SOLD: 4400€ / COLOMBIA / JUNE 2017 / 2002 Chevy Astro Van 226'000km

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#1 Thu, 06/08/2017 - 09:25

SOLD: 4400€ / COLOMBIA / JUNE 2017 / 2002 Chevy Astro Van 226'000km

We’ve got an awesome car for you.

We’re here to do the inevitable, selling our beloved Chilean-plated 2002 Chevrolet Astro Van with 226’000 km. We’ve taken good care of it and it has more than returned the favor. We liked it so much, we made it the star of its own video ;-)

We are currently in Colombia and plan to sell here now, in June. Originally we planned to return to Chile, but after almost a year of travelling, we’re longing for home… too much to drive the long way back south. So now we’re looking for someone else to fill the car up with even more impressions. Since we’ll save time & money by skipping the way back to Chile, we’re asking for only 4400€. We hope that a price this attractive will allow us to sell soon so that we can enjoy Europe's summer while it lasts :D

Looks interesting? You’ll find all the details on the car below the next section.

If you have any questions about the car (or even just our travelling experiences) please contact us. We are of Swiss nationality and speak German, English, Spanish and a bit of French.

Email: [email protected]
Whatsapp: +41 78 636 20 80

Some advice for first-time overlanders

(Car details follow in the next section, but you may find this helpful.)

Is this your first overlanding trip? If so, you probably don’t have a very clear idea of what kinds of adventure await you. At least we didn’t when we were looking for a car. Since then, we learned a lot, but mostly this information was passed on mouth-to-mouth. We hope you’ll find this write-up useful.

  • Overlanding advice is highly subjective, including this one. Everyone has different experiences, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt. And be bold enough to make your own choices!
  • People travel digitally now and everybody has to know the iOverlander. The mobile apps for Android and iPhones are usable offline, so it’s incredibly useful.
  • Similarly, MAPS.ME is an amazing navigation map that you can use offline.
  • On a long enough journey, you’ll experience about every possible climate. We faced week-long rains, nights at 4°C, days at 40°C, extreme droughts and 100% humidity.
  • Many car fridges drain your battery very fast. A lot of travellers we met ended up using them only on campgrounds with electricity or while driving. A cooling box with ice packs essentially gives you the same.


  • The Andes are high! Starting from 2500m, it’s safe to sleep 500m higher than the night before. If you exceed this limit, you’ll risk the potentially fatal altitude sickness: headaches, sleeplessness, nausea, brain hemorrhage. If you experience any of these, you should go down. This website calculates the elevation for a route:
  • You’ll run through cooking gas quickly. Cooking inside will save a lot of gas!
  • A gasoline engine will lose ~10% power per 1000m ascended. That means that at 4500m, a 2.4l engine feels like a 1.3l. The car’s weight will stay the same though...


  • Unless you exclusively book hostel rooms, curtains or tinted windows are crucial for privacy.
  • Big campervans get curious looks, invest a little money in safe parking.
  • Underground garages usually have a height restriction of 2.20m or 2.60m.


  • The diesel has no antifreeze in it. After a cold night in the 5000m high Andes, be prepared to wait for the diesel to warm up in your fuel lines.


  • In 2015/2016, people reported that it’s hard to get fuel as a foreigner. We had no problem in 2017, though you won’t find anything better than octane 91 for gasoline.
  • The diesel is still dirty in 2017. We met a couple that filled their tank only once in Bolivia and managed to ruin their engine with it. They are now running on 3 instead of 5 fuel injectors.


  • In 2017, Argentina is suffering from a hyper-inflation. ATMs are often empty, and the value of your cash will quickly drop.
  • Gas for camping stoves is incredibly expensive (up to 30$/1-pound-bottle). Buy it in Chile instead.
  • Distances in rural areas like Patagonia and the north are huge. Fuel up whenever you can, the next gas station might be >300km away. Some only accept cash, others temporarily don’t have any fuel.
  • In Patagonia, there is a constant west wind at 60-100km/h with gusts of up to 150km/h. Pop-up tents have torn, cooking outside is impossible and your fuel consumption will almost half or double depending on the direction.
  • Toilet seats are a rare find and look gross. Just bring your own :-)

Not so obvious questions to ask when buying a overlanding car:

  • Where do you put garbage, dirty laundry, wet towels?
  • Can you drain the battery in any way, e.g. by leaving doors open?
  • High clearance is great, but is the jack really big enough to lift the tyres off the ground?
  • If it’s a gasoline engine, what’s the minimum octane level needed?

Finally, a controversial debate: Do you need a 4x4?

