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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I just purchased a 1998 GMC Safari cargo van has 115,063 miles. We’ve been moving and renting a U-Haul for more than 2 day’s seem impossible without huge cost adders. The van is older but maintained by a school district. They could not pass the school tax, therefore kept an older fleet of vehicles on great service. They passed the 2020 school levy and updated their fleet.

The 1998 Safari, 4.3 V6, RWD, 4 sp auto, cargo van is a base model, (AC, PS, PLock), Heavy duty oil cooler, transmission cooler, new heavy duty radiator, new bigger Alternator, new battery, power steering, new front suspension pieces, new (older) shocks, new serpentine belt and tensioner, new timing cover/seal, new AC dryer, reconditioned drive shaft,

The van have been serviced in Nov./Dec. 2020 at 114,000 miles, than sat for a year. Engine oil/filter, transmission ATF, Differential gear oil, new injectors, spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter and all the new parts listed have less than 200 miles before sitting for the entire 2021, Covid 19 season.

The van on it’s first long trip got really high 26.7 MPG highway at 60 mph for 120 mile trip. On Shell premium pure gas (no Ethanol) and Chevron Techron.

What services have I done and doing?
1). Ordered new tires. The 2nd set of tires are not worn, just old and oxidized.
2). Drain/Filled the hydroboost power steering brake booster 10+ times with Prestone Synthetic Power Steering Fluid with seal enhancer and leak stop. The unit is not leaking but the fluid was very dirty. The steering and brakes work great therefore this service will prolong the life of the components.
3). Adjusted the Power Steering rack slowly over 1 wk and 5X, to reduce the play. from 2 inches to 1/2 inches play.
4). Drain/Filled Dot 3 Brake Fluid, 3X. On going service to flush out the Hydroboost circuit.
5). Changed to 1 yr old engine oil 5w-30 with less than 200 miles. The heating/cooling cycle put a lot of moisture into the oil. Add 1 qt Marvel Mystery oil with Shell Full Synthetic 15W-45 heavy duty engine oil and driving 200-500 miles before next oil filter change. Looks clean with borescope into the oil drain plug.
6). Spark Plugs look brand new and borescope in cylinder looks great. Very little carbon, piston are std, hone marks on cyl walls, looks new!!! But SN on block and heads confirm this is still the original engine from 1998. Used the propane torch to burn off light coating of carbon from plugs and gapped. The car has new (ish) spark plug wires and boots.
7). Transmission was serviced. New seal, filter and ATF.
8). The differential gear oil was serviced again. The fluid was clean full synthetic yellow. I put new 75W-140 full synthetic Valvoline with friction modifier. It quiet.
9). The shocks are 2nd set and works great. But the bushings are getting old and oxidized. Next year.
10). The driveshaft was serviced with new U-joints and balancing. New balancing wt and sticker.
11). Zero rust under the Van. Everything is clean.
12). New fuel filter, New gas cap, New Oil filler cap.
13). New radiator, new AC dryer, new serpentine belt/tensioner,
14). The timing cover and seal are new with no leaks.
15). The oil cooler adapter has a leak. Ordered new seal kit with O-rings and gaskets. Will replace at 500 mile oil filter service.
16). The van has 1/2 inch thick heavy duty rubber mat in the back. The van interior has no rust. No rust on wheel arches. Clean.
17). The rear springs looks new or is 2nd set.
18). As stated previously. The entire front suspension parts have been changed to new GM/AC Delco parts, idler arm, pitman arm, drag link, tie-rod ends, lower ball joints, etc… The van drove straight even with 2 inches of steering play. It was adjusted slowly to only 1/2 inches of play.

MPG Highway 120 mile loop was 26.7 MPG.
City/Highway combined 100 miles 16.7 MPG.

That’s great MPG for a 13 yrs old van. I don’t think that is going to stay that high. …but I will try. Let’s see what the MPG becomes after the Marvel Mystery oil clean, with full synthetic and changing the to 20 micron oil filter and 5w-30 full synthetic API SP 20K mile qualified oil. I will keep 5K miles or 1 yr oil changes.

