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1985-2005 GMC Safari / Chevrolet Astro (M-body platform)

(Submitted by Car Lust reader and commenter Tigerstrypes)

 

1985ChevroletAstro_700

Car Lust has discussed a bit on the M-body twins, the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari (but mostly the Astro) on the Face-Off series as they battled it out with their cousins, the “Dustbuster” minivans. Judging by the results and by the comments, the Astro/Safari won, though it must be said that the “Dustbusters” gave them a ride for their money. In said article, we find this rather summarizing piece of information:

“The Astro and its Safari twin debuted in 1985 and represented GM's first response to the revolutionary and amazingly successful Chrysler minivans. The Astro was an odd fit in the segment--perhaps unsurprisingly, considering it was a 1980s GM product, the Astro represented an attempt to compete with the ground-breaking Chrysler minivans without really capturing what made them so special.

The defining characteristic of the Chrysler minivans was their remarkably efficient packaging. The combination of a compact four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and a modified small-car unibody chassis meant that the minivans had a low, flat floor and plenty of space despite their trim, Plymouth Reliant-sized footprint. The result was a vehicle that was as easy to drive and park as a compact car but that could also swallow a large family and their gear--revolutionary in a world dominated by large, lowstation wagons and hulking, full-size, truck-based vans.

The Astro, on the other hand, was a minivan in the sense that it was smaller than a full-size van, but that's all it really was. Like the full-size vans, the Astro had a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, a large pushrod V engine (a V-6 in the Astro's case), and truck-like body-on-frame construction. It was bulkier and heavier than the Chryslers, the passenger compartment was less spacious and efficient, and the driving experience was far more truck-ish. If the Chryslers were revolutionary; the Astro was decidedly evolutionary.

All of this set up a choice for the public between two fundamentally different types of minivans, and over the last 25 years the market has definitively chosen the Chrysler model of front-wheel-drive, car-like minivans. You would think this would have made the Astro an embarrassing failure, and really the story almost writes itself--GM tried to jump into a wildly popular new segment with a half-hearted effort, missed the market, and suffered a colossal sales failure. Interestingly, though, that didn't happen with the Astro. Despite its competitive disadvantages, the Astro successfully carved out its own niche and sold well enough to warrant a 20-year production run with only minor changes. It even outlasted and outsold the broadly similar Ford Aerostar.

Ultimately, the Astro established itself as a successful and enduring design precisely because it was different from the established minivan paradigm. The Astro wasn't as pleasant or car-like as the Chrysler minivans, but it was sturdier and stronger. Its primitive but powerful V-6, body-on-frame chassis, and optional AWD meant that the Astro could tow more, carry more, and could go more places than its competitors. As a smaller, trimmer, more efficient version of the traditional full-size vans, the Astro was also a legitimate competitor in the commercial and fleet market in a way that other minivans never truly were. Apparently there was a niche between minivans and maxivans, and the Astro filled that niche nicely.”

1987-GMC-Safari-Van 2

I have to admit that adding more to the above is going to be difficult, but I’ll start by saying this: Though it’s true that they are truck-like in nature, M-bodies were NOT body-on-frame, but of unitary construction with separate front subframe (think Chevrolet Nova and F-bodies).

20 years is quite a life-span to cover when talking about car models. As time passed, it got tweaked here and there; new technology, like ABS, was added, but nothing out of the ordinary. Notable mentions include the introduction of the popular extended body-option (with the same wheelbase, so I won’t be calling these puppies long-wheelbase, as it’s sort of a misnomer), “Dutch doors” 3-door system, the Iron Duke/Tech4 I-4 was dropped; AWD availability (a first for minivans) and new dashboard, the appearance of the 3 slots under the grille for 1990, the disappearance of manual transmission models, the redesign for ‘95 solely on the extended body (as in no more shorter versions), an interior redesign for ’96, 6-lug pattern conversion and suspension upgrades for ’03, and… that’s about it. If you wanna know about its hydroboost system, from which vehicles’ parts bin did some of the suspension parts came from, or the implementation of Scotchgard to the seats, go to Wikipedia, of all places.

