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Conversion Vans

PeggyPeggy Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
#9 of 9: mviens (mviens) Mon 01 Dec '97 (07:30

My wife and I have decided to buy a Ford
Conversion Van, we have been looking at Glaval's
(sold under the Universal brand name)conversions,
and like the looks and price of them.
If anyone here has recent experience, good or bad,
with any Glaval Vans (Universal (Ford), Gladiator
(Chevy), Autoform (GMC), or Travel Time (Dodge))
your input would be appreciated. We are more
interested with stories of the quality of the
conversion components rather than the vans

Thank you in advance!


  • DemunDemun Posts: 1
    I live about 10 miles from the Glaval plant and my father said he heard that Glaval may be going bankrupt. I am not positive about this but this is the company he mentioned he heard. We are in the heart of van country (Elkhart, IN) and from the vans we have seen, Glaval is very high quality.
  • celiacelia Posts: 1
    WE are looking for a conversion van and are just starting the search. Anyone have any idea of pricing, models, etc? for new vans. Any information to a couple of novices would be great. GM points make a GMC attractive but we'll go anywhere for the best!
  • suzyqsuzyq Posts: 2
    We looked at some '97 Ford conversion vans recently in our search for a full sized van. One of the ones we liked was from Chariot conversions. It was a fairly modest conversion, but that is kind of what we were looking for.

    Does anybody know if this is a decent company or if their stuff holds up? I think the company is in Elkhart, IN. We live near Dallas and I was wondering how do you get things fixed (on the conversion) under warranty if the company is so far away. Does the dealer take care of any problems?

    I would appreciate any information.
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    I don't have any info on Chariot Vans product quality. I live in suburban Detroit and Chariot is a rather frequently seen conversion package. The auto dealer that you buy your van from will be an authorized warranty service facility for the conversion company. I didn't have any warranty claims on the Tiara and only a pinstriping claim on the Starcraft. Starcraft was very good to work with on the claim. Auto dealers usually sub-contract stripping work. Starcraft provided the new stripping material and allowed me to pick a stripping facility to install it. Starcraft paid the facility direct for the labor charge on the installation.
  • I travel 5 states selling for a living, the past 15 years I have driven full size van (GMC or Chevrolet) conversions. Mileage at the time of trade in would average 125,000, 90% highway miles and no real major problems on any of my vehicles except routine things like alternators, batteries etc. Conversions have been by Starcraft, Carriage and Explorer, all Indiana conversion companies.
    Explorer seems to give more bang for the buck and stands behind its product very well.
  • 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 to with the details of what you have for sale.

    Thanks for any and all tips!

  • sbassbas Posts: 2
    need info on conversion vans---safety, reliability, etc. model doesn't matter. any info appreciated.

  • My wife and I bought an 1996 E-350 low top Conversion Van by Explorer with 4.10 Axle and 7.5 liter V8.. We use it primarily for camping and towing. The E-350 is a little bit rough in the back seat unless you have trailer attached. This vehicle is a great tow vehicle. We had some minor problems in the first two months, all of which were handled quite satisfactorly by the dealer (ABS relay, cracked interior trim piece, wheel balance). When we took it in, the dealer found two other problems (which we would never have noticed probably) and fixed them. The Explorer conversion is very good in my opinion and they stand behind their product. We are very pleased with both Ford and Explorer . By the way, before this we had a full size Chevy Blazer. This was the worst vehicle we have ever owned!
  • laterallateral Posts: 1
    We are searching for an Astro minivan in the 1993-1995 year range. We have found several we like. How do you determine the difference between a conversion van and a std. We can't really see any pricing difference. Also Edmunds Market value for every van we looked up, about 10 or so, is higher that the price at the dealer. In other words we can't use the guide book to justify the dealer lowering the price since they are already lower. Is Michigan just a cheap place to buy a car?
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    It has been my experience that, in general, the NADA used vehicle pricing guide is rather liberal for the Detroit area market. For used vehicle pricing I would recommend looking at the Tradin Times or Auto Swapper for similar autos/vans offered for sale by private owners. A conversion van is one that was purchased new from the manufacturer by a conversion company. They usually are identified by the manufacturer name and conversion company name. Examples; GMC Safari/Starcraft, Chevy Astro/Debut, Ford/Coachmen, etc. Astro and Safari passenger vans are also produced by GM. These vehicles are not considered conversion vans. If you look at the regular passenger vans, you will find pricing differences are,in part, based on the trim package. The Astro CS is a less expensive package than the Astro LT. If you are a member of a credit union, you might look to them for help in researching pricing differences. Also, watch for the mileage on any given vehicle. High mileage will have an adverse impact on the value and the depth of the market for you to sell to at a later date.

