2003 Chevrolet Astro 4.3 V6

Summary:

An excellent value for a family

Faults:

One water pump in 150,000 miles

Interior fan controller went on the fritz - replaced relay.

General Comments:

Just 2 days ago, our trusty Astro was rear-ended, and we don't know for sure yet, but we believe it's totalled.

This has been an excellent vehicle, and I can't say enough good things about it.

We bought it with 28,000 miles, and it just turned 175,000 miles, and in that time, not a single time did it ever leave us stranded. In that time, I've replaced the water pump and had to install a new interior fan relay. We use the thing each day of the week to go back and forth to school, and it has held up extremely well.

The driver's seat (which is a real vulnerable spot in most cars with high miles) still looked like new... no wear spots or deformed foam.

The paint wore extremely well (we keep it in the garage, too).

The transmission shifted like brand new, even with 175,000 miles on it. I added a trans cooler when I bought the van, and put AMSOIL synthetic transmission fluid in it. Never once did it miss a beat!

I admit the 4.3 V6 is not very powerful, or even very nice... it feels like a prehistoric agricultural implement thrashing away under the hood, but boy was it dependable! It also towed our tent trailer over the Cascade Mountains for many summers, and without complaint. It is not very fuel efficient (I believe we averaged approx. 17 MPG combined), but you can buy an awful lot of gas for what you might otherwise pay on monthly car payments or on expensive car repairs!

I replaced the rotors once (front and rear), and the pads twice in the almost 150,000 miles we had this van. The thing I really liked is that the vehicle is straightforward and easy to work on (I do all my own work), and that parts are super cheap, and available almost anywhere. I was (and still am) totally impressed by the practicality of the Astro Van. Its mechanical simplicity and overall comfort make it one of the best options for a young family.

No one will every say how cool you look in your Astro, but that's OK... you can laugh all the way to the bank.

If you're considering one, I would highly recommend the Chevy Astro or GMC Safari.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2014

2003 Chevrolet Astro Cargo Base 4.3L V6 Vortec

Summary:

Get ready to spend lots of money

Faults:

Due to having a company vehicle as well, I haven't driven this van much. But it has certainly cost me a lot.

I recently encountered a problem with loss of power and hesitation when at highway speeds going up hill. The check engine light flashes and the van loses power. I've been to 6 mechanics, including the dealership, and have spent $1000 so far with no result at all. The problem is getting worse. Have done a complete tune up, fuel injector assembly replacement, O2 sensors, MAP sensor, mass air flow meter, distributor, cap and rotor, and so on. I have deep doubts as to the reliability and legitimacy of an engine that can't be diagnosed by the dealership.

I'd like to believe that the U.S can make a good truck, but this is the second one I've owned and both were terrible vehicles. I've had numerous Japanese cars, and none gave me the problems that Chevy or Ford have. I wish Toyota sold a van in the U.S.

General Comments:

If Toyota could make an engine and put it in an Astro body, I think we'd have a decent truck.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th August, 2013

12th Aug 2013, 18:21

The Astro is a good van. Maybe this particular one was abused a bit before you got it, especially with the high miles. Toyota does make vans - the Sienna or Previa, depending on how far back you want to go. Any vehicle is going to struggle momentarily going uphill. Just put the pedal down a little more on the steep grades, and it'll be fine.

15th Aug 2013, 13:46

92,000 miles is not "high mileage", and if a vehicle has chronic problems with power loss when under load, it won't matter how much gas you give it.

Also, when searching for a smaller cargo van from the mid 2000's, the Astro is unfortunately the only option in the U.S. Auto manufacturers realized that and are finally filling this need with the Ford Transit Van and the Nissan NV200, but as usual, they are behind curve by a few years.

19th Aug 2013, 11:38

Normal for a check engine light to flicker in extreme driving. You may be pushing it too hard on steep hills. Why not get a large SUV and fold the seats down instead of using a cargo van? Similar storage space.