I see this post is a bit old & not sure if you're still contemplating, but literally as the guy who lifted/owned that brown astro you have included in your post. I can likely shed some light. That was the third out of 5 different AWD astro vans I've lifted over the years. You will NEVER find a more capable vehicle for getting out into the back country, that you can sleep in, that doesn't have a huge SUV/truck feel to it. They are such a hidden golden egg its not even funny. That was just a van I had for a few months & flipped. My others I've built far better with more bells & whistles, that one was just to make some quick cash to buy & build a cleaner lower mile one. There is ZERO issues so far as safety, ride, aligning. So far as the suspension goes, that's 100% negated if you pick up one of the kits from Overland vans. The 4" is typically the one I convert these vans with. It comes with all sorts of new upgraded parts. So to correct the poster above me, a nicely designed with great geometry kit does exist. The most expensive 4" kit includes new rear leaf springs, reindexed torsion keys body spacers & a few other bits. Runs about $1200 with a set of 4 new rancho shocks. The overall cost on my white van build (posted below) is about $2300 for the kit, wheels & tires.
The ONLY issue, is you wear out ball joints MAYBE 20% faster than an unlifted Astro. The longest I've kept one of my vans is 110k miles, and never had to do ball joints in it. The 4" kit allows for about 30" tires, which adds a sweet amount of ride height clearance. A bit of wheel well & fender trimming is required but only takes a few hours to do. They ride INSANELY stable, handle better than factory height ones & articulate enough to even do some pretty gnarly jeep trails. Though my intent with these vans, is just hitting snow & beach sand with the utmost confidence. These things TIGER through snow & sand, and with a quality mud tire, will never leave you stuck unless you do something goofy.
So if you're still contemplating an AWD astro to lift, DO IT. I just last week completed yet another white one & having gone 3 months since having my last one, I feel complete again. These things are mini capsules for all the adventures you can toss at them, yet take up the same footprint as a subaru legacy. No joke.
Feel free to email me if you care to banter about these vans. Not going to say I'm the "biggest" nut for awd astros, but I'm top of the list for sure. :)
Images (Click to enlarge)
Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:01 PM