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Old 05-28-2008, 08:37 PM
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HELP? buying a dodge 2500 van (year: 2000)

Can you guys guide me decide on a large van purchase?

I need a large passenger van (with cargo room) to take a 3-5 piece band out on the road (US tours).

I found from a private seller (nice lady, 2 hours away from me) a 2000 dodge ram wagon 5.9 V8 with 107k miles, good condition, white paint, body/paint looks great in pics. Stated driven conservatively.

owner says it's operating great....get's the typical (awful mpg) 11-17 mpg city/hwy (13 combined mpg). Uggh...but such it is with all these vans.

4spd transmission, tinted windows, a/c, tow option on custom bumper, cruise ctrl.

It's being offered at $4000.00, obo. (priv seller)

I can see it will fufill my needs. Can anyone tell me about these vans? Are they ok?..or to definitely be avoided? (because of...?)

I like to do all tune-up/sparks/wires/filters, oil changes, etc myself...are these somewhat easy to work on?
Are there service manuals for these for the home mechanic?

i'm seeing these same vans at around $6-7k (miles ranging from 90-130k), so I'm thinking of jumping on it.

I'm worried about dodge and their transmissions. I know the ford gets a better rating features wise, and chevy express next in line...but this is in my price range and I really need to get a touring van (probably won't be used as much for in town shows - keep my old minivan for that).

are there any forums, websites, etc dedicated to these dodge vans? (for info/tech help/etc)?

thanks for any advice - I really need it.

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Last edited by jojo99; 05-28-2008 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:43 PM
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The frames are really flimsey, and the transmissions are not great as you said... unless the trans has been rebuilt at some point.. 170K on it, it will need it fairly soon I'm sure.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:43 PM
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Hmmm....dang, it fits my price range (can prob get away with it at $3500.00).
All other vans are much more (although awful gas prices are bringing them down some).

that's actually 106k miles on it right now.

Can you explain "frames are flimsy"? (just so I know).
Are the fords and chevy express way better frames?

Can you also tell me how to best test (best without pulling it and having a look) the transmission with these?
Look for burnt fluid?....metal flakes?

I'll test drive it and see any slipping/signs of course....but let's say at $3500.00, is it still a good deal?
Factor in maybe a trans overhaul, etc.?

And how much might I get away with if/when I may have to rebuild the trans?
What's the average cost/deal out there for these big vans?

thanks sooooo much
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:22 PM
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I have had 10 of these vans from 96-2000 I still have 2 and replaced the rest with Dodge Sprinters. Any how yeah the trannys go at around 150,000-200,000, I can guarantee it needs ball joints and a drag link too . The front frame horns rot out too. The cat is probably clogged they take a walk around 200k. The fuel pump goes around 150k (listen for a buzzing sound while its running coming from the rear) they also are a little tough to work on but can be done obviously from inside. The water pump is really tough to do too. The good is the motor runs forever the ones I sold have about 350k on them and are still going. Make absolutly sure the gauges work on the dash. This is a reall pain in the *** to fix on the 98 & up vans.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:29 PM
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so anthony would you say this particular van I'm looking at (for around $3500 most likely) is one to be avoided then?
Going to check it out 2morrow...what should look/feel for as far as what you're listing when checking things over?

What would a rough estimatation of cost be for a trans overhaul on this?
Just average ballpark figure/guesstimation

The only problem I have is that it may not be quite large enough (may need the maxi wagon). 5.9L V8, tow package, 106k miles, 4 spd auto
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:48 PM
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You ask about the frames? I weigh around 145 lbs and I can flex the frames outward with a 4 foot pry bar to get the cross member out. I also have a customer that purchased a used one that has problems with stalling and the fuel gauge, and only gets him 10 miles per gallon. It had 107,000 miles on it when he bought it, and had it to the dealer 9 times about it's problems, and they cannot figure out what is wrong with it either. I personally have put 2 fuel pump assembly's in it from the dealer and checked all of the wiring and the instrument cluster, and found nothing wrong. I can also attest to the fact there is nothing wrong with the engine operation sensors including the O'2 sensors to give it such poor fuel mileage.

This is not a good buy in my "blue book"
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:37 AM
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ok, well it seems there's more cons then pros here...
I'll at least check it out but buying a big problem isn't the goal, I'll probably pass (and yes, the mpg really worries me most - although none of these type vans are getting anything decent).

Thanks, and if anything more to say about these please do.
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:36 PM
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Jack up the front end and shake the wheels. I guarantee they shake like crazy. We used to have to do ball joints on them at least once a year on each van. The tranny from Jasper (national rebuilder co.) was about 2 grand and then needed to be installed but they were good though never needed to use the warranty. They have a lot of really bad annoying engineering in them but like I said they ran and ran. Also the 98's and newer used to ping like crazy
unless you used high test. What I would do is try to find a 97 or older they are a little better I felt, and a little more simple.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:00 PM
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thank you all for your advice. I'll keep looking I guess.

Should I definitely stick with Ford or Chevy (regarding large vans)?
Any advice on years/makes would be great.

I am greatly factoring the "ease of maintenance" (my own oil/tuneups/etc., all I can. I do like the simplicity of some of the older vans. Your responses are very helpful - thank you very much.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:08 PM
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Keep an eye out and avoid used delivery, or high mileage vans. With the current fuel prices some older people might be getting rid of their vans real cheap. Good luck in your search from a Ford fanatic. Hint Hint!
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:39 PM
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The Ford vans would be the way to go, even if you can't find a newer say '95- current van, the older 302 powered vans are just as good, some of them had 300 6cyls which are ok on gas, you'd get 17-18

Don't discount older small school buses, most are diesel, so the mialage is good but at the price of diesel, the cost would be about the same as a gas model. there at least 15 passanger, take out the seats and you could put fewer more comfterble seats in, if you only have to carry 5 people
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:44 PM
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Not for nuthin but i would stay away from fords too. Those trannys are junk as well and the front end, go with an older chevy or a clean older dodge (early 90's) the school bus idea is good too. They have to be inspected by the state DOT if you get it right after the school used it it should be very well maintained. How about a Suburban?
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:02 AM
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I WISH a suburban would hold my instrument and passengers (hammond organ).

Hmm, a shorter school bus. I like that idea too (it's really only going to be used for touring really).
But where in seattle/NW area might one hunt for things like this? What am i looking for?
is there a name for dept like this who sell these type of vehicles?

and I did find another 1999 dodge van - this time 15 passenger, 5.9L V8
for 5K - 85k miles , so... maybe there are issues with these vans (transmissions) and people know so they're getting rid of em?
or the mpg is so bad with them they almost have to go?

sorry for all the Q's - still hunting!!

Last edited by jojo99; 06-05-2008 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:20 AM
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Ok, based on a suggestion of an earlier dodge van:

how about a 1991 Dodge Ram Wagon B350, 5.9L V8 TBI OHV ?
It has orig eng/trans with 60K miles on it (low!), carfax checks out all OK.

So mind my asking why the suggestion for an "earlier" dodge van? Better transmission and engines (I hope)? Is this year still a "1st gen" van or, no?

Are these good vans? This one only has one bench seat, looks real clean, love the color. Has A/C.

I think it also gets just plain awful mpg 10/14 (city/hwy)...not sure, trying to check in on this? Can anything be done to improve mpg on these 91 vans?

I'll probably need to find at least one more bench seat down the road as well.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:40 AM
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The older dodge vans are ok.. but that's a 1 ton van, do you really need somthing that big for a band? the 5.9 will get horrible gas mialage.. 10-12 probably
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