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Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS

Posted By: kursed

Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 03rd 2019 10:17 am

Okay folks, I'm not going to bore you to death with this thing, but I thought I would do a "build" thread under the Reader's Rides section just to show any progress or maintenance done that might help.

We picked up this gal yesterday for the new family wagon. 2000 Chevy Astro LS with 85,000 original miles. Garage kept, single owner, and pretty darn clean. She's not perfect, we saw quite a bit of rust scale underneath from the PA salty roads, but mostly scale on the frame and leaf spring perches. Also a bit on the front crossmember. We will be taking care of that very soon. We got this to replace my Wife's 2000 Jeep Cherokee XJ as we had it on the lift last week doing the rear shocks and found the floor pans were rusted out from the firewall to the back cargo area on both sides. So needless to say we're a little anxious about rust these days.

The driver front window motor overheats, so the window goes up and down when it feels like it. Usually you can get it about half way, then wait for it to cool off and get a little more. I've ordered a new motor from Amazon along with a lock actuator for the driver door power lock while I have the door panel off. Going to look at some 5.25 speakers for the doors today or sometime this weekend.

Overall I'm very pleased with it. I love how she rides like a full size van instead of your typical modern minivan. The kids (7, 13, and 14) are all super excited to have something with some leg room that they can spread out in for a change (compared to the 2014 Civic or 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport we typically daily drive).

Here she is.
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Posted By: newkirkinc1

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 03rd 2019 12:18 pm

Nice score!
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 03rd 2019 1:07 pm

Originally Posted by newkirkinc1
Nice score!


Thanks bud. Getting the tags and title done right now. Wipers and OBD2 scanner next. Then drive drive drive.

Super comfy and clean ride, but man o man that driver window is bugging me. Can't wait til the new motor gets here.
Posted By: Gnarlyfoot

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 04th 2019 1:03 am

That was a nice buy there. Very nice condition for the age.
Posted By: lukester

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 04th 2019 1:14 am

Great looking van.
Posted By: Dyno_Dave

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 05th 2019 12:39 pm

That's a nice one! Love those M/L vans.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 05th 2019 2:20 pm

Thanks guys, we are having a good time with her for sure.

Power window motor arrived yesterday. Still waiting on the lock actuator, door panel clips, and Memphis 1" tweeters to arrive.

I stopped in my local audio store and the owner had found some Memphis speakers stashed in a supply room they had forgotten about, so I snagged a pair of 5.25" for the front doors for $20. Ordered a pair of matching 1" tweeters on Amazon.

Took the kids camping at one of our favorite local spots last night. Man it was so nice to have so much room for the kiddos and all the gear. We had a giant cooler, a huge easy up two room cabin tent, everyone's personal gear, myself and three kids, and the back seat was still empty.

I'll post up some pics later today.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 05th 2019 7:46 pm

Waiting for the kids to get off the bus on Friday.
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Grabbed these 5.25" door speakers for $20 thanks to the local sound shop owner forgetting he had a bunch in the back from a couple years ago. LOL.
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All loaded up and ready for some camping!
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Just finished setting the tent up, ready for some fun.
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Update on parts, the door panel clips and lock actuator just arrived from Amazon. I'll post links to everything after I get things in and can do a proper review. Still waiting on the Memphis Street Reference 1" tweeters for the doors to arrive, then I'll install everything.
Posted By: newkirkinc1

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 06th 2019 11:31 am

Having fun is what its all about.
Posted By: Dyno_Dave

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 06th 2019 4:18 pm

Glad to see you're out enjoying it.

How do you like those Dutch doors on the rear? Always an interesting design, I thought. Nothing else quite like them in the van world.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 06th 2019 4:54 pm

Originally Posted by Dyno_Dave
Glad to see you're out enjoying it.

How do you like those Dutch doors on the rear? Always an interesting design, I thought. Nothing else quite like them in the van world.


I'm loving them so far. It has been handy to just pop the top hatch and drop items in, so you don't have to slam the rear hatch shut to squeeze everything in if that makes sense. Very packing friendly.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 10th 2019 10:41 am

Got the new power window motor and the new door lock actuator installed yesterday. Also got the new speakers in place. I was so cooked from several days in the sun, I forgot to take very many pictures of the progress, but I'll share what I can.

So the Memphis 1" tweeters I ordered from eBay arrived. Darn if that box doesn't look huge for a pair of 1" tweeters right?

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Yeah, that's a big box because the Amazon seller sent me a whole case of them. lol I just re-read the Amazon description, and there is nothing in there to indicate you are purchasing 10 SETS of 1" tweeters. LMFAO! Oh well, I have extras now.

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So the factory tweeters have a female pigtail you can clip off, but the factory door speakers female socket is soldered directly to the speaker. I have a very nice soldering station, but still didn't want to fiddle with trying to wire to the socket direct, so I stopped back by the stereo shop and he had packages of two female pigtails ready to go. I also mistakenly grabbed 5.25" door speakers, but when I pulled them I realized they were 6.5" speakers. So while I was at the stereo shop, I grabbed some "Power Bass" brand (first I had heard of them) 6.5" speakers for cheap.

Old factory tweeter

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Notice the disc that the tweeter is mounted in. I couldn't find an easy way of getting it out of that disc without damaging either, so I just used clear packaging tape to hold the new one firmly in it's place. I will say I'm very impressed with the new Power Bass brand speaker, it sounds great.

