Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

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Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by chemist » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:08 am

The removal of your van's engine cover is kind of like opening the hood of a passenger car. Just pull the latch and pop open—no, wait. This is reality. Okay, I won't lie to you. It's such a pain that the first time I had to figure out how to do it I almost traded the Astro on a truck. But for many repairs it is a necessary evil. The best part is once you've done it a couple times it'll be second nature. Please forgive that such a basic procedure will be painfully detailed, for it is expected that some who reference may never have owned a van before. The procedure can be broken down as follows:
Passenger Seat Removal (not completely necessary, but gives more work space)
Glove Box Assembly Removal
Rear Air Duct Removal (if equipped)
Engine Cover Removal

PASSENGER SEAT REMOVAL
Start by removing the passenger seat. No, it isn't absolutely necessary, but it's only four nuts, and trust me you'll want the room. The bolts for the passenger seat are in each of the four corners. The nuts are 18 mm, as shown below. To remove them, you'll probably want a deep welled socket—3/8” drive seems to fit best.

Image

The pull the seat out. You'll be left with the seat belt connector, shown below—it's not bolted down anymore so just lift it straight off the bolt. And, you now have room to work.

Image

Tip: As you can see, it's quite filthy under there. If your van looks anything like mine, do the same with the driver's seat and pull the rear seats as you normally do for hauling. Then you can blow the whole mess out with garage air. Anyway, back to the procedure.

Tip: Before sitting on the floor in there, you may wish to take a double layer of cardboard and lay that where the seat was—it helps keep the remaining ends of the bolts from gouging you.

GLOVE BOX ASSEMBLY REMOVAL
The next thing to come out is your glove box. That assembly is held in place by 2 torx screws, 2 bolts and 2 clips. Start by popping out the torx screw covers, revealing the torx screws—you may need a screwdriver instead of your fingernail, as shown. The torx screws are size 30.

Image Image

Next pull the carpet as shown below—don't yank, it's only fastened lightly with Velcro on both sides of the glove box assembly.

Image

Now remove the 2 bottom bolts, shown below. They are 13mm bolts (below), and a socket extension will give you a lot more room to rachet.

Image

Now, with slowly increasing pressure—some force may be needed, but don't yank—pull each side of the glove box assembly out, as shown. NOTE: DO NOT REMOVE COMPLETE YET, THERE MAY BE A WIRING HARNESS THAT YOU COULD DAMAGE.

Image

Now remove the wiring harness (if present) as shown below.

Image

Pull the glove box assembly out. You're left with something like this:

Image

REAR AIR DUCT REMOVAL if equipped
The rear air duct is connected at 3 points. They are easily pulled out. Try not to jerk or yank, as you could break plastic. Start by removing the hose on the top, driver's side as shown.

Image

Next pull the duct toward the driver's side to detach it from the passenger side duct, as shown:

Image

Now lift the duct up to detach from the bottom duct, and then set aside. You're finally ready to remove the engine cover.

ENGINGE COVER REMOVAL
The engine cover is attached by 2 bolts (top) and 2 brackets (bottom). Start by unbolting the top engine cover bolts. They are 15 mm bolts, located at the top of each side. You will need several socket extensions or one or two really long ones. They will not detach completely, so when they start clicking as you turn, your done with them.

Image

Next remove the bottom bracket bolts. They are 13 mm bolts, and once out the brackets simply lift out.

Image

Now, pull out the engine cover. You may need to lift slightly and wiggle. If it's not moving, check the top bolts. Once out, set it aside. This is the end result:

Image

Replacement is pretty much the reverse of what you just did.

TIP: When replacing the engine cover, do the top bolts first. It can be tricky to seat, especially at the top.

TIP: When replacing the engine cover, make sure the carpet goes behind the plastic by the gas pedal (late model vans). Failure to do this will make seating the cover engine cover properly next to impossible.

Previous Vans: 1998 Astro, AWD, 138K mi; traded on 2003 Chevy Astro, AWD, 125K mi; traded on
2009 Chevy Silverado 1500 WT, 4x4, ext, long box
2007 Chevy Cobalt
1998 Maza MPV (180K mi and in need of PA inspection--only paid $500!)

Needed: a Gen 2 Astro project vehicle...

