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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro



  • 13 is what I get in city also. 2001 cargo 3.42 axle. How much better are the 2wd in the city?

    Sammy Castagna
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    13 mpg??...yes, the 2WD van is better. You're ok with 13mpg, buy a Suburban for the AWD, V8, space, towing, good looks, oh..and same mileage. My '00 2WD cargo gets 17city and 19-20hwy with the 3.42 rear end and I drive pretty hard. Yes, I document every fill up. Again, I go back to how bad do you need AWD. If you need it-suffer. If you don't- why suffer?
  • I was not complaining just wondering. I bought the Safari because I had to have a cargo van to use for work. I got the AWD because I wanted it.

    Sammy Castagna
  • juliansjulians Posts: 42
    I have a 1991 Astro. It blows a good size puff of smoke at start up. Seems to run good after that, maybe a bad smelling exaust. No loosing oil, coolant, anything. How much should I expect to pay for a valve job? Is it even worth getting one done?
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    It's nice to see someone who doesn't whine about AWD. I have a buddy in the same line of work I'm in, we both have Safaris (his AWD, mine 2WD) but he's always with the "man, the mileage...whaaah the mileage" then why did you buy it?! At least you got it and like it.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I had an Jeep CJ that did the same thing your van does, but my problem was where the oil would drip past the valve seal overnight. I tried oils that were "made for older cars" and they worked a little. Depends on the mileage your motor has clocked as to the work you should do. My Jeep had 120K, so I left it alone.
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    I grew up around Suburbans but I have an AWD Astro because it will carry more cargo(with the seats out) than a Suburban. When GM finally kills the Astro I'll probably have to go to an AWD Express or Savanna.

    My Astro has a 3.73 locking dif and I don't complain about the mileage as it gets about the same as my Mom's Suburban. My Astro is a business vehicle and it has the space and guts to get me around the northwest with all my "stuff".
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    Amen to our vans and that room inside. I keep trying to talk my better half into a Safari/Astro but her friends all drive SUVs and you know it's hard to be cool and practical at the same time...hahaha:) I hope GM realizes that, if nothing else, removal of these vans would be detrimental to their fleet/commercial sales enough to warrant a second look.
  • grc4grc4 Posts: 15
    Well...after 20 years of Astro Vans, I finally gave up on the depreciation and on going maintenance of this van. Don't get me wrong, I love the utility of this van and the interior design. However, I can't continue to absorb the repairs and the depreciation of this vehicle. I just traded a 2000 Astro Van with 86,000 miles that needed a transmission, shocks, door window motor, door lock actuator, front rotors, carb kit and battery. Likewise in three years, I have replaced two door actuators, three window latches, transmission cooler hose, two sets of front brake pads, two sets of tires, several batteries, couple shocks & door switch. After all of that, then your hit with the market depreciation & Van depreciation on top of it.

    And then the final straw was Chevy making the 7 passenger seating option available on the top LT model only.

    So, the bottom line is, if you can afford all of the maintenance and depreciation of this van, it a great vehicle. But if you are an average American with a family that has other obligations, this vehicle is not for you.

    Take care.
  • creidcreid Posts: 54
    I know your pain, I was looking at trading my 2001 AWD Safari SLT w/ leather, 7 pass, tow pkg, run bds, locker rear and all the goodies w/ 19K miles & the best trade offer was 11K. The van cost $33K new, so I will pay it off and keep it before I get robed due to the very poor depreciation this vehicle has.
  • grc4grc4 Posts: 15
    This was the same thing that I was face with last year. I was going to trade the van last year for another van but was offered $9,500 for a $25,000 Van that was two years old. If you get good reliable from the van, I would keep it also. The only improvement that I have notice in 20 years has been the tie rods and idler arms. Other than that, the Astro Van has been basically the same.

    In 20 years, I have owned 9 vans and love everyone of them except for the previous stated problems.

