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Old 06-23-2019, 07:12 AM
 
5,707 posts, read 4,278,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
Lots of Astro minivans in the fleet of the place I work at. They seem to be very reliable, but all are the AWD version (none FWD).

Did I miss something about FWD being more reliable?
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Floribama
18,949 posts, read 43,578,434 times
Reputation: 18758
Quote:
Originally Posted by slomofo View Post
Fuel pump (on 96 and newer)
Intake manifold gasket (96+)
Ignition control mode (95 and older)
Front differential (AWD)
Transmission failure is hit/miss (700R4)

Those are the common problems, but they're otherwise reliable.

I don't understand the popularity of those vans because outside of it's smaller size, they really don't have much going for them. When used as a work van, they tend to get loaded up with a ton of weight and people think the V6 gets better fuel economy, but if you put 1500 pounds of cargo in a V6 Astro van and 1500 pounds in a V8 Express van, you're most likely going to get better fuel efficiency and reliability out of the V8 because it's not going to be operating under as much stress.

Unless you're hauling light loads or need a smaller van, then what's the point?
Soon you won’t even be able to get the Express/Savanna anymore. It seems like all of the manufacturers are going towards those narrow European style vans now, which don’t look any wider than an Astro.

I have some friends who own an ambulance company, and they have always used Ford Econoline vans, but they say those newer Transit vans are so darned cramped that once they’re loaded up with equipment there’s barely any room to move around. They are going to have to start using the box truck style ambulances on an F-350 chassis.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Louisville KY
4,856 posts, read 5,818,460 times
Reputation: 4341
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrownVic95 View Post
There were no FWD Astros - probably the biggest factor in their being such a hardy and durable platform. They were introduced as a RWD chassis and the AWD option was added later.
It's on the S10 chassis.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Louisville KY
4,856 posts, read 5,818,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Soon you won’t even be able to get the Express/Savanna anymore. It seems like all of the manufacturers are going towards those narrow European style vans now, which don’t look any wider than an Astro.

I have some friends who own an ambulance company, and they have always used Ford Econoline vans, but they say those newer Transit vans are so darned cramped that once they’re loaded up with equipment there’s barely any room to move around. They are going to have to start using the box truck style ambulances on an F-350 chassis.
Or the Nissan NV.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,772,406 times
Reputation: 39453
Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Soon you won’t even be able to get the Express/Savanna anymore. It seems like all of the manufacturers are going towards those narrow European style vans now, which don’t look any wider than an Astro.

I have some friends who own an ambulance company, and they have always used Ford Econoline vans, but they say those newer Transit vans are so darned cramped that once they’re loaded up with equipment there’s barely any room to move around. They are going to have to start using the box truck style ambulances on an F-350 chassis.
We have had Chevy Express vans for quite a while now. I think we are on our fourth. Love them. they have some common problems: Door hinges, cat converters, ignition wiring. Nothing major. Our current van is going on . ... I think about 280-300K miles. We beat the snot out of all of them. Not intentionally, but I cannot just drive past an intriguing trail through the woods or mountains without going to see what is down there. Plus we overloaded at times, drove through really hot forest fire, I forget what all else. Our current van was the learner vehicle for five children. It looks like a pop can that was crushed and re-inflated. But it still works like a charm, carried our seven family members, plus two giant (180lb) dogs, plus luggage, bikes on the back, canoe on top. . . The full sized conversion vans are the most comfortable vehicle you can get bar none. Not even $200,000 Mercedes or BMWs are as comfortable, they cannot be, they do not have the room.

There is a cost to driving your living room around though: 15 mpg and careful on corners. Acceleration is not bad, but not impressive.

One thing that is surprising is that even the nicest conversion still costs less than a luxury pick up truck as long as you time your purchase to avoid the massive dealer mark up on conversion vans. they just are not that popular.

My son spent considerable time in transit vans travelling with various crew teams. He hates them. Claims they are the worst van of all vans.

Econolines were ok, but they have not been updated since the 1980s. They do not really compete with the Chevy Express (the Chevy has a much better ride among other things). Econoline is more of a work truck than a van for passengers.
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Old 10-24-2019, 08:58 AM
 
5,707 posts, read 4,278,576 times
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I know what the official numbers are but what kind of mpg do AWD astro owners actually get?
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:35 AM
 
Location: White House, TN
6,486 posts, read 6,179,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
The astro can be a great van. Do your research though - for a few years they had a dangerous design defect. The way they crushed in an accident was likely to kill the driver. They fixed it pretty quickly.
I like Astro vans, but the early Astro vans were death traps.
Astro vans were made in two generations, 1985-1995 and 1996-2005, and you gotta get a second gen. Not to mention, the second gen vans are better designed and more reliable, especially the 2000 and newer.

The 1985-1993 vans got horrible NHTSA crash test results - death would be likely in a head on collision at 35 mph. The 1994-1995 vans did quite a bit better for the driver, as they had a driver air bag. The 1996 redesign brought a significantly beefed up body structure and dual air bags. The 1996-1998 models did decently in federal crash tests, and they improved safety even more in 1999-2005 models which actually did pretty well in federal crash tests.

None of the Astro vans did very well in the offset crash tests but at least when they tested the second gen van in the offset crash test the dummy recorded no fatal injury measures. A broken leg, yes, but nothing fatal.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:00 AM
 
Location: Floribama
18,949 posts, read 43,578,434 times
Reputation: 18758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
We have had Chevy Express vans for quite a while now. I think we are on our fourth. Love them. they have some common problems: Door hinges, cat converters, ignition wiring. Nothing major. Our current van is going on . ... I think about 280-300K miles. We beat the snot out of all of them. Not intentionally, but I cannot just drive past an intriguing trail through the woods or mountains without going to see what is down there. Plus we overloaded at times, drove through really hot forest fire, I forget what all else. Our current van was the learner vehicle for five children. It looks like a pop can that was crushed and re-inflated. But it still works like a charm, carried our seven family members, plus two giant (180lb) dogs, plus luggage, bikes on the back, canoe on top. . . The full sized conversion vans are the most comfortable vehicle you can get bar none. Not even $200,000 Mercedes or BMWs are as comfortable, they cannot be, they do not have the room.

There is a cost to driving your living room around though: 15 mpg and careful on corners. Acceleration is not bad, but not impressive.

One thing that is surprising is that even the nicest conversion still costs less than a luxury pick up truck as long as you time your purchase to avoid the massive dealer mark up on conversion vans. they just are not that popular.

My son spent considerable time in transit vans travelling with various crew teams. He hates them. Claims they are the worst van of all vans.

Econolines were ok, but they have not been updated since the 1980s. They do not really compete with the Chevy Express (the Chevy has a much better ride among other things). Econoline is more of a work truck than a van for passengers.
I bought a 2006 Express 2500 a couple of months ago to use for my rental business. It's a former hvac van, so it has all of the shelves in the back. It has 236k miles, but supposedly the transmission was rebuilt about 50k miles ago. I have had to replace the oil pressure sensor, and the vapor canister solenoid, but I occasionally do get a Cat converter code too. I'm thinking of trying the o2 sensor spacer trick I saw on YouTube to see if it'll work.

My most annoying problem is the door sensor that turns off the radio when you open the door. I tried spraying wd-40 in there and it worked for a day, but not anymore.
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