Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

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Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Drifter [OP] » September 11th 2011, 6:57pm

Over the entire production run of these vans is there a specific year or group of years that is proven to be more reliable, with positive engine changes, body or running gear updates etc. or that simply gets better mileage than others?

As a general rule the newer the better but in some cases this does not hold true, for example the 99 Jeep Cherokee is considered the best year for a variety of reasons. Other examples are motorcycles , boats trucks, almost anything made buy man over time developes a reputation of being good or bad for any given number of production years.

I expect some will answer they one they own...this could be true or the slightly biased view of the van. :cheers:
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Phantom » September 11th 2011, 7:21pm

That is like asking who makes the best hamburger 8-)

There will be an opinion on every year ,
depends on what appeals to you most , some prefer Gen 1 and some prefer Gen2

It's all good :rockon:
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Drifter [OP] » September 11th 2011, 7:57pm

Micky D burgers have tasted the same for 30 years, they dont wear out and have changes made to them over a dozen years of production, so its not an subjective question. The example i gave,was from actual owners on the jeep forums there are exact reasons for that year standing out as the best.

The same question can be answered on the Triumph, HD, Suzuki, Kawasaki forums there is always a pattern that developes over time with any mass produced item for any number of reasons. For example, the quality of steel used in any given year or the country of origin of the parts used......or the level of quality control.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Lumpy » September 12th 2011, 5:55am

EVERY answer will be totally subjective.

The reason I like my van is likely to be a totally different reason for why YOU like YOUR van.
Everyone has different driving habits, different weather, different cargo, different
abilities and desire to do maintenance and repairs. Some pull trailers. Some camp.
Some haul plywood, some haul kids. Some raise, some lower. Some drive a thousand
miles per year, some drive 20,000 miles per year.

Additionally, nobody has owned every year of Astrofari. I don't think anybody has.
So they won't be able to comment on the year models they aren't familiar with.

Simply put, 89s are the best... :banana:


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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby icebrrg3rdicebrrg3rd is online! » September 12th 2011, 2:51pm

Lumpy wrote:Simply put, 89s are the best... :banana:


'91s are better! :poke:

There is a thread on here about the 02-05 (or is it 03-05?) ones, as that is when they went to 6-lug wheels & 4-wheel disc brakes. Anything past '96 has steel rear leaf springs. '95 is kinda a transitional year and has unique characteristics. And like most things they add improvements thru the years, but what do you consider improvements? Want to drop in a 5-speed? Early vans came with stick as an option, and automatics can be converted easily (the clutch pedal bolted in). Want a V-8? Pre-OBDII are usually easier (and more likely to be legal in most states) to hot rod. Looking for a cheap van you can wrench on? Don't know the open end from the closed end of a wrench? The list goes on and on. Like everyone has said, it all depends what you're looking for in a van. And a lot of things can be swapped around (some with more effort than others) so you can easily make any van your dream van.

I consider mine (a '91) to be the best (for me) because I can drop in a V-8, it's fairly rust-free, it's a shorty, and has been running fine with only a little bit of wrenching (other than normal stuff).

What are you looking for?

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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Mr_Bowtie » September 13th 2011, 4:03am

I like the older Gen 1 Vans....especially the shorty Vans.......I still want to get a nice clean one and put a V8 in it and a mild 2-3" lift. :rockon:
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby throrope » September 13th 2011, 5:13am

Per Wikepedia, '90 was the first year for AWD. IMHO and especially for our area, that turned the Astro from something you forgot about until the snow melted into the only car you used in the snow.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Drifter [OP] » September 13th 2011, 5:52pm

Im looking for an all purpose vehicle that can haul stuff inside, tow a reasonable amount gets 20+ MPG looks good and is safe to haul around a future rugrat and that is comfortable on long drives And that can be a mini camper if needed. Reasonable cost to buy and maintain reliable easy to work on if problems arise........My short bed Chevy truck with buckets is not gonna work anymore....
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Phantom » September 13th 2011, 6:14pm

Gen 1 can do what you want and a Gen 2 can do it too ,,, Gen 2 is likely to be more what you need for what you want to do as they all are the extended version ,, ALL years are easy to put a V8 in ,,a
Gen 2 is just s easy as a Gen 1 , just as long as you understand the OBD2 setup , it is actually a lot better than the OBD1 , just a little more extensive , but once you know it ,;; it's benefits become clear .. I prefer the Gen 2 ,,but with time and money any Gen 1 can be sharp as well , really depends on what style ,looks you prefer , beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Kinda depends on variables, you can use a cargo van , or get a passenger van and remove the seats . Gen 2 came with upgrades in various ways , like steel leaf springs ,
and are "Reasonable cost to buy and maintain reliable easy to work on if problems arise."
Gen 2 engines received improvements along the way , but they all seem to run a very long time , it depends on how well maintained it is.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Lumpy » September 13th 2011, 8:22pm

I think that 20+ MPG requirement will eliminate Astrofari's from the list.
Some "may" be able to coax 20 out of them under great conditions once
in a while. But under normal conditions, expect significantly less.
Particularly when you suggest "hauling stuff", "tow" and drive that
rugrat around town to soccer practice.

