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Old 03-03-2005, 08:13 PM
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Astro Van Front End

I saw a Chevy Astro van sitting in a guys yard with the front end jacked way up and the front suspension sitting as a unit in front of it. Told a friend about it and he said yeah, that's how you change the engine. So, i'm wondering if that could be used as a swap into a '52 Chev PU? Anyone heard anything about that?

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Old 03-04-2005, 01:36 AM
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Astro Vans are not a subframe vehicle. If you seen the front clip sitting in the yard it is because somebody cut the frame rails on it. You change the engine from the inside. Believe it or not, it is easier to change by pulling the seats and engine covers and going through the side sliding door with an engine hoist.
There are several V8 Astro conversions out there. They share the same components as alot of the other RWD GM cars/trucks. You must always look at the odd parts if you want something to stay under budget. IE: Most people would go after a Camaro subframe...why not go for a S10,Monte Carlo,Cutlass,etc front clip for 1/3 of the price? They share the same components and setup but one might be slightly wider than the other. I say take some measurements...head to the wrecking yard and start looking for what will fit.
Later,
WEIMER
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Old 03-04-2005, 03:53 AM
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Actually...

Astro Vans ARE subframed vehicles... The whole front sub unbolts with six bolts and CAN be dropped out as described.
I have never done this to change an engine though. It is much easier to just pull them out the front. You won't get it out through the side door. The motor is to far forward in the van.
As far as using an Astro as a donor suspension? The hub to hub width on these dudes is 62.5 inches. Usually much to wide for even a truck.
The V8 conversion is pretty easy. It can be done with stock parts and makes for a real sleeper if you keep the exhaust quiet
Mark

Last edited by astroracer; 03-04-2005 at 03:59 AM.
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Old 03-05-2005, 10:53 AM
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Wow...I guess you learn something everyday. I always thought that they were fullframed. I was also always told by the guys that have done the V8 Conversions that it was easy to get the motor out of the side. Never worked on one, other than changing alternator,batteries, and front brakes.
Later,
WEIMER
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Old 03-05-2005, 12:51 PM
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I'm pretty sure that till '88-'89-'90 the safari/astro vans had a full frame under them, they were based on the s10 chassis. And i've seen the engines taken right out the front, although I have heard of dropping the subframe before to do it.
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:47 AM
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I've owned Astro's since '86... I actually designed the instrument cluster/gauge package for them. I have also parted out a "couple" of them...
They have always been a sub-framed vehicle. Nothing has changed in the chassis dept since their introduction in '85 other then a switch from graphite to steel rear leaf springs in '93 or '94. They used "B" body (Caprice, Parsienne, big Cadillac, etc.) front spindles, bearings, brakes and suspension bushings up until '97 or '98 when the switch was made to later model components. There is no similarity to an S10 chassis other then the AWD Astro's do use a few S10 parts in their torsion bar suspension.
The motors come out through the front by using a lift plate bolted to the intake and a cherry picker bolted direct to the plate (no chain) to keep the lift height low. This is easiest on pre '95 vans where the radiator bulkhead unbolts. After '95 the bulkhead is all one piece and needs to be cut to get it out of the way. Small blocks bolt right in on stock mounts and Big Blocks also fit with a little clearancing on the doghouse for rocker cover clearance.
This is all the stuff I have learned by doing and while researching my "BADAST" Astro Van build-up. If you have any questions just holler.
Mark

Last edited by astroracer; 03-06-2005 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 12:40 AM
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Astro Subframes

Howdy, I just stumbled across this site and saw this thread so thought I would introduce myself here.
I have a 90 Astro converted conversion van, meaning, I have an Astro coversion van, (by Gladiator), that was coverted to a 350 V8. You can read all about how I did it, here:

http://www.cardomain.com/id/astro350ss


In answer to some of your statements and or questions: The Astro has always been a subframe vehicle. Just think of a 1st or 2nd gen Camaro that turned into a refridgerator. Same basic setup.

You cannot use the factory engine mounts, as the sbc is 3 inches longer than the 4.3 v6. You can use the factory frame mounts, and the transmission stays in its original location. The only cutting you have to do is to the fan shroud to clear the accessories.

You cannot pull then engine out from inside the van. It has to go out the front or drop the subframe. For the 96 and newer models, they don't recomend cutting the radiator support and bringing it out the front. They say it is easier to drop the subframe. There are still alot of debates about which way is easier.

The AWD astros have torsion bars suspensions, while 2wd have front coils. The front drive axle is the same as the S10, the transfer case is the same used in the Syclones, and the wheels on both 2wd and AWD are of the full size pickup/suburban 2wd's. The whole enging and drivetrain sit off to the right hand side of center, as does the differential. The Astro has one of the smallest differentials, which makes that their weak link.

