Chevrolet Astro

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Posted by bender 04/24/2009 @ 20:12

Tags : chevrolet astro, chevrolet, cars, leisure

News headlines
Three taken to hospital after vehicle collision - Yuma Sun
Meanwhile, Alejandro Arredondo, 22, of Somerton, was driving his silver 2002 Chevrolet Astro van south on 4th Avenue, police said. Lopez turned in front of Arredondo's silver van, which resulted in both vehicles colliding in the intersection....
Kingsport man accused of buying vehicles with bad checks - Kingsport Times News
The checks were written for amounts ranging from $1000 to $4200 — the latter written to purchase a Chevrolet Astro Van, according to Sullivan County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Keith Elton. The fraudulent purchases were made between April 16 and...
East Ridge Man Charged With Trying To Abduct 2 13-Year-Old Girls - The Chattanoogan
Police said the girls were walking home on E. 17th Street when a red, early 1990s Chevrolet Astro van pulled next to them. The driver, an Hispanic male with a beard, asked them if a business was open. He then asked them where they lived....
Woman thrown from van, struck by two cars on I-43 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
According to sheriff's Sgt. Phil Wentzel, the woman was southbound on I-43 just south of W. North Ave. about 9:45 pm when she lost control of the Chevrolet Astro van she was driving. She hit a cement wall on the left side and was ejected from the van....
Suspect Sought In Columbia County Attempted Burglary - WJBF-TV
He stated he pulled the video surveillance from the night before and was able to observe a light colored Chevrolet Astro van enter the parking lot at 12:59 am A white male exits the van and throws what appears to be a rock at the front door....
Gresham man dies in I-84 collision - Gresham Outlook
Driving a 1997 Chevrolet Astro van, Tapu was following a co-worker's vehicle eastbound in the left lane through a work zone. The co-worker was behind an ODOT maintenance truck with a crash absorber and illuminated arrow sign....
Mahnomen County collision injures 4 - Grand Forks Herald
Elbert W. White, 25, of Bemidji, was driving a 1997 Chevrolet Astro van east on Highway 200 with four passengers: Taria R. White, 22, Elise W. White, 4, Angelique E. White, infant, and Eldon W. Cloud, 14, all of Bemidji. The van rear-ended a 1988 Ford...
Vehicle plunges down riverbank - Mohave Valley News
Passers-by helped Lindsey, of Kingman, out of the 1995 green Chevrolet Astro Van, said Emily Montague, police department spokeswoman. Lindsey was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The van had been reported stolen at 10:20 am Wednesday....
Police Calls - Green Bay Press Gazette
Drug arrest: Two 36-year-old men were arrested April 20 after deputies found marijuana in their 1993 Chevrolet Astro van during a traffic stop at Roland Lane and Lenwood Avenue. The men were initially stopped for having excessive window tint....
Local man upgraded after US 35 accident - Palladium-Item
Daniel Kiracofe, of 2316 NW 17th St., was listed in critical condition after being extricated from his 1992 Chevrolet Astro and flown by helicopter to the hospital in Dayton, Ohio. His southbound minivan veered off the highway, went through a fence and...

Chevrolet Astro

2nd-gen Chevrolet Astro cargo van

The Chevrolet Astro was a rear-wheel drive minivan introduced by Chevrolet in 1985 to rival domestic (American) competitors the Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager twins and the Japanese Toyota Van. Also sharing the Astro's platform was its sibling, the GMC Safari. In addition to standard passenger uses, the vans were also available as cargo vans, and converters used them as the basis for small conversion vans.

Both Pontiac and GMC have used the Safari nameplate (GMC is part of the Pontiac/GMC division); Pontiac used the nameplate on several of its station wagon models from 1955 through 1989. The two Safaris, both Pontiac and GMC, were on the market together (often sold by the same dealerships) from 1985 through 1989.

The Astro model name had been used previously for the unrelated Chevrolet Astro 1 Concept car, first shown at the New York Auto Show of 1967.

While the Astro was referred to as a minivan, it was sized between the Chevrolet Venture/Lumina APV unibody minivan and the full-size Chevy Van/Express. Similar to the Ford Aerostar, it utilized powertrain components common to GM's other light trucks, yet unlike the trucks the chassis was unibody in structure with a front sub-frame to support the engine and front suspension.

Due to the truck-based powertrain, the Astro and Safari could pull 5,500 lb (2,500 kg) with proper equipment. AWD models could tow up to 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) when properly equipped. This is opposed to front-wheel drive minivans; most of which are limited to a 3,500 pound towing capacity.

Initial advertising boasted that it was a vehicle that will "make you realize that life is too big for a minivan", referring to the Chrysler minivans.

Engines options ranged from 145 to 190 hp (108 to 142) kW 4.3L V6 engine, depending on options and/or model year.

The van seated up to 8 passengers.

In addition to being sold in North America, the Chevrolet Astro was exported to Japan, where the van enjoys a cult following. In 2005, to celebrate the last year of Astro production, Chevrolet of Japan offered a limited edition run of the final production models. The Astro's popularity in Japan comes even though it was only offered in left-hand drive.

