1
    The problem is most likely the fusible link connector which attaches to the terminal on the firewall behind the battery. The plastic housing around 2 of 4 contacts in the connector melt.

    In addition to the lights, horn and fuel pump, this will also cause the high fan position to not work properly

    Mine (1995 Astro) died on the road, so I cut the two wires for the links and temporarily wired them directly to the (insulated) stud which holds the mating connector to the firewall.

    I expect this is a dealer part, but it won't be the labor...
  • quickenerquickener Member Posts: 1
    I'm having the same problem with my 2000 Astro. It's been doing it for maybe two years and hasn't affected driving performance. However, now the security light is staying on and I'm worried about problems with inspections. Please share your thoughts! Tim
  • CarElecNewbCarElecNewb Member Posts: 1
    i need to run a wire from the battery through the firewall on my 91 safari and i dont know where to do it, i was told that there are cables and wires already running through the firewall into the inside cabin but i dont know where
  • v_chuckv_chuck Member Posts: 1
    i am having a similar problem with my 1994 astro van. i went outside to start it and noticed the interior lights did not come on, the instrument panel was dark, and the headlights (along with the warning buzzer) were not functioning. the starter still turned the engine over, but the van would not start. what fuse or series of fuses could cause this? or is it even a fuse issue. the strange thing is that i drove it to a friends house and was only there for about an hour, no problems getting there, everything was fine, but when i tried to leave, nothing. what could have happened while it was sitting there?
  • afoyafoy Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 GMC Safari will crank but not start. I Get a po753 (shift solenoid)code.
    Whats the problem?
  • angelatooweirdangelatooweird Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem in my 2000 chevy astro. Drove around for a year in high temps before I got it fixed. Meineke fixed it. It was a vacuum leak and cost about $72 to fix. I was expecting a lot more.
  • dlm1954dlm1954 Member Posts: 57
    Mine was the main wiring bulkhead behind the battery where it plugs into the fuse box, it pulls so much power on that main ignition wire it melts it inside the bulkhead and you have to take it out and clean it and bend it so it fits back tight like it originally did and I've had to do this several times especially in the summer when your using the air because it pulls so much power on that wire; That should have been hardwired at least for the ignition wires, but about every vehicle is made the same.
  • bilparsbilpars Member Posts: 1
    I was wondering if anybody could help me with my 98 chev astro van. I go out in the morning start it up run it for five minutes then turn it off, go back an hour or two later and the battery is completely dead. i had it to the shop they at the shop and they told me the battery and alternater are fine--they should be they are brand new. Anyways two days of driving then the engine light will come on and its a gaurantee that the truck will be dead the next morning and will need a boost. So i took it back to the garage to check the electrical and the said my stereo was pulling 50 amps when the truck is off, so i removed the stereo and the fuse. needless to say the past two days i've gone to check if it will start in the morning and it does so i run it for five minutes turn it off and a couple of hours later its dead, any advice or help will be greatly appreciated. thank you
  • udiwinudiwin Member Posts: 1
    I was wondering if anyone can help me withthis question. i'm looking for a small van for my business.I am interested in the Chevy Astro in particular. I found one that unfortunatley has 190,000 miles. I would be purchasing from a private original owner who used this to deliver light medical supplies for his busniess. He replaced the engine last year. The car cosmetically looks great,both inside and out.The car was taken to a Chevy dealer to be checked out. I was told that the van was in great shape and that there was nothing wrong mechanicaly. Does anyone know if I will encounter many problems down the road buying this van with so many miles. Oh by the way, the owner is asking $3000 bucks. Is this a good deal?? Please help.Thanks.
  • needhelpinpaneedhelpinpa Member Posts: 9
    Dear Sir, 5/9/09
    I have the same problem it seems. No lights,no fuel pump noise, no horn, no dash lights. It will turn over fine but does not start. Now no patience. Help please, I'm getting nowhere fast with this Chilton manuel.
  • needhelpinpaneedhelpinpa Member Posts: 9
    Dear gr8dv8er, 5/9/09
    Your answer to the one gentleman's van was worth checking on mine but my fusable links behind the battery seem strong and in good shape.
    This is my whole story, maybe you or someone else has another idea. I was driving the van early one morning and it just died; no lights, no motor, no fuel pump, no horn. I stopped, waited 10 seconds, then the lights returned by themselves and I had everything working again so I started it up and went on my way. The next day same thing happened. Third day same thing happened only I was 70 miles into a trip. Fourth day it never came back to life. It is a 94 Astro with 130k on it and looks like it could go to 200k fairly easily.
    Is there a relay or circuit breaker that may be faulty and if so where?
    The thing I,m most confused about is it came back 3 times so I don't think fuse, I can turn it over fine so I don't think battery, so it must be something that controls lights and fuel pump electricity. Help! Anyone!
  • spike99spike99 Member Posts: 239

