Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

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Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 24th 2021, 2:14am

Hello, All! And a big thanks for all the help you didn't know you've given me.

I've been learning and lurking since this summer, and thought I'd make an intro, finally.

Being in the restaurant business, by the summer of 2020, I decided having a big SUV with a similarly big monthly payment was no longer desirable. I loved my Armada, but I needed to shed some financial weight. I had equity in it...so I went looking for something kick @ss, but something I could pay cash for, or with a much, much smaller payment. I couldn't lose any cool factor, though. :snooty: :lol: Long story short, I got 2 cars to replace the one, huge Nissan Armada Platinum, black on black with a custom Pioneer Tray from Rhino Rack that I loved and used so much...I know. It's a completely obnoxious vehicle. Wasteful, huge, earth killer. :lol: But, it was so cool! :evil: Any way I got a 2016 MINI Countryman S ALL 4...(we moved to a barrier island and hardly drive these days, so, I bought a go-cart for when I need to haul kids instead of stuff...fun as hell!)

And for the Utility aspect I was giving up, I had to find an Astro. I never realized AstroSafari AWD was almost one of my dream vehicles (any 4x4 Van) until I came across a lifted one for sale and subsequently discovered this site in my scramble to shine light on my blasphemous, Chevy ignorance.
It took until Halloween, but I finally found my van and immediately committed to overpaying for it, so I wouldn't lose another one. :banghead: :confused: :banana: I love it. It's solid. So far, I had a local mech flush the coolant system, change the oil, diff oil, TC fluid, trans fluid, new cap and wires. I changed the idle air control valve, MAF, coil and module, replaced the head unit, and replaced the none existent passenger grab bar that passengers shouldn't actually use to, you know, grab. :shrug: :lol: Spent hours reading this site, watching videos and deciding which rims I want. :D Eventually this will be a work/beach/surf/family camper, but all in due time. For now, just work.

I know everyone loves photos, so

The Day I got the van:

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104418

104410

The first thing I did was the simplest head unit I could find. Tuner, wired CarPlay...not much else to it.

104414

Which leads me to...FREE RADIO with 1.5 din Mount for our vans...Gotta Pick Up. (and help me with in the 236/246 hybrid I'm refurbishing. :D )

104422

I don't know much about it, cept the PO didn't connect to or bypass the e-brake, and it is so complicated I could barely change the station. :lol: Harness and antenna adaptor included!


Here are a couple more photos, just cuz. I decided my first mod would be to add 4wd. Why? Freakin 4x4 Van. That's why. :evil: :lol: I'm currently rebuilding the NP236 with parts from a 246 like Capn and Racr showed everyone. I'm waiting on my used, clutch pack tool to finish assembly. I'm still wrapping my mind around the electrical, but I chose this method to achieve 4wd, so I can learn the most about my van and vehicles in general. I'm pretty green, even though I'm old. I find it fun and fascinating and need a project. The fact that I found both the transfer cases on eBay for $203.00 shipped to my door...with encoder motors, connectors, and speed sensors on both; helped very much and sealed the deal. I got them on "myautostore" on eBay. They are literally like a pick and pull, but they ship. Both cases had every other part still attached, including about 10% of the rear drive shafts. I searched the VINs and both donors were totaled by insurance and the cases looked great on the inside. Not perfect, but serviceable on the outside. I kind of regretted not just throwing the $50 TC when I saw how good it looked on the inside, but I'm in no hurry to get this mod done...just want it done right the first time. My plan is to try to use the leftover parts from the 236/246 to make the OEM 136 a 2 speed TC, rebuild it, and create a full install kit for some other lucky AstroSafari van. Capn (sorry, full names escape me ATM) already showed everyone that the 236 internals fit in the 136 and racr showed that the 246 internals fit into 236, so I'm going to try to make 2 4wd TC's out of 3, and since I have to do all the wiring, anyway; I plan to get two of everything and assemble a nice package for someone, and hopefully, help offset some of the cost, down the road.

Anyway...photos:

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And my contribution to AstroSari Land...you CAN fit full sheets of plywood in a shorty.

104420

Thanks again! Tons of help, so far. I hope to be able to give back a bit...you know...when I learn enough to actually have something to offer. :chevy:

Oh, yeah...almost forgot...Anyone ever see one of these before? It's on the body pillar, behind the driver's side door.
104416

(I must confess...I never in my life have used emoticons or whatever they're called. You folks made me break my lifelong boycott. hahaha. Don't tell anyone. HA!)
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby Astrofarian » February 24th 2021, 3:15am

Hi, and welcome! Although I've never seen a "Masterack" decal like that one, it's most likely an "Upfitter's Label". Lots of cargo vans had options that, while not "technically" supplied by GM, COULD be ordered through their dealer network so that your van would arrive ready to deliver to the buyer.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 24th 2021, 3:43am

Hey! Thanks for the welcome! And good to know. I contacted Masterack to see if they had any old info, but no one got back to me. Curious to know if they changed leaf springs or shocks, or if they actually added to the load rating in any way.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby markmitchmarkmitch is online! » February 24th 2021, 4:22am

Welcome to the forum and great project, just one thing, they only made the Astro/Safari Shorty from 1985 to 1994. So your van is not a shorty. A shorty is approximately 12 inches longer then the shorty.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 24th 2021, 4:29am

Thanks for the info! So, seems like this one is much shorter than the passenger versions...what's the difference between a "shorty" and the shorter cargo? That foot you're talking about? Which shorty is shorter? You mean a cargo a is 12" longer than a shorty? :think: That makes sense, and makes me glad I do not, in fact, have a "shorty." Or, am I a total idiot, and my van is the same length as all the passengers with the double windows? :think:
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby sixsix » February 24th 2021, 5:02am

markmitch wrote:Welcome to the forum and great project, just one thing, they only made the Astro/Safari Shorty from 1985 to 1994. So your van is not a shorty. A shorty is approximately 12 inches longer then the shorty.


