Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby chemist [OP] » August 13th 2009, 3:57am

I don't know how to tell when your ignition coil is on the way out. It may start with power decreases as mine did. But it will eventually fail. You could be procrastinator and wait like me, then end up doing it at the most inopportune time possible. My advice would be to do it when you do the spark plugs and wires. It's a $30 dollar part, and with as much of a pain as the engine cover is to remove, you might as well do it then anyway.

Start by removing the engine cover, as shown in one of my previous posts, found here: http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4079

Once you have that off, your ignition coil is located here:

Image

It looks inaccessible, but it isn't. The ignition coil is kind of tucked in there, but it can be gotten out. The ignition coil is contained in a bracket that has another component attached, and is bolted to top of the motor. There may be another bracket holding it down—we'll cover that later.

Start by removing the insulated wire, as shown (note: replacement wire should be obtained from a spark plug wire kit.)

Image

Next remove the wire harness on the other side of the ignition coil.

Image

The ignition coil bracket is held on by 2 – 10 mm bolts. To remove them you'll need a deep well 3/8” drive or 1/4” drive socket with one or two short to medium sized extensions. I could not give good pictures of these bolts. They are in a straight line going from the passenger compartment toward the front of the van. Note the location of the one closest to you by the position of the socket and extensions. If you look closely, just at the edge of the ignition coil shadow you'll see the second one appearing to be under the coil—it's not, it's just on the other side, toward the front of the van...

TIP: Use a telescoping magnet at the bottom of your socket to catch the bolts as they come out—if you don't know what I'm talking about, it's something like this one: http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_TELESCOPING-MAGNET-Ampro_9021426-P_N3499_T|GRP2083____

Alternatively, dip your socket in all purpose grease before slipping it over the bolts. If your lucky, the bolts will stick inside when you pull the socket out.

Image

If you're incredibly unlucky—I was—there will be a bracket still holding it. If not, scroll down to the part where it comes out.

If you are so unlucky, remove the air intake assembly, as shown in one of my previous posts, found here: http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1142

Below are photos of that bracket I was telling you about (taken from inside and outside the van. There are two 10 mm bolts on it. To get at them, you'll need a 10 mm deep well socket, extensions and a universal joint—3/8” drive worked best for me. Either dip the socket in grease or use a telescoping magnet to retain those bolts—one is actually a nut and not a bolt.

Before you do this, there is a 10 mm screw—best removed from inside the van. In the top photo, I tried to point at it with a screwdriver, but didn't get a great photo of it. To remove, you will need a 10 mm racheting wrench. You will also need a telescoping magnet to catch this.

Image

Front of bracket:

Image

Okay, you're finally ready to pull out the ignition coil. There is a wiring harness attached to another part on the ignition coil bracket—remove it.
Image

Unless the bracket has bolts or screws, it's riveted. Secure the whole thing in something like a vise and drill out the rivets—once you have one end out, you can tap them out with a small screwdriver or something.

Image

You'll need to reassemble the bracket onto the new ignition coil.

Image

Image

Once done, re-install the same way it was removed.

TIP: As you've no doubt figured out, human hands don't reach many of the places you need to go to re-install bolts. You'll need to hold bolts and nuts in a socket, often connected to extensions and/or universal joints. One way to keep bolts in a socket is to dip the end of the socket in grease. Another is to try to position the nuts or bolts using a telescoping magnet. You take a chance either way. I prefer the grease method.

If anyone more experienced has other tips, or notices anything I might have missed, please reply to this post and give them.
Last edited by chemist on August 13th 2009, 5:33am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby rev_les » August 13th 2009, 4:17am

nice write up! The extra component on there ( early models don't have it) is your ignition module. :mrgreen:
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Matrixx » August 13th 2009, 4:58am

Another outstanding post and writ-up chemist. Great job I must say, Thanks.:)
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby gollihughj » February 9th 2010, 11:35pm

Great post, a big help in my mission to replace the coil on my 96 ASTRO 2WD. I was lucky and didn't have a second bracket to remove. Still had the 3 main studs to secure the coil bracket to the block. However, on mine the stud closest to the front of the van had the throtle cable bracket mounted on it, which had to be removed from the stud before the stud was removed. Thanks again Chemist for your great post, really saved me some time and saved me from alot of frustration!
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby workinVan » February 10th 2010, 3:45am

i did mine 2 months ago including the control module
i did the control module again last week as the part failed and needed to be replaced( thank god i bought a code reader that i keep in the truck) the problem was that the screws holding it on had rusted and become a little to brittle to be tightened without snapping after i hit a big pothole that rattled it off
as the only screws i had that fit through the icm holes were stainless steel woodscrews i had to put a wood block on the backof the bracket but its more solid then broken screws.
on the plus side my milage went from 12/ gal to 14/gal and i can accelerate uphill again.

its a great part to change if you have **** mileage and a lack of passing power.
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby bkmorency13 » August 11th 2010, 4:18am

:ty: Will definitely help me out in the morning. i cant wait to see how much more power I'll have once finished. its like a light show down there right now. hard to start, but runs great once started. will post my news once finished. i would upload photo's but my laptop doesn't have a port to do so.
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby lind777 » June 2nd 2011, 6:47pm

I have the extra bracket which causes a huge pain. I found I did not need to completely remove the one screw that you loosen from the front (left hand, lower one which removes vertically when looking at it from the front).
Also, I highly recommend opening the front hood to let more light in as well as removing the air intake assembly to let more light in.
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby jimg » November 27th 2011, 10:24pm

Just a note on hoding those nuts or bolts on the end of your socket, try doubling up some paper towel and placing the towel over the head - then force the socket on. the paper will jamb and hold your bolt long enough to get it threaded. Lots o luck on the repairs.
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby beninski » March 25th 2012, 5:20pm

Hello. I just joined this website and must say that this acticle's instructions on ignition coil replacement was extremely helpful. Other than doing brakes myself, this is the first real repair job I've attempted. My 2000 Safari now starts in damp weather and I am noticing a huge increase in acceleration power. Thanks for a great post!!
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby junkout » March 31st 2012, 3:04pm

i changed mine without removing the bracket i just drilled out the rivits in place and bolted new coil in changed ignition module with bracket still on engine to i thought it was easier but you may not
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Brian D » April 10th 2012, 9:34pm

In regards to the coil replacement on 2000 and up Chevy Astro that was a great description with pictures however I think I found an easier way.. Basically the coil is sandwiched in between that bracket that is a pain in the butt to get out and has to be removed from engine along with another electrical component.. If you look at the coil itself from the passenger side, there are only 2 rivets holding the coil in there where there should be BOLTS,, GRRR.. Just drill the bottom 2 rivets out and you should be able to pull the coil right up and out without disconnecting "anything else" other than the wiring harness and spark plug wire...
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby george » July 15th 2012, 4:51pm

New member here, great website. Thanks to the chemist for this info, I never would have tried this without this blog. That being said, I still made a rookie mistake and didn't pay close enough attention to the order in which I removed the nuts & 10mm bolts holding the coil bracket & cable bracket that sits on top. Is there anyway to get an exploded schematic of this on-line? My searches haven't gotten very far. Thanks for the info.
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby kennysmoke » January 26th 2014, 8:12pm

I just changed the coil in my 2003 following these steps... although difficult to reach everything it went smoothly... thanks for the great write up!
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Re: Ignition Coil Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby martian » June 21st 2014, 1:09am

Also want to declare my appreciation for this. I wasn't aware of the second bracket (the throttle cable mount) and was getting quite frustrated. Thanks!
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