    For "good" selling price comparison for your specific area, do shop around. Try your other local auto dealers and if needed, try online sites (like auto trader sites) and do lots of web searches. Unfortunately, each specific region has their own selling range.

    190,000 miles sounds like lots of miles on a van. Especially a previous business van - that might have been driven hard - to meet business "within same day" deadlines. Hopefully, it's mostly hiway miles.

    For Astro / Safari van weak spots, do focus on:
    - Transmissions sometimes blow and need a rebuilt. My previous van needed tranny rebuild at 75,000 miles - which cost $1,000. After the tranny was rebuilt, it ran better then factory.
    - Even if you do NOT tow trailers, do install a transmission oil cooler in the Astro/Safari van. For example: Many tranny specialists say that keeping its transmission oil "cooler" helps. Especially on those hot summer days and van is loaded with onboard cargo.
    - Fuel pumps sometimes blow and need to be replaced. My buddy's Astro fuel pump blew and needed $1K to fix - including a tow to the local auto shop. I hear GM Delco fuel pumps can be bought on ebay - if you like to keep one on the shelf (sort of speaking).
    - Rear axles (especially default factory 342 gearing) sometimes blow. If you can, get a RWD (2 WD) van with 373 or if towing or heavy cargo, go with 411 gearing instead. The default 342 gearing in passenger van isn't designed for lots of passenger body weight, trailer towing or lots of onboard cargo - that many business vehicles need. Next time around, I'd get an Astro/Safari with 373 gearing instead. And go with 411 gearing for hilly region.
    - Vaccum rubber line (that operates cabin heater controls) often melts. $20 or so to fix it.
    - Alternator (being so hot under the hood) often blows. Under $300 to replace.
    - Engine oil "cooler lines" often leak and need to be replaced. GM charges way "too much" for these replacement parts. If you can, replace with 3rd pary piping. Many pipe bending shops will create better replacement piping for 1/3 the cost that GM charges.
    - Front steering idler arms need to be replaced often as well. If needing to be replaced (to tighten up steering controls), go with MOOG brand idler arms and grease them during every engine oil change. Many say this MOOG brand is the best - for idler arm replacements.
    - For onboard cargo, I'd buy / install Timbrens SES units. They eliminate "factory mush" up/down rear suspension and more importantly, eliminate mass rear sag. To me, the Astro/Safari design should have been built with 4 leaf springs instead of factory 3 leaf springs. Install Timbren SES units and rear suspension sag is eliminate. Especially if loaded down for business cargo. For more details, surf:

    If the used van in question looks great, has been inspected by reliable mechanics and "feels right" to you (and is a good selling price), then its probably worth buying. Especially if its design fits your business hauling needs. After buying it, I'd install a tranny cooler for up to 5,000 lbs trailers (to make its tranny last longer), install Timbrens (to eliminate rear sag) and start using it. And, replace the other "design weak spots" IF they happen to you.

    Hope this helps...

