Chris Raglin wrote:
It definatley doesn't tow as easily as a 1/2 ton truck, but is better than a mid-sized SUV with a 6 cyl.
I also towed with an Astro for several years. Chris is pretty much right on point in his review. Mine towed adequately, was plenty stable towing my 1500 lbs, double axle trailer with a 1900 lbs car on it and wheels/tires/tools in the back. I too could squeeze 16 mph towing in ideal conditions. 15 was pretty typical. Its not as quiet or comfortable as a half ton truck/van. You find yourself having to work harder to maintain speed and work traffic. Brakes suck. LT tires help with stability.
I will also second the rear axle issue. This is a problem on any Astro that hauls loads or tows. The carrier bearings go away and make a lot of noise. It will require a rebuild. The 4.3 is a good motor but is showing its age. The things I hated about mine were the little things; Door latches that broke off in your hands. Window channels that repeatedly popped their spot welds. The slider door latch that will fail with the door impossible to latch. AC/Heater fan switch which runs so hot you can burn your hand on the dash above it. The switch will fail as the fan motor gets older and the load burns up the fan switch contacts. I carried a spare. It cost $10.
Then there is the transmission. '92+ Astros have the 4L60E automatic in it. This is the #1 transmission in the aftermarket repair industry. It will fail. It will fail catastrophically at the worst possible time. Halfway to Nationals for me. ....the first time. The last time three days before leaving for Nationals and resulted in the theft of my racecar/trailer.
After towing with the Astro I upgraded to a full sized van, a Ford Clubwagon XLT and wondered why I suffered with the Astro for all of those years.