Much like the second-generation GM F-body 1970-1981 and X-body vehicles, the GM M-van (Astro/Safari) had a bolt-on subframe incorporating the front suspension from a GM B-body station wagon (Chevrolet Caprice, Cadillac Brougham) with a leaf-spring rear suspension. The lower ball joints were larger than their B-body counterparts (similar to 1977-96 Cadillac D platform vehicles e.g. Fleetwood limousines). These ball joints were later used in the final Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 (police package) cars manufactured in 1995 and 1996. They also shared many mechanical similarities to the GMT 325/330 midsize S/T Pickup/Utilities.

As mentioned above, the Astro and Safari were rear-wheel drive vehicles, but in 1990 a new all-wheel drive (AWD) system, designed and developed by FF Developments (FFD), was made optional. The AWD models had a lower fuel economy: 17 miles per gallon highway versus 20-21 for rear-drive vans. Premature idler arm wear on the AWD front suspension is a common problem.

Hundreds of instances of front torsion bar failure in the AWD suspension were reported to the NHTSA. The torsion bars failed without warning, resulting in bottoming of the suspension. Repair required replacement of both torsion bar assemblies with upgraded designs at a cost of about $1000. No fatalities were reported.

In 1990, a new dash was introduced along with the availability of an extended body option, however actual wheelbase is identical for all Astros. The 1990 model year also introduced the hydroboost braking system, a system using the same accessory belt driven pump to supply the power steering and brakes.

In 1995, the model was face lifted with an extended nose that resembled the then-new full-size Express vans. Also for 1995, the shorter length body was dropped. In 1996, a redesigned dash received a passenger side air-bag. The vans remained mostly unchanged until canceled in 2005.

In 2003, GM upgraded the chassis of both the Astro and Safari with certain suspension components, larger brakes, and six-lug, 16 inch wheels from the full-size Chevrolet and GMC half-ton pickup trucks. The modifications improved the poor handling and braking of the vans.

Faced with falling sales across its vehicle lines, General Motors began closing plants and discontinuing slow-selling vehicle lines. With new federal standards for side impact and head injury reductions coming, GM determined that there was no use in expending money for a redesign of a vehicle line that was no longer selling well. Thus, the Safari and Astro were taken out of production in May 14, 2005, and the long-serving Baltimore, Maryland assembly plant where both were built was closed. It was the only rear-wheel drive minivan which was produced for 20 model years - a longer run than its nearest rival, the Ford Aerostar, which ceased production in 1997, and the only remaining rear-wheel drive minivan in the United States and Canada since the original Mazda MPV ceased production in 1998. It was also the only rear-wheel drive minivan in the United States and Canada to spawn two generations, and also was the only rear-wheel drive minivan in the United States and Canada since the Volkswagen Eurovan ceased production in 2003. In total, the Baltimore plant produced approximately 3,700,000 Astro and Safari vans.

In the Chevrolet line, the Astro was replaced by the Chevrolet Uplander "crossover sport van", which also replaced the Chevrolet Venture. Like the Astro, the Uplander is available in cargo and passenger versions, although its front-wheel drive unibody platform makes it less suitable for heavy-duty work. GMC has replaced the Safari with their Acadia 7-passenger crossover SUV for 2007.

In testing performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), however, the Astro and Safari fared better, improving from a single-star rating in 1990 to a three-star (driver) and four-star (passenger) rating by 1999. In side impacts, the Astro and Safari both received the highest, five-star rating in every year that the test was administered.

In addition to their popularity as conversion vans, the Astro and Safari both have popular followings with "back yard" modifiers. Modifications are both street and off-road. Some vans have the original 4.3L Vortec V6 engine replaced with a small-block V8 engine, such as the Chevrolet 350 engine. This switch is simplified because the 4.3L V6 is based on the GM small-block V8, and most of the factory drivetrain components can be reused.

Because of its truck based design, the Astro also is popular with some off road and camping enthusiasts. The combination of a powerful drivetrain, large cargo and passenger space, all-wheel drive, and optional locking differential for the rear axle facilitate off road modifications. The suspension can be lifted, allowing larger tires and clearance with relatively small changes in exterior appearance.

The Chevrolet Astro has been parodied as the "Moonbeam" in various Grand Theft Auto games.

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Chevrolet 90-Degree V6 engine

The Chevrolet 90° V6 family of engines began in 1978 with the Chevrolet 200 cid (3.3 L) V6 as the base engine for the all new 1978 Chevrolet Malibu. This engine family is still produced today, as the 4.3 L V6 engine used in Chevrolet and GMC trucks and vans.

These engines have a 90° vee block with 12 valves activated by a pushrod valvetrain. All engines have cast iron blocks and cylinder heads. The engines are based on the Chevrolet Small-Block engine, and the V6 is formed by the removal of the #3 and #6 cylinders. The V6s share the same 4.4" bore spacing and 9.025" deck height as the V8 engines. Many parts are interchangeable between the 90° V6 and the small block V8 including valvetrain components, bearings, piston assemblies, lubrication and cooling system components, and external accessories. The 90-degree V6 engine uses the same transmission bellhousing pattern as the Chevrolet small-block V8 engine. All the engines use a 1-6-5-4-3-2 firing order. The engines in this family are longitudinal engines, and have only been used in rear-wheel drive cars and trucks.