I have been driving my van with the 350 for about 5 years now, and have had no major problems other than rebuilding the transmission. It runs on the computer, is TBI injected, and the cruisecontrol and A/C work.

I found that the original trans was in bad shape when I got the van. (I bought it with a blown up 4.3 v6.) The original trans soon succombed to the 350.

I average about 21mpg if I keep my foot out of it and can tow a 5.500 lb trailer with no problems, and it has more interior room than a suburban.


Hope this answers some of your questions about Astrovans. I am currently building a 350/5spd powered 85 Mazda RX7. I love Hot Rodding

Later,
Bill
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Old 03-18-2005, 04:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astro350SS

You cannot use the factory engine mounts, as the sbc is 3 inches longer than the 4.3 v6. You can use the factory frame mounts, and the transmission stays in its original location. The only cutting you have to do is to the fan shroud to clear the accessories.
Hey Bill, welcome to the site. Have you been to
www.astrosafari.com yet? Tons of info on the Mvans there.

I have to disagree with your above statement that I have highlighted. You can use the stock V6 mounts. It takes a little bit of fabrication but it is easy enough to do and it is basically free. I also like the idea of NOT cantilevering the V8 over the stock V6 towers. I take the stock V6 engine brackets and bolt them on the opposite side of the V8 block (left to right & right to left). I then unbolt the passenger side cradle tower and move it 3" forward. I just redrill the three holes 3" forward and bolt it back down. The drivers side tower can't be moved because there is no cradle to move it too so I weld a 4x5 piece of 1/4" plate flush to the top and move the motor mount forward. A gusset down to the crossmember from under the new plate makes it pretty stout.
The actual disconnect from V6 to V8 mounts is 4.5". Swapping the brackets side for side takes care of 1.5" and moving the tower and motor mount forward 3" takes care of the rest.
We have done this with a bunch of Small and Big Block conversions and have had zero durability problems...
I am in the process of building a Pro-Touring Astro right now. It is going to be a pretty radical piece with a fully fabbed front and rear suspension, Big Block set back 14" and down 5" and (possibly) a quick change rear.
Welcome to the club.
Mark

Last edited by astroracer; 03-18-2005 at 04:24 AM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:46 AM
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Hey Mark, thanks for the welcome. I stand corrected on the mounts. I was looking at it from directly a "bolt in" application with no welding or fabricating. I have heard of quite a few people performing the mount swap that you did, with no problems.
I took the easiest and cost effective route for me.

Yes, I am one of the original members of Astrosafari.com, actually I am one of the original members of the old Astro V-mag site before it started having so many problems.

I have not yet delt with big block astros, but have seen quite a few done. As far as the engine cantilevering over the stock v6 towers, I have not noticed any problems. Of course, I built mine for towing, not high power, so I don't know how a high output engine will be affected.

I do know that the swap is very easy, because, depending on your setup, you use most of the original parts off of the v6.

Thanks again for the welcome, I'm sure I will learn alot.
Later,
Bill.
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Old 03-18-2005, 11:02 AM
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One more point on using an astrovan subframe................They have the 5" bolt pattern as opposed to Chevy's more popular 4 3/4".............
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Old 03-18-2005, 01:44 PM
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Good point Poncho but it's easy enough to swap the rotors out for the mid 80's G body rotors. The spindles and bearings are all the same...
Mark
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Old 03-18-2005, 06:18 PM
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Torsion bar

Anyone know if there are any replacement systems forthe torsion bar syspension on a 94' astro all wheel drive minivan? Im not very fond of the system.

Or anyone know where i might findreplacement torsion bars? I'm not very good at findin parts on the web.
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:20 AM
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Mr astroracer front torsion bar question

Mr Astroracer I have a 99 Awd it is just a work van but i do take pride in the up keep what im wondering is,the front suspension (torsion bars ) are they adjustable my front end seems to ride pretty low and im wondering how to raise it up ?? thanks for any help
Alltrimmedout@aol.com




Quote:
Originally Posted by astroracer
Astro Vans ARE subframed vehicles... The whole front sub unbolts with six bolts and CAN be dropped out as described.
I have never done this to change an engine though. It is much easier to just pull them out the front. You won't get it out through the side door. The motor is to far forward in the van.
As far as using an Astro as a donor suspension? The hub to hub width on these dudes is 62.5 inches. Usually much to wide for even a truck.
The V8 conversion is pretty easy. It can be done with stock parts and makes for a real sleeper if you keep the exhaust quiet
Mark
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:48 PM
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Check the date on this thread... its 4 years old.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:05 PM
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awd 2wd swap

Anyone have an answer to this one? I have a 97 awd and want to use the parts from a 92 2wd to convert the 97 to 2wd. Is this possible?
thanks
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