    Good luck with yours!
  • I guess they do not hold their value because of being unreliable. Consumer Reports gave them terrible marks in the latest Annual Auto Issue.

  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    My daughter and son-in-law had an old used 87 Astro and they had to replace the water pump and alternator so they gave it to the Salvation Army with only slightly over 200,000 miles on it.

    I had a 94 Co. driver that I drove 88,000 miles and then purchased it. I don't know why I bought the problem vehicle as I had had to replace the spark plugs twice.

    I traded it for a 97 Astro program vehicle with 27,000 miles on it. I had to have an injector replaced under warranty. Rear pinion seal, serpintine belt, also under warranty. But it only has 45,000 miles at this time as I only use it to tow a 30' RV.. And the fuel mileage is atrocious, only getting 14 to 15 mpg in tow, and 21 solo Hyway. Forgot, I did put a set of brake pads and rear shoes on at around 38,000 miles. Not required but I installed Monroe load levelers on the rear and KYB monomax shocks on the front.
  • All I am saying is that it appears that the problems per 1000 vehicles is way out of line for Safari/Astro, and most of GMC's other products as well.

    Sammy Castagna
  • I have 18,000 miles on a 2001 AWD Safari. I was looking through the manual and I saw something that I had overlooked, and something that no one had suggested while taking the vehicle to the dealership for service. The manual said replace the limited slip differential oil at the first oil change needless to say I am late. It was high $100.

    Sammy Castagna
  • jflynn65jflynn65 Posts: 6
    Hi, I just got my 2000 Astro LS out of the body shop, where it's been laid up for seven weeks. It needed to have the engine cradle/frame replaced. Anyway, when my wife and I got it back after driving rentals, etc, we both wondered if the steering wheel had been swapped. It is now sporting a black wheel, and we both thought it used to be brown. But we could just be imaging things. So the question is this - what color steering wheel/column surround should there be in a 2000 Astro LS with brown interior?

    As far as the other threads here, we get about 20 mpg in our 2000 AWD-equipped Astro on the highway, anywhere from 12-16 city. No major issues since purchase in 9/2000. Only warranty repair was the driver's side power window switch (2 times).
  • jflynn65,
    I can not help you with the wheel color. But what is the engine cradle/frame? Where the engine sits? What made it go bad and what were the symptoms?

  • jflynn65jflynn65 Posts: 6

    My Astro was involved in a collision. We were stopped, and a stolen car careened through an intersection and hit us on the left front corner doing about 30 or so. His car, Ford Focus, wrapped around the left front corner of the van and was completely destroyed. I was able to drive the van to the dealership. Turned out that the frame was bent, in addition to the visible damage (hood and fender). Rather than straighten the frame, they replaced it. Part cost is about $2500, and 17 hours or so of labor (all front suspension needs to come out, engine/tranny/xfer case disconnected, etc). Total bill for all repair work was $7200.
  • Thanks for the explanation.

  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I'm not sure on the brown interior, but my 98 had blue interior with black wheel and column and my 00 has pewter with black wheel and column. If your airbag deployed in the crash they may have replaced the wheel/column with a new air bag/wheel. May want to check with the body shop.
  • jflynn65jflynn65 Posts: 6
    Thanks for the info dadoftay. I found some images on the net of Astro's with brown/neutral interior, and they all had black wheels. Airbag did not deploy. All the bags in the car that hit us deployed, though. I called GM about that and they said bags wouldn't go off unless vehicle determines you are at risk of hitting wheel. Not likely to happen if you aren't moving at time of impact.
  • I got 110,000 miles on me and it runs like a champ. it tows my 2 wave runner like there nothing there. I can get 20mpg out of it witch is fine with me (hey its a box). the only problem I've had was the trans, had to replace it. my fault I got it to hot. I hope that they don't stop making it. SUV are to much money.
    Also if you get a hypertech power progamer 3 you change the fuel curve so when running 92 octane you get more power, and change the shift point to run high and shift harder (less heat on trans).

