How to Remove an Astro Van Subframe Assemblyby Russell Wood
The Chevrolet Astro van is an interesting vehicle because the front of the vehicle has a traditional body-on-frame design, but the frame stops short just after the rear transmission, leaving the rear suspension to hang on the chassis itself. If you want to remove the front subframe to either get better access to the motor or replace it with another model, it will take some heavy equipment and work, but it can be done.
Park the Astro van on the hydraulic lift and set the lifting arms of the lift on the body of the Astro, not the frame. Lift the Astro using the lift and unbolt the driveline from the axle using an open-end wrench. Once it's disconnected, place the drain pan underneath the rear of the transmission and pull the driveline from the transmission to allow it to empty into the drain pan.
Unbolt the shift linkage from the column shifter to the transmission from underneath the vehicle using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench. Then unplug the wiring on the transmission using your hands.
Lower the vehicle on the lift and place the drain pan underneath the radiator. Unscrew the hose clamps securing the upper and lower radiator hoses to the engine using a flathead screwdriver. Disconnect the heater lines running to the firewall in the same manner, and use an open-end wrench to unscrew the transmission cooler lines from the radiator.
Crawl into the cab and unbolt the wiring harness from the firewall using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Lift the vehicle slightly using the vehicle lift and set the jack stands underneath the subframe. Lower the vehicle so that the subframe rests on the stands.
Unbolt the six body mounts from the chassis using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket. Raise the body of the Astro van a few inches with the lift and check to make sure that everything is disconnected correctly. No wires, hoses or lines should be hanging on the body when you lift it off the subframe. Then continue to raise the vehicle until the subframe is separated completely from the body.
Things You'll Need
- Hydraulic vehicle lift
- Drain pan
- Open-end wrench set
- 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set
- 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set
- Flathead screwdriver
- Jack stands
Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.