Introduced in 1978, the 200 cid replaced the larger 250 cid as the base engine for Chevrolet's new downsized intermediate line. The 200 cid used a unique 3.5" bore and a 3.48" stroke (the Chevrolet 305 cid and 350 cid V8 engines shared the same stroke dimension). These bore and stroke dimensions were later used by the 267 cid V8 Cheverolet engine. Also like the small block V8 engines, the 200 cid V6 used 2.45" main bearings and 2.10" rod bearing diameters.

Being a 90-degree V6, Chevrolet took steps to eliminate the rough running tendencies of the 200. The crankshaft has each of its connecting rod throws offset by 18 degrees for each pair of rods. This required the connecting rods to have 0.050" narrower ends as well as a thrust bearing to be installed between each pair of rods. However, the connecting rods were still the same 5.7" in length as most other small block Chevrolet V8 engines. This produced an engine that with a semi-even fire sequence of 132 degrees/108 degrees.

The 200 cid V6 was only produced for 1978 and 1979. It was only ever available with a 2-barrel carburetor. In 1978, the 200 cid used the Rochester 2GC carburetor and in 1979 it used a Rochester Dualjet carburetor. The smaller Dualjet carburetor caused a slight decrease in power.

The 229 cid engine was first introduced for the 1980 model year and was produced until 1984. This engine replaced the 250 cid in fullsize Chevrolets and Camaros as the new base V6. Additionally, the intermediate Chevrolet Malibu and Monte Carlo also used the 229 cid as a replacement for both the 200 cid V6, and the 231 cid Buick V6. Both the 231 cid Buick V6 and the 229 cid Chevrolet V6 are 90 degree V6 engines, and both are often referred to as the 3.8L V6. These engines should not be confused as being the same, and are completely unique engine designs.

The 229 cid has a 3.736" bore and a 3.48" stoke, identical to the Chevrolet 305 cid V8 engine. The 229 cid used the same 2.45" main bearing and 2.10" rod bearing diameters as the 200 cid V6 engine. Also like the 200 cid V6, the 229 cid used the same crankshaft with the 18 degree offset throws and the same 5.7" connecting rods with 0.050" narrowed ends. It came equipped with 1.84" intake valves and 1.50" exhaust valves. The 229 cid V6 was only equipped with a 2-barrel carburetor. For 1980 the 229 cid used a mechanical Dualjet. From 1981 - 1984 the electronic Dualjet was used along with the GM's CCC (Computer Command Control) system. The 229 cid was rated between 110 and 115 hp (86 kW).

The 4.3L (262 cid) V6 is the last and most successful engine in the Chevrolet 90-degree V6 engine family. This engine was introduced in 1985 as a replacement for the 229 cid V6 in the fullsize Chevrolet and the Chevrolet El Camino. It also replaced the 250 cid in the Chevrolet fullsize trucks and fullsize vans as the new base six cylinder engine.

The 4.3L V6 has a 4.00" bore and a 3.48" stroke, identical to the 350 cid Chevrolet V8 engine. To create a true even fire engine, Chevrolet produced a crankshaft with 30 degree offsets between each rod pin. Consequentially, rod journals were increased to a larger 2.25". The connecting rods used on the 4.3L are therefore unique to this engine, being 5.7" in length, but having the larger 2.25" journals. The 4.3L also used larger valves than the 229 cid V6, with a 1.94" intake valve and a 1.50" exhaust valve.

In 1986 and 1987, the 4.3L engine saw engine design upgrades similar to the Chevrolet small block V8. In 1986, the rear main crankshaft oil seal was changed from a two piece to a once piece seal. Some 1985 model year vehicles would have a 1986 engine due to service replacement - cylinder blocks were shipped with oil pans. 1987 saw new center bolt valve covers and hydraulic roller lifters.

For the 1992 model year, the 4.3L had its block design modified to allow a balance shaft to be installed. Even though the 4.3L is an even fire V6, the 90 degree block layout is not ideal for smoothness. The balance shaft on the 4.3L is installed above the top timing gear, and runs through the top of the lifter valley. It is gear driven off the timing chain, and therefore a new timing chain cover was designed for these balanced 4.3L V6s.

In 1985, the 4.3L was either equipped with throttle-body fuel injection, RPO LB4 or a Rochester Quadrajet 4-Barrel carburetor, RPO LB1. The Chevrolet fullsize sedans and the Chevrolet El Camino used the LB4 rated at 130 hp (97 kW). Pick-ups and Vans used the LB1 version rated at 155 hp (116 kW). The LB1 used in trucks and vans was referred to as Vortec in Chevrolet literature, and this name continued to be used with all truck and van 4.3L V6s until present day.

In 1986, the 4.3L engine used in the Chevrolet Caprice and El Camino saw an increase in power to 140 hp (100 kW). This engine remained unchanged until 1990 when it was last used in taxi and Police Chevrolet Caprices. In 1986 the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans used the fuel injected LB4 instead of the LB1. In 1987, the Chevrolet full size pick-ups and fullsize vans were upgraded to use the LB4 throttle-body injection version of the 4.3L. From 1987 onwards LB4s output was 160 hp (120 kW) for pickups, while fullsize vans were rated at 150 hp (110 kW). In 1988 the S-series trucks and S-Blazer and Jimmys had the LB4 4.3L as an available option (the accessory drive was upgraded to a serpentine belt drive). The LB4 continued until 1996 with minor variations in power, but without any major change.