    Good luck,
  • graharegrahare Posts: 1
    I'm considering an Explorer, but have also looked at Geneva. Do you know anything about Geneva?
  • garyabcgaryabc Posts: 4
    Geneva is a small company in Wisc.....I don't think they have as nice appointments as the Explorer and I know they cost more. Explorer makes most of their components and I think Geneva buys components and assembles....replacement parts could be a future problem.

    Good luck
  • dirtdirt Posts: 1
    I'm looking at a 1996 Econoline with a Cobra conversion package. New cost 27K, asking 17K. Garage kept, fully loaded, 27K miles. Wife would rather buy another minivan. I can't seem to find any reviews on the conversion vans or comparisons to the minivans. Any suggestions?
  • ViperggVipergg Posts: 24
    We just bought a new Dodge long wheel base Conversion van made by Mark 3 . These seem to be very well put together . Got the 318 V8 and 4 speed so this will tow about 7000 lbs . We bought a new leftover 97 and paid $18400 and this loaded with everything , all kinds of map lights , rear air conditioning , cruise, tilt , power windows and locks . I'll let you know after we have had it awhile how it is . It rides very nice even in the back seat . The new 98's have a nice new modern dash and front area but i couldn't justify an extra $3000 just to have a more modern dash . Hopefully the quality will be good , i'm not worried about the engine as the 318 V8 has been around for 30 years . Dodge seems to have some pretty good deals on these things . I see alot of them on the road here in upstate NY .
  • rybarczykrybarczyk Posts: 1
    I'm looking at buying a Dodge Conversion - captain's chairs; tv; vcr; dual air; dual radios. I can't seem to find any consumer information on the Dodge Vans. I'm hesitant since I lean toward buying Hondas - something that will last me 200,000 miles. We're looking at the Dodge Conversion because we want the room inside & the comfort for those summer trips out of state. We will not be towing anything - so that's not an issue. Does anyone have any info on what type of maintenance is required to keep one of these on the road for a long time? Any recurring mechanical problems I should know about?
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27
    I had a '92 Chevy MarkIII conversion and it was very durable, both the base van and the conversion. Mark III is a huge conversion company down here in Florida (maybe THE biggest?), and they really know what they're doing. Also, a friend of mine hauled about a ton of music stuff in his Dodge van for years, and it never gave up. I wouldn't be concerned about reliability in these full frame rear wheel drive vans, they're real tough. Keep it cleaned and waxed, especially on top, and you'll probably get tired of it long before it gets tired of you.

    When you sell, sell it yourself rather than trading it in. My limited experience with car dealers makes me suspect that their offer for a conversion van only considers the bare van and not the value of the conversion. It's possible that you can sell it for 2x what the dealer offers as a trade in.
  • myles1myles1 Posts: 1
    I have been looking at the "Tradein value" of my '92 E-150 Conversion van & have seen the E-150 STD and also the E-150 STD Extended vans listed. Can someone tell me what the "Extended" is?
  • spopspop Posts: 1
    My wife and I are looking at a new Ford E-150 conversion van. We are told that the Explorer brand of conversion packages are a lower end quality and " to get a quality package you need to look at or consider a Sherrod or L.A.West package". Any feedback would be appreciated !!
  • ViperggVipergg Posts: 24
    Have a brand new 1997 extended length Dodge Ram conversion . It is a Mark III SE conversion model. So far I love this vehicle . Have the 318 V8 and 4 speed auto and it's loaded up with everything I need . got a great deal on this leftover brand new 1997 . Paid a little over $18400 before we traded our 1992 Taurus in on it . You can get some real good deals on dodges if you look around . I have seen some 1998 versions for around $18K but these are the more base short wheelbase model with the V6 engine and the 3 speed . But if you need room and have to tow something , (ours will tow 7000 lbs) and you don't mind paying a little more for gas (they are "NOT" gas misers) these can't be beat .
  • jtrenchjtrench Posts: 1
    I am a paralyzed driver looking at conversion vans for the first time. I know 1 thing, I want a Ford. I looked at a new 98 Econoline Midwest package last night and was given a price of 23,600 not including tax. This price also reflects a $1,500 rebate, a $500 loyalty rebate, and a $750 mobility rebate. Is this a good deal or should I try for a lower one? Also, is this a good model van to purchase? I'm not too familiar with the different models that are available. Can someone help me?

