'00 Chevy Astro Cargo stealth Camper project

Darkrider

Adventurer
Figured i should probably update this thread with some pics of the replacement astro. Pretty much scrapping most of the above plan other then maybe doing the battery box in the floor and adding an external tire carrier. May still end up doing the Tbar crank to level it.

Ended up throwing on a brand new set of touring type tires on it for now. I also have the steel wheels that came off of the first astro so i may end up putting some 225s on them eventually.



 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
I love the 90s beltline "swoops" on the sides of these vans. I mean, they look ridiculous, (something weird was in the water in the 90s). But on the Astro they are the perfect accent to its boxyness.
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
Due to a change in job situation and a slow economy i ended up selling the K5 and almost ended up selling this to try to keep the newer truck that was my DD. However i have since decided to surrender the truck as i suspect i will just end up in the same position again in a few months. Better to let it go then risking it all. That said i have decided to keep this and work on it come spring once my finances recover a bit more. So i will be saving up to do some work and mods on the Astro.

Work needed to get it back on the road:

Power steering lines
Exhaust repairs

Planned upgrades to make it a more usable DD especially in cold weather:

Remote starter
Seat heater kit
Mild stereo upgrades and switch panel for future mods (Replace stock headunit with the Alpine from the previous Astro and fitting switches where stock slave CD player is currently)
Moving passenger seat back 2" and mounting Ammo can between seats as aux storage

Expo/Offroad mods planned:

External tire carrier
Tbar crank and rear shackle lift to gain around 1-1.5" lift
Stock size All terrain type tires (Most likely BFG All Terrains)
Possible aux battery bank mounted in back of van either in the floor where the stock spare would go or using AGMS under a raised platform or a combination there of.
Seeing what can be done in terms of adding a skid plate under the front diff and oil pan
S10 T case swap with manual t case lever
 

Binky

Member
Seeing what can be done in terms of adding a skid plate under the front diff and oil pan
S10 T case swap with manual t case lever
I ended up buying an entire sheet of 1/4" aluminum to make my Astro skid plate. Covers everything from the front cross member to the
cross member behind the transfer case. Just from the gouges in it I know it's paid for it's self several times over. There used to be plans on the
Astrosafarivans web site, but it's mostly just a 24" (30"?) wide sheet w/ a couple three bends to clear the sump. I'm heading back to BOI tomorrow and I'll get you a pic of mine this
weekend if you want.

I always wanted to do the S10 transfer case, but Great A'Tuin (my Astro) has become my wife's winter commuter. So I bought Binky.

Good luck with the Astro! They are great in so many ways!


Sunsetvan.JPG
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
I ended up buying an entire sheet of 1/4" aluminum to make my Astro skid plate. Covers everything from the front cross member to the
cross member behind the transfer case. Just from the gouges in it I know it's paid for it's self several times over. There used to be plans on the
Astrosafarivans web site, but it's mostly just a 24" (30"?) wide sheet w/ a couple three bends to clear the sump. I'm heading back to BOI tomorrow and I'll get you a pic of mine this
weekend if you want.

I always wanted to do the S10 transfer case, but Great A'Tuin (my Astro) has become my wife's winter commuter. So I bought Binky.

Good luck with the Astro! They are great in so many ways!


View attachment 561712
I would def like to see the skid plate you have on your Astro! Great looking rig how much lift and tire size on it?
 

Binky

Member
I would def like to see the skid plate you have on your Astro! Great looking rig how much lift and tire size on it?
It's just a 2.5" lift. I added 2.5" blocks to the rear axle (tapered to reduce driveshaft vibration), and 2" home made pucks between the body and the subframe for the bodylift. Then I cranked the T-bars for another .5" to the front. I removed the fan shroud and went electric.
Tires are 235/75-15.
I also have Suburban/2500 brakes, Bilstein shocks, G80...
I just had the trans done at 250,000 miles. Semi-custom w/ heavy "Beast" sunshell, added clutches, shift kit, etc.
It makes jeepers look silly most of the time and mine is not nearly as nice as some have done, especially the 16'rs.
I think Herbie and T.Lowe (I think he's on here) are both 16" Astros.

