Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby Woober [OP] » March 15th 2013, 5:31am

Hello,

Was hoping to get a little advice from fellow Astro owners.

I have a 2000 Astro, V6 4.3L, AWD. Mileage is 205,000.

We were driving up and down some pretty big hills the other day, and all of a sudden, the engine started running like crap, and I got a flashing "Service Soon" light.

I pulled over, checked the fluids, and continued on, as we were in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. We got it back to civilization, and had it towed back to our residence.

I got it in to the shop a couple days ago, and they just called and said to come down so we could discuss options. Apparently, the lower distributor was replaced, as well as some other minor components. When they went to start it back up, the timing was all screwed up, even when it was set to what the manual indicated. The mechanic that worked on it, told me the problem was with the timing, and to fix it, would cost $1000 +, due to the fact that the Astro is obviously very tight to work in, and the whole front end would have to be disassembled. I think the quote was $600 in labor and $400 in parts. The opinion of the mechanic was to not go ahead with the repairs, simply because the engine has so many miles on it.

Does anybody have an opinion one way or another, as to what I should do. The body is sound, absolutely no rust. The interior is great. Windshield was replaced a few months ago, and the tires are very good, and were new 6 months ago.

Thanks in advance for any input.

Scott
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Re: Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby Big_kid » March 15th 2013, 1:26pm

Sounds like it's a keeper, no rust and in decent shape otherwise? Timing chain jump a tooth?

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Re: Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby Woober [OP] » March 15th 2013, 7:15pm

Yes, the van is in wonderful condition, otherwise. The mechanic told me that after changing out the lower distributor, they fired it up, and it jumped timing right in front of them. Their conclusion was that the timing chain is junk. The quote for changing the timing chain would be $1000. I would have had them do it, but they were extremely hesitant to do it, their argument being that, with over 200,000 miles, they could change the timing chain, but the engine is so worn out at this point, that there is no telling how long it would be before other major repairs would be necessary.

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Re: Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby RECox286 » March 15th 2013, 8:12pm

It all depends on some factors that you may, or maynot have any knowledge of; How the truck was driven. What kind of

regular maintenance was done, especially the normal engine stuff, like tuneups, oil changes....200k mi is not, in our estimation

what we would call excessive, or worn out, but it all has to do with regular servicing. If the oil is what was in the engine when

the truck was new, well, lets say that it is time for a new engine. If it got fresh oil at least every 10k mi, then you could expect

some damage at 200k; stuck rings, carbon build up, worn journals, ground down timing chain and sprockets, the list goes on.

My personal work truck, a 93 rwd, now has 322k mi on the original engine. Runs almost like new, except smokes a bit on

initial start up in the morning, passes smog each year. I have never had to do any major repairs to the engine itself, but have

had to replace things such as water pump and alternator. Normal maintenance: Tune ups @ 50k mi intervals, oil and filter

at 5k mi intervals since new. You may want to have a compression test done to see what shape the rings and valves are

in at this point, and then decide whether or not you want to opt to fix, or replace the engine. With the glowing write up

that you gave the truck, and if it were mine, I'd be out there, wrenches in hand, doing what ever it takes to get the truck

back to roadworthyness condition. Again, if the compression is acceptable, a timing set is not all that difficult to do, merely

remove what ever is in the way, until you get to the problem, replace the problem, then put it all back together... done.

If you feel that you are not capable of simple mechanics, then I will tell you that I didn't pop out of my mother with a silver

wrench in my mouth. Maybe you can find a friend to lend a hand (???)

Good hunting and keep us up to date on what is going on, OK ?

Uncle Bob
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Re: Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby markmitch » March 15th 2013, 8:23pm

I agree with Uncle Bob
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Re: Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby Woober [OP] » March 15th 2013, 10:17pm

Thanks for the reply Uncle Bob. I do have some mechanical aptitude, so will see start reading up and seeing if it is something I can tackle.

Scott
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Re: Timing issues and whether or not Astro is worth fixing

Postby RECox286 » March 16th 2013, 5:16am

That is a positive response. I have faith that with the proper technical information to guide you, there is nothing you could not

accomplish. Simply a matter of knowing what to do next; turn to page number xxx for instructions on how to... then look for....

and finally reassemble in reverse order. Hey, it's only a machine ! Don't forget, most LAPS do have special tools that they

loan out. You leave $$ at the store, you get the tools to use, they get to sell parts, you get tool $$ back when you return them.

I would suggest that you get a repair manual. Even a cheapie is better than none, and if you are really interested in the bible

of auto repair, look on E-Bay for a Factory Service Manual published by authority of GM. They are listed by model and year.

Simply search for "Astro Service Manual". You will probably find one or more for about $20.

Good hunting

Uncle Bob
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