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Full Sized Vans



  • arielariel Posts: 12
    rogerf2, in post #235, I wasn't clear about what you were saying about dual side doors. You said, "Before you can go have to shut one or both doors." Does that mean you sometimes drive off with your sliding door open? I've seen people do that, but I don't think it's very safe... ;-)
  • chevanchevan Posts: 10
    How practical is the big rear door on your van? I find them to be limited in use unless unloading t items to curbside or can the door be released to 180 degrees? I am always on the lookout for a loaded Ram wagon with dual rear doors. Recently a friend and I test drove a Chevy Express conversion "halfback" by Glaval. Luxury (if you want to call it that) up front with a separating wall for a panelled cargo space in the rear. It handled beautifully on the highway and back road with it's 5700 vortec engine. The price was heavy, though. 25k list plus 10k more for the "pkge". My friend and I could fix up a loaded cargo van for much less money.
  • arielariel Posts: 12
    I've never had a van with dual rear doors, so I can't compare how practical one is over the other. In the 9 years I've owned my Dodge Ram Wagon, I've never *tried* to release the rear door to open more than 90 degrees - so I don't know if it can be done voluntarily or easily. However, I don't think so. It doesn't look like it can be done without tools. If you don't want to use tools, use a lot of force - say a 60 mph or so wind. (see post #234)
  • arielariel Posts: 12
    Of course, if you *force* it open past where *it* wants to open, it will be broken. I do not recommend or advocate that anyone break their door.
  • rogerf2rogerf2 Posts: 5
    to ariel

    By "go anywhere" I meant walking, not driving. Whether in a parking lot, a campsite, in the pits at a race, or whatever, those open doors always seem to be in the way (even though they can be "released" to open wider).
  • rogerf2rogerf2 Posts: 5
    I'm planning to buy a new van in the very near future, and am currently debating whether to buy a Ford or a Chevy. the Chateau option on the Ford (7-passenger w/4 captain's seats) looks interesting. Does anyone have one of these? How do you like it? I have not been able to see one at a dealer, of course. Is it hard to get past the 2nd row seats to the 3rd row bench seat?
  • ahlindmeahlindme Posts: 1
    I am considering a full-size conversion van were can I go to do research comparing the conversion companies, quality, and pricing. I have not been able to find any information that does comparisions only the individual companies.
  • stretch1stretch1 Posts: 1
    Looking for a 15 pass. one ton WHITE Dodge Van. Want a SLT package with pwr windows, pwr locks, keyless entry, side and rear windows that pop open. I am looking for a 96 or newer model with low miles.

    Please e-mail me if you have one for sale at
  • I would love to have a full-size conversion van, presently have a Grand Caravan and love it except for family road trips with 6 gets a little crowded. My concern is gas mileage around town for everyday use and going back and forth to work 32 miles round trip.

    How do I learn about the various vans out there in my area (Western Mass) w/o looking like a simpleton?? I've ruled out Dodge because of the shorter bed over GM or Ford. I like my leg room!
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199

    I drive a '97 Ford/Coachmen with the 4.6L V8. Commuting is 20 miles each way with a mix of x-way and surface streets. Warm weather mpg is about 15.5 to 16.1. It drops about 1 mpg in cold weather months. (Detroit area)

  • We are interested in purchasing the Dodge 1500 wagon but are concerned about the air conditioner being powerful enough to adequately cool the entire vehicle. We are looking at the 5.2 l v8 and Dodge does not offer the optional rear air with the short wheel base 1500 model. Would appreciate any comments from those who have experience with these vehicles, thanks.
  • arielariel Posts: 12

    I have a 1990 Dodge Ram B150 passenger van with seating for 8 (2 bench seats), which is the equivalent of today's 1500. The air conditioning hardly reaches the rearmost bench seat.
  • ariel,

    thanks for the information regarding the ram 1500 a/c.
  • I want to purchase a Ford E-150 XLT with the chateau package. We live in southern Maryland (35 miles from Washington D.C.). These vans don't seem to be very popular around here. It may be possible that I'm looking too late in the model year. I would be willing to travel about 1000 miles or so to get one if anyone knows of an area that this van would be easier to find. Thanks for your help.
  • jeffsjeffs Posts: 23

    Yes you are now into the 2000 model year. You didn't state if you are looking into a new or used. Any of the online car suppliers should be able to locate one for you, 99 or other.

    I have a 99 Club Wagon (loaded) and am very happy with it. Its worked out much better than pickup trucks I've had in the past. There is a ton of room in it.