I think I got a great buy!!! ….for moving and light remodel projects. U-Haul wanted over $1,000 for weekly rental, too many moving out of the city.

I‘m planning to sell the van next year to the next owner, who can put it to work.

Best Wishes
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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Hello, I just purchased a 1998 GMC Safari cargo van has 115,063 miles....
Welcome to the forum...

Not sure what the point of your post was... cool post... but...

The thread is about Price of the Vans.

What did you pay, after all...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to the forum...

Not sure what the point of your post was... cool post... but...

The thread is about Price of the Vans.

What did you pay, after all...
My point is the Used vehicle market has gone crazy. Used 2010 cars with 100K are going for $14,999 on Carvana and CarMart.

You are a Winner!! When you find a used car with 100K and under $10K.

The GMC Safari and Chevy Astro are sought after by contractors, painters, and lawn maintenance companies. New trucks and vans with heavy duty components are over $40K.

The 1998 GMC Safari SL Cargo Van came with heavy duty radiator, transmission cooler, oil cooler, heavy duty differential with 3.73 gears and towing bracket mounting tapped into the frame. …And it gets great MPG on highway and city!!! They made millions and parts are inexpensive. All the failures are known after 15 yrs and easy to service!!

My point is if you can get a used GMC Safari or Chevy Astro Van with less than 100K miles for under $10K and spend $500 on extensive DIY maintenance, YOU ARE WINNING!!!

Best Wishes
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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Hello, I just purchased a 1998 GMC Safari cargo van has 115,063 miles. We’ve been moving and renting a U-Haul for more than 2 day’s seem impossible without huge cost adders. The van is older but maintained by a school district. They could not pass the school tax, therefore kept an older fleet of vehicles on great service. They passed the 2020 school levy and updated their fleet.

The 1998 Safari, 4.3 V6, RWD, 4 sp auto, cargo van is a base model, (AC, PS, PLock), Heavy duty oil cooler, transmission cooler, new heavy duty radiator, new bigger Alternator, new battery, power steering, new front suspension pieces, new (older) shocks, new serpentine belt and tensioner, new timing cover/seal, new AC dryer, reconditioned drive shaft,

The van have been serviced in Nov./Dec. 2020 at 114,000 miles, than sat for a year. Engine oil/filter, transmission ATF, Differential gear oil, new injectors, spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter and all the new parts listed have less than 200 miles before sitting for the entire 2021, Covid 19 season.

The van on it’s first long trip got really high 26.7 MPG highway at 60 mph for 120 mile trip. On Shell premium pure gas (no Ethanol) and Chevron Techron.

What services have I done and doing?
1). Ordered new tires. The 2nd set of tires are not worn, just old and oxidized.
2). Drain/Filled the hydroboost power steering brake booster 10+ times with Prestone Synthetic Power Steering Fluid with seal enhancer and leak stop. The unit is not leaking but the fluid was very dirty. The steering and brakes work great therefore this service will prolong the life of the components.
3). Adjusted the Power Steering rack slowly over 1 wk and 5X, to reduce the play. from 2 inches to 1/2 inches play.
4). Drain/Filled Dot 3 Brake Fluid, 3X. On going service to flush out the Hydroboost circuit.
5). Changed to 1 yr old engine oil 5w-30 with less than 200 miles. The heating/cooling cycle put a lot of moisture into the oil. Add 1 qt Marvel Mystery oil with Shell Full Synthetic 15W-45 heavy duty engine oil and driving 200-500 miles before next oil filter change. Looks clean with borescope into the oil drain plug.
6). Spark Plugs look brand new and borescope in cylinder looks great. Very little carbon, piston are std, hone marks on cyl walls, looks new!!! But SN on block and heads confirm this is still the original engine from 1998. Used the propane torch to burn off light coating of carbon from plugs and gapped. The car has new (ish) spark plug wires and boots.
7). Transmission was serviced. New seal, filter and ATF.
8). The differential gear oil was serviced again. The fluid was clean full synthetic yellow. I put new 75W-140 full synthetic Valvoline with friction modifier. It quiet.
9). The shocks are 2nd set and works great. But the bushings are getting old and oxidized. Next year.
10). The driveshaft was serviced with new U-joints and balancing. New balancing wt and sticker.
11). Zero rust under the Van. Everything is clean.
12). New fuel filter, New gas cap, New Oil filler cap.
13). New radiator, new AC dryer, new serpentine belt/tensioner,
14). The timing cover and seal are new with no leaks.
15). The oil cooler adapter has a leak. Ordered new seal kit with O-rings and gaskets. Will replace at 500 mile oil filter service.
16). The van has 1/2 inch thick heavy duty rubber mat in the back. The van interior has no rust. No rust on wheel arches. Clean.
17). The rear springs looks new or is 2nd set.
18). As stated previously. The entire front suspension parts have been changed to new GM/AC Delco parts, idler arm, pitman arm, drag link, tie-rod ends, lower ball joints, etc… The van drove straight even with 2 inches of steering play. It was adjusted slowly to only 1/2 inches of play.

