2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

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2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » May 20th 2020, 12:31am

New to me today.
Been reading since March. Many thanks to all the previous posters and the admins for keeping this going. I've done several builds and this is a nice site with alot of info. Makes it easy, and convinces gullible individuals to buy a vehicle that don't need, just to f**k with it.
I've worked on Astros before and always said "remind me not to buy one of these".
But I had a stroke last August, and somebody posted about AWD and I fell for it. :doh:
So after looking online everywhere I could think of, and several false starts, I bought an Astro in my tiny NC town.

2004 Astro base but AWD.

My plan is a mild lift 235-75-15s
4472 all the time transfer case replacement
some kind of v8 replacement, maybe 350 CPI, maybe 6.0 :shock:

It was fleet bought by the Red Cross. Hopefully well maintained, but nope, the wipers don't even work....I think I remember how to fix that.

101674
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Rockridge wrote:maybe in my case it could be Vanna White
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby Leeann_93 » May 20th 2020, 1:45am

Welcome!

You’ll probably have to reflow the solder on the wiper board. Cold solder joints are so much fun.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » May 21st 2020, 11:51am

INBOUND!
1988-1991 1500 truck 4x4 wheels 16x7 6lugs
101686
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Rockridge wrote:maybe in my case it could be Vanna White
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby Birdshake » May 22nd 2020, 6:00pm

Good lookin wheels.
2005 4WD Astro Cargo
NP236 3.73 Eaton Posi
S10 HD Springs 3" blocks
245/75/16 BFG KO2
KYB Monomax
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby Wiley » May 22nd 2020, 8:23pm

dcsleeper wrote:NI've worked on Astros before and always said "remind me not to buy one of these".
But I had a stroke last August, and somebody posted about AWD and I fell for it. :doh:



Congrats.....there are times I have HATED my van, but deep down I love it!!
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby 90safari » May 24th 2020, 10:23pm

dcsleeper wrote:New to me today.

I've worked on Astros before and always sid "remind me not to buy one of these".
But I had a stroke last August, and somebody posted about AWD and I fell for it. :doh:
So after looking online everywhere I could think of, and several false starts, I bought an Astro in my tiny NC town.

101674


I've worked on other vehicles that are a lot worse than working on an Astro. And as an early Astro owner, these are dead simple to work on.
Bob 88 Astro cs and Sue 90 Safari
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » May 27th 2020, 7:28pm

I fixed the wipers by soldering the board. Bought a new board also, cause it was only 10 bux.

Bought some GMC alloys for spare tires, etc
101720

101718

My van has a strange weird rumble strip type of noise occasionally, and it doesn't seem to want to go over about 65 mph.
Seemed like a good enough reason to buy a 223 C Transfer Case and plan for a manual shifted swap. Right?

101714

101716

Does anyone in North Carolina have a tow hitch for sale?

I need a white fuel door too...
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Rockridge wrote:maybe in my case it could be Vanna White
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » May 27th 2020, 7:33pm

After days of math and reading the web, I bought a set of 225/70-16 tires.
Totally for the price.
Kumho KH16 for 244 for the set. Shipped. :banana:
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Rockridge wrote:maybe in my case it could be Vanna White
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » June 4th 2020, 10:27pm

wheels don't fit, they don't clear the front brake calipers.

whodathunkit?

The garage guys were all these wheels only fit 4x4, the have too much back spacing, they will rub. No they won't.


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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby SportsBoy » June 4th 2020, 11:00pm

dcsleeper wrote:My van has a strange weird rumble strip type of noise occasionally, and it doesn't seem to want to go over about 65 mph.
Seemed like a good enough reason to buy a 223 C Transfer Case and plan for a manual shifted swap. Right?

Did you really get a 223c tcase? I've never heard of anyone doing that switch before.

