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2004 Safari RWD, 2002 Astro AWD
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You should drill a new hole on your brake bracket higher up.
Will solve future rear brake binding or possible lock up if cable is too tight when not in parking mode use.
 

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Fwiw, I deleted my oil cooler also. I did it after my new AC Delco lines started to leak…

The oil cooler is not needed, but these lines are a liability.
So much great work this van is going to last you a long time…. IMHO You are wise not to risk it for an oil cooler you don’t need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Fwiw, I deleted my oil cooler also. I did it after my new AC Delco lines started to leak…

The oil cooler is not needed, but these lines are a liability.
So much great work this van is going to last you a long time…. IMHO You are wise not to risk it for an oil cooler you don’t need.
thanks man. cant wait to have it back together so i can start the interior
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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6,157 Posts
Mwood said:
thanks man. cant wait to have it back together so i can start the interior
I still lost after page 1...
Are you able to post up any pics of the interior or engine compartment cleanup pics ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
been buttoning things up this week, Ill have another big post this weekend.

in the mean time I have two questions:

1) what is this plastic hose? you can see it underneath the distributor, it has a yellow mark on it. i broke a clip on it and feel like I should replace it. is it part of the pcv?
Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Automotive design Auto part Personal luxury car

Motor vehicle White Automotive tire Hood Black


2) what is this big lump under the driver's seat? some sort of electronics? i would love to put a fuel tank for the diesel heater here.
Hood Automotive tire Automotive exterior Motor vehicle Grey


any help is much appreciated

Mitch
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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1,676 Posts
been buttoning things up this week, Ill have another big post this weekend.

in the mean time I have two questions:

1) what is this plastic hose? you can see it underneath the distributor, it has a yellow mark on it. i broke a clip on it and feel like I should replace it. is it part of the pcv?
View attachment 287790
View attachment 287789

2) what is this big lump under the driver's seat? some sort of electronics? i would love to put a fuel tank for the diesel heater here.
View attachment 287791

any help is much appreciated

Mitch
My experience says:
I am not sure a diesel fuel tank should be there ( under the seat) , even if it was a flat area. ANY minor spill or venting would stink right under your seat. I do not think smelling some of the diesel could be avoided, and how would you fill a small tank in that location without spilling a drop off the end of a funnel?

I have a small Vevor 'All-in one' diesel heater, in my shop. The tank is enclosed, but with a very accessible cap on top. I try to be super clean with my diesel heater tank refill. When filling, it is sitting flat on the garage floor. Even so, it seems I nearly always smell fumes from it a day or two later, even when I see no evidence of any spillage.

Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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1,676 Posts
been buttoning things up this week, Ill have another big post this weekend.

in the mean time I have two questions:

1) what is this plastic hose? you can see it underneath the distributor, it has a yellow mark on it. i broke a clip on it and feel like I should replace it. is it part of the pcv?
View attachment 287790
View attachment 287789

2) what is this big lump under the driver's seat? some sort of electronics? i would love to put a fuel tank for the diesel heater here.
View attachment 287791

any help is much appreciated

Mitch
OH, and IIRC that is the location of the infamous Anti-lock brake control module ( ECBM) or some similar anagram, which reputedly suffers from solder connection issues and rusty screws if it lived in certain parts of the country.
Rod J
Issaquah


Rod J
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
OH, and IIRC that is the location of the infamous Anti-lock brake control module ( ECBM) or some similar anagram, which reputedly suffers from solder connection issues and rusty screws if it lived in certain parts of the country.
Rod J
Issaquah


Rod J
thanks for the info Rod, yeah good point im thinking i would have a hard time with fumes in that spot.
my van actually has an intermittent abs light that seems to come on under hard braking. could be a cluster issue i guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
got the engine back together today and the front diff back in, before i put it all back together i decided to run it and make sure i didnt have any catastrophic oil leaks.
well, it keyed on fine but as soon as I turned the key to the crank position the entire car died and is now completely unresponsive.

edit: a new bolt on the negative batt terminal solved the issue and she's running healthy. which means i probably got the distributor in right.
time to put it back together and drive it tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
good luck with the project!
thanks man haha richmond stand up. we have a good group out here.

in other news she's back together folks. what a 3 week saga. final update on this first mechanical pass next week. still a few minor things to work out and some stuff i didnt get to but she's road worthy again.


Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Vehicle Automotive tire
Car Vehicle Wheel Automotive tire Drink


enjoying a celebratory dip and taking in the last few rays of sunlight here on the mtn
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
here is a wrap up of the work done to get it back together

BUT first I would like to take a moment and appreciate the majesty of the vehicle my astro is replacing:
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my 02 mercedes 4matic wagon with a lift and AT tires. If anyone is looking for a daily driver that isnt an astro I cant recommend these enough, if you're going to work on it yourself.

anyway,
wrapping up the front axle
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I used some heat on the passenger's axle seal and it popped out with a regular seal puller, no issue.
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I beat the new seal in with a block of wood. you can see where the lip caught on the axle housing and folded it over. We will see if it leaks going forward, it hasnt yet.

for the Driver's side, I removed the cover bolts and took the seal and cover off
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As has been addressed before on this forum, the cover plate used to be available for purchase with a new seal preinstalled from GM, but has been discontinued. you can still get the seals which are both the same PN. However, if you try to pry the seal out of the cover plate you will almost certainly bend it and cause a leak. So you have to try and use a press of some kind.