MPG Highway 120 mile loop was 26.7 MPG.
City/Highway combined 100 miles 16.7 MPG.

That’s great MPG for a 13 yrs old van. I don’t think that is going to stay that high. …but I will try. Let’s see what the MPG becomes after the Marvel Mystery oil clean, with full synthetic and changing the to 20 micron oil filter and 5w-30 full synthetic API SP 20K mile qualified oil. I will keep 5K miles or 1 yr oil changes.

I think I got a great buy!!! ….for moving and light remodel projects. U-Haul wanted over $1,000 for weekly rental, too many moving out of the city.

I‘m planning to sell the van next year to the next owner, who can put it to work.

Best Wishes
That is a very impressive maintenance list to consider.
The 26+MPG,even all highway, is suspect to my way of thinking, but maybe if on flat roads with a tailwind....headed east from Denver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
That is a very impressive maintenance list to consider.
The 26+MPG,even all highway, is suspect to my way of thinking, but maybe if on flat roads with a tailwind....headed east from Denver.
I did mpg with my wife on board In an empty cargo van with metal divider and 1/2 thick rubber mat in cargo area. Costco Mt. Vernon fill up to Seattle, 56.1 miles, fill up at Costco 2.098 gallons at $3.699 per gallon total $7.76. 26.7 mpg rounded down to 26 mpg.

Combined highway-city driving 126.5 miles, 6.7676 gallons, $3.359 per gallon, $22.73 total, 126.5 miles/6.7676 gallons = 18.688 mpg rounded to 18 mpg.

RWD Van is new to me and do not have an MPG meter. It is very basic, with only power door lock and no remote, basic am/fm two speakers. The windows and mirrors are manual.

Oh, it does have a digital trip meter. That’s how i got the mileage and reset after each fill up. I would’ve been happy with 20 mpg, but 26 mpg surprised my wife and brother-in-law. Well continue saving the gas bills and average the mpg’s. I don’t think it’s going to stay this high, …especially as the oil and fluids gets older.

Oil Walmart SuperTech 20k Advance Full Synthetic 5w-30, $17.95
Oil Filter Fram full syn, 20k, 99% eff. 20 micron, $8.95
ATF, Valvoline MaxLife full synthetic, 3 gallons x $21.95 (2x)
Power steering, Prestone Syn, w/stop leak, 4 qts x $7.50 (10x)
Rear Diff, Valvoline full syn, 75W-140 w/friction mod. Limited slip, 2 qt x $12.95
Brakes, Prestone Dot 3, $11.95 (3X)

Best Wishes
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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Wow, bone stock cargo with a trip computer ( and I guess the OH console - you trust that...? ). PO must have added it.
What did the Van cost you to purchase ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Wow, bone stock cargo with a trip computer ( and I guess the OH console - you trust that...? ). PO must have added it.
What did the Van cost you to purchase ?
I went to the car auction. They have 6 larger cargo vans with 60K-80K and those got bid-up. The two GMC SL cargo vans were not bid up. The other Safari had heavy duty roof rack, steel divider, interior racks and only 80K miles. That one got bid up and the gentleman left me to bid on mine.

