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Old 06-19-2013, 06:25 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 18,153,320 times
Reputation: 10355

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So I've been looking at beater trucks (because I think everyone should own a beater truck and I am replacing my ancient Nissan) for a few weeks. Went to look at one last night and didn't like it BUT the guy was also selling a 1999 Chevy Astro van so I took it for a drive and fell in love with it. So I said I would buy it and will do the deal tomorrow.

I've always wanted one but around where I live they tend to go for $2500-3000 private party sellers even with well over 200K and rust. This one has 161k miles and the seller has all the receipts for work since it was new. The front end is tight, it stops well with hard braking, runs very strong at 75 mph, shifts smoothly, AC works, tires are good, AWD, almost zero rust (this IS Michigan so "almost zero rust" is a happy thing in an old vehicle) and only one little dent where the passenger door meets the fender, but all doors work just fine. It's a passenger van so has the bench seats and windows, base model I guess since the upholstery is all cloth and the windows are manual crank. But absolutely everything essential works just as it should.

He only wanted $1600! I could not pass this up. I have some friends with a late '80s Astro, same motor, with almost 400,000 miles and they still tow their boat with it.

I hope I didn't make a poor impulse buy here and anybody who has any experience or input or warnings, well I am happy to hear it. This will not be my primary driver, just a utilitarian and reliable, I hope, appliance on four wheels.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,305 posts, read 28,214,050 times
Reputation: 5523
Sounds like a good deal. My uncle had TWO 90's Astro vans with the 4.3L that he used in his business and both had well over 300K and running fine.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
17,208 posts, read 57,041,396 times
Reputation: 18559
These were discussed in a previous thread, apparently they didn't do well in crash tests. Which engine did you get in this van? The 4.3?

If it runs and drives well for $1600, you probably did OK. That said impulse buying a car is usually a risk, you lucked out, but don't make a habit of this...

If you can't DIY, you could easily go through $400 putting on a set of tires and brakes, so if those are good you only have $1200 (new tires and brakes) to $1400 (half worn tires and brakes) in the "rest" of the van.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,305 posts, read 28,214,050 times
Reputation: 5523
Its true, if safety is a concern, these did have ill crash ratings...


IIHS-HLDI: Chevrolet Astro

There was actually a gentlemen in our downtown that was in one of these that was parked and he was hit by a car head-on, offset and had serious leg injuries... however, the moving car was going 80 mph. It was a very scary story in our historic downtown last February.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:20 AM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 18,153,320 times
Reputation: 10355
Yes the 4.3 motor. I know that era of Astros do poorly in crash tests but that's not a major concern for me. I like that the seller has receipts for everything; he's the original owner of the van.
I'm not a DIYer when it comes to automotive stuff but I do have friends who are.
This will be a back-up work vehicle and dog and stuff hauler, not a daily driver.

I've bought many used vehicles in my life and have had good luck going with my gut. The one and only time I have followed standard advice to have a vehicle checked out (a Volvo station wagon I had checked by a Volvo shop) turned out to be an absolute horror-show. I know that's not the norm but go figure!

Guess I'll find out how good a buy I got when I pick it up! My friends with the old Astro are driving me over to get it, and he is a very good "shade tree mechanic" and is going to go over it. It's 14 years old with 161K miles for $1600 so I am aware that it will require some maintenance and repairs going forward. I'll probably only be putting 5,000 miles or so a year on it, that's about how much I drove the old truck.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:13 AM
 
Location: NY
9,131 posts, read 19,997,945 times
Reputation: 11707
If they regularly sell for more than you paid, in worse condition, I do not see how you made a bad decision to buy.

It sounds like you could turn around and sell it tomorrow for a profit should you have buyers remorse.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:04 AM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 12,215,941 times
Reputation: 2966
Lucky you, thats a bargain and I would have no regrets over that purchase. These are really good truck-based minivans. However yes, the front occupants don't fair very well in a wreck... but just be a safe driver and thats not much of an issue.

My parents have the same year with AWD and now well over 200k on the clock. They have since retired it as a daily but use it for the cargo space and seating when needed. That van was beat to hell and back and is still running strong. Those 4.3's are impressive, despite all of the neglect and abuse it still runs like new. Same fuel mileage, no oil burning whatsoever and the sparkplugs and serpentine were change once... other than that there was absolutely no work done to it in 14 years. Steering started getting sloppy and tires were wearing out quick at 170kish so I replaced every steering component for them with high quality parts (rockauto) for under $200. Started handling like new again.

Interesting side note: There is a cult following for these vans not only in the US but also in Japan.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,599 posts, read 31,685,641 times
Reputation: 11741
Sounds like a GOOD DEAL to me, Chiroptera . . .

What other vehicles did this seller have for sale?

! ! ! ! ! !
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:15 PM
 
Location: The hills of western Washington
251 posts, read 522,669 times
Reputation: 479
Yep, pretty good deal. At $1600, it's verging on throwaway value, so you can run it and if anything major happens, sell it for salvage value.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:09 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 18,153,320 times
Reputation: 10355
Thanks guys, having driven it home and had a friend look it over, I'm pretty happy with it! Drives like a truck but that's OK, I'm a gal who likes trucks.

Lux Hauler, I know there's a following for these vans and the price on this one for the condition it's in seemed so good I decided to snap it up before someone else did.

Bummer, the truck I went to look at originally was a 2001 Silverado. Nice enough but I'm not a big fan of Chevy trucks and this one didn't impress me when I drove it. Plus he wanted almost $1000 more than what he wanted for the Astro, with almost as many miles, so....

I even have the original receipt from when it was purchased...almost $22,000 he bought it for in 1999. My little old 1995 Nissan truck was about $14,500 when I bought it new.
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