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Best Classic Van & Why? #748000
May 04th 2019 6:15 pm
May 04th 2019 6:15 pm
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 71
Corpus Christi, TX
T
TABrinn Offline OP
journeyman
TABrinn  Offline OP
journeyman
T
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 71
Corpus Christi, TX
It may be opening up a can of worms but...

I'm keeping my eyes open for a "new" van to replace my 98 Dodge 3500 15 passenger van. This was my 1st van, purchased for $600 at a govt auction. But roof rust is getting worse by the minute. I think the roof is more tape than metal at this point! I like the handling of the Ram Van and it has great power. However peeling paint and roof rust seem to plague this era dodge van. I'd like to lower it, but there are no off the shelf solutions for the 3500 and suspension does not appear to swap over from the truck.

I like the look of the 3rd gen Ford vans, but they are scarce here in South TX. I'd like to swap to the round headlights if it is a later model. Is it possible? Also the twin beam front end is tough to lower, since none of the truck stuff is a direct fit. What are the major issues? Rust prone areas? Parts availability?

The Chevy/ GMC 3rd gen 71-95 G-series vans have been catching my attention lately. The body basically stayed the same over the years, so I could have all the modern safety features, fuel injection, etc., and the more classic styling. I need a window version 12 or 15 passenger. Do the 12 passenger come as G20 or G30? All the truck suspension stuff swaps over too. Huge aftermarket for everything Chevy.

From what I've seen, the Chevy probably has the edge due to parts availability, both OEM and aftermarket. What are the benefits and pitfalls of either Ford or Chevy 3rd Gen Vans?

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Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748001
May 04th 2019 6:34 pm
May 04th 2019 6:34 pm
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 14,244
Van Diego California
frscke1 Offline
frscke1  Offline

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 14,244
Van Diego California
The Chevy/ GMC 3rd gen 71-95 G-series .... WINNER ! !

The 12 is a G30 ...the difference is the wheel base.

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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: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748007
May 04th 2019 8:17 pm
May 04th 2019 8:17 pm
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 266
TN
Astrocreep66 Offline
enthusiast
Astrocreep66  Offline
enthusiast
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 266
TN
The g series is my fave..followed by 71-92 b Dodge van..then econoline..Chevy has style and a great big block.


When in doubt..get the sawzall out..
Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748017
May 05th 2019 8:23 am
May 05th 2019 8:23 am
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,363
Michigan
Dyno_Dave Offline
pooh-bah
Dyno_Dave  Offline
pooh-bah
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,363
Michigan
Dodge/Plymouth B van would be my first choice. Chevy/GMC 71-95 a very close second.

Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748037
May 05th 2019 3:00 pm
May 05th 2019 3:00 pm
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 454
Staunton, VA
kursed Offline
addict
kursed  Offline
addict
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 454
Staunton, VA
I prefer Chevy since they were in production from 1971 through 1995, but I also love Mopar and Ford.

I think if you're trying to compare all the aspects of every van, outweigh the pros and cons, and pinpoint an exact fit for "best ever van" you may be overthinking the matter.

Simply put, the "Best Van Ever" is the best deal you can find on the van that you fall in love with.

For me they are a 1982 G10 and a 2000 Astro, but for the next guy it might be a 1975 Dodge or a 1998 Ford Windstar (don't even know if they were made in 98, beside the point here).

Just find one you are happy with and roll it. smile

Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748171
May 08th 2019 11:58 am
May 08th 2019 11:58 am
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 26,082
Pittsburgh,Pa USA
newkirkinc1 Offline
Old Timer
newkirkinc1  Offline
Old Timer
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 26,082
Pittsburgh,Pa USA
l love the chevy's from 1964 and till present. We have 6 of them now (lol)


Jim & Lucy Newkirk
1965 Chevy Bad Influence
1981 Chevy-the Love Shack
2012 Chevy Van
Wrangler go cart Van
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77 chevy Prohecy rebuild
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Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748181
May 08th 2019 1:44 pm
May 08th 2019 1:44 pm
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 846
Indiana
tuner4life Offline
old hand
tuner4life  Offline
old hand
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 846
Indiana
I'm an import guy so I was very impartial going into my search.. I liked the aggressive looks of the 70s Dodges, but after driving one, I was very disappointed with the legroom for the front passengers. Don't get me wrong, none of them are great, but the Dodges were extremely cramped. On he plus side, the engine cover is huge so you can put anything you want in it..

Then I looked at the 3rd gen fords and almost ended up with one. I liked everything about them. The longer hood for (slightly) better access, more legroom, handsome looks, usually better optioned, etc.. I would still own the right Ford with no regrets whatsoever

But in the end the Chevy won for a number of reasons. The best looks (imo), ease and cost of obtaining parts, large production year span, and coming across mine with a manual and good condition when I did sealed the deal..

If you don't know what you want, go find each and try them out. That's the only way to know for sure for yourself.

Last edited by tuner4life; May 08th 2019 1:44 pm.

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Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748183
May 08th 2019 2:07 pm
May 08th 2019 2:07 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
Maniac
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
For me, I love the look of Dodge vans, but they just don't have enough leg room for me and the door is awkward to get in and out of. My favorite is Fords. From the mid Ford in the late 60s to the end to the third gen Fords. I am just not a GM or Chevy person, although parts would be much cheaper and easier to get if I did like GM products.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748188
May 08th 2019 2:39 pm
May 08th 2019 2:39 pm
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 123
Oregon
D
Don_F Offline
member
Don_F  Offline
member
D
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 123
Oregon
Don't rule out models on the basis of just one test drive, options and maintenance can make a different driving experience. I had a cherry 1974 G10, it was a base model with three on the column, no power brakes or steering. Its gone. It drove a lot worse than my 1995 G30 with power brakes and steering even though the basic platform is almost the same. It also had cruddy leg room because someone mounted aftermarket seats closer to the wheel.

Re: Best Classic Van & Why? [Re: TABrinn] #748191
May 08th 2019 3:42 pm
May 08th 2019 3:42 pm
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 48
Suffolk County NY
D
DontComeKnocken Offline
newbie
DontComeKnocken  Offline
newbie
D
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 48
Suffolk County NY
The mid Dodges definatley do not have much room on the passenger side but someone over 6 foot can still sit there without complaining much. Parts are pretty available for a Dodge and only one has been difficult to find or expensive really. I'm still having a hard time to find a flywheel for a slant six and 4 speed overdrive but I can't think of anything else that's been difficult to source. Really I think it comes down to preference, and circumstance depending on whats for sale nearby and that you like. I notice each brand seems to struggle with rust, all three have problems with rocker panels, roofs, drip rails. windshield frames, chassis parts. Cancer doesn't discriminate by the badge on the front.

As far as how they drive I'm pretty sure it depends more on if they have a fresh suspension and nice tires than anything else. I believe they all have double wishbone suspension in the front(RWD vans) and leaf springs in the rear but I could be wrong. Anyway lots of vans with tons of miles on them from all 3 makes so they must be running good if they can make it over 2 or 3 hundred thousand miles.

Sorry to hear about the roof on your Dodge, I'm surprised the roof has actually rusted through. Usually it just gets surface rust on the actual roof panels and the drip rails are what gets really nasty and rotted. Always thought it was a little odd how the ribs are downward and pool water when it rains. Cheap metal, and pools of rain water are not a good combo.


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