Wheels have to have the right bolt pattern and backspacing.... it's easier to find wheels that fit the 6 lug vans, but you still have to make sure of those two key measures.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » June 5th 2020, 8:54am

I did get a 233c tc, but it's not in yet. It's been done before. 2 people on here have done it, that I know of.
I won't be transplanting all the electronics, I'll be making a manual shift lever, like turnnburn did. If I got it right, it's a bolt in, in place of my 2004 np136.
I'm aware of backspacing, I just assumed that the Chevy trucks of the same era/family would fit. They do fit and have the right backspacing, that's just what the garage guys said. But who would think that a 16" wheel that fit, would not clear the caliper. Just that much older it seems.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby Leeann_93 » June 5th 2020, 12:55pm

You originally typed 223c and that’s what he was questioning. 233c has indeed been done before.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby MmusicmanMmusicman is online! » June 5th 2020, 3:52pm

Obviously a typo on the 233C... since he clearly posted a photo of it.
Yes... MANY PEOPLE have done it!

It's single-handedly the BEST upgrade for the AWD! Literally direct bolt-on!
Although you do lose the advantage of "automatic AWD".. which is great for snow.
I suspect a true 4x4 conversion will be much better for someone living in NC.
I LOVE mine!

Shame about the wheels.
Some people are unfortunately good at giving wrong advice.

What part of NC?
I travel from S.Fla and have done a lot of riding over the years in western NC

Welcome!

PS: Welcome to the "white van" club too! lol
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » June 5th 2020, 5:23pm

Yeah, a typo that I can't edit now.
Yes MMusicMan, your thread and others led me to this TC. When I saw a ridiculous deal on ebay for one of them I jumped on it.
I received the switch for the TC today, to replace the vacuum switch for the front axle.
It will be used to switch the PCM to 4LO as shown in other threads.
101838

I would love to have all the options, but I think I have an issue w/ the AWD, so I used that as an excuse to get a different TC.
I'll probably get the fluid changed before I swap it out. Just to see.

I used to live in Franklin, but I'm now near Roanoke Rapids 95. It does snow a little around here, but it's ruler flat too.

I'm gonna marshmallow mine all out w/ body color grille and headlight buckets and perforated vinyl wrap on the windows!
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Rockridge wrote:maybe in my case it could be Vanna White
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby MmusicmanMmusicman is online! » June 5th 2020, 10:18pm

dcsleeper wrote:Yes MMusicMan, your thread and others led me to this TC. When I saw a ridiculous deal on ebay for one of them I jumped on it.

Cool! Glad to hear it.
I was also inspired by those before me.. learned a lot from people who share on this forum.
If you own an Astro.. this site is the owners manual!

I received the switch for the TC today, to replace the vacuum switch for the front axle.
It will be used to switch the PCM to 4LO as shown in other threads.

I don't understand how that switch is supposed to work from that location.

I think I have an issue w/ the AWD, so I used that as an excuse to get a different TC.
I'll probably get the fluid changed before I swap it out. Just to see.

What's the issue?
Swapping it out for an NP233C will certainly fix it for good!

I used to live in Franklin, but I'm now near Roanoke Rapids 95.

I driven and ridden though Franklin MANY times!
Love the ride to Highlands (to see the waterfalls).. and of course drive though typically heading west or north.
I typically mostly stay in Murphy or Cherokee, as well as Boone, Hotsprings, Linville, Gatlinburg, and of course ride for hundreds of fantastic mountain miles in all directions! I tow my motorcycle up from South Florida several times every year for many years now. If my motorcycle isn't leaning into a curve, I feel like I'm not really riding.

Sounds like you're on the opposite side of the state now.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » June 5th 2020, 11:10pm

There's a thread explaining it all. I'm sure you've seen it, it is my talking.

The cam attached behind the actuator rod/shaft pushes directly on the switch.
You need to modify the cam to only engage for 4LO. Stock it actuates for 4wd Hi and 4wd Lo.
Did I confuse you by mentioning the front axle? That's not where it is, that's what it's for. Actually it could be used in that location too, but no mind.

yes, reading this forum prepared me for when I saw the auction. I knew what I was looking at, and that it would physically fit in place of the 136.
when I came upon the auction and it was $100 including shipping, I had the knowledge to jump on it.Thanks to you, and others. :hurray:

The issue is:
driving around, you might hear a "brappp" a second long. Sounds like a rumble strip.
But, if the rear diff was bad, I woulda broken it already.
If the tranny was bad, I don't think torque converter shudder would sound like that.