Chevrolet-astro-1990 3 cut away

As mentioned, they’re GM’s contender to the revolutionary Chrysler minivans, but with a charm all their own. GM made a point that the M-bodies are not small, nor car-based, attributes that Chrysler even sneered at in one of their ads (which I tried but couldn’t find a bigger pic for this post), but whose purpose in life are broader than a Plymouth Voyager’s.

Chevy_astro7 4

An M-body can not only haul 7-8 (depending on seat configuration), it can also pull trailers and haul equipment around. Chevrolet drove the point home of the Astro’s utilitarian nature when the company sponsored Hometime, a DIY home improvement TV/VHS program. I have to admit that the Chevy-sponsorship is one of the reasons why I bought one of their VHS.

As much as people love these two, short-comings and all, there’s something that the Astro/Safari twins, particularly the post-1995 model years, will have to live with: their Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 1996 frontal offset crash test. Look at the video. It’s not pretty.

Chevy astro crash
This is by no means the un-safest vehicle of the ‘90s (there were many other candidates). The M-body failed on that test (one-star rating), but did well, and got better, on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests (three-star to five-star, depending on test). Still, the damage was done. The Astro/Safari twins were pulled out of market… 9 years later. Lol.

  Chevy Astro 5

Look at the above specimen. Now back to me. Now back to the specimen. Now back to me. With a little imagination, this could be a blank canvas to express the individual that you are, whether for personal or commercial use. Taxis, customs, rolling canvases, 4x4s, lowriders, hot-rods, etc., are some of the venues these two have been used for in the rich automotive landscape.

It goes without saying that these vans were primo candidates for conversions. These covered more than just recreational vehicles. You can find these third-party conversions from many companies whose products ranged from mild to wild. Some even went full-on RV-style called campervans. Needless to say these babies have a following. While many wheel designs look great on the M-bodies, for some reason many owners around these parts opted for the 3rd-gen Camaro Z28 or IROC-Z-style wheels (extra brownie points if they’re actual IROC-Z wheels, any of the designs) for their conversion vans (and, yes, standard versions too).

  Chevy Astro Ad 2

A college professor of mine was considering buying one of those conversion vans, used, until a good look revealed a bug infestation. So aside from the mechanical, inspect the interior with a fine-tooth comb to avoid an experience that rivals staying on a cheap motel room.

Anybody that has been around M-bodies long enough might have heard this interesting piece of information: Chevrolet Astros and GMC Safaris have a cult-following… in Japan. As weird as it sounds, it’s true (they have a pretty big van scene involving many makes, foreign and domestic, but let’s stick with these for now). There’s an aftermarket for them, so it’s not only the US that get to have fun with these body styles. Here are the crème de la crème:

Astro_m_03 Custom 1 or 2

  Chevy astro_m_02 custom 1

I had a notion of this from one of the most unlikely sources: anime. While I was a burgeoning anime enthusiast in 2000, I was watching one of my first shows of the genre that I actually saw contemporary life in Japan at the time (to an extent, the show was about digital monsters).

  Chevy Astro amine

One of the scenes that I more fondly remember was during one of the climactic battles in which monsters was destroying the city block (Destruction? By monsters? In Japan? Nah!), and out of nowhere comes this familiar-looking box on wheels driving dangerously close to the action, driven by one of the main characters’ father (admittedly, the scene was so much cooler back in the eyes of the me of 2000)!! Sure, a blast wave caused the van to lose control and end up on its roof, but still..! Looking it up turned out that there was another one driven by a minor character (a jerk), which I was surprised that I didn’t pick it out back then. All I know is that I liked its boxy shape. Yet, the level of detail in that show is one of its highlights for sure!

