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Conversion Vans



  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    You might want to review reliability posts in this conference. There is one on Chev/GMC and one on Ford.
    Explorer has been a well regarded converter based on posts I read here.
    I'm close to a purchase of a new 2000 Ford. Rebate just went up from $3,000 to $4,000. My first choice is a Discovery by Sherry Designs and my 2nd choice is an Eclipse. Both sticker at 45-46k.
    I've been diving a Ford for over 3 years (55k miles) and have been very satisfied.
    Fuel efficiency won't be what it is with a mini-van. Insurance costs are usually higher on a conversion van too.

  • Here's a different question for you...

    I am comparing two Chevy vans... Apples to apples as far as I can tell. The conversions are Explorer and Regency. Both very similar packages. Nearly the same price. Does anyone have a preference of one company over the other? The Explorer Rep told me that he had a customer trade her Explorer in for a Regency when her lease was up and regretted it. Well, I can't really trust his word, he's there to sell his van!

    Both seem to build about the same way and the van structures seem to be about the same as far as the reinforced framing around the windows and such. Just really curios as to whether anyone has an opinion on this.

  • Hello all,
    My spouse and daughters gave me a conversion van for Christmas. We had been searching for over a year to get a larger vehicle for our family trips and found a dealer who was willing to work us vice gouge you. I was interested in the versatility Glaval builds in their vans by offering an option called the "Fold and Tumble Sofa." It's a manaul sofa that folds forward against the second row captains chairs, enlargibg the space behind the sofa when needed. Also the sofa and second row captains chairs can be removed from the van to haul anything you need too!! The dealership did not have a van equipped with the "Fold and Tumble Sofa" so they contacted the factory which had a DEMO, with 3800 miles and the following equipment: TRITON 5.4 V8, TV/VCP/Nintendo, Driver/Passenger seat warmers, limited-slip differential, towing package, handling package, custom paint job, high top, leather seats, premium sound, the works. equipment. Needless to say it was brought sight unseen with Ford's $3,000 rebate, and the dealership's standard $98 over factory invoice. The Glaval factory took $5000 off the price of the conversion package. This van is great!! Handles well, quiet, fit and finish impeccable. From reading the posted messages here I believe Ford is the way to go for maintenance and reliability. My Dad still has his 1978 Ford van, the first year the body was changed to an extended front end, and has had NO engine or transmission problems.
  • I'm not very far from the Regency plant (in Fort Worth,Texas) and they are quite common on the area lots. To qualify: I have a Centaurus conversion van ('93 Ford) cherry and strong at 97K miles and was the terror of every conversion lot sales rep in the area at the time (& looking forward to a repeat performance in a year or two). I wish I could say I knew of ONE person who had a good thing to say about their Regency conversion. I recently took an "X" series Explorer conversion out on the road... WOW!!! what a nice piece of work. How it would hold up I couldn't say but the workmanship was exceptional with good tight seams, no squeaks or rattles, and silence (was a Ford chassis) all around the cab. In all fairness I have not driven a Regency product in 3 or 4 years. Hope this helps. Good hunting. MHF
  • larieblarieb Posts: 12
    Anybody care to comment on their experience with conversion vans , and offer any tips to us prospective buyers ? Larieb
  • nwraaanwraaa Posts: 170
    The full size cargo vans (which I will refer to as the chasis), which are subsequently converted into conversion vans, are made by Chevy, GMC, Ford, and Dodge. The chasis is a low top van. There are a number of companies still converting vans but not as many as there were say five years ago. Some of the more popular van conversion companies are Explorer, Starcraft, Southern Coach, Sherrod, Rocky Ridge, Regency, Tuscany, Glaval (Universal, Prime Time), Southern Comfort, Mark III, Liesure by Discovery, Zephyr, L.A. West, Elegant, and American Luxury Coach. The make-up of the chasis and the conversion package makes the difference in the van. Chasis are equipped with six cylinder engines or eight cylinder engines. Some come with limited slip rear ends. Some come with towing packages. Of course, there are high top and low top vans. And a Ford E-150 is more expensive than say a Ford E-250. Basic features such as TVs, VCPs, front and rear air, and radios with CD/cassette players are relatively standard on most vans now. The price begins to climb though when the vans comes with items such as heated leather seats, wraparound ground effects kits, custom wheels, Michelin tires, temperature/directional rear view mirrors, and swivel passenger seats. The prices of new Ford, GMC, and Chevy conversion vans range from about $27,000.00 to $44,000.00. Dodges are not quite as expensive. I have to say though that it appears that the conversion companies don't seem to do as good a job at converting the latest Dodge models as they do the Fords, Chevys, and GMCs.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Anyone mentioned safety in here lately? Conversion vans haven't inspired a lot of confidence in that area because sometimes the factory roof is replaced with a non-structural fiberglass one, and the seat mounts for those fancy captains chairs are another concern. Maybe the lawsuits have improved things.

