2000 Chevy Astro

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With a little one on the way, the wife decided that we needed something capable of hauling more than two people, yet getting a few more MPGs than my Cutlass, so the she traded her truck in on a slightly used (32,000 mi.) 2000 Chevy Astro van. I didn't argue too much - it's got a 190 HP/250 lb.-ft. Vortec V6 and rear-wheel drive. That means it can tow tons better than the Sonoma, plus the interior space is awesome, and even the lower-end model that we got comes with power windows, locks, mirrors, tilt, etc. The one we snagged has factory CD and subs, overhead driver info display (mileage, range, and such), and the nifty dutch doors (with wiper on the hatch) in back. Handles pretty well for a flying brick as well, though I'm dying to slap a 2" drop on it! Amazingly, Cheri's not opposed to this in principle, since the thing will still be taller than her truck was even with the drop.

Besides the lowering, future plans include speaker upgrades (I have no complaint with the factory head unit), possible ampage, maybe a factory CD changer, remote start, and better wheels and tires. Definitely better tires! The Uniroyal Tiger Paws that GM puts on most of the trucks (including our old Sonoma) suck big rocks. I was about to be rid of the things after 97,000 miles on the truck, but now the van has a fresh(er) set. These things squeek and squeal at every opportunity, yet still don't grip the road any better than, oh, say, your average oil-covered marble. They are particularly ineffective in the wet. They do ride well, but that's because the sidewall is incredibly soft. Cheri managed to blow out one of the tires on the Sonoma once. When she got it home, I looked at the blown tire and could find no trace of the outer sidewall. There was the inner sidewall, the tread, and the outer bead on the rim. That's it. Don't think I'll wait for these to wear out. Besides, I want 16- or 17-inch rims...

BTW - did you know that GM limits the top speed of their cars to just over 100 MPH? Got the van up to 100, and then it just quit, like hitting the rev-limiter. Bummer. On the other hand - it'll do 100 MPH! Even feels solid and steady at that speed... :)


UPDATE: had to replace the intake gaske after GM's stupid plastic-gasket-with-o-rings crumbled around the coolant crossover passe and started dumping coolant into the intake valley. It seems to have survived the resulting milkshake in the oilpan, amazingly.

UPDATE: Gone. Traded in on our 2008 Kia Spectra5.

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