20+ on the highway, unloaded, no tow, wind at your back - perhaps.
Otherwise, Jose', no way.


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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Phantom » September 13th 2011, 8:36pm

I average around 20-21 on highway ,, I had better at times occasionally , factory rates the astro at about 16-17 city and 20-22 highway , it can vary depending on what gear ratios cargo load , tire size and tread design , soft or hard rubber composition , various other things and how well van has been cared for through the years
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Drifter [OP] » September 13th 2011, 9:26pm

Might be football or motocross practice or ballet in the distant future....still in the oven! :shrug:

Thanks for the info guys.

I get 24 mpg running 60 mph in my V8 pickup, all syn fluids front to back. So this van should get at least 20 unloaded and runing along like an old man. I understand towing is a whole different ballgame my truck with the 305 drops to around 13 the 350ci truck about 11. I dont think the front wheel drive vans will work for me.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby 94 Van Guy » September 13th 2011, 9:26pm

94 is the best. It is the last year of Gen1 and has all of the refinements. 94 was the last year that the front end looks good.(IMO)
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby chevymaher » September 13th 2011, 11:41pm

94 Van Guy wrote:94 is the best. It is the last year of Gen1 and has all of the refinements. 94 was the last year that the front end looks good.(IMO)

Yea what he just said.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby zombie{[six]} » September 14th 2011, 1:36am

I prefer my 95 V6 over my 91 V8 because its just as quick, CPI engine, and first gen body.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Lumpy » September 14th 2011, 3:38am

Drifter wrote:...I get 24 mpg running 60 mph in my V8 pickup, all syn fluids front to back. So this van should get at least 20 unloaded and runing along like an old man. I understand towing is a whole different ballgame my truck with the 305 drops to around 13 the 350ci truck about 11...


Your pickup and an Astro van are two completely different vehicles.
I suggest it's faulty logic to suggest that because one vehicle gets XX mileage,
some other vehicle should get YY.

If, as your orig post stated, you wish to get 20 mpg, my suggestion would be
that an Astro is not the ideal choice. If, instead, you really aren't that concerned
with getting 20MPG except under very occasional and ideal conditions, then
by all means get one.

It's a big box on wheels. It tends to buck the wind, AND it tends to fill up with stuff.. :D


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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Big_kid » September 14th 2011, 3:57am

Eh- I get around 18.5 on the highway loaded with wife, 3 kids, 100lb dog & all our stuff. It tows our popup camper well, and the mileage seems to go up at times (aerodynamics- I've read the same about Jeeps too). Like has been said, your particular van, the care it has received, your driving style, etc etc etc will all play a part. Hence the phrase 'your mileage may vary'.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby Mr_Bowtie » September 14th 2011, 12:20pm

My '96 gets 15MPG on average when we take it on long trips. Of course there are 6 people in it and its loaded down. Plus its AWD! :lol:
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby shiftpro » September 15th 2011, 8:11pm

I get 20 mpg on the highway, even a little better with my '00 awd with 178,000 Ks on it. I downshift into 3rd a lot when ever there is any hill in front of me. Keep it in the sweet spot of the power band. If you just leave it in drive(4th) it takes a pretty good demand to downshift into 3rd and by then the motor has been lugging a bit and using way more fuel than if it was in 3rd. I use down hills to gain some momentum and then basically back off the throttle as I'm cresting the hill and then coast over and down. Put my foot into near the bottom of the hill while I still have gravity on my side to pick up momentum again for the next hill. So it's not like using a cruise control maintaining the same speed. I have to concentrate to drive like this for sure... can't really keep on it if I'm in conversation with someone. Actually last trip I made from Nelson to Vernon I got over 20 mpg, maybe at least 22 I'm not sure exactly there were a few extra Ks in my math.
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Re: Best Years for an Astro/Safari?

Postby RECox286 » September 15th 2011, 9:42pm

Nhay, nhay, nhay, my gorilla is bigger than your gorilla. Sounds like a revival meeting !

If you want to know exactly which year Astro is THE best...then get one that was built in one of these years: 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05.

You can't go wrong chosing any of the above. But, before you blindly buy one, be sure to have it looked over by a competent mechanic whom you can trust. Also, make sure there are enough cupholders.

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