2000 Astro Exterior Door Handle Replacement

2000 Astro Exterior Door Handle Replacement

Postby harryevan [OP] » June 4th 2011, 9:13pm

2000 Astro AWD LT
2nd owner since Dec 07
195K - 60K are mine.

I've seen an few threads about the exterior drivers door handle on this forum and another. There's a thread with good pictures, but I think that method requires a deft, little guy who can bend his forearm in the middle... I did it that way last time and it took a while. I also made the mistake of buying the cheaper offering that came from Taiwan, and it lasted about 6 months for all my efforts. I think I got it at Rockauto, but since they sold the cheap one and the GM replacement, shame on my shallow pockets. The choice was an $18 handle over the $81 GM part.

So, find a GM replacement part - they even look stronger out of the box. Mine was stamped "Canada", which is okay by me. Parts.com sold me this on for $51 USD, with S&H, but it took a week to get here. Definitely wait for warm weather and get the door panel tool. The skins in the 2nd generation Astro are expensive, don't have a separate arm rest (and no one on these forums has come up with a good way to replace them without duct tape) and the plastic that hold the 2-piece panel retainers can get brittle - the bracket that holds the top of the button will break (and how does he know?).

You might want to hit a Dorman help rack before hand for a few of the nylon rod-end bushings (clamps?) and a few of the 2-piece panel retainers, if you can find them. Unless you've made an opening in the door above the latch for the top nut on the handle, close the window (ya think?) and take the skin off.

Since this was the second time, and I wanted to see how it would go, I took the latch out. You have to disconnect the rods at both ends (get that little guy to help) except for the one to the exterior key tumbler (leave that on the latch), take the 3 latch screws out and move it through the maze of window guides and other crap in there - it ends up coming out by turning it in place towards the hinges, move it up over the top of everything and move it about 10 inches towards the hinges then down. Pay attention, 'cause it goes back in the same way. This lets you clean and lube the latch and check/replace the rod-end bushings.

Once the latch is out of the way, you can get at both handle nuts with a 10mm socket and an extension, straight in. This must be the way it's assembled at the factory: handle before the latch, given the access through the latch opening.

I think that's because the engineers (those wonderful guys with a piece of paper on their office wall that says they are smart) don't buy, drive and work on the vehicles they design anymore. Besides, everyone who buys anything these days has a warranty, a Mr. Goodwrench that they can trust and a pile of money, so why make it easy for the owner to work on? I wonder if the GM service manual talks about factory assembly order? If I could afford the $130, I'd get a GM FSM 'cause the Haynes' and Chiltons' manuals are pretty fuzzy about 2nd gen Astros.

Put the latch back in, and that's a puzzle in itself. If you keep the exterior lock rod on the latch, position it down the side of the latch and feed the latch in, rod first. Once the latch is screwed in, reconnect the rods to the latch - the inside lock and inside activator first. They aren't too bad, and you can move them back and forth through the guides, as needed. The exterior lock rod is relatively easy to pop in, and a key in the lock helps to get the bushing in a good spot. The outside handle rod can get turned around while you move the latch through the maze, so position it first and keep it in mind. Move the handle to help get it right, too (if you are replacing a cheap handle, the GM handle is a little different in the angle of the rod-bushing's hole). I'd like to know how they put this door together at the factory...

Once that's all in and checked to be sure it works (no, really?) put the skin back on the door, being careful to line up the 2-piece panel retainers 'cause the shaft on the skin-side retainer breaks too easy when you tap them in place. I saw a thread from a guy with a '94 whose doors were locked when he was done. On the 2nd gen models, its easy enough to do that , too (and how does he know?) so watch the linkages as you put the upper skin panel (with all of the switches for electric stuff) back together.

An hour and a half the first time if you have everything and found the thread with the pictures ahead of time. BYOB. I also replaced the hinge pins and bushings earlier in the week (but that's another story), so the door doesn't even act like it used to. I'm really surprised at how easy the GM handle works, I didn't think it was latching...
harry evan
2000 Astro LS AWD
212K and stopped running
Original Poster [OP]
harryevan
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Posts: 17
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Location: Carr, Colorado
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Alias (AKA): harry evan
Year: 2000
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LS AWD

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Re: 2000 Astro Exterior Door Handle Replacement

Postby Leeann_93 » June 4th 2011, 9:56pm

I got my GM factory service manual on eBay. Less than $20 to my door...ymmv.
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'99 Safari XLE AWD vin W - broke
'93 AWD EXT vin W - real broke
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Re: 2000 Astro Exterior Door Handle Replacement

Postby BillyJoBob » March 15th 2012, 10:43pm

Further to harryeven's post. I am in the middle of replacing my driver door handle. Figured out an easier way to get at the top nut holding the top bolt in place, I drilled a 1" hole in the side jamb right next to the bolt. Now I can feed the nut inside the door to the bolt on a magnetic pickup tool with my right hand and hold the nut in place with my left forefinger while I then spin it on with my right forefinger till it's tight enough to get the 10mm shorty wrench on it. Cut waaaaay back on my frustration cuz it was in n out a few times trying to get the rods right, which I haven't done yet.

Still searching for the post about this with pics. If anyone has that bookmarked and can post a link, it would be greatly appreciated

Thanks

BJB
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Year: 1998
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Re: 2000 Astro Exterior Door Handle Replacement

Postby Jasen » March 15th 2012, 11:54pm

I popped the lock cartridge loose and let it hang there out of the way, which was no big deal, and it was easy as pie after that.
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