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  1. #1
    Banned by Warnings Phroziac's Avatar
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    1993 Chevy Astro questions?

    We recently got a 1993 chevy astro EXT (according to outside emblems)/CL (according to dash emblems) in a trade. We decided to use it mostly for hauling our RC stuff to the track. Yes, we now have enough stuff to bring to pretty much fill the wercury sable, and have room for only two people. We pulled the rearmost bench seat to make room for this stuff..

    It seems like a nice van, even looks like a real van instead of the nasty normal minivans, and we went out of town today and every other minivan but other astros are shorter.

    Ok...so I don't have a repair manual yet, and there are a few issues. If anyone here can suggest anything, that would be great. Remember that this uses a 1/2 ton truck platform, and the astro is very similar to a GMC safari..

    The rear outside door handle is broken. These go on ebay for around $10, how hard is that to install?

    The vents on the front (as viewed from in the van) of the dash do not work on any heater/AC setting. I think I remember them working when me brought this thing home, *shrug*. What would be the most likely causes? Very little air comes out of them, but its there.

    How many 1/8 buggies does an astro with the front two sets of seats installed hold?

    There is some sand in the carpet, what would work well to get this out? It wouldn't vacuum out.

  2. #2
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    just got rid of an astro

    and just curious does it have a hitch?
    only the dead have seen the end of war- Plato
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  3. #3
    RC Champion newfrontier45's Avatar
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    The rear door handle is extremely common on Astro's and Safari's. Not too hard to replace, might be good to keep a spare.

    They are not, however, built on a -ton truck platform. They use the same 7" 10-bolt rear end as the S-10's (and Camaro's) as well as the same 4.3 engine and light duty 700R4/4L60E transmissions. They are also a full unibody, unlike any of Chevy's trucks. They're definitely better than your average FWD soccer-mom express but they aren't heavy duty in any sense.

  4. #4
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    Hmm, somehow my dad decoded the VIN and got that it was a 1/2 ton truck. He also decoded it and got that it was a military truck at one point too. And it gets registered as a station wagon.

    It has no hitch, but I have no evidence it does not have the towing package.

  5. #5
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. mike505's Avatar
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    The 1/2 ton designation comes from it sharing the lug pattern as the 1/2 ton pickups.

    The breaking handles are common. They did start making them better in the later models.

    They are a unibody and a 350 chevy bolts right in with a little working of the engine mounts. I just got rid of a '88 Safari that had a 350 in it when I got it.
    Pain is Temporary, Pride & Achievement is Forever.

  6. #6
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    Why would you put a 350 in one anyway? lol.

  7. #7
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. mike505's Avatar
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    It would have been an interesting ride. I like different. I bought this one with the 350 already in it. Engine had locked up. I pulled the engine and tore it apart and then never did anything with it. When I moved back to Florida I gave the body away. I have enough projects.
    Pain is Temporary, Pride & Achievement is Forever.

  8. #8
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    heh, true. How about a 427 vette engine?

  9. #9
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. mike505's Avatar
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    A BB wouldn't fit without major work. A SB slides right in since the 4.3 is the same width. The 4.3 was designed by taking 2 of the center cylinders out of a 350. The 350 looked like it came stock in that van.
    Pain is Temporary, Pride & Achievement is Forever.

  10. #10
    RC Champion newfrontier45's Avatar
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    The lug pattern is a 5 on 4", not a lug pattern from any full size but the same as the S-10 and Camaro. If it was any different, it was changed. It may be rated as a -ton, but the rear springs are much softer than a full size pickup.

  11. #11
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    Are the stock handles plastic? The remaining outside handles on this van are black metal, and thats kinda sad if metal handles break.

  12. #12
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    well yes they are mainly based from the s-10. same rear end, same brakes, same driveline from a long bed will fit right into the van. the half ton part is kinda odd on these things because the s-10 is also considered a half ton. and yes a 305, 350, or 400 small block will bolt right into these vans and bolt right up to the tranny.
    as far as using then for utility vans for small things they work great. and if you equip one with a rear towing hitch they also work well for towing things. just woulndt try towing a 1 ton truck across the country with it. we used one with a 350 in it and pulled a flatbed trailer with a s-10 blazer around to neighboring states for car shows and never had any problems.
    Go fast or bash hard? Hmm.... BASH IT TILL IT BREAKES...

