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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please meet Forevergreen, a 2002 Astro LS AWD! We are based in NYC but enjoy being all over - New England is home...forever. Forevergreen has already been all over in only a few months of ownership. DC, VT, MA, CT a few times, RI a few times, Catskills a few times, Montauk a few times, etc etc. Call it 10k miles in 5 months. Drives like a dream. Previous vehicle was a Subaru XV, built out as tiny weekend camper, needed more space. Purchase price was $2,300 from a Brooklynite, he said he purchased originally from someone in CT/upstate NY. Attaching some pictures to start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Upgrades:
  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter
  • Distributor cap + rotor (ACDelco)
  • Plantinum spark plugs + wires (ACDelco)
  • New AC compressor
  • New accumlator dryer
  • Alternator was changed previously
  • New serpentine belt
  • Toyo AT 3's
  • Rear End rebuild

Issues:
  • ABS light
  • Brake light (parking brake disengaged)
  • Front end squeak, recommended for new upper/lwr control arms
  • AWD disengaged (missing front drive shaft)
  • Rear A/C not working
  • Slight leak from rocker arm
  • ...rust

Right off the bat (post tune-up), I had the rear end rebuilt by a truck shop in Brooklyn (KM Driveline). New rear drive shaft, ring+pinon, seals and all - cost me a grand and whine stopped immediatley. I'm lucky to say I have a great, honest mechanic. Yes, I am certainly contributing to his retirement fund. But, he worked for Chevy for 10+ years, knows the vans well, and allows me to work alongside of him, teaching me everything along the way. I'm learning a ___ton.

Will be building out a very basic camper set up for surfing/skiing/concert trips around Mid-Atl and Yew England. Yes I'm a surfer/skier, but I work in the music industry and see endless shows all over - it is a blessing to have a bed with me at all times. Any deadheads on here?

Weighing options on a t-case swap. Van had no front drive shaft upon purchase, unsure why. Will likely go NP233c route, with jouneys kit. First will be control arms. Moog? Mevotech? Researching. Thanks to all who contribute to this site daily, weekely, occasionally.

- xmon
 

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Super Moderator
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Welcome from a Long Island escapee!
 

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05 Astro AWD
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Welcome from a NE native - who’s unfortunately stuck in MD.
 

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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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Welcome to the site!

I'm sure you will find all of the information that you need.

With the 4x4 conversion, I only recommend it if you really need it. Most common failure of the AWD system on the later vans is the encoder motor or the wrong fluid was used :)
Will be interesting to hear why the front driveshaft was removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks ya'll, nice to meet ya, happy to be here.

I'm having slight poster's remorse - gotta clean up some of that underside rust. Anyone have prior use with Blaster Surface Shield? Maybe it looks worse than it truly is, probably not. At least the body is clean. :)

My take on the vehicle is that the first owner took great care of the vehicle. Second shorter-term owner drove as is and didn't do much upkeep. Who knows. Regardless, rust belt for life.

@AstroWill - Unsure on drive shaft. First thought was maybe for gas milage, though it is my understanding that it wouldn't make much of a difference. Second thought was that AWD system stopped funtioning properly. Third thought, maybe it just fell out? My money is on #2. Eventually, I would like to sort out funtioning AWD - I am a storm chaser at heart. Before comitting to a tc swap, I will likely source a drive shaft and see if oem tc can be flushed and tested.

Previously mentioned control arm job - will replace the lower ball joints first to see if that will stop the slight squeak that I had - yes, had. Was getting a squeak upon impacts and also when slightly turning the steering wheel. Mechanic greased them up a week ago and it seems to have helped. Forevergreen was quiet as a mouse this AM en route to work.

One of these days I will do a "Here is every astro/safari I saw on my way to work" appreciation post. Some beauties out there along the way. Yes, as you might imagine - I am that over-enthusiastic driver waiving mercilessly to every other astro/safari driver on the road.
 

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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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@AstroWill - Unsure on drive shaft. First thought was maybe for gas milage, though it is my understanding that it wouldn't make much of a difference. Second thought was that AWD system stopped funtioning properly. Third thought, maybe it just fell out? My money is on #2. Eventually, I would like to sort out funtioning AWD - I am a storm chaser at heart. Before comitting to a tc swap, I will likely source a drive shaft and see if oem tc can be flushed and tested.
That would be my guess as well. Most likely it was binding or something and they pulled the shaft.
 

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Lots of people - 'mechanics' included - think you'll get better mileage with the shaft out.
 

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Regarding your RUST issue. I have a F350 pickup. upon purchasing it, I was informed & checked
rust issues on frame. Bed had rust issues. Frame was solid but rusty. I thoroughly cleaned any loose
rust away on Frame using an air powered Needle scaler (Astro Pneumatic Tool 1.3" Straight In-Line Air Needle Scaler | eBay). Then Thoroughly coated Frame with the most
Amazing product I have seen! "POR 15" Do Not Get It On You! will take Days or weeks to come off!
It adheres to rust & merges with it. you paint it on with a brush or foam pad. any further Rust issues
are GONE!!! it does only fully merge with Rust, So a complete undercoating is not feasible.
The stuff is not Cheap..... But highly recommended! ( #45006 POR 15 Rust Preventative Paint - Gloss Black - Pack of 6, 4oz cans | eBay ).
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Unsure on drive shaft. First thought was maybe for gas milage, though it is my understanding that it wouldn't make much of a difference.
Certainly won't make any fuel-mileage difference. The front wheels still turn the cv-axles, which still turns the front differential. Although the front drive-shaft would still turn the front output of the transfer-case (in 2wd mode), it's already turning anyway from "clutch pre-load".. so it wouldn't matter. In other words, EVERYTHING is still turning.. engaged or not..