Here is where I got really lucky. I wasnt sure how to press the old seal out of the cover plate but I was going to try and find some plumbing pipe at a hardware store.
I ran into a fellow member of this forum in santa cruz who spotted the part I was carrying and said "hey that's a diff cover" haha.
He told me he had just done the same seal replacement on his astro and used a 3" holesaw to cut out a space to press the seal in a 2x4. It turned out to be a great solution.

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The block of wood removed by the holesaw is also a great tool for hammering in the new seal.
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I cant find the guy who helped me but if you see this post throw in a comment. Crazy coincidence we ran into each other.

next I split the bracket that holds the original coil and cleaned up the pieces in the parts washer
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cleaned up the mounting surface for the cover plate and added a thin bead of permatex grey
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in between all of this I took some time and cut all of the rear heat and AC lines from under the chassis.
Everyone is already mad at me for removing these systems to I wont post how I did this, but you have to cut them out, they are above everything else, its extremely dangerous so just skip it haha.
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If anyone wants my rear heat module send me a PM Ill hold onto it for a couple weeks

battery tray back in post-rust repair
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Threw new oil pressure and coolant temp senders at it, both read accurately now on the dash
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Found TDC cylinder 1 to replace the distributor. Does anyone know why the intake valve is so thick?
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new Delphi distributor. has a metal body which is nice.
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I was worried it was off a tooth as it didnt line up perfectly with the case, however the van seems to run fine

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new Ac Delco double platinum. Service manual says 15 ft lbs.
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Can anyone help me identify if this is the original distributor?
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finally, I was throwing away the box for the new crank sensor and there were 2 shims in it. Im really glad I found these because i pulled the new sensor back out and it
was already scored on the tip just from turning the engine over to find TDC
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I reinstalled it with just one shim. There was no scoring on the OE sensor so I believe the new timing cover must be sitting in a slightly different position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Reinstalling the front suspension:

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I reinstalled the passenger's side bracket before reinstalling the diff. you can tighten the bolts while its in the car and the bushings are pretty tight in the chassis.
It was kind of a chore getting everything to line up. (yes, I fixed the serpentine belt later)
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There is only 5mm between my oil pan and the front diff. Scary. hopefully now that everything is poly they wont come in contact.

service manual page
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its been awesome having real GM service manuals. $25 well spent.

next. sway bar
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using some new moog thermoplastic bushings, they seem to work well.
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I had a ton of problems with moog parts while the front end was going back together.
first, I had to install washers on the new sway bar bushing brackets because the oe bolts were chewing through the brackets without them
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However, the bolt spacing causes the washers to interfere with the brackets, so I had to grind down the washers.
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not the end of the world, but wait, theres more.

next, the new moog lower control arms interfered with the frame bracket well before hitting the bump stop.
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the oe control arm:
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so then I had to go clearance the other arm while it was off the car
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I hit them both with some VHT paint but i dont expect the coating to last long. Very annoying.

The factory service manual states to install the front leg of the LCA first and then the rear, and you really have to do it this way or it will be HELL getting the bolts to line up in the bushings.
the driver's side LCA went on pretty easy but the passenger's was a nightmare. the way I did it was the install the front bushing bolt loosely and then use a floor jack and a big rubber mallet to beat the rear bushing into place so I could drive a bolt through the chassis bracket. I would expect all chassis to be a little different, some more difficult than others.

Then, the new Moog upper control arms came with a rivet where the brake cable bracket was supposed to be (and curiously, a bolt where the speed sensor cable mounts, which is a less critical
bracket..)
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super fun busting rivets out of brand new control arms. Funnily enough they come with both bolts, so its as if they expect you to remove the rivet if neccessary. maybe these arms fit multiple vehicles.

Here is my order of operations for installing the front suspension.

1) install LCA to chassis (bolts loose)
2) install torsion bar into LCA
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3) install torsion bar into xmember by rotating loose LCA until it slides in (then turn the LCA until you can insert the t-bar bolt bracket and let it rest on the bracket)
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4) install knuckle to LCA and torque BJ
5) install UCA to knuckle and torque BJ (do not bolt to chassis)
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6) install axle through space between frame and LCA (with the knuckle tilted forward because the UCA isnt bolted up)
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7) install axle into diff
8) bolt UCA to chassis
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If you dont do it this way and you install the axle before the UCA (like I did the first time) you will have a hell of a time torquing the UCA ball joint. you can probably get it with a crescent wrench socket or something like that though.