Extended Van Length was 10" longer. Wiki rules !!


EDIT: Oh, and Welcome to AstroSurf from the deplorable gang in N. Ky.

And... While the Van is 10" Shorter - the Wheelbase remained the same.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby markmitchmarkmitch is online! » February 24th 2021, 5:38am

shorty vans were both cargo and passenger vans but still only made them between 1985 and 1994. All Vans after 1994 were as sixsix stated were ten inches Longer then the short versions. If you look at the two pictures you will see that behind the rear whee well one is shorter then the other, hence the name shorty.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby dcsleeper » February 24th 2021, 2:25pm

Welcome~!
It's funny how you get bit by the Astro bug!
I would add this caution. I've seen it posted to get the frictions for TCs from the oem, as usingt auto trans frictions won't deliver satisfacctory performance.
Keep us updated!
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 24th 2021, 8:26pm

dcsleeper wrote:Welcome~!
It's funny how you get bit by the Astro bug!
I would add this caution. I've seen it posted to get the frictions for TCs from the oem, as usingt auto trans frictions won't deliver satisfacctory performance.
Keep us updated!


Thanks! I had read that, too. I ordered the clutch plates from Midwest Transmissions...they're labeled as "NV246 Fiber High Energy Friction" on the PO, so I'm assuming they just found a cheaper way to manufacture the plates. I guess we'll see how long they last.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 24th 2021, 8:30pm

markmitch wrote:shorty vans were both cargo and passenger vans but still only made them between 1985 and 1994. All Vans after 1994 were as sixsix stated were ten inches Longer then the short versions. If you look at the two pictures you will see that behind the rear whee well one is shorter then the other, hence the name shorty.


Thanks, guys!

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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby WinnieVan » February 24th 2021, 10:30pm

Hey which trim ring is that on the radio? Looks like a nice install for a double DIN.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroWill » February 24th 2021, 10:38pm

WinnieVan wrote:Hey which trim ring is that on the radio? Looks like a nice install for a double DIN.

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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 25th 2021, 12:16am

WinnieVan wrote:Hey which trim ring is that on the radio? Looks like a nice install for a double DIN.


It's the Metra 95-3005 dash kit. Easy install. Looks good. Did require some minor trimming.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 25th 2021, 12:17am

AstroSurf wrote:
WinnieVan wrote:Hey which trim ring is that on the radio? Looks like a nice install for a double DIN.


It's the Metra 95-3005 dash kit. Easy install. Looks good. Did require some minor trimming.


And, AStroWill for the win. Didn't see he had already responded.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » February 28th 2021, 11:21pm

dcsleeper wrote:Welcome~!
It's funny how you get bit by the Astro bug!
I would add this caution. I've seen it posted to get the frictions for TCs from the oem, as usingt auto trans frictions won't deliver satisfacctory performance.
Keep us updated!



I figure I'll try posting this here, first, before starting or hijacking another thread...So, I was putting the 236/246 back together this afternoon and went to measure the clearances for the shims in the clutch pack...
104500

104502

Turns out that the Fiber clutch plates are much thicker than the OE plates...(hard to tell from the photo, but the new ones are def thicker)

104498

I had assumed that Midwest trans would send the most recommended parts after having such good info on their site, free tech service, etc. That's why I ended up ordering from them; even though their prices are a bit higher than others.

Anyway, anyone else run into this? I've got more than enough pre-load with no shim. I have two different shims on hand from the 2 cases, but am hesitant to add one. Also hesitant to leave one off. I'm going to call the tech-line tomorrow, but thought I'd see if any one here had some insight.

From what I can tell, everyone that has used this tool for tutorials; was using the 1 piece clutch hub, while I decided to just keep and use my 2 piece...I wonder if just the 1 piece hubs required pre-setting the load with the J-44295? hmmm...
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » March 1st 2021, 4:53pm

Update for anyone who might be doing and NP236/246 hybrid in the future:

Called the tech folks at Midwest Transmission Center, and they said no worries. There's no need for a shim and there's nothing to worry about as long as you have the right number of friction and steel plates.
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Re: Hello! Free Radio offer and another 236/246

Postby AstroSurf [OP] » March 14th 2021, 8:20pm

I figure I'll just update here instead of starting a new thread.

Made 2 trips to the closest Pick N Pull:

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Scored what, I think, will be the bulk of what I need to do the electrical work for the swap.

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I have a 236 and 3 early, 246 TCCM's, and an encoder motor from each. Everything seems to be the exact same except for the cases for the TCCM's and the plugs for the switches being different. I managed to dig out an entire harness from the transfer case on either a Tahoe or Yukon. Had to de-pin some plugs on my back, underneath, but I had a great time. Felt like a kid on a playground. Got a switch from a Blazer and 1.5 from Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon. I should have enough matching wire, but we'll see. Since I want to bench test everything, first, I'm gonna see if both the 236 and the 246 encoder motors and TCCM's work for this. If they do, I have enough parts to rebuild the current 136 into a 236 and wire up another one. I wish I could have found more encoder motors, but they were all already taken.

104618104616

I got the 236/246 hybrid buttoned up.

104610

Scored a TC skid plate from the donor 236.

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Now, just re-reading all the threads from Capn.Crunch and racr and all the others who've done this already. I'm finally close to wrapping my mind around all the electrical work that needs to be done now. Finally. :confused:

Anyway, thanks for the welcome and the help. I'm moving slowly, but I'll keep updating. Though, I'm not real sure anyone cares. :lol:
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