Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

GMC Safari/Chevy Astro Electrical Problems



  • 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 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...

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Helpmetoday,
    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.
  • 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?
  • 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 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?
  • 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).
  • rpeprpep Posts: 4
    Thanks for your response. I will check the ground as you suggested and re-tighten. Another question, would the clicking occur (ground or solenoid) even though the I just turned the key on, but did not attempt to start it? I am puzzled as to why the clicking is 6 to 10 clicks and then stops on its own. Any info is appreciated.
  • Ahhh... no. If the sound you are describing happens when you turn the key on but not all the way as in starting the engine, then this is not the solenoid. I must have misunderstood the original description. If the sound happens from just turning the key to the ON position and is possibly accompanied buy a high pitched buzz at the same time, then this is normal. The buzz is the fuel pump. I never figured out what that clicking sound is but mine has done this since day 1. I bought it brand new in 97. Thanks for following up. I wouldn't want to send anyone on a wild goose chase.
  • rpeprpep Posts: 4
    O.K. Thanks again. Sounds like the clicking may be normal. Funny that I never noticed it before until my battery went dead and I replaced it. Thanks again.
  • I agree, strange that it never made that sound before. If someone else thinks they know what the clicking sound is, please feel free to join in. Mine doesn't do it every time but it does do it often. My guess is that it is something along the lines of a purge valve re-initializing or re-calibrating it's position?
  • Two things come to mind, (1.)check grounds,esp. battery ground cable to engine.
    (2.) Have a mechinic trouble shoot the ignition switch,make sure all contacts
    are working!
  • First, was the van overheating and was the engine oil, full ! Just something to look for !
  • Replace your themostat, you might want to flush out the cooling system !
  • Thanks,

    I found that the problem was an internal short in the stock radio. I replaced the radio and haven't had the problem since.
  • NO POWER,no lights,will not crank motor,nothing electrical works!2001 Asrto Van,no electrical inside or out, no lights,no dash lights,nothing electrical
    works,Does the"Battery Protecter"have anything to do with electrical power for
    the complete van.The "Battery Protecter"is located on the firewall behind the
  • I have a 2001 Astro,and it is doing the same thing,I get power to the "Intellitec Battery Guard",but pass that no power.I called the auto parts to buy a new one,but they can;t find that part(Intellitec Battery Guard)in their parts list for my van.
    So it must be an after market thing,I guess.Anyone,any suggestion!
  • I unhooked the "Intellitec Battery Guard" system,and power came back to everything. I had to unhook the "battery guard"box under the dash also.
    This system keeps the battery from being drained,if my battery drops below
    10 volts,it will not reset,also I connected the right post on relay under the hood
    to the left post on relay with the wire that came off battery and went to fuse box
    under the dash.Everything is OK,van starts,all the lights work GREEEAAATTT !
  • 2000 astro van Battery and alternator are both new and checked out to be in working order. I am only getting 12 volts charging with the motor running should be 14 to 15 volts. In desperate need of ideas of what to look at next.
  • I had a Chevy Impala use to do the same thing,I changed the starter,and worked
    fine after that! Take the starter to autozone and ask them to test it.
  • Not sure,but the alternator might need to be polorized,ask the parts dealer
    where you bought the part,some alternators can be polorized,some can"t !
  • I took the wire off of the right side of battery guard relay,and hooked it to the left side of the battery guard relay that goes to the fuse box to the left of battery
    under the hood.
    :) I stated early "Fuse Box Under the Dash"not so the fuse box under the hood!So Please,remember Fuse Box Under the Hood!
  • Just something to look at, clean the headlight lens, sometimes a film
    builds up on the outer glass/plastic !
  • Not sure, but I have seen the computer,cause a "N0 Spark"!">
  • Sounds like a short in the wiring,you might have to take off the steering wheel
    to get to the wiring , not sure about that, check your manual!
  • Check the dimmer switch that operates the interior lights,mine is next to the headlight switch!
  • can you tell me what leave of difficulty that was to do . i got the same thing with my 01 will it mess any thing up crossing the wire like that and what am i looking for under the dash you should put what you did on youtube since its seems to be a common problem
Sign In or Register to comment.