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Maybe it's a pipe dream? I love the look of the 2000's Astro/Safari vans. I love to build sleeper style cars. There's no fun in playing around with a hot rod if everyone knows it's a hotrod. My last build was a 96 chevy express hi top conversion van with a 383 stroker motor and fully built trans. That was a lot of fun to drive!!! The Astro van would be so much of a better option due to its weight. I think a v8 swap would require to much modification. A 4.3 is basically a 350 with two less pistons. Is there enough room up front to mount twin turbos? The sbc engine has turbo manifolds that are essentially mounted backwards so the exhaust exits the front, the turbo headers for the sbc engine do the same thing. Could the header be modified to remove and block off the 4th exhaust tube so it would mount to a 4.3? Then mount the turbos up front like the sbc guys do. Or use a design like the 3.1 turbo with a crossover pipe to connect each header and run a single turbo? Just brainstorming here. Lol. I can't believe it hasn't been done like this, but maybe that for good reason? I hate the idea of rear mounted turbos! A turbo (or twin turbo) AWD 4.3 would be great in this unassuming family cruiser. I just started researching this so hopefully I'll find info that supports doing a build like this on one of these vans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I got that Popcorn back from Costco - what are we waiting for ???

I'm just tossing around the idea. I've been thinking about it on and off for a while. I'm really just starting to do my homework on it and I'm in no rush. I wonder why no one has done it yet? Is it because it's a van for soccer moms or because people don't care enough to try? I've seen some of the YouTube videos with rear mounted turbos and it's great if that's your thing but I think a front mounted turbo system would be cool. If this is the wrong section to ask about performance mods then just direct me to the right spot. Mechbob just laughed, what's funny is being on a forum for enthusiasts and having no real input. I know the answer is always going to be... it's been asked a million times before so why bother. What fun is that. Lol
 

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1989 Astro RS on a 1998 AWD frame with a 1994 350 TBI
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Open the hood and tell me where you would even mount one turbo in there? It has not been done because there is no room and there is so much plastic in there it would melt a lot even if you could find room. Besides the turbo you would need a bigger oil pan again no room in an AWD then the exhaust and then the turbo to intake tubes????? I'm not saying impossible but very labor intensive as well as tons of fabrication.
 

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OK, here ya go--
"I think a v8 swap would require to much modification. "
A v8 Astro swap is considered to be one of the easiest in history of modern vehicles, but S10's are easier.
Now, borrow a Astro. Pull the engine cover, look and measure. Then, raise it up in the air, look around, and measure. To me, the only thing more ridiculous is the people "wanting" to swap in a 4BT.
But I know nothing, so ignore me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, here ya go--
"I think a v8 swap would require to much modification. "
A v8 Astro swap is considered to be one of the easiest in history of modern vehicles, but S10's are easier.
Now, borrow a Astro. Pull the engine cover, look and measure. Then, raise it up in the air, look around, and measure. To me, the only thing more ridiculous is the people "wanting" to swap in a 4BT.
But I know nothing, so ignore me.

I agree about the V8 swap. There is way to much modification needed to make it fit, and that's just for RWD. To make it AWD would require more than I've been able to find online. The 4.3 is a strong engine and it's capable of making 500+ hp. Keeping it a 4.3 would allow for modifications that didn't require fabrication, like building the trans and beefing up the driveline. The biggest issue would be installing the turbo- turbos. The SBC turbo headers are designed to move the turbos up front. I don't know how tight it actually is in the engine bay but the headers, turbos and exhaust can be wrapped and shielded to keep the Temps down. It's my understanding that the front of a 4.3 is identical to a SBC so fitment to the engine shouldn't be that big of an issue. Someone mentioned an oil pan may be needed for added capacity (not sure if that's true or if an external oil cooler would do the trick. I'm sure there are other things that can be done to free up space as well. These are all just thoughts to put down on paper before diving in head first. I have looked at older threads and they seem to be short lived in the creative energy department. Lol. Other than rear mounted turbos, which for some reason I can't bring myself to consider a real upgrade. I'm going to keep researching and cross referencing builds and parts and see where it takes me. I also used to be big into turbo dodges and even turbo volvos and I'm not afraid to play with odd cars.lol
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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LOL


ps: but secretly... I wish someone would do it and be successful and do it for cheap bucks and have a ball blowing up rear ends and tires.

