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 Post subject: New to the Astro Safari community!!!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:05 pm 
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I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van

Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:18 pm
Posts: 3
Whats up guys i just purchased a 1987 Astro Tiger GT and i am more that excited!! There is a lot that needs to be done to her and that will be done to her but i just want some insite on a few things.

Firstly
she is a 1987 Chevy Astro Tiger GT 2wd with 115k on her
she has the 4.3L v6 carberated.
What i want to do:
I want to do the following AWD or 4x4 conversion. I have a spot and a good friend that has the room and tools for the job. Fabrication and all.
I understand that the conversion is much easier with a Awd subframe which i do not have. I live in high elevation at Lake Tahoe, CA i need the vehicle to beable to do some light crawling mostly up cattle roads or fire roads. Plus handle the snow<---most important.
I would like to lift it for clearance either 2" or 4".
Here start the questions.
Question: What compatibility is there across the astro/safari years for a AWD subframe to my 1987?
Which conversion would be most recomended Awd or solid axel 4x4? Easability and money taken into account?
What should i do to the engine for it to gain some power since i believe carberated engines dont opperate as efficiently in high elevations?
Would it make more sense to buy a newer AWD Astro and remove the camper from my current 87 and place it on the newer awd/Frame?

That is all the questions i will post for now since they are pretty weighted questions.
Also i am sorry if i missed a post that has already been posted about the topic. I could not find one specific to the 1987 but if you can provide a link or a search phrase i will find it and you dont have to repeat yourselves.

I am very excited to be part of the community and look forward to working with you guys!!!

Thank you
Harold


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Astro Safari community!!!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:34 pm 
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I finally get the smurf thing

Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:09 pm
Posts: 151
hburge wrote:
Whats up guys i just purchased a 1987 Astro Tiger GT and i am more that excited!! There is a lot that needs to be done to her and that will be done to her but i just want some insite on a few things.

Welcome to the site!

hburge wrote:
i need the vehicle to beable to do some light crawling mostly up cattle roads or fire roads. Plus handle the snow<---most important.

AWD is the best option for the snow, 4x4 is the best for offroad. How about a transfer case that has AWD and 4x4?

hburge wrote:
Question: What compatibility is there across the astro/safari years for a AWD subframe to my 1987?

You could make any of them "work", some things might be different(like idler arm mounting bolts), but nothing that can't be overcome, esp if you have a complete donor. Hell you are talking about a SAS or changing the body over, so if you have the skills for that, you can make anything work.

hburge wrote:
Which conversion would be most recomended Awd or solid axel 4x4? Easability and money taken into account?

Such a personal choice, obviously AWD is going to be the easiest as it can all be had factory from another Astro.

hburge wrote:
What should i do to the engine for it to gain some power since i believe carberated engines dont opperate as efficiently in high elevations?

Naturally aspirated engines simply don't operate as efficiently at high elevations, the whole less air and pressure at altitude thing. The engines tend to be quite worn over 100k miles when they have been carrying around so much weight over it's life. Rebuilding the engine would be an option, installing a larger engine is another, forced induction is yet another. Again, all depends on budget and what your priorities are. My v8 Tiger just pulls over mountain passes very easily, where as the worn out v6 that was in there was screaming it's head off trying to go up hill.

hburge wrote:
Would it make more sense to buy a newer AWD Astro and remove the camper from my current 87 and place it on the newer awd/Frame?

If you have the time/money/skills this could be your best choice, but definitely not the easiest/cheapest.

With all of that said, the brakes on these vans are, in my opinion, marginal at best. To handle the extra weight, it might be best to go the SAS route and use a front axle that has more substantial brakes.
I have decided to hold off, as really the worst I go through is sand and mud, so I bought a locker to try, should give me all of the traction that I need without adding so much weight. However, I haven't gotten around to installing it yet, will be done before next summer though.

Good Luck!

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1990 Tiger GTv8, 90 TigerToo XL, 88 TreeTiger GT, 03 AWD POS
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 Post subject: Re: New to the Astro Safari community!!!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:16 pm 
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I get chills without my van.
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:42 am
Posts: 87
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
I can appreciate your new found enthusiasm!

My opinion though: if you want an AWD... then you should probably just BUY an AWD! Why go to so much trouble when they apparently are readily and easily available, in nicer newer models too. So much work! Since you have SO many things you want to change, why not just buy what you want in the first place. Not only would buying an AWD solve your desire.. but it would also have the fuel-injected motor you want too, plus a lot of other nice upgrades. To me, this just seems like the best common-sense thing to do.