Unless you’re a child of the 90s, I don’t recommend watching the show. By the way, this isn’t the only anime that hosts the M-body. They have a nice repertoire in film and TV. Even graphic novels!

Speaking of foreign-market M-bodies, check out the rear Euro-treatment on this ’95 model:

Chevrolet Astro 1995 0607 German
Cool, huh? It came from a German brochure. I cannot confirm whether or not German (or any other EDM) models actually had this tail-end treatment and isn’t brochure only, as pics of those foreign market M-bodies are very few and not from the rear. But I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to share this interesting international spin on an American vehicle.

While my family never owned one, I knew people close to me who did.

Chevy astro conversion

I recall a family at church who had (and as far as I know still have) one, an early Astro conversion van, very similar to the one in the pic above, colors and all, but the graphic pattern was different. It was fully loaded. It had TV, an RV-style ladder, that sweet boomerang TV antenna (that as a kid I thought one could watch all the channels on regular TV) and VHS!! Foam-at-the-mouth stuff for a child of the 1990’s.

  Chevy Astro GREEN

Another church family also had a second-gen M-body, a GMC Safari, which I went with them in it to one of the biggest antique car shows on the island. But there was something wrong with the paint, it was eaten away! It had more surface rust and exposed metal than paint. And it wasn’t the only Safari (and Astro) that I’ve seen that suffered from this. What’s up with that? Seriously, I couldn’t find any info on that. It looked like the one above, with the lower portion and wheel accents painted gold and, of course, the body was missing a lot of what I believe is called “Dark Forest Green Metallic” paint. I would comment on the interior, but it was a mess. It was their do-it-all vehicle after all.

  Chevy astro wide GREEN

My uncle (yes, ZZW30 MR2 uncle) also had an Astro conversion van, called a Mark III, for a while, but a 2000-ish model year, for his wife to use to replace her high-mileage first-gen Ford Expedition. It even appeared in the news on a bit about Christmas tree sales when it was pulling away from the lot! After my cousin hit a metal-bar fence with it (real smooth, cuz), the green/gold accents Mark III got fixed (and the fence) and sold for another Expedition, a second-gen. Uncle likes Expeditions.

The most time spent with an M-body came with the surprising purchase from my aunt (MR2 uncle’s older sister), a well-optioned, champagne-like or sand-esque-colored 2002 Chevrolet Astro, eerily similar to the pic below, running boards an all, minus vent visors. It was quite a leap in size when compared to her trusty but aging Jeep Cherokee. Like all their cars, her husband took real good care of it and detailed it, adding tape stripes and reflectors. Minus the reflectors, it looked sharp. Despite the fact that there were a number of times the A/C had to be fixed, the e-brake cable and alternator needed to be replaced, the neutral switch acting up, which got bypassed and still continued to act up; she liked that beast. She sold it to a dealer this year, who quickly found a buyer for it, and got a new-ish 2011 Toyota Sienna LE that took more space lengthwise and made the Astro look like an easier van to park!

  Chevrolet_Astro_Cargo-3

I was already of driving age by this time. My impressions on how the thing handled aren’t that accurate because the few times I drove my aunt’s Astro, it wasn’t exactly in its best shape. The first time I drove it, the brakes were hyper-sensitive, so a small tap stopped the box violently. I was very disappointed of the thing. The time I drove it back home after getting that neutral switch bypass thing done (something of a weak point I’m told), I was more focused on trying to see through the extremely dirty windshield and avoiding any surprises the road might throw at me as people were getting ready for the weekend (it was a Friday). It was an interesting sensation driving a vehicle whose wheels were fairly tucked into the cab and with such a short snout, making parking a different experience to what I’m used to. As a middle-row passenger, it seems that it was missing a plug in the undercarriage or something, because since it was raining, water came in and on me when the box passed over a puddle at speed.

