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2001 Chevy Astro Van

I am BLESSED! a co-worker took pitty on me (my husband and i share our car which means that i get dropped off @ work an hour early and am here an hour later waiting for him to pick me up) and gave me her Van! She had recently purchased another vehicle and offered me the use of the van “until” the wheels fall off. Now i get to work 10 minutes late as nature intended. but this is not the reason for my email. There are a couple of things that i’m curious about that i thought you guys might shed some light on:

1- i have no AC and in Houston, TX that’s a pain but i will not complain. But here’s the weird thing when i’m running the heat on cold mornings it will only blow warm air when the van is IN MOTION… is there something i can do to make it stop doing that?

2- the engine purrs like a kitten… runs GREAT. However, sometimes when i crank the engine it’s slow to start and will on occasion POP… when it does that i have to lay on the gas to get the engine to say on… it will turn but it will have a little trouble staying on which requires pressing the gas. on those occasions it will idle REALLY ROUGH until it’s been running for about 2 minutes.

3-the motor on the passenger side window is dead and the window is cracked about 3 inches open. How difficult is it to replace the motor? I’m no mechanic but i did replace a starter on a car i owned before so i think i could do it with a little direction.

Thanks for your time and attention…


There are several common AC problems with the Astro,but you are OK with it inop.

Is your “check engine” light on? lets get this vehicle up on maintiance before we go to the oddball things that cause driveability issues.

That window motor is very easy to change,involves some rivet grinding (you can use screws for the new) of course the door panel must come off,easy also.Give the window motor a good wack with a hammer,it may start working again.

You should replace the window regulator and motor at the same time. You can find them on line for less than $100; the dealer will probably charge nearly $400 for it. I’ve done this several times. Watch out for the ones without guarantees. I just put one in that has a lifetime guarantee for the buyer.

the check engine light IS on… however the mechanic told my friend (who recently had it serviced) that the light comes on because it has exceeded 100k miles (138+ actually). i can learn to live without the ac… my commute is pretty short. but it would be nice to have heat when i’m at a stop light instead of cold air blowing at me. is there a hose or something that might need to be replaced, tightened that would cause cold air to blow when it’s idling?

Really bad analysis by that mechanic,first thing to check when you do not have heat is coolant level,how is it?does it look brown and sandy?(it should not)

Many of use grew up when just getting to 100K with your car was a major milestone and the vehicle was used up by then, with proper care this is almost never the case with a modern vehicle,your Astro could have many more miles left,but it isn’t looking good,that mechanics comment worries me,I hope his hand was not heavy on this car.