1997 Chevrolet Astro LT 4.3 Liter from North America
More reliable than a Chrysler 4 speed automatic any day
My 97 Astro has been a dream. Lux touring model. My previous Grand Voyager was a drivetrain nightmare. 4 transmissions in 4,000 miles. Never again...
Only Astro problems so far:
Wiper motor (recall).
Window motors (easy fix).
1 fuel pump (replace with GM Delphi only please, all others die too easily).
Problem with cylinder misfire codes (bad pickup assembly in distributor).
Also, fan motor speed had issues here lately after 10 years (resistor inside motor/heater core under hood). Like I said, easy.
The plugs are easy access, pull front wheels and straight in. Oil and filters are remotely located for easy access.
My wife drives this thing pretty hard, so sport tires last longer due to rounding on the fronts during cornering.
Great truck chassis for pulling or hauling a large family with a cargo box on top.
Nice sound system, comfy seats.
Easy to steam clean the interior twice a year. The van looks near new after almost 11 years.
One the A/C, DO NOT use the R134 With sealer. It will plug up your compressor. No fix, have to throw it away after that.
One other thing, watch for the class action suit on the GM extended life antifreeze. It corrodes the gaskets in the engine and the radiator. Also seems to sludge up the works on the rear heat. So flush regularly and fill with regular good antifreeze. Check the web for the class action suit on the antifreeze issues.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st March, 2008
6th Mar 2008, 19:45
Thanks for the tip on the R134A with the sealer!!! I am in the market for a later model Astro and will avoid using that.
I heard conventional antifreeze and DexCool are not compatible with each other though. I could be mistaken, but I thought mixing the two (e.g. changing from one to the other without COMPLETELY eliminating all traces of the previous one) could lead to corrosion and possibly sludge.
I prefer the DexCool (pink stuff) because it is FAR safer to have around my pets than conventional antifreeze. My only experience with it thus far has been in my '03 Cavalier with 70,000 that I have had since new and not had a problem with (the car or the DexCool).
Any insight on this from somebody who knows more about this topic than mr would be appreciated.
28th Sep 2008, 12:23
I am the person with the VAN THAT CAN review.
When I purchased the van it had some of the nastiest sludge orange coolant I've ever seen. When my dad and I finally got it to his garage we drained and flushed the entire cooling system. I never saw such filth. The orange fluid was full of grit and fungus like bits. It was obvious that my Astro hadn't had a proper flush EVER. We replaced the thermostat and water pump and refilled the entire cooling system with the good old green antifreeze/coolant. That was all done in December last year. It made it through the winter and the summer this year (2008) plus about 12,000 miles of driving in all conditions and speeds without a problem.
In short the old green stuff is still the best. The orange "long life" antifreeze/coolant is being used by more manufactures and does a good job, and is one less thing to worry about for 100,000 miles. I flush the cooling systems on all my cars every two years. I've had numerous cars, put lots of miles on them - all without overheating issues!
Antifreeze is cheap - head gaskets aren't!