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Here is the factory socket attached to the 6.5" speakers.

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And the new pigtails I got to remedy that issue.

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I'm satisfied with all the parts I've used for this job, so I'll link them in case anyone else needs some.

DOOR PANEL CLIPS

POWER WINDOW MOTOR

POWER DOOR LOCK ACTUATOR

I also picked up a "Blue Driver" brand bluetooth transmitter for OBDII diagnostics and logging. I'll review it in a separate thread though.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 21st 2019 7:13 pm

Cleaned and painted the Reese hitch receiver. Paint was supposed to be a hammered finish, doesn't look very hammered to me, but I hosed it on anyway. Nice and shiny now, no more crusty rust.

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Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - May 31st 2019 6:34 pm

Got the little ladies (Jasmine is 14, Miakota "Mia" for short is 13) out yesterday and worked with them on installing the trailer wiring and hitch receiver. Taught them how to test the wiring from the factory harness, solder and shrink tube the connections, and remove the rear bumper, then lastly install the hitch receiver.

The original inner bumper reinforcement is rotten pretty bad, so we ordered a new one, and will re-install the bumper once it arrives. Broke one Stanley socket wrench in the process, but overall they had a great time learning, and I had a great time teaching. Going to need help getting the wiring bracket mounted to the receiver as my drill just wasn't cutting it today.

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Posted By: Reed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - June 01st 2019 5:35 pm

Originally Posted by kursed
Got the little ladies (Jasmine is 14, Miakota "Mia" for short is 13) out yesterday and worked with them on installing the trailer wiring and hitch receiver. Taught them how to test the wiring from the factory harness, solder and shrink tube the connections, and remove the rear bumper, then lastly install the hitch receiver.

The original inner bumper reinforcement is rotten pretty bad, so we ordered a new one, and will re-install the bumper once it arrives. Broke one Stanley socket wrench in the process, but overall they had a great time learning, and I had a great time teaching. Going to need help getting the wiring bracket mounted to the receiver as my drill just wasn't cutting it today.



Excellent! Neither you nor they will ever regret the quality time you spent teaching them how to be self sufficient. Good job!
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - June 02nd 2019 12:12 am

Originally Posted by Reed
Excellent! Neither you nor they will ever regret the quality time you spent teaching them how to be self sufficient. Good job!


Thanks man. They are always eager to learn. They love learning all sorts of things. I'm very blessed to have 3 amazing kiddos for sure.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 08th 2019 10:33 pm

Front brake pads and rotors are done. Right side pads were cracked and missing a chunk, probably causing the pedal vibration. Kept the old rotors in case I can find someone local to turn them for me. Driver side has a fairly new caliper and hose already. The girls did a great job on their first brake job (13 & 14). Front and rear shocks tomorrow. Forgot to grab pics of the new rotors and stuff, but they're working great. Might grab pics of that tomorrow while doing the shocks.

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Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 09th 2019 9:44 pm

Started off the morning teaching the girls how to bleed the brakes, they are nice and solid now. Then removed the old rear shocks and installed a set of Monroe Load Adjust rear coil overs. Hard to tell in the comparison picture, but we gained about 2". Pretty sure the leaf springs are weak as well, so they will be on the short list as well. HUGE improvement in ride as the old shocks were well past garbage. True test will be in a few days with the 6'x12' utility trailer loaded down and all the kiddos in their seats. So far I'm very pleased with the new shocks. Picked up the front shocks today on the way home, will hopefully install those tomorrow.

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Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 11th 2019 1:55 am

Got the front shocks on today. Man what a pain getting to the top nut on the passenger side. Also decided to go ahead and do the passenger side caliper and hose. Seemed like that side was getting a little hotter than the other, figured the caliper was beyond due replacing it, might as well throw a new one on. MAN what a darn difference all the new shocks and brakes made. Feels like a brand new van.

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Posted By: Deathorvictory

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 11th 2019 2:00 am

I’ve got shocks ready for mine, excited to see what the difference in ride will be. Looks great. You’re putting in some work!
Posted By: newkirkinc1

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 11th 2019 12:27 pm

Excellent work going on there. Nice score on those speakers! lol
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 11th 2019 8:33 pm

Originally Posted by Deathorvictory
I’ve got shocks ready for mine, excited to see what the difference in ride will be. Looks great. You’re putting in some work!


I'm SOOOOO stoked on the difference my shocks made. AMAZING!
Posted By: lukester

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 12th 2019 9:08 pm

Lots of good stuff going on there. It's great to see the kids involved too.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 13th 2019 2:33 am

Originally Posted by lukester
Lots of good stuff going on there. It's great to see the kids involved too.


Thanks man! I'm super stoked they are always so eager to learn and pitch in. Very blessed indeed.

On a side note, the girls are about to do their very first entire brake job on their own for a friend of ours on her 2007 Honda Odyssey van. She needs all new pads and she has one wheel bearing making a funky noise. Sounds like a 50cc moped stuck in the wheel well above 45mph. LOL!
Posted By: kursed

Re: Clean Francine - 2000 Astro LS - July 25th 2019 10:55 pm

Nothing major lately, but we did get the rear bumper on today.

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