Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Posted: 3/18/2013 1:29:06 PM EDT
Yesterday, I nursed a malfunctioning van from Ft Polk to the Kansas City metro area. Thread

It's a 1999 Chevrolet Astro with AWD with that has 146k on it now. I bought it for my aunt when I was home on leave for Christmas in 2006, but she has a new DD, so I use it more than she does. I paid $4200, and we traded in a smokin' toilet of a GMC Jimmy that had so much wrong with it that it pretty much had a negative value.

Between the transmission and the transfer case, it definitely has some flaws. It's been on a tow truck a couple times. The Fisher Price quality interior rattles. The linkage in the window on the "dutch door" has failed a few times now.

With all of this considered, I sometimes find myself thinking about what I'd replace it with if I came into some extra money or if something happened to it. I keep finding myself at the same conclusion: there aren't really any other vehicles that can do what this old Astro can do...

-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.

The only vehicle I can think of that can do all of those things is a 4x4 Ford E-Series, but they're rare, expensive, and very thirsty. Any other option I can think of falls short. I would think that the market would offer a good replacement, but it doesn't.

I'm not looking forward to the day that I have to replace it, because I'm sure that decision will involve some compromises.

Has anybody else found themselves in a quandary like this?
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:32:22 PM EDT
So you haven't decided on your crossover yet?
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:43:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.

Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:46:46 PM EDT
Whatever the replacement is, you'll be in fierce competition with drug/people smugglers in Mexico when it comes time to buying it. Good luck.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:47:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.


Excusion and expedition as well
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:50:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kaylexty:
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.


Excusion and expedition as well

Bassgasm is right - it'll still involve compromise. Neither of those are as cavernous as his Astro, with the seats out.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:50:58 PM EDT
No vehicle is entirely without flaws. If your current vehicle serves you well with no monthly payments or very few then milk it for all its worth.

I drive a 23 year old Mustang GT that I maintain as my daily driver. It has left me stranded twice due to a fuel pump and once to an ignition module. I have had this Mustang for 10 years now and know it well.

Don't fall into the "new car" trap that so many people do. Save your money and fix what is needed to help keep it running.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:51:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.



It can't hold as much stuff or as large of stuff, and the usability of the back bench is questionable.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:52:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Booze:
So you haven't decided on your crossover yet?


I'm still DDing my wrong wheel drive econobox.

That'll be next year.

Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:53:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/18/2013 1:57:01 PM EDT by strat81]
Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By kaylexty:
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.


Excusion and expedition as well

Bassgasm is right - it'll still involve compromise. Neither of those are as cavernous as his Astro, with the seats out.


The 2002-era Suburbans could seat 9 (not sure about current ones), and have arguably better off-road performance. They're also available in 3/4 ton versions for better towing.

The Astro is the compromise, not the Suburban.

ETA- The Chevy Express vans are available with AWD, 8+ passenger seating, etc.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:54:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
Originally Posted By Booze:
So you haven't decided on your crossover yet?


I'm still DDing my wrong wheel drive econobox.

That'll be next year.



No. Now.

I've already weighed in. I dont have that kind of patience.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:58:21 PM EDT
its got 146k on it. the engine will go another 80k atleast. if you drive it 20k ka year thats 4 more years. the tranny job will probably be 1800-2500.

can you guy another van that runs and will run for 4 years like that and not drop the tranny for $2500.

if the answer is no get it fixed.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 1:58:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/18/2013 2:10:32 PM EDT by Bassgasm]
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By kaylexty:
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.


Excusion and expedition as well

Bassgasm is right - it'll still involve compromise. Neither of those are as cavernous as his Astro, with the seats out.


The 2002-era Suburbans could seat 9 (not sure about current ones), and have arguably better off-road performance. They're also available in 3/4 ton versions for better towing.

The Astro is the compromise, not the Suburban.


The Suburban can't do this:



I'm not concerned with how many seatbelts it (the Suburban) has. How many full-grown adults can it seat?
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 2:01:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By kaylexty:
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
-The Astro can seat 8. I'm not simply saying that it has 8 seat belts, but 8 adults can actually get into and sit in the van. I don't use that capability often, but I tend to use it pretty heavily in the summer.
-With the benches out, the Astro turns into a cave on wheels. If I'm driving it, there's a good chance that this is why. I can fit a pretty impressive volume of stuff in it, or I can load it with some large objects that, aside from large vans, no other enclosed vehicle can carry.
-The AWD is capable and the ground clearance is sufficient. I've taken it camping, I've driven it through some less than legitimate shortcuts, and I've driven it through some pretty deep snow.


Suburban.


Excusion and expedition as well

Bassgasm is right - it'll still involve compromise. Neither of those are as cavernous as his Astro, with the seats out.


The 2002-era Suburbans could seat 9 (not sure about current ones), and have arguably better off-road performance. They're also available in 3/4 ton versions for better towing.

The Astro is the compromise, not the Suburban.


The Suburban can't do this:

[url=[/url]

I'm not concerned with how many seatbelts it has. How many full-grown adults can it seat?


There are no full grown adults in that van
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 2:13:53 PM EDT
I think chrysler had an awd mini van for a bit, might still have it for all I know.

The one thing I like about the astro vans is you can pull transfer cases and transmissions out of the jimmy and blazers and give it real 4x4.

Granted most folks actually do better in awd and I actually liked the awd bravada I got as a hand me down vehicle for a bit.

Fix what you have and there are sites to help you do it.

As a younger person I loved working on stuff. Would volunteer to help others. Then I decided to work on vehicles for a living and got burned out on it.

In today's world I went back to working on my stuff and no longer have a job of working on vehicles for a paycheck.

And older stuff like the astro has a following for a reason.

I always want to run into one with a v8 swap done right and being sold for cheap but that will never happen.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 7:16:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By strat81:

ETA- The Chevy Express vans are available with AWD, 8+ passenger seating, etc.


While I guess that is an option, I don't know if that's really an improvement, which is something I somewhat expect when moving to a newer vehicle.

The .gov Expresses I've been in had similar fit, finish, and interior quality. What I wonder, I guess, is if the drive train is any better than what's in the Astro.
Top Top