Last post on Oct 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM
You are in the GMC Safari & Chevy Astro
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GMC Safari, Chevrolet Astro, Van
#681 of 1973 1999 Astro AWD LS 95k miles
Jul 07, 2004 (6:01 am)
Well, its been a week since my last post and bragging about my van. On our way to Myrtle Beach last week when we noticed that, upon exiting the interstate coming to a slow stop, we started hearing a thump noise from the rear of the vehicle. We continued on as the noise only occurred when coming to a stop, and slower than 10mph. After arriving, we headed out one night in the traffic. We noticed the van started shuddering when accelerating in 2nd gear. It wasn't slipping, just shuddering, enough to shake the dash. No lights on dash, but, we were worried being 7 hours from home. When it was time to come home, we took it easy. It got us home. I took the van to a local 'trusted' mechanic and he couldn't figure it out. I then took it to the Chevy dealer. They too were stumped as to the cause. The weird thing is that it didn't do this until it was driven 10 miles, maybe enough to warm it up. The service manager, lead Chevy technician, and another technician drove it trying to determine the cause. They fist started with a full transmission flush and filter kit. No results. They then flushed the transfer case. No results, but, they did say it would take about 100 miles for the transfer case synthetic oil to get through all the parts (weird, I know). They also fixed the sticking gas pedal (carbon build up). So, $400 later, I drove it home. After a day or so the problem was gone. It has been doing fine for a week. Absolutely not shuddering or thumping. We had hoped it was solved. So, last night on the way home from taking the kids swimming, 3 miles away, it started again. There are still no check lights illuminated. The Chevy dealer said that if it happened again, the next thing would be to tear into the transmission or transfer case. He said a rebuilt GM tranny was $2500 and a rebuilt transfer case was $1500. So, we are going to live it it for a few more weeks to see 'what' happens or, if it gets worse. The van is in great shape, no rust, perfect paint, etc. I just hate to put that much money in a vehicle with 95k miles and 5 years old. The GM service manager said that he would personally trade it if it was his. So, this might be the end of our Astro days, only time will tell, short time....
#682 of 1973 About that '95 AWD Astro.........
Jul 07, 2004 (12:46 pm)
Just a question or two because I had a similiar incident when mine was new. Does your van have a limited slip rear differential? Have you changed tires or rotated them front to back before the problems began?
In my situation, I put new tires on the van right after I picked it up from the dealer. The trouble was that one tire was not the same size as the other 3 and it happened to get mounted on the front. When it was rotated from the front to the back at 5,000 miles, it started trying to kick in the limited slip feature. The sensors were telling the limited slip to kick in because one tire was turning slower than the other. Chevy did all the things that they did to your van until one sharp eyed technician figured it out. Yeah, the tire dealer paid for it all.
Just thought I'd pass that along if it might be of help.
#683 of 1973 Fuel pump Location in 2004 safari RWD
Jul 11, 2004 (10:27 am)
Just bought a 2004 Safari RWD yesterday on impulse. Reading thru these message, see a lot of references to the fuel pump failures.. Is this pump inside the fuel tank?
#684 of 1973 Fuel pump is in the tank alright...............
Jul 12, 2004 (1:23 pm)
Yes, I just had my first fuel pump failure. I paid $634.14 to have it replaced with a new factory unit here in Seattle. The shop did tell me that they believe a lot of these failures are caused by owners driving on a nearly empty tank. Over time, they overheat and fail. They are long, narrow units that stick up high in the tank and are not submersed in fuel unless the tank is full or nearly so.
My 2 cents
#685 of 1973 Re: About that '95 AWD Astro......... [topsea]
Jul 13, 2004 (2:05 pm)
Good grief! That was the problem! As soon as I got home I checked the van! That was the third trip back to the tire dealer (National Chain). The manager wasn't there, but, I'll be sure to try and get him to pay for the work done at the dealer. There was only two mechanics on duty and they changed the tire free of charge. The problem was that 3 tires were 215-75-15 and one front tire was 225-75-15. We drove the van 1500 miles on the wrong size tire. I hope it did't mess up the transfer case, etc. I thought it was the tires, because the problem happened after we had new tires put on the van. But, I took it back to the tire dealer who said everything was OK. Only then did I take it to the dealer for hundreds of dollars of un-needed maintenance! Makes sense now. The AWD was kicking in thinking that the van was spinning. That explains the parking lot binding (worse than normal), the shudder when accelerating, and the thumping when coming to slow stop! Thanks for your help!!