  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    I bought a '97 Ford/Coachmen Countess the 1st of this year. Cost was 21,870. plus sales tax and title.

    The van is equipped with the 4.6 L Triton V8. I like the van a lot. Handling is good. Coachmen's package includes sound proofing resulting in a passenger car quiet ride. My only disappointment is the fuel efficiency. It was rated at 15 & 20 and, given my prior experience with vans, I was expecting that I would probably get about 17 mpg in my everyday driving. My previous van was a '95 Chevy with the 5.7 L V8 that averaged about 15 to 15.5 mpg. As I recall, the rating on that van was 12 & 15. The Ford is averaging 15.5 to 15.8
    I'm afraid I can't provide any insite on Midwest Van Conversions.

  • cathy1cathy1 Posts: 1
    I own a 92 Dodge Ram 250 Mark III Conversion and at 115,000 miles it is still going strong. However I'm ready to change to a Mini Van and I can't seem to find a price guide for Conversion Vans. Anyone know where to look? Thanks
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    NADA book shows;
    van wholesale 5500. retail 7300.
    conversion 2400. 3000.
    minus high
    mileage -2800. -2800.
    book value 5100. 7500.

  • I have a 94 Dodge American Liberty Conversion van with 79,000 miles. We are wanting to trade it in and I have no idea what the NADA value is. Anyone know? Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    Hi LadyGator:

    94 Dodge B150, whsle 8300. retail 10400.
    B250 add 300. to both
    American Vans, Liberty whsle 3500. retail 4450.
    deduct hi miles 900.

  • shade2shade2 Posts: 1
    I'm looking at a 93 GMC-Starcraft 2500 ST hightop conversion from a private individual in Ohio. It is in very good condition, mechanically excellent (per my mechanic). Loaded > leather, all power, tv-vcr, phone, cb, dual stereo, duel air, power benchseat(bed). 5.7 v8 with 64000 miles. Any idea what it may be worth? The asking price is $12,500.
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    NADA books,
    GMC van, whsle 7400. retail 9400.
    Starcraft, whsle 3800. retail 4700.

    Total, whsle 11,200. retail 14,100.
    stated mileage is considered average.

  • nimbusnimbus Posts: 19
    We just started looking for a conversion van. I've always liked Dodge vans and I'd read over the Starcraft website so I started looking at them but can't find a Dodge dealer that handles them in NC. Anyone know of one. Also - looked at some 98' LA West Ford Vans. I admit they were tricked out but the dealer was asking $44,500 for the ones that we looked at. This seems LOTS higher than ANYthing I've read on this page. Is this place scamming me or is it really possible to cram enough stuff into a van to double the price? Also, do you HAVE to buy from a dealer or can you just drive to the conversion company (i.e. Starcraft, LA West) and buy from them?
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    Starcraft should be able to give you dealers nearest you. I'd check with them. I've owned one Starcraft and was very satisfied. I now own a Coachmen with which I'm equally satisfied. You might want to take a look at them.
    Today, I was talking with the owner of a '98 GMC/Imperial. She likes the van alot but hates the conversion. Interior door panels falling off, rubber moldings around windows coming loose, armrests on bucket seats broken, running board broke, etc. Says she will avoid Imperial in the future.
    As to cost, anything is possible. I had similar problems finding a van at a "reasonable" price.

  • Am looking for a used hightop conversion but Edmunds does not provide any guidelines for conversion vans. I am assuming from the previous messages that you can use the NADA book. What is the difference between the pricing of the NADA and Edmunds?
This discussion has been closed.