1997 Chevrolet Astro AWD Conversion 4.3 Vortec V6 from North America


A truly powerful and impressive machine


As much as I love this machine, it's had bad days.

1. The biggest thing was my engine went at 180466. Not sure what happened, as I got rid of the old engine before I got a chance to look at it.

2. When I bought it, the window motors didn't work.

3. The radiator wasn't in good shape (dented).

4. It's had various leaks, and still has some; coolant once, oil twice, and power steering once.

5. Wipers were bad (fixed).

There were also some small things like interior lights, hydraulics for lift gate, etc.

Besides that, just regular maintenance.

General Comments:

Everything I listed above I fixed myself, except for that blasted power steering leak, which I'm still hunting for.

A couple things I'd just like to say; first off, for anybody who is planning on swapping an engine in these - GOOD LUCK! It was very difficult and time consuming, but worth it if your car's body is good. A couple tips, go through the front unless you have a garage with a great big lift. Another thing, take out as much as you can. The only thing I recommend you don't take out is the AC system (except for the pump). It's not worth the hassle. I got the engine out and in without touching it.

I have the top of the line conversion, and it's just fantastic. The cushion seats are truly amazing; it's like sitting on a couch while driving, and is great for long distances.

I have power everything, and besides the windows and a couple of bulbs, everything still works after all these years.

My favorite feature is the All Wheel Drive. It's great in the snow, have never slid or got stuck (and I deal with those New York winters), and for mild off roading, unlike newer all wheel drive systems, which only activate when a loss of traction is detected, this is on all the time, and combined with the powerful famous Vortec V6, it's just a terrific combo.

Gas mileage is exceptional for its size; with some slight adjustments, I get about 19-20 highway and 16 city.

All in all, I love this vehicle, and will continue to keep it until there's nothing left of it.

Please feel free to leave any questions or comments.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2012

1997 Chevrolet Astro 4.3 from North America


Would not buy another one. Fixed this myself


Transmission wiring harness replaced.

Both ball joints replaced last month.

Sparkplug wires, cap and rotor 2 years ago.

Alternator 6 months ago.

Serpentine belt last year.

Van won't start when damp out. Plugged van heater core in tonight, and will see what happens tomorrow.

Brakes every 6 to 8 months.

Fuel pump and filter 8 months ago.

Tie rods 3 years ago.

Replaced all the door handles last year; now that was a job.

What else can go wrong?

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

Review Date: 29th December, 2010

1997 Chevrolet Astro 4.3 from North America


Best car I've owned, except for maybe the 1993 Ford Festiva


Problems encountered similar to others. I (myself) changed out the wiper motor, the window motors (both sides twice), the serpentine belt and that's about it.

Air conditioning does stopped working in 2009.

Besides that, this Astro has been great to own - reliable - low cost to maintain. It has 317,000 km (~ 200,000 miles)

General Comments:

Not a luxury vehicle, but great for a larger family. Lots of space, and except for the serpentine belt (which should have been already changed), has not left me stranded.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th September, 2010

1997 Chevrolet Astro LT 4.3 V6 from North America


Nice van for the price


Trans replaced at 113,000 (previous owner used for towing).

Intermittent passenger side window motor at 118,000.

Belt tension idler at 155,000.

Fuel pump assembly at 160,000.

Idler arms at 160,000.

Tie rod ends at 160,000.

Replaced outer rear axle bearing at 160,000.

General Comments:

Very powerful, like a V-8.

V-6 fuel mileage of about 16 mpg combined. Bad for mini-van, good for truck.

Handles well and is very roomy and comfortable.

Other than transmission replacement, good reliability for vehicle of this type, though NOT Chevy's best effort.

Have a "cheap" Chevy Cavalier that has been a bit more reliable.

Note to those with airflow problems in cabin (Not switching from vents to defrost) Small vacuum hose under left side of cold air intake in front engine compartment, near water control valve. Most likely you'll find a hole in the hose. Easy fix once you find the hose.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th October, 2009