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Full Sized Vans



  • runnerrunner Posts: 5
    thanks for your information and cautionary advice regarding windy driving conditions. I never would have thought this would be a concern with a full size truck. I should be getting the van next week now that my loan has come through. I believe that the van has all weather Michelins (nothing fancy) but I don't think it has the limited slip differential.
    The original owner did install an ampheremeter over the steering wheel though I'm not certain of its function (to check how the battery is maintaining its charge? Do you know how to read this?)
    In the rear the owner also installed an AC-DC converter. What is this exactly? If its for running accesories (someone told me) how does it get recharged? Does this allow me to run lights, music, while sitting in the van without the engine running? (But again, how would one recharge it?)
    Thanks for info. Charlie.
  • jmbljmbl Posts: 5
    Hi: We're starting to look for a conversion van
    as well, but we're in the market for a used one,
    around the years 93-95. We want something that'll
    be great for camping and long hauls. We're in the
    military and love to travel.

    Any advise on what to get/stay clear of for those
    years, what dealerships/areas to avoid (i.e. avoid
    Staten Island--we're in Brooklyn), better deals for
    the money, etc. We'd prefer a high top, bed in
    back and TV/VCR for sure.

    If anyone's in the general area selling his/her
    van, we'd love to hear from you too with the details
    of what you have for sale.

    Thanks for any and all tips!


    P.S. Haven't had a chance to read ALL the responses in this category, so if what I've asked for is a repeat, forgive me...
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    hello again runner,
    Needless to say, I've not been here in awhile. The ammeter in your van should give you a measure of the rate of power consumption being drawn from your battery. For more info on its use you may need to talk to an electrical expert. The ac/dc box is a power inverter. It will invert the dc battery power to ac household current. The power output of the unit should be marked on it somewhere, usually in watts. A unit with continuous output of 300 watts or more is a handy accessory. A 300 watt unit should power a 13" color TV and a vcr. I believe (confirm with an electrical expert) that to estimate the power requirement of an accessory that doesn't have its rating marked in watts, multiply its amp rating by 10 to determine approximate watts, i.e. 13" color TV might have a 13 amp rating and the vcr a 6 amp rating. A total of 19 amps would equal about 190 watts. The inverter may be wired in such a way as to permit you to run ac equipment without the engine running. To avoid running your battery down too low, you will need to know the amp hour rating of your battery and monitor power usage when the engine is off. The ammeter probably will show your consumption rate in this situation. The van may also have a device that will automatically shutdown the inverter when battery power is reduced to a specified level. I'd check with the seller on these issues.

  • I have a 91 Chevy Astro Van AWD and last year purchased a 97 Astro Van AWD. I put 127,000 miles on the 91 with no maintenance at all except for oil changes every 3,000 miles and lube at 6,000. It gave me unconditional pleasure throughout. The 1997 has 13,990 miles on it with same excellent results. It is a TRUCK and handles ice and snow well. We live at 4,000 feet and get many snow and ice days. Highly recommend this vehicle. BA for California
  • jboater,
    Thanks again for the feedback. I think I'm going to have to do some homework. I will try to use the I-net to track down some further infor. on inverters and the like. I could probably track down Trailer Life/Good Sam type addresses which I haven't done yet. I really like the feel of the full-sized truck though compared to the minivan. The ride is smooth,and relatively quiet. Real powerful feel too. Tires are Michelin, I think MX4s? which feel pretty good. I will also search local 'salvage' places to get my seating which I see can be pretty expensive. Thanks, Charlie (runner)
  • I am a big fan of full size Dodge Van Conversions. My old '76' just died and am looking at new ones. There are some nice '97' conversions on the lots, but am not sure of the dealer markup on the conversion packages. The one I am looking at is a Ram Van 2500 with the 5.2 V8 and what they call a Mark III conversion package. Sticker on the package (conversion) is $15,595. Any ideas on the dealer invoice for the conversion package? By the way it is a '97' Van.
  • pilarpilar Posts: 1
    We're looking for a van/van conversion which will accommodate our five kids (12-17) with the usual sporting equipment. During the summer, we haul our two jet ski's about 20 miles a trip, several times a month. Anyone have any comments regarding the best kind of van for our needs?
  • wymakwymak Posts: 1
    I am interested in the Mercedes V-Class V230.Anyone has any info on this vehicle?
  • KinseyKinsey Posts: 2
    I am looking at a 1990 Ford econoline conversion van.....So far I like what I have seen and the test drive but my main concern is How will it handle in snow???? any one help me???
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    Hi Kinsey,
    You might want to see my post #33 in this topic, if you haven't yet done so.