It was the first GM vehicle of that era that I’ve driven that dated back to the mid-90s. The switchgear looked toy-like, but felt durable. The passenger grab-bar looked up for the job, but it broke and was glued back. Those wheel-wells tucked into the cab, my left foot rested on the wheel well intrusion when I drove, and felt awkward. Heck, it felt cramped! For a vehicle that was designed for Americans, I was disappointed to find that the seat didn’t go that far back. The sliding door (with an interesting door-handle) was heavy compared to a 3rd-gen Dodge Caravan, and I never got used to the “Dutch doors,” whose electric lock on the liftgate needed attending to. Speaking of doors, my aunt’s husband did quip about how the front doors could have used a couple more degrees when opening to ease entry.

But my relationship with the M-bodies stem from way back, when I was 3½ years old. On one of the first trips to Disneyworld, my uncle (MR2 uncle’s older brother) rented a Chevrolet Astro (all these years I thought it was a GMC Safari. Oh, well. Further inspection will reveal it was the extended body with “Dutch doors” and ABS). It’d be safe to say it was probably the first M-body I’ve ever seen!

Chevy Astro w Tiger

There it was, gun-smoke gray and shiny, pulling onto the sidewalk before heading out into the night. It was new, as its red interior had that new-car smell, so I believe it was a ’93 model-year. But being that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, every time I smell that new-car smell I briefly get sent back to that happy time… The Astro was our trusty steed throughout that magical, unforgettable time. You could also say that I was taught about rentals thanks to this box.

I still like the Astro/Safaris. I gotta admit that after doing research for this post, I wouldn’t mind a Safari GT (here’s its Astro twin, the RS) with enough windows for everyone to see, but not so much that I need to double up on my Windex budget. It just looks different. It would be cool if it was a 5-speed manual model, but I gotta get in one and see how comfortable it’ll be in that seating position while rowing gears. But this isn’t my first time that I’d dream of owning a Safari.

Back in the early-mid ‘00s, when the whole “urban lifestyle/Baller” scene was in full swing, I lusted after the Jada Toys model. But I knew how I wanted my GMC Safari. Using a panel van as a starting point (read: no “Dutch doors” and windows), my Safari was heavily inspired by a vintage van in yet another childhood cartoon. It was gonna be retro, with a yellow graphics to complement the purple paint.

Having very recently learned that cargo vans had their own headlight buckets, regardless of year (so did basic-trim passenger models, but up until 1997 from what I’ve observed), those would’ve given way to the passenger van units. Inside, there was going to be wall-to-wall shag carpeting, a full-blown stereo and a waterbed. And it was going to be slammed with huge 5-spoke rims (What? It was the ‘00s). If I was gonna have at it today, I’d add murals, portholes, perhaps a roof scoop, extra lights, and deep chin spoiler and a wing in the back, inspired by B.A. Baracus’ A-Team GMC van. Or go all Japanese-inspired. What can I say? I got a bit of a vanner in me.

Hotmail - Mozilla Firefox 10242012 104420 PM.bmp

Time has passed since the night I drew my then-ideal Safari while listening to Christian music. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever own a Safari, or any van for that matter, but you know what, I’d be OK if these remain a part of my childhood. Like a huge box that one used to play pretend in.

If I do get one of these, it won’t take a stretch of the imagination to send me back to all of those good times that I recall.

Especially if I succeed in getting that new car smell right.

The following are the 1985 Chevy Astro commercials. Vintage CGI at its finest:

 

 


 

 

I must say that those that made these commercial really went all out, as the CGI for the Astro is -as far as I can tell given the quality (a shame)- one of the best that I’ve seen. The second one evokes scenes from that highly-influential CGI animation film series, The Mind’s Eye. But it’s that jingle that really sticks to ya!

