1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

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costman13
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1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by costman13 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:42 pm

So it begins...

Parts Purchased -
4 - M12-1.75 x 130mm class 10.9 hex head bolts
2 - M14-2.0 x 130mm class 10.9 hex head bolts
6 - 2" tall x 3" wide lift blocks
2 - SD Truck Springs s10 leaf springs (22-687)
2 - Extended Exhaust Hangers
5 - 30/9.5R15 BFG T/A KO2
1 - Long Tru-Cool LPD Transmission Oil Cooler 4590
2 - Rancho RS5147 (rear)
2 - Rancho RS55150 (front)

Pics to come.

Cam
Last edited by costman13 on Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cam Östman

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Herbie
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LT 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by Herbie » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:17 am

You're well on the way!
"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: 1999 AWD Astro LT 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by costman13 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:53 am

Herbie wrote:You're well on the way!
It doesn't look like there has been many recent builds - so I thought I'd dive right in!

What is your take on gearing?

The van has the GU6 Code / 3.42 gearing. Any ideas of the driving experience with 3.42 gearing and 30x9.5R15s?

Knowing me, I will eventually want to be on the lookout for a G80 rear end. If that's the case - what does a full re-gear entail? From my experience, it requires the re-gearing of both the front and rear diff's. Is this not the case with an AWD system? I have a Subaru, but know very little of the functionality AWD systems as apposed to a 4x4 system.
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by frank1 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:58 am

Mine has a 3;42 gearing and i have 17'' jeep wheels on it, runs ok.
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by Herbie » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:05 pm

I'm currently running P245/70R16 (29.7") on 3.42 gears.

You can feel it, for sure. It doesn't accelerate briskly, and when I'm climbing into the mountains it will hunt a lot more into 2nd and 3rd gears trying to find the torque. On the upside, the revs are nice and low on our SoCal freeways (but my tall van is so aero-unfriendly I don't cruise as fast as I'd like to!) Re-gearing to 4.10s has been on my To-Do list for a long time. Maybe with this year's tax returns I'll finally have the scratch...

Yes, you need to regear both axles. Not optional.

Regarding the G80 - if I had a 3.73 G80 rear end, I'd probably just leave it alone (until it broke), but since I'm going to have to pay to setup a new axle anyhow, my plan is to get one of the "lunchbox" style lockers, which are supposed to be a bit more stout that the G80. The G80 is an ingenious system, but I think consensus here is that it's less suited to wheeling, particularly with heavier wheel/tire combos (which all 30"+ setups tend to be).

I've got a quote here on my desk from last year from my local place to change to 4.10s, add a Powertrax No-Slip locker, and new bearings and seals on both ends for about $2100 - just to give you a ballpark.
"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: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by Astrophysics » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:41 pm

Herbie,

Sounds like a reasonable price. I may look into that for my 2003 AWD Astro. Mine has open diff 3.42 ratio. With bigger tires and a loaded Astro, the lower axle ratio would be nice to stop / start on a hill.

Still gotta finish installing the np231C manual cable shift t case.

Here is photo showing the 6 ton Duralast Jack from Autozone stands supporting axle. Also seen is rear Monroe air shock, Hellwig sway bar, plastic panel protecting spare tire, and small chain looped thru spare tire.

Happy Springtime

AP
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2003 Astro axle, sway bar, Monroe air shock, plastic panel covers spare tire

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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by Astrophysics » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:44 pm

Image 8 bolt OEM rear 3.42 open diff
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Chevy OEM 8 bolt with 3.42 open diff

costman13
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by costman13 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:38 am

I thought I was going to be able to get it all buttoned up this past weekend, but unfortunately I came across destroyed body mount bushings and a cracked radiator.

I ordered up some Prothane 7-108-BL bushings and replaced the radiator, hoses and thermostat while I was at it.

Maybe next weekend....

So here is a photo of the new tires set next to the un-lifted van.
IMG_6474.JPG
I did manage to get the trans cooler installed. I mounted it as per the included instructions (which seems to contradict this thread on the subject - http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=46226). I mounted it inline via the bottom connection (After?) of the radiator. Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Tegnus seemed to mount his through the top connection on the radiator. Can anyone clear this up? It seems to me there is benefits in both before and after - although TruCool recommends after the radiator.
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by Astrophysics » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:17 pm

Hi,

That discussion has occ'urred on forum a few years back. I forget the pros and cons but either way the extra cooling fins should help heat transfer of hot trans fluid.

When I did my new bumper and 2" lift, I also replaced the OEM curved tubing power steering cooler than was behind bumper with a small trans cooler mounted in front or radiator.

AP 2003 AWD
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2003 AWD 2" lift, bumper relocation bracket, custom bumper and Chevy truck grille guard, aux tranny cooler and aux power steering cooler in front of radiator.

costman13
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by costman13 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:48 am

Here it is just before.
IMG_6475.JPG
IMG_6474 2.JPG
And after!
IMG_6531.JPG
IMG_6532.JPG
94F84A8D-C290-4CD6-B5F5-747877991E60.JPG
Cam Östman

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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by Herbie » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:40 pm

Looks great!
"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: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by nonhog » Fri May 04, 2018 2:48 am

Really like it!

also interested in the trans cooler question.....
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costman13
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Re: 1999 AWD Astro LS 3" DIY Lift Build

Post by costman13 » Sun May 13, 2018 10:51 am

I went ahead and swapped the trans cooler to be after the radiator (as indicated by the directions). The trans cooler lines just flow differently then the directions state.
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