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Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by JamesRL, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    New to me, but not brand new.

    Wife came into a small inheritence, paying off all the bills. A little left over.

    Coworker has a 1995 Chevy Astro. Don't know the milegae yet. Its AWD. I trust this guy to take care of his cars. He bought a new Chevy Uplander in the summer, has had some trouble selling his Astro.

    He wants $1000.

    It appeals because:
    a) It can tow 5,000 lbs, so towing my little pup would be no strain.
    b) It has much more interior room than the MPV.

    I've got three kids. When we have gone camping for a week, every space is occupied, and the PUP is also packed full. Not over its weight limit, but can't cram anything more. We don't have any problems towing my little PUP at about 1400 lbs loaded, but we have no more space.

    The downsides would be:
    a) extra insurance, maintenance
    b) gas guzzler

    I don't have to make this purchase, but I have a 15 year old who is pretty close to adult size, a thirteen year old and an 11 year old, who will do the same in the next few years. We can pack light enough for a weekend, but a week when they are bigger might be tough.

    I could I suppose buy a roof top carrier.

    While my wife is pretty happy with our little camper, I might prefer something with a 10 foot box and a queen bed instead of a double. My choices would be limited with the MPV tow vehicle, pretty much figure 1600lbs dry, 2100 loaded would be about the max I would want with a van full of kids cooler and gear. I know its possible but would have to shop harder.

    My MPV is still going strong, and I would use it for commuting to work.

    Thoughts anyone? Especially if you own an Astro/Safari.

    James

    1976 Lionel LPL 80
    2002 Mazda MPV, 16' Canoe
    Wife/3 Kids/Black Lab
     
  2. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    I used astros for delivery trucks for years. Great workhorses. Lasted longer than mini vans. For only $1000 you can't go wrong.

    83 JaycoJay 806
    04 Grand Cherokee
     
  3. achurch2k

    achurch2k New Member

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    My Dad owned a 2wd Astro van 96 or 97 vintage. He never had any problems with it. He sold it to get a truck to pull a TT. I know of a coworker that had a 4wd Safari he killed the awd because he had a flat and put a wrong sized spare on it, I guess it chewed up the differential after a couple hundred miles.

    I really like vans (not mini vans) for their utility purposes. I have a 99 Eurovan and it is shorter and narrower than a Town and Country minivan, but I can stuff a lot more things in it.

    Alan

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu_closed.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp Closed"> 96 Coleman Cheyenne & <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 99 VW Eurovan
    Alan + Janay + Hannah + Aidan + D-Dog (Dempsey)
     
  4. mercman

    mercman Go Ahead, Be That Happy Camper!

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    There one of the few, if any, of the smaller vans to have a full frame. Thats why they have such a high tow rating. Depending on the odometer mileage, I would have some concerns about the AWD system. You are correct that it will suck down gas, those 4.3's are like a little v8 when it comes to MPG.

    Chris

    01 f-150 <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 07 Rockwood 1980, <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
    Camping Days for '08 ~ 23 <i> and now planning for '09</i>
     
  5. daddyzgrl1

    daddyzgrl1 I'd rather be camping!!!

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    I don't know about every where else, but in TN a teen can get their permit at 15 I think, your oldest will be asking for car keys before long, may as well get something else to drive. that was my dads excuse for a new used car one time.
     
  6. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    I owned a 92 Safari, 2wd. It was ok, great for camping (at the time we were in tents). Yes they can tow 500lbs which is a plus. Is this the ext. model or short box (regular cab)?

    They do suck gas and with awd it will suck a bit more.

    Craig...

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2004 Palomino Mustang
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 1992 GMC Ext. Cab
     
  7. 96Rockwood

    96Rockwood Member

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    They are a great vehicle. For $1000 you can't go wrong. You will never look back after towing with it. They don' suck gas as bad as you would think. I remember my dad having two different ones, that were conversion van astros. I believe he got somewhere around 20 or better with ours. I could be wrong. I do know that are not that bad on gas though.

    Go ahead and get it you won't be sorry.

    1978 Class C. The pup was less work.
    When it comes to tow vehicles you are either for the US or against it. Buy American.
     
  8. grcooperjr

    grcooperjr Lunatic

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    The Price ain't bad...

    The "M" version 2wd did really well out here and avg 18 to 21 mpg. Very little issues.

    The "L" version 4wd/awd had a few issues in the drivetrain. The biggest was actually created indirectly by creative tire swapping. so be aware, heres the scoop:

    Being you drive all wheels thru a Borg Warner T/case with a viscious coupling to join the Frt and rear diffs, it is imperative that all tires have the same rolling radius, this includes air press related concerns. If someone changes a pair of tires, say snow tires on one end. you will more than likely have issues. Most of the Dealers and tire stores here now will only replace tires on the "L" versions in sets of 4 now because of the related failures that can happen.

    Anyway common failures related to creative tire changing are:

    Frt prop shaft
    T/case
    Frt diff
    Rear diff

    I listed them in frequency of failure rate with the repair data that I have access to. The Frt prop shaft as the most common.

    Other things to note:

    Gas mileage here on the "L" version in the Mountain west is 15 of a high normally closer to 13. If you can get it to the flat land on the freeway you can get it a bit closer to 18...

    Now with all that, would I get it, SURE. If it is sound, it is a GREAT mid size van platform. I use to drive em all the time as a Company car travilling Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montanna, & Utah. They are extremely sure footed in the ice and snow with the right tires.

    Ray Cooper - Tigard OR
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 2007 Hummer H3 - <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2007 Fleetwood Evolution E3
    The boys & one Girl... Katie, Buddy, Toby, Ralphie, Sammy, & D.B."Cooper"

    Edited by - grcooperjr on February 13 2009 12:29:05
     
  9. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    Thanks Ray,

    Thats good advice on the tires. I've made some big mistakes in the past on tires, like putting the worst tires on the back of a front drive Intrepid and driving in snow.

    I now only replace tires in sets of 4.

    I'm generally in flat land, and have snows on the MPV - makes a huge difference. I would have to see about snows for the astro.

    James

    1976 Lionel LPL 80
    2002 Mazda MPV, 16' Canoe
    Wife/3 Kids/Black Lab
     
  10. grcooperjr

    grcooperjr Lunatic

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    Not a problem James....

    I got tons of repair data on the "M" "L" & "U" van series that I used at the GM Training Center here before they closed it. These where some of my most favorite platforms to train on...

    Need any inf, let me know I'll go a digging. I might just have it in my left over training files.

    Ray Cooper - Tigard OR
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 2007 Hummer H3 - <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2007 Fleetwood Evolution E3
    The boys & one Girl... Katie, Buddy, Toby, Ralphie, Sammy, & D.B."Cooper"
     
  11. ColemanBayviewMoneypit

    ColemanBayviewMoneypit New Member

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    I had a few of those Astro in the past as company vehicule (myself and 75 others sales rep..) and we had both awd and 2wd models and we had no major issues with them. MPG isn't the best but if you are gentle with the right pedal you should do OK. My only complaint about those vehicule is the (i'am 6'01 ) driver's side wheel well that is pretty invasive. I could not use it as a foot rest, so i had to tuck my left foot on the right side. On long haul, it can get old very fast. Besides that, all good!

    '98 Colemn Grandview '08 Cherokee 3.0CRD
    '67 Patrick '68 France
    '98 Marie-Pier
    '01 Ariane '01 Daphné
    Montréal,Québec
     

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