 ♪ Chevy, Chevy, Astro, Astro… ♪

--Tigerstrypes

Image credits:

Photoshop’d (by me and friends) M-body’s original pic:

http://images.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2010/12/1985ChevroletAstro_700.jpg

Early 2-tone, clear glass GMC Safari with hubcaps pic link:

http://images.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2012/02/1987-GMC-Safari-Van.jpg

Chevy Astro measurements pic link (converted to jpg by moi) originally from here:

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m240/chevy57bert/astro%20spec/chevrolet-astro-1990.gif

Chevy Astro frolicking in the mud original pic:

http://www.minivansearch.com/photos/chevy_astro7.gif

Astro crash test pics:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/8kuSghb7P7U/0.jpg

White canvas, err, GMC Safari cargo van pic link:

http://imageonthefly.autodatadirect.com/images/?IMG=U5GTGEF2.JPG&WIDTH=400&AUTOTRIM=2

Chevrolet Astro conversion van ad is from that good Curbside Classic post:

http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/1985-ChevroletAstroAd2.jpg

WALD body-kit-equipped Astros pic links:

http://www.wald.co.jp/parts_acce/carrange/chevrolet/astro/astro/img/astro_m_03.jpg

http://www.wald.co.jp/parts_acce/carrange/chevrolet/astro/astro/img/astro_m_02.jpg

Anime Astro hero van is from here:

http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_412189-Chevrolet-Astro-1998.html

Cropped (by me) German-spec 1995 Chevy Astro brochure pic:

http://storm.oldcarmanualproject.com/chevrolet/Chevrolet%20Astro%201995%200607.jpg

Gold/brown/black Chevrolet Astro conversion van pic link:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DJNKFYWKvfA/TEN3y0Z_eeI/AAAAAAAAAO0/SdZt62k2EiM/s1600/van+scan.jpg

Edited (because similar pics sucked) 2000 GMC Safari pic originally from here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifhp97/6233548274/

Green Chevy Astro Mark III conversion van pic link:

http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/59732546.jpg

Champagne-like/sand-esque-colored 2002 Chevy Astro pic link:

http://trialx.com/curetalk/wp-content/blogs.dir/7/files/2011/06/cars/2002_Chevrolet_Astro_Cargo-3.jpg

The GMC Safari drawing pic and the Chevy Astro vacation pic are mine.

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Gotta say that's probably the most information ever written at one time about one of these... who honestly knew there was so much to be known about a mere Astro/Safari van?

I think GM should have redesigned these and kept them around, there was obviously a market for them and I know many small business owners loved them. Never owned one myself but if I was in the market for a small van I certainly would have chosen one of those over a typical car-based minivan.

BTW a bit of trivia: from 1987-90, GM actually had 2 vehicles simultaneously named "Safari" - one obviously the Astro twin, but the other was the full-size Pontiac B-body wagon (formerly Parisienne, which was formerly Bonneville/Catalina) that was named simply "Safari" after the full-size Parisienne sedan was dumped after 1986.

I have fond memories of my only time driving one.
When I was in the service, during a relocation I shipped a dog by airline from Baltimore to Texas.
Trouble is, my wife was still in Maryland supervising the move and my only car was a sedan...far too small to hold his shipping crate. So I rented a new Astro Van.
It was Halloween night when I picked up Wilbur at DFW airport. Wilbur, a rather large middle-aged basset hound was thrilled to see me and promptly fell asleep in the back of the van for our three hour drive to our new home.
Since dogs weren't allowed in the place I was staying, he spent the night in the van until I could get him into a boarding kennel.
Wilbur wasn't too picky about his cars, he slept soundly, very soundly, whenever he got in a car.
I found the Astro to be a nice enough vehicle not much different from various minivans I always got stuck with at rental counters.

I've never given much thought to these vans. Good article though. They really were a whole different beast when compared to the Mopar vans. By the way, Mark III was a conversion van outfitter, a coachbuilder, if you will.

These were made in a plant in Baltimore. GM tried to kill of the Safari/Astro twins for years, but small business owners loved them and the demand was strong enough for GM to continue for years after. Compared to modern minivans, these were archaic, body on frame, RWD,pushrod 4.3L V6. However, this is exactly why small businesses loved them. The vans were durable, received decent fuel economy and power, and easy to fix (and find parts).

