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Opposite of mine, I seem to have developed a misfire. I also suspect an intake leak, as it's idling a little high. I have a code 35 (IAC), but live data shows it working and matching expected positions. I'm also getting closer to doing something with my air intake. The opening is RIGHT above the radiator, so in addition to some rain water I'm getting nice hot air into my snorkel. It's on the list, but today isn't the day. Tomorrow ain't looking too good either.
 

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98 Astro AWD LT
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32 Posts
A productive day! First I figured out I ordered the wrong front shocks, SMH, reorder and moved to the back. Rears were work but easy enough, not rusted tight. I bought a cargo box yesterday and got it mounted. The box isn't pretty but not horrible and the price was right. Then I fittled with the conversion tetris.
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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I guess it is my turn to dig into the door locking circuitry.
I went out to the van today, get a couple of items, and found al the doors locked. I normally do not lock it here.
Driver door opened with the key, but the others would not unlock with the button.
With the door unlock button pressed, I could hear solenoids clicking all around.
I figured the battery might be low, but it started up as normal and ran fine, after sitting for over two months.
I tried the rear hatch button, with the same results; I can hear the key cycle the lock solenoid, but the pushbutton switch (recently overhauled with no indication of an impending failure) will not release the hatch.
Inside, I had previously installed an emergency release button ( electrical). It too, would activate what sounded like a solenoiid or motor, but not release the hatch. A previously added mechanical lanyard worked just fine.
It appears I have power to all the switches, because they all elicit some response at the appropriate locations.
It is strange that they all seem to have the same problem, so I am hoping it is relatively easy to trace the problem.
Time to cuddle up with the manual and a voltmeter in an attempt to decipher the system drawings.
With the control module and multiple relays, I would be lost without the excellent factory schematic diagrams.
Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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I started to finally pull off my side moldings, and learned that someone creased my sliding door through the molding significantly, and the molding popped back out hiding the damage. Better than the rust i expected
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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Well, a crease is certainly better than a bunch of rust.
My RT lower side moulding (below the passenger door), hid some pretty gnarly Bondo work, but there was very little actual rust. What little I found was superficial. I counted that as a WIN!
Rod J
 

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2003 Astro LS
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346 Posts
Well, it looks like I'll be back in an Astro 7 years after selling my Safari taxi.

I sold my house last month, and decided to drive from Alaska to Seattle rather than fly on Alaska Airlines with infected cruise passengers that failed COVID tests and were not allowed to reboard their ship, and who decide to fly home immediately, unmasked, instead of quarantining for 5 days as the cruise lines tell them to do.

Unfortunately, no Astros were on the market in Juneau, so I bought the only car I could find for under $10k that I knew would make it to Seattle without requiring expensive service in rural northern BC, a 2006 Hyundai Alera sedan with 75k miles and a 3.8 liter V6, which was great for passing semis in BC's often short passing lanes.

Unfortunately, it was not the vehicle I wanted as I drove the 524 mile Cassiar Highway, which has only one gas station and 2 motels at Dease Lake, the halfway point. The Alera was packed full of family stuff from the house, which Grandpa built 84 years ago, so I couldn't even put the seat back to sleep, and there were great campgrounds every 60 miles or so that I couldn't use, so I drove faster than I wanted and didn't have a lot of time for pix or to search for wildlife. However, the fall colors were great.

Now I'm in Seattle, and have started shopping for my next home, a pilot house motor sailer, a sailboat with dual wheels, roller reefing, and electric winches, so I can sail in foul weather in comfort. I'm looking for an ocean capable boat in the 33-40 foot range, but COVID took a lot of boats off the market. I don't want to pay for hotels or AirBnB the entire time I'm boat shopping, and I'd rather camp if I have to do a cross-country trip, so I've been van shopping.

As we all know, the used car market still has inflated prices, and the low-end used car dealers have been buying some real beater vans at auctions. I looked at a dozen really rough ones before I found a '98 LS, and have spent the last 2 days as they fix things, finding more things wrong. It's really annoying that I can't really see the engine with the plastic shrouds. Today they're doing a a tune up, alignment, tranny flush, shocks and brakes if needed, checking wheel bearings and hubs, trying to get heater/AC controls to actually work, recharging he AC compressor, and fixing the mirror controls and door locks. At least the slider is in great shape, and there's not much body damage. Salesman is now aware that he can't snow me regarding the quirks of Astros (12 years of running Astro and then Safari as taxis), and knows that once they're done, I'll take it down the road a few blocks for an independent inspection, so THEY need to find things wrong before I do.

Even if they fix everything, I still want to get it up on lift and get a good inspection. Very little visible rust, but I always want to have the frame checked on a rig this old.

On the other hand, they're willing to trade straight across for the Alera, which is a great incentive for them to fix it all, because they know I can such a low mileage car elsewhere.

