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Posted: 5/24/2005 5:32:25 AM EDT
I'm trying to come up with the "perfect" people hauler, camper puller, grocery getter, vehicle. I keep coming back to the GMC Astro Van or the Chevy Sierra (I think that's the GMC clone).

Anybody know anything about these vans? How does that 4.3 liter engine and tranny hold up?

Thanks for any info.

vmax84
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 6:09:14 AM EDT
My neighbor had one of those, and she was constantly in the shop to have things fixed on it. I always knew when she is leaving for work because the doors wouldn't close right so has to constantly SLAM them hard for it to close correctly.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 6:48:39 AM EDT
The 4.3 litre can haul 12 Mexicans, but get the automatic trans so you won't have to shift between their legs.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 6:58:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 7:11:42 AM EDT
A buddy of mine has taken 3 of them to nearly 300,000 miles with no major engine or drivetrain work. If it's longevity you're looking for, you can't go wrong with the Astro Van.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:14:59 AM EDT
My main concern would be how the 4.3 liter would hold up and if the trannys stay together. Would want to haul a small fold down camper with it.

vmax84
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:26:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/24/2005 11:27:08 AM EDT by deej86]

Originally Posted By vmax84:
I'm trying to come up with the "perfect" people hauler, camper puller, grocery getter, vehicle. I keep coming back to the GMC Astro Van or the Chevy Sierra (I think that's the GMC clone).

Anybody know anything about these vans? How does that 4.3 liter engine and tranny hold up?

Thanks for any info.

vmax84


I don't mean to be a chronic corrector, but the Chevy is the Astro, and the GMC is the Safari. My mom had an '88 Astro, and it was good, until it blew a rod at 122K. But, my mom now has a 2000 Blazer. FWIW, it has the 4.3 "Vortec", (which started in the Astroes/Safaris IIRC in 95) and it holds up well. They Astro/Safari are slated to be discontinued at the end of the 2005 model year.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:38:23 AM EDT
I think the are very good vans. Three things kept me from getting one used a couple of years ago (I got a Suburban instead).

1. Lousy front-end crash test results.
2. No driver's side sliding door.
3. Poor front passenger leg room (foot space too narrow).

If I didn't have a family and a wifew who complains about lousy leg room I would be driving one today.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 11:54:20 AM EDT
ETA-the Astro vans are very simple as far as equipment goes. There is no sliding side door on the driver's side, but it is very good otherwise. You can still get AM/FM/CD and A/C.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:30:52 PM EDT
I'm just worried about getting into a "maintenance hog". I mean, my Corolla asks for NOTHING. Granted, it won't pull a camper, haul the soccer team, etc., but I just don't want a "hog" in the family.

Thanks for your input.

vmax84
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:37:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vmax84:
I'm just worried about getting into a "maintenance hog". I mean, my Corolla asks for NOTHING. Granted, it won't pull a camper, haul the soccer team, etc., but I just don't want a "hog" in the family.

Thanks for your input.

vmax84


Doesn't seem like one. If you take good care of it, it will last you.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:39:06 PM EDT
Used to have a '89 way back. At the time I thought it was much better than the Aerostar, it's only real competitor in the rwd "mini" van market. Had a lot of room, and ran well for the short time we had it...
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:57:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By squeezecockerp7m8:
Used to have a '89 way back. At the time I thought it was much better than the Aerostar, it's only real competitor in the rwd "mini" van market. Had a lot of room, and ran well for the short time we had it...

I liked the Astro much better than the Aerostar we had. The Aerostar was definitely a lot smaller, and Aerostars are notorious for being rust-buckets. The sides can get rusty, and the oil pan can rot out-what happened in our case.

The Aerostar is more "mini" than the Astro. The Astro is sort of in between the smaller vans (Venture, Caravan, et al) and the larger vans(Express, Ram Van, etc.)
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 12:59:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:13:39 PM EDT
I just can't think of anything better than what would fit my needs at this stage in my life...........big V-6 engine which I feel is fairly reliable (although, I do like the 3.8 liter better that GM has), lots of room, smaller than a full size van, can carry lots of people, take the seats out and you've got a dump truck, fairly cheap to get into one...............damn, what happened to my life??

vmax84

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:16:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
I had the GMC safari AWD. There is no doubt it was a rugged and able people and gear hauler and with all wheel drive rarely got stuck. That said, at the end of the day, its still a minivan.




My wife has one, good van and very reliable so far. Comfy as far as minivans go. Best room of the ones I have seen and good gas mileage. She gets 20 or so around town and about 26 interstate.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:21:12 PM EDT
Astro's are the best vans made.

It's a truck, but a van.

4.3 is tried and true.

Chevy still makes some of the best trannys(Not that some don't fail).

Wife's dad had a 92, he sold last year. It had over 150K miles on original engine and tranny.
Never gave him problems except a few things near the end.

One of the best things to haul stuff around in also. (Esp here in the rainy NW)

Go for it man.



Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:23:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
That said, at the end of the day, its still a minivan.



Umm no its not.

Truck engine, high stall tranny, RWD, solid axle, high towing lbs.

Explain to me how this is a mini-van?
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 2:56:54 PM EDT
They are the best as far as mini-vans are concerned, IMHO.

In the mid-90's I worked as a delivery driver for a printer press, we used the Astro cargo, although it had the 2.8 vortec [which is a POS...def get the 4.3].

I have to admit, those vans took massive beatings from me on a daily basis, and never gave any problems...the owner was a chepskate, and should have been running 1-ton vans...we were stuck with the astros, loading them down every damn day until the rear bumper nearly touched the ground...and they pulled through just fine.

I think it's a good choice for what you're needing [as much as I like Toyota].
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 3:01:24 PM EDT
CHEVY Astros rock. We had TONS in our fleet at work. One was finally retired after 460, 000 miles.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 7:17:33 PM EDT
my mom had a 89 chevy astro that had 125,000 miles on and it work great never in the shop untill it was wreak now she has a GMC safari which works great too
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 7:25:36 PM EDT
And if the 4.3 ain't enough for ya, the 5.7 LT1 is a pretty easy swap.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 7:35:27 PM EDT
I can't get my wife to get rid of her Astro Van. Lord, what a butt-ugly vehicle! But, she loves the fact that it's roomy, can ride eight in comfort, and has been super reliable.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 4:12:50 AM EDT
Yeah, even though I think there are "sexier" (now that is a stretch of the imagination!!) minivans out there, the boxy GM's are what I need..........bigger engine, fairly reliable, tons of room, will pull my little fold down camper, and have I said "tons of room" yet?!!

Thanks a lot!!

vmax84
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