  • KinseyKinsey Posts: 2
    Thanks Jerry: we did a second test drive today and I think I am going to go for it. If all the details fall into place. will let you know how I like....thanks again for the info.
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    You're welcome! I hope it turns out to be a great vehicle.

  • sbassbas Posts: 2
    we are thinking about getting a 95 dodge 2500 conversion van. if anyone has any pros or cons please let us know.
  • nbjonesnbjones Posts: 2
    Since I read thru all of the comments in this forum before shopping for a new Van, I thought that I would share my experience. I just bought a 1998 Ford/Sherrod hitop conversion van with the 5.4 L V8. I looked at Chevy and Dodge, but am partial to Ford, having owned an E150 Window van for 15 years. I think that I got a very good deal, but there is little dealer price info available. I do know that I got GREAT service from Ford - they filled the tank (35 gal), they got me 7.24% financing, they made sure that I could work all the controls, they helped me get a class 3 hitch installed and took me to lunch while it was being installed, and they include a 3 year roadside assistance program. The van is very very nice, handles very well, has excellent power, runs on 87 octane gas, and I got 16 mpg for the first tank of mixed driving. The Sherrod customer service folks are very knowledgeable and answered all my questions about options. I am a very satisfied customer.
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    The mpg you quote is quite impressive. My Ford 4.6 Triton only avg 12.5 on the 1st 1300 miles and has avg 14.5 from 1300 to 3400 miles. I am still hopeful that it will improve to about 17 after fully broke in. Like you, I have been quite pleased thus far on both the (Coachmen) conversion I have and on the '97 Ford E150 chassis.

  • Four years ago I bought an 89 GMC Vandura Custom van, complete with a 350 engine. The main purpose was traveling and pulling an 1,100 pond pop-up trailer. It has been the WORST vehicle I have ever owned! The problem is that it has no power! I am passed by minivans pulling huge trailers in the mountains every time I drive. The dealer can't figure it out, so I am selling. How can such a huge motor have so little torque?
  • nbjonesnbjones Posts: 2
    I had the same problem with my Ford 302cc when I lived in Colorado. The carb needed a "high altitude" kit to run in the mountains where the oxygen is thin. I remember having it floored and doing 25 miles per hour at 8000 feet. Once the kit was installed it ran OK.
  • Anyone know an Internet site with dealer invoice prices on '98 Ram vans?? For some reason Edmunds only has '97 data. Thanks.
  • hesparzahesparza Posts: 1
    Does anyone know a web site that I can go and get price and information on bigger vans??
    The type of vehicle that I am trying to find out about is like a Freightlines FL50 or a GMC W4. I will be looking forward to any kind of feedback.

  • erickmerickm Posts: 1
    thinking about buying a 98 ford e250 van
    is the 6 cyl engine okay for this van or
    should i go with 8 cyl.. i'm a heating and cooling contractor so the weight i carry is not tremendous.
  • jmbljmbl Posts: 5
    pmorrison: You might try
  • RICHEZ98RICHEZ98 Posts: 1
    I'm considering a 98 Dodge Ram Van with a Glaval Conversion package. It's the longer van. This is my first experience with vans. I have not even ridden in one. Here's my question. It has front and rear AC, but no rear heat. Does anyone think this will be a major problem. We live in the midwest and it can get very cold here.
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    Typically, if the van has rear a/c it also has heat. It is usually one system controlled from the dash panel. You might want to double check the van you're considering.

  • pete2pete2 Posts: 2
    I can't decide. I want to buy a new cargo van. But, I can't decide between a Ford e150 or a Dodge Ram. I owned a Ford before and wouldn't hesitate to do so again...except...
    Are the new SOHC engines reliable? Can I get the near 300k mileage that I got out of the 4.9l/ 300hp straight 6cyl.? Is anyone having trouble with the 4.6l V8?
    I would appreciate any and all input.
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    It's only 10,000 miles I driven since purchase but the '97 Conversion van I drive is equipped with the 4.6 Triton. I haven't had any problem with it to date.