SKF front hubs
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I put some grease behind the axle seal in the knuckle, not sure if this was good or not but I figured it couldnt hurt anything
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now I went to install some new MOOG HD sway bar end links and lo and behold, the washers didnt fit through the holts in the new MOOG lower control arms.
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hardware store didnt have any good options so I got the flap disc back out and ground those down too.
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again, very annoying.

And then I destroyed one of the shafts while torquing it
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jokes on me because I ordered another set that has solid shafts, not these pos folded steel tubes but the new ones are also from moog

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I was going to reuse the front calipers but they were only $25 from my friend's supplier so I picked some refurbished ones up. never heard of "Nugeon" but they work well so far.
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I got a powerstop evolution kit for the front and rear from Rockauto for the car

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This my first car that has speed bleeders on it and Ill never go back. I ended up ordering the wrong ones for the rear drums but I got some Dorman versions locally that seem to work fine.
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I did not end up replacing the rear brake shoes and hardware yet as they have plenty of life left.
I ran out of time to do the rear wheel bearings and seals and I am going to look into getting a Posi put into the rear end so I will wait to mess with it until then.
There arent any awful noises coming from the rear end (yet) but there is definitely play in the wheel bearings.
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There was a ton of black crud in the fluid reservoir that I cleaned out but with the speed bleeders I could flush it for quite awhile and eventually got clean fluid.
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last step was torquing the axle bolts. 55 ft lbs. I replaced the bolts with grade 12 hex heads from ace as the originals were stripping.
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I ended up putting in a 3-row radiator from Ebay and a set of Summit e-fans.

The rad is a Spawon brand, it was $200 shipped and the welds aren't terrible.
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I know a few people on here have used these. It dropped right into my van, perfect fit no modifications to PS hoses etc. necessary.
However, I couldnt figure out a way to easily retain the stock fan shroud with it, so I decided to just fit some E-fans as I was itching to get rid of the oe clutch fan anyway.

I bought two inexpensive 13" summit fans, it was the biggest size that would fit side-by-side on the Spawon.
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I also bought one of these Craig Davies automatic fan controllers.
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I wanted to fit two fans side-by-side to avoid the need for a fan shroud. I think this setup will work fine for cooling even if I dont have full coverage of the heat exchanger

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I mounted the controller on the core-support next to the rad. this area has good access to a hot lead from the fuse box and a nice medium sized ground lug that is connected directly to the battery negative.
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I wired the fan harness directly into the controller as there are plugs that separate the fans from the rest of the wiring.
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I could have drilled a hole for a ground lug into the crossmember but I felt there was less opportunity for corrosion and a better connection going into a shared ground with the battery

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you can see the routing for the fan harness in this photo, its in its own length of conduit.

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this is the ground lug that has a direct connection to the batt

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There is a fan power wire into the controller that I added to an existing conduit that joins with a direct feed from the battery positive at the fuse box.
The power wire is unfused but each fan has its own 20A fuse.

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after that there's just a ground and switch power for the fan relays
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I used a fuse-tap to ENG-1 for the relay. you have to clearance the fuse box lid a bit to allow the wire to pass through it.

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next you have to shove a temp sensor into the radiator. the coolant inlet is also the closest side of the rad to the controller in this location which is convenient.
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the harness for the sensor they give you is super long so I just folded it up and stuffed it into some conduit

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the controller is pretty rad, it gives you a constant temperature reading in F or C and you just press a single push button next to the relay to raise the temperature at which the fans come on.
the radiator doesnt read quite the same as the engine temp especially if there is cold air passing over it, so you wait for the engine to get to temp and then set the controller to whatever temperature it reads at that point plus 5 or 10 degrees.
mine is currently set to about 180 but I may raise it if I cant get the engine to run a little bit hotter than it is right now.

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Click for video of the controller kicking on ^

One thing I would note is that there is a version of this fan controller that has a cover and that's probably the one to get. mine didnt come with a cover.

ALSO: Summit doesnt recommend any fans over 12" in diameter be mounted with the tie straps used here, so proceed with caution. We will see if over time they damage the core.
It isnt the best fan setup you could do but I think for the money (about $450 with the radiator) it isn't bad either.

After that it was time to put the van back together and drive it.
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I bedded in the brakes and got the van aligned on monday, then it drove back to the bay area.
There are still a couple issues with it, however.

Big issue 1 is the new Dorman pos harmonic balancer has a considerable amount of runout. I am worried about it destroying my brand new crank seal...
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Click for video ^
The Dorman was the only one I could get from my friend's distributor. I ordered a new GM balancer and AC Delco pulley from Rockauto to see if it will fix the issue.

There is also something that is dragging in the front end that is noticeably slowing the car down at a cruise and the brake pedal and steering are very stiff.
All of this could be because I didnt bleed the power steering properly. When I get the van back from the windshield shop I need to do that immediately.

All that brings us up to the present.

Mitch
 
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