Just tell me where I can send my Patreon Bucks? I got a buyer for 1/2 the Popcorn.
 

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Swapping to a V8 is much easier than what you propose. Not that i dont want to see it done, but there seems to be a misunderstanding here that the V8 swap poses too many challenges vs twin turbo's. Not the case.

If the ultimate goal is maximum power i would just go with the V8. Well documented swap with a lot of successful conversions by forum members.
 

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I agree about the V8 swap. There is way to much modification needed to make it fit, and that's just for RWD. To make it AWD would require more than I've been able to find online.
A v8 in a RWD Astro is about the easiest swap you will ever, ever find. AWD with a 5.7 doesn't require a whole lot more, LS engine on the other hand is another story esp if you don't want to lift your van.

I have a turbo kit(basically fits where the front prop shaft would be in an AWD) sitting in my garage waiting for the right candidate, obviously it wouldn't fit an AWD van, that would require a front or rear mounted turbo setup. A front mounted turbo "could" be done and I would love it see it but it would require a lot of working around things and relocating/removing stuff to make it happen IMO. A rear mounted turbo would be a whole lot easier to accomplish.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Maybe it's a pipe dream
Ah the "dreamers"..

I think a v8 swap would require to much modification.
What modification? It's interesting how backward and reversed you got it.
V8's drop in these vans like they were made for them... with NO mods necessary depending on how you choose to do it. No offence, but you are either misinformed, or uniformed.

Do you even own a van?
Ever owned a van?
Ever done a turbo system?

You've asked a fair question, but given multiple reasons why no one is doing it. Can it be done with highly impractical mods? Possibly. Maybe you'll be the first...

Now, borrow a Astro... look and measure...
LOL
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ah the "dreamers"..


What modification? It's interesting how backward and reversed you got it.
V8's drop in these vans like they were made for them... with NO mods necessary depending on how you choose to do it. No offence, but you are either misinformed, or uniformed.

Do you even own a van?
Ever owned a van?
Ever done a turbo system?

You've asked a fair question, but given multiple reasons why no one is doing it. Can it be done with highly impractical mods? Possibly. Maybe you'll be the first...


LOL
Tell me if I'm wrong but a V8 swap isn't plug and play with an AWD? If you read my post you would see that I want to retain the AWD and build it. As I've also stated, I have had many turbo vehicles and I have built multiple vehicles. Although it has been a little bit since my last build. I have never owned one of these vans, the closest thing I have done is build my Express van 383 stroker. So yes, I have owned a van and had a successfull build with one. I have not done a turbo system on a van but I have a long running background in building turbo cars. I personally don't like NA builds so just swapping a SBC in and calling it a day isn't for me. I prefer turbo builds. I also stated that I just started digging into researching this so if I'm wrong about anything then it's because in underinformed. You can't take a test with out doing homework first so consider this study prep. Lol. I have seen some really tight engine compartments that people have found ways to shoehorn turbo systems into them. Don't want to rule anything out. The 4.3 is a stout engine. I fell in love with their potential when the 89 turbo GTA came out, then the cyclone and typhoon came out and the 4.3 got the AWD and it was a match made in heaven.

I don't consider building a van to be practical. Lol. It's not, but what it is, is a sleeper. My Hi top conversion van definitely wasn't practical, but it was fun driving a van that was ment for luxury and being able to shock unsuspecting challengers on the road. Haha. But that's the goal! I want a vehicle that isn't practical that will be fun to drive and surprise the daily road warriors when they try to play. IMO, a rear mounted turbo system is less practical, there is more room for loss and more room for error/failure. I'll keep looking into it to see if it's "in my mind" worth it but I think it would be a great platform to build and as an enthusiasts I really hope it can be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Only option I can think of is something like this. I wouldn't even waste time going with a LS swap on an AWD its just a big PITA vs a 5.7L. Maybe do 383 with a shot of funny gas and some side mount turbos

View attachment 288137
That's hysterical. Lol. One thing I want to do is create a build that keeps all of the creature comforts that came on the car, like A/C, heat, power steering and even a hood. Hahaha. If removing a power steering pump is needed to mount turbos , then I'll look into electric rack and pinions. But I want it to look stock. My mind is already looking ahead into possible solutions for issues that may not even be there. Lol.
 

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Im sure you could make it work, but space is at a premium.

One option you could consider is doing a sub frame pipe lift to generate space around the engine.

