rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between years

rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between years

Postby astrofur [OP] » August 23rd 2010, 2:55am

i'm not sure if this is the best (sub)forum for this thread or not, i don't see where else it would better fit (the topic is suspension/steering components). please if a mod sees a better place please move it (and nicely tell me?) thank you.

before i say anything. its a 2000 Astro LS passenger. electronic AWD. disc brakes on front and drums on rear.

ok first things first. van had a deadly date with the guardrail and the low shoulder did some damage. hydroplaned it right into the rail at what was probably a 10 degree angle at most. so no major damage upstairs, as in all my lights are still there, the grille didn't feel a thing and the hood sits normal. heck, the bumper cover is still pretty firmly attached, even.

this was on the right side of the van. herein anything i say regarding the front and back wheels/suspension is referring to the right side of the van, not the left (which as far as i know so far, is untouched). also try to remember that i am describing this from memory and i am not so good at the details. the van is in some body shop's yard because i wasnt really 'with it' mentally enough to say to tow it to my house. goddamn me. oh well.

anyway, the front wheel got bent so badly you wouldn't even tell it was a wheel. the front suspension got screwed up, whole wheel/rotor/spring assembly got bent rearwards. i remember seeing the splines on the front axle driveshaft. i don't know how much else got hurt, or anything.

the back wheel lost its tire and got bent. however it didn't look like very much damage back there otherwise.

the front was sitting right on the frame, it was awful ugly sounding when they pulled it onto the truck. however the body didn't look very bad at all. just some skid marks on the doors from the guardrail. but i don't know yet.

i get it brought over to my place tomorrow where i will hopefully take some photos and be sure to post them here however i wanted to get this out and get some opinions.

as for fixing it. honestly, it looks do-able. my best bet for most of the parts is the local pick-n-pull. there are four Astro vans in that yard. two 96/97 models, 2WD. one 95, AWD. one 94, 2WD. i do believe they all have their front end components. so i just would like even a vague idea of what i can source off of those years, if anyone has an idea.

many thanks in advance
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby cowboydan » August 23rd 2010, 5:01am

that sucks. pics will help. how fast at impact?
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby astrofur [OP] » August 23rd 2010, 3:24pm

about 45 mph

damage is a bit less than i thought. and i don't see that shaft with the splines i could have sworn i saw last night :? ah well means less damage i guess

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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby 94 Van Guy » August 23rd 2010, 3:34pm

That looks a lot better than I thought. The way you described it last light... well good luck with the fix
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby astrofur [OP] » August 23rd 2010, 4:08pm

94 Van Guy wrote:That looks a lot better than I thought. The way you described it last light... well good luck with the fix

thanks mate, i thought it was quite a bit worse too


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broken: lower ball joint, tie rod end, i don't see much else? upper ball joint is still in place and holding but should it be replaced anyway?

does that axle shaft coupler just pop back together? possible parts to be replaced there?
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby Phantom » August 23rd 2010, 6:43pm

Sorry to hear about your incident,
Body parts 96 -2005 will exchange and some 95.
Suspension parts,,you never know how good used ones are , they may last , then again maybe not, better to buy new ones so that you know they will be safe.

I have been in a lot of salvage yards this summer browsing for stuff and have noticed that even though most parts will swap in the 96 -2002,3, years there may be little subtle differences that may need a tweak

Good Luck with the fix
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby chevy57bert » August 23rd 2010, 9:29pm

First off all I would take some measurements to see if the upper and lower a frame are strait.
If they are broken or torn apart there is a good chance to sub-frame is still strait.
Take a look at the mounting holes. are there still round ? not Oval ?
I certainly would replace the upper ball joint if A-frame is strait..
Don`t forget to check all the mounting Bolts.
Did the transfer case crack??

How about the rear? Does the axle still sits on her place?

you need right door, sliding door, mirror, fender, front bumper, rims, do some body work, paint the Van..

All these things will get you to the point. rebuild or sell..
First look. Then buy parts..
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby astroturf » August 23rd 2010, 11:18pm

WoW

Heck I gotta say that again... WoW

Good Luck and Keep us Posted.