For the 1990-1991 model years a high ouotput 4.3L V6 was an available option for the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans. The LU2 used unique hypereutectic, strutless pistons and a more aggressive camshaft. Like the LB4, the LU2 used throttle-body fuel injection, but was rated at 170 hp (130 kW) and 260 ft·lbf (350 N·m) of torque. This engine was replaced in 1992 with the L35.

1992 introduced a new version of the 4.3L, the L35. This version of the 4.3L was equipped with CPI (Central Port Fuel Injection). This system had one centrally located fuel injector distribute fuel to six hoses each with a poppet valve to each of the intake ports. This system allowed for a multi-point injection, using one injector. The fuel injection was a batch fire system and used a two piece cast aluminum dual-plenum manifold. This engine was available in S-10 Blazers and S15-Jimmys and Astro and Safari vans only. The L35 was rated at 200 hp (150 kW) and 260 ft·lbf (350 N·m) of torque.

Major design changes to the 4.3L V6 for the 1996 model year. Like other small block Chevrolet V8s, the 4.3L engine received redesigned heads which had improved airflow and combustion efficiency. These heads are referred to as Vortec heads. Furthermore the 4.3L was upgraded to receive sequential port fuel injection. The fuel system uses six centrally mounted injectors firing into six nylon hoses with poppet valves leading to each intake port. This system was call SCPI (Sequential Central Port Injection). This 4.3L used a two piece manifold, with the upper half manufactured from a composite plastic and the lower half manufactured from cast aluminum.

This engine came in two versions, the LF6 rated at 175 hp (130 kW) - 180 hp (130 kW), and the L35 rated at 180 - 200 hp (150 kW). Only the S-series pick-ups used the LF6, while the fullsize trucks, vans and Blazer and Jimmy used the L35 version. The L35 was optional on the S-Series trucks.

2002 saw major changes to the 4.3L fuel injection system. For 2002 California emission Chevrolet Astros, GMC Safaris, Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras all came equipped with the updated LU3 4.3L. 2003 saw the L35 discontinued and the LU3 replacing it in all other applications. A new variation was also introduced in 2003, the LG3. For 2004 to 2009 the LU3 has been the only 4.3L produced.

The biggest change to the LU3 and LG3 was the fuel injection system. These engines used a multipoint fuel injection system, with six Multec II fuel injectors mounted at each intake port on the manifold. The composite upper intake manifold and cast aluminum lower intake from the L35 engine is also used on the LU3. The LG3 uses a cast aluminum upper intake and a cast iron lower intake.

The LU3 also received a quiet cam to help reduce vibration at both idle and high engine speeds. This camshaft used the same lift and duration as the older design, but the cam was reprofiled to keep the valve lifters in full contact with the cam lobes as the cam ramps down.

The LG3 was used in Chevrolet and GMC S-series pickups and was only produced for 2003. The LU3 was used in the Chevrolet and GMC fullsize trucks and vans, the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans and the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and GMC S-15 Jimmy. The LG3 was rated at 180 hp (130 kW) and 245 ft·lbf (332 N·m) of torque. The LU3 was rated at 190-200 hp and 250-260 ft·lbf of torque.

In 1991 GMC introduced the GMC Syclone limited edition truck that used a turbocharged 4.3L V6. This engine used a Mitsubishi TD06-17C turbocharger, Garrett Water/Air intercooler and electronic multi-point fuel injection. Although GM made these modifications to the engine, it was still referred to with the RPO LB4 code. The majority of the natuarally aspired LB4's long-block was shared with the turbo version. However, the vehicles that used the 4.3L turbo engine also included RPO code ZR9. Internal engine upgrades included nodular iron main bearing caps, graphite composite head gaskets with stainless steel flanges and hypereutectic pistons which lowered the engine compression to 8.35:1. A unique intake manifold that used the 48 mm twin-bore throttle body from the 5.7L TPI Corvette engine was used on the engine's top end.

The Turbocharged 4.3L was last used in the GMC Typhoon in the 1993 model year. The engine produced 280 hp (210 kW) @ 4400 rpm and 360 ft·lbf (490 N·m) of torque @ 3600 rpm.

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Chevrolet S-10 Blazer

1998-2005 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer LS 4-door

The Chevrolet Blazer (4WD model T-10) and the similar GMC S-15 Jimmy (4WD model T-15) were mid-size SUVs from General Motors. Production began alongside the larger K5 Blazer and Jimmy in 1983 and lasted through 2005. In the United States retail sales after 2004 were limited to two-door Blazer models, all other models being sold to fleets, until April 20, 2005. In the Canadian market, four door models of the Blazer and Jimmy were sold until the 2004 model year and until the 2005 model year for the two door models of both.