What is it with car dealers that offer rigs where the heater vents fall apart when you try to adjust them, and where the engine obviously needs a tune? It looks like they roll the cars onto the lot after the carrier arrives from the auction, and don't do anything to them until someone wants to look at them. No wonder used car dealers have such a lousy reputation. I'm sure glad I have a car that they really want.

Fall colors on the Cassiar:

Cloud Sky Plant Mountain Natural landscape
Cloud Sky Plant Mountain Natural landscape
 

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Welcome back, JC!
I have no idea (ok, some idea) where my van is right now. It's been my daughter's DD since the hurricane 3 weeks ago. It seems here car hydroplaned into a guard rail, taking out a headlight/fender/whatever else. The strut and tower are still solid though. Once again, she's got the van until her car is fixed. The plus side of this is that I've been driving the buggy a little bit more lately.
 
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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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This is how my van looked yesterday.. this part of the job is done.
Today I'm in search of a wheel hub...
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle

Vehicle Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Tire


For the first time in years.. I'll be driving my 92 to work today..
 
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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Yesterday I finished the new lower control arm.
Today I installed a new hub.
Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Automotive side marker light Land vehicle


AWD hubs are very rare here in South Florida.. only one place had one in stock anywhere.
It's a Duralast DL515019 from Autozone (got it with discount for $130)
Bicycle part Rim Automotive tire Gas Nickel


Normally I buy better.. but I needed it today as I'm going on a trip in a couple days.
Automotive tire Camera lens Digital camera Camera accessory Lens


Original hub made it to 260K.. not bad.

I didn't want to chance messing up the bolts, so I bought a 6pt metric impact set (just for the 15mm socket.. lol)
This socket fit tight like it was made for it.
(I had cutting tools on standby)
Automotive tire Saw Wood Rim Gas


Air impact wouldn't begin to touch these bolts.. they were really hard to remove.
It hit them up with penetrating oil and got them glowing with heat...
Automotive tire Tire Grinding Wood Bicycle part


A little concerning they might strip or snap, but not so bad with the right tools
This was the 4' pipe extension on my breaker bar that finally broke them loose.
Overall, it went pretty smoothly... thankfully.
(other side was done a couple years ago)
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bicycle part Rim Bicycle tire

Wood Bicycle part Gas Nut Engineering


NEW IS ON!
Automotive tire Saw Rim Motor vehicle Automotive lighting


New upper arm, new lower arm, new hub.
This side should be good to go.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: Replaced my blower motor today as well. It also made it 22 years.
It's been howling off and on for the past 6 months.. finally pretty much froze up.
I could smell it burning (hopefully the resistor pack is still good, it looked ok)

While in there, I vacuumed out a ton of dirt and leaves.
Coil was caked with gunk, and completely blocked.
It should flow and cool so much better now...
Automotive parking light Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle


This is the most I've worked on this van all year.
I'm mostly caught up.. but still got a few more things pending...

----------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE: New blower motor is in.
Turns out the old blower motor blew part of the resistor pack (#2 switch position dead)
The NEW resistor pack cost MORE than the motor.. lol
(haven't put in new resistor pack yet)
 
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2004 Safari RWD, 2002 Astro AWD
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I am surprised you did not place the upper ball joint underneath the upper arm.
I moved mine and my AWD van handled better.
I had raised the the front of my van up by the bars to level it out.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I am surprised you did not place the upper ball joint underneath the upper arm.
My subframe suspension is still stock, and upper control arms do not produce lift.
My van has body lift (with minimal torsion lift) so it is not needed.

The ONLY reason for relocating the upper ball joint is to correct control arm angle if lift torsion keys have been utilized. This is also done to get alignment back in spec. My stock suspension alignment is factory original and requires no mods.
 
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2003 Astro LS
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346 Posts
So I'm once again an Astro owner! Traded the Hyundai Alera that I drove down from Alaska to Seattle's largest GM dealer for a one-owner 2003 LS RWD trade-in with 110797 miles and more cash than I had hoped, but the 2006 Alera with 57K miles had some body damage by the original owner which wasn't completely offset by the low mileage.

OTOH I think the condition of my new TAKU73 van is amazing for a 19 year old car! A few tiny nicks on the leading edge of the hood and a badly weathered Chevy logo on the grille are the only external appearance issues, and the interior was immaculate once the dealer's detailing crew spiffed it up. It drives well, and sounds good.

Since I will be using it as a part time camper van while I search for my new sailboat home and will sell it once I've moved onto the boat, I've just folded the seats down, put plywood on top, and added an air mattress so the seats will be with the van when I sell it. Just did my first run, Seattle to Bellingham, today. Still getting used to Astro handling after driving a sports sedan for a month --- can't do corners as fast, especially on Chuckanut Drive!

But it feels so good to have a van again! After I check this corner of Washington, I'll be heading south on the coast, searching for the pilot house motor sailer out there that's calling my name. If I don't find it on the West Coast, it will be time for a cross country trip, since there are 2 boats in the Great Lakes and several on the east coast I should check out. Kinda weird to be doing this kind of road trip at 75, but I'm finally retired, and the van gives me the ability to (sometimes) just park and sleep --- I found out today that some RV parks and campgrounds in "tourist towns" don't allow unconverted vans, or I would be sleeping in it tonight.

Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Car Wheel Tire
 

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I didn't want to chance messing up the bolts, so I bought a 6pt metric impact set (just for the 15mm socket.. lol)
This socket fit tight like it was made for it.
(I had cutting tools on standby)
Air impact wouldn't begin to touch these bolts.. they were really hard to remove.
It hit them up with penetrating oil and got them glowing with heat...
A little concerning they might strip or snap, but not so bad with the right tools
This was the 4' pipe extension on my breaker bar that finally broke them loose.
ROFL!
Welcome to my world, I know you're familiar with rust but your posts, work, weather, oh boy, it's idyllic. Your work is top notch as usual.
I just picked up my '05 from the shop after a little rust removal, Exhaust manifold bolts. The manifold gasket was leaking so when I saw the missing bolts I knew it was going to be a job for my mechanic. This was a task that was outside my little window of skill. They did both sides, new manifolds, motor mounts and drivers front axle. 15 hrs. plus parts, ouch!
I won't bitch though, to find a shop that will work on an ls swapped astro is tough and these guys are good.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Ok this week...

Replacement lower control arm... check!
Replacement passenger-side hub... check!
Replacement A/C blower motor.. check!
Replacement A/C resistor pack... check!

Just got back from a nice annual Truckin event (camping trip) in Dunnellon Florida.
It was about 500 miles round trip.. and was trouble-free!

We setup directly across from the band, and broadcast all weekend.
Had a blast! Wife loves it too!!

Thursday night early arrival and early setup...
Automotive lighting Vehicle Shade Chair Motor vehicle


Friends and family Saturday afternoon...
(parked in front of me is the "junk work van" I gave my buddy)
He's been working on it for the past few months getting everything it needed done.
Tent Nature Tree Shade Shorts


No A/C hanging out the window this time.. it actually dipped into the 40's at night.. but perfect 70's day
Tire Vehicle Car Vehicle registration plate Sky


My buddy's "NEW 2004 VAN" made it's first trip from Alabama.. he put a lot of work in it!
New tires, brakes, differential repair, new radiator, coil, plugs, wires, new distributor, ICM, CPS, etc etc.
He also put a bed in it (with sub woofers).. flooring, walls, painted door panels, grill, etc.
Says it runs great... it's a ROLLER!
Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle Wheel


Friendly neighbors...
Plant Sky Horse Eye Nature


Alternative transportation...
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive tire


Our combined site at night with fellow vanner... (wife selling her hand-made creations)
Purple Entertainment Plant Leisure Magenta


Hanging with family Friday night enjoying the band directly across from us...
Photograph Purple Smile Plant Entertainment


One of our two party bands...
Musical instrument Musician Guitar Purple Music


Hanging by the fire...
Bonfire Fire Flame Heat Event


A good time was had by all...
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Our "camping" requires "transforming" the work van..
Pulling work equipment, tools, bench seat...and installing temporary full size bed!
Very roomy and comfortable.. storage underneath
Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive parking light Automotive lighting


This quick setup is a wood frame slid into place, with bed thrown on top
Definitely more for function. Camping stuff mostly stays outside when we arrive
Product Automotive lighting Rectangle Motor vehicle Vehicle


Packed to the ceiling...
Car Vehicle Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting Trunk


A little more from our trip:

Van show...
Wheel Vehicle Tree Plant Tire


One of the "show vans" on display at event...
Photograph Tire Sky Motor vehicle Vehicle

Purple Textile Interior design Picture frame Violet


My "interior decorations" are small portable mixer and sound..lol
Vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Rectangle

Plant Tent Tree Chair Community



Here's a video of us pulling into the event.. and our setup (try to view at 720p)
 
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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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You know... as far back as I can remember, Van - related parties and gatherings were always the most laid back, calm, smooth and nicest times. Great tunes, food, friends, memories and tall tales & tails...

Amstel lighting is always welcome. I'll raise one right now. ...oops, there goes my elbow.
 

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Looks like a fun trip! Trade you?

Today I brought my daughter's car home to begin repairs (rubbed elbows with a guardrail during the hurricane). I had just gotten it up on stands when she called me, the van died leaving the gas station. Lucky for me it was close by.

It turned over, no start. Slight smell of fuel at the tailpipe led me to check for spark. Nope, no spark. Grab the spare coil, still no spark. Grab the spare ignition module, send son to autozone a block away for thermal compound. All they had was dielectric grease, it had to do. Put it all back together, success. I also reinstalled the plug wire laying next to the distributor, no clue how that came off. I hope I didn't overlook it last time I was in there, but I must have. After adding some water to the overflow tank and a quart of oil, she was back on the road again.

Hopefully I can get the Malibu into some sort of shape tomorrow. That will save her money on gas, and get me my van back. It will also free me up to continue the projects on the buggy, I've been motivated on that one lately.
 
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