12th May 2003, 19:33

I also had a problem with my 2000 Astro AWD bucking and they changed the transfer case oil, seems to have cleared up. There was a service bulletin that say change the oil and blame the owner. I have it. Now my power locks are broken. Anyone had that problem?

1st Aug 2003, 14:54

I have had similar problems with two Chevy Astro Vans (1997 and 1999)... i.e. a grumbling noise in the front-end when making slow, tight turns and a few rapid clunks in the rear when accelerating from a stop especially when going up hills. The problem was more pronounced when the car was hot since I think the transfer case fluid tends to lose it's viscosity at higher temperatures. The dealer's remedy which worked for my 1999 van at 6,000 miles and, hopefully, again at 43,000 (we'll see for how long) was to replace the transfer case fluid with 3 quarts of a blue synthetic lubricant made by GM called, Auto-Trak II Transfer Case Fluid. The dealer's price for this fluid after the warranty expired was about $33 per quart plus labor or about $170 in total. They did the replacement for free at 6,000 miles. I would recommend you flush and replace the transfer case fluid as soon as you suspect this problem rather then waiting for a bigger repair bill.

21st Aug 2003, 06:42

I have a 99 Safari. Soon after purchasing it new the "binding" while turning at slow speeds problem appeared. I took it in for service and the dealer just happened to mention to me that there had been a service recall on that. I don't think GM had ever notified me of any such recall. Of course the "fix" was simply to change the transfer case fluid. A band-aid fix at best. I have had this service repeated (at my cost) every 50,000 or so.

I just took it in yesterday for another flushing and the dealer said that they noticed another problem. This always scares me... is it really a prob or are they just trying to jack the bill? Anyway, he said they noticed that the front axle is "always engaged". I guess its only supposed to engage fully when power is needed. This doesn't pose any noticeable problem when driving the van, but I guess I'll tell them to fix it anyway. I can only imagine what this is going to cost me.

1st Sep 2003, 05:45

I have a 2000 safari. Experienced transfer case problems with rear wheels chirping when turning corners at slow speeds. Tried fluid change, no luck. Dealer changed encoder motor on transfer case at 600 dollars. Problem went away.

24th Sep 2003, 19:29

23rd Sept 2003

I have a 2000 Astro AWD van the van has always had a little stutter at low speed on full lock (parking)

It finally got so bad I took it to the dealer who said it is a common problem with both the diff and the transfer case clutches. So $650.00 later after a flush and new oil the problem is gone, but reading the comments of other owners I have serious doubts about this van, and will have to think twice before buying another GM product.

So far from new we have had new struts on the back door. New power door actuators. (2).

It seems that this transmission problem is widespread and not what buyers expect from a "heavy duty" truck. GM needs to step up to the plate and do what is necessary to live up to their ads before they involved in lawsuits to force them.

I have contacted GM and will update this site when I get an answer from them on what they are prepared to do.

5th Oct 2003, 22:25

I just bought a used 1998 GMC Safari AWD. I wish I had to see this post before I bought it. I only had it for a week so far... I guess I'm going to be sorry for this buy. So far after 1 week... I am experiencing grinding noises when turning in reverse as well as the delayed engagement or bucking when accelerating from a stop.

Is there anywhere to get a list of recalls?


7th Oct 2003, 20:43

I have a 2000 GMC Jimmy 4x4, which ironically, I have the same exact problems as you folks. Whenever I turn corners, it binds real bad, even in 2 HI. Now I know that you cannot take your vans out of AWD, my transfer case is supposedly "Automatic". Well let me just say this, I am going to the dealership Friday for the binding in 2HI, which feels like its in 4HI or 4LO, and if they pull that changing fluid junk on me theres gonna be some ugliness going on!! My truck only has 48,000 miles on it and THANK GOD I purchased the 6 year 100,000 miles warranty with $0 deductible. GM is going to regret that because the warranty cost me about $2300 when I bought the truck and I've already used about $5000 in warranty repairs already as of now. My radio went out, my power window motor was bad the day I picked it up from the dealer. I smell some litigation here...

22nd Jun 2004, 17:12

I would like to add to this interesting thread, I have a 1998 GMC Safari Van 2 wheel drive, it was a Rental vehicle. We purchased the vehicle with 38,000 miles on it, at 51,000 we had a hard shift from 1st to 2nd. we had the Transmission serviced in Idaho, We live in VA BTW. we returned and took it in under warranty, they rebuilt or replaced the transmission, said 2 or 3 bands broken and Valve I believe. Next Problem was Electric Motor in Driver side window, sounds familiar, then the Passenger window motor went out, Fuel Pump went out prior to the windows. I now have a Whining (Very Loud) at 91,000 miles. Front end not too many problems. Now what to do... I think if the transmission gets replaced it will be time to Sell it, too bad because the body is in great shape, but I am not going through the transmission a 3rd time. If I fix it and keep it I think a Transmission cooler may be a wise decision, we pull a Coleman Pop Up camper with it for Vacations. Next Time we will purchase a suburban or something with a truck chassis, I still prefer GM over Ford due to body styles. Just my 2 cents. Geklr@yahoo.com.

6th Oct 2004, 07:11

I have all of the same problems when is gm going to finally admit to and correct this problem.

19th May 2008, 12:31

I have a GMC Safari SLE. After a 30 minutes of driving, my transmission starts to shift hard, and gets worst on hot days. Someone recommended an oil change. I don't believe in changing the transmission oil. Has anyone had this problem? What do you recommend?

4th Sep 2008, 22:21

I have a 2000 Safari 2 wheel drive and I notice this hum at the rear end. I don't know if it could be a bearing. How can I tell without taking the rear end apart?


29th Dec 2008, 04:35

I bought my wife a 1999 all wheel drive Astro in 2002.

The rear heater motor quit shortly thereafter (in the middle of a 640 mile trip in the winter). Techs argued that it was the same motor as the rear A/C - wrong. Have had to put 3 sets of idler arms, and front brakes on every year to year and a half. (2003-2005 have upgraded brakes).

The Passenger window regulator was replaced.

The vehicle is regularly maintained, yet the engine and trans. have both been replaced - fortunately under warranty, but with used equipment.

Had to repair a refrigerant line leak to the rear evaporator due to shoddy brackets.

Intake gasket was leaking and had to be replaced.

Vehicle shudders when turning or starting out - was told this was normal.

Wonderful Delco radio lights don't work, so one must turn on dome or map lights to adjust the radio.

Just replaced passenger side front bearing/hub assy. -- they are sure proud of that -- Chev. dealer wants over $800 just for the part. Fixed it with aftermarket for $268.

Hope I can make it to the Ford dealer to unload -- I mean trade it in.

Sign me - My last G.M.