Rorge Astro 2000 cargo build

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Rorge Astro 2000 cargo build

Postby rorgeastro [OP] » December 2nd 2020, 7:36am

Rorge is a 2000 Astro cargo van I bought to move stuff and tow cars. It's only the second van I've ever owned in over 40 years of driving and I regret not having a van like the Astro a lot earlier.

As i spend a lot of time restoring and driving my project cars, most of this build will focus on gradually making Rorge as reliable as possible and to replace a few worn out parts as I discover them.

The first fix is the sliding door, which more aptly has been the scraping door, as you will see in the pictures.

Pre-98 Astros have welded on mid door brackets and use a spring to help pop out the rear edge of the sliding door. The latch is positioned just above the bracket.

mid97change.jpg
pre 98


My 2000 van uses a different mid-door bracket design, which uses simple hinge geometry (no spring needed) and a higher mounted latch ppsition to nudge the rear of the sliding door open when the door handle first releases the latch from the striker.

20201112_2000astro.jpg
00 bracket


the lower sliding door stop had a few pounds of dried clay clogging it.
20201201_stopdirt0.jpg
stop


the replacement forward bracket and old bracket looked similar from the top.
20201201_bracket3.jpg
fwd bracket top


but the bottom roller was flat spotted and clogged with clay.
20201201_stuckroll4.jpg
roller conpare


some closeups of the replacement roller
20201201_roll5.jpg
replace roller


and the old flat spotted one
20201201_stuck6.jpg
flatspot


the mid door roller bracket had a small bearing fail.. so the back of the sliding door would jam and not pop out a bit when trying to slide back the sliding door..

20201201_mid7roll.jpg
slide


a 5 gallon bucket supported the bottom of the door while I changed out the mid door hinge bracket.

20201201_bucketrear2.jpg
bucket


All done.. a light application of white lithium grease on the bearings will help prevent clogged/seized rollers in the future. Door now slides easily and operates quietly.
Original Poster [OP]
rorgeastro
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Posts: 11
Topics: 2
Images: 1
Joined: November 2020
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2000
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: Cargo

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Re: Rorge Astro 2000 cargo build

Postby xit » December 2nd 2020, 7:26pm

Thanks, good write up & good job. Pictures always appreciated.
Possibly Natures most perfect food, good beef jerky and cold beer......
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xit
Firing on 6 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 6 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: xit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full yearsxit has been a member for 9 full years
Posts: 602
Topics: 66
Images: 4
Joined: August 2011
Location: Central Oklahoma
Gender: Male
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Van Model Year: 1994
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: Conversion

Re: Rorge Astro 2000 cargo build

Postby rorgeastro [OP] » December 22nd 2020, 11:10pm

When I first bought my used Astro, it had a new battery.. yet the dashboard lights were flickering and the volt meter in the dashboard read below 10V when engaging the starter motor. Once the engine was running however the gauge read a steady 14V.

It always started up fine but it bothered me that the low gauge reading suggested the 830 CCA battery might be undersized. And the flickering dashlights were annoying.

The last couple of weeks were quite cold and damp, and starting seemed weaker, and the gauge reading was even lower during cranking. And a few days ago the dashboard glitched and lit up and went blank for a moment, although the engine kept running. During a cold start, the motor ran for a few seconds and stalled a few times.. remaining running only by stepping down on the gas pedal to keep it running. Last night, it was 32F outside. I turned the ignition key and no click, no crank, no lights.. luckily I had another vehicle to drive.

This morning I read through a lot of the threads here for Astro electrical issues, and I expected to find some bad grounds, cables, or wiring harness issues.

I don't like firing a parts cannon though.. so I just got my DC amp clamp meter and multimeter, and a 10 mm wrench for cleaning ground wire studs and headed out to the Astro.

First, I checked battery voltage with my multimeter. It was a bit low but not dead. The headlights worked and were relatively bright. Voltage dropped slightly at the battery terminals when the lights were on.

I slipped the DC clamp meter onto the thick battery negative cable and with the ignition key in and switch turned to the ON position, flipped on the headlights and then the blower fan to max speed and defrost selection. ( non A/C van). Voltage was still reasonably high and DC current measured was about 26+A.

20201222_dcamp.jpg



I then decided to try starting the engine and everything immediately stopped.. no lights, no crank, no blower fan and no dashboard indicator lights or gauge readings.

interesting.. let's recheck the battery voltage.. which was still 11.95V at the terminals. As the battery was new and the cables and terminals looked to be in good shape.. I tried to see if I could wiggle the battery cable side terminals.

The ground side terminal seemed a bit loose so I got a 8 mm. socket and tried to tighten it. the bolt cammed out.. After removing the bolt from the battery i could see the reason why it was loose.. The new battery threads were recessed and the OEM bolt was too short, with a tapered tip.

I remembered I had a spare bolt in my toolbox from a S-10 I owned 15 years ago..

pictured below.

20201222_130228.jpg


no more dashboard light flickering and the indicated battery voltage at the instrument cluster during cranking no longer dipped into the single digits during cranking. Amazing how a loose terminal could disguise itself so well.. Moral of this story is to start your diagnosis by looking at any recently replaced parts, especially when you first acquire a used vehicle.

It helped to also inspect all the known electrical trouble spots.. the grounds, wiring bundles, underhood fuse box on my West Coast van seemed rust free , uncorroded and not chafing on anything obvious.
Original Poster [OP]
rorgeastro
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Posts: 11
Topics: 2
Images: 1
Joined: November 2020
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2000
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: Cargo


 
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