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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
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.
View attachment 288139

I think the drivetrain will definitely need to be beefed up but I haven't looked into retrofit options yet. The trans is a decent unit but I'm not sure about the transfer case and diffs. That's part of the fun of building a car/van that doesn't have aftermarket support, you get to improvise. I think a 600hp build would sooth my needs for a bit (although my 92 Daytona iroc rt 4 banger made that much power) but it may get the creative juices flowing. I'm not saying that a RWD SBC powered van is cookie cutter but I know it's been done and it's a good build. However it's hard to conceal that it's actually a sleeper. Lol. A twin turbo build can seem more tame to the regular person and the AWD option may allow for smaller tires that don't scream ra e car.
BTW, I definitely don't see either of those two beastly engines fitting into an astro van. But it would be amazing to see someone try. Haha.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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BTW, I definitely don't see either of those two beastly engines fitting into an astro van. But it would be amazing to see someone try. Haha.
Actually, the 400 is a small block.. SAME exact dimensions as the 350 which fits perfectly fine.
The dual-quads (in photo) also fit same as single carb in front of distributor, height same as well.

The B&M/Weiand/Holley small-block blowers utilizes a flat manifold which sits much lower than any typical dual-plane manifold. The overall total height difference is just a couple inches... and there is ample room above in van engine compartment. Shorter air-cleaners can be used, but not necessary. These type blowers were designed to sit low under hood. Boost...easily done.

Carbureted big blocks ALSO fit the Astro.. it's been done quite a bit as well. The block is minimally taller and wider, but exhaust ports are angled down at an angle, vs 90 straight out on a small block. End result is about the same.

Yes small blocks are cookie cutter.. been done a lot and easy to do.
I like that, and to me a V8 should be standard in all vans.
If your goal is to go fast with minimal work and expense, this is the option.
Additionally all the accy's from V6 fit the V8.. pulleys, PS, alt, harmonic, even A/C.. all direct fit.
Torque accelerates you and moves you down the road.

If you want something complicated and less common, then the sky is the limit.
Anything "can" be cut, welded, moved, etc.

Turbos are common too.. but a fun option.
Just not sure they are a good fit for the Astro for most people.

But we love the "exceptions to the rule" too.
If you want to be that guy.. we await your van purchase, and build.
 
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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I have personal photos/videos (from 90's Ohio truckin)
of Blastro when it was being designed and built.
Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Car

Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Steering wheel Steering part


Towing his concept machine around at event showing it off...
Car Wheel Tire Vehicle Sky


Many years later....
Vehicle Grille Car Hood Automotive lighting


PROOF ANYTHING "CAN" BE DONE!!
But I doubt he is driving this to events (or the grocery store) like I did with mine,
which is why my Supercharged 502 won "Best Engine" at "Illinois Van Nationals" back in the day. Blastro wasn't there, but his mid-engine wheel-standing van was. He was very cool about it.. even made me a "personal award" from him too. 502's were also the "new kid" on the block.. mine was a pre-assembled crate motor which I promptly took apart to make it ready for blower. This engine was lowered to cross-frame (with custom welded mounts) to accommodate blower which fit under the dog house and under the hood. Still had the custom dual-din stereo in the dash too.. lol. It was also my daily driver.

Oh I sure miss those days (we all started somewhere)

Here's a video of my van several years prior, when it still had the old 400 in it...
(the young model is my daughter, now with kids of her own)
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I have personal photos/videos (from 90's Ohio truckin)
of Blastro when it was being designed and built.
View attachment 288144
View attachment 288145

Towing his concept machine around at event showing it off...
View attachment 288146

Many years later....
View attachment 288147

PROOF ANYTHING "CAN" BE DONE!!
But I doubt he is driving this to events (or the grocery store) like I did with mine,
which is why my Supercharged 502 won "Best Engine" at "Illinois Van Nationals" back in the day. Blastro wasn't there, but his mid-engine wheel-standing van was. He was very cool about it.. even made me a "personal award" from him too. 502's were also the "new kid" on the block.. mine was a pre-assembled crate motor which I promptly took apart to make it ready for blower. This engine was lowered to cross-frame (with custom welded mounts) to accommodate blower which fit under the dog house and under the hood. Still had the custom dual-din stereo in the dash too.. lol. It was also my daily driver.

