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Astro Van Repairs Engine in Vehicle
#1
I have become interested in Astro Vans after viewing videos and reading info Online about them.  I like that they could get decent MPG and still have some nice space in them.  Also, I understand that they are mounted on a truck frame and are very solid.  Having said that I would like to know what repairs can be done without removing the engine.  I appreciate any advice or information I could get.
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#2
I wouldn't really call the mpg great. being a V-6 the tend to be underpowered if you load them up. short of a rebuild most anything can be done in the van. what are you planning on doing to it. highdesertranger
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BikeBoomer (11-22-2017)
#3
I don't have a van yet. I'm just trying to learn everything I can about the Astro before buying one. I won't be able to spend a lot buying one so from what I have been reading about the Astros and viewing on Youtube, they seem like they would be a good choice. To start, I just want to do a simple basic build to get started into Van Dwelling.
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highdesertranger (11-22-2017)
#4
yeah don't get me wrong they are a good van. highdesertranger
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#5
Like any of the newer vehicles, it's a little tight under the  hood but everything except any engine change or rebuild can be done without pulling the engine. It's actually easier to do plugs than on some full size vans with 8's in them.

Getting the dog house on and off can be a trick...sometimes it's easier to pull the seats out than to argue with it.

They're a great mini van if it's big enough for you. I've had two of them over the years. One pulled my 6x10 cargo trailer with show stock all over the eastern seaboard.

They actually get pretty good mileage for the size and shape of the van. IIRC I was getting low 20s with mine as long as I wasn't pulling anything, going through mountains, or driving for hours with a headwind.

I lived out of one for almost a year. I say 'lived out of', because it's small enough that you're not living 'in it' by any means. I live 'in' my full size van as compared to living out of the mini van. I had a 10x10 canopy that got set up right beside it and I draped one of the rain panels over the roof so that when I opened the side door I stepped out in to a covered space. The van was my bedroom and the 10 x 10 was my kitchen and living room.

They do have a reputation for having a weak drive train as in most of them end up needing a new transmission before anything else.
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BikeBoomer (11-22-2017)
#6
(11-22-2017, 11:11 PM)Almost There Wrote: Like any of the newer vehicles, it's a little tight under the  hood but everything except any engine change or rebuild can be done without pulling the engine. It's actually easier to do plugs than on some full size vans with 8's in them..

I'm glad to know about the spark plugs.  I was also wondering about that.  Also, I had the same idea of eventually getting a cargo trailer.  I heard on a video that their tow capacity was somewhere above 5 thousand pounds.  Living out of the van is okay with me.  I would do the same with some sort of cover to step out in and I would try to make it so that it sets up quickly as well as take down quickly.  Thanks for your input.
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#7
I have owned 5 of them for work vans and I never had transmission trouble but all of them had to have the rear differential replaced. They were all loaded with tools and supplies 24-7 so they were heavy and all of them were over 100k miles before they failed.
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BikeBoomer (11-23-2017)
#8
(11-23-2017, 09:17 AM)4x4sporty Wrote: I have owned 5 of them for work vans and I never had transmission trouble but all of them had to have the rear differential replaced. They were all loaded with tools and supplies 24-7 so they were heavy and all of them were over 100k miles before they failed.

What kind of maintenance did the trannies get?
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#9
The Astro gets a lot of love on here and online in general, it seems.  My experience was not so positive.  I bought mine from a friend who was the second owner, at about 90K.  I had complete service records, and I had no reason to believe the van was ever abused.  It did operate in the near suburban Chicago environment, which is very hard on any vehicle-extreme temps, snow, lots of salt, bad, bad traffic.

I never got the great mileage some people report.  I averaged about 15MPG in mixed driving, and never saw 20 on the highway, and I'm a conservative driver.  Reliability was very poor in general, both for me and the previous owners.  An amazing amount of things went wrong with this van.  Handling was poor in general and, as I wrote in your other post on winter driving, bad in the snow and ice.

Maybe mine was just a lemon, and an anomaly, but just want you to know that the reality of this vehicle may not be as wonderful as some make it out to be.
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BikeBoomer (11-23-2017)
#10
(11-23-2017, 09:17 AM)4x4sporty Wrote: I have owned 5 of them for work vans and I never had transmission trouble but all of them had to have the rear differential replaced. They were all loaded with tools and supplies 24-7 so they were heavy and all of them were over 100k miles before they failed.

I'm glad to know that about the transmissions.  I never worked on a differential but I would hope it would be a bit easier and less expensive.  I appreciate your input.
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