  • It depends on where you most often want to drive, and how heavy your vehicle is. Our relatively light 2WD drove on pothole-riddled asphalt, compacted gravel, loose gravel, sand beaches, steep hills with 20cm deep rain-soaked mud and did a few river crossings, and it mastered all of those. Of course, if you carry a heavy camper on top of your pick-up, having 4x4 may actually make the difference for you. We got stuck only once (in a huge mud puddle), but every 4x4 driver will tell you the same. We’ve driven many of the “so-called” 4x4 roads without problems. On one of them we even crossed a 3-wheeled TukTuk! :-P

Car Details

Basic Factsheet

  • year 2002, mileage 226’000km
  • V6 4.2l engine, unleaded gasoline octane 87+, not Diesel
  • fuel efficiency: 11 l/100km on the highway with AC on, obviously a bit more in city traffic/mountainous terrain.
  • high clearance
  • rear-wheel drive
  • new light-truck tyres bought 15’000km ago
  • 95% tinted windows
  • large 90L+ gas tank -> a range of 760 km / 475 mi
  • 25l jerrycan
  • fits in a standard 2.20m/1.90m car park with/without jerry can
  • space for 50l of water
  • space for a week’s worth of food supplies

Comfortable Driving

  • super-powerful AC (Front and Rear!), heating
  • cruise control
  • automatic transmission, gears are manually selectable for driving downhill.
  • cooled drinks accessible from driving seats

Comfortable Living

  • an actual bed mattress 190x140x15cm like in your home
  • a thermal blanket for cold nights, light linens for hot nights. No need for sleeping bags!
  • enough headroom to dress while sitting or spend a rainy day inside
  • 6 individually controllable overhead spot lights (2 at front seats, 4 over the bed)
  • a LOT of storage room underneath the bed
  • many easily accessible mini-drawers for gadgets
  • Cooling box with 2 ice packs
  • 4 windows can be opened to leave a gap only
  • 3 USB + 5 220V plugs to charge while driving
  • enough room to cook inside the car on rainy or very windy days
  • nifty camping table + chairs
  • fully stocked kitchen, including a portable charcoal grill for riverside barbecues
  • opening doors doesn’t trigger lights
  • washing lines inside car (to dry towels while driving)
  • with the mosquito net you can sleep with open windows, crucial in hot climates!


  • air bags driver & passenger
  • shovel, towing cord
  • all mandatory emergency equipment like vest, triangle, first-aid kit and a new fire extinguisher
  • car anti-theft alarm
  • steering lock


  • all oil & filter changes were done regularly
  • complete record of the car’s maintenance history back to May 2016, when the previous owner bought the car
  • bridging cables & spare car battery
  • booklet “How a Car works”, so you can show the mechanic a picture of the broken part/he can show you what needs to be replaced. Sin hablar español!
  • all necessary fluids (oil, coolant (-16°C), brake fluid, WD40 spray)
  • tools needed for simple repairs: jack, ratchet, screwdrivers and hex drives
  • some spare parts, e.g. oil filter
  • full-size spare wheel + all tools necessary
  • tire-quickfix kit
  • parts generally available all throughout south america

Legal stuff

  • chilean plates, we are the legal and registered owners in Chile
  • a clear paper trail of all border crossings of the car
  • revision technica until September 30th, 2017
  • Insurance in Colombia until July 23rd 2017, but can be extended easily
  • insurance in Chile until March 31st 2018
  • we’ll set up a “poder”/”power of attorney”, a document allowing you to do whatever you please with the car until you become the officially registered owner in Chile
  • this car has travelled in the following countries: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. You’ll get a detailed report of all our border crossings, because border officials sometimes like to ask questions about the previous owner.

Known issues

Even though it’s been treated well, this car has experienced quite a lot and shows some signs of age. Crucial repairs have always been conducted as early as possible. What remains are the following nuisances:

  • The passenger door got broken into and has to be locked manually instead of with central locking.
  • There’s a small circular crack (~1cm) in the windshield.
  • One of the 4 ABS sensors is flaky under specific vibration patterns (usually on rough surfaces), so the ABS light lights up from time to time. The previous owner got it checked out at a reputable mechanic. They told him not to worry since the brakes work just fine, it’s only the sensor that’s misinterpreting the vibrations. We knew this when we bought the car and it was never problematic. (Actually, on gravel roads we noticed that the braking distance is actually REDUCED by not having ABS on. I still wouldn’t call it a ‘feature’ though ;-)

By now, we’ve got a lot of experience both in travelling as overlanders and with this specific car. If any questions should pop up during your journey, we’ll do our best to help you!