  • helpmetodayhelpmetoday Member Posts: 2
    My Van Runs great, then the engine will stop, like I turned off the ignition switch. sometimes it will restart and run fine, other times it needs to sit for 15 to 30 minutes, then runs like nothing happened?
    I have taken it to three different repair shops, the first one replaced the coil and ignition module, the next two replaced the ignition module. This has happened in the last year and 2000 miles. Any ideas?? thxs
  • frostystonefrostystone Member Posts: 1
    i have a 1994 chevy astro van when i run the ac it get really hot there was a leak in water pump it was replaced doesnt run hot when in idle what can be the problem could ac be low or what can i check to see the problem
  • needhelpinpaneedhelpinpa Member Posts: 9
    Dear Frosty,
    I also have a '94 Astro but have not experienced your particular problem but I did have to replace my water pump and elected to get rid of my air conditioner for a "dummy" pulley.
    Could your problem possibly be, 1)- a bearing going bad on the AC? (mine was getting hot because the AC would not let the fan belt turn the fan fast enough). Or 2)- Could the thermostat be not opening fully and needs replaced? Check by dropping it in pan of boiling water. Or 3)- Could it have another leak somewhere and be low on antifreeze? Just some thoughts.
  • needhelpinpaneedhelpinpa Member Posts: 9
    Are you experiencing any other losses other than engine quitting?
    Here's my story for you to consider. My 94 Astro would die all of a sudden with loss of horn and lights as well. After a few moments the power returned and I was able to restart and be on my way. The 4rth time it did this it was for good. I realized also my fuel pump start up noise was missing. Checked wiring, fuses, fusable links, and relays but they were all good. It turns out the problem was the firewall plug itself behind the battery with the four wires. The plug was only feeding 3 wires. The other wire was dead and was the one that fed the lights, fuel pump, and horn. I wired it up direct and it is working. Check to make sure all four lines have power. Hope this helps.
  • sgtpsychosissgtpsychosis Member Posts: 5
    My van is acting as if there is no battery,
    I stick the key in the ignition and it freely rotates from ACC all the way to start, but there is no reaction from the van--no dome lights, no dash lights, no starter...NOTHING.
    The battery reads a littel over 18 volts.
    I put the voltmeter down at the solenoid, and it is good.
    The connections at the battery are good.
    The terminals are clean.
    I tried to jump the van using my Jeep, but the van just acts as if there is no battery. I even went so far as to disconnect the battery, and hook the jumper cables to the battery cables, but nothing.

    The only thing I can think of is the cylinder where the key goes in.

    Any ideas/opinions?
  • needhelpinpaneedhelpinpa Member Posts: 9
    I'm just a fellow Astro owner as well and have a suggestion. Check to see if you have headlights. If not, follow the positive wire that runs from the positive terminal back to the firewall; remove plastic cap and check for power. If ok continue past the in-line fusable links and check for power. If ok, check for power at the fuse panel (each column). Maybe something will show up that will help.
  • rpeprpep Member Posts: 4
    The battery on my 2003 Safari would not turn the van over. Because it is the original battery, I replaced it with a new one. It starts fine now but, when I turn the ignition key I hear a clicking noise before starting it. It clicks about 6 times and then stops. I heard this clicking with the old battery and thought it was because the battery was low or dead. Anyone have any idea what this may be?
  • Steve_01Steve_01 Member Posts: 42
    My 2 cents: 1) A possible bad ground. Check the connection of your cable coming from the battery to the frame or wherever it connects to the vehicle. It's worth loosening and re-tightening the ground connection at the frame just to make sure. Maybe even spray a little WD40 at the contact point before tightening the bolt. 2) Maybe your old battery damaged the starter solenoid? Where is the sound coming from? Under the van? If you think it might be the solenoid, disconnect the solenoid wire at the solenoid and connect an analog volt meter. Have someone turn the key while you watch the needle. If the needle stays steady, it's probably the solenoid. If it fluctuates, then the problem is somewhere else.
    Note: Just because your getting 12-14 volts at the starter doesn't necessarily mean that you have a good ground. A week ground will prevent adequate amperage from reaching the starter (not the solenoid).
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