I've always been fascinated by these.

I like the original dash design and seats. The revised dash I find bulbous and strange.

The extended body looks fine because the original body had very short rear overhang. So tacking on an extra 10" of overhang is an easy way to get some more space on the platform. The extended body doesn't even look "extended" unless you are familiar with these vans.

The nose job is another story. They went from a slanted back grill to a slanted forward one in 1995, stretching out the hood in the process. The redesigned nose gives the illusion of greater length. The non-dressy base and work van versions of the revised front have the sealed beam headlamp design (same lamps used on the original), where as the dressed up, chromed up versions have the wide narrow headlamps.

The 3-piece "dutch" tailgate has better rearward visibility than the standard double doors because there are no door posts or frames in the view path. Though they may be less convenient to open up when you need the entire rear of the van open.

I also have fond memories of the Astro. We had a pair of them at work for several years as our primary delivery trucks (we upgraded to full size vans, and now Sprinters, as the business grew) and they did quite well. At the time we needed something with about a 1/2 to 3/4 ton capacity, but smaller and less expensive than a full size van or truck. When comparing the Astro, Aerostar, and Caravan, we discovered that the Astro had the biggest width between the wheel wells, meaning it would hold wider pallets. And in the end, it's truck-like construction was exactly what we needed; both vans logged somewhere around 200,000 miles in the six years that we operated them. They were fairly reliable and I only recall one breakdown. Yes, the interior was just as clunky and bad plastic as anything GM made in the 80's and 90's, and the footwells were awkward and the engine cover took up all the space between the seats. So what? You could say the same thing about GM's full size vans - and those sold quite well for decades. But it would go anywhere and haul anything you could cram in there, and in my opinion, it was a better driver than the Caravan or the Aerostar.

I do confess, I always liked the 'sporty" RS version with its half-louvered quarter windows, alloy wheels, and subtle body kit. If I had the cash and room in the garage...

Midivan.

Vanagons handled better and had better space. But no power and reliability issues.

Aerostars had nicer interiors. But weaker drivetrain.

Toyota had better MPGs, more reliable, better fit and finish. But could not tow a trailer.

It served a niche. But I do not see the point entirely choosing one of these over a normal full size V6 GMC or Chevy van of the same era. They were not that much thirstier, still had the inconvenient hump and less than awesome fit and finish.... but were bigger inside.

My Mom has a GMA Safari AWD passenger van with the seats taken out in Baja. She likes it. Goes camping often. I think the 4WD is pretty cool and quite rare. I am pretty sure it is Canadian.

MattC, my research indicated, and I stated this in the post, that the M-bodies were NOT body-on-frame, but of unitary construction with separate front subframe.


kenny, you mentioned it yourself: size. While the extended bodies were longer than standard-size Chevy/GMC Vans, first-gen M-bodies were not as tall, 76.0in being the tallest vs a G-series of the same vintage, 79.4in. for its lowest. Trust me, ease of entry can be a deciding factor in an automobile purchase.
Maybe people just looked at the G-series size-wise and thought of overkill for their (niche) lifestyles.

Another thing: when the M-bodies were launched for 1985, the G-series vans have been around for awhile, with their last major revision in 1971. That generation of G-Series van, the third, lasted from '71-'96. The Astro/Safaris were brand-new and modern-looking, and that alone has its appeal.

One last thing: that AWD system is not that rare. I still see M-bodies around of varying vintages, and many have them.
If you want rare, try finding a second or third-gen Dodge Caravan with AWD. I've only seen one, a third-gen, in person.

