Putting new engine into a $1200 Chevy Astro worth it?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by zeelandia, Dec 28, 2010.

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  1. zeelandia

    zeelandia Junior Member

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    I've been searching around for a new car; new being relative here. I've always thought the Chevy Astro van to be pretty helpful. I finally found a '00 model off of Craigslist for $1200 with an engine that looks to be shot.

    1) How much would a new engine cost? Like $1500 maybe?
    2) How much would labor cost?
    3) Ultimately, you guys think its worth it?

    Let's say engine and labor is $3000 total. Thats like having a new car for $4500. Right? Right...?

    As always, your opinions are valued no matter how insulting. :D
     
  2. wiredspider

    wiredspider Diamond Member

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  3. quakefiend420

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    no, because the engine isn't the only component of a vehicle...you have the transmission and the rest of the driveline, suspension, electrical, etc etc
     
  4. RPD

    RPD Diamond Member

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    No and wrong forum :(
     
  5. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    $1,200 sounds high to me for an 11 year old Astro with a blown motor. It /might/ be worth it if the rest was in good shape, AND you did the work yourself, but not paying someone to do the work for you.
     
  6. memory

    memory Senior member

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    My dad has a 89 Chevy 2500 that recently had a new motor installed. He bought a brand new GM crate engine(350 I think) for $800 from Coyle Chevrolet. He still had to pay for labor(not through Coyle) to install it but don't know how much. I would not think it would be anywhere near $3000.
     
  7. Fenixgoon

    Fenixgoon Lifer

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    you have to factor in the cost of the engine *and* the labor. labor is $$$$
     
  8. mmntech

    mmntech Lifer

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  9. iGas

    iGas Diamond Member

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    Not worth it if it is a service vehicle, because the transmission and suspension can go at anytime due to weight over load and abuse.
     
  10. Iron Woode

    Iron Woode Lifer

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    either get a reman'd v6 or buy a SBC swap kit and make a killer van out of it.

    :awe:
     
  11. thomsbrain

    thomsbrain Lifer

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    Transmissions are notorious weak points on Astros.

    Personally, I don't think the van will be worth $4500 when you're done fixing it. $0.02.
     
  12. kornphlake

    kornphlake Golden Member

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    First off the 4l60e transmission is no more prone to failure than any other transmission in any other mini-van. That transmission is used in several GM vehicles including several heavier vehicles and/or vehicles with much more powerful engines than the 4.3l vortec. I won't say it's perfect, but I wouldn't suspect it to fail any sooner than any other transmission of the same age. Second, plenty of people put V8 engines in Astro vans and report no problems except for a stupid grin that takes weeks to wash off. That said, I'd probably pass on that van unless you've 1) done an engine swap before or 2) you're looking for a project car so you can say you've done an engine swap in the future.
     
    #12 kornphlake, Dec 29, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  13. BTRY B 529th FA BN

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  14. Meghan54

    Meghan54 Diamond Member

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    I have to ask.....OP, have you ever driven/lived with an Astro van for any length of time?

    If you haven't....they're very stiffly sprung and ride like a concrete block when empty, they're not exactly quiet under any circumstance, the driving position is not the best...esp. foot placement as the wheel well intrudes a LOT into the foot well, they're rather hungry beasts, and did I mention they're not exactly quiet?

    As for the mileage, depends upon how it was maintained. While my current vehicle isn't an Astro van (although I owned one for a year), I've got a GM vehicle with the same exact drivetrain with 220K miles on it and have no qualms about hitching up our boat and pulling it for hours.....in fact, it's going to pull the boat to the lake on Friday if the weather forcasts are correct and we hit 70F as predicted.
     
  15. dawp

    dawp Diamond Member

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    if it overheats in 10 minutes, I'd say a bad thermostat, easy test is to just remove it and let it run and if it works fine, that was the problem. It'll cost less tham 20 bucks to replace it.
     
  16. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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    Cars/Trucks that need major work like that are knows as mechanic specials. If you can't do the work then it is probable not worth it. If it was worth it to replace the motor/trans and then sell they would.
     
  17. AMCRambler

    AMCRambler Diamond Member

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    Not worth it.

    For $4,500 you can get a pretty nice used van. A van with a blown motor has likely been abused which means it can have a lot more problems that aren't readily apparent.

    Here are a few near me:

    2002 Chevy Astro 125,400mi - $4,500
    2003 Chevy Astro 132,423mi - $4,495
    2003 Chevy Astro AWD 135,000mi - $3,900

    Forget buying one with a blown motor. It's not worth the hassle. Especially an Astro van that's not going to be worth the money you're putting into it.
     
  18. halik

    halik Lifer

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    Why would you want that vehicle?
     
  19. SJP0tato

    SJP0tato Senior member

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    This is true, that or the water pump are likely culprits. The trouble is most people who'd sell a vehicle for overheating have probably already driven hundreds/thousands of miles on it in an overheated condition blowing headgaskets, warping heads/decks, and just generally destroying the engine. It's possible to get lucky and find one that just needs a few parts and some TLC, but it's equally as likely to find one that's 100% trashed and not worth salvaging.
     
  20. kornphlake

    kornphlake Golden Member

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    $1200 is pretty cheap for a lockable outdoor storage container, I don't think there are permitting requirements like there would be with a shed or other temporary building. For a van with that many miles and of that age I don't think it's worth the price.
     
  21. GuitarDaddy

    GuitarDaddy Lifer

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  22. MovingTarget

    MovingTarget Diamond Member

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    Astro Vans are pretty useful/durable vehicles. However, considering how common they were I'd find one in better condition unless you know how to replace that engine yourself.
     
  23. exar333

    exar333 Diamond Member

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    If you can do the work yourself (or know someone who can do it for you), replacing the engine would make sense. For this car, you would probably do better with just getting a new one.
     
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