Last post on Sep 16, 2012 at 9:36 PM
You are in the GMC Safari & Chevy Astro
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GMC Safari, Chevrolet Astro, GMC Safari Cargo, Van
#15 of 170 97 Astro Transmission Problem
Aug 30, 2001 (7:54 pm)
This proves my theory that American cars and trucks should have an extended warranty.
I have a 1997 Chevy Astro Van with 45K miles. Just like the other responses posted here, when I get off the freeway, and after a stop sign, the transmission had an adrupt shift from 1-2 gear. This is the clue the tranny starts to go bad. I took my van to the dealer and they confirmed it needed to be replaced with a new(rebuild) one.
Lucky for me, it was under warranty.$2,300 repair.
I like the interior room & overall shape of this vehicle but wish the quality was better.
p.s does anyone know how to disengage the daytime running lights?
Everyone honks at me when I go to
a drive-in movie.
#16 of 170 Reply to wasabi3 & ej99 re Trans Hard Shift
Sep 30, 2001 (12:01 pm)
We've experienced this problem (hard shift from 1st to 2nd) many times on our 97 and 98 Astros (which have interchangeable transmissions). Sadly, we had the same problem on one of our 99's, which are just beginning to reach the 60k range. The bad news is that the problem is very common. The better news is that there is a $350 fix. (I didn't say it was good news, but it's a lot better than the options you mentioned.) I don't know exactly what the "fix" consists of, but I understand it involves drilling and perhaps sleeving the hole that the "shuttle pin" (my word) travels through when the shift solenoid activates. Sorry I can't be more specific. Mike (our head mechanic)would be more eloquent. Perhaps one of the GM techs can provide more detail. But if you want more info from me, please let me know.
#17 of 170 If your Astro doesn't already have one,
Feb 21, 2002 (10:05 pm)
add an external transmission cooler. You can get a good one for less than $50, takes less than an hour to install, and makes a big difference in the life of the tranny, especially when towing.
#18 of 170 Transmission cooler
Feb 22, 2002 (8:35 am)
The General specifications for the Astro is that it is equipped with heavy duty engine and transmission cooling. They do not offer any additional cooling. I wanted to add an additional tranny cooler but was advised that the transmission needs to reach operating temperature for optimal life and that additional cooling is not a good idea. I don't know, but for now I'm sticking to GM recommendations, other than semi synthetic transmission fluid, and wish that I had used Mobil 1 a full synthetic fluid. The synthetic having a higher breakdown or degradation temperature than the regular Dexron III.
The General does recommend tow in 4th or overdrive to reduce the torque converter heating of the transmission. I assume the 99 has the tow mode button on the transmission, 97 does not have this. But if the transmission is doing a lot of hunting and dropping in and out of lockup then you need to bite the bullet and lock it out by down shifting.
That's all I know or maybe more.
#19 of 170 External Tranny cooler
Feb 22, 2002 (7:33 pm)
The external tranny cooler does not take the place of the internal radiator cooler. It is added after the radiator cooler so that the quick warm up is only slightly affected, but additional cooling is available when the engine cooling system is working overtime, such as towing during the summer. When I bought my '95 Safari, the service manager at the dealer suggested adding the external cooler for any vehicle towing in Texas. At the time, they did not sell the coolers, but would show how to put one on for the do-it-yourselfers. I have almost 70K on the van and have had -0- problems with the tranny. Maybe would have been okay regardless, but for $50 I decided that here in central Texas there was a much greater chance of the tranny running hot than cold. y'all have a good weekend.
#20 of 170 X-mission Cooler
Feb 23, 2002 (1:52 pm)
JL, Did you plumb the cooler using the short hose section going to the bottom of the radiator? Or cut the hard line from the top? I believe it is recommended to install the cooler downstream of the radiator in the return line, but it appears it is the return line that is all rigid and the supply line with the little section of hose.
Coonhound, just something about transferring loads from grade 8 bolts to spot welds I don't like. BTW the metric grade 10.9 exceeds SAE grade 8.
Thanks again- Andy
#21 of 170 Cooler is installed downstream.
Feb 24, 2002 (11:39 am)
I didn't use the included hose, I used power steering hose instead. Tends to last a LOT longer. Didn't cut any lines, I pushed the hose over the bevel and clamped it down. Used a nipple fitting on the radiator side.
The '95 was the extended with the 190HP engine, the aero nose (well, as aero as it could be) but did not have the new dash configuration. The 190HP was available as an option in '94, possibly earlier. As I have said before, don't run premium in these CPI engines unless you just like replacing injectors...
#22 of 170 Tranny cooler re visited
Feb 24, 2002 (6:01 pm)
Jim; After some discussion on this site I visited the local dealer parts department and now think I'm an expert. I looked at the computer parts display and came up with the following. The CPI engine stands for central port injection, and there is an injector at each cylinder, but I believe there is only one poppet valve and it sends fuel to every injector for each firing pulse the same as most systems did in early to mid 90s. The sequential port sends fuel to each cylinder on the intake stroke. The injection still has the central fuel distributor and I don't have a clue as to how the individual distribution is accomplished. Making another assumption, I believe there are 6 poppets in the central port assembly. Modern sequential port injection has a solenoid type injector at each cylinder intake.
I asked the parts man what is the weak link in the system and he said it is the fuel pressure regulator mounted on the central port assembly.
And I believe what you say about premium fuel, I assume it eats up the plastic injectors. I had one injector replaced under warranty just after purchasing the van with some 27000 miles on it. And have read on this post where there are more injector problems with California blended fuels.
#23 of 170 Transmission problems on 2000 Astro
Apr 07, 2002 (7:31 pm)
We currently have 32,000 miles on our 2000 Astro and it has had to have the 3rd and 4th gears replaced twice already. We put a lot of highway miles on this vehicle and occasionally tow an 1800 lb pop-up camper. I always use the tow-haul mode and 3rd gear when under 50 miles per hour. Has anyone else out there had problems with the transmissions? Other than alot of little nit noid quality issues (the driver side mirror whistles terribly, needed underside painted due to peeling paint after only 2 months) my wife actually likes the vehicle. We're thinking about trading it in already because of the transmission problems. Would like to hear back. thanks Timyak
#24 of 170 Re: Transmission problems
Apr 07, 2002 (9:18 pm)
I'm sorry to hear that GM has transmission problems again. I have a 97 Astro before the Tow haul mode, but have not towed my 4500# Award very much but have not had a problem either. My owners manual says to tow in overdrive to prevent torque converter heating, paraphrased.
If GM builds the best automatic then there must be some real junk out there.
You probably have covered this site where this one guy post about a fleet of these things with minimal problems. Two or three transmission problems on 97 models.