Chevy Astro or GMC Safari?

Hello,
this might not be easy to answer but still I was looking at two cars a chevy astro and a gmc safari now i don't know which one to buy. Has either one of
them factory problems and how about part prices, service and average lifetime.
I appreciate any thought thanks Christian
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I own the safari, 1995 model I love the way the rear dutch doors are. Very convenient for everyday grocery getting and such.
I don't however like the ride and handling of these models. Try to rent one for a weekend and drive it a lot! You may hate it after 3-4 hours of highway driving. Mine is a handful on a windy day I still believe the alignment is off but it has been in for 4 alignments and to a frame shop too. I see one now and then one on the highway that tracks straight as an arrow while mine weaves back and forth across the lane. Also there is NO passenger foot room up front remember this if your passenger is tall or large.
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chevy
of
Same vehicle, same parts, same strengths and weaknesses with both. They are made on the same assembley line. Only thing different is the badge and some trim.
Doc
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I own an 87 Astro with the 4.3 "Z" TBI engine. ("Z" is the eighth digit of the VIN--non Vortec). Great engine. Usually just normal tune-ups etc. The engine has 190 thousand miles and uses a quart of oil every 5 thousand miles. Second tranny. Was in there when I bought the van. I've been the owner since about 120 thousand and started running Amsoil right away changing oil and filter every 5 thousand. Astro's are noted for front end parts, especially upper ball joints, and idler arms. I bought Moog parts and put them in myself. Moog has a lifetime warranty. I just picked up a new set of idler arms for free cause I kept my receipt... Saved me almost another $200 in parts. I really like this engine for pure reliability and fuel economy compared to the newer engine. When not towing I get about 21-23 mpg.
Any of the Astro/Safari vans with the 4.3 Vortec (typically "W" is the eighth digit of the VIN) These have higher horse power and a balance shaft compared to the "Z" engine. Most people I've talked to about fuel economy for this motor says they can't get higher than 16-17 mpg on the highway UNLESS they get a major tail wind. On the Vortec's, the injector/regulator assembly is a common problem. It's not a matter of "if" but "when" this will fail. If any part of this assembly fails, the entire assembly must be replaced. The part alone retails for approx. $300. Then there is labor to put it in. Also, this engine has to have a minimum of 48-50psi of fuel pressure MINIMUM just to run (50-57 is spec I believe). Without a min fuel pressure of say 50 psi, the veh WILL NOT start cause there isn't enough pressure to overcome the spring behind the ball/seat at the end of the injector assembly. From the factory, these vehicle's came with a fuel pump and pulsator assembly in the tank. Depending on the state you live in, when it's time to do a fuel pump, the fuel lines going into the tank are generally seized and the lines break or they have to be cut. This means the fuel sending unit needs to be replaced. This sending unit is an assembly of steel tubing with a place to mount the pump, has the float, and variable resistor assembly for the fuel gauge. This ridiculous looking invention retails at almost $400 for a Delco assembly. Sometimes an aftermarket one will work but your fuel gauge may never work the same without the OEM assembly. I've seen a lot of bad check valves in the original pumps and many pulsators blown out which causes extended crank time/no start condition. There is an updated pulsator that is a much better unit which retails for approx. $60. I don't usually use the new pulsator. I use the piece of hose and two clamps that comes in the Delco replacement pump box. There are enough things that can go wrong with this fuel system so I keep the fuel tank to one possible point of failure, the pump. If you get what my shop calls the "full meal deal", your in the ball park of $1500 to replace the pump, pulsator, sending unit and injector assembly. Usually it's time to add in a full tune up cause the dog houses on these vans typically only come off when there is a problem.
In 96 and later the newer Vortec engine has an injection assembly that the components can be serviced individually. If only one injector fails, you can replace just the one. I usually suggest to do the fuel pressure regulator while in there. So it's potentially less expensive, but not a huge savings. The pump is a complete "module" as they call it, so pump goes bad, you have to buy the $300-$400 assembly for the tank.
In my opinion, all in all they are good vehicles. Tougher than an average "minivan", but not a full-size van either. Much better for towing than any other "minivans". But they do have some known issues.
Hope This Helps
Sorry so long..
Nick

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some
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