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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby cowboydan » August 24th 2010, 12:24am

you broke the lower balljoint and it looks like it was drug on the ground. may as well replace the whole side. easily 2grand in mechanical damage. you could try to get away with not replacing the lower control arm but at 45mph.... not much on that side would be trusted, more if you shocked the rear diff. 45mph is more than enough to tweek the frame. when it comes to accidents, a rule i use is: take what you see add it up and x2 for the stuff you don't see. you might want to check on the torsion bar cause if it's bent, the steering was shocked for sure... it only goes up from there.... sorry about the doom and gloom, i'm just seeing what i see in this vans future.
my guess, total damage is in around $3500, conservativly.
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby astrofur [OP] » August 27th 2010, 12:12am

dad looked at it, this is what he says.

the rear end, all seems as normal

the front body did get tweaked. as seen in the fan rubbing on the fan shroud, and the driver's door rubbing.

the rear mount for the control arm on the frame is bent back slightly. some improper yet genius use of a comealong should fix that.

the control arm itself doesn't appear to be bent.

the wheel hub appears to be OK, lets hope it is as i hear its one expensive piece.

that said, lower and upper ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, the two wheels, a fender, and a set of tires should get me back on the road.
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby astrofur [OP] » August 28th 2010, 10:57pm

forget that about the control arm bracket. the entire sub frame is bent.

luckily for me a junk 2001 Astro AWD has found its way into my driveway, and it appears to have everything mentioned.
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby chevy57bert » August 28th 2010, 11:11pm

astrofur wrote:forget that about the control arm bracket. the entire sub frame is bent.

luckily for me a junk 2001 Astro AWD has found its way into my driveway, and it appears to have everything mentioned.


It`s so easy to buy parts and you find out it`s no use to get the Van on the road again..
Lucky you with a JY Van. :clap: :clap:
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby Big_kid » August 28th 2010, 11:36pm

I'm glad to read you got another van. Reading this:
the rear mount for the control arm on the frame is bent back slightly. some improper yet genius use of a comealong should fix that.

made me grimmace and inhale through my teeth. Best to do it the right way.
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby cowboydan » August 29th 2010, 5:21am

astrofur wrote:forget that about the control arm bracket. the entire sub frame is bent.

luckily for me a junk 2001 Astro AWD has found its way into my driveway, and it appears to have everything mentioned.


like i said, take what you see and x 2. this is why insurance companies tend to write off at 50% of black book value. you could replace the van for about the same and salvage the one you wrecked. i'm not telling you what to do, i'm just saying putting junker parts onto a write-off would be less than what you had. and i'll say it now, it will never drive straight. in the first pic it looks like the initial impact bent your front clip, but then it looks like the impact carried over to the unibody structure. it's not hard to bend, but it will never be straight. your steering box is gone, you can check if you want, just remove the pitman arm from the steering box. at 45mph, it should look like licorice. if you bent the front clip, it makes sense that you also bent where the front clip attatchment bolts and the holes are.
i would find out the bbv of your van and compare it to what it will take to repair... don't forget, even after you "fix" the mechanical issues, you still have extensive body damage, and paint. which is cool if you're a bodyman, but.... it's all up to you. as you take it all apart, you will see. imo, part out both vans and use revenue from there to buy a straight van. you might take a hit on the year, but straight is better than age.
do you have a pic of the proposed donor van? and sorry about the bad luck.
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby doyoulikeithere » August 29th 2010, 10:52pm

astrofur wrote:luckily for me a junk 2001 Astro AWD has found its way into my driveway, and it appears to have everything mentioned.


So, whats wrong with this donor van? Could you fix it up?
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Re: rebuilding damaged van, need help with compat. between y

Postby Eddielx » August 31st 2010, 10:51am

Looks like a lot of damage.Don't forget you have a 11 year old van might not be worth fixing.I would look for a donor van something you can pull all the parts off of.I paid $1200 for my 2001.
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