  13. #13
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. mike505's Avatar
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    Maybe I was mistaken. I had 2 different wheel guys tell me they used the 1/2 ton wheels. I never tried swapping the ones from my S-10 with it.

    I wouldn't use one for heavy towing either. I wouldn't use any uni-body for that matter. I have a Dually for that kind of work.

    Part of me still wishes I had put another 350 back in it. Would have been interesting. The one in my S-10 was a blast!

    Mike
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  14. #14
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    400 SB

  15. #15
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    The cause for your vents to stop working is directly connected to the water pump. I had a 80' Buick Regal with a 301 (4.9L/V8) and the heater and AC almost stopped pushing any air. My mechanic and I toiled over it for a while then we changed out the water pump and found that something was wrong with a plate that fits between the pump and the mounts. We replaced this plate and the heat was blasting again. I'm not a mechanic but this problem sounds like the one I had.
    Last edited by JMAC; 05-31-2005 at 02:07 AM.
    Sirio .18 w/BB Pipe, FLM (.21 chassis / Bulkless Diffs w/Maximizer diffs), Crazy Nut Brakes, MIP/CVD, UE Ti Rear drive, RPM(arms/bumpers), MX-3. TRX BB shocks RC Raven springs

  16. #16
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    Heh, that sounds weird. I'll check into it..

  17. #17
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    One of our local gear heads put a small block in a Astro van, odd seeing one of them things burn the tires.

    For the no air coming out of the vents, that could be a blown fuse for the fan iteslf, or the fan motor could be shot.

    Try loosening the sand up with a brush of some sort.

    Carrying a spare serpentine belt wouldn't be a bad idea either.

    How many buggys would it hold? I'm thinking lots.
    When good threads go bad..............Next on Oprah.

  18. #18
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    Does it have more then one fan? The vents other then the ones i mentioned work fine.

  19. #19
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    Sorry I read the part about the vents wrong. Should only have one fan motor in it. Hmmmmm Does it have push button heater, and AC controls? There might be something wrong with that.
    When good threads go bad..............Next on Oprah.

  20. #20
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    It has levers.

  21. #21
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. razer's Avatar
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    The Astro probably uses a vacuum "switch" similar to the one I had in my '93 GMC Sonoma. One of the little vacuum hoses attached to mine started leaking, so when I selected the setting associated with that vacuum line, it made a hissing noise & didn't work. The hissing was pretty obvious & easy to hear. The leak was close to the end of the vacuum line, so I was able to just cut off about 1/4" of it and reconnect it.

    Another possible cause is that one or more of the vent hoses in the dash leading to your non-working vents has come loose (or completely off). That was another problem I'd had & was an easy fix, but some of those hoses are harder to get to than others.

  22. #22
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    I don't hear any hissing. My dad claims its vaccum operated.
    Under the dash? in a minivan? *scary*

  23. #23
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    cool...you could do this to your van...LOL...
    DAN (go leafs go)
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  24. #24
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    The hood on that is 3times as long as on the astro

  25. #25
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. razer's Avatar
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    Actually, that one is an Astro.

  26. #26
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    Then you would have no money left for rc vehicles.
    Now working on Project Blackout.

  27. #27
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    heh, maybe i should get myself an astro. Sure looks like the hood is a lot longer then ours though.

  28. #28
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    I am currently getting ready to install a 350 crate motor into a 1992 chevy astro. The customer supplied the new engine. I have an old 350 out of a 1994 chevy 2500 p/u thats he wants to buy for the wiring harness,computer,and intake and throttle body. he also supplied a pair of shorty headers.I have a 1987 Astro, so this job at work may "influence" me into doing the same on my own. . If anyone has any experience installing or working on a 350 Astro, please post.

  29. #29
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. mike505's Avatar
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    JTR has some instructions and links.

    The one I had they used the 4.3 mounts and made custom plates that went between the block and the mounts.

    Not sure what headers were on mine. They were medium length and angled down the bellhousing. Wish I had pics of them.
    Pain is Temporary, Pride & Achievement is Forever.

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