#686 of 1973 Safari Astro guidance
Jul 13, 2004 (2:56 pm)
I am unhappily divorcing from a 1992 Toyota Previa, it was not designed with maintenance in mind. I am drawn to the Astro/Safari line because it sports the 4.3L vortec and rear wheel drive. I have a few questions. 1. Is there any difference in quality between the Astro versus the Safari? 2. What year did the vortec (I assume this means multi-port fuel injection) become standard equipment? 3. What is it like to work on this vehicle yourself, is there easy access to the top of the engine? 4. Is the 2001 model year as good as any? 5. Is the 8pass configuration as easy to maneuver as the 7pass? Thanks.
#687 of 1973 Bad rear shocks=Vibration
Jul 16, 2004 (5:12 pm)
Scenario: 98 Astro, 98,000 m,2 WD, NON limited slip,new front shocks, 6k on tires, also tires balanced and rotated once and seem to be wearing evenly, no metal in differential, new brakes. Problem: doing 55/67 mph. internittent medium frequency vib. in steering wheel, seat of your pants and console. WHEN it is vibrating you can hear a rumble from the rear-inside the van. If you hit the brakes when it is doing this vib.thing the whole van beginns to shake moderately.
Took it to the Dealer just before the 6y/100k warranty expired. They had it for the day and two techs could not feel the vib. it probably was not acting up at the time for them or they don't know vibs.
Could it be the original rear shocks ???
I am just a jet Aircraft Maintenance Technician, what do I know about vibs......
#688 of 1973 Re:Astro guidance.
Jul 16, 2004 (8:01 pm)
There isn't any difference in the Astro and the Safari. They are both built in Baltimore and will continue production until mid 05 model year.
The major engine change was in 95 when the engine rating was increased from 165 HP to 190 HP & I assume the Vortec designation.
The 8 passenger and the 7 passenger van is the same size and wheelbase i.e. maneuverability is the same.
Some other changes in the 18 year old design.
97, supposedly ruggedized the 4L60E transmission.
99, added the tow haul mode to the 4L60E trans.
Around 02, 03, and 04. changes. Changed the computer program to eliminate the EGR valve. Added disc breaks on the rear. Changed to Synthetic fluid in the differential. Cheapened the base model by eliminating the folding and sliding rear seats in the 8 passenger model.
Changed the fuel injection system again, I believe in 03. Side door beams were added sometime after 97, (my model year), and this reduced the rated fuel mileage from 17, 21 to 16, 20, on the rwd.
Issues, but not major:
Transmission valve body on 97 models.
Sticky throttle body valve.
EGR valve on models so equipped.
Fuel pump if fuel level not properly maintained as a pump coolant.
Fuel pressure regulator on early models, and injectors. These problems mostly caused by using California formulated fuel and or using a premium fuel.
Differential is a little on the weak side if used for heavy towing. Synthetic lub, and or recommended frequent changes alleviate this problem.
Brakes are a little on the weak side.
Summing up: Like a rock, it is one tough truck. If you have the 8 passenger you can remove the rear seats and haul 4X8' sheets of wallboard and plywood. The center seats are bolted in on the 7 passenger. But it takes two men and a boy to lift the rear seats. Actually I do it by myself but they are heavy. I would recommend the 2003 if within your price range due to the disk rear brakes, improved injection system, no EGR valve, and the synthetic lube already in the differential.
Maintenance work is not all that difficult. Considering some of the other vans. i.e the Venture for instance.
#689 of 1973 Re:Astro guidance. [coonhound]
Jul 16, 2004 (9:24 pm)
Thanks for the info. This helps us with our decision to replace the Previa, which was not designed with shade tree mechanic maintenance in mind.
#690 of 1973 Re: Bad rear shocks=Vibration [bsmoodha]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Jul 16, 2004 (9:50 pm)
Bent rim or some other wheel problem?
Try asking in the Got a Quick, Technical Question? discussion - maybe there's some A&P propeller heads in there who can help.