Oh I sure miss those days (we all started somewhere)

Here's a video of my van several years prior, when it still had the old 400 in it...
(the young model is my daughter, now with kids of her own)


Wow! That's nuts. That definitely doesn't play into my sleeper role. Lol. I've been researching the AWD system and I know there are plenty of upgrades for the 4l60e but I'm not finding much on the NV136 transfer case. Looks like the weak point may be the clutch pack for the AWD. I'm looking into upgrading the clutch pack. Not much. I may see if one of the performance companies offer custom clutch disc. I'm just gathering ideas that will allow it to maintain that sleeper status.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Actually, the 400 is a small block.. SAME exact dimensions as the 350 which fits perfectly fine.
The dual-quads (in photo) also fit same as single carb in front of distributor, height same as well.

The B&M/Weiand/Holley small-block blowers utilizes a flat manifold which sits much lower than any typical dual-plane manifold. The overall total height difference is just a couple inches... and there is ample room above in van engine compartment. Shorter air-cleaners can be used, but not necessary. These type blowers were designed to sit low under hood. Boost...easily done.

Carbureted big blocks ALSO fit the Astro.. it's been done quite a bit as well. The block is minimally taller and wider, but exhaust ports are angled down at an angle, vs 90 straight out on a small block. End result is about the same.

Yes small blocks are cookie cutter.. been done a lot and easy to do.
I like that, and to me a V8 should be standard in all vans.
If your goal is to go fast with minimal work and expense, this is the option.
Additionally all the accy's from V6 fit the V8.. pulleys, PS, alt, harmonic, even A/C.. all direct fit.
Torque accelerates you and moves you down the road.

If you want something complicated and less common, then the sky is the limit.
Anything "can" be cut, welded, moved, etc.

Turbos are common too.. but a fun option.
Just not sure they are a good fit for the Astro for most people.

But we love the "exceptions to the rule" too.
If you want to be that guy.. we await your van purchase, and build.

My goal would be to retain as much of it as I can in stock form. I'm ok with modifications to panels but only as long as it doesn't affect the original equipment operation (a/c, heater and so on). The only 3 things I don't want to compromise on are keeping it AWD, making it a turbo build and keeping a stock appearance. I don't need a race car, just something different and fun. I would totally do one that has the hi top conversion package. Haha. Still miss my old one.
 

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This thread is so backwards.

Turbo 4.3 AWD = tons and tons of fabrication with very limited room
V8 5.7 AWD = drops right in, requires oil pan modification

Why ice skate up hill? I'm going to be building a V8 for my astro at some point, going to focus on exhaust, heads, and cam. Should scoot pretty well. A turbo v6 in an astro would be 10lbs of crap in a 5lb bag. On top of that, if you want to retain drivability, the v8 swap also wins, as it will have more low end torque (useful for pushing something with the aerodynamics of a brick down the highway at 75-80mph). A turbo 4.3 would be identical to driving a stock 4.3 on the highway because it wouldn't be on boost, so it would still be an underpowered van until you spooled things up.

I would stop trying to convince yourself this is a good idea.


Good luck on whatever you decide tho man. I just don't see any upside, with a lot more bullshit.

Fun fact: V8 swapped Astros tend to get better MPG than stock astros, because TORQUE, and less downshifting on slight inclines on the freeway/headwinds.
 
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There's nothing wrong with having or wanting boost.. unless you are always pushing a small engine to it's limits. People "race" small engines all the time, and while they "can" go fast, they are generally not good for practical purposes, especially in larger vehicles. People also race bigger engines with same boost and technology.. and they go even faster.

But a good point is raised, the 4.3 is generally underpowered in a van, and when cruising, unless you are under boost, it's still a dog. Cubic inches make torque, and make it easily. This is what moves a bulky heavy vehicle.

The biggest drawback of the turbo idea, is that there is literally NO PLACE to put it in a van. Cars, trucks, yes.. but van NO. As mentioned, you can cut, modify, move, and weld anything. It may not be nice when your done.. but it will get the job done.

Have at it... be the first
(or find someone that has done it.. and see what it's going to take)

Personally, I don't think this idea will EVER see the actual light of day
Just wishful dreaming (with a lot of misconceptions and misunderstanding)

Get a van first.. (start doing some work on it)... then we'll talk
 
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AWD was originated for the Astros, came in them first. As, they were competing with Soccer mom vans" and wanted a trouble free AWD system. TY and SCY's used it, because of the higher HP from the turbo engine. Cheaper to slap that in a already 4wd than retool for a bigger rear diff in a 2wd.
 

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1989 Astro RS on a 1998 AWD frame with a 1994 350 TBI
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I took an 89 Astro RS that was rear drive then put a v8 in it, then I took the AWD frame out of a 1998 Astro and swapped it under my 89 with the v8 and I have never gone to school or even worked as a mechanic. The hardest things for the V8 in the AWD is the oil pan and the exhaust. But I can tell you how I did both. If you plan on lifted vehicle do that first it will make things easier. The only special tools I uwn are a hoist, a fllor jack and a torque wrench. And before anyone tells you my van is not on the road, up untill this last summer I was not in any hurry as my plans were not done.
 