Now if on the other hand, you want to "create" an awesome "true 4x4" van, say with a nice V8 transplant... then it doesn't matter much what you start with, since they are had though your ingenious creativity. If you really like your 87 van, then this might be for you. But keep in mind there have been so many really good improvements over the years (engine, computer, transmission, fuel injection, drive-train, suspension, braking, interior, etc etc)... and attempting to "convert" your van to any of these many improvements may not be cost and time effective. It's up to you of course.

Some people just have to modify and build things! They have the tools, time, place, money, drive, and know-how to do it. If you have all those things... then maybe you're on your way! If you do decide to modify your 87... I'd say get serious and just put a true 4x4 solid axle system under it.

Otherwise, personally I'd say save yourself a lot of time and trouble and buy and AWD... something exciting that you will already like!

Good luck!

Welcome to the community! :)

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2000 Chevy Astro LS AWD | 31" LT265/70R17 Tires | 8" LIFT | 10" TOTAL
92 Chevy Astro Shorty | V8-350
http://www.CruisinSouthFlorida.com


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Astro Safari community!!!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:01 am 
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I finally get the smurf thing
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:10 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Boise, Id
Welcome! :guitar: I love the Tigers. Drove my first one a few months ago!

We will all enjoy seeing your progress.

Ryan

_________________
2004 Astro (was AWD now 4X4) 125,000 miles: purchased April 2012
Colorado Camper Van poptop
4" Overland lift, Rancho 5000 Cooper AT3 245/75/16 C,
4x4 - NP236 Transfercase
Propex HS2211 propane heater
I am copying a few of you hope you don't mind!

See my build here


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Astro Safari community!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:19 am 
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I finally get the smurf thing
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:49 am
Posts: 181
Location: White Salmon, WA
Welcome! Look forward to seeing the progress with your project. :cheers:

_________________
2001 Astro LT AWD "Redneck Edition", 4" Custom Lift, 30x9.5R15LT on stock wheels, Hightop conversion, custom interior, custom roof racks, external solar shower, front recovery points


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Astro Safari community!!!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:56 pm 
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I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van

Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:18 pm
Posts: 3
Im back at it!!!
Update!! Its not carberated but TBI.

So ive had the Tiger Van for a few months now just getting stuff dialed with the interior and popup lift system. Im back at trying to get this thing winter ready.
I do plan on using it on some pretty rough forest service roads and extensively in the snow.
I do think that with AWD and a 4 inch lift i would get the clearance that im looking for but of course the SAS sounds more appealing.
Next questions!
If i were to purchase a newer lets say 2005 astro i should beable to use the rear axle(disc brake upgrade), front axle, differential, but not that transmission cause of the electronics? (because mine is the 87)
On the other hand if the donor has the newer engine wouldnt it make sense to go ahead and put that in or is that just a pain because of the electronics and such.
If getting an astro that newer is an issue what year AWD astro would be the easiest to do this conversion. I am in somewhat of a time crunch with winter fast approaching so easibility may have to take priority.

I am only getting about 12mpg on this thing and would like to beable to put two dirt bikes on a modified hitch. That being said that is why i was considering a V8 for the power to haul this heavy camper up passes as well as handle the additional weight of two dirt bikes.
The lack of MPG could definitely be an engine issue of some sort and im currently working on getting that figured out.
After looking on a Tiger specific forum they mention they are achieving about 15 to 17 mpg which for a camper would be ideal.
Any idea on what mpg the v8 would approximately get.

If i were to go for a full 4x4 sas.
I do live in california so emmisions are a concern for the future. What donor cars should i be looking for. (Year Model) Ive been looking at the 1990 suburbans for the fact that they have the sas aswell as the 350 in them. I would think that i would beable to grab the front axle rear axle engine transmission and 4x4 but i would still need the awd subframe from an astro which i have found kinda difficult to find without getting a donor.

Now for suspension modifications i think my only real option would be to do leaf springs all around not sure the difficulty of this modification but im sure there will be a need for fabricating mounts ect..
If there are any other options please let me know.
i dont plan on lifting it extensively but 4 inchs would prob be my thought.

All input would be greatly appreciated also any direction to other forums or posts.

Thanks for the welcome to the forum


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