John
 
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Darkrider

Adventurer
It's just a 2.5" lift. I added 2.5" blocks to the rear axle (tapered to reduce driveshaft vibration), and 2" home made pucks between the body and the subframe for the bodylift. Then I cranked the T-bars for another .5" to the front. I removed the fan shroud and went electric.
Tires are 235/75-15.
I also have Suburban/2500 brakes, Bilstein shocks, G80...
I just had the trans done at 250,000 miles. Semi-custom w/ heavy "Beast" sunshell, added clutches, shift kit, etc.
It makes jeepers look silly most of the time and mine is not nearly as nice as some have done, especially the 16'rs.
I think Herbie and T.Lowe (I think he's on here) are both 16" Astros.

John
By Suburban/2500 brakes i am assuming you mean the calipers from them on the front brakes? Also how did you get around the power steering line being close to the pulleys? Well i guess that is assuming you have the Hydraboost brakes and not vacuum.
 

6door74

New member
It's just a 2.5" lift. I added 2.5" blocks to the rear axle (tapered to reduce driveshaft vibration), and 2" home made pucks between the body and the subframe for the bodylift. Then I cranked the T-bars for another .5" to the front. I removed the fan shroud and went electric.
Tires are 235/75-15.
I also have Suburban/2500 brakes, Bilstein shocks, G80...
I just had the trans done at 250,000 miles. Semi-custom w/ heavy "Beast" sunshell, added clutches, shift kit, etc.
It makes jeepers look silly most of the time and mine is not nearly as nice as some have done, especially the 16'rs.
I think Herbie and T.Lowe (I think he's on here) are both 16" Astros.

John

Sadly you'll have to look through older threads. There's a good amount from what I've seen in my time here. Check out the astrosafari.com forums as well. I believe there's another one that astrosafarivans.com. I don't believe it's active anymore but you can still read through threads.

 
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Binky

Member
Shows how long since I've been on either of the Astro forums! Looks like I have some catching up to do.

Yes, just the calipers and pads. Does help when towing through the mountains!

As far as the lines, that was along time ago! I think I just bent the steel part of the line enough to clear.
I only did a 2.5" lift to keep secondary modifications to a minimum.

skid_sm.jpg

John
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
Shows how long since I've been on either of the Astro forums! Looks like I have some catching up to do.

Yes, just the calipers and pads. Does help when towing through the mountains!

As far as the lines, that was along time ago! I think I just bent the steel part of the line enough to clear.
I only did a 2.5" lift to keep secondary modifications to a minimum.

View attachment 562268

John
I knew that was a common mod in the GMT400 series pickups. Did not know it worked on the Astro vans as well. Will def look into it! Thanks for the pic of the skid plate. I am assuming the key hole looking opening in the middle is for the oil pan drain plug and the large cut out at the end is to clear the T case?
 

Binky

Member
I knew that was a common mod in the GMT400 series pickups. Did not know it worked on the Astro vans as well. Will def look into it! Thanks for the pic of the skid plate. I am assuming the key hole looking opening in the middle is for the oil pan drain plug and the large cut out at the end is to clear the T case?
Correct on all counts. Much of the Astro is basically Chevy 1500. One reason it's so bulletproof and cheap to fix. I wouldn't have needed the rear t-case notch if I wouldn't have made that bend, so don't. It was made in a 20 ton press, so I couldn't unbend it. I made the keyhole because I got sick of pulling the plate for oil changes : ) We love our Astro, 265k miles so far...
We think of it as a tent you park wherever you want, and it has a built-in heater!
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
Correct on all counts. Much of the Astro is basically Chevy 1500. One reason it's so bulletproof and cheap to fix. I wouldn't have needed the rear t-case notch if I wouldn't have made that bend, so don't. It was made in a 20 ton press, so I couldn't unbend it. I made the keyhole because I got sick of pulling the plate for oil changes : ) We love our Astro, 265k miles so far...
We think of it as a tent you park wherever you want, and it has a built-in heater!
The Astro is a weird mix of parts lol Some S10 bits like the engine/trans and front diff. In the 2wds the front suspension is basically B body. As you pointed other parts are 1500 pick up parts. Good to know about that second bend. So basically bend mine to clear the sump and that is it. Will def look into both the Skid plate and the brakes come spring! Thanks for the pic of your skid plate.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Much of the Astro is basically Chevy 1500
Some S10 bits like the engine/trans and front diff
I wish they were a little more 1500 and a little less S-10. The diffs, in particular, are a bit small for what we need. The 7-5/8" diff out back is the same size as the S-10, but that means it's also the same size as a 1980's Camaro. :confused:
Similar story for the 7-1/2 front...

That said, I love mine!
 
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