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  #1  
Old 10-14-2007, 01:44 AM
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Astro van rear end swap?

I've beat the Ch**y forum to death and can't find any info... does anyone here know what year and model rear end would be a good replacement for my broken down, weak 2001 2wd, Astro van's rear end? I think it's a 7.5 THAT'S currently Leaking diff fluid in a puddle in my driveway, was making what sounded like wheel bearing noise last week - but you can't blame it, it does have a whopping 54,000 mileS on it. Ch**y POS.
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Old 10-14-2007, 05:31 AM
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I wouldn't go throwing a new rear end at it just yet and the mileage is about right to change the rear end fluid in it. I'd pull the shafts, check the seals and put a new gasket on the cover and see if that doesn't help first.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:24 AM
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Last month when it started making some noise I put in two new outer wheel bearings, changed the gasket cover seal, and put in all new fluid including a Lucus gear oil additive to quiet things up. I still had the same noise(like a bad wheel bearing) so I figured it was the inner bearings by the spider gears. I was putting it off until I had some money, but tomarrow never comes... I'm thinking I waited to long now, the inner bearings have probably eaten themselves and spread meatal shavings through out the whole deal. I can get a used one from the local pick and pull for $100.00 So I figure why fight it?
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:52 AM
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my buddy had an 86 astrovan and it had fiberglass rear springs and in like 120K it had gone for like three rears. the gears in the rear on the end of the axel shafts kept breaking. The dealer told him it was a common problem the first time he went to Chevy and bought the gears there ( for a couple of hundred dollars if i remember right) from that point forward he would go to a pick and pull and rebuild the one he had in there from the parts he would get there. He was a guy who rebuilt rears and transmissions for a living and he said it was way easier to do it that way then to swap it out
hope that info helps
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Old 10-14-2007, 12:20 PM
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Of course that raises the question, why the heck would they make anything on the rear end out of fiber glass!? Wow.I'm lucky, I have the heavy duty tow package on mine. The rear ends made of the highest quality tin foil.
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Old 10-14-2007, 04:08 PM
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Slap a Ford 9" under it and never worry again!! If your woman doesn't drive it put a spool in it if the differential is what is getting eat up, You'll have to deal with chirping tires in parking lots and tight turns but it's a guarantee fixed for a weak stock diff.
If you are towing with it Change out the lube every 10,000 miles or so. It is easier
than changing a rear end, My father tows a 27' TT that is right at the GCWR for the astro. I got him a trans temp gauge, trans cooler, oil cooler, air shocks and on the 10,000 mile change interval on the rear lube, dino oil nothing special!! A infra red thermometer is cheaper than the trans temp gauge but you have to stop to check it
But you can check the rear end temp, motor temp, bearing temps, tire temps if you have a trailer tire that is hotter than the rest, It could mean it is low or the axle is
out of alignment or bent and scrubbing trying to turn, making it harder on the tow vehicle. Tower hobbies has Duratrax IR temp gauges for $24.99 they read up to
450degrees and are pretty accurate.
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Old 10-14-2007, 05:16 PM
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I would love to have a Ford 9 in there! I never tow anything with it - just keep it to trailer all the kids around. I guess my only worries would be wheel base length, getting the Ford rims on the back and drive shaft length. Fasinating, Jim. That's some thought provoking s*** right there! I've always had Fords and have never had this much trouble with a rear end. It would give me great pleasure to bolt some Ford equipment on there too!
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:28 AM
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Get it narrowed with thoughts of using adapters for your stock rims, Or go with a 8.8
out of a ranger or whatever matches the width you need.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:34 AM
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It seems the 96 up had more bearing noise than the older ones. My dad's 94 has 409k km on it, and I'm not sure the rear diff fluid was ever even changed in it.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:00 AM
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I have an 89 Safari van with 485,000 kilometres (301,000 miles) on it and had no problems with the rear besides changing the rear axle seals. I would just install new seals and try some synthetic gear oil. BTW if never liked the fibre glass rear springs either, but they haven't broke yet.
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:05 PM
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Why would they use Fiberglass springs? Are they cheaper or something?
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Old 10-16-2007, 04:09 PM
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I ve got 96 awd astro front diffy went titsup on the interstate had to find one out of olds bravada or jimmy cyclone not cheap make damn sure you put the right lube in them or they won't last as long as it takes to install
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:45 AM
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make damn sure you put the right lube in them or they won't last as long as it takes to install Ummm... what is the right fluid?
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:28 AM
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If you have three-channel ABS (single rear sensor on diff), your options are pretty open- I would get a rear end out of an S10 Blazer. They were a bit heavier-duty, and usually limited slip.
If you have four channel ABS (sensor at each rear wheel), you will have to either find a rear end from an Olds Bravada (maybe- it's been a while since I really looked these over well) or find a way to fit your system to the new rear end.

The fiberglass spring was one of GM's innovations. They used them, and still use the on the Vette, but they don't have to handle twisting stress in that application. Chrysler used the same basic idea on the Caravans, except those aren't rear drive, so they don't have the same stresses.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:58 PM
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The Ford Aerostar probably used a similarly undersized rear axle. My Ranger had a Ford 7.5 that didnt last 100,000 miles. GM has an 8.875 that is similar to the Ford 8.8 and used in similar applications. What is amazing are the claimed towing capacities for some of these small rigs, sometimes 5000lbs.

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Old 10-19-2007, 12:58 PM
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