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Discussion Starter #1
While I'm still keeping my T-Bird, (which I bought new), I'm probably going to sell my Mark VIII, simply because I need something to haul stuff around in, and can't afford 3 vehicles. I want a small van, not a truck, and the only thing I've seen in small vans with RWD is Chevy Astro or GMC Safari vans.

Does anyone know anything about these vans? Reliability? Problems? Or a site that might talk about these things?

Thanks for any info.
 

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The Aerostar is also RWD, in my opinion also better than the Astro. The Astro is a good work van though, they can haul alot in the back and pull quite a bit. My uncle pulls a small horse trailer with his. That van has been pretty reliable for them, lasted till 275,000 kms before they had to rebuild the tranny and transfer case. Biggest problem they had was when a freeze plug went and the engine over heated and seized. One thing Ive noticed on these vans is that they are bad for rust.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Blue LS said:
The Aerostar is also RWD, in my opinion also better than the Astro.
Wasn't 1997 the last year for the Aerostar? I'm looking for something a little newer, if possible. Rust shouldn't be a problem - here in CA, rust is very rare.
 

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Yup 97 was the last year for it. If you want something newer the Astro should be just fine. Its based on a truck chassis like the Aerostar and will haul pretty much wahtever you need.
 

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Man, if I where you I'd sell the Bird before selling the Mark.....the lincoln is such a superior car....with superior maintenance costs & parts hassles, but aside from that....:D

I'd go with an Astro over an Aerostar....at least the Astro has had redesigns to stay with the times....the Aerostar was never really changed, and throughout it's entire life span, very ugly and wierd looking, IMO.....get an astro, if you must :rolleyes: LOL J/K
 

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grew up with an astro van... Bought 2 days after i was born (1985). Had it all the way up to 2002. We rebuilt the engine (4.3 V6) at 245k... That Van went places it should have never of been.


Good set of wheels if you ask me, thing ran forever, and like a top too...

MG
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, after a lot of looking, I ended up getting a '99 Chevy Astro, with their 4.3L "Vortec" V6. It's only RWD - I didn't want the extra mechanical complexity of the AWD version.

It's pretty nice for a small van. Less than 42K miles, and it's the LS version, with most the bells and whistles. It's obviously not as nice a ride as the Mark VIII or T-Bird, but better than your average van.

So far I've recorded a solid 21 mpg highway, but I'm sure my daily driving will be less. One thing - the steering on these vans has virtually no feedback at all - it's way too light for my preferences. It tracks and drives perfectly straight, but the slightest nudge on the steering wheel gives no resistance, so it's a little too easy to turn when you're not paying attention. Ford/Lincoln definitely got it right with the steering feel in their T-Birds/Mark VIII's.

It also has those rear "dutch doors", where the top half opens up and the bottom has two half-doors that swing out. I'd rather have just regular swing-out doors, but it is what it is. I also need to look into replacing the struts that hold the top half up - it doesn't stay all the way up right now. And while the factory stereo/CD works fine, the speakers leave a lot to be desired. 'Going to see about better speakers and a sub to fix that.

Anyway, here's a pic, (and I'm definitely still keeping my T-Bird!):

 

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Darn, I have a 98 LT AWD and they are not more complex...........premium sound, towing package, leather, loaded down..................wanted $6500 for it !
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SHADOW said:
Darn, I have a 98 LT AWD and they are not more complex...........premium sound, towing package, leather, loaded down..................wanted $6500 for it !
Well, I really don't need AWD much out here in CA, and while driving an AWD wouldn't be much different, I didn't want to deal with potential maintenance of the transfer case, CV joints, etc., and the extra drag they also add to the system.

How many miles on yours? I definitely wanted something with less than 50K, since this will probably be my daily driver for quite a while. (I got my T-Bird new - it now has over 82K miles on it, and I want to keep it just to cherry out, and for special trips, like dates, meets, shows, etc.)
 

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is it just me, or does the Aerostar remind you of the ship for the Star Tours Ride in disney land/world?

 

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Discussion Starter #14
ThomasR91169 said:
is it just me, or does the Aerostar remind you of the ship for the Star Tours Ride in disney land/world?
Ha, ha - yep! They both have that long, swoopy front...
 

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the 4.3 is a great motor, once they got the bugs ironed out. Avoid the early ones ('88-'89) Looks like you got a nice family mobile. They are good vans. They brakes are a little weak and they tend to chew through pads, Chevy didn't upgrade the brakes for the weight of the vehicle. Good trucks otherwise.

Ed
 

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Astro vans are decent. The motors last a while if you take care of them. The frontend parts and brakes are the weakest link. Thats transmission sucks too and I have built alot of those rearends.
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #17
edg1957 said:
Looks like you got a nice family mobile.
Not me! This is mainly so I can move my R&R band gear around, and get other big stuff to and from my house. :D ('Still single.)
 

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Ah, it'll be a great band mobile too!

Forget about the SC motor, go for a LS1 :) I know they make a turbo kit for the 4.3 S-10, should not be that hard to put it in an astro van!
 

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