Just Bought My First Astro!

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costman13
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Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by costman13 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:42 pm

Hey All,
I just bought my first Astro! A 1999 Astro AWD with 154k miles :cheers: .

I was referred over here from Expedition Portal, where I have been a member for some years and had chronicled my previous build, (2002 Tacoma) which was stolen last year.

I will be starting a build thread shortly, as I have some plans to mold this van into a capable weekend camper.

I'm happy to have found the forum and can't wait to learn from you all.

Cam

Also - Here are a few photos.
FullSizeRender-1.jpg
IMG_2655-1.JPG
IMG_2666.JPG
Cam Östman

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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by Astrophysics » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:13 am

Hi,

Great van

Welcome.

LED dome lights for easy first update.

2" lift kit would be nice.

Aux tranny cooler.

2 piece radiator shroud.

Fit in a full size spare to replace skinny temp spare.




AP
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image.jpeg
2003 AWD w/2" lift and special bumper and grille guard

costman13
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4
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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by costman13 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:51 am

Hey AP,

I have plans for somewhat of a 4" Hodgepodge setup with either 235/75 R15 or 30x9.5 R15 AT of some kind.

From all that I can see (please correct me if I am wrong), I can source all the parts individually (including s10 leaf springs) as opposed to an OLV or Journey's kit and save quite a few bucks. A lot of bucks if going with a full 2-5" OLV kit. I would also rather have a replacement spring pack than drop brackets as provided by the Journey's / OLV kits. I would think with the right shock / valving and a new set of s10 springs, you could get a solid 4" out of the rear.
Cam Östman

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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by Astrophysics » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:06 am

Hi Cam,

The Journeys Off Road kit and the Overland kit. does have a nice "relocation bracket" for the front bumper.
I have the Overland Kit 2" kit with rear shackles. I also have Monroe air shocks in rear.

I did not crank the torsion bars up front.

The 2" lift is very good and you may find that it is good enough.

Your Astro may have 3.42 axle ratio or if you are lucky maybe 3.73 with the AWD and tow package.

You are smart not to go too big on tires since they do lug the rig unless lower axle is installed.

Now i am in the process of installing a manual shift 2 speed np231C transfer case with the cable shift kit from JB Custom Fabrication of Salem Oregon. This will replace the stock np136 single speed case.

My 2003 AWD Astro had 130,000 miles.

Other mods that i added include 68" long 2x2 steel tubing which connects the rear leaf spring hanger to the front sub frame. I used heavy uni strut flat plate and angle and wing fittings to attach it. It was a lot of work but it gave me solid rail to mount the Nerf bars on sides to act as simple rock rails and side steps.
I also mounted 3/4" plywood to the rear side walls and put 5/8" plywood on the floor to create hard points. Then I mounted inside spare tire bracket and inside jerry can bracket.

You will love your Astro.

The fun of having enough room inside for mt bikes, camping gear etc.
AP
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IMAG2537 2x2 sub frame extension and Manik 4x4 nerf bar right side Oct 2015.jpg
2x2 subframe extension

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Herbie
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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by Herbie » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:01 pm

Welcome, costman13!

Off to a good start with pictures. I love that color.

As others have mentioned, high on the list for the Astro/Safari, especially for overlanding types, should be a transmission cooler. There are several sticky threads here on which kit to get and how to install, but the short version is that it's cheap insurance if you're going to be going up/down mountains or driving slow on trails.

A DIY lift kit is perfectly doable, especially if your tire/lift goals are modest. As others have said, the bumper-relocation bracket in the kits is nice, but can also usually be ordered separately or fabbed DIY if you're handy, so do it whichever way works for you.
"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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costman13
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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by costman13 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:52 am

Hey Herbie, Thanks again for sending me over here. There looks to be quite a bit of useful info.

I plan get a van thread going before too long. I'll be picking the van up early next week and hope to get suspension going shortly there after.

Any idea what rear end / gearing this van may have? It's a 99 AWD Astro LT. It does have a hitch receiver & wiring, but that may have been added after purchase.

Cam
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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by Herbie » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:42 pm

costman13 wrote:Any idea what rear end / gearing this van may have? It's a 99 AWD Astro LT. It does have a hitch receiver & wiring, but that may have been added after purchase.
Cam, you need to look for the RPO codes. On a 99 I think they're on the passenger door, but they could be elsewhere (glovebox?). Look for a sticker like this:
Image

Then compare the codes against this thread.

The particular codes of interest for the gear ratio are:
GT4 Rear Axle: 3.73 Ratio
GT5 Rear Axle: 4:10 Ratio
GU5 Rear Axle: 3.23 Ratio
GU6 Rear Axle: 3.42 Ratio
G80 Rear Axle: Positraction
"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.
Image

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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by Mmusicman » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:25 am

Welcome from South Florida!
That's a nice clean van you found there!
You're gonna love it! Enjoy!
-
Image
2000 Chevy Astro LS AWD | 31" LT265/70R17 Tires | 8" LIFT | 10" TOTAL
92 Chevy Astro Shorty | V8-350
http://www.CruisinSouthFlorida.com

costman13
I am merely driving my van
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by costman13 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:53 am

Herbie wrote:
costman13 wrote:Any idea what rear end / gearing this van may have? It's a 99 AWD Astro LT. It does have a hitch receiver & wiring, but that may have been added after purchase.
Cam, you need to look for the RPO codes. On a 99 I think they're on the passenger door, but they could be elsewhere (glovebox?). Look for a sticker like this:
Image

Then compare the codes against this thread.

The particular codes of interest for the gear ratio are:
GT4 Rear Axle: 3.73 Ratio
GT5 Rear Axle: 4:10 Ratio
GU5 Rear Axle: 3.23 Ratio
GU6 Rear Axle: 3.42 Ratio
G80 Rear Axle: Positraction
Awesome - Will do. Thank you!

Cam
Cam Östman

costman13
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:54 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Just Bought My First Astro!

Post by costman13 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:53 am

Mmusicman wrote:Welcome from South Florida!
That's a nice clean van you found there!
You're gonna love it! Enjoy!
Thanks!
Cam Östman

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