Retro Astro

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Retro Astro

Postby Rune [OP] » May 24th 2012, 8:45pm

I've decided to turn my 2000 RWD Astro into a retro land cruiser. I got the van stock in September 2011 and I have so far replaced the headlight lenses, taillight lenses, turn signal lenses, and the radio and four of the speakers. I also installed an LED light bar in the small space under the back doors.

What I intend to do is:

Swap in a 5.7 vortec engine
Swap in a tougher rear end with a limited slip differential
New springs with a set of heavy duty leaves in the back to replace the old ones
Dual exhaust to get a throatier sound and replace the old components
New rims, based on old style truck:
http://www.shopvintagewheels.com/15x7-c ... p/WV33002/
something like this once I come up with a way to change to 6 bolt without adapters
Black Cherry paint
Custom stainless or chrome trim
And a new interior, which I'm still deciding on how I want it to look.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Rune [OP] » May 25th 2012, 1:55am

Any thoughts?
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby MadMaxiVan » May 25th 2012, 2:38am

a couple actually
first off,hows your state on inspections?
how you gonna pass a v-8 van thru on a v6 inspection?
/vin/tells the inspection puter that its supposed to be a v6.... :confused:

thats why i gave up,cause my state is too messed up..nys.

secondly,why would you convert to a 6 lug setup??
the 5 is plenty strong..and redrilling axles to a 6 bolt pattern might not be so easy... :banghead:
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby chevymaher » May 25th 2012, 2:39am

Sounds like you got the plan already. Sounds good and will look great.
I imagine they are hard to find as hens teeth. But I found out there was a option for a 8.5 rear end in these vans. All the parts places have listings for them. I personally just upgraded the 7.5 rear end. I have personally witnessed one in a 850 HP car that is now going behind a 440 big block.
They take it pretty well. Or a ford 9 inch is popular swap. there are threads in the forum.
Here is what I did. It is putting up with 300 plus horses without even groaning.

viewtopic.php?f=108&t=14227

As for interior if your going retro. Do the 60's van thing. Bed TV radio in the back. Camper/party mobile.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Rune [OP] » May 25th 2012, 6:52pm

to MadMaxiVan
Well, when I bought the car it wasn't inspected. I'm not completely sure. Michigan is pretty lax on inspections and emission controls, if that's what you mean.

As for the bolt pattern, i'm trying to find some rims that I like that are a 5 bolt pattern, that are a type like that. If I don't have to change the pattern I won't, but I plan on putting larger brakes on as well, so I don't know how that will figure into this yet.

To Chevymaher
What's the 8.5? Is that the 8.8? I was asking about the 9 inch rear in a different post and I was told the 8.8 from a ford explorer would work, so I'm looking into that as well. My rear end is an open differential in a very rusty, kind of beaten up case.

You replaced your differential with a stronger one, right?
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby chevymaher » May 25th 2012, 7:36pm

Yes I put in a lot heavier differential.

The GM 8.5, I was getting gaskets for changing the grease in the rear end. Parts guy ask if I had a 8.5, 7.625 or a 7.5. What? We talked looked up some stuff.
Their books show GM as having one in the vans, also shared by same year S-10's and blazers. They got listings for bearings, gears the whole nine yards.
I don't know, seems like their selling the parts it must have been an option. Be it one few knew about. I thought it was interesting to say the least. First I ever heard about it.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby MadMaxiVan » May 25th 2012, 7:50pm

what i meant was this
does your state require the vehicle to be plugged into the state inspection computer it being a 2000?

if so,then you may have problems passing because you are putting a v8 into a v6 van
the computer is going to try to inspect it as a v6 van based off the VIN.

thats why i couldnt v8 my 98. ( here in new york )

if you just need a safety inspection/2000/your state/then youll have no issues.
you should Definitely check into this before you spend one thin dime for a v8 swap.

then consider this..in like what,95 down,you can do a v8 swap one wire hookup.
shazaam! done.
in a 2000,you will need All sorts of things,v8 computer,etc etc.

good luck and Mr Maher is the guru,he knows more and prolly forgotten more than ill ever know.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Jasen » May 25th 2012, 8:17pm

That's kind of like Washington, after 1980 you can't put any more cylinders in it then was offered. I believe there are way's around it, bu I've never looked into it. One guy I knew had V8 s 10 all set up with quick release and every 2 years he would pop the I4 back in for emissions.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby tedanderson » May 26th 2012, 4:12am

you may have problems passing because you are putting a v8 into a v6 van
the computer is going to try to inspect it as a v6 van based off the VIN.


Usually the ECM is swapped when doing a V8 swap to minimize any problems or issues so when the port is accessed, it will read the VIN of the donor vehicle.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Rune [OP] » May 26th 2012, 4:57am

I'm definitely interested about the heavier differential. Do you have any more info on that? Before I get too carried away and start switching things around and welding things together..

Yeah, Michigan has neither emissions inspection or vehicle inspections. If they had either, alot less cars would be on the road here.

Yeah I read about how easy it to swap in a v8 in 95 and early vans, but I got this van before I found this out, so I'm going to stick with my van.

So, other than parts, parts, parts, labor, and more parts, I guess I'm good.


Unless you count the parts.
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Rune [OP] » June 12th 2012, 4:15pm

My idea for the van is to make it a land crusier type of car, like the cars and wagons or the 60s and 70s.

Anyone know of any junk yards in wayne county or oakland county in Michigan, in the Detroit area?
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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Lumpy » June 12th 2012, 4:19pm

Rune wrote:
My idea for the van is to make it a land crusier type of car, like the cars and wagons or the 60s and 70s.



Could you elaborate on what you're thinking about this "Land Cruiser" build? Do you mean cosmetic? Something else?


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Re: Retro Astro

Postby Rune [OP] » June 23rd 2012, 8:12pm

Something like a station wagon form the 60s or 70s. It'd be both cosmetic, with the exterior and interior, and mechanical. It'd have everything from a small block v8 with a stronger rear end and dual exhaust to a new paint job, a retro styled interior with a custom dashboard, to new carpeting, new guages, new upholstry, painted trim, and possibly a t-top inspired sunrooof. I'd also like to replace the front and rear bumbers with older metal or chrome ones. I get the feeling I'm going to be doing alot of making things work.

Right now I'm thinking about a was to design something to fit with the grille to give it a new look. My current grille is damaged from a collison with a wall.

Any ideas on this will be appreciated. The exterior color will be black cherry and the interior will be mostly black, if I can do it, and maybe a second tone as well.
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