My wife bought a three-year-old '98 when she and her partner were starting up their senior relocation business here in the Chicago area.
It had been a trailer-towing traveler belonging to a retired couple and had 60K on it a the time.
Ten years later, her partner still owns and drives it, even though the business no longer requires a van. It's had a lot of repairs, although I ascribe a lot of that to her trust in a not-good shop (they messed up my Grand Cherokee's limited-slip rear end).
It has something like 200K on it, now, I hear. When the weather is bad, the Astro gets the call. When there's more than three people involved, the Astro rolls.
I have made a few attempts to get it back, but no dice.
Now, let me add that the coachwork is nothing short of pitiful. This one is the most deluxe version, and it sometimes seems every single piece of interior behind the steering wheel has fallen off or disintegrated at least once. Rear door handles are bought by the case. It's comical.
But what I haven't seen mentioned here so far is that the Astro is the biggest thing, van or otherwise, that fits in almost any garage.
Where the Econolines and 10s can't go, the Astro does. That, combined with the ability to handle the proverbial 4x8 sheet of plywood, made them a really good compromise.
I found ours to be pretty uncomfortable to drive due to the footwell issue. Until it snowed.
I've been a tradesman for 40 years and have driven a lot of light trucks. When it snows, the Astro was the most surefooted thing I ever drove that had any working worth at all.
Imagine a new one with a modern power plant... and, of course, door handles that six-year-olds can't break... and it would still be a winner.

Its articles like this that make me love Carlust. You always seem to lust after the same cars I have. Down here in New Orleans many cab companies still use these vans, they seem super durable and get respectable MPG. I still consider buying one.

I have a strange affection for my Astro. The more I ask it to do the more respect I have for it. My Astro’s got all wheel drive so it goes anywhere, it can haul 5000 pounds and you can fix it with duct tape and a hammer. I even blogged about it at automissive.blogspot.com, sort of a shameless open love letter from a sports car guy to his pig of a van.

I am late to the show here. But as I am on my second m body I feel compelled to comment. The m body caught my attention in the late 90's but m6 lifestyle at the time didnt warrant it or so I thought. My wallet certainly didnt. Lol living in NYC single with a dog I just didnt need anything this big, but I wanted one. Instead I otped for a 4x4 blazer nice vehicle but it lacked the capacity that I need beingba DIYer and adventurous type. At this time I had started serioulsy building my own furniture and oft3n would take my mountain bike out to the trails. Fast forward a few years my wife and I met nkw with her, her son, and a dog, it was time. We had a 2 door civic, fun car but no where near the perfect fit for us. Thats when I jumped in and got my first M body. A 98 Safari white with blue interior. AWD OF COURSE. I loved that thing. It was a canadian vehicle and had 200, 000 on it. It was used to tow boats. It was a dog it really was but Ipicked it up cheap so it was worth it. It lasted 3 years with one motor replacement and saw us through many a roadtrip with extended family members and even for the most part moved us into our house in NJ wh3n the time came. When it died on me there was no doubt in my mind that I would be looking for another. Now with my own house the carpentry was in full bloom and I now needed ssomething with the Mboy versatility. So I got my second and current m body.ba 2000 Astro with the fake captain chairs all around that recline. Not as use as my first one with the solid fold down benches but the kids like them so......... in the winter time the AWD is the best I have driven sure footed and reliable better than th3 blazer and the durango I had. It is even better than the suburbans and tahoes I hav3 driven. This is the most versatile vehicle to have. 8deally I would have a different vehicle for each of my needs but since my wallet disagrees with that this is my vehicle of choice. Next up will be a 2 inch lift kit with a skid plate for mine. Maybe a safari roof with a winch in the front

I have a 2000 Chevy Astro cargo van with automatic transmission that I had rebuild at 160,000 kilometers (or 100,000 miles), now at 200,000 kilometers (or 125,000 miles) the transmission has failed again. It will not reverse and while driving it does not shift from 1st to 2nd gear.
What is the life expectancy of a Chevy Astro automatic transmission? And is 25,000 miles on a rebuild transmission common or normal?

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October 2014

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