    well there is my 2 cents
  • dusty19dusty19 Posts: 1
    I have owned 2 astros (1986 & 1993) and 2 Safaris
    (2000 & 2003). All but the 2003 have been excellent vehicles once I changed the Uniroyals for Michelins. I have logged over 450,000 miles on the first 3 vans. The 2003 has had a vibration thats close to a rumble that becomes so loud at 70mph that you can't have a normal conversation and now at 9000 miles has developed a whine between 40 & 50 mph. All the dealer wants to do is "lets take a ride" and then states that "I can't hear any thing". When delivered the rear axle housing looked liked it came from underwater storage. It was rusty and the paint was cracked and peeling. BTW it's a posi rear end. Is this an example of GMC Professional Grade?
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    You mention that the axle housing "looked like it came from the underwater storage". I have seen the same thing on a new Silverado extended cab pickup some time ago. The whole rear axle and the springs were rusty, looked as if the truck was in a flood for a week. I test drove the truck and the A/C did not work at all. The salesman was rather embarassed but he lost the sale that day.

    My 95 Nissan SE V6 truck rear end came painted black, no rust at all and still looks good after eight years.
  • socalchevsocalchev Posts: 20
    I had the same problem on my 2003 with 14k miles on it, and it turned out to be the front wheel bearing. It didn't occur until we reached 65-70 mph.
  • I just purchased a '98 Safari SLT AWD with power locks. It did not come with remotes for keyless entry. Does anyone know how to find out how to get a keyless entry system installed? I see that there are aftermarket kits but I would like the factory setup.
  • max73max73 Posts: 2
    I have a 96 Astro with 100,500 miles. Have owned it since it had 30,000 miles. I bet when it is all said and done the Astro/Safari problems will be far far fewer than any Minivan ever made. I have only had to replace the alternator, drivers power door lock motor and drivers power window motor in those 100,000 miles. All occurred from 80 to 99,000 miles. Did all work myself / only paid for parts. All other items were standard maintenance. Brakes, plugs, tires, battery and so on.
  • apmapm Posts: 11
    I have to agree with you I've had an'85,'93, and now a '99 and I've had the same experience. Once or twice a year crawl unerneath and grease all of the zierk fittings (abt. 12 or 13).
  • mwdreammwdream Posts: 91
    Wife's safari back in the shop today. A/C not blowing through some of the front vents???

    Anybody else have this problem?

    I am guessing in the past 2 years, we have had $3000 worth of dealer repair bills... lucky that our extended warranty has covered most all of it. Once the warranty is up, this car is gone. I would rather pay $300 a month on a different car, than repairing an old GMC.

    By the way it is a 1997 Safari. Right now the back window seal is leaking, but warranty won't cover seals. If GMC is building a car with bad window seals that is not saying to much about GMC. I did consider the Envoy for myself. Glad I know better from owning a Safari.

    We are going Toyota or Honda for next purchase.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    I'm reading the posts with "problems" as mostly dealer problems. Buying a vehicle with "rust" underneath...what the heck?? As the man says "Just walk away". Servicing these vans is by far the easiest in the GM fleet. The ol' box hasn't changed in 20 years. Add a couple of dash changes and some new colors through out the years and badda bing. Every vehicle gets hits with a few problems. Neighbor just bought a new Honda Pilot for the "we don't discount this car" price of 32,000. Uh...can you say no air conditioner and rear speakers don't work after 2 weeks. For 32G, a Suburban tows the boat, all your gear and that Pilot. My 2000 Safari has 96,000 on it and the ONLY problem I've had is my dealer keeps wanting to get me in new van when I go to have the oil changed. Guys, find better service technicians, they make owning a car so much more enjoyable. It's your money, make the people EARN it, not take it. (by the way, not bashing Honda, my brother is a service technician for them- luv ya bro!)
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