Chevy Astro and GMC Safari Forum banner

LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

37815 Views 252 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  NoQuarter
Putting this at the top while I can still edit - a google doc organizing my plans for the van, to grow and evolve over time:

What could be more helpful for organizing my thoughts and plans for this van than a build thread!? And I can share ideas and pictures and stuff too I guess...

Was looking for a work vehicle last spring and realized that if I played my cards right I could get a work van and a camper van in one vehicle. Started looking at what was available and was drawn to the engine reliability (knowing zero about cars in general at that point) of Astro/Safari's. Plus my uncle had previously owned two that went past 250k, and he loved them.

Found one in NH in a sketchy no picture ad and after the owner sent me a picture and I saw that it wasn't a complete POS, I went to check it out. It had a leak underneath, crap tires, and needed new fluids and a wheel bearing, but NO RUST and only 118k so I snagged it for $1000 and drove it home.
2017-06-19 11.25.35.jpg

2017-06-19 11.25.47.jpg

2017-06-19 11.26.02.jpg

2017-06-19 11.25.56.jpg

2017-06-19 11.26.11.jpg
See less See more
1 - 14 of 253 Posts
I have to say, while reading your posts, I was smiling as much as I was cringing.
We should all have the "whatever" to continue as you displayed - in the teeth of adversity.

While at the same time - I felt like admonishing you for "Astro/Safari Abuse" - sec. 1, subform 3B.
LOL - all in fun!!

OH, there is one thing that has worried me since I started reading about your AWD.
I kept looking at your mismatched tires.

I do not own one or have ever driven an AWD vehicle - so I'm no expert.
The people on here that are - say the tires MUST have the same diameter / rolling circumference.
Because of the diffs - unequal tires / wheel speed will kill one fairly quickly.
And I realize you had one of the driveshafts out.

There is probably a "rule of thumb" or a +/- value.
You also may very well know this stuff already.

Surprising - w/ all that you were willing to spend - that you did not first get a good set of tires.
Heck - if for nothing else but the "The Look".

ok - thru carryin on.

:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

See less See more
Seems as though your thinking's good... but that's coming from yet another crazed Astro owner.
I almost said Logical - heh heh

I would have used the Black stuff and remember to let the water out of wherever it is collecting.

shooooeeeeooowwww... ....

Can't believe I held my breath that long.

Looking forward to the leak fix. The seals have been a tough one on these Vans.

Seems the newer vans should use something applicable.
Metal, Rubber, Water and Air
Seems things have not changed much.


let some of these new guys look for seals... I'm all out...
See less See more
SportsBoy said:
Also, I'm still getting plenty of water in through the back... ugh lol

I should also be getting to some other little projects in the next few weeks with all the spare time I've got at the moment, and with temps above 50 more frequently!
There has been quite a few threads and posts about a new company doing door seals for Astros & Safaris.

Will's overall door seal replacement coverage:

And look for augidog's 'Steele Rubber' posts in the Exterior section.
Goodness, where do I start w/ the "Multiple Thanks"...?
Great write up on the lights, especially the OH Console stuff.
Can you just imagine if the Owner's Manual said to remove the Console from the ceiling to change a bulb...?
And you are not the first to have to whittle on the small single bulb socket areas - seen it on 2 others also.
Did you go w/ 'center of the sun' bright white or 'LYMI wimpy yellow' soft ?

The "Receding Lock Pedestal" pin thingie is interesting also.
Any idea what is going on there?
Have read and followed 3 of these when I was working on our driver door last year. 2 of them you mentioned. Ours is Gen I, so that is not a prob. Gen I has it's own set of issues.

Still wonder what's going on w/ those Gen II lock lever pins and the resultant slider sloppiness. ( that's what she said... )

Edits: so... just learned gramma'
See less See more
Boy-O-Boy... THAT was a lot of work.
And it all came together very nicely.
Heels and sideways photos - ugh.
make note... save for later after 'League of their Own'.

Actually - Lots of Pics are always cool ( tell those 'sideways guys' to go to hedoublehockeysticks ).

:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:
SportsBoy said:
You will have had to pry this arm off to get the unit out, now make sure to pop the arm back into the clip on here (very difficult) before bolting the motor on.

Here is another look at it - it will be falled down in the space under the windshield, so you kind of need to use the hold behind the wiper motor to fish it out, then insert the wiper motor and pop it in - not easy
Wouldn't taking that Black Plastic Grill under the Windshield off have made it easier to access the Wiper stuff?
I have had ours off and it was no biggee, just quite a few little torx screws.
Wow - That is some job on the Lift and Hold Down.
Wonderful Imagination - Great work - Fab Pics.

Thanks a Lot - Future High Top folks will be Thanking you also !
Nice going, Great Fix, sporty !
Lotta' work there Blake - Thanks for the great pics n' Info.

I'm pooped just reading about it all...

:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:
Great Work, looks good, but now you have to work on the front and wheels and tires and... and...

LOL, thanks for the great Pic set, too!!
Wow - that was some tough repair work on the frame.
We see a great plan came together.

But... about that Battery Tray... whaaat ?
1 - 14 of 253 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.