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97 Chevy Conversion Van good deal or nightmare? #741499
October 12th 2018 10:11 am
October 12th 2018 10:11 am
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 68
Corpus Christi, TX
T
TABrinn Offline OP
journeyman
TABrinn  Offline OP
journeyman
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Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 68
Corpus Christi, TX
The wife and I are keeping our eyes open for a new van to replace our 15 passenger Dodge that has developed a couple rust holes in the roof. The other day, we came across a 97 Chevy Conversion Van on CL for $850. The body looks rust free, paint is in good shape, and interior is well kept. Only problem is the PO says it has an engine knock. worms

The engine is a 5.7L, I assume from the LS/ LQ family, right? From the little research I've done, the knocking was a problem on these engines, a factory problem with the bearings. They had a service bulletin issued by GM concerning them. My options are to install a reman short-block, junkyard swap the same size mill, or possibly a LQ4 (6.0L). The 6.0's seem to have a good reputation and they are popular among the street rod crowd and have pretty good aftermarket support. Will the stock auto hold up to the additional power? What would be the best motor for a balance of power and fuel economy?

To fit our family's needs, we need to put in the stock seating, maximizing the number of passengers. I think it is a 1500, since it has 5 lug wheels. Did these come with 12 seats standard or fewer?

Is $850 a good deal or an I opening pandora's box? (Pandora's Box would be a good name for a van!) What problem areas should I look out for? Are any areas prone to rust that I should check? Any other problematic areas that are common to these vans?

Re: 97 Chevy Conversion Van good deal or nightmare? [Re: TABrinn] #741500
October 12th 2018 10:52 am
October 12th 2018 10:52 am
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,878
Van Diego California
frscke1 Offline
frscke1  Offline

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,878
Van Diego California
The 15 pass only comes in a G30. If its a 12 pass G30 it will have 3 rear seats but the clips for the 4th seat are under the carpet. A 12 pass has a luggage spot where the 4th seat goes.

$850 + $2000 for a new crate 350 motor & install..... still a good deal if the body is tight.


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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: 97 Chevy Conversion Van good deal or nightmare? [Re: TABrinn] #741516
October 12th 2018 4:24 pm
October 12th 2018 4:24 pm
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 68
Corpus Christi, TX
T
TABrinn Offline OP
journeyman
TABrinn  Offline OP
journeyman
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Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 68
Corpus Christi, TX
Its the next generation newer than these, frscke1. I think it is the 1st generation of the express vans. I like the G30 vans though. Sadly they are getting harder to find around here in decent shape.

Are all the wheel bases the same from the G-Vans to the express? 110, 125, and 146"? It'd be nice to get another Long Roof van to haul all the kids and have cargo room to spare.

Re: 97 Chevy Conversion Van good deal or nightmare? [Re: TABrinn] #741517
October 12th 2018 4:29 pm
October 12th 2018 4:29 pm
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,878
Van Diego California
frscke1 Offline
frscke1  Offline

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,878
Van Diego California
Express are 115, 135,155 ....


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: 97 Chevy Conversion Van good deal or nightmare? [Re: TABrinn] #741532
October 13th 2018 6:56 am
October 13th 2018 6:56 am
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,933
Michigan
Dyno_Dave Online content
veteran
Dyno_Dave  Online Content
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,933
Michigan
The 1996 - 2002 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana carry the engineering designation/program number GMT600. All of these trucks were pre-LX family. They use the last generation of the "old" small block Chevy, though little would interchange between a '55 SBC and a 2002. Still, that's the lineage. You would find replacement engines advertised under the Vortec name, with RPOs L30 for the 5.0L 305, and L31 for the 5.7L 350.

In 2003, the Express and Savana received complete remakes. All that carried over was the sheetmatal from the cowl back.

The frames, suspensions, brakes, doghouse sheetmetal, and interiors (dash, gauges, steering column, radio, HVAC) were all new, and completely different. And yes, for purposed of this discussion, 2003 is when the LX family of V8s were introduced.

Re: 97 Chevy Conversion Van good deal or nightmare? [Re: Dyno_Dave] #741548
October 13th 2018 11:12 am
October 13th 2018 11:12 am
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 68
Corpus Christi, TX
T
TABrinn Offline OP
journeyman
TABrinn  Offline OP
journeyman
T
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 68
Corpus Christi, TX
Awesome info, Dyno Dave! Just the sort of stuff I'm looking for!

What are the Pro's and Con's of the new for '03 design? Reliability, ease of maintenance, handling, parts availability?

I'd like to lower the van some, hunkering it down on some nice wheels. Will the lowering spindles, springs, shackles, etc. from the truck all fit?


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