The S-series SUVs, so named because they were based on the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC S-15 pickup trucks, were produced in Pontiac, Michigan, Linden, New Jersey, Moraine, Ohio, Shreveport, Louisiana, and São Paulo, Brazil (the Brazilian version is based on the second-generation S-series; even though production ceased in the U.S., new Blazers are locally produced in Brazil with their own sheetmetal stampings). In North America, the Moraine plant produced only 4-door vehicles, with both 2 and 4 door models being produced at Linden, which was the main assembly plant after the switch (some time after 1995) from Pontiac, Michigan, which is now a full-size truck plant.

Upon the introduction of the S-10 pickup truck in 1982 to replace the Isuzu-based Chevrolet LUV, the S-10 Blazer was introduced for the 1983 model year, along with the GMC S-15 Jimmy.

Styling cues were based on the first generation K5 Blazer and Jimmy (such as the angled C-pillars and lift glass panel); the S-series Blazer and Jimmy did not feature removable hardtops like their full-size counterparts. Notably, the new, smaller Blazer and Jimmy were only offered in a two-door bodystyle, like their larger antecedents.

Base power was provided by GM's 2.0 L OHV four-cylinder engine, producing a meager 83 hp (62 kW). A 2.8 L, 110 hp (82 kW) V6 was offered as an option (coincidentally this engine was also used in Jeep's Cherokee until 1987).

Due to emissions laws, a 1.9 liter I4 gasoline engine built by Isuzu was offered as the base model engine in California in place of the 2.0 liter engine, while an Isuzu-sourced 2.2 liter diesel engine (also used in the S-series pickups) producing 58 hp (43 kW) was offered as an option.

The 1.9, 2.0, and 2.2 liter diesel were dropped after 1985, replaced by the larger 2.5 liter engine. The V6 was refitted with a throttle-body fuel injection system for 1986 in order to improve performance and fuel economy.

Jeep replaced the Cherokee's 2.8 V6 with a new, more powerful 4.0 L, 173 hp (129 kW) I6 in 1987. To keep competitive the Blazer and Jimmy received a new 4.3 L (262 cu in) V6 option in 1988 (also used with the Astro/Safari vans), based on the ubiquitous Chevrolet Small-Block V8 engine, producing a respectable 150 hp (110 kW). Power output was increased to 160 hp (120 kW) in 1989.

In March 1990, 4-door versions of the S-10 Blazer and Jimmy were introduced; the 4-door had a 6.5in longer wheelbase (2-doors had a 100.5 in wheelbase - six inches (152 mm) longer than the Ford Bronco II) and a one-piece front grille with a painted black insert (1990 2-door S-10 Blazers and Jimmies had the 3-piece grille). Early production models between March and August 1990 were initially available as a four-wheel drive only; 2WD versions commenced production around Summer 1990. This came just months ahead of the introduction of the Ford Explorer, which replaced the Bronco II; six-and-a-half years after the segment-leading Cherokee debuted with four doors. Snowflake alloy wheels (similar to the ones used on the Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari) were introduced, either painted charcoal gray or argent silver.

The upscale Oldsmobile Bravada appeared the next year featuring an All-Wheel-Drive package called "Smart-Trak". Although the first generation S-series Blazer and Jimmy were initially sold as 2-doors upon its original introduction, an episode of Motor Trend TV (c. 1991) stated that the thumbs up was for the introduction of the new bodystyle, and the thumbs down was that the 4-door bodystyle was based on the first generation model, which was in the process of a makeover.

1992 models were similar to 1991s - the only way to tell the difference is the rear back glass (the rear glass does not have any trim to which two black buttons serve as the back glass strut mounting points) and front grille (chrome shell with argent silver inserts). The interior was a carryover from 1991 with the exception of the center console and steering wheel (X-bar style similar to the one used in the GMT400 trucks). Also, the "S-15" name was dropped from the Jimmy.

1993 had a few changes - the center console was raised, and the 4L60E transmission replaced the 4L60. The grille (alongside the S-10 pickup) was revised (which was a chrome-plated version of the base work truck grille found on base S-10 pickups), along with the addition of optional 5-spoke alloy rims (for the 2WD model - basically a copy of the 3rd generation Camaro Z28 15" alloy rim).

Although the second generation S-series debuted in 1994, the S-10 Blazer and Jimmy continued unchanged in 1994, based on the first generation S-series (with the addition of a third brake light - the high-mounted rear spoiler was discontinued).

All 4-door S10 Blazers and Jimmies came with anti-lock brakes as standard equipment; unlike the 2-door model, only two 4.3 L (262 cu in) engines were optioned - the base TBI and the CPI (introduced in 1992 for the S-series and Chevrolet Astro minivans; these engines had the "Vortec" logo on the intake plenum).

1995 1/2 was the introduction of an all-new Blazer. This time, it lost the S-10 prefix and became its own model based on the second generation S-10/Sonoma pickups introduced a year earlier (the K1500 Blazer was rebadged as the Chevrolet Tahoe). Unlike before, the new Blazer was offered with a five speed manual transmission. Some models were not equipped with all wheel drive. The Blazer was Playboy magazine's Truck of the Year]] for 1995. These newer models were also available in 2-door or 4-door. A Common problem found in the new blazers was with the gas tanks. While fuel pump failure was less common, the sensors were more likely to be the ones to go.