My final cost $5K (including auction premium fees) + little for tax, license and paperwork. What I liked about mine was the full service it had received, new radiator, tensioner, belt, timing cover, all front suspension, brakes, driveshaft (new U-joints and balance), transmission and diff service. The tires are not worn but hard as a rock and cracked. I’ve ordered 4 new 215R75-15 tires, it will arrive in Dec.. Heck all the service performed on this van at a mechanic would cost more than what I paid!

There are two GMC Safari listed in the North Seattle area. 1998-60K and 2001-95K miles. Those cargo vans are listed at $9,999 each. These were also bare bone working vans. There is one 1999 GMC Safari 4x4 cargo van with 150K for $8,750, but it needed more work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here are some picture of my 1998 GMC Safari SL Cargo Van with 115K.

Couple of other items the school district serviced.
New heavy duty alternator, new AC dryer, new battery, cabin divider and 1/2 inch thick heavy duty rubber mat in cargo area.

No Rust, very tiny oil leak from oil cooler (ordered the gasket kit).

I’ve already put it to use, transporting house hold goods and materials for light remodeling, windows, wood trim, tools, etc…

When we paid over $1,000 for less than a weeks rental at U-haul, it made sense to purchase this cargo van. After two years of use, I’m going to sell it. It will most likely have less than 120K miles.

Best Wishes
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Wow, bone stock cargo with a trip computer ( and I guess the OH console - you trust that...? ). PO must have added it.
What did the Van cost you to purchase ?
No, this one did not have the overhead console. This is more barebones than you think. I should have stated Trip Odometer.

It does have heavy duty, radiator, alternator, oil cooler, AC, 3.73 diff., power steering, power brakes, divider to prevent load from hitting the back of my head and 1/2 inch thick rubber mat in cargo area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is a very impressive maintenance list to consider.
The 26+MPG,even all highway, is suspect to my way of thinking, but maybe if on flat roads with a tailwind....headed east from Denver.
The differential states it has 3.73 gearing for towing. The Automatic seem to have very wide ratio. Wonder if that’s how I get the highway MPG. I calculated the MPG by taking the trip odometer reading / gallon of gas to top the fuel tank. I reset the trip Odometer at every gas stop.

What kind of MPG do most people get?
 

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I think it is unusual to claim 20+ with a AWD, and the 3.73 gearing would not help.
Usually the better mileage IIRC seeing occasionally reported is 20-22 and with the 2 WD and 3.43 gears on the open road.
I am happy with 17 on the highway ( 3.73 and AWD, and 217K ).
I think it is due for a check of the plugs and wires ( do not know much about the first 210 K history, except that it stayed in the PNW, and was one owner for the first 16 or 17 years. I am the third owner).
A T/U might yield a small increase, but I would not expect much more. It still seems to run OK.
Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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I think it is unusual to claim 20+ with a AWD, and the 3.73 gearing would not help.
~20 is what you will see under ideal conditions, at least in my experience.


Then again, putting 2gallons in a ~25gallon tank to measure fuel consumption is not going to be as accurate. Calculate it out over 5 full tanks or so and you will start to get a more accurate assessment of your true MPGs. Not calculated for 2gallons, or even for a full tank, but as a whole for 100+ gallons of fuel.
 

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Raymund 24.
X2, per what AstroWill said.

My experience has been that mileage varies several MPG if I try to check individual tank fills (and that is 18-20+ gallons at a time).
I plan for 14 to 15MPG for most of what I do, on the average. I probably spend 50% of the few miles I drive the Astro , on either city streets or forest logging roads. My average over about 4K miles is just below 15MPG. One trip to eastern Washingtonton, mostly on interstate highway over a 3000 foot mountain pass, and miles of good paved secondary roads, was calculated to over 16. That was a pleasant surprise, but that was just one tank of fuel, so still not accurate by my way of thinking.
I think my average may drop slightly since I recently (a year ago) ) put the somewhat more aggressive LT235/75R15 tires on it. For the few miles I drive, it will take a while to get a representative number to compare. the longest trip this year has been to a Seattle repair shop, and back. That trip cost 'a lot of $$ per mile', but it will average out! ;)

Rod J
Issaquah, Wa
 
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