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Also you can fit a small block without it giving up the secret of what is under the hood, and the better transfer for your situation would be from the 1998 and ander AWD Astro/Safari vans it is what was used in the syclone too. It is the borg warner 4472. Stronger and much better transfer case all around.
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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I am not sure how serious the OP is, but the front mount turbo sleeper utilizing the 4.3 or a 5.7 ( or variant ) is not completely out of the question.

This Forum has not had a Van like you say since I joined in 2014 and I know of nothing prior to that either.
Like Music said, SBCs and the like are used mostly by those seeking power, but do not wish to cut out sheet metal and/or move components.
Those ae the real sleepers.

4.3s that are upgraded or Merc Marined - keeping it "CLEAN and OEM" are highly rare, but so satisfying.
50 HP / Cyl. is a grand achievement for them.

The thing that keeps more volume of customizers 'at bay' was quoted earlier I think... Well, It's a VAN and not much room...
- something about a "4 Wheel Brick". Then, there's the heat and the close proximity of stuff.

Now if you're willing to do a few things to achieve "The Turbo Sleeper Thing", then we can deal.
Move all the easy accessories somewhere else. Battery, wiper/washer crap, overflow bottle, overly huge A/C, Heat, Cruise and all their junk.
Like Bob said, look in there, in front.

Be ready to cut into the inner fender walls and the area around the radiator support.

Look into ways to replace your beloved power equipment and Luxury stuff - A/C, etc.

So maybe one Turbo and lots-o-pipe up front and that other one coming up from out back, like so many have mentioned, with even more lots-o-pipe and oil tubing.


Lastly... you are right... there are not any people here or in the past that are ready to do "The Turbo Thing".
And believe me, it's not because they are not cool. Just not on these Vans. Cooling is tough enuff'.

I wish you luck and hope you can help me pay for some of this GD popcorn... LOL
 

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My 2 bits.

I don't see it happening without a lot of expensive hack and slash that would be ludicrous for a measly 4.3.

Good luck finding manifolds. It's not going to happen, so you are faced with fabricating them yourself or spending big bucks for someone else to make them.

If you really want a stock appearing sleeper the way to go is with a V8. The parts to make power are readily available and the swap is very straightforward. If you are committed to boost, a low profile supercharger will fit without any major mods.

In my opinion there's a reason nobody has done it. It's a really bad idea.
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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Strange coincidence - Motor Trend HD, cable channel, just had an episode of Faster with Finnegan that fits this Thread perfectly.
Here is the description of the hour long show:

Minivan Drags: Meet the Momsoon - the guys build
a twin-turbo ultimate soccer mom sleeper van, the Momsoon.


More than likely available online. Our cable will not allow going back to watch previous episodes on Motor Trend.
Just caught the last 5 min, where they were at the drags, never saw the build up - only the finished product.

Bone stock late model passenger Safari LS, absolutely no outward appearance of mods done.
Both Turbos were mounted behind the rear bench seat, as nothing was removed.
You could not see them from inside or outside. Only if the hatch / dutch doors were opened.
But you sure could hear 'em inside - GOLLY !
They never showed under the hood.

Saw it make 2 runs against a Blazer type vehicle which was fairly quick itself.
May have been a Typhoon - never got close enough nor did they mention it at all.
( edit - "not a Syclone" )

The Van was a dog - barely got out of it's own way. They ran the 1/4 mi, showed 1/8th times also.
They ran with the side, hatch and rear doors open.

Got beat by the SUV so bad. Looked to be a COMPLETE waste of time.
And money.
Ending consensus was - needs a V8 for the torque, has the HP for high speed, not the 1/4 mi.

Can't wait to see the whole episode and put this ( NOW ) nonsense to bed once and for all.
 

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Update, I joined M T free for a week to see what else was in the episode.

There was a Syclone pickup, but the owner blew it up while establishing a base line between the 3 vehicles.
The Safari like the other 2 was AWD.
The other 2 were modified somewhat in the drivetrain, but only 1 Turbo.

Unmodified, 190HP, 250 torque, The Van got a high 19 / 68 MPH in the 1/4. No full timeslip shown on any runs.
Typhoon did a 14 @ 99 MPH, no info other than that.
It was agreed between the 2 guys that the Syclone is in the same ball park - albeit, when running...

Best run for The Van / Momsoon got them 17.5 @ 77 MPH, blah, blah, LS9 needed, blah, blah.

All in all, Worth the Watch !!
 
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