In 1998, The interior received some cosmetic changes. The makeover offered a new dashboard, new seats, and new door handles. A front grille similar to the Chevrolet C/K pickup line's stacked-headlight system replaced the older single-headlight system, similar to the full size GMT400 trucks. In 1999, new folding mirrors replaced the old folding mirrors. For the 2001 model year, the truck received a new center console. In 1999, Chevrolet introduced a limited edition 'TrailBlazer' appearance package that was available as an upgrade to the LS and LT trims. The package featured gold-accented alloy rims and trim along with several interior/exterior modifications and upgrades. This package was marketed until the introduction of the GMT360 series for the 2002 model year.Upon introduction of the 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer and the GMC Envoy, production continued after their successors came to the market, with the Jimmy only being sold in Canada and in the 2005 model year, 4-door models sold to vehicle fleets. Another upscale model was the 1998 GMC Envoy. It used the same engines and had many of the same upgrades as the Bravada. The 1998 model Envoy featured an optional upgrade to High Intensity Discharge headlamps, and several other visual modifications. At the same time, a Blazer Xtreme (only on the 2-door model) was added to the lineup, based on the S10 Xtreme. This sub-model lasted until 2004.

The Jimmy was phased out in 2001 to make way for the redesigned GMC envoy models. However, production of the Blazer and Jimmy continued until April 20, 2005, in Linden, New Jersey, despite slow sales, and the plant located there then closed. A white Chevrolet Blazer became the last of the series, and the last vehicle produced in New Jersey. Although production ceased, the second generation body style is still being produced in BrazilBrazil.

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Lloyd LT 600, a vintage minivan

A minivan, multi-purpose vehicle (abbreviated MPV), people-carrier, people-mover or multi-utility vehicle (shortened MUV) is a type of automobile similar in shape to a van that is designed for personal use. Minivans are taller than a sedan, hatchback or a station wagon, and are designed for maximum interior room.

The term "minivan"was coined in North America, deriving from the fact that these vehicles were considerably smaller and more streamlined than traditional North American passenger vans, such as the Ford E-Series.

Other terms are used in other English-speaking countries. In Europe and India, "multi-purpose vehicle" (MPV) describes the general vehicle type without reference to its size. These are described with a word before the acronym: a "mini MPV" is derived from a supermini, a "compact MPV" is based on a small family car and a "large MPV" has about the same size as a large family car. In Asia, "multi-utility vehicle" (MUV) has more or less the same meaning as MPV. "People-carrier" and "people mover" describe both large MPVs and minibuses, but not smaller models.

Seats are located higher than in lower cars with a higher H-point, giving passengers seat more upright, posture and leaving more room for the legs. Some people find this seating position uncomfortable and prefer lower automobiles, while the disabled, the elderly or people with little flexibility may benefit from the lack of need to "sit down" when entering the car.

Larger minivans usually feature three seat rows, with two or three seats each: 2-3-2, 2-2-3 or 2-3-3 (front to rear) are the most common seating configurations. Smaller minivans tend to have two seat rows, with a traditional 2-3 configuration. There are some exceptions, like the Honda FR-V, Fiat Multipla and Mercedes-Benz R-Class which are six seaters (3-3 in the first two cases and 2-2-2 in the latter).

Minivans may have seats, either benches or individual seats, that are designed to be relocated, removed, folded partially (on-floor) or folded completely under-floor — allowing variable seating capacity and cargo room.

In contrast to vans, sport utility vehicles (SUV) and many crossover SUVs, most current minivans are front-wheel drive. The main advantage is somewhat better traction than rear-wheel drive vehicles under slippery conditions like rain, snow and ice. This configuration also allows more inner area along the floor, due to the absence of the driveshaft hump. With rear seats removed, the cargo area in large minivans can hold a 4x8 ft sheet of drywall or plywood flat. Four-wheel drive was also introduced to minivans in North America with the Toyota Van Wagon 4WD and the Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro. Full-time all-wheel drive was introduced to North American minivans in the 1990 Ford Aerostar with the E-4WD option, and in 1991 with the introduction of the Toyota Previa All-Trac. The Toyota Van 4WD remains the only minivan offered for sale in the North American market with selective 4WD.

In the United States, in order to be governed by more lenient safety and emissions regulations, minivans are classified as light trucks. Unlike their European counterparts, manual transmissions have disappeared due to lack of demand; 1995 was the last year for a manual transmission in the Ford Aerostar and Chrysler minivans and GM had discontinued the manual transmission in the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari some time before.

Door configuration for Minivans are highly variable. Access to the rear interior may be through one or two sliding or outswing rear side doors. Early minivans featured one rear side sliding door on the passenger's side, similar to full-sized passenger vans in the early 80's. Many current minivan feature rear doors on both sides; swinging doors are the norm for European and Japanese minivans, while most American models feature sliding doors. Some models featuring power sliding doors.

Minivans can be roughly classified in three or four segments: large, compact, mini and sometimes micro. Models of all segments are present in Europe, the Americas and parts of Asia.

Large minivans are those above 4600 mm (180 in) long. Nearly every minivan sold in the United States belongs to this segment, so they are simply called minivans there. The first European MPV also belonged to this segment, and later similar models were named likewise until smaller models appeared; now these models are called "large MPVs". Examples are the Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Ford Galaxy and Eurovan.