I do however see the "potential" for possible "clutch damage"... if the output side (through preload) doesn't keep up with the input side. Slippage (of the unloaded side) could potentially wear down the clutches. This is merely speculation... but this system is not designed to operate without the front driveshaft (and 4 perfectly matched tires).

Just food for thought...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Certainly won't make any fuel-mileage difference. The front wheels still turn the cv-axles, which still turns the front differential. Although the front drive-shaft would still turn the front output of the transfer-case (in 2wd mode), it's already turning anyway from "clutch pre-load".. so it wouldn't matter. In other words, EVERYTHING is still turning.. engaged or not..

I do however see the "potential" for possible "clutch damage"... if the output side (through preload) doesn't keep up with the input side. Slippage (of the unloaded side) could potentially wear down the clutches. This is merely speculation... but this system is not designed to operate without the front driveshaft (and 4 perfectly matched tires).

Just food for thought...
Joez and Musicman, thanks for hitting this chain. Good timing. I am lost :)

I just got van back from the tansmission/t-case shop last night. Took van there to rebuild t-case due to leaks and suspected internal damage from previous owner - "clunk."

Clutches were fried, rusty water inside t-case. No good. They took apart and rebuilt. Great!

Once t-case was put back together and working, other issue began occurring. They kept mentioning keywords - "binding" and "shudder"

We discussed proper fluid, multiple flushes and figure 8's. They mentioned issues are beyond that.

Here are my notes from everything they tried:

2 different t-cases rebuilt and installed
Tried different drive shafts, including a new one
TCCM - found a good used one, were then able to pull codes and data, flowed
EBCM mod re soder
Brake lines, front left caliper. 2 brake lines were rusted and they had to replace.
Could not get bleeder screw out on one or two of the lines.

Other notes:
Transmission and t-case full of fluid.
Found corrosion in fuse block. Fuse 19 or 13.
Removed ABS fuse. problem stopped.
Removed AWD fuse, still had issue.
AWD light now displays when starting the van, was not showing prior.
ABS and brake light are no longer showing on dash, they would both show up a few minutes into driving.

They believe issue is within ABS - something is telling the van that there is slippage when there is not.

They were hopeful a resoder would fix - it did not.

They could not solve my issue - they could have _____ed me with all of the hours spent and parts they purchased and tried. I am very thankful they charged me nothing - including for the t-case rebuild. They were disappointed they couldn't solve. They certainly helped to cross off a bunch of boxes.

Musicman, you read my mind this morning. The front drive shaft is now removed from the vehicle. I believe it is important that I now pull the ATC fuse to stop any unnecessary spinning.

This weekend I will check t-case fluid myself to be 100% sure it's blue inside. I feel like I need to have brake lines checked over, they claimed one disintegrated in their hands due to rust.

Any other thoughts of where to look?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Joez and Musicman, thanks for hitting this chain. Good timing. I am lost :)

I just got van back from the tansmission/t-case shop last night. Took van there to rebuild t-case due to leaks and suspected internal damage from previous owner - "clunk."

Clutches were fried, rusty water inside t-case. No good. They took apart and rebuilt. Great!

Once t-case was put back together and working, other issue began occurring. They kept mentioning keywords - "binding" and "shudder"

We discussed proper fluid, multiple flushes and figure 8's. They mentioned issues are beyond that.

Here are my notes from everything they tried:

2 different t-cases rebuilt and installed
Tried different drive shafts, including a new one
TCCM - found a good used one, were then able to pull codes and data, flowed
EBCM mod re soder
Brake lines, front left caliper. 2 brake lines were rusted and they had to replace.
Could not get bleeder screw out on one or two of the lines.

Other notes:
Transmission and t-case full of fluid.
Found corrosion in fuse block. Fuse 19 or 13.
Removed ABS fuse. problem stopped.
Removed AWD fuse, still had issue.
AWD light now displays when starting the van, was not showing prior.
ABS and brake light are no longer showing on dash, they would both show up a few minutes into driving.

They believe issue is within ABS - something is telling the van that there is slippage when there is not.

They were hopeful a resoder would fix - it did not.

They could not solve my issue - they could have _____ed me with all of the hours spent and parts they purchased and tried. I am very thankful they charged me nothing - including for the t-case rebuild. They were disappointed they couldn't solve. They certainly helped to cross off a bunch of boxes.

Musicman, you read my mind this morning. The front drive shaft is now removed from the vehicle. I believe it is important that I now pull the ATC fuse to stop any unnecessary spinning.

This weekend I will check t-case fluid myself to be 100% sure it's blue inside. I feel like I need to have brake lines checked over, they claimed one disintegrated in their hands due to rust.

Any other thoughts of where to look?
They were pulling C0265. No longer pulling, but problem persists.
 
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