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2005 Astro passenger 2WD, 2004 Astro passenger AWD, 2005 Astro cargo AWD (organ donor)
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

My name is Doug and as you can see I'm not too creative when it comes to user names. I've had Astros for years and have used this forum many times over the years and I finally have a couple projects going that I thought would be worth sharing so I thought I'd join.

First I want to thank you all for the wealth of knowledge on this forum. There are two in particular that stick out in my mind. The first is fixing the ABS light by resoldering some connections in the ABS controller. The second one, and it's a few years ago now so I can't find the thread again, helped me fix a problem on a 2003 that I had. It had a problem where the fuse that powers the MAF kept blowing. I ran across a thread on here which basically said, "the bracket that holds the engine harness on the right rear corner of the engine chafes through this particular wire and shorts it to ground." I dug into my van and sure enough that was my problem. This post saved me hours of diagnostic time so again, thank you all very much.

I've had 6 Astros total and currently have 3. I'm trying to get back down to 1 but they keep multiplying. I'm sure you know how it goes. I've had the same problem with other cars in the past, particularly Fieros and Miatas. And motorcycles - IT200s and IT490s.

My first Astro was a '90 2WD passenger van. I got this one back in about 2000 or 2001 with 140k miles on it. I fell in love with it because for me it's the perfect balance of usefulness and size - it has enough interior space that I can haul lots of people or tons of stuff, and I can stretch out and sleep in it when I'm on a road trip. It's powerful enough and big enough that I can tow a car across the country with it (it's not fast, but I'm patient), and yet it's not so big that I have to do a 3 point turn to park it at the grocery store.

Ten years later after I had put ANOTHER 140k miles on my '90 I realized that at 280k it was starting to wear out and I needed to find another one because they weren't making them any more! In 2011 I picked up a perfect condition 2005 2WD with 103k miles on it. It had been government owned and maintained and was a van pool van, so it had perfect maintenance and just driven to work and back by boring adults. Here's my '90 and my '05 back in 2011:


Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Car Vehicle


The first thing I did was remove the running boards because they prevented me from putting the van on my 2-post lift. After that I told myself at the time that the '05 Astro was NOT going to be a project. I have enough project cars as it is and the Astro needed to be something that stayed stock and just got driven. It remained that way for about 11 years and now it's finally time to become a project.

To be continued (if anybody cares)...

I'll get to my other 4 Astros eventually but I already feel like I've written a novel here so I'm going to stop and get back to work.
 

· Registered
2005 Astro passenger 2WD, 2004 Astro passenger AWD, 2005 Astro cargo AWD (organ donor)
Joined
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey all,

Thanks for the warm welcome. Pretty cool to see that there are a handful of us here in western Washington. Hi Rod, Pam, and Realityguy! Hope to meet you all in person some time.

Realityguy, thanks for the tip on the Lynwood pick and pull, but the '90 in my photo above is long gone. I sold it around 2013 and it was replaced by the white '05 in the same photo.

Continuing my Astro story, I picked up Astro #3 in January of 2020. I found an '04 AWD at a dealer in Seattle. The transmission was out (it had 1-2 & R, no 3-4) but I picked it up for $1500 out the door! Score! Here's how I got it home:

Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Car Land vehicle


Two days later it snowed and I got to drive it around in the snow. I was instantly sold on AWD. Even though I'd been driving 2WD Astros in the snow just fine for 20 years, one drive in AWD and there was no going back.

This one had a pretty rough interior. The previous owner was a drywall contractor and it showed. I call this one the drywall van. Believe it or not the interior looks a lot cleaner in this photo than it actually was.

Motor vehicle Vehicle Trunk Automotive tire Automotive lighting


My plan was to part this van out and use the AWD parts to convert my '05 to AWD since the shell and interior on my '05 are perfect. The first thing I did was put a new transmission in it because I needed that for the AWD swap anyway. The problem is that over the past 3 years I've been fixing it up and driving it and now it's too nice to part out. I've managed to replace most of the interior bits for free from people who were converting their Astros to campers, and the couple other parts I needed (front carpet, etc) I found in decent shape at a pick and pull. I've got good carpet and good seats in it now and this has been a great van!

I now have a new organ donor for my '05, so this '04 AWD will be for sale when I complete that project. Pam, I'll let you know. Could be 6 months, could be 2 years. We'll see how the other project goes.
 
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