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Astro Van Repairs Engine in Vehicle
#11
(11-23-2017, 12:13 PM)KroFlite Wrote: The Astro gets a lot of love on here and online in general, it seems.

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.

Thank you for your input.
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#12
" I never worked on a differential but I would hope it would be a bit easier and less expensive." if you have never done a diff I would recommend against it. a lot of special tools are required and if it's not done precisely it's a waste of time and money. on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the hardest I would rank it 11. a total rebuild of an engine I would rate at 6. highdesertranger
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BikeBoomer (11-23-2017)
#13
Thanks for that. Knowing that, I would not attempt it. I'm getting too old for getting myself into projects beyond my abilities.
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#14
(11-23-2017, 09:43 AM)slow2day Wrote: What kind of maintenance did the trannies get?

I don't recall doing any transmission maintenance if there was any it would have been basic fluid and filter change.
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#15
(11-23-2017, 09:17 PM)highdesertranger Wrote: " I never worked on a differential but I would hope it would be a bit easier and less expensive."  if you have never done a diff I would recommend against it.  a lot of special tools are required and if it's not done precisely it's a waste of time and money.  on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the hardest I would rank it 11.  a total rebuild of an engine I would rate at 6.  highdesertranger

I agree with this 100%
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highdesertranger (11-24-2017)
#16
on my 1986 astrovan the differential (g-lock) failed. The 1986 didnt come with that differential installed so someone had replaced the entire rearend. The spider gears were chewed up, I replaced the entire carrier assembly and I was good to go. You only need complex tools/knowledge if you replaced the ring/pinon. Never worked on differentials before but I could now. If you only have to replace the spider gears thats an extremely simple job. I would recommend you replaced the fluid in the differential at least once, its an overlooked maintenance procedure. Its not easy because you need to remove the cover but you will get to inspect the gears for damage. Sometimes water gets in there.

The sparkplugs while difficult you can get most of them from inside and the rest from the hood area. Some people go through the wheel area but I didnt have to. On mine to remove the firewall there are 2 large straightslot screws you need to loosen in the engine compartment (when I took it to get smog the mechanics couldnt figure how to remove it).

The fuelpump went out on mine, that was a major all night job, but I got it done. In future just going to cut hole on floor of van. Too much work dropping the fuel tank for the 10 minutes it takes to replace the actual pump.

My next project are the idler arms, the astrovan has problems with them getting worn out, mine are loose, it cost 300 dollars at the mechanics but the parts are less than 80 dollars. 

After a year of listening to my alternator fan belt screeching I finally change that one, mechanics wanted 200 to change all of them. But it was a fairly simple job. Only problem I encounter was the alternator has a plug on the rear that came off, it was no longer charging the battery. My battery got drained from driving around. But plugged it back in and its good to go.

I had the van 5 years, it cranks over every day. For a 1986 it has proven extremely reliable. Not once died on me except when the fuelpump went out.

As long as you don't mind not being able to stand up, theres plenty of room in the back, its a mansion back there if you remove the rear seats(only 4 nuts on mine holding them on).
I don't drive much so the 12 mpg on my 1986 doesnt bother me too much. 

You can find shop manuals to fix the astrovan on ebay, I found one for my ancient 1986 astrovan for 10 dollars, its the actual manual the mechanics use.
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BikeBoomer (11-24-2017)
#17
(11-24-2017, 07:02 PM)jonyjoe303 Wrote: on my 1986 astrovan the differential (g-lock) failed.

The fuelpump went out on mine, that was a major all night job, but I got it done. In future just going to cut hole on floor of van. Too much work dropping the fuel tank for the 10 minutes it takes to replace the actual pump.


I don't drive much so the 12 mpg on my 1986 doesnt bother me too much. 

Thank you for sharing your experiences.  I like your idea of cutting a hole in the floor for future fuel pump replacements.  Twelve mpg! Ouch!
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#18
Twelve mpg! Ouch!

This is the 1986 model it has 2 injectors in the throttle body by the air filter. It doesnt have injectors in each cylinder like the later more fuel efficient models. And the van is weighed down with batteries etc. and I do very few highway driving. 
If you keep your van light, and do alot of freeway driving, it should get better mileage.

I remove the rear seats, excess batteries, as much extra weight as possible because I took it to get smog, and they couldnt do it because it was too heavy for the dyno.
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#19
jony the factory GM posi commonly called a Gov-lock or G-80 doesn't have spider gears, so I don't know what you had in there. and yes if you change the carrier you need to reset up your differential unless the carrier you replaced was exactly the same dimensions as the one you put in(highly unlikely). you got extremely lucky on that one. how did you get the carrier in and out without a spreader? highdesertranger
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#20
As long as the carrier is the same size for that differential case it should line up perfectly, and I didn't touch/loosen the big gear the carrier bolts onto. The hard part is finding out what differential you have, especially if it isnt the one that your model year van came with.

The gov-lock carrier was damage beyond repair, I just use a hacksaw to cutoff the small parts that were in the way, after that the gears/gov lock and carrier came out easily. I didn't have a spreader or other special tools. Only "special" tool was a torque wrench.

As long as you don't move/adjust the big gear, you won't get anything out of alignment. I did this repair 2 years ago by myself and the differential so far has been perfect. Cost of the carrier(including bearings) bought on ebay was 90 dollars, spider gears (now its a open differential, no more gov lock) was also about 90 dollars.
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BikeBoomer (11-25-2017)


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