  • rich7rich7 Posts: 1
    Hi, I'm new to this forum. I am going to buy a new van for hauling mail. I have a 92 Chevy G20 now with a lot of miles on it. I have had very good reliability with the Chevy's. Since the strike is on at GM I am thinking of buying a Ford E-250. I think it comes standard with a 4.2 v6. Does anyone know if this is underpowered. I have a 4.3 v6 in my chevy and it has plenty of power. Thanks for your help.
  • FabiaFabia Posts: 1
    Read the posted comments and thought some general info on my '93 Chevy Beauville might help some folks. We bought it with almost 13,000 miles on it in May '94 and now have a total of 97,000 absolutely trouble free miles. It has a 350 engine with standard rear and heavy-duty trailering package. It is old generation, but it is proven. We have changed oil every 5,000 miles, changed brakes twice (we trailer a full-sized Airstream and I think that can be hard on the brakes) and that is all. Regarding Fords, we are not fans, my husband bought a new '94 F150 and it froze up on him at 43,000. Ford dealer said we needed a new engine at about $3,000 - out of warranty. A small neighborhood mechanic checked it out and found the timing chain had come apart and pieces had fallen inside to where they froze up the entire engine. He made the necessary repairs and got us back on the road for less than $1,700. Then he had the transmission go out and need to be replaced. That cost us another $1,500+, but at least it lasted the week it took to get rid of it and replace it with a new '98 Dodge Ram that he is in love with.
    Now, I am in the market for a new full sized van because I need more towing power and torque and we have decided to go with the 1-ton GMC or Chevy
    (same vehicles). They went through their shake down years and everything seems to be working well now. I expect to get the same service from it that I have gotten from my 1/2 ton Chevy. By the way, I am a 5/4" rather petite gal who has no trouble driving the full sized van and cannot give up the cargo area it provides. I tried going to the Suburban as it has a great towing reputation, but it would not give me the interior space or access to that space that the van does. I raise and show dogs (big ones) and they need to be accommodated inside the van when traveling. You would be surprised how many women drive these vehicles without any problem. Believe me, I do my share of mall parking also and have not had any dings or scrapes as a result. I am looking forward to getting my 1-ton van with the 454 engine and 4.1 rear! Also, always go for the rear air, it will help cool off the large interior much faster on a hot day, then you can cut it off and run with only the dash air quite comfortably. One last thing, I saw a recent report that claimed that full sized vans were the safest on the road, superior even to SUV's!!!
  • Having found a new '97 Ford Club Wagon XLT, 5.4, w/Chataeu, 8 passenger, still on the dealer's lot, we're considering buying it. Never having owned a Ford or a full-size van (of any make) before, I'm looking for comments, complaints and/or advice from any current or past owners. Thanks.
  • Fabia wrote:

    > You would be surprised how many women drive
    > these vehicles without any problem. Believe me,
    > I do my share of mall parking also and have not
    > had any dings or scrapes as a result.

    I'm one of those women who was worried about being able to maneuver a full-sized van, let alone whether or not it would fit in our garage... until I dug up the specs on the '85 Buick LeSabre that I've been driving. Get this:

    Buick GM Van
    length 218.4" 218.8"
    width 78.0" 79.2"

    ...Hardly any difference at all! I guess most of the Buick's length is taken up by hood and trunk, whereas in the full-sized van, it's mostly passenger cabin. So I'm not so worried anymore.
  • Chairmaker,
    As owner of a 95 Chateau van, it has given us quite good service. Mostly used for weekend trips, the reading lights are a real plus for backseat passengers on long trips. Two peeves. Had to replace front brakes (including rotors at 36K miles - pads had been replaced under warranty at ~10K and rotors turned). Rear climate control is suboptimal. Can't independently control front and rear temperature. When defrost is on, e.g. to clear a foggy windshield in the summer, rear heat goes on, unless you switch off rear fan control.
    Otherwise, it has been a charm.
    (Seems like the vehicle your considering has been sitting on the lot for quite a while.) When we were looking, we found some XLT's with lot's of options were more expensive than the next model up (Chateau) which had all of the options as standard features.
This discussion has been closed.