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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by Smiliesafari » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:54 am

Excellent writeup. Whenever I have to work from the inside I remove both seats. If you have air, with an air ratchet it only takes three minutes. It makes everything SO much easier. And it gives you the opportunity to break out the vacuum and clean things up. \:D/
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by ihatemybike » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:36 pm

Of note, if you have a drawer under the passenger side seat, it's a pain to remove/install the seat. While the extra room is nice while wrenching, the engine can easily be removed by having the drivers seat all the way back, turning the cover 45 degrees so the the middle of the cover is facing towards the drivers seat, tilt the cover back by lifting the middle of the cover near the drivers seat, then continue lifting till is slides past the seat's padding. The cover can then be rotated around the seat and removed from the vehicle.
Aaron

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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by Cobra » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:51 pm

I've removed my engine cover a number of times like that ihatemybike and you make it sound way easier then it is i'm puzzled everytime at how i got it out last time
1998 GMC Safari AWD, BFGoodrich AllTerrain T/A
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G3500 front calipers
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11" drums
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by ihatemybike » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:37 pm

It is really easy. Should I make a video?
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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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by Cobra » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:07 pm

meh i always manage to get it out.... not sure how tho lol
1998 GMC Safari AWD, BFGoodrich AllTerrain T/A
Jet performance tuner 91 octane preset, Jet under-drive pulleys
Rancho 999000 series shock, on-board controller to be installed later
DHC rock rails and skid plate Add-A-Leaf
G3500 front calipers
Zexel Torsen Diff
11" drums
180 amp Alternator
Long tru-cool 4590 trans cooler

1997 in storage (project coming soon)
1992 Chevy Astro "Z" vin (engine/trans in storage body crushed)
1995 Chevy Astro need lots of help project vehicle

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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by T.Low » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:17 pm

Cobra wrote:I've removed my engine cover a number of times like that ihatemybike and you make it sound way easier then it is i'm puzzled everytime at how i got it out last time


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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by kings-x59 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:04 am

man I'm glad I have an older van. I pull the doghouse straight back, tweek it to the left a bit, rock it back till the rubber gasket touches the dash, then kick the bottom in towards the firewall a bit, push down and gently get the top edge past the dash and viola! she's outta da way. I can do it in pitch black now. Remove a seat? yeesh, I'm unhappy I can't flip open the hood and get to the top of the engine. laying across the seats inside in comical positions keeps my abdominal muscles in shape anyway, I need all the help I can get :cheers:
'89 Astro, 4.3L, TBI. Minor intake and exhaust mods. Rebuilt 700R4 trans (by me). Corvette servo, 0.5" boost valve, police grade 1-2 accumulator spring (shifts fast and solid). B&M stacked plate trans cooler. Bilstein shocks. Belltech sway bars front and back. New head unit, speakers and subwoofer. Needs paint and a new headliner.

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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by slim724 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:21 pm

Thank you Chemist, an A+ on the writeup! It makes it so much easier to do everything knowing what the nut sizes are, only took about 1/2hr, taking my time for seat & doghouse removal
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by thefrog747 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:43 pm

I think I might do this tomorrow..and some dash work as I have an awful squeak in there somewhere when I hit a bump...drives me nuts !!
Decided to do it today....all done in about 2 hours but I cleaned everything I took apart and a shot of silicone lub for good measure. Anyhow , no more SQUEAKS !!!!!

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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by maing bus » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:35 am

Great job chemist! my 1994 astro has had the engine cover off many times and i was a bit unsure of taking the cover off my 1998. Looked way more complicated...but you have eased my mind!

Thanks! =D>
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by Astrophysics » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:47 am

Very good photos and instructions! We are out of the dog house now, when we need to do tune ups. I installed the Overland 2 inch lift in my 2003 AWD and that gives easier access to spark plugs.

You are correct that removing both seats is easy and fast and actually saves time overall when eng cover is removed
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by VanGoGo » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:35 pm

The factory jack handle/lug wrench has a slotted end that works perfect for removing the 2 large screws on the upper part of the dog house. I took mine off yesterday (chasing down a slight miss) andwhile reassembling I put adhesive felt strips around the edges of the plastic glove box and interior trim...got rid of most of the squeeky plastic sounds. Will be removing doghouse again in the near future to replace cap and rotor, seems easier each time.
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by oldsmoker » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:09 pm

for once, im glad mine is an '89! what a PITA.

great article!
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Re: Engine Cover Removal Procedure (Shown with 2003 Astro)

Post by Tom317 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:47 pm

I have to say this was the best It was spelled out clearly and I had no issues removing anything. THANK YOU

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