The vehicle in my avatar has a 4 inch pipe lift combined with 2 inch drop spindles, which gave me a lot of engine bay room with a not too far from stock appearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Swapping to a V8 is much easier than what you propose. Not that i dont want to see it done, but there seems to be a misunderstanding here that the V8 swap poses too many challenges vs twin turbo's. Not the case.

If the ultimate goal is maximum power i would just go with the V8. Well documented swap with a lot of successful conversions by forum members.
I understand that the V8 is the way to go for a RWD setup but I've been wanting to build an AWD car/van but the build has to include turbos. Lol. I love the rush of a turbocharged car. I remember driving my 92 Dodge Daytona Iroc rt (I built it up also), I could be cruising at 45mph in 4th gear and just stomp on the pedal and the car would take off and then start breaking the tires free around 60mph or so. Turbos are life! In 1990 I drove my neighbors 10 second Grand National (I was 16yrs old), he was moving and he let me follow behind him in the moving truck, I never felt a turbo before and I gave it a little gas to make a light and the turbo spooled up and I sling shot up to him and almost hit him because I wasn't ready for the boost. Instant love. So that's why any build I do next will be another turbo build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Im sure you could make it work, but space is at a premium.

One option you could consider is doing a sub frame pipe lift to generate space around the engine.

The vehicle in my avatar has a 4 inch pipe lift combined with 2 inch drop spindles, which gave me a lot of engine bay room with a not too far from stock appearance.
That's interesting! How does it handle? I would normally prefer to drop the van but if drivability isn't affected then maybe that would be an option.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I raced a turbo Grand National with my 502 supercharged G-series van back in the day. Although I had some serious back and forth traction issues the entire pull (van was rocking taking turns burning rubber).. I would have loved to see the look on his face as I pulled away from him regardless. The ladder bars (and Ford 9") I have never got installed as my interests and priorities changed. This stuff is still hanging in my shop.

I'm a BIG fan of sleepers.. and BOOST.
I still own 3 supercharges... considering putting a small one on my 92 (which will easily fit)
This is the easy way to make boost, looks good..
I had it on my 400 small-block (torque monster) until I built and put in the even bigger 502.
But my 92 V8 Astro van is my gig van, goes on the highway regularly, and needs to be reliable. I've gotten spoiled not breaking things... despite that it can easily burn rubber down the road.

There is room to go "UP" in the engine compartment, but not much else.
Lift the AWD van and this solves multiple issues as well.
There is more than one way to do things.

The 400 (often overlooked) is essentially a 383 stoker, with bigger pistons.
The 383 uses the 400 crank (lol) but only 350 bores. Give me big bores AND stroke.
My 400 was supercharged big block power in a small block package.
Of course a 500 cubic inch supercharged big block is PURE insanity.. especially in a VAN.
The fat tires, pounding rumble, and blower whine usually gave me away.
Beating turbo and supercharged cars was where the real surprise and fun was.

Have you considered the AWD system (transfer case and weak front differential) may not handle excessive power well. The RWD is a probably a better candidate.. but GM did build the Typhoon.

BIG insane power is fun.
Personally though, I'd never waste my efforts with a little V6 (pushed to it's limits) when a V8 can do the same job without even trying. But that's me. To each his own.

Turbos (like superchargers) are fun.
Sleepers are a BLAST.

Have fun!
(I think you're going to need to buy a van first)

Both of these were new crate motors when I bought them...
had them both in my shorty hotrod G-van over the years... 400 and 502
This is how they looked new.. the 400 was eventually supercharged too.
Tire Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting
 
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That's interesting! How does it handle? I would normally prefer to drop the van but if drivability isn't affected then maybe that would be an option.
The pipe lift is nice because you move the whole suspension down just spacing the sub frame out, it handles the same.

If you take a look at a few of the lift threads that will give you a good idea of how people do the job, there are plug and play lift kits you don't have to use all of. You can do a 2 inch sub frame spacing using the pucks and longer bolts, and not do any lifting using the torsion bars.

Basically short version is as mmusicman says, there are a lot of easy methods to generate up and down space which might be useful in cramming in turbos, but not a lot of other easy ways to produce room.

You could also modify the flat floor between the seats and finagle the turbo's to the rear of the motor? Then we are talking serious body modifications though. Stock these vans have poor front seat foot room to begin with, so you cant do much side to side
 
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