Compact MPVs have a length of between 4200 mm and 4600 mm (165-180 in). Such models enjoyed some popularity in the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, for example the Mitsubishi Expo and Nissan Axxess. In 1996, the Renault Scénic was released in Europe and its success made mainstream automakers produce them in large quantities, usually based on small family car platforms and with both two and three-row seats. As of 2007, the only compact minivans available in the United States are the Mazda5 and Kia Rondo.

Mini MPVs are under 4100 mm (160 in) long, and were introduced in the early 2000s. These models are based on supermini platforms and have different styles depending on markets: Japanese models are more boxy while Europeans have the bonnet and windshield almost parallel. Examples of mini MPVs are the Opel Meriva, Renault Modus, Fiat Idea, Toyota bB and Nissan Cube.

Tall city cars and kei cars like the Hyundai Atos, Chevrolet Matiz, Chery QQ and Suzuki Wagon R have also been called mini MPVs or "microvans" because of their increased height over traditional hatchbacks. Others believe they are too similar in design with other small cars, so they should be described as the same kind of cars.

Early minivans models may be smaller than modern models, but still fit into the child subsegment; the first-generation Renault Espace introduced in 1984 would be classified nowadays as a compact MPV, but later generations grew in size and the Espace is now considered a large MPV. Indeed, it is expected that the next-generation Espace will be smaller in size than the current model.

Apart from the visionary Stout Scarab (1935), the most important predecessors of minivans were compact vans. In 1950, the Volkswagen Type 2 adapted a bus-shaped body to the compact Volkswagen Beetle. It placed the driver above the front wheels, sitting behind a flat nose, with the engine mounted at the rear. The two hinged side doors were opposite to the driver's side, with none on the driver's side, Fiat built a similar vehicle based on the fiat 600 with the same engine and door layout. Japanese and American manufacturers responded with compact vans since the 1960s. Usually based on front-engined compact cars with a FMR layout, the engine was mounted behind or under the front seat with a flat, vertical nose. Examples include the Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Van, Suzuki Carry, Toyota Hiace and Subaru Sambar. When Volkswagen introduced a sliding side door on their van in 1968, it then had all the features that would later come to define a minivan: compact length, three rows of forward-facing seats, station wagon-style top-hinged tailgate/liftgate, sliding side door, passenger car base.

As the American vehicles such as the Econoline evolved into larger full-sized vans, the term minivan came to use in North America, when Toyota and Chrysler launched their respective smaller minivan products for the 1984 model year. It is interesting that this could be seen as a Detroit response to the "Baby-Boomlet" when the Baby-Boom children were starting to have children. The Toyota Van and Dodge Caravan / Plymouth Voyager featured very different structural designs: the Dodge Caravan / Plymouth Voyager had a FF layout and unibody construction, while the Toyota Van Wagon featured a FMR layout and was built on a body-on-frame chassis. The Chevrolet Astro / GMC Safari and Ford Aerostar / Mercury Vanster were introduced for the 1985 model year with FR layout.

A European minivan design was conceived in the late 1970s by the Rootes Group in partnership with the French automaker Matra (which was also affiliated with Simca, the former French subsidiary of the Chrysler Corporation, sold in 1977 to the PSA Group). The Matra design was originally intended to be sold as a Talbot and be a replacement for the Talbot-Matra Rancho. Early prototypes were designed to use Simca parts and a grille like the Simca 1307. Matra took their idea to Peugeot, who thought it too expensive and risky, so the project was then presented to Renault, becoming the Renault Espace introduced in 1984. The Renault had traditional hinged car doors on both sides. Chrysler had also been developing a minivan based on the Chrysler K platform, releasing the boxy Dodge Caravan / Plymouth Voyager earlier than the Espace, in 1983.

Since no one disputes that the Renault Espace is a minivan, despite its door configuration, this raises the question of whether the 1956 Fiat 600 Multipla was actually the first minivan. Alternatively, the Lloyd LT500/LT600, introduced in 1952 could be considered the first minivan.

Shortly after their arrival, the Chrysler minivans competed against the truck-based front-engine, rear drive Chevrolet Astro, GMC Safari (based on a reworked 1st generation S-10 platform), and Ford Aerostar (based on a reworked 1st-generation Ranger platform). Utilizing the transverse-mounted engine, front-wheel drive, uni-body construction and "one-box" design, the Chrysler minivans offered better fuel-economy, traction, size, and driving characteristics. Nissan and Mitsubishi also introduced minivans to North America; but like the Toyota Van Wagon, they had poor rear drive traction, had a bouncy ride due to the short wheelbase, and one had to exit the vehicle to walk from the front seats to the back seats.

1989 brought Japan's first attempt at a North American-style minivan, with the Mazda MPV, featuring a swing-out door with roll-down windows — and was the first Japanese minivan with a front engine. It did not have the utility, traction, or cargo room of other minivans.

General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Lumina APV, Oldsmobile Silhouette, and Pontiac Trans Sport in 1990. These minivans were their first front-wheel drive minivans; built on a reworked version of GM's 1980's A-platform — with composite plastic body panels, a cab-forward nose, steeply raked windshields, and deep dashboards and.