    If you do decide to order one I would recommend going with the 5.4L engine. These vehicles are pretty heavy and you'll want as much get up and go as you can get.
  • do I choose the '99 chevy express, savannah, or Ford Econoline. we need 12 seats and luggage room do we go with a 12 or 15 passenger? and is this the best month to buy? do you order it or just take from the dealers?
  • fourspeakers:
    Richmond Ford had a couple '99 E-150 Chateau's 2 weeks ago. One had a 5.4L engine, don't know about the other. has 2000 Econoline info & MSRP princing. Not much change from '99
  • milniemilnie Posts: 1
    I'm planning to buy a Grand Caravan SE AWD in Sept to use in the US for a while then bring back to Europe long term. These vans are fairly common here and so service, spares, etc will not be a problem. Also prices in US are much cheaper.
    I'm having a problem tracking down a vehicle using the usual internet sources and wondered if it could be because the 99 models are being sold out in anticipation of 2000 version. Does anyone know if the 2000 models will differ much from the 99?
    Also, when exactly will the 2000 models be in dealers hands?
    Anyone had any experience of using one of these models in Europe?
    I would be grateful for any thoughts
  • I am considering a 1993 - 1995 Chev conversion van G20 LWB. I can get useful information from Edmund's regarding the price of the van, but what is the average value(if any)of the conversion above and beyond the base van value including options..? I have owned 4 Chevy conversion vans since 1978, and I realize conversions differ in quality, but is there a "rule of thumb" I could use when looking at 93 - 95 models...?

  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 764
    Ummm...unlike my last post, you might be successful asking Car Man over here!

    What is a 'typical' good discount on a used car?

    Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    You'll probably have better luck in one of the many conferences devoted to Dodge mini's, or mini's in general. The subject of this conference is full-size vans.

    Also to somebody else back there whose name I forget:
    If you want a 15-passenger, in my opinion, Chev/GMC has that category completely sewn up. To my knowledge they are the only manufacturer who makes a dedicated chassis for that size vehicle. The other manufacturers splice longitudinal members into their shorter chassis to lengthen them, producing a much weaker, but heavier frame.

    If anybody wants to dispute this, I'm interested in hearing about it, but I've heard this from several sources that I consider credible.
  • xavier1xavier1 Posts: 1
    I had another thought after my last question on the full size vans. What are the pros & cons of the regular full size van and getting a full size conversion van? We've got three (four in Nov.) little kids and my gut tells me the conversions are just more things to get broken, malfunction, or wear out. It seems like the conversions "wear quicker" than just the plain regular. What is the average price difference also? Thanks!
  • asimpsasimps Posts: 1
    I've decided to buy a full size van and set it up to be my main
    transportation pod as well as for weekends at the dog shows. In
    starting my investigations, I leaned toward the Ford Econoline cargo
    van 250, since I'm a long time Bronco owner. However, this has turned
    into a nightmare of confusion, and I wonder if Ford or the dealers even
    WANT to sell these things!! Maybe I'm just talking to the wrong people
    or asking the wrong things, but this is really weird.

    I realize that these vans need "converting" before they're set up the
    way people want, but it seems to me that dealers won't make the effort
    to bring this all together for the customer. The particular van I
    wanted, I was told, was unavailable - popular model particularly for
    commercial purposes, late in model year, etc. But then they said they
    could order one but it would have to go to a "van pool." Then they said
    that I couldn't have the various option packages that are listed
    because these are now somehow not available. However, I COULD order a
    one-ton van, which would give me more options (I don't want the one-ton)
    After getting totally confused, the sales guy finally tells me that
    almost all of the vans they get in are for commercial spite
    of the fact that I see lots of "converted" Econolines on the road...and
    he doesn't think he can help me...

    Please help! I just want to buy a damn van, get it finished inside so
    it looks nice and is comfy without going nuts over it...who do I talk
    to?? Is a regular dealer the wrong place to go? Thanks!
  • ernesternest Posts: 30
    I am in the process of ordering a 2000 Chevrolet
    Express passenger van. In the 2000 Dealer Ordering Guide, the document from which he orders vehicles, there is a section on new features-exterior. Here is lists 3 new colors and then the following: "Light Autumnwood Striping - Adds a Touch of Class (available with LS trim)".
    No one at the dealership, the zone manager, GM customer service and the dozen or so other numbers to which I was referred knows what this is or how to order it. It has no order code. I am now checking at the Chev. manufacturing plant in Missouri and they are researching it. Does anyone out there KNOW what this is???? Thanks
  • jboaterjboater Posts: 199
    You might want to decide on the conversion company first. Give them a call and ask for selling dealers in your area.