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  • dalelynndalelynn Posts: 28
    Hope someone out there can tell me if this is normal: I just bought a 2001 Chevy express Conversion van, v8, 5.0 liter engine and the oil pressure goes from 18 to 60 continually while driving around town. I can't find anything in the owners manual addressing this. What is considered normal? Does anyone know if Chevy has a number you can call for technical support?
  • nwraaanwraaa Posts: 170
    This is not normal. The oil pressure gauge should not indicate that the oil pressure is fluctuating. Pull the dipstick and make sure that the correct amount of oil is in the engine. Correct the oil level if needed. If the oil level is okay and the gauge still fluctuates, take the van back to the dealer immediately and request that the problem be corrected.
  • deppdepp Posts: 3
    dalelynn, no it is not normal. There are a number of reasons this may happen, my best recommendation would be to take it straight back to the dealer and let them diagnose and fix it. I've had this kind of problem on several vehicles, its usually a small problem but since you just bought it you should have no problem having the dealer fix it under your original 3 year/36 month warranty.
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    I have the 2001 Savana 2500 passenger van with 5.7 L and my oil pressure gauge goes up and down as well. It has only 340 miles on it, still not broken in.

    Unfortunatley the U.S uses PSI to indicate oil pressure, while Canada uses KPa(Kilapascals) metric is really helping us now? Still, I find the same characteristic of the needle moving up and down. Mine rests almost halfway between 275 and 550KPa while driving around 40mph and it does change with engine speed, being lower at a red light.

    I assume we have the same OWNERS try checking page 2-64. It states oil pressure may vary with engine speed, outside temperature and oil viscosity.

    My CHILTON MANUAL shows how to perform a oil pressure test:
    1.Start the engine and allow it to idle.
    2. Check the oil pressure reading when cold and record the number. You may need to run the engine at a specified rpm (check specifications chart. For 5.0 and 5.7L engines for 1997 it is 18PSI@2000RPM).
    3. Run the engine until normal operating temperature is reached (upper radiator hose will feel warm).
    4. Check the oil pressure reading again with the engine hot and record the number. Turn the engine OFF.
    5.Compare your hot oil pressure reading to that given in the chart. If the reading is low, check the cold pressure reading against the chart. If the cold pressure is well above the specification, and the hot reading was lower than the specification, you may have the wrong viscosity oil in the engine. Change the oil, making sure to use the proper grade and quantity, then repeat the test.
    Low oil pressure readings could be attributred to internal component wear, pump related problems, a low oil level, or oil viscosity that is too low. High oil pressure readings could be caused by an overfilled crankcase, too high of an oil viscosity or a fualty pressure relief valve.

    If your still not feeling confident, then see the dealer where you purchased the vehicle and ask to test drive another vehicle...then compare for yourself.

    Hope this helped.
  • dalelynndalelynn Posts: 28
    I really appreciate all your thoughts on the oil pressure situation. To be on the safe side I am taking it back to the dealer to check out. Especially since there were two other "little" problems in the first week, like the battery wasn't hooked on tight and could have caused a fire and the pinstriping was pulled off on one side... Nothing like these types of problems to really take the wind out of your sale and burst the balloon of joy upon getting new wheels!
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    I converted the Kilopascals for my Canadian vehicle and at idle (vehicle fully at temp) it worked out to 17.2PSI, although the test calls for 2000RPM which is higher then the idle point. I am safely within the recommended level.

    What is important for you is that this was my lowest reading (17.2PSI at idle) and while driving it went up and down as I accelerated. My gauge varied about 3/4" in fluctuations.

    I would not just trust the mechanics, instead I would ask to test drive another identical vehicle to confirm it a 3rd time. Mine can be considered #2. The reason I say this is that the mechanic can not be fully familiar with every vehicle they sell regarding minor differences in behaviour.
    For example, the transmission specialist felt my tranny had major troubles when I returned it and complained of a loud noise (after just leaving the lot for the first time). Turned out when the shop supervisor stepped in that it was just the fan clutch and normal. This mechanic was not fully familiar himself. Nothing like test driving another vehicle to set your mind at ease, that's what I did.

    One other thing, if there was a pressure problem, guranteed the computer would say something with a CHECK ENGINE WARNING.

    Good luck!
  • I have come accross a nifty plastic "box" which is attached onto a metal plate which in turn slips into an installed trailer hitch. They look like they would be fine for my problem of too much stuff in my Ram 1500 conversion. Camping gear would go into this box.
    Anyone had experince with these? Safe? Robust? I know that some telescop and swing out of the way of the rear doors. Does it really work? Your help is much appreciated for our trip across the USA!!

