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First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles #738095
July 10th 2018 3:00 pm
July 10th 2018 3:00 pm
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 12
Raleigh, NC
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bubbafat Offline OP
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bubbafat  Offline OP
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Raleigh, NC
tl;dr - should I even be looking at a 1993 G20 with 240k miles?

The specific ad is: https://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/6638647166.html

I'm going to check out the van tonight. We're not in a hurry and our budget is 4-5k. Our long-term plan is to gut the van and do a custom build and paint but short-term we'll be camping in it as-is over the summer.

Pros:

* Body looks to be in good shape
* Owner claims no frame rust and only a "silver dollar sized" area on the body (I can fix that)
* Drives, clean title, inspection is current for another year and he has been using it (selling because he's getting married)

Cons

* 240k miles
* He's only owned it 6 months and can't tell me much about it (in fact, he's out of town and I'll be talking with his father)
* Needs new exhaust pipe - I'm not sure what exactly he means so will have to figure that out.
* "Probably needs an ignition coil" (his dad says)
* Needs a "tune up" (which I'm going to assume means it runs rough - but I haven't heard it yet)

Things I plan to check during the walk-through:

* Engine/Trans for leaks
* Engine for signs of head gasket or oil leak problems (frothy oil, white/blue exhaust, etc)
* Rust (body, under carriage, engine bay)
* Straight frame/signs of an accident
* Checking seams/joints/roof for water leaks/damage/bubbles
* Belts and hoses - are they brittle/collapsed/spongey
* Color of oil, trans fluid and coolant
* Cold start (they've already agreed to not start it before I arrive)
* Tires/Brakes
* Test drive - city+highway, braking (test ABS), tight-turns (power steering), quick acceleration, idling

What am I missing - especially anything specific to a G20 or Chevys of this era?

And back to my original question - is 240k on a Chevy 350 a non-starter?

Thanks for any advice

Re: First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles [Re: bubbafat] #738097
July 10th 2018 3:15 pm
July 10th 2018 3:15 pm
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,420
Van Diego California
frscke1 Offline
frscke1  Offline

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,420
Van Diego California
No matter what van you get for $1500 you will be putting the other $2500 into it ....


SUNSHINE VANS-VAN DIEGO
ADRENALIN BY THE GALLON & CHASIN RACIN
ONE FOR THE DIRT & ONE FOR THE STREETS
'93 CHEVY G30 454 4X4 SPORTVAN EXT 146" WB
'92 CHEVY G30 454 BEAUVILLE EXT 146" WB
Re: First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles [Re: frscke1] #738098
July 10th 2018 3:25 pm
July 10th 2018 3:25 pm
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 12
Raleigh, NC
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bubbafat Offline OP
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bubbafat  Offline OP
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Raleigh, NC
Originally Posted by frscke1
No matter what van you get for $1500 you will be putting the other $2500 into it ....


Yes - absolutely expect that. I'm not naive enough to think we're getting 100k miles out of a $1500 van - but I also see mid-90 vans with 150k miles listed at $6000 so I'm willing to look at both ends of the spectrum.

We just bought our son a car and put $1200 into it on day-1 but ended up still getting a good deal. We're comfortable with that approach if it gets us where we want to be.

Re: First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles [Re: bubbafat] #738099
July 10th 2018 3:52 pm
July 10th 2018 3:52 pm
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,420
Van Diego California
frscke1 Offline
frscke1  Offline

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,420
Van Diego California
I have 195 on my 93 N 125 on my 92. With me maintenance is always better than a catastrophic failure also IF it drips a drop its in the shop

Its a nice looking van N in good shape....cant go wrong for $1500


SUNSHINE VANS-VAN DIEGO
ADRENALIN BY THE GALLON & CHASIN RACIN
ONE FOR THE DIRT & ONE FOR THE STREETS
'93 CHEVY G30 454 4X4 SPORTVAN EXT 146" WB
'92 CHEVY G30 454 BEAUVILLE EXT 146" WB
Re: First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles [Re: bubbafat] #738105
July 10th 2018 7:16 pm
July 10th 2018 7:16 pm
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 12
Raleigh, NC
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bubbafat Offline OP
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bubbafat  Offline OP
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Raleigh, NC
We went and checked it out and decided to pass but I am still very interested in hearing advice on things to be looking for in a van this age.

The frame and body were very solid and had only one rust spot at a seam on the roof. Crawled under the car and poked around at the screwdriver and everything was great. The engine started cold and did not blow blue or white smoke. The engine was sluggish in the test drive - it probably could hit highway speeds but he said once it hits about 50 it gets really rough but that was new in the last week or so.

But I didn’t need to hit the highway to know we were passing...

The owner offered that when parked on an incline it leaked transmission fluid. When I pulled the oil dipstick it was as black as tar and he acknowledged he did not think his son had ever changed the oil in the six months he owned it. The transmission fluid was a more appropriate color but based on his comment of leaking and the fact that it was full I’m guessing they topped it off recently.

But even with that I was willing to take the test drive. The son had assured me that the inside was immaculate and “everything worked”. So you can imagine my wife’s surprise when the radio is missing, none of the vent fans worked, dad acknowledged the air-conditioning had never worked, and when I hit the accelerator to drive forward the entire center console came loose and rolled to the back of the van.

He finally asked what I thought it was worth and I suggested $600-800 tops and he said they’d be willing to take that.

On to the next.

Re: First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles [Re: bubbafat] #738124
July 11th 2018 9:22 am
July 11th 2018 9:22 am
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,493
Michigan
Dyno_Dave Offline
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Dyno_Dave  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,493
Michigan
At that mileage, and running rough, I would not be surprised to find that the timing chain and gears are shot, and that it's jumped a tooth. With that mileage, and signs on questionable care (no oil change recently), and no history to tell what has been done, I'd budget for a new engine. Then if it doesn't need one, you're pleasantly surprised. But it certainly could be a failing ignition module, coil, plugs, wires....

Re: First time buyer seeking advice on inspecting a1993 G20 Sherrod with 240k miles [Re: Dyno_Dave] #738125
July 11th 2018 10:01 am
July 11th 2018 10:01 am
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 12
Raleigh, NC
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bubbafat Offline OP
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bubbafat  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dyno_Dave
With that mileage, and signs on questionable care (no oil change recently), and no history to tell what has been done, I'd budget for a new engine.


That's how we felt about it - and with the transmission leaking, there's a decent chance we'd choose to rebuild that while the engine was being swapped. At $600 base price we'd be into it for about $3500-4000 when that was done (I wish these were things I were able to do on my own, but it's not) and we'd still have to do the brakes, fix the AC, install a radio, probably replace a bunch of hoses, etc... Now we're into $5-7k.

For that price we can get a newer van ready to roll for a year or two without investing anything into it.


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