Additionally, I have done mechanic work for years. I cannot imagine what this is, and what would make this noise.
So I believe what it is, is this:
Some numbnuts put ATF in the transfer case.
I've driven it 50 miles or more. It ain't broke, but it is sick.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby Leeann_93 » June 6th 2020, 12:07am

If it ain't broke, put GM AutoTrak 2 in the case, drive it about 100 miles, doing as many figure 8s as you can, then drain and refill.


But if you're going to replace it with a 233c, there's not much point.
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby dcsleeper [OP] » June 6th 2020, 6:26pm

This is the switch above
101848
101846
101844

The matching plug connector is here:
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B004DVM7RG

Pay attention to the sex of the pins, not just the housings when you assemble the connections. The pictures I see of these are sexed incorrectly to mate with the switch. The switch is female/female so you need to assemble the connector with male pins inside the male housing. male/male

In the picture on the Amazon listing, the housing on the right will have to be used to mate with the switch, but the male pins need to be used shown on the left.Don't get confused!

Originally this switch is spec'd for the front axle engaged or 4WD position on the front axle. So in our discussion above, "Actually it could be used in that location too," it IS used in that location!

@Leeann93 I'm definitely gonna change the fluid because I am not sure if this is the source of the rumble strip noise. Plus I want to be able to say that the TC is definitely good or bad.

This thread seems to have the best explanation of which pin to ground on the PCM for which era Astro.
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... o#p1484310

The vacuum switch in the pic below is what will be replaced by this electric switch.

https://www.astrosafari.com/download/fi ... &mode=view
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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby sixsix » June 6th 2020, 6:55pm

Nice.
Better photos than we find on @[email protected]
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “Everything needs to change except the asshole culture and stupid way of life of the avg. antifa, BLM follower - slobs, cowards, killers w/o any thought that they, IN FACT, are now the Racists.”

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Re: 2004 AWD Base Astro - DCsleeper

Postby MmusicmanMmusicman is online! » June 6th 2020, 10:25pm

dcsleeper wrote:The cam attached behind the actuator rod/shaft pushes directly on the switch.
You need to modify the cam to only engage for 4LO. Stock it actuates for 4wd Hi and 4wd Lo.

I missed THAT one! I'm guessing the T-case has to be opened up to modify this cam?
Sounds like the ultimate cool idea. I've seen a lot of variations on how to externally do this switch.
Mine is on a toggle inside. I haven't ever needed it, but it's there if I ever want to utilize it.

For anyone wondering what we are talking about.. (the 233 t-case in 4-LO) the transmission only works manually in 1st and 2nd gear without the switch. Grounding this pin (any method) makes a "correction" in the computer and allows the transmission to shift "automatically" though all the gears. It is NOT essential, but you'll only have 1st and 2nd gear in 4-LO without it, which could be limiting if your are traveling in 4-LO on varying terrain.

Did I confuse you by mentioning the front axle?

No, I understood the function of the stock vacuum switch and what it controls.
That's why I was a little baffled on how this position would be modified to work with 4-LO only.
I missed class that day! lol

The issue is: driving around, you might hear a "brappp" a second long. Sounds like a rumble strip.

Yes my AWD did that from a standing start on mild acceleration.
No noise.. just a kind of weak shutter on take off. I once thought it was my transmission going out.
I had the bind in tight turns too.
Clearly the clutches were binding... a problem solved by flushing with correct new fluid.
I solved the problem by swapping the t-case to a 233.
I was shocked how smooth the take-off was after the swap... something I had lived with as it got worse over time.
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Projects/BuildsEach members' project build thread. Post details and photos, past and present, of your projects coming together. Restorations, modifications, or customizations of a vehicle and a sequential history of the progress. Build-up threads only!
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Ken2.7
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mglsite
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Rahdigs
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