    THanks and happy trails.
  • vivhowardvivhoward Posts: 2
    Has any one experienced their roof tops coming completely off? We were on I-295 driving to Norfolk, VA, when we heard this rumbling noise. We pulled over to find out the cause. We thought a tire had blew. This passer-by stopped and said "did you know that your roof blew off about 500 feet back? I had to swerve to miss it". The entire hard covering was gone. the headliner and the accesories were still in place. It was raining cats and dogs. We were an hour and half away from home. We turned around and went back home, but the interior was soaked. We own a 96 chevy express, conversion by Quality coaches.
  • harrys2harrys2 Posts: 3
    I am trying to decide on which company's chassis to purchase. Which vehicle has the most reliable powertrain. I have heard good things about Chevy's ride, Dodge's 318 and not much either way about Ford. I definitely want an 8 cyl engine. I am tall so would like the most legroom possible in the driver's position. I owned an 1986 6 cyl Dodge B150 and never had any problems with it. Every Dodge minivan I have owned had transmission problems, how are the truck transmissions? What should I pay for a 1995 Dodge B250 MarkIII hightop w/leather, with 60000 miles? I am considering buying one. What is the safety of these vans? Thanks for any help.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Parts may be a problem. But the vans may be deals.
  • mike346mike346 Posts: 5
    According to the tow rating chart at, the 2000 Dodge Ram Van 1500 with the 5.2 and 3.55:1 axle can tow up to 11,500lbs. Has anyone ever tried to pull that much? I'm currently driving a '96 Savana with a 5.7 and it was really struggling to pull an empty 28' Travel Trailer (approx 4500lbs).
  • mike43ncmike43nc Posts: 13
    for the rear captains chairs in my 1994 Chevy Mark III. They allow you to remove or install the seat mounting bolts from inside the van without needing to hold the nut underneath. I had a set on my last van, but did not think to save them before I sold it. I think the mounting bolt sets came from JC Whitney, but they no longer carry them. Anyone seen a source of these?
  • I'm wondering if Universal is still a conversion company, do they still exist? I'm looking at buying a usd van that was converted by Universal, and it may need a new fender flare. Can that be obtained?
    Does anyone know if converting a van like a 1999 E-150 to a lo-top conversion, changes the gas mileage any?
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    and is out of business. Parts are available, see the page

  • brianw8brianw8 Posts: 1
    I,m looking at a 1999 dodge 1500 with a regency conversion package and 27,000 miles. What is a fair price for this van. Does anyone have any comments about regency, good or bad? What should a 1500 dodge van with a basic conversion package go for? How about a 2500? I'm really interested in finding one, but, most car websites (including this one, unless i missed it) don't have sections for conversion vans. Thanks for your help.
  • Had E150 Ford Conversion 1999. Had brake done 8/5/01 pm husband took to work 8/6/01 am Had to stop on FWY no Brakes Insurance Investagating. Suspected something odd with the way brakes went bad prior to repair, Did our mechanic make a mistake or has anyone else had problems with their brakes. Friend said she heard Ford may have defective brake system. Has anyone else heard about this. PLEASE LET ME KNOW. by the way my husband was ok praise God!
  • DarkManXR2 is my sons screen name, my screen name is e-mail me if you have any info or post here. Thank you
  • xfilesxfiles Posts: 132
    Well, someone worked on those brakes, and the next day you have an accident. The probability sure is that the mechanic caused the problem, and not the mfr. The mechanic may have failed to tighten down a brake fluid bleeder valve on the brakes, or he didn't tighten down one of the brake lines. The fact that it happened the very next day is a strong reason to point a finger at the mechanic in my opinion. A slow leak could have drained the reserve brake fluid container slowly, and once you reach the lower limit your suddenly in trouble. So you were okay the day of the brake job, but next morning your in trouble with low fluid.

    Good luck.
  • My only on going problem is the Rear Axle Noise and tire wear problems.
    High top w/roof air/cond and on board gas generator. This extra high 8'1/2" may be my problems source.
    Any comments about my problems would help PLEASE! Constructive Please?
  • Hello . . .

    I am looking at an Eclipse Conversion Van . . . hi-top, TV/VCP, leather, power sofabed, etc. Chassis is a Ford E-150 with the 5.4L Triton V-8. Dealer wants $33,700 + processing + taxes & tags.

    First, how good is the quality of Eclipse? Second, is the asking price a good deal?

    Thanks all
  • jc1973jc1973 Posts: 63
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    I don't have any 1st hand experience. It seems to me that there have been numerous positive posts here at Edmund's. You might want to did through old posts and archives.
This discussion has been closed.