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On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

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Meterpig
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On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Meterpig » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:19 am

The plan is now completed and approved by the boss. We currently own a 2002 Astro. To be honest, it has not been as reliable as my 1999 4runner. That said...I understand that the 4runner was overbuilt...the astro is just built. Anyway, we have had this van for a little over 4 years. I have killed two NP136's and realize I will keep killing them. So, my original plan was to use Photo van's Tcase in the 2002.

However....

It's time to track and and bag the 05 unicorn. To up the ante....with barn doors!

Ok, the doors are not all the important.

What I am finding is, out here in Colorado, I thought that all passenger Astros came with rear hear AND rear A/C. However, it isn't as ubiquitous as I thought. I am finding most of them do have rear A/C...but so far about half are missing rear heat. That rear heater in the 02 has been our salvation a few times when the front heater (Apparently quite finicky) has quit. The temps here can dip down to -20 in the winter months. So...rear heat is a must. In fact, if I had it my way, there would be two heaters (front and back).

I did google "adding rear heat"...yes it is possible and not super high up on the "how hard is this project".

The 05 is just the start. Many have gone this road before me. I have spent many hours scouring the interwebz for ideas.

My goal is a family rig that can travel 95% of this state to places that most dream of. The astro fits that bill better than any other rig I can think of. Even the express van.

So...off to find the unicorn.
What do you think of my quest to swap transfer cases to the venerable BW4472?
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=9962

Photos including tear down for intake gaskets (PITA)
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-xSjRG/i-bHzD6cz

ihatemybike
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by ihatemybike » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:49 pm

I too am in the hunt for a 2005 AWD, hope to purchase after our taxes are finalized.

I've been searching Google almost daily with
Astro 05|2005 AWD|4WD|4X4 site:craigslist.org

I've found that if they include dash pics you can tell if it has both rear heat and AC.
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86

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ASTROJOE LT1
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by ASTROJOE LT1 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:40 pm

Well here is one of the ones you guys are looking for: And its right in your neighborhood

http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-200 ... g=91890718
Joe

89 ASTRO CL Shorty,95 Corvette LT1 Engine,4L60E,

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Meterpig
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Meterpig » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:41 am

It's sort of funny you posted this one. If I look at the photos, it does not have rear heat. I let the dealer know this..they disagreed...but when I clarified it..they never replied. Probably realized they got a bum deal.
What do you think of my quest to swap transfer cases to the venerable BW4472?
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=9962

Photos including tear down for intake gaskets (PITA)
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-xSjRG/i-bHzD6cz

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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by arlon » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:30 am

It took me a year to find the van that I have now. I looked at a lot of duds before I found one that was about 95% of what I was looking for. I have rear AC but no rear heat and this van came from Colorado. The rear heat would be nice but I can survive without it since I got most of the other things I was looking for. Close was good enough. I also live in West Texas, I doubt it's been -20deg here since the last ice age..

Good luck with the hunt, I think you're on the right track.
2004 AWD Astro 2" lift, overnight-able
2003 Dodge/Cummins Quad cab
2006 Nissan X-terra MT
1985 LTD LX 5.0 HO
Plus wife's and kid's cars to take care of...

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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Slicky » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:06 am

Does a 2005 not have the same transfercase as a 2002? Other than 6 lug wheels and rear disc brakes is there much difference? Honestly my 98 is in better condition than most of the newer vans I looked at . Just curious what the diving force for a newer van is .

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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Herbie » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:29 pm

Slicky wrote:Does a 2005 not have the same transfercase as a 2002? Other than 6 lug wheels and rear disc brakes is there much difference? Honestly my 98 is in better condition than most of the newer vans I looked at . Just curious what the diving force for a newer van is .
Yeah, if you HAVE to have the upgrades, at least be looking at 2003-2005, then make your choice on condition and mileage versus age-only.