That same year, Toyota introduced the Previa. The Toyota Previa had a four-cylinder engine located under the floor of the vehicle, mounted nearly flat on its side, rather than straight up and down like in its predecessor. This allowed passengers to pass from the front seats to the back without exiting the vehicle.

Ford and Nissan introduced models in 1993 with front-wheel drive, the Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest respectively. These minivans were competitive with their car-based chassis and V6 engines. Ford introduced a slightly larger front-wheel drive minivan (based on a reworked version of the 1980s Taurus platform) called the Windstar in 1994.

In 1995 Honda introduced the Odyssey, based on the Honda Accord, and featuring outswing doors with roll-down middle windows, and a rear seat that folded away into the floor.

In 2000, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan continued as the best selling minivans in North America. The second-best selling minivan was the Honda Odyssey, and the third was the Toyota Sienna. According to Autodata, in 2006 Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota comprised 72% of the United States minivan market. General Motors and Ford made up 17%, Kia Sedona and Hyundai Entourage sales made up 5%, and the Nissan Quest was 3%. By 2008, most North American minivans had adopted the size and configuration of the long-wheelbase Chrysler vans, with Chrysler dropping their shorter models as well. In 2008, only the Kia Sedona and Chevrolet Uplander offer both short- and long-wheelbase configurations. In 2008, Volkswagen debuted the Routan, a rebadged variant of the Chrysler RT platform minivans.

During the 1980s, North American minivans were slow and under-powered when compared with sport utility vehicles, but had more fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines. Such vehicles could also have poor performance, as manual transmissions were rare in minivans, and often had higher rates of problems than larger engines. Some minivans were notorious for having problems with their transaxles, as they are substantially heavier than the sedans their powertrains were originally designed for. With the shift in the 1990s towards heavier, long-wheelbase models and light towing, V6 engines became more common; some automakers dropped their four-cylinder engines from their lineup. The Chevrolet Astro, the last surviving truck-based mid-size van, was popular for towing applications because of its frame and up to 4.3-liter V6, with some owners installing their own V8 engines.

Apart from the Chrysler Minivans, the Renault did not have any direct rival during the 1980s. Other mainstream automakers began to develop multi-purpose vehicles designed with European tastes in mind. PSA Peugeot Citroën and the Fiat Group founded a joint-venture, Sevel, and released in 1994 the eurovan under the nameplates Citroën Evasion, Peugoet 806, Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Zeta. The Ford and the Volkswagen Group JV Auto-Europa similarly co-developed models on a common chassis and built them in a shared-plant in Setúbal, Portugal. The Ford Galaxy (platform code VX-62, and Volkswagen Sharan, and later SEAT Alhambra, became available in 1995 and were almost identical in design with only different front ends, rear ends and dashboards. While the VW/Ford model was relatively large, with a length of 4635 mm, the Espace and the eurovan were around 200 mm shorter and would be considered today as compact MPVs. All of them were available as seven-seaters and the seats could be folded and removed. These models would be later called "large MPVs".

The trend towards compact MPVs began in 1996 with the launch of the Renault Scénic and Opel Zafira. Compact MPVs were cars with tall bodies but based on the chassis and engines of a small family car (in the case of the Scénic, the Renault Mégane). The runaway success of the Scénic saw the car spawn a multitude of similar vehicles, like the Opel Zafira, the Citroën Xsara Picasso, the Volkswagen Touran, the Ford Focus C-Max, and the Nissan Almera Tino. By the mid-2000s, virtually all mainstream automakers in Europe had a compact MPV in their range.

Also in the mid-2000s, automakers began to use MPV-style designs on supermini-based chassis. Examples of mini MPVs them are the Opel Meriva, based on the Corsa, the Renault Modus, derived from the Clio, and the Fiat Idea, derived from the Punto platform.

In 2000, the Auto-Europa triplets (Galaxy, Sharan and Alhambra) were heavily face-lifted. More recently, Auto-Europa was dissolved when Ford left VW and Seat to make its own Galaxy sharing many parts with the Ford S-MAX, another MPV.

European Minivans (MPVs) are generally powered by four-cylinder engines, originally a mix of petrol and diesel units, but with petrol engines becoming increasingly rare as diesels have improved. V6 engines are rare, due to the increased fuel consumption of larger engines being considered unacceptable with high fuel prices.

In the ASEAN nations, China and India, multi-utility vehicles tend to be smaller than North American minivans and European MPVs. Compact MUVs are more popular than models of other sizes.

They also differ in that they need to cope with uneven terrain as opposed to paved highways. Models from local manufacturers are usually based on Japanese designs from Suzuki, Daihatsu and Toyota. Popular models include Toyota Picnic, Toyota Previa, Mazda 8 and Honda StepWGN.

MUVs vary widely in configuration: whilst some MUVs might be replicas of European MPVs (such as the European Ford Fusion) or American-style minivans (like the Toyota Innova), in some cases MUVs are similar to SUVs (such as the Chevrolet Tavera).

Other examples of MUVs are the Maruti Versa, Isuzu Panther, Toyota Avanza, Hindustan Pushpak, Toyota Qualis and Toyota Innova.

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Source : Wikipedia