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How to Remove an Astro 4.3 Engine

by Ron Sardisco

Removing the 4.3L engine from an Astro van is a challenging project that should only be attempted by an experienced home mechanic with a capable helper. Find a firm level surface that will support the van on stands and allow the engine hoist to roll easily. Safety should be your first concern. Never place any part of your body under the vehicle or engine that is supported by only a hoist or jack and always use a solid support stand.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a wrench. Drain the coolant into a container for re-use or recycling. Remove the engine cover from inside the vehicle by removing the screws under the hood, the dash lower extension and support rods then releasing the two latches.

Remove the hood, grille, headlights, radiator support braces, horn, hood latch mechanism and anything else that will prevent the removal of the radiator and ultimately the engine from being pulled through the grille opening. This includes the radiator and shrouds, air conditioning condenser and air cleaner. Disconnect the radiator hoses and remove the radiator with its supports and shroud.

Disconnect the fuel lines. The V6 engine has constant bleed so no special procedure is necessary to relieve the pressure. Be prepared to clean up any spilled fuel. If not already done, disconnect the transmission cooler lines and clean up any spilled fluid. Label and disconnect all vacuum lines and wiring connections. Disconnect the throttle, cruise control and any other cables from the engine.

Remove the power steering pump, leaving the hoses connected. Remove the air conditioning compressor. Use rope or wire to support it if necessary. Do not disconnect any part of the air conditioning system; simply lay the components aside. Remove the transmission dipstick if so equipped.

Raise the van with a floor jack and support it on jack stands. From under the vehicle, disconnect the exhaust manifolds from the exhaust pipe, remove the bell housing cover, bell housing bolts and the starter motor. Unbolt the torque converter from the flex plate and the strut rods. Remove the engine mount bolts and nuts. Support the front of the transmission with the floor jack.

Attach an engine hoist to the lift plates on the engine, then lift the engine a little and pull it forward slightly. If necessary, have a helper separate the torque converter from the engine with a large screwdriver or pry bar. Be sure the helper is out of the way before proceeding. Continue pulling and lifting until the engine is clear of the vehicle. Gently set the engine on wood blocks or an engine stand.

Tip

  • Since it is often a long time between removal and re-installation, take pictures of all assemblies for reference.

Warning

  • Engine coolant is hazardous to the environment and pets. Dispose of it properly.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

After attending Pasadena City College as a business major, Ron Sardisco spent 35 years studying small business and organizational behavior. More than 20 years as a banker, 10 years as a small business owner and five years as a business adviser fuel his passion for writing and mentoring others. An award-winning photographer, he was also a contributing columnist to the "Antelope Valley Press."

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