Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Question)

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MrJames
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Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Question)

Post by MrJames » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:58 pm

Manual Transmissions in Astro / Safari Vans (History Question)

Does anyone know the history of the manual transmission in our vans ?

For example:

When were they available ?;

Did it cost extra to have one ?;

Who made them ?;

Where was the shifter located ?;

How many were made that way ?;

Etc.

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by doyoulikeithere » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:21 pm

MrJames wrote:Manual Transmissions in Astro / Safari Vans (History Question)
Does anyone know the history of the manual transmission in our vans ? For example:
I have an OEM Astro 5 speed van. I have learned a wee bit about them....
MrJames wrote:When were they available ?;
1985-1989. Note, in 1990 they changed the shape of the dashboard. But newer ones after 89 had no pre punched holes to hang a clutch peddle. 85-89 had the holes in place, just hang the peddle.
MrJames wrote:Did it cost extra to have one ?;
No Idea, I have never ever looked into buying a new car, not even an 87 astrovan.
MrJames wrote:Who made them ?;
Borg Warner T5 Transmissions were installed into a few V6, and a bunch of I4 vans.
MrJames wrote:Where was the shifter located ?;
On the floor right beside the drivers seat, it's actually fairly comfortable location.
MrJames wrote:How many were made that way ?;
Not sure, I read somehere that there were about 18 or 1900 sold in Canada.
MrJames wrote:Etc.
These links are great!! Check them out...
http://www.britishv8.org/Articles/Borg- ... D-Tags.htm
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/show ... p?t=280529
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2016 Yamaha XSR900 - Silver.
2006 Kawasaki KLR 650 - Red.
1990 Astro - AWD
1987 Astro - With 5 Speed & 4wd.

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by MrJames » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:51 pm

Very Interesting !

Thanks for the links

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by MrJames » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:15 pm

Is there any more information ? Like were the manuals available from 1985 to 2005 ?

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by doyoulikeithere » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:32 am

doyoulikeithere wrote:
MrJames wrote:When were they available ?;
1985-1989.
2016 Yamaha XSR900 - Silver.
2006 Kawasaki KLR 650 - Red.
1990 Astro - AWD
1987 Astro - With 5 Speed & 4wd.

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by 1Gary » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:20 pm

doyoulikeithere wrote:
doyoulikeithere wrote:
MrJames wrote:When were they available ?;
1985-1989.
I consider this user to be the resident expert on 5 speed Astro's.They are not a very strong tranny however.
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by MrJames » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:13 pm

Thank you Mike and Gary. I just never knew that a manual was available and find it fascinating because I like to learn.

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by 1Gary » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:43 am

We had a member,I think it was Logan,that converted a later model like a Gen II.
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Quest

Post by doyoulikeithere » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:13 am

The hardest part about converting a Gen II (or even a 90-94) Is installing a clutch peddle.
Thats why I said before that the vans from 85 - 89 have the hole stamped into the van already made to hang a peddle.
Then you just need a peddle and some bushings.
After 1989, they changed the shape of the whole dashboard, and as well the underside where the peddle hole used to be, in the steering column brackets.
So, Basically you will need to drill a couple holes, to push a pivot bar into with a peddle hanging down. (pix) and then install a master cylinder beside the one for brakes.
You can still purchase new cylinders and clutch sets from almost any parts store worth its salt.
After 89, they made other changes too, and I am ALWAYS on the lookout for clean rust free 87-89 vans.
Surprising how nice some of them still are !! BTW, I have seen 5 5 speed 4.3 vans around here on CL in the last 5 years.
I bought 1 to drive, and all the parts from another, not quick enough to scoop the others.
1 was only 400 bux and looked pretty clean. The others were 500, and 1800. All were Gone when I called.
Anyways, I digress... so, Heres where this has been covered a bit, before...
viewtopic.php?f=57&t=146
viewtopic.php?f=57&t=7014
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April 013.jpg
2016 Yamaha XSR900 - Silver.
2006 Kawasaki KLR 650 - Red.
1990 Astro - AWD
1987 Astro - With 5 Speed & 4wd.

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Question)

Post by Bret Schmerker » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:42 am

:cheers: @doyoulikeithere Thanks for confirming my research into a stickshift retrofit. For my 1997 GMC® M11006, the gearbox I'm really after is not a BORG X WARNER® World Class T-5™ - rather, a TREMEC® TR-3160B with Small-Block Chevy bellhousing. Already anticipated shortening the propshaft, as the '3160 has about a foot on the T-5. Will need drawing copies of both gearboxes as part of researching the shifter installation, as the '3160 has three possible shifter locations, compared to one for the T-5, and I know about the crossmember issue. Assuming that I can retrofit a stock 1982-90 clutch pedal itself to the cab (where the fulcrum rod for the brake pedal is situated), what angles are needed for the clutch-pedal pushrod in order to clear the Hydro-Boost™ unit? I figured on either going mechanical (viz., cross-shaft and length-settable pushrod on the clutch fork, àux pre-1982 GM vehicles) or using a divorced master cylinder with the supply reservoir alongside the Hydro-Boost (with the external slave cylinder pushing the clutch fork).
1997 GMC M11006 (Safari SLE, 2WD, V6-4300/4L60-E/7.625" 3.73:1 open)
Acquired Jul 2018 / In service Sep 2018 - present

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Re: Manual Transmissions in Astro/Safari Vans (History Question)

Post by WE7X » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:55 am

There is probably a cable operated option ( from pedal to clutch arm) , as long as you are designing a 'one-of-a-kind' setup.
Fitting a hydraulic cylinder to the fire wall, in tour A/S bodies, in an appropriate area, does not sound trivial.
Many older German and Japaneese cars and trucks used cable operated clutch linkages.
WE7X aka Rod Johnson
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