Hell, my 2003 has only 70k miles on it. Like all things, it isn't necessarily "for sale", but could be sold for the right price!
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:03 pm

The only differences between the 1999 - 2002 and 2003 - 2005 vans is that the 03 - 05 vans have rear disc brakes, 6 lug axles, 16" wheels and they seem to have either stiffer or more arched rear leaf springs. Other than that they are identical. I personally prefer the 02 and older with the rear drum brakes. They are much more reliable in our area due to all the salt and sand they put on the winter roads.
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

Meterpig
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Meterpig » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:11 pm

So, when I checked out Rock Auto, the front calipers on 03 and up seem to be 2 piston while 02 and older seem to be single piston. I prefer dual piston.

The braking on my current astro is barely adequate. In reading other members experiences with finding and retrofitting larger rear brakes, I don't find it to be the best payoff for the time and money. Another member pointed out that going to 6 lug allows me to fit a larger range of OEM rim styles.

A lot of upside and very little downside for me. I do respect those who love the older vans and keep them going.
What do you think of my quest to swap transfer cases to the venerable BW4472?
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=9962

Photos including tear down for intake gaskets (PITA)
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-xSjRG/i-bHzD6cz

Meterpig
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 195
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Meterpig » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:14 pm

arlon wrote:It took me a year to find the van that I have now. I looked at a lot of duds before I found one that was about 95% of what I was looking for. I have rear AC but no rear heat and this van came from Colorado. The rear heat would be nice but I can survive without it since I got most of the other things I was looking for. Close was good enough. I also live in West Texas, I doubt it's been -20deg here since the last ice age..

Good luck with the hunt, I think you're on the right track.

On the rear heat thing, I have seen 3 or 4 in the Junk yard and it honestly doesn't look all that tough to fit it in a non rear heat astro. The wiring is the hardest part I suppose. GM, of course, made it overly complicated with vacuum valves and what not. I imagine anyone with some knowledge could simplify it and make it look stock.
What do you think of my quest to swap transfer cases to the venerable BW4472?
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=9962

Photos including tear down for intake gaskets (PITA)
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-xSjRG/i-bHzD6cz

Meterpig
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 195
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Meterpig » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:16 pm

Slicky wrote:Does a 2005 not have the same transfercase as a 2002? Other than 6 lug wheels and rear disc brakes is there much difference? Honestly my 98 is in better condition than most of the newer vans I looked at . Just curious what the diving force for a newer van is .

It does have the same "Tcase" (I use quotes as it really isn't a transfer case like most understand), and in fact your 98 has the BW4472 which I now own on my work bench. It will be going into whatever new van I get.
What do you think of my quest to swap transfer cases to the venerable BW4472?
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=9962

Photos including tear down for intake gaskets (PITA)
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-xSjRG/i-bHzD6cz

jacksonjack
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by jacksonjack » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:51 am

I started out looking for the magical 04-05. I wanted something really decent for my first Astro....Ended up with a 99. I found one that had 2 in lift already installed. front and rear heat and air. It seems like I was finding the same mileage vehicles for half the price. I figured this was a play toy and mostly to keep miles of my diesel truck.

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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by Captn. Crunch » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:50 pm

Congratulations on finding a van to suit your needs. I love my 99, it's always been there for me. Going back to the viscous coupling tc keeps things simple. You'll have a service light bulb you'll have to pull. Not sure about prop shafts. Let us know
Captn. Crunch
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by danfromsyr » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:33 pm

http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/cto/5404481909.html
ihatemybike wrote:I too am in the hunt for a 2005 AWD, hope to purchase after our taxes are finalized.

I've been searching Google almost daily with
Astro 05|2005 AWD|4WD|4X4 site:craigslist.org

I've found that if they include dash pics you can tell if it has both rear heat and AC.

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tequilasunset
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Re: On the hunt for a Unicorn (2005 AWD astro/safari )

Post by tequilasunset » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:32 am

I just got me one of these... 2005 Safari AWD, Rear AC/Heat, tow, the usual stuff. Drives great, 134 ODO

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05 Safari AWD
85 Vanagon tin top 1.8T with Westy interior (stealth)
14 Lancer AWC
07 Tango (Home)

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