  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 412
    What you have is a classic case of dealer greed in 2 forms. One, they want to sell you THEIR conversion van at retail, not have you go get your own. And two, they want all their 250 series vans for commercial users because commercial users pay close to retail. Why should they sell you a cargo van when 5 other companies want that same van at the end of the model year to get all the rebates? It is too bad the dealers don't let the consumer pick what they want. You just have to go in and be as stubborn as you can, walk around the lot, find the van you want and buy it. They can't tell you they can't sell it to you. Now you could order a 2000. but typical dealer greed means they will do all they can to make you pay full sticker. Don't. And they are BSing you about ordering options on a 250. You can order it in powder blue and gold two-tone with red leather seats and 20" custom wheels for all they should care. The only thing you need to worry about is checking Edmund's to see what the invoice price is and what all rebates there are, and make a deal for a few hundred over their cost, and bicker as much as you have to in order to get that target price.
  • tequesttequest Posts: 1
    Well I hope I don't have to return for a few years, I bought a conversion Van at near cost in Houston last week. Cost being near base price of a box van no conversion.

    I had experience the same don't know don't care from many of the dealers. My local small town dealer will cry the blues when I take it in for the first service. I called him 4 times this year, and received no replies.

    So far Lone Star Ford in Houston has been the best dealer, they have a great web page and also their sale paper listings on their site.
    They did hate it when I pulled out the Blue book values for my trade in Chateau Van. We had about 4 hours of negotiations. We baited and switched to get our price. After 3.5 hours they would not meet our price so we said ok lets do the deal on the cheaper van. They were not ready for another battle. They came back with $800 more off the price. We had only been wanting $500 but as they say take what you can get.
    PS Got + 20 mph on the first fill up.

  • I am pulling a RV travel trailer with my 1989 Chevy Van G20 w/350 motor. The trailer weighs around 7,500 LBS. I've done a lot to prepare it for this load (i.e., 3:73 gear w/limited slip; 3 transmission coolers, engine oil cooler, duels, air shocks, helper spings, etc..) It handles the load well, but I ran into a camper who said he improved his gas milage on his 1993 Suburban 350 by replacing stock mufflers with Dynamax or Flowmaster mufflers.

    Any thoughts or experience with this situation..?

    Thanks, John
  • arielariel Posts: 12
    Just bought a new 1999 GMC Savana passenger van about 6 weeks ago. It was pulling to the right from the moment I drove it off the lot. The dealer mechanic said that it might have been chained down too tightly on the transport and that it would probably work itself out in time, and that they couldn't do an alignment until 700 miles anyway. I have taken it in twice now (currently at 1400 miles), and it seems pretty good, but the steering wheel is no longer tight, like it was new. Also, the wheel was tilted to the right at first, then to the left and the van still pulled right, now mostly centered, but still very slightly to the left.

    Anyone else have something like this happen to them? Any other problems? I'd like to know.
  • Several problems can cause a pull to one side or the other. The idea that they chained it to tightly during transport and it will correct itself, I believe you had better check to make sure your wallet was still there when you walked away from that person. If they chained it too tight to have a pulling problem, they collapsed the spring, flattened the tire or bent parts that will have to be replaced. Any way they should be able to check it right away and tell, unless it was a frame twist and that would take a body frame alignment shop check but that would take some major chaining. (Check for any train derailments during the time just before it arrived at the dealer).
    Since you have had the alignment checked, for the moment we will assume it's correct. The first thing I would do is swap the front tires left to right and right to left. If the pulling changes to the other direction, you know it's a tire problem and you'll have to go fight with your tire dealer.(This is at least the second thing the dealer should have tried).
    If that doesn't make any change go to the service manage and ask where they take their VIP or problem vans and trucks that has an expert alignment mechanic. The problem is most anyone can align a vehicle to factory spec with little or no training (which is what you are usually getting) but finding an expert in a dealership is rare.

    A very important point to remember is that the steering gear can cause a pulling problem, which can be severe, if the internal ports are misaligned. The steering fluid is always pushing it to one side no mater what you do and the tires won't have abnormal wear because you're fighting the power steering gear. Tell the service manager you want this checked and they will be happy to send you to an alignment expert because the only way to check power steering gear alignment is to completely disassemble it and check everything with a micrometer. Then they have to re-shim the gear, put it completely back together, and see if it made any change. Then repeat as necessary. Most install a new gear rather than spend the time required. This can be checked by jacking the front of the van where the tires are off the ground. turn the steering wheel until the tires are straight, start the motor for a few minutes and shut it off. If the tires remain straight, the steering gear is not the problem. If the tires turn, start thinking steering gear.
    Now go ask your service manager why they didn't do these tests to start with other than his department just didn't care more about fixing the problem than getting it back out the door.

    Finally, Get the Sales manager in the corner in front of a room full of potential customers and discuss in a calm voice but in volumes how poor his service is on a brand new vehicle.
This discussion has been closed.