This is not my first, and probably not my last Astro. If you are reading this as an Astro owner, you already know that it is probably the best van one can buy - when they are working as they should.
I had to find a replacement for my 1997 Astro (The Van That Can" review on this site) after it traveled its final mile.
*CASH FOR CLUNKER RANT*
Apparently most people who had a nice Astro decided to cash in on its anti "Green" value and had them put to death early in favor of buying a new SUV or car. Shame on you! Seriously. The dealership where my dad works consumed 12 nice Safari's and Astro vans so people could get a few months payment off of a new Subaru. If the dealership where he works clunker bombed 12, I can only imagine the true number of these great vans that were destroyed.
I had a hard time finding a replacement. When one is searching with limited times and a budget, one tends to be happy for anything he can get. I got, I guess.
While my 97 Astro was dead in the field, I was searching the area for a cheap Astro. I stopped at the dealership where my dad used to work, and found out one of the guys that I've known forever was selling his Astro... AWESOME.
$200 scored the following:
Fist-sized rust holes in the rear passenger fender.
Worn out paint patches.
Misfiring (running on all 5).
Sort of cruise control.
Yeah... so on.
Her name is Scurvy.
PW (New window motors installed a year ago).
CC (works sometimes).
PL (locks the driver and passenger doors - sometimes rear and side doors, same when unlocking - useless).
PM (never had power mirrors in an Astro. They work great).
AC (works great, just don't use due to misfire).
Pulse wipers (can't live without them).
Reclining seats (love 'em, but what is the deal with the annoying hand crank?).
Starts up on the second try.
Driving position is perfect.
Second owner worked at a GM parts department at a Chevy dealer, so up until a year ago - it got loved. Lots of new parts and dealer maintained!
Cold AC, but due to the misfire - I don't use it.
I can park it with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition, and it will be there tomorrow waiting for me.
Never had Dex-cool orange coolant. So the intake manifold and head gaskets are leak free!
*There are so many. But to be fair I won't state the many that are present due to my satiric opinions of my van.*
My 97 van replaced my 86 Astro. The 97 had the longer body and I got used to that. 8 feet of stuff could be placed on the floor and the seats didn't have to move and the back doors would shut. This van and my 86 Astro cannot duplicate. I hate it for that. I've had to drive this van miles with my seat pushed up so far that my gut is jammed in the wheel and I can't put my seatbelt on... hold the laughter, I'm a 6' 3" XXL, not 4XL!
Apparently the electronics used in the dash of my 86 Astro were used in the 92 as well. The dashboard is so dark at night, it is hard to read the cluster. I have to smack the dashboard to make lights turn on just to see how fast I'm going.
The controls are about the same as all other pre 1996 Astros. Everything is laid out and easy to get to, just not as refined as post 96 models.
Lots of wind noise.
Transmission loves to spend most of its time in overdrive. The 95 and newer Astros had a much more heavy duty trans than the one in this 92. I'm not too sure of the exact trans I have, but it looks and feels like the 200R4 that was in my Oldsmobile.
Tan interior is horrible. It is stained and just a dirt magnet. The dashboard is split, and the "hard" interior pieces are going through a chemical change, and turning dark or lighter in color. I had an Oldsmobile that was tan inside, and the door panels actually turned pink and got scaly from sun and age.
These vans are just no fun to work on.
I managed to put 10,000 miles on it in less than four full months. This is the first Astro I've owned that I didn't like - mostly due to its looks and not having the cargo capacity I need. My previous Astros were also higher end models. The 86 was a CL and the 97 was an SL model. This is a CS model with no body protection, cargo van style front and rear bumpers, low tint windows, and one solid color.
Before I got this to use for work, the previous owner used it to haul his kids around, until they grew up and he no longer needed it. These are dependable workhorses. If you take care of them, they will last. I'm sure this van will make it to 200,000 miles and beyond... but I won't be taking it there. I plan on getting a bigger van in the near future.