Astro Van Engine Swap (Completed)

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jrm81bu

jrm81bu

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Jul 9, 2008
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Antwerp, OH
#1
A friend has a 96 Astro AWD that needs an engine. I will probably be the one changing it, so I'm looking for any help or tips on doing this. I already know it has to come out from the bottom. Has anyone else done this? Anything I need to watch out for? All help is welcomed, thanks.
 
mike87442

mike87442

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Mar 9, 2010
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homer glen illinois
#2
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

that is a huge job,the whole subframe with engine and trans on it must be dropped at one time,being AWD just complicates matters. You will definately need a lift to lift the body higher than the subframe.
Good Luck
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

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Apr 25, 2009
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#3
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

I did a '95 a few years ago. If you (and the owner) don't mind cutting the core support at the top of the radiator opening, you can pull the engine out the front. This allows you to not disturb the cradle (steering, suspension, brake system, etc.). When you are done you can weld or bolt (as I did) the section back in. IIRC the air box and duct work even covered one of the splices. I know it may sound like hackery but it shaves about 6 hours off the engine R&R -- if you are well equipped. If you are working in a driveway -- forget it.
 
jrm81bu

jrm81bu

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#4
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

From my research the right way to do it on the 95's is exactly as you described. Apparently GM has a "kit" to bolt it back in after cutting it out.
But then from 96 on up you were supposed to remove it with the subframe.

After talking with the owner today, it looks like i'm gonna be the new owner. At least now the pressure of messing it up for a cutomer is off.

And yes this will be done in a stone driveway with only a cherry picker,lol. Should be fun!
 
axisg

axisg

Royal Smart Person
Jul 17, 2007
2,278
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#5
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

2 great forums. astrosafarivans.com & astrosafari.com
 
jrm81bu

jrm81bu

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Jul 9, 2008
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#6
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

Hey thanks! I've already checked out astrosafari.com a little bit.
 
8

85GPLef41

Royal Smart Person
Nov 14, 2008
2,225
124
63
Colorado
#7
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

jrm81bu said:
Hey thanks! I've already checked out astrosafari.com a little bit.

That is a good site with very helpful guys. I was a member when i had my 87 and 96 Astro's. The 96 was the best because of the AWD. I would drop the engine cradle to avoid cutting, But if GM approves to cutting the core support and provides a kit to bolt it back up then it's certainly the easier option. One issue i did have with the 96 was the power steering pump shaft splines shearing off and taking out the gearbox and the hydroboost unit TWICE!!! Very expensive the first time and i just did it the second time. Other then that it was awesome in the snow with the BF Goodrich KO tires i put on.
 
axisg

axisg

Royal Smart Person
Jul 17, 2007
2,278
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113
YYZ
#8
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

85GPLef41 said:
jrm81bu said:
Hey thanks! I've already checked out astrosafari.com a little bit.

That is a good site with very helpful guys. I was a member when i had my 87 and 96 Astro's. The 96 was the best because of the AWD. I would drop the engine cradle to avoid cutting, But if GM approves to cutting the core support and provides a kit to bolt it back up then it's certainly the easier option. One issue i did have with the 96 was the power steering pump shaft splines shearing off and taking out the gearbox and the hydroboost unit TWICE!!! Very expensive the first time and i just did it the second time. Other then that it was awesome in the snow with the BF Goodrich KO tires i put on.
x2 I run an '03 Safari AWD. Mine seems to been the bastard year with 16" x 6 lug wheels and a diff code motor and transfer case than the others. I still love the van though. And yes, like everyone else had suggested the easy way is to unbolt the whole cradle and lift the body off and the harder way is to cut the rad support and pull it out over the front bumper.
 
jrm81bu

jrm81bu

Comic Book Super Hero
Jul 9, 2008
3,032
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Antwerp, OH
#9
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

I plan on taking it out threw the bottom. Are any of you guys interested in me posting pics along the way? One of the guys on MR wanted me to keep that thread updated so it won't be a big deal to post here too.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Comic Book Super Hero
Apr 25, 2009
4,732
1,797
113
Owyhee County
#10
Re: Astro Van Engine Swap

jrm81bu said:
And yes this will be done in a stone driveway with only a cherry picker,lol. Should be fun!
Absolutely post pics. This should be entertaining :lol: .
 
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